sábado, 1 de noviembre de 2014

Red Rodney Quintet - Red Snapper (1989)

Born in Philadelphia, PA, he became a professional musician at 15, working in the mid-1940s for Jerry Wald, Jimmy Dorsey, Georgie Auld, Elliott Lawrence, Benny Goodman, and Les Brown. He was inspired by hearing Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker to change his style to bebop, moving on to play with Claude Thornhill, Gene Krupa, and Woody Herman. In 1949 he accepted an invitation from Charlie Parker to join his quintet. As the only white member of the group he was billed as Albino Red when playing in the racially segregated southern United States. In 1950 he joined the Charlie Ventura band. He also recorded extensively.

In 1958 he left jazz because of diminishing opportunities, lack of acceptance as a white bebop trumpeter, and problems with the police about his drug addiction. He continued to work in other musical fields. Although he continued to be paid well, he supported his drug habit through theft and fraud, eventually spending 27 months in prison.

1963 proved to be the deepest challenge; during a run-in with police, a detective hit him in the mouth, loosening several teeth and starting the cycle of dental issues that continued into the 1970s when he made a comeback. In Sept. 1963 his father died and a month later, while his wife was driving him back from a Las Vegas gig, his wife lost control of their car, plunging down an embankment on the Nevada highway. Rodney, asleep in the back seat, awoke to find his wife and 14-yr. old daughter dead.

During 1969, Rodney was in Las Vegas playing alongside his fellow Woody Herman colleague, trombonist Bill Harris, as part of the Flamingo casino house band led by Russ Black. Similar work continued through 1972.

Red Rodney, trumpet, flugelhorn
Dick Oatts, alto sax, tenor sax
Garry Dial, piano
Jay Anderson, bass
John Riley, drums

1. Shutters
2. Ugetsu
3. What'll I Do?
4. Sonato for Joan
5. For you
6. Red snapper
7. Splurge
8. Greensleeves/Giant Steps

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


viernes, 31 de octubre de 2014

Mostly Other People Do The Killing - Blue (2014)

Source: Allaboutjazz
Label: Hot Cup Records

Imagine coming home from work to find the furniture in your house was moved and say, your tooth brush is now on the other side of the bathroom sink. A few inches here, and a few inches there. Would you notice? Maybe yes, if you had been gone just a day. What happens in the same scenario if you returned after a month's vacation. You may never discern the change.

Now, consider Mostly Other People Do The Killing's note-for-note remake of Miles Davis' seminal recording Kind Of Blue (Columbia, 1959). Is that month-long absence what Moppa Elliott's quintet is going for?

The band, which is known for painting the musical equivalent of a mustache on the Mona Lisa, takes on the task of actually painting La Gioconda. Play Blue for any unknowing jazz fan, and I dare say they won't recognize this counterfeit edition.

So, what is the point of this exercise? The liner notes to the disc, a reprinting of Jorge Luis Borges satirical piece "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote," hint at the answer. Borges writes a glowing review of a word-for-word recreation of Cervantes text. Citing Menard's work, with tongue-in-cheek, as anything but plagairism, Borges' spoof calls us, not to worship heroes, but to kill them. Because to glorify them, we have in effect destroyed our own creativity.

MOPDTK is perhaps one of the most unorthodox bohemian bands working today. Their technical skills, as evidenced here (and in their previous six discs), are superlative. By recreating, not just the notes, but the sound of Miles' recording, Elliott suggests (like Borges) that imitation of our heroes alone equals death. Calling jazz, "America's classical music," is commensurate with musical taxidermy.

Blue is not the same treatment as director Gus Van Sant's shot- for-shot remake of Hitchcock's film Psycho. MOPDTK copies the sound. For instance, John Coltrane's off-mic entrance on "Freddie Freeloader" is faithfully reproduced by Jon Irabagon, as is every other feature of the original. What MOPDTK has done is demanding and esoteric. But it is not jazz and, importantly, they know it.

Perhaps a better accompanying text for this recording would be Tom McCarthy's book Remainder, in which the protagonist spends a million dollar insurance settlement reconstructing and re-enacting a scene from his life. Of course, he fails each time because once a moment has passed, it's gone. Same for a jazz performance as renowned as Kind Of Blues: it is quite impossible to step into the same river twice.  - Mark Corroto -

So What
Freddie Freeloader
Blue in Green
All Blues
Flamenco Sketches

Peter Evans: trumpet
Jon Irabagon: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
Ron Stabinsky: piano
Moppa Elliott: bass
Kevin Shea: drums 

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


Jozef Dumoulin & The Red Hill Orchestra - Trust (2014)

Source & Label: Yolk Records

The Red Hill Orchestra brings together the keyboarder Jozef Dumoulin with Ellery Eskelin and Dan Weiss, two major figures of the american scene. Three artists who stand out with their capacity to combine jazz with the mastery of other musical practices, such as classical Indian music and improvised music. Together, they give life to a vivid repertoire, with songs and sonic meditations, where everyone's creativity naturally adds up. TRUST is a vast sound-poem that surprises and fascinates.

