What would life be without music? A nullity, no doubt. It would surely be “an error” as Nietzsche said. And what would music be without Jazz? Wouldn’t it be a white page waiting desperately for the interplay of little black mute, but so melodious and expressive, entities to make it meaningful to some lonesome keen ears? Yes, that's Jazz: black and white meet to go beyond sensitiveness to forge out of ivory and brass, with their pain and joy, a world, so tuned to make both hell and paradise jealous. Let there be JAZZ & JAZZ Only.
Hamidou Hamdan

"It's when one is not staring that art works"
Gilbert Sorrentino

Stop Internet Censorship

About Me

My photo
We need to remember to take the time to show gratitude to artists by putting hands in our purses (of course if we can afford such comfort), and willingly treasure the generous intention to buy their recordings.

Google+ Badge


Total Page View

Sparkline 2 902919

A Blog List

Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.
Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wayne Shorter - Alegría (2003 - Universal)

It is an utter joy to witness the profound evolution of a genius. With the release of Alegria, Wayne Shorter continues to widen and refine his unique musical vision—and share it with the world. From the first few notes of the opening song, "Sacajawea," it becomes immediately evident that we're being invited into a lyrical sonic world that is beyond common jazz metaphor. This music is stripped of all superfluity and becomes a singular document—a meeting of heavy spirits.
The music on Alegria feels "lived in" and this aura pervades every piece on the recording, even the sessions with musicians outside of the quartet orbit and the overdubbed sections. The 'lived in' quality comes from Shorter himself; like his former employer Miles Davis, there is as much music in what he chooses not to play as what he does voice with his horn. His tremendous presence with each note and every gesture again recalls Miles Davis, inspiring those around him to rise to a higher level of understanding of the music they are asked to interpret.

Track listing:
1. Sacajawea;
2. Serenata;
3. Veniendo Alegria;
4. Bachianas Brasileiras No.5;
5. Angola;
6. Interlude;
7. She Moves Through the Fair;
8. Orbits; 12th Century Carol;
9. Capricorn II

Wayne Shorter: tenor and soprano saxophones;
Danilo Perez; Brad Mehldau: piano;
John Patitucci: bass;
Brian Blade, Terri Lyne Carrington-drums;
Alex Acuna-percussion;
Lew Soloff, Chris Gekker, Jeremy Pelt: trumpets;
Jim Pugh, Steve davis, Bruce Eidem, Papo Vasquez, Michael Boschen: trombones;
Chris Potter: bass clarinet, tenor saxophone;
Charles Curtis: solo cello;
Paul Dunkel: flute;
Steven Taylor: oboe;
Allen Blustine: clarinet, bass clarinet;
Frank Morelli-bassoon; John Clark, Stewart Rose-horns; Marcus Rojas-tuba; David Garrett, Barry Gold, Gloria Lum, Daniel Rothmuller, Brent Samuel, Cecilia Tsan: Cello

Original Release Date: March 25, 2003 (Label: Universal)

Buy at Amazon
Part 1  Part 2

Dave Santoro - The New Standard (2001 - Double-Time Jazz )

Bassist Dave Santoro has formed a "standards" quartet that effectively expands the philosophy of Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio. Jarrett, along with drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Gary Peacock represent a "standards" unit, reinterpreting the great American songbook. They have had the market cornered in performing standards for the last 20 years. Santoro makes this concept one better with the addition of tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi, who is charged with reharmonizing the same American Songbook. This has resulted in three recordings for Double-Time Records, of which The New Standard is the third.
The present recording contains eight blissfully realized standards, none of which clock in at less than six minutes. The band has a casual, well-practiced swing, making their collective musicality sound easy. This recording sounds the least like a bassist-led affair than any other. Part of the reason for this is the relatively little soloing Santoro performs and the large amount of space the leader affords Bergonzi and pianist Chicco. Both men sound fresh and bright, choosing all of there notes intelligently and dynamically. Bergonzi, whose tone has long associated with a substantial Coltrane influence, proves down right lyrical in a full-throated sort of way that makes his playing more as attractive as that of the master. The two lengthiest pieces, "I've Never Been in Love Before" and "Witchcraft" provide copious example of the piano-tenor intuition in this band.
C. Michael Bailey

