Monday, May 25, 2015
As for the Firehouse 12 gig, Brian Charette's Mighty Grinders play 2 sets with the first commencing at 8:30 p.m. For more information, go to firehouse12.com or call 203-785-0468.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the band begins to play 60 minutes later. For more information and reservations, go to thesidedoorjazz.com or call 860-434-0886.
Here's a bit of Monk from the latest album:
"Metropolitan Rhythm" is one of those sneakily seductive albums in that the music might not blow you away on first listen but grows on you each time you return. The CD has 9 tunes in 48 minutes and only one (the Monk piece) over 6. Dave Stryker shows his worth as both a rhythm guitarist and soloist while Kush Abadey keeps the music percolating without much fuss but great flair. Jared Gold has proven himself to be a fine soloist and he continues to mature as a composer (his "In A Daze" is a bluesy treat). This music sounds great on the back porch on an early summer afternoon.
For more information, go to www.jaredgoldb3.com.
Listen to the Trio have fun with the Paul McCartney tune:
Thursday, May 21, 2015
At 80 minutes, "In For a Penny, In For a Pound" is much to digest and would not fit easily on one disk. That said, this suite is most certainly interconnected, with themes moving in and out of separate tracks. While there are solos throughout, the rhythm section does not just "comp" or simply keep "time" but are vitally important to the movement and direction of each piece. When you listen, pay attention to what Liberty Ellman, Christopher Hoffmann and Jose Davila are playing when the there are solos. Melodies and rhythms intermingle, all while the music continues to move forward. On the CD jacket, Henry Threadgill gives "my endearing thanks and respect" to both Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman, musicians, soloists, bandleaders and composers who paved the way for his vision and his music. Yet, we can be thankful that there is no one like Henry Threadgill. At 71, he's going strong (his work with Wadada Leo Smith and Jack DeJohnette on new recordings is wonderful), seeming to grow stronger with every recording and every ensemble. For more information, go to www.pirecordings.com/artist/henry_threadgill.
Life Span"), has grown in ways one might not have expected. Her solo piano recordings reveal an artist always searching for new ways to express herself, the Trio dates find her and rhythm section avoiding cliches, and her work with Ingrid Laubrock and Tyshawn Sorey in Paradoxical Frog is indescribably audacious. Her arrangements for Tony Malaby's 2011 recording "Novela" (where she worked with 4 reeds, 3 brass, drums and piano, set the stage for her new project "Infrasound" an octet that features 4 clarinetists (Ben Goldberg, Oscar Noriega, Joachim Badenhorst, and Andrew Bishop), guitarist Nate Radley, organist Gary Versace, drummer Jim Black, and her piano. There is a video on Ms. Davis' website that tells the story behind the group and recording (watch it here) - the octet had not worked together as a unit until the night before its first gig and went into the recording studio the day after the gig!
"Save Your Breath" has moments of great beauty and harsh noises ("The Ghost of Your Previous Fuckup" offers much of the latter without ignoring the former), often moving with great force and determination. Considering the time the octet had to rehearse, perform, and record, this is incredibly fine music. I can imagine how pieces could get stronger with more performances (alas, only 2 European dates on Ms. Davis' website) but this recording is mighty good. For more information, go to www.krisdavis.net.
Here's a taste of this fine recording:
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
They'll play 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. - for more information, go to firehouse12.com or call 203-785-0468.
Here's a track off the Trio's debut CD:
What emerges out her recordings is that Ms. Pascale has a firm grasp on her material, a soulful voice and a deep knowledge of jazz history. Listening to her recordings, one understands that she never "oversells" a song, preferring to take her time, making sure the listener hears the story. To find out more, go see Joanna Pascale this weekend or check out www.joannapascale.com.
Here's a taste of "Overjoyed":
The doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the music starts at 8:30. For more information, go thesidedoorjazz.com or call 860-434-0886.
