Michael Karns - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://www.jazzreview.com Tue, 23 May 2017 19:57:26 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb GRACEFULLEE by Grace Kelly and Lee Konitz http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/cool-jazz-cd-reviews/gracefullee-by-grace-kelly-and-lee-konitz.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/cool-jazz-cd-reviews/gracefullee-by-grace-kelly-and-lee-konitz.html Yes, she is young. Yes, she has great chops, but when you hear Grace Kelly's tone, you will agree that a fine innovator is poised on the horizon of jazz today.Her…

Yes, she is young. Yes, she has great chops, but when you hear Grace Kelly's tone, you will agree that a fine innovator is poised on the horizon of jazz today.

Here she is paired with her mentor the great legend, Lee Konitz, which is a double treat to the listener. When you add veteran bassist Rufus Reid, Matt Wilson on drums, and Russell Malone on guitar, then you have the elements of an interesting collobaration.

There has been a recent trend for jazz artists of the past to do albums with younger friends. Tony Bennett and Herbie Hancock come to mind. Yet, before you categorize this album in that group, remember that six of the ten numbers here are original tunes by either Grace or Lee. Yes, she performs, but she also writes and melds with experienced musicians who are undeniably her senior.

It is apparent that Grace and Lee had a lot of fun on this session, which by the way, was done in one take. What is also apparent is the number of knowledgeable listeners whose attention has been seized by this young talent. Among her numerous honors, she is winner of the Downbeat Student Music Awards three years in a row.

Grace Kelly has been accepted to Berklee College of Music at age 16. After that, it will be interesting to follow her music in the coming years.

"Subconscious Lee"

A melodious duet that breaks out into complete spontaneity followed by the tight rhythm section.

"Just Friends"

In this introspective piece, Grace's tone just astounds the listener. A "friendly" version of "Just Friends."

"GRACEfulLEE"

Starts as another lock step duet from these inspiring alto players, but then walks us gracefully through some trully beautiful changes. Take special note of Russell Malone's solo, which is expecially satisfying.

"There Is No Greater Love"

Reid's soul resonating bass on this standard illustrates, by example, why he is such an in-demand clinician. Grace's phrasing punctuates in a playful way.

"You Don't Know What Love Is"

Two sax compadres tastefully join the rest of the band in honoring this work in their own way.

"Alone Together"

Fluidic musical ideas surround this familiar piece in a call and response that is short, and leaves the listener wanting more.

"Thingin'"

A monkish composition that evokes some of Lee's 'cool' era, but with a fresh sound.

"Call Of The Spirits"

Here Grace and Matt attempt to raise spirits with their hypnotic minimalism.

"NY At Noon"

Ornette might smile upon hearing this 'harmolodic' style piece. Like the place, and the time this one just has to be experienced.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Karns) Cool Jazz - CD Reviews Thu, 28 Feb 2008 18:00:00 -0600
A Life In E Flat: Portrait of a Jazz Legend by Phil Woods http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/a-life-in-e-flat-portrait-of-a-jazz-legend-by-phil-woods.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/a-life-in-e-flat-portrait-of-a-jazz-legend-by-phil-woods.html Although I am reviewing this title under the CD category, it is actually a DVD in the documentary format. Please note that there is a companion CD entitled; Phil Woods, …

Although I am reviewing this title under the CD category, it is actually a DVD in the documentary format. Please note that there is a companion CD entitled; Phil Woods, "How I Feel About Quincy" Jazzed Media JM1004.

This DVD is essentially the Phil Woods quintet in a recording session. But imagine if you could take Phil aside and ask him about his life in music?

It's all here, the early years in Birdland where he shared the stage with Charlie Parker while trying to figure out why his sax just wasn't sounding right, and some interesting experiences with Dizzy Gillespie on a State Department tour through the middle east.

Phil talks about how he got started in a music career that has spanned six decades. He speaks reverently about his childhood teacher and how he happened to choose the saxophone. He includes stories about working with Quincy Jones and Thelonious Monk, and also his studio work on Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are" . Steely Dan fans will recognize his excellent tone on the "Dr. Wu" cut from the 1970s as well. Many jazz musicians look to Phil as an influence. Certainly Richie Coles' style comes to mind. The individual musicians in the quintet give fitting tributes as well, coming out of a thirty year relationship.

This DVD is an instructive part of jazz history. For the devoted Phil Woods fan, or for any student of jazz who is interested in the roots of bebop it offers a rich legacy by one of the greats.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Karns) BeBop / Hard Bop - CD Reviews Wed, 02 Mar 2005 12:00:00 -0600
Crossed Paths by Fred Hess Quartet http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/crossed-paths-by-fred-hess-quartet.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/crossed-paths-by-fred-hess-quartet.html So many tenor sax players, so little time! Nevertheless, Fred Hess leaps in with these top flight entries that stand out from the crowd.On Perry ST Gets going…
So many tenor sax players, so little time! Nevertheless, Fred Hess leaps in with these top flight entries that stand out from the crowd.