”After having experimented extensively with the Fender Rhodes solo, and having been nurtured by numerous and divers other musical experiences, I wanted to get in contact with musical approaches that would be different and at the same time related. Ellery and Dan each distinguish themselves with a capacity to combine strong roots in the jazz and american tradition with the mastery of other musical cultures such a indian classical music or improvised music. I myself feel very linked to what is called 'jazz' here in Europe but also to other kinds of music that are remote from that. This common kind of relation to music, among other reasons, made me feel like bringing us together and play.
And after the first work-phases I'm truly delighted by the adventure. Also, I've always liked the idea of creating a musical environment in which musicians of very different horizons can move freely without having to do too much concessions. This band gives me a new opportunity for that. As for the repertoire, I opted for a mixture of songs, improvisations and more abstract sonic improvisations.
My intention has been, since the beginning, to create an approach, a dance, and a sound with the three of us, which allows to integrate all our influences by and large. To give way to evoke them at all times, without necessarily being aware, or without making them perceptible. I've always been fascinated by different sonic universes, by their interior functioning, by the way they move forward or not. Over time, I've learned that all that I listen to and practice, finds sooner or later its way when I'm playing. As of now, I trust this process and it's been a while since I stopped asking myself if this or that element has a place or not in a sound, as long as it makes sense to me. My approach to composition, to recording a disc, or lead a band, fall under the same process; what is important to me, it's the creation of a universe that is consistent and alive. I let myself be led by what touches me moment to moment. And the rest, I try to ignore.
I love working with Dré Pallemaerts when it comes to mixing, because I like a lot the warm and meticulous sound he creates a lot, and also because he's someone who understands the music I bring to him although we barely talk about it. He takes his time, in order to bring out the character of each song, without prejudice. Sometimes it shows the song through a perspective different than what I have in mind, but this is for the best, since I recognize myself in this approach, and since it's always done with love and in a very consistent way.”  Jozef Dumoulin. September 2014 

1  Sea Green (4’49)
2  Water Bears (3’32)
3  M (7’14)
4  Sleeping Warriors (1’13) 
5  Inner White (4’18)
6  Lord Blue Throat (8’59)
7  All the Dragons in our Lives (2’19)
8  Up and Down (6’35)
9  Now that I have a Human Body (2’11)
10 The Gate (10’16)
11 Said a Blade of Grass (6’53)
12 Sea Green (4’48)


"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


David Virelles - Mbókò (2014)

Source: Allaboutjazz
Label: ECM

For a relatively young musician nearing his 31st birthday in 2014, pianist David Virelles has managed to both garner a strong reputation and emerge with a singular voice in a relatively short period of time. While his early experiences in North America were within the confines of what might be expected from a Cuban expat, playing with Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett, whose career has been predicated on a decades-long fascination with the music of Virelles' native country, in recent years he's emerged as a much broader artist. The first recording to give notice was, perhaps, saxophonist/composer David Binney's wonderful 2011 Criss Cross date, Barefooted Town , but it was not long after that Virelles began to garner even more significant attention with his own 2012 recording Continuum (Pi), but even more so when he began appearing on ECM recordings, specifically saxophonist Chris Potter's 2012 label debut as a leader, The Sirens, and in label stalwart Tomasz Stanko's New York Quartet on the equally impressive Wislawa (2013).

Clearly, even at this relatively early stage in his career, Virelles has nothing to prove and so, with his own leader debut for ECM, Mbókò, he has fashioned a recording whose success is absolutely founded on the musical excellence of his chosen band mates, but which is nevertheless anything but a showcase for overt virtuosity and instrumental pyrotechnics. Instead, its subtitle says it all: Sacred Music for Piano, Two Basses, Drum Set and BIankoméko Abakuá, with the emphasis on Sacred Music. On this set of ten Virelles originals, the emphasis is more about evocation, whether it's the blockier angularity and energy of "Seven, Through the Divination Horn," where drummer Marcus Gilmore and biankoméko expert Roman Diaz create a polyrhythmic stew made denser still through the contributions of double bassists Thomas Morgan and Robert Hurst, or the lyrical beauty of the sparer "The Highest One" where, with ECM's characteristic attention to detail and sound, everyone's contributions are there to be heard with pristine clarity and absolute transparency. Read more...

Wind Rose (Antrgofoko Mokoirén)
The Scribe (Tratado de Mpegó)
Antillais (A Quintín Bandera)
Aberiñán y Aberisún
Seven, Through the Divination Horn
Stories Waiting to Be Told
The Highest One
 Èfé (A María Teresa Vera)

David Virelles: piano
Thomas Morgan: double bass
Robert Hurst: double bass
Marcus Gilmore: drums
Román Diaz: biankoméko, vocals

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


The Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra - A Beautiful Friendship (2014)

Sometimes, just when it seems things couldn't possibly get any better, they do. That is certainly the case with A Beautiful Friendship, the spectacular new recording by arranger Gary Urwin's superlative southern California-based Jazz Orchestra. Having released three earlier albums showcasing the exceptional artistry of tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb and / or trombonist Bill Watrous, Urwin has upped the ANTE and pulled out all the stops on this one, not only re-enlisting Christlieb and Watrous for a consistently pleasing encore performance but enlivening the menu with yet another appetizing component, namely Carl Saunders, one of the most versatile and creative jazz trumpeters on the planet.

