Monday, January 23, 2012
Winter Listening (Part 2) + Matt Chats
With the exception of "Green Dolphin Street", Caine contributed all the pieces on the CD. Messrs. Caine, Hebert and Perowsky know each other well and that familiarity breeds musical success. They constantly challenge each other to play harder, smarter, funkier, and melodically. As I wrote above, what a treat! Dig in and dig it! For more information, go to www.uricaine.com.
Requiem" by the Komeda Project (WM Records) and 2010's "Komeda - The Innocent Sorcerer" by saxophonist Adam Pieronczyk (Jazzwerkstatt).
Pianist Leszek Możdżer pays homage to the composer on "Komeda" (ACT Records), a solo record that is, at turns, quite lovely and magical. The 8 pieces on this CD have a grace and elegance, not surprising considering Możdżer's classical training - one can hear the influence of Keith Jarrett in the slower works but the pianist is really interested in the rich melodies and often exquisite harmonies. The 2 long pieces in the middle of the program - the stately "The Law and the Fist" (10:52) and the multi-faceted "Nighttime, Daytime Requiem" (13:36) - cover much musical territory and engrossing, fascinating compositions. There is a sense in the dancing left hand on "Cherry" while Możdżer displays a Bill Evans-touch on the medium-tempo "Moja Ballada" that closes the CD.
Krzysztof Komeda's music, in the creative mind and hands of Leszek Możdżer, is music to be savored many times. On each listen, the music reveals a bit more of the impressive depth in Komeda's works. Excellent from start to finish - to find out more, go to www.mozdzer.com.
Allen's blend of Coleman Hawkins' "heft" and Ben Webster's "breathy" sound is perfect for this music. He rarely, if ever, overplays and his ballad work is quite pleasing. "Cry Me A River" is a slow blues, ruminative not mournful. Sportiello, who is an impressive "stride" player, shows his tender side on the slower piece. He can swing nicely - the pianist's short solo on "River, Stay 'Way From My Door" has a sprightly bounce especially beneath Vache's New Orleans-influenced solo. Vache is an excellent addition. When he rises out of Allen's soft tenor lines on "Swanee River", the song shimmers. He adds just the right spice to "Lazy River", a dash of cayenne pepper to Allen's buttery roux. That "mellow" tone serves the tenor player well on the Rodgers-Hart ballad "Down By The River", a pleasing ballad with more fine work from the pianist. The rhythm section deserves praise as well; Riggs keeps the beat percolating without being showy (sounding much like Mel Lewis when he played in small group settings) while Forbes shows both a lyrical side as well as being in step with his section partner's ride cymbal.
It's snowing lightly while I'm writing but this music has warmed our house nicely. The songs have a sweet feel without coming off as "fluffy" or even dated. Harry Allen, along with his cohorts, make music to relax the tired soul. For more information, go to www.harryallenjazz.com.
jazzdiy.com, you can watch Matt in a separate but equally fascinating conversation (although the questions are written on the screen and you do not hear Jason Crane's voice.) If you have ever seen Matt Wilson play, you know he can be quite funny (even silly) but he is quite the consummate musician. Thanks to Scott Menhinick for organizing the fascinating website, a source for all creative musicians and the people who help move the music forward. Go to jazzdiy.com/2012/01/23/interview-wilson/ to watch and enjoy.