Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Firehouse Smolders, DJA Smokes, Maria Ponders + CD Pick
At times, the Trio really pours it on and there are also moments where they are whisper-soft. Since improvisation is such a strong component of their work, one is never quite sure where their interactions might lead. For ticket information, call 860-785-0468 or go to www.firehouse12.com.
here) - but I highly recommend you see this aggregation live. Argue is a gregarious emcee (and political commentator) and the band ever so exciting. To find out more about them and download many of the group's live dates, go to secretsociety.typepad.com.
If you go to www.wqxr.org, you can read about the upcoming concert (May 13) in New York City featuring the work (titled "Carlos Drummond de Andrade: Stories for Soprano and Orchestra") and even check out the program notes. But, first go listen to Ms. Schneider and Mr. Crane discuss the music - it's a treat. Go to http://thejazzsession.com/2011/05/02/the-jazz-session-262-maria-schneider/.
Kenny Werner is titled "Balloons" (HalfNote Records), a live recording featuring him in the estimable company of Randy Brecker (trumpet), David Sanchez (tenor saxophone), John Pattitucci (bass) and Antonio Sanchez (drums). One might look at the track listing (4 cuts, all over 11 minutes long, with the title track lasting nearly 18 minutes) and assume this is just a "blowing session." While there are many fine solos over the course of the program, one might notice the path the musicians take to them. These are all fine compositions, with full melodies and harmonies, fired by a rhythm section that provides the front line with great dynamic and sonic variations. The program opens with "Sada", a ballad with a melancholy melody line that hints at both Brazilian and classical inspiration. Werner's long solo unfolds gracefully, setting the tone for the handsome tenor sax solo which is more of a journey, a powerful affirmation of life. Werner winds his melodic way alone through the first 4+ minutes of the title track, a contemplative sojourn with traces of the blues interspersed throughout. The rest of the quintet enters to read the long and well-defined melody before dropping back for a short but richly melodic bass solo. Brecker gets the next solo and he rides the waves created by Antonio Sanchez's strong percussion work. David Sanchez (no relation) starts quietly before moving out into a powerful solo. The final track, "Class Dismissed", comes from a lesson that Werner taught in his composition class at New York University. Nothing academic about the playing, especially Antonio Sanchez's poly-rhythmic solo that roars out of the speakers.
"Balloons" might conjure up a certain image - I think of playfulness, of temporary joy, bright colors, birthday parties and the possibility of loss as a stray balloon slips out of a child's hand. In some ways, seeing and hearing music live in concert or a club is like that stray balloon. The events, the sounds, the solos, slip from the mind as soon as the show ends but the memories can last for a long time. Kenny Werner's music on "Balloons" is comforting, challenging, exciting and worth spending the time to explore. To find out more, go to www.kennywerner.com.