Saunders employs his awesome talents throughout, SOLOING brightly on five numbers, "dueling" with Wayne Bergeron on Charlie Parker / Dizzy Gillespie's "Shaw 'Nuff" (taken at an agreeable MEDIUM tempo) and with acclaimed guest artist Bobby Shew on Clifford Brown's classic "Joy Spring," while composing two of the album's more endearing themes, "Autumn Sojourn" and "Dear Mr. Florence," the last dedicated to the late great composer / arranger / pianist Bob Florence. As a soloist, Saunders had to bring his A game, as Christlieb and Watrous match him stride for stride and note for note, lending special warmth and charm to their feature numbers, "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" (Watrous) and "Dear Mr. Florence" (Christlieb).

As for Urwin, who describes himself in the liner notes as, among other things, "chief cook and bottle washer," he deftly arranged every selection save the warm-hearted finale, pianist Christian Jacob's unaccompanied rendition of "We'll Be Together Again." Christlieb, Watrous and Saunders are front and center with Jacob on the flag-waving opener, "A Beautiful Friendship," and with drummer Ralph Razze on Bill EVANS' genial "Waltz for Debby." Christlieb and Jacob share blowing space with Saunders (flugelhorn and high-note trumpet) on MichaelColombier's easygoing "Emmanuel." Christlieb, Jacob and Razze sparkle on the seductive standard "It Could Happen to You," Watrous and Christlieb on Luiz Bonfa's "The Gentle Rain," Watrous and Saunders on Antonio Carlos Jobim's sensuous "Look to the Sky."

While heaping praise on the soloists, one should not lose sight of the fact that this is a world-class ensemble with superb craftsmen in every chair. Together they make A Beautiful Friendship one of the more impressive big-band albums in recent memory. A rating of less than five stars? Out of the question.

From this the personnel is;

Our exciting new CD, "A Beautiful Friendship", features "front line" soloists 

Bill Watrous trombone
Pete Christlieb tenor sax
Carl Saunders trumpet

The first set of big band tracks was recorded at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California with Recording and Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman. The personnel was: 

4 Autumn Sojourn (Carl Saunders)
6 It Could Happen to You (Johnny Burke / James Van Heusen)
7 The Gentle Rain (Luiz Bonfá / Matt Dubey)
11 Joy Spring (Clifford Brown)

Kim Richmond alto sax, soprano sax
Rusty Higgins alto sax
Dan Higgins tenor sax
Rob Hardt tenor sax
John Mitchell baritone sax
Wayne Bergeron, Rick Baptist, Carl Saunders, Pete De Siena, Ron King trumpet, flugelhorn
Alex Iles, Alan Kaplan, Dave Woodley trombone
Rich Bullock bass trombone
Christian Jacob piano
Frank Browne guitar
Trey Henry bass
Ralph Razze drums. 

Recorded Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California 
Recording & Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman

The second set of big band tracks was recorded at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California with Recording and Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman. The personnel was:

1 A Beautiful Friendship (Donald Kahn / Stanley Styne)
8 Shaw 'Nuff (John Birks / Dizzy Gillespie / Charlie Parker)
9 Look to the Sky (Antonio Carlos Jobim)

Kim Richmond alto sax, soprano sax
Rusty Higgins alto sax
Pete Christlieb tenor sax
Dan Higgins tenor sax
Joel Peskin baritone sax
Wayne Bergeron, Rick Baptist, Carl Saunders, Larry Hall, Jeff Bunnell trumpet, flugelhorn
Charlie Loper, Alan Kaplan, Linda Small trombone
Craig Gosnell bass trombone
Christian Jacob piano
Frank Browne guitar
Trey Henry bass
Ralph Razze drums.

Recorded Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California 
Recording & Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman.

The third and final set of big band tracks was recorded at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California, with Recording and Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman. The personnel was:

2 Waltz for Debby (Bill Evans)
3 Emmanuel (Michel Colombier)
5 Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry (Sammy Cahn / Jule Styne)
10 Dear Mr. Florence (Carl Saunders)

Kim Richmond alto sax, flute
Alex Budman alto sax, alto flute
Billy Kerr tenor sax, flute
Rob Hardt tenor sax, clarinet
John Mitchell baritone sax, bass clarinet, bassoon
Wayne Bergeron, Dan Fornero, Carl Saunders, Larry Hall, Jeff Bunnell trumpet, flugelhorn
Charlie Loper, Alex Iles, Andy Martin trombone
Craig Gosnell bass trombone
Christian Jacob piano
Trey Henry bass
Ralph Razze drums

