2004 Rundown

Keith Jarrett Gary Peacock Jack DeJohnette The Out-of-Towners
ECM Records

It’s partly about class, élan and supreme technical acumen. Twenty plus years and moving forward, this trio continues to brandish a signature sound, still glittering after all these years.

Pianist Keith Jarrett composed the swinging title track, as the band renders standards with a modern jazz, drenched gait. The pianist’s animated mode of execution is akin to the nuance of a seasoned jazz vocalist, as Jack DeJohnette (drums) and Gary Peacock (bass) inject lithe grooves, regardless of tempo. Moreover, the trio’s uncanny employment of dynamics yields lofty rewards in coexistence with the inviting acoustics of Munich Germany’s "State Opera" venue. (Fervently recommended )

Max Roach & Anthony Braxton One In Two, Two In One
hatOLOGY Records

This new package represents the reissue of 1979 duet performances by two artists who in effect, signal in diametrically opposed jazz genres. During these concerts performed live in Switzerland, Anthony Braxton pulls out his woodwinds arsenal in collaboration with Max Roach’s melodic drumming and timbre rich, cymbals work. It’s a fruitful incursion into multi-dimensional rhythmic underpinnings and quasi-free jazz dialogues, although there are structured compositional elements throughout these two lengthy pieces. Contrasts abound as Braxton toggles between clarinets, saxes, and flutes, while Roach swings hard, and peppers his counterpart with polyrhythmic exercises. The duo reengineers traditional jazz concepts into complexly woven forays. The art of improvisation and invention when in the hands of two masters will indeed reap projects of this magnitude.

Dream Theater Live At Budokan
Dream Theater (Atlantic Records)

It’s a 3-CD set featuring the progressive-metal band’s performances at the famed Japanese venue. There’s a companion DVD (sold separately) to highlight the group’s energized live demeanor, and as expected, the band should please its legion of fans with these new offerings. As guitarist John Petrucci’s lightning fast licks and drummer Mike Portnoy’s hyper-mode time keeping maneuvers equate to just a portion of the quartet’s high-impact style methodology. The group’s blistering pace consists of knotty time signatures and bone crunching choruses, led by vocalist James LaBrie. In addition, keyboardist Jordan Rudess combines flash and enviable chops with the austerity and technical acumen of a well-studied artiste. However, LaBrie’s vocals are sometimes a bit humdrum and washed out during certain movements of the overall mix.

Michael Bisio Trio Composance
Cadence Jazz Records

Seattle area bassist Michael Bisio directs his trio with booming lines and probing, contrapuntal maneuvers throughout this intimate, and investigative trio setting. The opening track "CRT, features a tuneful and somewhat linear melody. As matters progress - Bisio, trumpeter Rob Blakeslee and percussionist Greg Campbell delve into the free-jazz spectrum as the latter also picks up the French horn on occasion. Bisio’s arco-lines also conjure up notions of pathos, yet this outing as a whole features the players’ contrasting tone poems, warm melodies, and intriguing improvisational excursions.

Geri Allen Dave Holland Jack DeJohnette The Life Of A Song
Telarc

Pianist Geri Allen’s first solo date in several years features an all-star rhythm section where the trio performs standards and originals. To a certain extent, the group bridges that gray area, teetering somewhere between mainstream piano trio fare and ultra-modernism. Otherwise, Ms Allen’s line of attack consists of counterbalancing left-hand, right-hand melodies atop the rhythm section’s busy, bottom end. She conjures up melodramatic romanticism, while also engaging in hard-boiled swing vamps amid a few shifts in momentum here and there.

Peter Case Who’s Gonna Go Your Crooked Mile? Selected Tracks 1994-2004
Vanguard Records

Guitarist/composer/vocalist Peter Case is an important American songwriter, as this newly released set is comprised of selected tracks covering his tenure with Vanguard Records. Case’s compositions span infectious pop-rock, roots driven motifs and a nod or two to the early Greenwich Village protest (folk) scene. Case is a witty lyricist for sure. And his emphatic and sometimes, angular vocalizations add chutzpah to his overall musical presence.

Steve Hancoff The Single Petal Of A Rose Duke Ellington For Solo Guitar Volume II
Steve Hancoff (Out Of Time Music Co.)

Finger style guitarist Steve Hancoff provides narratives and tunings for each of these Ellington works, reconfigured for an Americana style portraiture of The Duke’s compositions. Hancoff is a brilliant technician who is also noted for his instructional books. This is a must-have for students of the guitar while also serving as a thoughtfully executed body of work for the willing listener.

Jimmy Halperin Dominic Duval Jay Rosen Joy & Gravitas
CIMP

Tenor and soprano saxophonist Jimmy Halperin gives new meaning to modern jazz induced twists on standards (of various flavors). Along with veterans, bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen, the saxophonist blows the roof down during Dizzy Gillespie’s "Night In Tunisia," among others. Although, one of the many highlights throughout this bustling and delightfully, nervy program is the band’s spin on Jimi Hendrix’ "Spanish Castle Magic." On this piece, the rhythm section’s foot stompin’ vibe, and the overall impact that surrounds it augments Halperin’s gritty sax work. (A top jazz pick for 2004).

Gaetano Liguori L’ Anima Di Un Uomo
Splasc (h) Records

Italian pianist Gaetano Liguori and his fellow compatriot saxophonist Roberto Ottaviano align with American jazz drummer Hamid Drake for this bass-less affair. Essentially, it’s asymmetrical parts free form jazz and structured group interplay. Whereby, Drake uses his drum kit as a percussionist would employ various cymbals, hand drums, and textures. The music is either gently flowing or thunderous in scope, marked by the soloists’ forthright intentions and penetrating dialogues.

CosmosamaticsThree
Boxholder Records

This is the third installment of the band manned by reedmen Michael Marcus and Sonny Simmons, while drummer Jay Rosen handles the rhythms sans a bassist. The musicians dedicate this effort to the recent Mars expedition via burning, medium tempo jaunts, and a straightforward modus operandi. Simmons also performs on the English horn while Marcus periodically instills a lower-end dimension via his baritone sax work. The trio ventures into free-bop territory while skirting the free zone on this undeniably, energized outing recorded in the studio and at a club in Amsterdam.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Various Artists
Login to post comments