Jazz Viewpoints (222)

29.01.2011

2004 Rundown

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Tod Dockstader & David Lee Myers Pond
ReR Megacorp

A cleverly construed, and somewhat distorted electronics based view of nature, by two eminent synthesists. On this outing, the duo purveys abstracts that spark notions of perhaps listening to the sounds of the Amazon jungle at dawn or trickling water that is set upon call and response frameworks. Nonetheless, the artists’ pursue a deterministic state of mind, via these generally quiet but altogether thought-provok …

29.01.2011

Francis Albert Sinatra

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On January 26th, 1943, if you were in close proximity to the Paramount Theatre in New York City, you would have felt a slight tremor, 3.6 on the Richter scale. The tremor led to a cataclysmic eruption--a plethora of bobby-soxers were jumping up and down, screaming and hollering in front of the theatre not knowing their shoelaces were coming untied; it was mass pandemonium. One of the girls was pop singer of today, Eydie Gorme.

Eydie had this to say about the crooner, Frank Sinatra. "I was one …

The story of Porgy and Bess, or rather the story of the telling of the story of Porgy and Bess, is a long and involved tale of continual adaptation. Whether it be Leontyne Price singing the role of Bess at La Scala, Janis Joplin belting out "Summertime" with Big Brother and the Holding Company at the Fillmore, or even the memorable recitation of that tune's lyrics by the cast of Seinfeld Gershwin's dramatic creation, informed by his careful study of jazz and African American spirit …
A wealthy jazz fan and medical newsletter publisher has combined his love of swing with his professional audience of Physicians to form McMahon Jazz Medicine. Ray McMahon began his odyssey by buying a tenor sax, self training books, and every tenor master’s CD that he had heard and enjoyed in the ‘50's, proceeding to learn from Lester Young to Ben Webster to Stan Getz before being captivated by Harry Allen at the Vanguard then Scott Hamilton in Boston. "I wanna sound like Harry Allen - he’s …

It was Monday night, and I was looking foward to the "Jazz Jam" at our local coffee house. I decided to see if any of the guys from my favorite music store, Guitar Haven, felt like having dinner. Co-Owner, Ted Katz, agreed that some ribs at Meg O'Malleys sounded too good to pass up, and off we went.

Our conversation (over an ale) was surprisingly elevated as Larry Coryell came our way. Escorted by singer/songwriter Tracy Piergross and Paul Santa Maria, …

Bill Bruford needs no introduction. His legacy began many years ago with Yes, Genesis briefly, King Crimson (before he went solo) and the rest is history. If you look at those three bands alone, they are probably the most influential of their time in regards to the development of progressive rock. A good chunk of that development and its progression over the years is right here in these six fine albums. Earthworks, Feels Good To Me, One Of A Kind, Gradually Going Tornado, Dig?

29.01.2011

The Voice of Alison Moyet

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Alison Moyet's latest CD Voice is the most successful example of a standards recording by a singer initially famous for their work in rock and pop. Everything about the album works. The arrangements and orchestrations are lush and the songs chosen are a strong and diverse bunch, including jazz standards, English folk ballads, arias from Purcell and Bizet and a couple songs by Elvis Costello. Most importantly, the title element, Moyet's voice is wonderfully expressive.

An …

Improvised music is the music to which I am beholden. Beholden, because all I have heard has bolstered my inner self, has reminded me that I am alive, has taught me that the creative process extends beyond the immediate result. The process is the key. Those moments when the music touches me are glorious renewing moments. Like being in the night and gazing at billions of stars over head, as meteors streak across the sky, unannounced.

To recognize the significance of "the music", about w …

In place of my usual "Top Ten of 2005" favorites listing, here’s something of a "shoppers’ guide," an overview of some of the most noteworthy CD releases of 2005, accenting some dandy platters off the beaten path/under the radar/etc. Call this "Shopping for Music Fans Made (sort of) Simple!"