Recorded Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California
Recording & Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman

12 We'll Be Together Again (Carl Fischer / Frankie Laine)

Piano solo

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


jueves, 30 de octubre de 2014

Red Rodney Quintet - One for Bird (1988)

Source: allmusic

Nearing the end of a career that was hampered for a time by drug addiction, Red Rodney had shaken his habit and was in top form on these 1988 live performances recorded at Slukefter in Tivoli, Denmark. Joined by two underrated musicians, alto saxophonist Dick Oatts and pianist Garry Dial, plus bassist Jay Anderson and drummer John Riley, Rodney is heard on both trumpet and flugelhorn, demonstrating that he still had plenty of chops this late in his career. While it is not surprising that a lot of material was previously played or recorded by Charlie Parker, with whom the leader toured and played long stands early in his career, Rodney also delves into later songs, such as an explosive update of his original bop vehicle "Red Arrow 88" (yet another "I Got Rhythm" variation) and a brief sign-off of Thelonious Monk's "Let's Cool One." Another CD of music from these nightclub dates appeared on Red Snapper, while both releases are combined in the later Steeplechase compilation Tivoli Session.

Red Rodney, trumpet
Dick Oatts, piano
Jay Anderson, bass
John Riley, drums

01. Little Willie Leaps
02. My Little Suede Shoes
03. Embraceable You
04. Blues For Alice
05. My Foolish Heart
06. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
07. Red Arrow 88
08. Ladybird
09. Buzzy
10. Let's Cool One

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Romero Lubambo - Só - Brazilian Essence (2014)

Source & Label: Sunnyside Records

The guitar is an instrument that is indelibly linked to the music of Brazil. At once a melodic, harmonic, and percussive instrument, the guitar is the perfect vehicle for a musical culture that has blended the elements of the European and African musical traditions for over five centuries, giving birth to the choro, samba and bossa nova.

The modern Brazilian guitarist is expected to understand and respect the tradition but he is also expected to bring something new in performance. Romero Lubambo provides a perfect example of a musician who has absorbed the legacy of his forebears, and then developed into the standard bearer of Brazilian guitar playing.

Lubambo’s new recording Só – Brazilian Essence is an effervescent musical statement of solo guitar playing, bridging the gap between preserving the tradition of Brazilian song and the evolution of the art.

Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Lubambo moved to the United States in 1985 where he quickly established himself as an important interpreter of jazz and Brazilian music. He became a first call musician for a coterie of the world’s best jazz and Brazilian artists, including Dianne Reeves, Diana Krall, Herbie Mann and Luciana Souza. Along with his solo projects and sideman work, Lubambo has also been a member of the collaborative group Trio Da Paz with bassist Nilson Matta and Duduka da Fonseca since 1990.

Though he has performed in many different musical combinations, the solo guitar concert has been a mainstay of Lubambo’s. On Só, he wanted to recreate the sound and intimacy of a solo guitar performance. Lubambo approached his friend and recording engineer David Darlington and recorded thirteen spontaneous tracks that feature his own original compositions along with a generous helping of compositions by legendary Brazilian composers, including Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes.

The recording begins with an intricate, up-tempo reading of Ary Barroso’s “Aquarela” which leads to a lovingly nuanced rendition of Jobim and de Moraes’s “Brigas Nunca Mais.” Lubambo’s “Paquito In Bremen,” written for the guitarist’s good friend, the legendary Cuban woodwind player Paquito D’Rivera, follows in a ruminative vein while Mario Adnet’s “Pedra Bonita” is shifty, with its harmonic intricacy. Carlos Lyra and de Moraes’s “Você e eu” is at once subtle and spicy, while Lubambo’s “Song for Kaya” is a heart lilting bossa nova. The poignant “Luisa” is a bittersweet tune written for Lubambo’s daughter.

Carlos Lyra and de Moraes’s “Coisa Mais Linda” continues the program in typical Brazilian saudade fashion and even includes a moving vocal from Lubambo. Jobim and de Moraes’s chestnut “Insensatez” is slowed down for a resonant rendering. Cesar Camargo Mariano’s “Samambaia” is a tempered samba with unique call and response pattern. “By the Stream” is a moving ballad by Lubambo and Pamela Driggs, which presages another Jobim and de Moraes classic, “A Felicidade.” The recording concludes with the only non-Brazilian composition, “Laura,” written by David Raksin and Johnny Mercer, performed in a way that complements the Brazilian esthetic perfectly.

Romero Lubambo has proven his expertise in the field of Brazilian music and jazz. His new recording Só – Brazilian Essence is a wonderful reminder of Lubambo’s talent not only as a guitarist but as a valuable interpreter of his native land’s musical output.

