6 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 1 - September 2004

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Rex Stewart, Tyree Glenn

Rex Stewart, Tyree Glenn and Claude Hopkins featured. Kudos to Blue Classic Line for digging out these less-often heard sessions, rather than another release of 'greatest hit' material. Fats offered a welcome' remedy to the economic depression of the 1930s. Wailer's talent extended in all directions: pianist, composer, vocalist, leader and salesman of Miles Davis (BCL 7266) had a sonality that leapt off the disc and hard time of it in the first half of out of the radio, but was too rarely ance in a feature, "Stormy Weathlems and general lack of a distinctive musical direction. He was still , finding his original voice, and these 1951 and 1953 Prestige sessions the 1950s, what with his drug probseen on screen. His last appear­ er" (1943) featured a 4 minute all star version of one of his hit tunes Ain't Misbehavin which is includ- show his sometimes-faltering be- · ed here along with '20s and '30s bop sound with little of the mystique group gems like 'Honeysuckle that was to be merchandized by Co- Rose, The Minor Drag, Dinah and lumbia. This is not "Kind Of Blue" Sweet Sue and the solo masterpiece stuff but more ebullient, if a bit generic, late bop material. His si- demen are first rank, including Zoot Sims and Al Cohn together, a young Sonny Rollins, John Lewis and Art Blakey. This is an interesting release, as it helps put Davis' later success in perspective. Charlie Parker (BCL 7268) is the man who gave Miles Davis his start, and the trumpeter is heard on the earliest four of the sixteen Savoy tracks here, a complee session dating from 1948 with John Lewis and Max Roach. A later quintet with Kenny Dorham turns up from the next year, as does the Metronome All Star band with Overtime and Victory Ball. Dizzy and Bird, along with Monk, are ori all 6 tunes from a 1950 Clef session with Buddy Rich on drums. This CD is a good cross section of fine work by Parker, with the oth- . er artists as a bonus. He may not have been one of the finest people around, but Stan Getz (BCL 7269) was one of the great stylists of the tenor sax. This Portrait finds him in his early twenties with his fully-developed 'cool' style on show with fine pianists such as Al Haig, Horace Silver and drummers Roy Haynes (still active) and Walter Bolden. Getz had the best sound of any of his contemporaries, and it was to be better heard later, when recording techniques ·were to improve, but it is still easy to appreciate on these 17 standards originally on 78s for Prestige/New Jazz or Roost in 1949 and 1950. The three-minute barrier is deeply felt on many tracks, when Getz seems to be just getting started as the track ends. Fats Waller (BCL7270) on the other hand was the master of the 78: complete little packages with vocals, piano and horn solos that swung from beginning to end. Irreverent, joyful and always musical, Handful of Keys. Too bad he wasn't around for television ... Ted O'Reilly Generations Gary Burton; Julian Lage Concord Jazz CCD-2217-2 small group swing. He had a pershared by the three main instrumentalists. There is a certain gentle quality to much of the music on this CD, partly brought about by the instrumentation, but by no means is there any lack of colour and intensity. Jim Galloway Black Christ of the Andes Mary Lou Williams Smithsonian Folkways Recordings SFWCD 40816 This one, as the Brits would say, is a bit of a curate's egg - good in parts. The set takes its title from music inspired by the 1962 eanonization of St. Martin de Porres, a sixteenth century Peruvian of partly African descent. I don't think anyone would question Ms. Williams' sincerity, but the results fail to stir this listener. Part of the problem I think lies with the c'hoirs she's had to use. They make the There must be something of a born music sound so terribly white. educator in vibraphonist Gary Bur- But the CD is still worthy of your ton. Over the years he has intro- attention. The remaining selections duced such guitar talents as Larry show off Mary Lou Williams in all Coryell, Pat Metheny and John her glory. Never one to rest on her Scofield - and he has come up with swing era laurels, the pianist demanother in the form of Julian Lage, onstrates her mastery of a wide vaa teenager who pl_ays with an as- riety of modernist tendencies. This tonishing level of maturity. His con- shouldn't be the least bit surpristributions to this CD, including ing. After all, even sch inasters three original compositions already as Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonius begin to point to a place among the Monk never hesitated to seek out significant guitarists in jazz. In ad- Mary Lou for advice and guidance dition, Burton has assembled the back in the forties when they were talents of pianist Makoto Ozone, designing the new architecture of who adds a couple of compositions jazz. of his own to the mix, James Ge- Among the set's highlights are an nus on bass and drummer Clarence extremely sly reading of It Ain't Penn. The music sustains the level Necessarily So, a rocking workout of creativity that we have come to on Billy Taylor's A· Grand Night expect from Gary Burton and it is For Swinging, and a dazzling solo a varled programme including Os- performance of Mary Lou's own car Peterson's Wheatland and a bi-tonal composition, A Fungus A standout version of Carla Bley's Mungus. On these and the remain­ Syndrome. First Impression, one of ing six trio selections - one by the three Lage contributions sounds drummer Denzil Best, the rest by as if it might well have been writ- Mary Lou - one hears the.full range ten for Gary Burton. Test Of Time of modern jazz piano. The one-ofis a moody excursion into the blues a-kind Mary Lou Williams was trupenned by Ozone. James Genus · ly beyond category. gets chance to stretch out a little on The Title Will Follow as does drummer Clarence Penn on Steve Swallow's Ladies In Mercedes, but for the most part, the solo space is Don Brown Travelling Lights Frani;:ois Carrier; Paul Bley; Michel Lambert; Gary Peacock Justin Time JUST 203-2 High ambitions, and a corresponding 'mission achieved', distinguish reedman Frani;:ois Carrier's "Traveling Lights". Two icons, Paul Bley and Gary Peacock were invited to join the younger Carrier and his frequent musical partner, drummer.Michel Lambert, in a recording session of freely improvised music. Starting out as a supremely lyrical bop pianist in Montreal, Bley created an avant-garde pianism that is a polar contrast to Cecil Taylor's percussive keyboard. Bley's spare, contemplative playing is simultaneously radical and outright gorgeous. The same statement applies to Peacock's bass. Both musicians are supremely versatile across the spectrum of jazz styles, and have played with a corresponding spectrum of top international talent. Phil Woods' distinctively clean and clear alto sax first attracted a teenaged Carrier in to jazz. He set a trajectory from outlying Chicoutimi to the Conservatoire de Quebec, the Vancouverjazz scene and then testing his mettle by playing alongside top New York and European talent. Carrier has done Woods proud by taking this spare and beautiful reed style into the avant-garde. Bley and Peacock are logical partners. The eight tracks are relatively short for free improvisation, especially for a .collaboration of two dynamic duos that have not played together before. The fact that the musicians find each other so efficiently is testament both to their skills and the shared international language of jazz. The music proceeds mostly at a stately but intense pace, with periodic rapid clips that remind us that the tiger is there but voluntarily restrained at this time and place. Highly, highly recommended. Phil Ehrensaft 64 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM SEPTEMBER 1 - OCTOBER 7 2004