For the bebop/hard bop devotees, 2005 has been a very good year. Some of the sharpest entries feature musicians no longer with us Woody Shaw, Stepping Stones (Columbia/Legac …

Of course it goes without saying that jazz has continued to struggle to find its place within a market that has changed dramatically over the past few years. In many ways, the presentation of jazz recordings from a historical perspective is directly opposed to current technological favorites such as iPods and MP3s. For the jazz fan, the album has always been the main artifact in developing familiarity with an artist. From the cover and liner notes to the programming of the t …

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 Dex …

In 1958, Alvin Ailey, famed American dancer and choreographer founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which has since become one of the world’s most revered modern dance organizations. The premise behind Ailey’s conceptualized idea was to draw upon his "blood memories" of his native Texas, while conveying those ideas elaborately in a modern dance setting. He drew upon the music that included gospel, jazz, spiritual influences and the blues as a source of inspirati …

29.01.2011

Bossa Nova Thriving in Rio

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Since migrating from Brazil to America’s jazz scene in the 60s, bossa nova has been one of my favorite styles. I bought my first bossa LP in 1962, "Jazz Samba," featuring tenor Stan Getz and guitarist Charlie Byrd playing compositions by innovators such as Antonio Carlos Jobim (pictured above) and Joao Gilberto. "Desafinado" was the big hit and the album skyrocketed to popularity, becoming one of the best sellers in jazz history.

This was followed in 1964 with the collaboration between Getz a …

Roy Hargrove is more than a fine trumpeter and bandleader, he's an ambitious and versatile one as well. In a day and age when artists sometimes go years between releases, Hargrove has separate discs with two different groups out simultaneously on Verve. One is a fairly straight-ahead set with the Roy Hargrove Quintet entitled Nothing Serious, while the other is Distractions, a funky workout from his neo-soul grou …

Texas has a proud tradition of blues guitar players, from T-Bone Walker and Lightnin' Hopkins through to Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Right in the middle of that tradition, hiding in plain sight, is Billy F. Gibbons of the 'rock' band ZZ Top. And not to denigrate rock and roll; fact is, they do rock, no question. But, then, so did the Muddy Waters Blues Band. All I'm saying, don't let their broad appeal mislead you, because ZZ Top is also one of the premi …

29.01.2011

The Soul of Jazz

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By Paul J. Youngman KJA - Jazz Advocate


May 10, 2006



What does Jazz do for your soul?


Does jazz wake your spirit, can it make your heart soar? Will it lift you up to the heavens; does it fill you with divine inspiration? Can jazz bring you happiness, will it feed your passion, and is it the fix that heals what ails you? It’s all those things and so much more, jazz is and jazz will be, for now and forever more.

I …

29.01.2011

Clef Notes

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Sara Gazarek-Yours (2005 Native Language Music Inc.)

If your choice vocals are that of the "Girl Next Door" appeal then I will make your day with a recommended spin of this jewel box "Yours", for Ms. Gazarek is it! Intimate and tender sultry yet innocent at times, her presentation is very much worth the listen. Her 2006 "Yours" possibly could open new doors for this impressionable yet knowledgeable songster. I am eager to follow her development with her next release as she unravels …

29.01.2011

Clef Notes

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Ranee Lee & Oliver Jones Just You, Just Me (2005 Justin Time Records)

Hot sizzle with a splash of elegance, as one would say pure temptation! It’s a continuous groove from spin to spin with charisma injected into the soul of Canadian sensation Ranee Lee and Oliver Jones as they perform Just You, Just Me and of course the heated beat does makes three . Lee’s tenacious feel to "Stardust" is just a hypnotic sensuality laced with innocence however as absurd as this may sound, spin i …

29.01.2011

Clef Notes

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Bonnie Bramlett-Roots, Blues, & Groove (2006 ZOHO Records)

Bold, Brassy, and bursting of Blues is the only way to script this groove we are stuck in when Ms. Bonnie Bramlett vocalizes. At first listen I was caught up in her delivery and execution of deep soulful emotion. This will be the equivalent for you! Selections range from standards to her own artistry, which are the highlights of this disk. Case in point "I Can Laugh About It Now" is pure untarnished classic blues with a …

29.01.2011

Clef Notes

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Buck Hill - Relax (2006 Severn Records)

Tenor sax aficionado Buck Hill extracts the classic tunes of Miles Davis, Charlie Parker along with himself to fashion a spin worth any collection. Distinct reverberations such as the Ozment organ thrusting out mystic grooves offers to the listener added adventures presented on this disc. The project is a very respectful example of pure jazz swing. Sit back with Hill’s "Old Folks" and the intro sax weeping and setting the tempo, so very cool! …