1. Aquarela Do Brasil 04:18
2. Brigas Nunca Mais 03:35
3. Paquito in Bremen 04:19
4. Pedra Bonita 04:05
5. Você E Eli 04:01
6. Song For Kaya 04:56
7. Luisa 03:03
8. Coisa Mais Linda 03:43
9. Insensatez 05:56
10.Samambaia 05:39
11.By The Stream 05:13
12.A Felicidade 04:01
13.Laura 04:12  

Romero Lubambo - guitar 

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


Peter Rosendal / Old Man's Kitchen - Love For Snail (2012)

Source: Sundance
Label: Stunt Records

In 2013, The Danish Arts Foundation awarded pianist and composer Peter Rosendal’s latest release with his boundary-expanding group Old Man’s Kitchen (Stunt Records).
An obvious and correct choice, because Rosendal’s deep well of imagination seems bottomless. Erik Bach, chairman of the foundation’s music committee, said the following of the recipient: “...one of the most unique and original talents of our times”.
In Old Man’s Kitchen, Rosendal has found the perfect playground to combine all his various inspirational sources free of any inhibiting genre labels. He continues to surprise us with the original
and extremely personal world of catchy tunes and colorful and adventurous musical imagery of his composed work as well as in the improvised passages.
The adventure continues in the “sequel” LOVE FOR SNAIL, where
countless ingredients are combined to create deeply pleasing, imaginative and universal music.
One moment you feel secure in your musical comfort zone and the next, he pulls the carpet out from under your feet, and Old Man’s Kitchen is on toward new destinations. The album is full of
cocky, subtle, devil-may-care ideas – a virtuoso’s play with expression and inspiration.
The line-up in Old Man’s Kitchen is unorthodox and features a handful of Denmark’s finest musicians handpicked from the Danish jazz elite. The bandleader, Peter Rosendal, plays piano,
Wurlitzer, melodica and flugabone (a rare instrument reminiscent of an overgrown flugelhorn). The rest of the band includes violinist Kristian Jørgensen, clarinetist Peter Fuglsang, trombonist Peter Jensen, bassist Kaspar Vadsholt and drummer Jeppe Gram.
LOVE FOR SNAIL is a humorous, original and extremely musical mixture of this, that and everything  performed with warmth and virtuosity.

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


Collier & Dean - Sleek Buick (2014)

Source: Tom Collier

Seattle-based vibist Tom Collier and bassist Dan Dean have been playing music together since they were teens back in the '60s. Here, they gather with long-time friends, pianist Don Grusin, saxophonist Ernie Watts, and drummer Alex Acuna, to revisit the energy & spirit of their 1980 LP, "Whistling Midgets." With tight, fleet lines and rollicking grooves, the duo's time-earned telepathic musical connection makes "Sleek Buick" a festive treat. Also featured are drummer Ted Poor, trumpeter Allen Vizzutti, and saxophonist Gary Herbig.

"Totally controlled awesome! With tight, fleet lines and rollicking grooves, the duo's time-earned telepathic musical connection makes "Sleek Buick" a festive treat."  - editors, All About Jazz magazine
"Hip, creative but still accessible, everybody here is playing like they are having a good time..." - Chris Spector, Midwest Record
Several significant musicians appear on the album including saxophonists Ernie Watts and Gary Herbig, trumpeter Allen Vizzutti, keyboardist Don Grusin, guitarist John Morton, fiddle and mandolin player Andy Leftwich, and drummers Alex Acuña and Ted Poor.

1. Sleek Buick 4:10
2. California Avenue 4:58
3. WMB's 6:52
4. Touching 8:15
5. Lettercollum/Paris 6:25
6. A Corona Haze 3:57
7. Playas de Rosarito 3:59
8. Mallet Tech 5:31
9. Ethiopian 5:24
10. Walking In My Old Shoes 5:27  

Tom Collier - Vibes, Marimba, Xylophone, Keyboards
Dan Dean - Bass, Percussion, Keyboards, Ukelele, Classical Guitar
Don Grusin - Piano, Rhodes, Keyboards
Alex Acuna - Drums
Ernie Watts - Tenor Saxophone
Gary Herbig - Alto & Baritone Saxophones
Ted Poor - Drums
Andy Leftwich - Mandolin, Fiddle
John Morton - Acoustic Guitar, Papoose Guitar, Dobro, Electric Guitar
Allen Vizzutti - Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet
Jon Goforth - Alto & Baritone Saxophones 

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


Red Rodney Quartet - Red Giant (1988)

Red Rodney's comeback in the late '70s was quite inspiring and found the veteran bebop trumpeter playing even better than he had during his legendary period with Charlie Parker. He started his professional career by performing with Jerry Wald's orchestra when he was 15, and he passed through a lot of big bands, including those of Jimmy Dorsey (during which Rodney closely emulated his early idol Harry James), Elliot Lawrence, Georgie Auld, Benny Goodman, and Les Brown. He totally changed his style after hearing Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, becoming one of the brighter young voices in bebop. Rodney made strong contributions to the bands of Gene Krupa (1946), Claude Thornhill, and Woody Herman's Second Herd (1948-1949).