1. I've Never Been In Love Before
2. I Remember You
3. Witchcraft
4. All of You
5. How About You
6. Let's Pretend
7. You're Too Marvelous For Words
8. The Best Thing For You

Dave Santoro (Bass)
Jerry Bergonzi  (Tenor Sax)
Renato Chicco  (Piano)
Tom Melito  (Drums)
(Original Release Date: August 28, 2001) Label: Double Time records DTRCD - 183

Buy at Amazon
Part 1     Part 2
Saturday, February 27, 2010

Duke Ellington & Johnny Hodges Play The Blues "Back To Back" (1959, Polygram Records)

These distinctive small-group sessions, featuring Duke Ellington as pianist in a blues context, are part of a group of recordings issued under the titles Back to Back and Side by Side, and further reissued under the  name of Blues Summit. There should be no confusion about the high quality of music that came out of these sessions. From the jazz world, it would be difficult to find more profound soloists on traditional blues numbers than the Duke or his longtime collaborator Johnny Hodges, who does some of the most soulful playing of his career here. Also hitting a very high standard for himself is trumpeter Harry Edison and, while musicians are being patted on the back, Joe Jones & Al Hall in the rhythm section should be given a hand. The songs all have titles that end in "Blues," with the oddball having "Love" in the title not once but twice. (It's "Loveless Love," what else?) But these songs are just vehicles for playing the blues, a formula that has produced great music many times, and certainly did every time this particular pianist was leading the group.

Track List:
1. Wabash Blues   
2. Basin Street Blues   
3. Beale Street Blues     
4. Weary Blues   
5. St. Louis Blues, The   
6. Loveless Love   
7. Royal Garden Blues

Duke Ellington (piano)
Johnny Hodges  (alto saxophone)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Les Spann  (guitar)
Al Hall  (bass)
Jo Jones (drums)

Recorded at Columbia Studios, New York, New York, February 20, 1959. Originally released on Verve (6055)

Buy at Amazon

Colorado Jazz Party "Live at Dick Gibson's" (1971, Vinyl - BASF)

It is surprising that the music on this LP has not been reissued yet on CD for there are many exciting performances. Taken from Dick Gibson's 1971 Colorado Jazz Party, there are mini-sets from four separate groups. Trumpeters Clark Terry and Harry "Sweets" Edison lead a six-horn nonet (which includes Zoot Sims' tenor) for spirited versions of "On the Trail" and "The Hymn." Terry gets a chance to stretch out with tenor-saxophonist Flip Phillips in a quintet while a similar-sized group showcases the underrated trombonist Carl Fontana and James Moody on tenor. Finally there is a four-trombone septet (with Fontana, Kai Winding, Urbie Green and an effective Trummy Young) performing long versions of "Undecided" and "Lover, Come Back to Me." Fans of straightahead jazz who run across this two-fer will not need to be told twice to get it.
Scott Yanow

Track List:
01. Just Squeeze Me
02. The Hymn
03. On the Trail
04. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
05. Georgia On My Mind
06. Billie's Bounce

Clark Terry, Harry Edison, Kai Winding, Urbie Green, Zoot Sims, Budd Johnson, Vicotr Feldman, Lyn Christie, Alan Dawson... play On the Trail; The Hymn;
Clark Terry, Flip Phillips, Victor Feldman, Lyn Christie & Cliff Leeman play Just Squeeze Me; I'm Getting Sentimental Over You / Georgia on My Mind / Billie's Bounce.
(A live Concert recorded in 1971, but not on CD yet)

Buy at Amazon 
Friday, February 26, 2010

Ryan Kisor - On the One (1993, Sony)

One of the youngest of the so-called Young Lions, Ryan Kisor first gained attention when he won the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz's first trumpet competition in 1990 at age 17. He had earlier studied trumpet with his father, played with a local band when he was ten, and started studying classical music two years later. Kisor discovered jazz at 14 and developed quickly, playing both jazz and classical music locally. In the summer of 1988, he was inspired at a jazz camp by Clark Terry. After winning the Monk  contest, he was signed by Columbia, coming out with a couple of interesting if slightly premature CDs as a leader.
 In "On The One" Ryan Kisor's playing  is reminiscent of  Art Blakey-type hard bop. He is accompanied in this albums by such renown musicians such as saxophonist Chris Potter; bassist Christian Mcbride; drummer Lewis Nash; and pianist Mulgrew Miller.

 Track List
01. On the One (5:53)
02. Far Away (5:50)
03. Remembering Tomorrow (4:59)
04. Thinking of You (7:29)
05. Groovin' (7:01)
06. Valhalla (5:18)
07. Distant Present (7:22)
08. Punjab (6:50)
09. Darn That Dream (6:40)
10. Beatitudes (9:19)

Artist List
Ryan Kisor: (trumpet)
Chris Potter: (saxophone)
Mulgrew Miller: (piano)
Christian McBride: (bass)
Lewis Nash: (drums)
 Original Release Date: April 13, 1993
Label: Sony

Buy at Amazon

Chet Baker & Paul Bley: Diane (1985, SteepleChase)

This Album is an unusual collaboration for both musicians, Chet Baker & Paul Bley. "DIANE" is a set of slow, langorous ballads and one jazz original (Sonny Rollins's "Pent-Up House"). Baker lends his wispy vocals to only "You Go To My Head," but his trumpet sings satisfyingly throughout. Despite his well-known drug dependence, Baker continued to make good-to-great albums till the end of his life, and "DIANE" is no exception. But the revelation here is Paul Bley who studiously avoided recording jazz standards for nearly his whole career. Here, his stately tone and rich chordal work make an excellent foil for Baker's nocturnal perambulations. A late-stage triumph for the two veterans.

Chet Baker: (Trumpet)
Paul Bley:  (Piano)

Track List:
1. If I Should Lose You
2. You Go to My Head
3. How Deep Is the Ocean?
4. Pent-Up House
5. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
6. Diane
7. Skidadidlin'
 8. Little Girl Blue
Original Release Date: February 27, 1985
Label: Steeplechase

Buy at Amazon
Part 1  Part2
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Eric Dolphy - Out to Lunch! (February 25, 1964 - Blue Note Records)

In 1964, Dolphy signed with the legendary Blue Note label and recorded Out to Lunch (once again, the label insisted on using “out” in the title). This album was deeply rooted in the avant garde, and Dolphy's solos are as dissonant and unpredictable as anything he ever recorded. Out to Lunch is often regarded not only as Dolphy's finest album, but also as one of the greatest jazz recordings ever made.
After Out to Lunch and an appearance as a sideman on Andrew Hill's Point of Departure, Dolphy left to tour Europe with Charles Mingus' sextet (one of Mingus' most underrated bands and without a doubt one of the most exciting) in early 1964. From there he intended to settle in Europe with his fiancée, who was working on the ballet scene in Paris. After leaving Mingus, he performed with and recorded a few sides with various European bands and was preparing to join Albert Ayler for a recording.
On the evening of June 28, 1964, Dolphy collapsed on the streets of Berlin and was brought to a hospital. The attending hospital physicians, who had no idea that Dolphy was a diabetic, thought that he (like so many other jazz musicians) had overdosed on drugs, so they left him to lie in a hospital bed until the “drugs” had run their course.
Out to Lunch is one of the finest records of its kind. This record is easily at the caliber of A Love Supreme and The Shape of Jazz to Come. That may seem a mighty bold statement. But this is an outstanding reality once we consider how Dolphy shows himself as solid bandleader and arranger who opens up plenty of room for his players. Much in the ideology of his fellow avant-garde players, the solos exude experiment. Yet Dolphy's control is masterful and no matter how far out he gets, you can feel his passion and know his path has been well articulated.

Track List:
1. Hat and Beard
2. Something Sweet, Something Tender
3. Gazzelloni
4. Out to Lunch
5. Straight Up and Down

Eric Dolphy  [(bass clarinet (1 & 2), flute (3), alto saxophone (4 & 5)]
Freddie Hubbard  (trumpet)
 Bobby Hutcherson  (vibraphone)
Richard Davis  (bass)
  Tony Williams  (drums)

Original Release Date: February 25, 1964 (Label: Blue Note Records)
Buy at Amazon 

Yusef Lateef - Live at Pep's (June 29, 1964, Grp Records)

