Michael Bailey - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://www.jazzreview.com Tue, 23 May 2017 12:15:41 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Study of Light by Rick McLaughlin Trio http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/study-of-light-by-rick-mclaughlin-trio.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/study-of-light-by-rick-mclaughlin-trio.html Study of Light is a light and airy trio affair comprised of piano, bass and reeds. Lead by bassist Rick McLaughlin, long associated with the Either Orchestra, the…

Study of Light is a light and airy trio affair comprised of piano, bass and reeds. Lead by bassist Rick McLaughlin, long associated with the Either Orchestra, the disc is somewhat reminiscent of the Jimmy Giuffre Trios with Steve Swallow and Paul Bley with the exception that McLaughlin’s music is a bit more well behaved structurewise

Impressionistic might be another descriptor for this breezy music as McLaughlin arranges a Maurice Ravel piece ("Asserv Vif - Tres Rhythme") to open the disc. Jeremy Udden’s dry ice alto saxophone rides serpentine over the ragged terrain laid down by pianist Greg Burk and held together by McLaughlin’s sure time on the beat. Sam Jones’ tome to Oscar Pettiford, "o.p." is a lengthy bebop dissertation highlighted by Udden’s silky nervous soprano saxophone. McLaughlin solos widely, but not distastefully, allowing his cohorts equal time.

Jazz performed in small places, like this nonstandard trio, affords both the greatest freedoms and challenges to the musicians involved. Study of Light, considered as a suite, uniformly views the jazz landscape through soft illumination, providing the listener with a low-demand experience that is sure to please even the fussiest critic.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Bailey) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Mon, 30 Jun 2003 19:00:00 -0500
Indigenous Technology by Ken Schaphorst http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/ambient-jazz-cd-reviews/indigenous-technology-by-ken-schaphorst.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/ambient-jazz-cd-reviews/indigenous-technology-by-ken-schaphorst.html I am acquainted with Ken Schaphorst from his work with his big bands and as the Chairman of Jazz Studies at the New England Conservatoire. Indigenous Technology is a depart…
I am acquainted with Ken Schaphorst from his work with his big bands and as the Chairman of Jazz Studies at the New England Conservatoire. Indigenous Technology is a departure for maestro Schaphorst in two respects. One, He is opting for a trio context in which to present his compositions. And two, this trio is anything but standard. Joining Schaphorst are mallets player Dane Richeson and cellist Matt Turner. What they create is a collection of moody, almost ambient pieces that make for interesting, even provocative pieces.

As a collection, the assembled pieces on Indigenous Technology hang together with the adhesive of innovation and make the recording compelling in an academic sort of way. For Schaphorst fans, I still suggest his big band recordings. He is perfectly in his element in the large ensemble. This trio outing is a creative sabbatical for investigation and is successful a an informative listening experience, but is perhaps too much a masters class in composition. Indigenous Technology is to Ken Schaphorst’s artistic evolution what Eraser Head was to David Lynche’s.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Bailey) Ambient Jazz - CD Reviews Sun, 15 Jun 2003 13:00:00 -0500
Mediterraneo by Marc Antoine http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/mediterraneo-by-marc-antoine.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/mediterraneo-by-marc-antoine.html Mediterraneo is breezy, non-offensive Latin-tinged contemporary guitar music that will not blaze any new trails but will offer hours of calm, non-threatening enjoyme…
Mediterraneo is breezy, non-offensive Latin-tinged contemporary guitar music that will not blaze any new trails but will offer hours of calm, non-threatening enjoyment. Mr. Antoine has a great ear for contemporary jazz hooks and quite a knack for assembling a bit of a concept recording. Classically trained, chops to burn, and an impressive resume on board, Mr. Antoine is a total package artist. Composition, performance, arrangement, he covers all with grace and refinement.... perhaps too much of the latter.