Off and on during 1949-1951, Rodney was a regular member of the Charlie Parker Quintet, playing brilliantly at Bird's recorded Carnegie Hall concert of 1949. But drugs cut short that association, and Rodney spent most of the 1950s in and out of jail. After he kicked heroin, almost as damaging to his jazz chops was a long period playing for shows in Las Vegas. When he returned to New York in 1972, it took Rodney several years to regain his former form. However, he hooked up with multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan in 1980 and the musical partnership benefited both of the veterans; Sullivan's inquisitive style inspired Rodney to play post-bop music (rather than continually stick to bop) and sometimes their quintet (which also featured Garry Dial) sounded like the Ornette Coleman Quartet, amazingly. After Sullivan went back to Florida a few years later, Rodney continued leading his own quintet which in later years featured the talented young saxophonist Chris Potter. Red Rodney, who was portrayed quite sympathetically in the Clint Eastwood film Bird (during which he played his own solos), stands as proof that for the most open-minded veterans there is life beyond bop.

“… this excellent and restrained session will bring more accolades to this little giant of jazz, Red Rodney .” ( Jazznews )

“ Here is one of the most listenable Red Rodney records to come along in years….It is Rodney’s superbly lyrical work that makes this an essential record .” ( Jazz Journal )

01. Red Giant (Red Rodney)
02. Greensleeves/Giant Steps (John Traditional/Coltrane)
03. You Leave Me Breathless (Frederick Hollander)
04. Love Letters (Victor Young)
05. Helene (Red Rodney)
06. Sun Child (Ron Miller)
07. Everytime We Say Goodbye (Cole Porter)
08. Jitterbug Waltz (Fats Waller)
09. For All We Know (S/Coots Lewis)
10. Invitation (Bronislav Kaper)

Red Rodney, trumpet
Butch Lacy, piano
Hugo Rasmussen, bass
Aage Tanggaard, drums

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


miércoles, 29 de octubre de 2014

Joan Margarit & Pere Rovira, Perico Sambeat, Xavier Monge, David Mengual - Paraula de Jazz (1998)

Fuente: sedajazz

Encuentro de tres músicos y dos poetas, la palabra y la música unida de forma muy sensible, una maravilla de disco.

Fué el querido Josep Ramon Jové quien me puso rumbo a la aventura. Me habló de "Paraula de Jazz", el encuentro de tres músicos y dos poetas, la palabra y la música unidas en escena. Algo ciertamente atractivo y, siguiendo el método del agente 86, había dos posibilidades: aquello sólo podía salir o muy mal o muy bien. Porque uno puede temer que unos toquen por un lado y los otros se marquen su discurso por su cuenta. Pero también se puede acariciar el sueño de que funcione, de que se logre el espacio común, de que música y palabra poética, aliadas, disparen un dardo de ambrosía en nuestro corazón. Así desembarqué en Torroella de Montgrí dispuesto a sumarme a la troupe , bien singular, de este comando poético-musical. Y ya antes de que subieran a escena pude ver que se trataba de un verdadero quinteto. Dos de los más valiosos músicos de nuestra Costa Este, Perico Sambeat, su devoción y entrega únicas (sólamente así se puede ser músico, ciertamente lo creo), y David Mengual, el sabio que da lo mejor de sí mismo tocando a Monk, el humor del contrabajista, se encontraban con el joven valor de Balaguer, Xavier Monge, una apuesta fuerte, la cordialidad del pianista.

Voz barítona de Joan Margarit, la voz de sus versos, el conocimiento de los más diversos saberes, el sabio evidente (ante el humilde discípulo), el gran ulema que va de paisano. Voz tenor de Pere Rovira, la palabra que reclama la experiencia y la experiencia que convoca a la palabra, la distinción sin afección, el embajador de Baudelaire después del crepúsculo. Ambos han inscrito ya su nombre en el panorama de la actual poesía catalana (dentro de la corriente de la "Poesía de la Experiencia") y también, cuantos hemos podido tratarles, en el espacio natural de la vida.Como yo andaba continuamente por allí sin ocuparme mucho de nada, Margarit me asignó el papel de "El Teòric", razón por la cual intento mantener un cierto tonillo en estas líneas. Y ya es hora de subir a escena y los puros vuelan en labios de Rovira y Margarit puede sentir la emoción "más cercana al cuello" y la música del trío precede a la palabra que, en su turno, tendrá el espacio del solo, "la llibertat", coro tras coro, la música de los estándares del jazz que se enlazan con el mundo de la emoción de Margarit y de Rovira. En su poesía aparecen Charlie Parker y Bud Powell, Art Blakey y George Gershwin, Chelsea Bridge y una pequeña plaza de Girona, el silencio y la escritura, la experiencia y la melancolía de lo que nunca fue (siguiendo el método Elliot de Four Quartets) y el gran riesgo, la gran valentía de expresar la emoción desnuda. Sí que hay mucho de jazz en sus palabras, en sus convicciones, en su actitud. Y bastaba ver, en escena, cómo los músicos escuchaban a los poetas, cómo en éstos latía la música que escuchaban. Hasta ser ese verdadero quinteto que se puede escuchar en esta grabación. Si me permitís, esto sí que es hablar catalán (y jazz) en la intimidad. Espero que quienes me hicicieron partícipe de esta aventura (en Torroella, Girona y Lleida) sean capaces de soportar mi entusiasmo. Paraula de Jazz. Javier de Cambra