Here's a taste of Mr. Ledonne's blues chops on Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love":
Now, there is "Fast Future", featuring the core quartet plus producer Binney on synths and backing vocals. The music builds upon the language of the preceding turn while allowing for quieter moments. McCaslin, who can be such a lyrical yet powerful player in the Maria Schneider Orchestra, shows that side on his piece, "Midnight Light", caressing the melody while Lindner (on acoustic piano) adds colors around him. For the most part, the program burns with an intensity that is engaging and truly exciting. The title track opens the album, its sinewy rhythms kicked out by Guiliana, and the leader flying over them. Lefebvre fills the bottom with his amazing thick tones (the speakers do rattle when he hits those low notes) and Lindner contributes plenty of colors. The tenor saxophone stands in for the plaintive vocal on "No Eyes" (a piece from the electronica artist Baths) and Binney adds wordless vocals. The bouncy "pop" feel with the sharp synth beats merges well with the handsome melody while allowing McCaslin to be himself on the short but sweet saxophone solo. The saxophonist and the producer are fans of Aphex Twin and include a short but furious reading of "54 Cymru Beats" - while McCaslin plays acoustically, his bent notes and husky squeals jump and twist over the belching synths and amazing drum work. Binney's composition "This Side of Sunrise" includes a melody that pairs the tenor sax with synth - Lindner's percussive keys add an extra layer of beat underneath the sax solo.
The CD closes "Squeeze Thru", a McCaslin composition that subtly blends reggae with electronica with its stop-and-start approach in the rhythm section. The bassist dances around while the drummer pushes and pulls. The leader plays a solo that blends short, percussive, phrases with longer flowing lines. He never sounds as if he's anything but fully engaged.
"Fast Future" is quite playful and filled with strong playing. In interviews, Donny McCaslin said that David Binney came prepared to the sessions with many ideas, working with the leader's compositions to make these pieces come to life. Some may say that McCaslin has abandoned jazz but he's really doing what the great artists, people like Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Mary Lou Williams, Wayne Shorter and others, did and continue to do throughout their career - move forward, experiment, listen to what's going on around them, distill it with their own contributions and keep searching. For more information, go to www.donnymccaslin.com.
Here's the fine version of "No Eyes":
To his credit, Blaser finds his own way into that material, whether its the ethereal reading of Carla Bley's "Jesus Maria", the playful piano-trombone duo of Giuffre's "Scootin' About", or the more solemn duo with Lossing on "Cry, Want." The Giuffre influence is evident on the Blaser original "Spring Rain"; it's very quiet throughout, barely rising above a whisper until close to the end. The music glides forward on the repetitive piano lines, leaving the bassist to bow and drummer to color beneath the melodic trombone. On "Missing Mark Sutterlyn" (also by Blaser), the trombonist also pays tribute to Albert Mangelsdorf - it's a bluesy piece with trombone multiphonics, funky drumming, thick yet melodic bass lines and rollicking, noisy, electric and acoustic keyboards. The blend of keyboards on Blaser's "The First Snow" frolics atop the bass and drums, Lossing basically "trading 4s" with himself. The trombonist gets in on the action with a boisterous solo pushed along by Cleaver's explosive drumming. The dancing quality of "Counterparts" features more fine work from the drummer (especially on the drums-bone duo in the middle) The pianist moves inside the acoustic piano on the leader's "Umbra", a duo that moves from plaintive melodic lines to rumbling piano backing.
"Spring Rain" has an impressive blend of serious and playful moments, music to contemplate yet not fuss over. There is often a minimalist quality to the music of Samuel Blaser but not at the expense of melody or interaction. The "conversations" on the recording rarely last long - Blaser's solo piece "Homage" runs a mere 66 seconds - with only "Jesus Maria" over 6 minutes (8:01) yet the listener has much to digest (including the impressive use of silence). Sit down and listen all the way through, then listen again. This "Spring Rain" is a quite refreshing experience.
For more information, go to samuelblaser.com.
Here's Ms. Bley's "Temporarily":
Thursday, May 14, 2015
"Luminosa" is her 7th recording as a leader, all released on her Anzic Records label. The album features 7 tracks with her "working" quartet of Jason Lindner (piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, synthesizer), Joe Martin (bass), and Daniel Freedman (drums), 2 with her partners in Choro Aventuroso (accordionist Vitor Gonçalves, 7-string guitarist Cesar Garabini, and pandeiro player Sergio Krakowski), a duo with guitarist Romero Lubambo, and a stunning reading of "Beatriz" featuring Lubambo, Martin on bowed bass and threader on bass clarinet. While over half of the program features pieces written by Brazilian composers (including Lubambo's dancing clarinet-guitar duo"Bachiāo"), there's a mostly acoustic version of Flying Lotus's playful "Putty Boy Strut", a lovely original ballad "Ima", and the "cool jazz" swing of Ms. Cohen's "The Wein Machine" featuring her on tenor saxophone and special guest Gilad Hekselman on electric guitar. Percussionist Gilmar Gomes joins the proceedings on a number tracks including the expansive reading of Milton Nascimento's "Cais", a track made famous by vocalist Elis Regina.
