Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Continuing Saga of The Best of 2013 (Part 4)

Grading is mostly done, meetings completed for this calendar so, now back to my favorite recordings of 2013.  These posts looks at ensembles of all shapes and sizes, save for big bands.

Tarbaby - the trio of Orrin Evans (piano), Nasheet Waits (drums) and Eric Revis (bass) - is an ensemble that never plays it safe. Its 3rd CD, "Ballad of Sam Langford" (HipNotic) is, at turns, raucous, political, experimental, "free" and funky, featuring Oliver Lake (alto saxophone) and Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet), both of whom display fire and flair when they play. The trio breathes as one throughout and never cut corners or look down on the listener.  Honest and brave music, deserving of a wider audience.  Honorable mention goes to bassist Revis's Clean Feed release of 2013 "City of Asylum", also a trio recording, this one featuring drum master Andrew Cyrille and the classy pianist Kris Davis. Recorded right after the group was formed, the music is free yet rarely formless.  Reports of the trio's live shows says the music is even more expansive as the musicians continue to push each other.

Drummer/composer Barry Altschul returned as a leader this year with "The 3Dom Factor" (TUM Records), an ensemble that features the elastic and exciting bass work of Joe Fonda alongside the ever-maturing saxophone playing of Jon Irabagon.  Like the trios above the music on this CD is expansive, fiery, often quite melodic, and, in Altschul's case, a true rhythmic treat.

Honorable mention goes to "Nameless Neighbors" (Sunnyside Records), the debut recording of the Nick Sanders Trio.  Young Mr. Sanders, who turned 26 last week, is a fine composer and pianist who's not afraid to be melodic and emotional as well as intense and swinging.  This is really good music.

Saxophonist/clarinetist released 2 CDs of poetry and original music in 2013, both featuring the dynamic French pianist Laurent Coq with the rhythm section of Yoni Zelnick (bass) and Karl Jannuska For this edition of (drums).  The initial release, "Words Project IV" (New Amsterdam Records), features the vocals of Christine Correa singing the words of poets such as Charles Simic, Carl Sandburg, Fernando Pessoa and George W. Bush (the former President might not view his effort as poetry), among others.  The interaction of the rhythm section with the front line not only supports the vocals but adds different colors.

At the same time this program was created, Sadigursky and Coq also recorded "Mots Croises: Crosswords" (self-released), more words and poetry but this time with a different.  The leaders chose 4 poems  - one each by D.H. Laurence, William Carlos Williams, Blaise Cendrars and Eugene Guillevec - the saxophonist and pianist wrote music for each tune, with Ms. Correa singing the English lyrics and French chanteuse Laurence Allison singing the French lyrics. As a bonus track, Sadigursky wrote music for a poem by Mariel Rukeyser and the vocalists both sang in English.  I'm not sure one disc is better than the other - I'd get them both.  For more information, go to

Sam Sadigursky is also featured as part of the sextet on "Musica Para Un Dragon Dormida" (BJU Records), the impressive 3rd release by pianist/composer Emilio Teubal.  Percussionists Satoshi Takeishi and John Hadfield work alongside cellist Eric Friedlander and bassist Moto Fukushima to create a program that reflects the composer's Argentinean upbringing.  Many of the pieces have rhythms that percolate and undulate, with Sadigursky playing clarinet in his clear, entrancing, tones.  Teubal's music is often mesmerizing; one returns to this music to concentrate in the different musicians and their roles in this dramatic musical landscape. To find out more, go to

Bassist/composer/arranger Alexis Cuadrado created a splendid program of music for the New York poems of Federico Garcia Lorca. "A Lorca Soundscape" (Sunnyside Records) utilizes the talents of Dan Tepfer (piano), Miguel Zenon (alto saxophone), Mark Ferber (drums) in support of and in tandem with the striking vocal of Claudia Acuna.   Percussionist Gilmar Gomes appears on 2 of the 7 tracks. The lyrics are dark, impressionistic, surrealistic, brooding, political and magical; the music is rhythmic, stark, melodic and, in its own way, magical.  Find out more and listen to the program by going to

I'll wrap up my listening year in the next post. In the meantime, go safely and enjoy the Holidays.

No comments:

Post a Comment