Pere Rovira, poemas, voz
Joan Margarit, poemas, voz

Rovira Perico Sambeat, alto sax
Xavier Monge, piano
David Mengual, bass

01 Laura "Una separació" "Primer Amor"
02 Night and Day "Parker conversa amb la mort" "Mentides"
03 These Foolish Things "La llibertat" "La vaga"
04 Autumn in New York "Coses en comú" "Poders"
05 Chelsea Bridge "Plaça Rovira" "Temps"
06 Everything Happens To Me / Green Chimneys "L"Oracle" "Blues de la Rosie Roberts"
07 Embraceable You "Embraceable You"
08 Lover Man "Lover Man" "Charles Baudelaire i els savis"
09 Strange Fruit "Una fruita estranya"
10 Bye Bye Blackbird "La partida" "Bye Bye Blackbird" "Tendresa de fons"


martes, 28 de octubre de 2014


Source: Criticalijazz
Label: Sunnyside Records

 November 1st may seem a bit far away in the calendar to begin touting a new release but sometimes there are those that are simply too good to wait on, god bless pre-ordering(on iTunes now!). Peace is the fifth release for Stephens as a leader and experience working with artists such as Kenny Barron and Ambrose Akinmusire has catapulted him to the top of the improvisational food chain.

There is an all star collective to allow Stephens to fully explore his own lyrical interpretation of some of the more iconic ballad players in jazz. Brad Mehldau handles the piano duties while guitar phenom Julian Lage adds some texture which is further complimented from premier bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Eric Harland. The intimate Horace Silver tune "Peace" is an emotive composition that finds Stephens working the old adage that one must sing through their horn, Stephens plays it predominately straight yet there is a subtle emotional warmth smoldering just below the surface. "The Good Life" is more of a deconstructed trio with Stephens, Julian Lage and Larry Grenadier yet the lyrical sense of purpose never waivers. "Body and Soul" is reharmed for baritone and this perhaps may be the harmonic wheelhouse for Stephens.

A ballad player can face the daunting task of having to overcome every possible chink in their lyrical armor. Dayna Stephens seems to have no weaknesses but instead shows a formidable maturity and seasoned lyrical grasp that some players twice his senior are still searching for.

Virtually flawless..

1. Peace 06:34
2. I Left My Heart In San Francisco
3. Zingaro
4. The Good Life
5. The Duke
6. Brothers (From The Mission)
7. Deborah's Theme (From Once Upon a Time In America)
8. Oblivion
9. Body and Soul 06:32
10.Two for the Road

Dayna Stephens - saxophones
Brad Mehldau - piano
Julian Lage - guitar
Larry Grenadier - bass
Eric Harland - drums

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


Louis Smith - Smithville (Digital Remaster) 1958

Louis Smith was one of the most vital jazz trumpeters of the late 1950s. His beautiful tone, fluent style and exciting solos competed with Lee Morgan and even Miles Davis. Smithville, from 1958, features him at the peak of his powers. Recorded the same year as Smith's heated appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival with Horace Silver, Smithville features the trumpeter interacting with tenor-saxophonist Charlie Rouse and pianist Sonny Clark on some stunning performances. The title cut, a lengthy themeless blues, is full of creative solos, "Wetu" is explosive (with Rouse challenging Smith), and "Embraceable You" contains emotional solos that make the George Gershwin ballad sound brand new. Louis Smith proves to be a masterful player whose solos are full of surprises and honest emotions. Smithville is a gem that all hard bop collectors will cherish.

Louis Smith, trumpet
Charlie Rouse, tenor sax
Sonny Clark, piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Art Taylor, drums

1. Smithville 11:04
2. Wetu 9:00
3. Embraceable You 7:06
4. There Will Never Be Another You 5:33
5. Later 6:26
6. Au Privave 6:31
7. Bakin' 6:22
8. There Will Never Be Another You [Mono Take] 5:32


Gorka Benítez Trío - Fabou (1999)