Recorded live at Pep's Lounge in Philadelphia on June 29th, 1964, Lateef is here at his best. He combines his proclivity for musical eccentricity with a number of hard-swinging tunes. As usual, he plays not only tenor saxophone, but flute, oboe, and a very obscure instrument called an argol (a double clarinet that resembles a bassoon). He's backed by Richard Williams on trumpet, Mike Nock on piano, Ernie Farrow on bass and James Black on drums, and this group really shines on bluesy versions of "Brother John" and "Nu-Bouk".
The ballads, "I Loved" and "I Remember Clifford" are lovely, subtle and filled with brilliant climaxes and melodious tenderness. Other tracks such as "The Magnolia Triangle" and "Listen to the Wind" push the boundaries of hard bop, as Lateef and crew experiment with moments of harsh dissonance bordering on atonality. An extremely creative and well-conceived set of music, Live at the Pep'S delves into the very heart of jazz, for it seeks to push the envelope of spontaneity and improvisation and stretch one's concept of structure and form. Mr. Lateef draws from a wide range of influences and uses the oboe to great effect on this set. Some of the more out there instruments argo and shannas are put to use and end giving a distinct feel to his musical selections

   Volume 1
 1. Sister Mamie
2. Number 7
3. Twelve Tone Blues
4. Oscarlypso - (previously unreleased)
5. Gee Sam Gee - (previously unreleased)
6. Rogi - (previously unreleased)
7. See See Rider
8. Magnolia Triangle, The
9. Weaver, The
10. Slippin' & Slidin'

 Volume 2
1. Brother John
2. P-Bouk
3. Nu-Bouk
4. Yusef's Mood
5. I Remember Clifford
6. Listen To The Wind
7. I Loved
8. Delilah
9. The Magnolia Triangle (Alternative Version)

Yusef Lateef  (tenor sax, oboe, argo, and shannas)
Richard Williams  (trumpet)
Mike Nock  (piano)
Ernie Farrow  (bass)
James Black  (drums).
Recorded live at Pep's Lounge, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 29, 1964 

Curtis Fuller - The Opener ( 1957 - Blue Note Records)

With Curtis Fuller's leader album "The Opener ", Blue Note beat Prestige to the shops, rush-releasing in August 1957, by which time Fuller's sideman credentials with the label also included albums with pianists Sonny Clark and Bud Powell. A month later, Fuller sealed his arrival on saxophonist John Coltrane's Blue Train (Blue Note, 1957). Now,51 years after its original release, The Opener tells us why. Combining a fluent technique shaped by J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding, his own deep melodicism, a knowledge of trombone stylists stretching back to Tommy Dorsey and beyond, and an embrace of Coltrane's recent harmonic initiatives, Fuller fashioned an enduring jewel. He was assisted by a superb band comprised of rising stars saxophonist Hank Mobley, pianist Bobby Timmons, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor.

Track List:
01 A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening
02 Hugore
03 Oscalypso 
04 Here's to My Lady 
05 Lizzy's Bounce 
06 Soon

Curtis Fuller (Trombone)
Hank Mobley (Sax Tenor)
Art Taylor (Drums)
Bobby Timmons (Piano)
Paul Chambers (Bass)

Original Release Date: June 16, 1957 (Label: Blue Note Records)
Buy at Amazon
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

John Coltrane - Blue Train (2003 - Blue Note Records)

Blue Train gives a taste of what that might have been like, as well as a taste of what was to come. This reissue of the 1957 album finds Trane blowing hard on one of his first albums as a band leader. With one foot still in the Charlie Parker catalog and one ear turned toward hard bop, the album sounds like a typical club set. The album is best known for the title track, Coltrane’s first notable composition. His solo starts off with an announcement that he has something to say, but quickly moves toward Birdland. “Moment’s Notice” and “Locomotion” also demonstrate that, even before his work was informed by his eventual stylistic uniqueness and spiritual depth, Trane could write a compelling, well-organized tune.

The group’s rendering of the Kern/Mercer ballad “I’m Old Fashioned” and Trane’s “Lazy Bird” are a let down after the first three, although each has some nice playing by various band members.

The album benefits from Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones from Miles’ band laying down the bass and drums. Kenny Drew’s plays bluesy piano completes the excellent rhythm section. A young Lee Morgan contributes to the boppish flavor of the album with his Gillespie-ish licks (he even played a bent up horn). Curtis Fuller passes up the rapid fire riffing trombonists sometimes employ in trying to keep up with their more nimble bandmates in favor of a more nuanced, rhythmic variety. And he burns when he has to.

Track List:
01 Blue Train
02 Moment's Notice
03 Locomotion
04 I'm Old Fashioned
05 Lazy Bird
06 Blue Train (alternate take)
07 Lazy Bird (alternate take)

John Coltrane  (tenor saxophone)
Paul Chambers  (double bass)
Kenny Drew  (piano)
Curtis Fuller  (trombone)
Philly Joe Jones  (drums)
Lee Morgan  (trumpet)

Original Release Date: September 15, 1957 (Label: Blue Note Records)

Buy at Amazon 

Duke Ellington & Louis Armstrong - "The complete Sessions" (1990 - Blue Note Records)

As hard as it might be to fathom, a full-scale union of two of the greatest artists in the jazz pantheon came about only once. On two days in April of 1961 Pops and Duke got together to record the seventeen numbers assembled here. While is might have been appealing to have put Armstrong in front of the full Ellington assemblage, it was decided to go with a small “swingtet”, as it were, with trombonist Trummy Young and clarinet Barney Bigard added to Ellington’s piano trio.
All of the tunes come from the Ellington book, with Armstrong fitting into the scene without a bit of strain. He cuts loose with more than a fair share of rousing trumpet spots, while vocalizing on some numbers in his own inimitable style. Familiar cuts abound, although a spontaneous composition came about at the session titled “The Beautiful American” and Duke would also pull out the exotic “Azalea,” a number claimed to have been penned for Pops many years earlier.
Besides the excellent sound quality provided via a new remastering job, this deluxe edition includes two discs housed in a slipcover. The first one consists of the master takes, with the second sporting conversations, false starts and incomplete takes associated with ten of the original seventeen tracks. While nothing all the revelatory occurs on this second disc, you might want to check it out a few times after hearing the master takes. The camaraderie apparent between the two men is obvious, capping off what has to be a solid entry in both artists’ esteemed catalogs.

Track List:
1. Duke's Place
2. I'm Just a Lucky So and So
3. Cotton Tail
4. Mood Indigo
5. Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me
6. Beautiful American
7. Black and Tan Fantasy
8. Drop Me off in Harlem
9. Mooche Listen
10. In a Mellow Tone
11. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
12. Solitude
13. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
14. I'm Beginning to See the Light Listen
15. Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me)
16. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
                                                                        17. Azalea

Louis Armstrong (trumpet & vocals)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Trummy Young (trombone)
Barney Bigard  (clarinet)
Mort Herbert  (bass)
Danny Barcelona  (drums)

Original Release Date: 1990 (Label: Blue Note Records)

Buy at Amazon
Download Part 1        Download Part 2

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dexter Gordon - The Other Side of Round Midnight: (1985 - Blue Note)

After seeing "Round Midnight," I knew I had to have the soundtrack, and if you too have seen the movie, you know what I mean. All the recordings on here were recorded live for the movie, which gives it a great intimate feeling. At the same time, the sound quality  is surprisingly good. If you haven't seen the movie you should know that even though much of the soundtrack does features Dexter, the supporting cast is just as important, featuring Herbie Hancock, as well as occasional appearances by the likes of Cedar Walton, Bobby Hutcherson, Bobby McFerrin, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, and others. But, as I see it,  apart from making allusion to Dexter's genius, the other virtuoso performance on this album is Herbie Hancock playing Round Midnight. The realism of his piano is quite stunning. You can tell that the top of the piano is open. With each of the chords struck, you get that immediacy or sharp striking of the hammer to the string. The leading edge of the notes comes quickly. They don't sound the least bit harsh or mechanical or worse yet, they don't sound soft and mushy. There is also a completely believable sustain of the chords. The harmonic structure of the notes played, especially in the lower octaves, is very exacting. Overall, a very solid soundtrack with memorable versions of many standards and some of Dexter Gordon's and Herbie Hancock's finest playing.

