Book of Mæ'bul (Another Kind of Sunrise" (Aum Fidelity) - the music, all Jones originals, displays his continuing maturity as a composer, moving away from the blues-based pieces of his earlier recordings into a territory he can honestly call his own. And, he's got quite a fine band including pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Sean Conly (subbing for Trevor Dunn) and drummer Ches Smith (making the first of 2 appearances at The Firehouse in May - he returns with guitarist Mary Halvorson on May 18.) This music is involved, poly-rhythmical, with melodies that pull the listener in and improvisations that make one sit up. The band's interplay is impressive; they listen, react, push and support each other. The Darius Jones Quartet plays 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. - for more information, call 203-785-0468 or go to firehouse12.com. To find out more about Mr. Jones and his music, go to www.aumfidelity.com/darius_jones.html.
www.monkinstitute.org - you'll be impressed by the scope of its offerings.) In the early 1990s, T.S. Monk returned to the world of jazz, organizing a sextet and recording a series of CDs, first for Blue Note Records then moving to N-Coded Music and now has his own Thelonious label.
Not sure who's in the band for the New Haven gig but you know the music and musicianship will be first-class. For more information about the concert, go to JazzHaven.org.
www.41bridgestreet.com - to learn more about the saxophonist, go to www.noahpreminger.com.
BEE Jazz) could refer to 1/2 the instrumentation on the recording, in particular Jozef Dumoulin's Fender Rhodes and Patrice Blanchard's electric bass. Yet, if you have followed Sabbagh's career, you know that 3 of his previous 4 recordings feature guitarist Ben Monder, an electric player much of the time. This quartet, rounded out by the excellent New York-based drummer Rudy Royston, creates music that blends myriad influences (early Weather Report, Return to Forever, progressive rock) and makes music that feels and sounds fresh. Of the 14 tracks (7 each composed by either Sabbagh or Dumoulin), only 1 is longer than 7 minutes. Yet the music does not feel rushed or incomplete. Sabbagh's lighter tone rides over the keyboard washes, propelled by Blanchard's thick bass tones and Royston's active drumming. Magical moments include the tenor sax rising out of the unison reading of the theme (with Dumoulin) on "UR" as well as Royston's activity on "Walk 6". "Ronny" is a soft ballad for Fender Rhodes and tenor saxophone, soft music with substantial melody. Blanchard's ultra-funky bass over Royston's soft percussion sets the stage for "Kasbah", a strong melody from Sabbagh - the sensuous rhythms and the well-developed melody moves the piece forward, especially when the drummer kicks into a higher gear.
Yes, this is most definitely "Plugged In" music but stretch your definition of that term to include that this quartet is "plugged in" to the group concept of listening, supporting, reacting and challenging each other. Jerome Sabbagh does not change his sound to fit this music; instead, these songs and these musician create a different sound palette for his melodic playing. While several of these tracks have more of a "minimalist" feel, every track has a melody line that is fully realized and not just hinted at. So, turn up "Plugged In" and ride the sound waves. For more information, go to either www.beejazz.com/en/album/pluggedin/ or www.jeromesabbagh.com.
Fast forward over 3 decades, Joe Chambers is now Professor of Jazz at University of North Carolina/Wilmington and began recording again for the Savant label. "Moving Pictures Orchestra: Live at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola" is his 3rd for the label and certainly the most ambitious. 17 musicians (including the leader) plus vocalist Nicole Guiland perform the 5-part "Moving Pictures Suite" and 5 other works including a splendid reading of Max Roach's "Mendacity" (quite topical in this contentious election year) and a smooth-and-slinky take on Count Basie's "Theme From M Squad." The ensemble is a sharp collection of veteran and younger musicians assembled by trumpeter David Weiss. Not only do they bring Chambers' fine compositions and arrangements to life but the solos are uniformly strong. And this is music that covers a lot of territory, from the blues to mainstream jazz to Latin music to Afro-Cuban and beyond; yet, there are no cliches, no trite arrangements. The program closes with the 4th "Movement" of the "Suite" titled "Clave de Bembe Parts I and II" - the interplay of the rhythm section (Chambers, bassist Dwayne Burno, and master percussionist Steve Berrios) throughout "... Part I" is downright incendiary and that fire carries over to "..Part II" and pianist Xavier Davis's fiery solo that covers more than 1/2 the tune. The blend of the flutes (Tim Green and Sherel Cassity) with the blazing brass creates handsome colors as the piece winds down.
Ms. Guiland (who also co-leads a group with keyboard player Casey Benjamin) appears on 2 tracks, the afore-mentioned "Mendacity" (she also recorded the tune of Chamber's 2010 "Horace to Max" CD) and "Lonesome Lover", also composed by Max Roach (with lyrics by Abbey Lincoln.) To her credit, she does not attempt to sound like Ms. Lincoln on either tracks and both tunes are quite fine. Other highlights include the Latin-tinged arrangement of Joe Henderson's "Power To The People" featuring excellent solos from Craig Handy (soprano sax), Conrad Herwig (trombone) and Tim Green (alto saxophone). Green also digs in for a hearty alto sax solo on "Irena" ("2nd Movement"), also notable for the gutsy trumpet of Greg Gisbert (and listen for the smart horn arrangements behind his solo).
Joe Chambers turns 70 years old in June of this year and, with this excellent collection, sounds as if he is in the prime of his creative life. He really drives this big band, giving them arrangements that play to the strengths of each musician while his "Moving Pictures Suite" is a tour de force. Sure would have nice to be in the audience on September 16, 2011, when this band hit the stage. Thankfully, there is this recorded document. To find out more about Joe Chambers, go to www.josephachambers.com.