Spanish tenorman Gorka Benítez has long been one of his country's leading jazz lights. His main contribution to the Barcelona scene has been as the filling the tenor chair in drummer David Xirgu's quartet (and Xirgu returns the favor here). With Raimon Ferrer rounding out the rhythm section and guitarists Ben Monder and Dani Perez guesting, Benítez gets an opportunity to reveal his considerable skills not only as a soloist and a bandleader, but as a composer as well. Benítez has a big, fat tenor tone that stands somewhere between the edginess of Gato Barbieri's and the warmth and resonance of Sonny Rollins'. His compositions are straight from the post-bop book, with a few interesting modal and rhythmic twists. On "Blue Note Singes Again," Xirgu plays a straight 4/4 that gets augmented in the middle section with a 7/ and then a 9/8. The blowing is easy and lyrical with everybody soloing on every track, which can be trying. Benítez's solos are filled with long, loping lines and limited chromatic range, but straight out of the blues. When the guitarists interact with the trio, as they do in one form or another on three tracks, the feeling is completely different. Monder and Perez add a fullness of texture and depth of color and sonance that is missing elsewhere. Benítez, too, seems more confident in blowing harder, letting his legato come to the surface more as well whenever there is a fourth or fifth person present, as on "De Romeria." As Monder plays a wild, high-string drone reminiscent of bagpipes, Perez moves into steep arpeggios and tonal shifting. Benítez waits his turn and comes out stomping, blowing through the guitars in the mix, turning them into one another contrapuntally. This isn't a perfect date by any means, but it is a useful one that provides great listening pleasure in laces; plus, it would be interesting to compare this to the other albums that come from Benítez. -Thom Jurek

Gorka Benítez (ts, vocals)
Daniel Pérez (g)
Joan Abril (g)
Carme Canela(vocals)
Ben Monder (g)

01. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life (S.Wonder)
02. Black and Blues (A.Jarreau-T.Cannish-J.Graydon)
03. Fabou (G.Benítez)
04. Good Life (O.Coleman)
05. Leaving (R.Beirach)
06. Nada sin tu voz (G.Benítez)
07. Txitxiriko (G.Benítez)
08. My Heart Belongs To Daddy (C.Porter)
09. Time After Time (C.Lauper)
10.Spiritual (Traditional)



lunes, 27 de octubre de 2014

Tara Davidson - Duets (2014)

Source: jazzdagama

In the very best duets, there is intimacy and even a degree of secrecy. Two musicians are in such close proximity musically that there is barely enough space for the proverbial ray of sunlight and yet it is there—that ray of sunlight. The musicians move ever so close; their instruments and their music touching, intersecting and then drawing apart just far enough to let that sunlight in. Belabouring that point is meant to suggest the blinding light that breaks where Tara Davidson plays her Duets with musicians she loves. It suggests the blinding lightness of being in the intertwining of her alto and soprano saxophones with the tenor saxophones with Mike Murley and Trevor Hogg; the utterly heartwarming brightness of the piano of David Braid and Laila Biali as it flutters between the notes that Ms. Davidson plays on her woodwinds, the rumbling roar of bass and cello of Andrew Downing crackling spark of David Occhipinti’s guitar that lights up her now smoldering saxophones. And this is mostly Tara Davidson’s doing as she ignites the dialogue, inviting the other instrumentalist to do the same. Together the two create a roaring campfire for two seemingly waking up the crepuscular union.

If it has not already, this recording will garner enthusiastic reviews for their series of musical tête-à-têtes, which enterprisingly encompasses the warmth of duo music rather than mere casual conversations. These are soli that morph into duo performances. They have been well recorded with plenty of visceral and at times robust quality of their playing. For instance in the two parts of “Lele’s Tune” there is a raw feeling in the main body of the work—where the two musicians are on song—and that has a kind of no-nonsense appeal. If there is a sort yearning for more clarity in the individual lines this is conveyed wonderfully when each of the musicians lays back to allow the other space to announce a signature motif. “For Glenda” a distinctive portrait and “The Good Earth” sound brilliantly ruminative and hugely spontaneous respectively. “Kontrabas Semaisi” and “130 E, 39th St.” are mysterious and the performances capture the intrigue of the compositions with bustling energy in each finale. And particularly effective in the hands of the winds—Ms. Davidson with Mike Murley and Trevor Hogg—the tautness of intent is exquisitely expressed by pitting the higher register horns with the lower register ones and the sound of each is focused, tart and more precise.

Tara Davidson is still young and this bodes well for her unions with musicians in the near and far future. Her performances are truly impressive. The warmth of tone and total understanding of texture and timbre of both instruments that she plays is superlative. She is thus able to “paint” her music in a variety of colours this recording has its ethereal moments as well as some earthbound ones. All this is a result of the bristling ingenuity of its principal character in this musical tableaux, which gets more finely textured as the music progresses, especially in the duets with her strings partners; not that the piano and horn duets are not as finely hewn as the strings ones. It is just that the brilliant ray of sunshine is pronounced as strings part to reveal the singing horn of Ms. Davidson.

Tara Davidson: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
Mike Murley: tenor saxophone (6, 9)
Trevor Hogg: tenor saxophone (4, 12)
Andrew Downing: acoustic bass (10), cello (5)
Laila Biali: piano (7, 11)
David Braid: piano (1, 2, 13)
David Occhipinti: guitar (3, 8)

01. Lele's Tune Part 1
02. Lele's Tune Part 2
03. Silver Skates
04. Train To Tarrytown
05. Kontrbas Semaisi
06. 130 E. 39th Street
07. For Glenda
08. Murphy's Law
09. Sheep Walking
10. The Halcyonian Years
11. The Good Earth
12. The Neigh-Sayers
13. Colebourn M.D

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins