Jazz Viewpoints (222)

Polskie Nagrania MUZA PNCD 620 April 2002

JAZZ BAND BALL ORCHESTRA 40 YEARS * BLUE LOU
1.Blue Lou (M Sampson - Mills), 2.St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy), 3.Fascinating Rhythm (Gershwin), 4.I'm beginning to see the light (Ellington - Hodges - George), 5.Rockin Rhythm (Ellington - Carney - Mills), 6.Ballad Medley: You've changed (Cary Fisher), In a sentimental mood (Ellington - Mills - Kurtz), Tenderly (Lawrence - Gross ), 7.S' Wonderful (Gershwin), 8.A foggy day (In London town) (Gershwin), …

Anouar Brahem (b. 1957, Tunisia) is a virtuoso player of the oud (or ud, depending on you and/or where one asks), a North African/Middle Eastern stringed instrument of the lute/guitar family with a deep, amber sound. While well-versed in Arabic music, Brahem was and is decidedly influenced by jazz and improvised music, and he’s become a truly "internationalist" composer and improviser - fellow travelers Jan Garberek, John Surman, Richard Galliano and Dave Holland have recorded with him on his fi …
America says Jazz is its gift to the world, the truth however is the other way round. If Jazz is the art of musical improvisation, then it has been around for far longer than the two hundred odd years since America was born out of captain Christopher Columbus' navigational error. Indian classical music for example, is all about improvised music and has a history of over two thousand years. Likewise, almost every country in the world has a tradition of improvised music in various forms.

Credit …

29.01.2011

Delmark Reissues Impress

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Delmark Records was founded in 1953 and claims to be the oldest independent record label in the country. Owner Bob Koester also owns and operates what he claims to be the biggest jazz and blues record store in the country, The Jazz Record Mart, also in Chicago. Mr. Koester’s claims are, of course, quiet probably true. The jazz catalog includes everything from straight-ahead to traditional to avant-garde. The AACM (Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Muhal Richards Abrams, et. al.) m …
29.01.2011

Sfraga Sfings Afgain!

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Though hardly a household name along the lines of Julie London or The Manhattan Transfer, this New York singer Barbara Sfraga is how do the kids say it somethin’ else. But Not For Her are the codependent "my man’s a real creep but, gosh, I’m glad he’s mine" clichés that have historically defined/plagued female jazz singers since the advent of the record. This lady blazes her own path. On her thus-far lone CD Oh What A Thrill (Naxos Jazz) she reinvents Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls Of Fire …
Berkley, California-based Fantasy records has been in the music business for more than half a century. Formed in 1949, the first artist they recorded was pianist Dave Brubeck. In short order they had Chet Baker and Cal Tjader on board. That they’ve developed one of the most impressive jazz rosters in the business is an understatement. The label is umbrella to Prestige, Riverside, Milestone, Contemporary and Pablo, as well as R&B and blues labels Stax, Takoma, Kicking Mule and Specialty. They are …
29.01.2011

The Big Bands Are Back

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There once was a time when the big bands accounted for a surge in jazz music’s popularity, the likes of which we will never see again. The economical landscape of the ’30, ‘40s and ‘50s was quite different from the current era of high inflation and diminishing returns. It is only on rare occasions then that today’s jazz musician finds himself (or herself, in the case of Maria Schneider) able to wield large ensembles and when it does occur it’s usually in the form of a special one-shot offering o …
On a very chilly Wednesday evening at Manhattan Jazz, Manhattan Beach, California, jazz was in the air. On stage with me were three of the finest jazz musicians I have ever had the pleasure of working with: Tom Owens-piano, Richard Simon-bass, and Mike Whited-drums. This gig took place in December 1987. We played many charts that night so I will highlight just a few, in that it was a tribute to Dexter Gordon, I’ll mention the charts he had recorded.

In the first set we kicked off with Dexter …

It’s been several years now since Blue Note’s Japanese counterpart Toshiba-EMI enlisted the services of master recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder in order to reissue classic items from the catalog in new 24-bit remasters handled by the man himself. Albeit with more modest aspirations in terms of mere quantity, it wasn’t long before the folks at Blue Note here in the United States decided to launch their own series of Van Gelder mastered reissues. At summer’s end, we saw another half dozen titles …
29.01.2011

Of My Own Invention

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I am listening to Anthony Braxton’s 1971 recording FOR ALTO. This recording was the first of its kind; that is, of a musician making a totally solo recording on one instrument.