Mediterraneo is very closely produced, and thus so, will appeal to the adult contemporary crowd. He plays a nylon-stringed acoustic throughout the disc, flexing his muscles on the upbeat pieces and performing tenderly on the ballads. I should love to here a release from Mr. Antoine without the plush production, perhaps playing traditional Latin repertoire. But for the time being, cue up the title track and see what an abundance of talent will do for one.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Bailey) Latin Jazz / Latin Funk - CD Reviews Sun, 15 Jun 2003 07:00:00 -0500
Down Upon the Suwannee River by Little Feat http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/down-upon-the-suwannee-river-by-little-feat.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/down-upon-the-suwannee-river-by-little-feat.html Little Feat follows up their acoustic live album An Acoustic Evening with Little Feat Live At Rams Head with an electric live recording, Down Upon the Suwannee Ri…
Little Feat follows up their acoustic live album An Acoustic Evening with Little Feat Live At Rams Head with an electric live recording, Down Upon the Suwannee River. Since leaving the major label domain, the band has pretty well been able to as they pleased with very good results as evidenced by their previous releases on their label, Hot tomato Records. The new live recording was captured on 36 tracks out in the woods of Suwannee Florida before an appreciative crowd.

Post-Lowell George live Little Feat has been characterized by wall-of-sound mixing that takes advantage of the sheer power as a live band Little Feat is able to express. This power is evident on Live From Neon Park, but was not in as full of bloom as outtakes found on Ripe Tomatos, Volume 1 and Raw Tomatos, Volume 1. I readily site "Rock & Roll Doctor" from on Raw Tomatos, Volume 1. Plodding and powerful, the song builds momentum through the introduction to become a relentless juggernaut that even in the absence of the song’s composer is still permeated with George’s genius and sense of humor while maintaining a tornadic velocity.

Suwannee demonstrates a further evolution of the band characterized, in addition to the wall-of-sound, in the band’s willingness to stretch out the songs, both new and tried and true. Few songs are less that 5 minutes and the performance never degenerates into 1970s or current jam band excesses. Like Mozart, Little Feat does not waste a note. The set is composed of a heavy dose of Lowell George-era war-horses and a light dose of fine pot-George selections. The disc begins with The Last Record Album’s "All That You Dream." Barrere provides a stimulating extended introduction and Bill Payne adds a liberal smattering of his fine keyboard prowess. Barrere and Murphy capably sing the song in the absence of the sure George tenor. This is followed up with Little Feat’s standard paring of "Spanish Moon" and "Skin it Back," with Sam Clayton exercising vocal duties on the former, and Barrere the latter.

The remainder of Disc 1 is made up of five post-George songs bisected by a perfectly bluesy "Sailin’ Shoes," replete with Fred Tackett’s trademark mandolin. "Big Bang Theory" and "Let It Roll" have become regular concert rave-ups showing off how comfortable Shaun Murphy has become as part of the band. Murphy and Barrere are almost conversational in their intimacy, Barrere’s slide guitar punctuating every exchange. "Bed of Roses," "Cajun Girl," and "Rag Mama Rag" are specialty items, demonstrating the depth and breadth of the band’s horizon. As Little Feat begins of cover more non-Feat material, the band’s choice of material is always a curious proposition. The Band’s "Rag Mama Rag" is a perfect fit, as is Dylan’s "It Takes a Lot to Laugh."

That is Disc 1.

If there was any question of Little Feat having jam band credentials, that is put to rest in the 28-plus minutes of the band’s tour de force, "Dixie Chicken." Actually, make that the trifecta of "Lafayette Railroad," "Dixie Chicken," and "Tripe Face Boogie," which altogether clocks in at 37 minutes. The introduction to Dixie Chicken’s "Lafayette Railroad" is unrecognizable and sounds like a late Miles Davis musing with Fred Tackett supplying the muted trumpet. Bill Payne cagily quotes The Last Record Album’s "Day or Night" before sliding into the familiar strains of "Railroad." Seamlessly, "Railroad" gives way to an incendiary "Dixie Chicken" complete with a Kenny Gradney bass solo and a Bill Payne performance of the aria from Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Very nice touch. This is the first performance of this piece that I have heard that ranks with the superb rendering on Waiting for Columbus.

"Tripe Face Boogie" rocks hard before closing out the Little Feat trifecta. The band then plays the most pleasant surprise of the recording, Bob Dylan’s "It Takes a Lot to Laugh." The song is presented as a Muddy Waters vamp with Shaun Murphy singing with dense and sincere conviction. Ms. Murphy sounds like a cross between Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin. She has just earned her Ph.D. in the blues. Paul Barrere fully establishes himself as a premiere slide guitarist (but we all already knew that). On this song, Little Feat approaches The Allman Brother’s Band for a molten Götterdammerüng. "Oh Atlanta" may have its finest performance on record in this version, as does "Willin’" on which Fred Tackett plays some tasty Spanish mandolin on "Willin’" supplemented by Barrere’s vocals and exceptional slide work and Ms. Murphy’s sensitive background vocals. The disc concludes with an incandescent "Fat Man in the Bathtub."

Down Upon the Suwannee River is a performance of one of America’s finest band’s book with fabulous results. Little Feat has truly never sounded better.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Bailey) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Wed, 11 Jun 2003 07:00:00 -0500
New York New Sound by Gerald Wilson Orchestra http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/big-band-swing-cd-reviews/new-york-new-sound-by-gerald-wilson-orchestra.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/big-band-swing-cd-reviews/new-york-new-sound-by-gerald-wilson-orchestra.html I am going to call Gerald Wilson the West Coast Duke Ellington. This may not be the most perfect analogy to draw, but it is one that Mr. Wilson is most deserving of. Wilson…
I am going to call Gerald Wilson the West Coast Duke Ellington. This may not be the most perfect analogy to draw, but it is one that Mr. Wilson is most deserving of. Wilson and Ellington shared with French romantic composer Hector Berlioz, the keen ability to direct bands or orchestras better than they could perform on an instrument. Wilson and Ellington did collaborate, producing the musical relationship that resulted in Ellington performing Wilson’s score for the movie Anatomy of a Murder.

Mr. Wilson proved his prowess as bandleader, composer, and arranger for the past 50 years. During the 1950s, he was one of the most active composer/arrangers and orchestrators in jazz, providing his services for everyone from Ray Charles to Bobby Darin. His recordings defined the parameters of West Coast Big Band sleek, powerful, and skillfully arranged. Hi association with the West Coast has been given responsibility for Wilson’s overall lack of recognition. For the current generation of listeners, New York New Sound, should help remedy that. The 85-year-old Wilson traveled east and assembled an all-star big band to provide the East a sampling of his arranging and compositional abilities. He does so on ten pieces that includes Miles Davis’ modal masterpiece "Milestones" John Coltrane’s interstellar blues "Equinox." On these standards, Wilson builds his intricate scaffolding around the songs, transforming them into Big band anthems. Of his compositions, his Latin pieces, such as "Viva Tirado" and "M Capetillo" standout with tasteful orchestration, never overbearing. The lengthiest piece, "Theme for Monterey" allows Wilson and the band to stretch out, showcasing his arranging talents and the talents of Jesse Davis on alto saxophone and Anthony Wilson on guitar.

Overall, Mr. Wilson allows the superb pianists Kenny Barron and Renee Rosnes perhaps the greatest room with which to work, though all members of this very fine band do shine.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Bailey) Big Band / Swing - CD Reviews Sat, 07 Jun 2003 19:00:00 -0500
Other Hours—Connick on Piano 1 by Harry Connick Jr. http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/other-hours%E2%80%94connick-on-piano-1-by-harry-connick-jr.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/other-hours%E2%80%94connick-on-piano-1-by-harry-connick-jr.html Harry Connick, Jr. is an enduring jazz presence even at the age of 34. He has played several entertainment roles that include pianist, singer, composer, arranger, and actor…
Harry Connick, Jr. is an enduring jazz presence even at the age of 34. He has played several entertainment roles that include pianist, singer, composer, arranger, and actor. Other Hours is not the versatile musician’s first instrumental recording. Connick released the trio outing Lofty’s Roach Soufflé in 1990. That disc was composed of all Connick originals, heavily influenced by Thelonious Monk. Other Hours is not too far from that influence either. The 12 compositions on Other Hours were originally composed for the 2001 Broadway musical Thou Shall Not. Considering that design, all of the songs hang well together, creating an atmosphere of closely written and performed Tin Pan Alley tunes, the new standards.