On Perry ST Gets going with some minimalist drum work that sets the stage for an extended improvisation. Street trumpet is supplied by Ron Miles, and the finishing interplay with Hess becomes a living breathing jazz thing.

On Zane Bassist Filiano builds a bandstand out of his notes that includes D'Arco style, while the rest of the piece gets the Hess/Miles treatment.

In The No Begins with Hess blowing opening phrases that are joined by Miles briefly. Then Filiano squeezes a flowing and beautiful bass that is quick but unhurried.

Knitwit For Tara Gets the Hessian makeover with smooth tenor lines that are blended with Miles dotted trumpet notes. Eventually the horn players break into free form solos that ride the crest of controlled chaos. The rhythm section continuous in "Ornette" style to a solid ending.

FunhouseHere a playful entry gives new meaning to the term "play freely".Filiano walks us from room to room in a place filled with surprises.

The Clef's Visit Grandma's A youthful "run from the car to the house" sketch. Eventually the Clef's run unsupervised around Grandma, and soon begin to explore the dark corners of the chart. The music is victorious in the end with a type of Ellingtonian chatter.

Crossed Paths The title song is another Hess-Miles collaboration that elevates the art form without being too intrusive. This one had a finger-snapping mid-section that was unbeatable.

Mystery Woman A soft entry starts building details that very soon becomes Untying The Knot which takes off with expressive tenor over solemn bass backing. Both horn players are fluid in their phrases while Filiano bows soulfully throughout. Wilson contributes a syncopated tick-tock drum comp.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Karns) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Sat, 05 Feb 2005 06:00:00 -0600
Time Flies by P.J. Perry http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/time-flies-by-p.j.-perry.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/time-flies-by-p.j.-perry.html This album could just as easily have been titled; "Live at the Cellar," since this is the Vancouver club where it all started for Mr. Perry, and where he has fast forwar…

This album could just as easily have been titled; "Live at the Cellar," since this is the Vancouver club where it all started for Mr. Perry, and where he has fast forwarded to some great quintet work that is straight up with obvious audience approval.

P.J. heralds the start of some great listening with the Horace Silver tune; "St. Vitus' Dance." He is joined by the fluidic playing of Mr. Bobby Shew. Ross Taggart brings a steady left hand and bright solo along with a comforting rhythm section by Mrs. Swainson and LaBarbera. Shew pens the next tune entitled "Counting Down," and opens with playful monkish influences. Perry takes his solo and turns the song inside out as you would expect of a guy with over forty years worth of chops.

"Melody for Thelma" contains a moving Latin rhythm combined with nice comping by Taggart. Shew punches out some tasteful melodies, and Perry makes his notes sound like birds flying off the page. My pick of the album is the Walter Gross song "Tenderly." Perry's voicings are sweetly sustained with artistic pauses. His alto seems to sing in vocalese. Right behind him is Taggart who opens the door to some piano work that is reminiscent of Bill Evans' romantic sketches.

"Love Letters" is standard jazz club material by two mature masters of the craft. "Tempus Fugit" Bud Powell has been called the Charlie Parker of the piano. In this rendition of his creation the group is not just boppin' with Bud, but rather completely reformulating some of his concepts.

This contemplative Ellington ballad, "Warm Valley," gets a chestnut "roasting" by five fires of improvisational music. A cozy interpretation. "Social Call" is a jaunty walk up to the door with a cheerful intonation by the horn department. "Spiral Stairway" is a swinging close that is accented by one of the best rhythm sections on either side of the border.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Karns) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Tue, 10 Aug 2004 03:10:11 -0500
A Tribute To Swing by Harri Stojka http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/other-cd-reviews/a-tribute-to-swing-by-harri-stojka.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/other-cd-reviews/a-tribute-to-swing-by-harri-stojka.html Swanee River - Jelinek's banjo opens as if to say "Ready? Here we go." This new and fun version of the Foster classic is indeed a fast trip down the old river. Har…
Swanee River - Jelinek's banjo opens as if to say "Ready? Here we go." This new and fun version of the Foster classic is indeed a fast trip down the old river. Hard swing like this is hard to find anymore. Nuits De Saint-Germain Dos Pres - Pleads the question; "What would Django say to this?",as if to transport the listener to these very nights. Close your eyes, and you are there! J' Attendrai - Violinist Eva Berky joins the ensemble on this romantic piece, and will have the listener looking for a dance partner. Stojka and the rhythm section maintain a solid downbeat. Bei mir bist Du Scheen - Stojka kicks this grand old favorite into overdrive, and tugs the listener along as if through a crowded cabaret where we meet many old friends. I definitely sense the spirit of the "Hot Club" here. Avalon - Although familiar to many standard lovers like myself, and with an interesting history, Stojka's treatment takes off in staccato fashion to make this song truly his own. Nuages - A beautiful entrance marked by Berky's "from the heart" violin. She plays Grappelli to Stojka's Reinhart. The listener would swear that these beloved gypsies are alive again. Limehouse Blues - The music that is missed so much today returns with a fresh, crisp feeling.The sound of this ensemble was so good, that this reviewer felt like an audience of one. Petite Fleur - We are allowed to take a deep breath here, and what an essence! The band delivers a remarkable rendition of the Sidney Bechet original. Undecided - Good brush snare work is so rare. But on track 9 we hear the talent of Wiederhofer. It would be nice to hear more individual soloing from the rhythm section on this Fats Waller lieder. Song For My Daddy - Yes, it is heartfelt and soulful. But notice the guitar choruses and how they exchange with the excellent bass figures. An intrinsically complex and beautiful tribute. To budding musicians it says; "Practice your scales, and see what is possible." Just One Of Those Things - OK, you've heard Sinatra sing it, now hear Stojka improvise it.I love Cole Porter arrangements, and this one will fit nicely in any collection. A tempo change adds an interesting ending courtesy of bass and drums. Sweet Sue - Made sweeter by another Stojka-Berky collaboration. Appropriate strumming embellishment is added by Jelineck. Schee is' so a Ringlspu - A rousing finish that makes the listener want to ask for another round of bier. In closing may I say this; The bohemian composer Dvorak in the 19th century challenged America to create it's own music. This we did, and now new and talented Europeans are re-constructing it, and raising the bar. What will come next? Hopefully more music like what is heard here.
]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Karns) Other - CD Reviews Wed, 21 Jul 2004 19:09:13 -0500
The Music of Reed Kotler by Tomo http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/the-music-of-reed-kotler-by-tomo.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/the-music-of-reed-kotler-by-tomo.html This is not just another "friends" or concept album, but a talented collaboration of classy and sassy compadres making fine jazz. It starts with composer Reed Kotler's well…
This is not just another "friends" or concept album, but a talented collaboration of classy and sassy compadres making fine jazz. It starts with composer Reed Kotler's well-penned songs, each one a pearl on a necklace. Then, enter some of the finest West coast musician's in modern times to put a polish them.

All My Love's For You starts off with familiar territory reminiscent of the movie Round Midnight. The jazz quintet is alive and well here with a fresh uniqueness. The listener will find it all here. Melody, rhythm, and harmony.

Jazz guitarists will appreciate Koonse's work on Sweet Suzannah. His hornlike intonation grabs the torch passed by the late Wes Montgomery.

The third track is I Will Always Love You and joins Cunliffe, Shep, and Koonse in a Brazilian flavored piece that will make the listener want to curl up with a lover and a glass of wine.

Did I Ask If You Knew That I Love You? follows with Koonse displaying effortless articulation with Cunliffe's tasteful piano accents. A logical extension of the post-bop work of the 50's.

Someday I Will Find Her is a consummate love song that sounds like it was written "for the man" as Ellington was fond of doing. It fits Cunliffe and Koonses style like coffee and cream.

In a Restful Place Brings in the lively drums of Ferber, again demonstrating the seamless way these expert musicians partner with one another.

On track seven, we hear the tight rhythm section carry Sheps smooth phrasing of On A Warm Summer Night into the light. Koonse joins him with smooth voicing and Ferber provides added punch on the drums.

The next tune is When I Look At You, and is introduced by Cunliffe's tasteful piano. The whole piece preserves the straight-up jazz idiom that is difficult to find in today's world.

Love's Such A Funny Thing Here Cunliffe's legato figures herald back to Bill Evans and Mulgrew Miller. Oles bass playing is elegant restraint, that is enjoyable to hear.

A playful and inventive interplay occurs on It's Been A While between Shep and Koonse with Oles surfacing again on a soulful solo.

Some wonderful soprano saxophone work is exhibited by Shep on Joyful Times. The whole group pays homage to the songs' title, with improvisation at its finest.

The final track is entitled Waltz for Gary and in this reviewers opinion is the best recording on the album as far as quality. It is well mixed, well produced, and a real listening pleasure.

Overall, a fun and well constructed collection of songs. I've listened to a lot of jazz, but it's been a long time since I've heard this kind of kinship and closeness in a group.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Karns) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Thu, 01 Jul 2004 23:08:14 -0500
The New Beginning by Scott Lindenmuth Group http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/fusion-cd-reviews/the-new-beginning-by-scott-lindenmuth-group.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/fusion-cd-reviews/the-new-beginning-by-scott-lindenmuth-group.html Down Beat magazine designates a category in their reader polls called Talent Deserving Wider Recognition. Scott Lindenmuth would fit nicely there.Although well known…
Down Beat magazine designates a category in their reader polls called Talent Deserving Wider Recognition. Scott Lindenmuth would fit nicely there.Although well known in the Northwest, his following is smaller in some other regions.

Nevertheless, he is a guitarists' guitarist, in that he is a technical master of acoustic, classical, and electric guitars. This is demonstrated right away on The Great One, which chimes with musical energy.

Then on By Land, By Sea, Bassist David Pascal stretches out by making his solo instrument into a full Bass section.

Minor Adventures pairs Andy Roben's organ with Lindenmuth's Spanish sketches. While it is true that Jazz originated with a pinch of Spanish music, on this album there is a full measure.

A treat for the keyboard aficionado is Que Pasta, written by Robens. What this reviewer hears in Lindenmuth's soloing is a potpourri of influences, but all comparisons aside the voice is his own.

Danza Seville is a simple, sunny jaunt through a Castilian landscape.The album closes with Gershwin's Summertime. This chestnut gets the Lindenmuth treatment, turning it into a blistering anthem that sizzles the senses like the 4th of July. Again, many influences, but a uniform and unique synthesis of electronic effects that carry the feeling.

A criticism of electronic music is that it can be cold. But this closing 10 minutes and 48 seconds of improvisation will have the listener turning down the thermostat, and turning up the volume. There are a few drummers who can make the cymbals an instrument unto themselves. Bill Dodge does that here as a key player. Closing arpeggios by Pascal completes the effect.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Karns) Fusion - CD Reviews Thu, 01 Jul 2004 03:08:12 -0500
Radio Free Soul by Dawan Muhammad http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/radio-free-soul-by-dawan-muhammad.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/radio-free-soul-by-dawan-muhammad.html One of the beautiful things about jazz is when it brings world music to our ears. For example Sun Ra, Taj Mahal, and Weather Report are known to have done this extensively …
One of the beautiful things about jazz is when it brings world music to our ears. For example Sun Ra, Taj Mahal, and Weather Report are known to have done this extensively in the past.


Yeah I know, some people say that nothing good came out of the seventies. However, there were some nuggets such as Wayne Shorter's solo's and Ron Carter's Goin Home that say otherwise.

From that era (1976-79), comes this masterful remix by the increasingly appreciated Dawan Muhammad. If you haven't read Dawan's story on the inside cover, it really helps in understanding his musical concepts.

Dawan is a spiritual fellow who is not afraid to give credit to others including Allah, for his good fortune. Trust your ears to the following:

Universal Signs My pick of the album leads off with smooth straight-ahead quintet jazz. The pianist adds traces of Ahmad Jamal-style flavorings.Tropicalia A two for one kind of samba. Chuck Mangione was sometimes known to start songs like this, but they too often became redundant. Not so in this case.Anxiety Wonderful bass soloing that is reminiscent of Jaco Pastorius. The electric piano paints background eight and sixteen notes while Dawan offers up straight from the heart soprano statements. Sabonovich's lively percussion effects punctuate the final chorus.

Is That You? A beautifully sung ballad by Delores Pierce in the style of Dionne Warwick. This is a bonus track that ends much too soon.

Front Street A visit to downtown Santa Cruz via harmelodic horns. Included is a surprisingly tight rhythm section, and smooth guitar soloing that brings everything but coastal aromas into your speakers.Taumbu Not so much free jazz as it is a marriage of flute with percussion. Eastwind The lush jazz chamber effects appear effortlessly from the winds and strings.Cocoon Although not easily accessible, this piece is obviously Ornette inspired avant garde. Dawan approaches Mingus, or even Cecil Taylor in his complexity of this arrangement. Perhaps 'Caravan' would be a better title.Deep Stream Ms. Pierce returns to vocalize on this deeply stream-of-consciousness work. A showcase of talent includes; Paul Nagel on keys, with Dawan and Jimmy Johnson on flutes.

Dan'Zon De Santa Cruz Dawan Muhammad performs live to close the album. Amazingly the score was sight-read by the musicians without any rehearsal. A well-performed concert conducted by Dr. Lewis Keizer.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Michael Karns) Free Jazz / Avante Garde - CD Reviews Thu, 26 Jul 2001 01:00:00 -0500