Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Rites Make Mighty Music + Bass-less Trios
The group he brings to the Elm City - cellist Erik Friedlander, trumpeter Ron Horton and drummer Ben Perowsky - plays music that hearkens back to and expands upon the music Hemphill created for his ground-breaking "Dogon A.D." Lp. The blend of Ehrlich's plaintive alto sax and the fullness of the cello lines is complimented by the sharp brass and exciting drumming. The quartet's 2009 debut CD, "Things Have Got To Change" (Clean Feed), featured Freidlander, trumpeter James Zollar and drummer Pheroan akLaff, is a splendid recording that includes 3 pieces from Hemphill. For ticket information, go to firehouse12.com or call 203-785-0468.
The propulsive "Tatooine" , the punkish "TMNT", the incendiary "Suédois" and the squalling "Wilson" (hints of "death metal") led me to make the Tony Williams' Lifetime connection. And when Sidony Box changes gears, the contrast is delightful. Altogether, "Pink Paradise" is, at times, noisy but always entertaining. To hear for yourself, go to en.naive.fr/#/artist/sidony-box.
Brooklyn, NY, native Joan Stiles (piano) started out playing guitar in her teenage years but soon moved to keyboards. Later, after starting a family, she went back to school to study classical music and soon began studying jazz piano with Dick Katz and, later, with Harold Danko.
"Three Musicians" (Oo-Bla-Dee Music) is her 3rd CD. 10 of the 12 tracks are standards with one, "In the Sunshine of My Funny Valentine's Love" that is a snappy mash-up of Cream, the Richard Rodgers' melody from "Babes in Arms" and a theme from J.S. Bach. The other catchy medley, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" paired with "Can't Buy Me Love" may sound like a "cutesy" idea but is really inspired and downright fun. The 3 tracks in the middle of the program - "All The Things You Are", "Blood Count" and Mary Lou Williams' "O.W." - are duets with Frahm that sparkle with ideas and interplay. "Blood Count", the lovely Billy Strayhorn melody, one of the last songs he composed, is striking in its emotional content yet both the pianist and saxophonist (Frahm playing high in the tenor's range) create a performance that is neither saccahrin nor lifeless. The 2 Thelonious Monk tunes, "Introspection" and "Nutty", live up to their names and notable for Frahm's excellent solo on the former and Stiles' intelligent accompaniment (dig the "Rhapsody in Blue" quotes) on the latter (love Wilson's martial and melodic drumming as well.)
Listeners can tell when musicians are just goofing or going through the motions. While there is much humor on "Three Musicians", Ms. Stiles, along with Messrs. Frahm and Wilson, are having a wonderful time and their joy radiates through the speakers. The ballads are sensitive without being sappy and the 2 originals show Ms. Stiles' myriad influences without aping any particular pianist. This CD should bring a broad smile to your face because the 3 musicians play music with heart, soul and joy. For more information, go to www.joanstilesmusic.com.