Track List:
1. Round Midnight
2. Berangere's Nightmare #2
3. Call Sheet Blues
4. What Is This Thing Called Love
5. Tivoli
6. Society Red
7. As Time Goes By
8. It's Only a Paper Moon
9. Round Midnight - (solo piano)

Dexter Gordon (soprano & tenor saxophones)
Bobby McFerrin (vocals)
Wayne Shorter (soprano & tenor saxophones)
Palle Mikkelborg, Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Herbie Hancock, Cedar Walton (piano)
Pierre Michelot, Ron Carter, Mads Vinding (bass)
Billy Higgins, Tony Williams (drums)

Bob Brookmeyer - Bob Brookmeyer & Friends (1964)

Look at the line-up, then listen to this album and cogitate. How a record featuring all those great musicians should sound? Great, no doubt. Remarkably, Brookmeyer and Getz do the mathematical cool jazz thing way too often, sounding like perfect anachronisms in 1964 and demonstrating that they spent too much time in the vicinity of Gerry Mulligan. Gary Burton, Herbie Hancock & Elvin Jones are of no less brightness. Yet, though a certain prettiness of some of the tunes rescue the album from failing completely, it is certainly a far cry from what the illustrious names on the cover promise. Anyway, the sound is there, get close to it and decide yourself.

01 Jive Hoot
02 Misty
03 The Wrinkle
04 Bracket
05 Skylark
06 Sometime Ago
07 I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face
08 Who Cares
09 Day Dream

Bob Brookmeyer: (Trombone "Valve")
Stan Getz (Tenor Sax)
Herbie Hancock (Piano) 
Ron Carter (Bass)
Elvin Jones (Drums)
Gary Burton (Vibraphone)


Louis Hayes - Quintessential Lou (2000)

Drummer Louis Hayes might not have received an over abundance of press over the years yet most jazz aficionados should be cognizant of his past accomplishments which commenced in the 50’s while supporting saxophonist Yuseff Lateef. A true stylist and dynamic leader within the hard-bop scheme of things, Hayes has also performed with Horace Silver, Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, Gary Bartz and other jazz luminaries as the list goes on and on. However, Hayes is often cited for his ferocious, sweeping and hard driving attack behind the kit while leading his various quartets or quintets which leads us to his latest release on the fine “Montreux Jazz Label” titled, Quintessential Lou. With this new release, Hayes surges onward in the post-bop mold along with rising stars, - saxophonist Abraham Burton, trumpeter Riley Mullins, pianist David Hazeltine and the well-established bassist Santi Debriano.

The band gets to the matters at hand in a flurry on the opener and pianist James Williams’ composition titled, “Progress Report” as the musicians trade punishing fours atop Hayes rangy yet thoroughly propelling attack. Joe Zawinul’s “Mystified” is a melodic ballad, featuring the drummer’s sharp implementation of rimshots, Latin rhythms and altogether peppery support as the soloists exchange lushly melodic lines yet adhere to the context of the main themes without losing sight of the existing compositional framework. Here, the band performs smooth lines augmented by an up-front yet quietly powerful mode of execution. Tenor saxophonist Abraham Burton displays a corpulent full-bodied tone to compliment his fluid and at times Trane-ish lines on the classic, “Tenderly” as the band evolves this gem into a mid-tempo swing led by Riley Mullins’ radiant phrasing and David Hazeltine’s colorful articulations. On Kenny Drew’s composition, “Lions Den”, the musicians perform within the traditional hard-bop vein while also pursuing an airy outlook as Burton and Riley once again exhibit strong attributes as a front-line horn section while Hayes’ masterful sense of swing and polyrhythmic attack is nothing short of awe-inspiring. - Young drummers out there take note! Listen to Hayes jab and spar while maintaining the constant flow yet rarely if ever diminishing any notions of momentum via his swiftly swinging work on the ride and hi-hat cymbals.

In summary, the musicians are in top form under Hayes’ leadership as Quintessential Lou is a welcome edition to Hayes’ already impressive discography as a leader and session musician. Be kind to yourself and check out this latest release by a proven master who generally surrounds himself with his young peers.                            

Track List:
1.Progress Report
2.Clarence's Place
6.Lion's Den
7.Alter Ego
8.That's the Thing
9.Our Quiet Place

Louis Hayes (Drums)
Abraham Burton  (Tenor Sax)
Riley Mullins (Trumpet)
David Hazeltine (Piano)
Santi Debriano (Bass)

Buy at Amazon
Sunday, February 21, 2010

Adonis Rose - On the Verge - ( 2007) "Criss Cross"

While rhythm is as fundamental to mainstream jazz as changes and melody, to denizens of New Orleans  it's even more elemental. Drummer Adonis Rose may have left the Crescent City in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but it hasn't changed the approach he's honed on two previous releases as a leader—Song for Donise (Criss Cross, 1998) and  The Unity (Criss Cross, 1999).

On the Verge brings back three collaborators from these earlier releases—trumpeter Nicholas Payton, saxophonist Tim Warfield and bassist Reuben Rogers—but Rose changes pianists this time, enlisting the increasingly ubiquitous pianist Aaron Goldberg and a relative newcomer, vibraphonist Warren Wolf (last hear on trumpeter Jeremy Pelt's Identity (MaxJazz, 2005)). The result, while never short on groove, covers considerable dynamic territory rather than being as consistently hard-hitting as one might expect from a drummer-led session.

That's not to say there isn't some bodacious energy to be found on this largely original set of eight tunes, featuring four from Rose and one each from Goldberg and Warfield. The fiery 9/8 theme of Rose's modal title track is urgently propelled by Rogers and Rose, who light a serious fire under Goldberg's Tyner-esque solo, Warfield's potent tenor and a vibrant solo from Wolf that suggests, if there's any justice, that he'll be heard more from—and soon. Rose takes his most visceral solo of the set over Goldberg and Rogers' ostinato before curiously ending, seemingly in mid-sentence.

Rose's "Liyah's Blues swings hard, with a straightforward stop/start melody that opens up for strong solos from everyone, but especially Payton, whose tradition-centricity is equally expanded by his forward-reaching ideas, supported and urged on by Rose, Goldberg and Rogers. The shifting tempos and cued sections of an imaginative take on Jimmy Heath's "Gingerbread Boy make it fit within the context of the originals, and breathes new life into this enduring classic.

Elsewhere the material ranges from the deceptive simplicity of Warfield's late-night ballad, "Lies in Beauty, to the organic and relaxed 5/4 pulse of Goldberg's "Shed. Two extended versions of Rose's soft but nevertheless rhythmically insistent "Robin in Pink blend the cerebral with passionate understatement, while the set closes with flautist Hubert Laws' "Shades of Light, its gentle Latin vibe acting like a cool-down from the workout of the preceding title track.

On the Verge is a down-the-middle set of contemporary straight-ahead jazz that's not likely to shake any foundations or introduce any significant innovations. But with a set of engagingly diverse material and committed performances by Rose's sextet, it's an album that makes a case for the continued validity and modernity of the mainstream tradition.

Track listing:
1. Robin in Pink I;
2. Liyah's Blues;
3. Lies in Beauty;
4. Shed;
5. Gingerbread Boy;
6. Robin in Pink II;
7. On the Verge;
8. Shades of Light.

Adonis Rose: drums;
Nicholas Payton: trumpet;
Tim Warfield: tenor and soprano saxophones;
Warren Wolf: vibraphone;
Aaron Goldberg: piano;
Reuben Rogers: bass.
Style: Straightahead/Mainstream
Buy at Amazon

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Joe Lovano - I'm All For You - (2004 - Blue Note Records)

No instrument is more synonymous with jazz than the tenor saxophone, due equally to the expressive capabilities of the horn and the legacy of great players who have been attracted to it. On the evidence of Down Beat readers' and critics' polls over the past decade, Joe Lovano would appear to be the favorite among contenders for the top spot among present-day tenor titans. Is he one of the giants? Perhaps, though one might be hard-pressed to make the case on the basis of this single session from 2004.

In the liner notes, Ira Gitler invokes Dexter Gordon as an authority on the subject of strong individual tenor voices. The comparison seems less than apt, especially if Gitler is suggesting that Lovano is made of the same cloth. Gordon made each and every note a definitive choice during the course of constructing musical sermons delivered with such strong conviction that the extemporaneous circumstances of their creation is all the more to marvel at. His extended "Body and Soul" (from The Panther) rivals Coleman Hawkins in emotional rhetoric and exceeds him in some of its inspired note choices based on alternate harmonies—tones that Dexter treats like daggers, carefully selecting each one, then sharpening and honing each before aiming it right at the listener's heart.