Ms. Cohen's "Ima" ("mother" in Hebrew) is a sweet ballad with a clarinet solo that weaves in and out of the melody line. The gentle tribute shines in the midst of the more energetic tracks. The Choro quartet also contributes a ballad "Ternura" (composed by Brazilian saxophonist K-Ximbinho, a member of Severino Araujo's Orchestra) - the piece has a lilting melody and Ms. Cohen's clarinet solo has a bluesy edge.
"Luminosa" lives up to its title, the word means "bright, luminous" in Portuguese. Anat Cohen and her musical cohorts have a mission to bring lightness into our world and succeed...well, brilliantly. Her spirit and exuberance shines throughout this music, even moreso in person.
For more information, go to anatcohen.squarespace.com.
Here's "Espinha De Bacalhau":
|photo by Xan Padrõn|
A compact 36 minutes, "Latina" will leave you breathless. There's nary a ballad - I can't imagine wanting to leave the dance floor when this music is playing. Cristina Pato not only can play impressively but also uses her music to teach about the wide range of Latin music. A warning for the faint of heart; watch out for her screams as they as fiery as her incendiary Galician bagpipes. For more information, go to www.cristinapato.com.
Pianist Roberta Piket issued her first solo CD in 2012. Featuring pieces by Wayne Shorter, Sam Rivers, Billy Strayhorn, Thelonious Monk, her mentor Marian McPartland, her father Frederick (who passed when she was 8) plus several originals, it displayed her wonderful ability to "tell stories" in song. "Emanation (Solo: Volume 2)" (Thirteenth Note) is similar in style and repertoire (Ms. McPartland and Monk, joined here by Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Jerome Kern, Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz, Sigmund Romberg/Oscar Hammerstein II, and 3 originals, 1 based in a theme by Frederic Chopin) and just as rewarding to listen to.
Her splendid work on Gillespie's "Con Alma" conveys both the flowing rhythm and the handsome melody. Monk's "Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-lues" has that recognizable quirky melodic style the composer employed, conjuring images of him dancing while the band plays. The music gets decidedly funky on Hancock's "Actual Proof", a piece from his Headhunters days. Ms. Piket stays acoustic but the music is grounded in the dance rhythms that that ensemble specialized in. Her solo takes flight, moving in and around the left hand "funk".
Roberta Piket does not waste her time or that of the listener by creating an album where she merely displays her formidable technique. Nor are there long tortuous passages; in their stead are well-defined melodies, intelligent harmonies and solos that build upon those harmonies and melodies in logical fashion. This is music that breathes, that reaches out for the heart and soul of the listener and, on occasion, for the dancing feet. "Emanation" is a fine recording that deserves your close attention.
For more information, go to robertajazz.com.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
|Jimmy Katz image|
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to www.russelllibrary.org. To find out Johnathan Blake, go to his website at www.johnathanblake.com. To check out Professor Baerman's Top 10 Favorite tracks by father and son Blake, go to blog.noahjazz.com.
Here's a piece from the younger Mr. Blake's 2012 Sunnyside release "The Eleventh Hour." The hard-driving piece features saxophonists Jaleel Shaw (alto) and Mark Turner (tenor) plus bassist Ben Street.
The concert, free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Library and the Edythe & Arthur Director Family Music Fund of Congregation Adath Israel. To find out more about the Tesla Quartet, go to www.teslaquartet.com.
Here's the TQ with a piece from Haydn:
As has been said many times, "expect the unexpected" when you go to see Tim Berne & Matt Mitchell - this should be quite an evening. They'll play 2 sets, with the first commencing at 8:30. The 10 p.m. show is a separate admission. For more information, go to firehouse12.com.
For more information and reservations, go to thesidedoorjazz.com or call 860-434-0886.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
"Call It...." continues Nolan's explorations into Latin rhythm and their usage in the American jazz idiom. To help create the exciting sounds on the CD, he adds percussionists Yasuyo Kimura and Victor Rendon (who plays, among other instruments, the jawbone of an Ass!). The pieces flow organically, the solos are impressive as are the interactions of all the musicians. Go to www.russnolan.com to find out more about Mr. Nolan and get a generous taste of his music.
The Russ Nolan Quartet plays 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. - for ticket information go to firehouse12.com or call 203-785-0468.
Click here to listen to Russ's interview with Chuck Obuchowski on WWUH-FM.