Phat Hed Tom Walsh/N.O.M.A.; Steve Swell OMBU OMBU1004 This new release features Canadian trombonist Tom Walsh in concert with two different bands recorded live in 2003 at the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal and at the Hermes Ear Festival in Nitra, Slovakia. Six of the eight tracks are from the Montreal concert, with Walsh joined by Miles Perkin on bass, Thom Gossage on drums/percussion and guest Steve Swell on trombone. The duets between Walsh and Swell are so connected that were there no liner notes indicating who was on 'left' and 'right' trombone, it would have been close to impossible to distinguish the players. Dave Holland's Back woods Song and Benny Carter's A Walking Thing have this strong band playing jazz really well. The Walsh/ Cram composition 1958 begins with Walsh's sampling of a small child's vocalizations which lead to a smooth slow melody that suddenly opens up to a faster paced and more open improvisation section. This fluctuating type of composition allows all performers to excel. Walsh' Waltz Leger is on three tracks and moves from sampled sounds through more free and dissonant sections to the Main Theme, a joyous and playful waltz. The other two tracks from the Slovakian concert have Walsh joined by Szandai Matyas on bass and Balazs Elemer on drums in more free improvisational works which feature Walsh's versatile playing. Tom Walsh's music makes me laugh. His musical statements are well thought through and serious, yet there is this underlying humour which sets his music apart. His work here with trombonist Steve Swell is superlative. Tiina Kiik Concert note: Tom Walsh's NOMA will perform at the Guelph Jazz Festival in a late night concert at St. George's Anglican Church on September 9. Wild for You Karrin Allyson Concord Jazz CCD-2220-2 Karrin Allyson has presented us with a CD whose theme is long overdue, in my estimation. Namely, a collection of tunes that draws on (relatively) modern songwriting talent as opposed to the music of the 30's and 40's, which is the fallback for most jazz singers. Although some singers have ventured into the modern pop songbook - Ella Fitzgerald covering the Theme from the Loveboat springs horrifically to mind - no one, to my knowledge, has produced a whole collection from the 70's and 80's. The Grammy award-nominated Ms. Allyson and the band have successfully balanced the addition of jazz harmonies and rhythms with a respect for the material, to bring interest and complexity to the songs without obscuring the qualities that made us love these songs in the fust place. "Wild for You" is a personal collection that resonated with me, but whether all listeners will find the same connection as I did will depend very much on personal taste and experience. In any event, Ms. Allyson demonstrates considerable skill, good taste and affection on covers of Joni Mitchell's All I Want and Help Me, James Taylor's Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight and Roberta Flack's Feel Like Makin' Love & The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, making "Wild for You" an essential for boomer-jazzers. Cathy Riches Shave 'Em Dry The Best of Lucille Bogan Columbia Legacy CK 6705 Crazy Blues The Best of Mamie Smith Columbia Legacy CK 65712 Whiskey is My Habit, Good Women is all I Crave The Best of Leroy Carr Columbia Legacy CK 86989 Following a lengthy hiatus, Sony has revived its excellent Roots N' Blues series. Martin Scorsese's PBS series, The Blues, seems to have inspired a rash of blues reissues. It SEPTEMBER 1 - OCTOBER 7 2004

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