It is hard to defend a recording like this considering the considerable vocal talents of the principal artist. We know that Connick can sing. His singing is characterized by an eyes-half-closed southern laconic patois that is both sensual and smart. The same characteristics are present in his pianism, which betrays his New Orleans’ roots in the sheer musicality of his playing. Cue up "Can’t We Tell" and "Dumb Luck," or, for that matter, "What a Waste" and hear Connick’s smiling personality whether in the upbeat or pensive ballad. I am excited by the prospect of more instrumental Connick, perhaps a standards recording?

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Bailey) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Fri, 06 Jun 2003 13:00:00 -0500
Together Again by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/together-again-by-tony-bennett-and-bill-evans.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/together-again-by-tony-bennett-and-bill-evans.html This is a second Tony Bennett-Bill Evans duet album recorded a year after the Tony Bennett Bill Evans Album release on Fantasy Records (OCJCD 439, 1975). It follows …
This is a second Tony Bennett-Bill Evans duet album recorded a year after the Tony Bennett Bill Evans Album release on Fantasy Records (OCJCD 439, 1975). It follows the lead of that earlier recording assimilating Bennett's warm, comfortable vocals with the introspective and minimalist piano work of Evans. Evans is more in evidence on this second meeting than the first, but it remains a good vehicle for Bennett, too. Together Again was originally released in LP form on Bennett's Improv Records label, in CD format by DRG and now by Concord Jazz.

These two recorded meetings have had in my estimation only a lukewarm reception. They are much more deserving pieces of art than a three out of five star rating would indicate. Upon listening to this re-release, I am compelled to give Together Again the edge over the Tony Bennett Bill Evans Album. Both are ruled by Evans’ solid introspective piano tempered with Bennett’s controlled exuberance. Both me sound and feel more comfortable here. This comfort is evident in the effortless ballads like both take s of "You don’t Know What Love Is" and "Maybe September." Other treats are Thad Jones’ "A Child Is Born" (both takes) and "Make Someone Happy."

We, as listeners, take for granted that Tony Bennett will be with us forever. But, Like Bill Evans, one day he will be gone and we will be the less for it. Together Again is a superb memory.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Bailey) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Thu, 05 Jun 2003 19:00:00 -0500
Peter Cincotti by Peter Cincotti http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/peter-cincotti-by-peter-cincotti.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/peter-cincotti-by-peter-cincotti.html This is a story we have heard before. Young, attractive, obscenely talented pianist vocalist erupts on the music scene creating a hurricane stir. Is this Harry Connick, Jr.…
This is a story we have heard before. Young, attractive, obscenely talented pianist vocalist erupts on the music scene creating a hurricane stir. Is this Harry Connick, Jr.? No, this is Peter Cincotti. It is impossible not to draw comparisons. Both men hit the scene with a well-developed, mature presentation, chops to give away, and the good looks and sex appeal of matinee idols. My biggest complaint about Connick was his Sinatra fixation, one that he is beginning to shed with his latest, instrumental release, Other Hours Connick on Piano 1. The new kid on the block is the twenty-year-old NYC-native Peter Cincotti.

Mr. Cincotti is a student at Columbia University and the youngest performer to open at the famed Oak Room in New York City’s famed Algonquin Hotel. This made an impression on the public and here we have his debut recording. Rather than continuing to compare Cincotti with Connick (whom he thanks in the liner notes) I just want to say that I am pleased they are both recording.

Cincotti’s eponymous release is comprised of three drop-dead swinging originals and nine not-so-standard standards. He is backed by the standard bass-drums rhythm section with the addition of Scott Kreitzer’s saxophones. Kreitzer’s sax break on the disc opener, "I Changed the Rules," roars on this up-tempo piece. Kreitzer further wails on "Comes Love." The rest of the recording is all Cincotti. He is a densely capable pianist from whom this writer would love to hear an instrumental recital if it were not for his impeccable vocal facility. He does put forth Blood Sweat and Tears’ "Spinning Wheel" as the discs sole instrumental, played, as Cincotti describes, from the point of view of Erroll Garner. The disc highlight is the thoroughly modern take on "Ain’t Misbehavin’." Cincotti solos in time and double time and the results are thrilling just like the entire release.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Bailey) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Thu, 05 Jun 2003 01:00:00 -0500
Wildwood Flower by June Carter Cash http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/folk-jazz-cd-reviews/wildwood-flower-by-june-carter-cash.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/folk-jazz-cd-reviews/wildwood-flower-by-june-carter-cash.html Friday, September 12, 2003, Little Rock Arkansas. I was not going to review this release. June Carter Cash was obviously ill while she was recording Wildwood F…

