Sunday, May 31, 2009

5/31/09 What I'm Listening To

George Russell, The Essence of...

Ellery Eskelin, One Great Night - Live

Wayne Shorter, Etc.

Duke Ellington, The Blanton-Webster Band, disc 2

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Unintentionally Amusing Reviews

It's admittedly a challenge to try to describe sound to someone who hasn't heard what you're hearing, but I still get a giggle when I read certain record reviews. Recently I came across a couple on the All About Jazz site that caught my attention.

First up, from Raul d'Gama Rose's review of Revolutions, a large ensemble recording by Jim Beard:

"Beard is first and foremost a composer of the highest artistic skill. His approach to music is primarily through the classic elements of song. This gives every composition a form. He must then shape the form by twisting the melody and imbuing it with challenging harmonies so that it can take on a shape and life of its own."

OK, I'm not a musician, but isn't that what most composers do (at least those working within any kind of traditional Western framework)?

Later, in the same review:

"Beard's music here is down to earth and echoes with the memory of events that may have been memorable at one time."

Ahh, Memories...(cue the Cat's soundtrack)

Then we have Glen Astarita's review of Live by Marteau Rouge with Evan Parker: 

"The foursome generates a sense of urgency amid intriguing dialogues and streaming treatments, and strikes an asymmetrical balance, awash with lucid imagery, that spans catastrophic events and hardcore noise-shaping motifs."


Does anyone else ever react in a similar fashion, or do I just need more coffee?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5/26/09 What I'm Listening To

Duke Ellington, The Blanton-Webster Band, disc 1

Ellery Eskelin, Ten

Tina Brooks, Minor Move

The Pixies, Doolittle

My Favorite Shepp

Of all the "new thing" sax players to come out of the 60's, Archie Shepp is one I've probably spent the least time listening to. I have Fire Music, but it just doesn't catch fire for me; his playing seems adequate at best. But I absolutely love two records Shepp did for Arista/Freedom, Montreux One and Montreux Two. Recorded live at the Festival in 1975, One and Two feature Charles Majid Greenlee (whatever happened to him?) on trombone, Dave Burrell on piano, Cameron Brown on bass and Beaver Harris on drums.

The group sounds great, tight yet loose, and Burrell seems especially inspired, at times breaking into some stride piano during his solos. Shepp performs a wonderful solo intro to Lush Life, and the whole performance is a thing of beauty.

Anyone else heard these?

Monday, May 18, 2009

5/18/09 What I'm Listening To

Ellery Eskelin, Ten

Cecil Taylor, The Great Concert of...

George Russell, Vertical Form VI

Anthony Braxton, Quintet (London) 2004

Friday, May 15, 2009

First Take: Henning Sieverts Symmetry, Blackbird

Pirouet PIT3040

Henning Sieverts, bass and cello
Chris Speed, clarinet and tenor saxophone
Johannes Lauer, trombone
Achim Kaufmann, piano
John Hollenbeck, drums

heard a couple of samples from this while surfing Jazz Loft, and I was intrigued by the line-up, particularly the presence of Achim Kaufmann, who I've enjoyed on the recent Unearth (nuscope), with Frank Gratowski and Wilbert de Joode.

After one spin, the word that comes to mind to describe Blackbird is delightful. It has a sunny disposition that makes it perfect for listening on a summer's day. With forward-thinking names like Speed and Kaufmann on board, it might seem strange to refer to the CD this way, but this is a thinking person's lite jazz. Which is not to say it's lightweight; there's plenty of satisfying improvisations and angular themes penned by Sievert. In addition, the group tackles Charlie Parker's Blues for Alice, and the Blackbird in question is of the Lennon/McCartney variety. 

The front line of Lauer's trombone and Speed's clarinet make a great match, bouyant or moody as the music requires. Sievert never calls attention to himself, choosing to emphasize the group sound in service to the compositions. I look forward to digging into this more; even my wife might like it!

Welcome Alarming News Readers!

I want to welcome any visitors from Karol's blog Alarming News. I've read her for a few years now and admire her chutzpah. This blog examines the world of jazz and improvised music; I hope you like it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

5/13/09 What I'm Listening To

Air, Air Song  

Mark Helias, Split Image  

Sly & Robbie, Gambler's Choice  

David S. Ware, Solo Live in the Netherlands  

Isley Brothers, Go For Your Guns  

Stetsasonic, Sally (12" single)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

5/12/09 What I'm Listening To

Anthony Braxton, Quartet (GTM) 2006  

Jimmy Giuffre, Free Fall  

Fred Anderson, On The Run  

Miles Davis, Live/Evil

Duke Ellington, Complete Prestige Carnegie Hall 1946-47 Concerts

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Review: Georg Graewe, impressions of monk

nuscope CD 1006

Georg Graewe, piano
Marcio Mattos, bass
Michael Vatcher, drums

This is a quiet gem that I listened to again recently for the first time in several years. Recorded in 1995, impressions of monk accomplishes the feat of making you listen to Monk's music in a whole new way, gaining insights into his genius. And no matter where Graewe takes his improvisations, the essence of Monk's approach to rhythm and harmony is there. I have a feeling Monk would approve.

Friday, May 8, 2009

5/08/09 What I'm Listening To

Anthony Braxton, Quintet (London) 2004

Anthony Braxton, Quartet (GTM) 2006

Steve Lantner Quartet, Given - Live in Munster

Andrew Hill, Mosaic Select (group sessions)

Charles Mingus, Presents the Jazz Composer's Workshop