By contrast, Lovano's "Body and Soul" (retitled "I'm All for You") finds the player moving notes around on a chess board, experimenting with directions and possibilities, blurring some notes and abandoning others before making the move that counts, often to undeniable lyrical-poetic effect. He's definitely closer to Lester Young than to any other tenor player associated with this tune—from Byas to Stitt to Lockjaw Davis to Coltrane. But his phrasing is more tentative and choppy, his sound is less open-throated, more squeezed and clipped than that of Lester or, for that matter, Stan Getz. In fact, if I didn't know who the player was, I would guess Lee Konitz had momentarily exchanged his alto for a tenor (listen to any of Konitz's recordings of the tune).

This album may be the best introduction to Joe Lovano's inimitable sound and approach (as a Sinatra-phile, I found his tribute to Old Blue quite tepid). At this late, post-Bird, post-Trane time in American improvisatory music, sheer competence isn't enough, and genuine innovation can be illusory. Possessing an individual voice is, in itself, no small achievement.

And it doesn't hurt that the comparatively youthful, fifty-ish Lovano is supported by three of the current scene's reigning patriarchs in George Mraz, Paul Motian and Hank Jones (for the math-inclined, a sexagenerian, a septagenerian, and an octogenarian). They lend not only sympathetic musical support, but also an incalculable sense of confirmation to this latest addition to a formidable musical heritage.

Track listing:
1.I'm All For You;
2.Don't Blame Me;
3.Monk's Mood;
4.The Summary;
5.Stella By Starlight;
6.I Waited For You;
7.Like Someone In Love;
8.Early Autumn;

Joe Lovano: (tenor sax)
Hank Jones: (piano)
George Mraz: (bass)
Paul Motian: (drums)

Original Release Date: May 4, 2004  - Label: Blue Note Records

Buy at Amazon


Archie Shepp - I Know About the Life (1981)

I Know About the Life is a 1981 recording, now happily reissued by that splendid avatar of avant-garde music, Werner X. Uehlinger of Hat Hut Records. The rap on Shepp is that after his moment of glory in the Sixties and his no-holds-barred Impulse discs, he lost his edge, or his interest, or his nerve, and retreated. He himself is on record saying that avant-garde music was not commercially viable, and that he wanted to make some music that his family and friends could listen to. But any suggestion that that signaled a retreat should be dispelled by this disc.
Shepp's tenor playing has never been more fluent, more versatile, or more expressive, than it is on these four tracks. Aided by utterly superb backing from Kenny Werner, Santi Debriano, and the incomparable John Betsch, he tears into two Monk tunes, one by Coltrane, and one of his own compositions to demonstrate that the "outside" players of the sixties made a great many discoveries (some of them hardly new, but actually dating back to the earliest days of jazz) that could enrich and revitalize "standard" jazz playing. On "Giant Steps," for example, Shepp shows that he is every bit the match of Coltrane's extraordinarily fleet harmonic playing, but he takes his solo to another level as well, investing what had been a sleek and exuberant original with a pathos, a cry, that adds immeasurably to the expressive range of the music.
Likewise, the Monk tunes, which are too often played simply as exhibitions, or as jaunty excursions into what the performers obviously consider to be the quirky world of Monk's changes. But Shepp approaches this music with a seriousness and daring that pays off to remarkable effect, adding a blistering emotionality to each and plumbing depths that few other interpreters even seem to realize are there.
This exquisite reissue should establish I Know About the Life in its rightful place among Shepp's works and give it a permanent place in any list of the greatest recordings of the period. Bravo.

Track listing:
1. Well You Needn't
2. I Know About the Life
3. Giant Steps
4. Round Midnight

Archie Shepp: (Ten.Sax)
Kenny Werner: (Piano)
Santi Debriano: (Bass)
John Betsch: (drums)

Original Release Date: February 11, 1981  - Label: Sackville Records

Buy at Amazon


Follow by Email

Woody Shaw With Tone Jansa Quartet

Sean Jones: Eternal Journey

Bobby Selvaggio: Modern Times

Woody Shaw: Night Music

Russell Gun: Young Gun