I do not care that I know this. What I do care about is the fact that I can listen and basically understand how Braxton is coming up with the music. It is more spontaneous, for instance, than my writing these words. Unless he edited his recording later, which is not the case, Braxton improvised on the alto sax only wit …

Whether you are planning your annual Christmas party or just want some cool jazz to set the holiday mood when friends or family drop by, Jazz Review is here to guide you with some great holiday CD suggestions for your listening and gift-giving pleasure. The holidays have always been a time for folks to celebrate their blessings, and nothing creates that holiday feeling better than music. Warmest wishes to you and yours, for a happy holiday season

THE CHARLIE BYRD CHRISTMAS ALBUM, Conc …

The immensely popular and beloved saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. died December 17th, 1999 in New York. He had just finished taping a segment to be aired on CBS when he collapsed from an apparent heart attack.

Washington, who was born in Buffalo, New York, began playing sax at an age 10. He was given a sax by his father who also played. As a teenager, he joined a band called The Four Clefs, gaining experience which would help him become a future band leader. Washington moved to Philadelph …

29.01.2011

Top Jazz Picks For 2002

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To put things candidly, the music industry has suffered through a year of conservatism and slim pickings at best, yet another victim of the post 9/11 state of affairs that has hampered business and the health of the economy in general. While the past few years have seen a decrease in the number of reissues to hit the market, the real surprise this year came in the modest amount of new releases and even among these it was a hit and miss affair in terms of real quality. Gone are the days when one …
29.01.2011

Where I Left Off

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On December 13,2002 (and that was Friday, the thirteenth) I heard a quartet of "championship" proportions at the Meetinghouse in Amherst, MA. The quartet abounded with Joe McPhee, saxophones and pocket trumpet, Roy Campbell, trumpet, flute and pocket trumpet, William Parker, string bass and wooden flutes, and Warren Smith, drums.

Reviewing this concert almost seems superfluous in regards to how it truly affected me. The music was unparalleled. I sat in the first row, so close to the soun …
While listening to a Branford Marsallis interview on NPR, he stated that jazz is not for young folks. However, I think there are many young people out there who actually enjoy jazz. Here's my story.

It was an unusually hot March afternoon and I was flipping through the radio stations. Most of the urban disc jockeys played the same songs within five minutes of each other and and I wanted to hear something different. I was sixteen years old at the time. So I find this wonderful grassroots stati …

29.01.2011

THE ABYSS OF JAZZ

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Jazz is popular all over the world, more popular than baseball. Jazz is the sound of freedom the sound of America. It was personified by Louis Armstrong; the sound of his horn bares the sound of freedom, of America. Were it not for Armstrong, there would be no jazz. The very essence of jazz lies within the persona of Louis Armstrong; he perpetuated jazz, in that it would continue for over a 100 years; it continues on today, growing, and branching out to new musical horizons; forms of expression. …
29.01.2011

Fresh Sound New Talent

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For many avid jazz followers, producer Jordi Pujol’s Fresh Sound label served as a bastion for reissues of some of the most obscure catalog items. The independent Spanish company leased a number of classic sides from such labels as Jubilee, Hi-Fi Jazz, Roulette, Regina, and many others. A few years ago though, Pujol decided to get into the business of recording new music and now Fresh Sound New Talent can count itself among such other distinguished Indies as Criss Cross Jazz, SteepleChase, and R …
29.01.2011

Jazz Independence

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Musicians have been struggling with the means to reach a broader audience and supplement incomes since the earliest recordings were made nearly a century ago. Given that roughly 75% of jazz recordings released each year qualify as independently released product, this obviously is the norm rather than the exception. Outside of Blue Note, CBS/Sony, Verve, RCA, WEA, Fantasy, Telarc, etc., just about every jazz player who records does so for a small regional or home-made label and is booking studio …
29.01.2011

DJ Spooky & Me

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In the spring of 2002, the cover story of Signal to Noise Magazine was DJ SPOOKY MEETS MATTHEW SHIPP. Matthew Shipp is a terrific musician, one of the outstanding piano improvisors and an acquaintance. My interest in him took me right to the article. The article illuminated the incredible intelligence of both musicians in the text of the conversation between them. The article also and, significantly, brought DJ Spooky to my attention.

A couple of months ago, Thirsty Ear Records sent me a revi …

I’ve been listening to male vocalists lately and wondering if it’s a vanishing breed. Not that the male voice has ever been as prominent as its female counterpart over the past century or so. Consider the greats: Nat Cole, Sinatra, Billy Eckstine, Arthur Prysock, Big Crosby, Tony Bennett, Little Jimmy Scott, Mel Torme, Johnny Hartman

Then look at the list of the gals: Ella, Sarah, Billie, Carmen McRae, Shirley Horn, Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Peggy Lee, Doris Day, Nancy Wilson, June Christy …