Friday, September 12, 2003, Little Rock Arkansas. I was not going to review this release. June Carter Cash was obviously ill while she was recording Wildwood Flower, evident in her frail and unsteady vocals. Recorded between October 2002 and March 2003, Ms. Cash was to live only two more months before succumbing to heart disease on May 15, 2003. She sounded weak, but the spirit remained solid. However, it was painful to listen to.

Ms. Carter Cash was the daughter of Mother Maybelle Carter and the niece of A.P. Carter, the matriarch and patriarch of American folk music. Had she not acquired the married name Cash, she still would have been one of the most important American musicians, her name being whispered with the same reverence as that of Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong, and Elvis Presley.

In 1968, Ms. Carter Cash married Country Singer and Arkansas Son, Johnny Cash. Together, they expanded the Carter Family dynasty ensuring its tradition and influence into the 21st Century. At 2:00 AM this morning, in a Nashville Hospital, Johnny Cash died from complications from diabetes. That made me listen to Wildwood Flower again. Billie Holiday recorded perhaps her most popular and controversial album late in her career, Lady in Satin. Ms. Holiday’s voice was all but gone, leaving only the naked emotion of a difficult life. It is powerful to listen to, just as Wildwood Flower is, but for different reasons.

Ms. Carter Cash sounds very similar to her famous mother. She sings the songs of her youth, accompanied by Nashville flames like Norman Blake, Nancy Blake, and Marty Stuart. Then, there are the family members Johnny Cash, Laura Cash, Carlene Carter, Tiffany Anastasia Lowe, and Lorrie Carter Bennett. Rosanne Cash penned the liner notes and John Carter Cash produced the recording. These musicians, bonded by family and culture, attend to songs as old as steeped in the collective unconscious of the United States.

Don’t expect a crowning achievement from this recording. Expect a heart-felt last gift from one with a lifetime of grace and giving. This is Ms. Carter Cash’s goodbye kiss to us.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Bailey) Folk Jazz - CD Reviews Fri, 30 May 2003 19:00:00 -0500
The Last Fair Deal by Rory Block http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/blues-cd-reviews/the-last-fair-deal-by-rory-block.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/blues-cd-reviews/the-last-fair-deal-by-rory-block.html Youthful and beautiful, Aurora Block plants her flag on the summit of being the finest female traditional blues guitarist and singer. After 15-plus recordings, Ms. Block fi…
Youthful and beautiful, Aurora Block plants her flag on the summit of being the finest female traditional blues guitarist and singer. After 15-plus recordings, Ms. Block finally signs with a major label, one that allows her to play her repertoire a collection of older country blues and her plaintive, introspective original compositions. Always present on her recordings are Robert Johnson pieces. On the title cut, Ms. Block illustrates her facile and informed slide guitar style, light years ahead of many of her contemporaries. Also showcased are her soulful, urgent vocals. These attributes are also evident on a brilliant "Traveling Riverside Blues." Ms. Block also represents Eddie "Son" House with his "Country Farm Blues."

But the blues is not all. "Declare" is a thoroughly modern acoustic gospel piece composed by Ms. Block and employing a small choir and the Book of Job. The same themes are addressed in the traditional "Hallelu, Hallelu" and "Look What the Lord has Done." She turns in an inspired "Amazing Grace," weaving the familiar refrain in and out of 100 years of blues instrumentals. Ms. Block is at her most sensual on the sardonic "Sookie Sookie," a tale of a cheating husband and a threadbare wife.

Rory Block deserves all of the favorable attention she has received in the past number of years. She is a keen keeper of the flame, opting to perform traditional songs in a traditional manner. She does this in a way none of her male contemporaries can, from a woman’s perspective and what a perspective that is.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Bailey) Blues - CD Reviews Fri, 30 May 2003 13:00:00 -0500