Mark Keresman

Mark Keresman

Monk. Jazz people react with reverence, some rock people with awe and respect, whilst others go "Huh?" The late Thelonious Sphere Monk was one of the most pure jazz musi…
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 …
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 …
DISCS THAT MADE 2003 BEARABLE (in no order whatsoever)

1) Elvis Costello, North (Deutsche Grammophon) The sardonic, erudite rocker turns into (for this album at least) a sober, haunted crooner, crafting his very own counterpart to the 1950s romantic-angst concept album Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely but with all original songs, written with the poignancy of standards like "One For My Baby" and "Angel Eyes."

2) Lee Morgan, Sonic Boom (Blue Note) Sure, thi …
In no particular bleedin’ order:

1) Claire Ritter, Greener Than Blue (Zoning) Chamber jazz full of gentle warmth and quick wit.

2) Lukas Ligeti, Mystery System (Tzadik) Contemporary notated composition (sometimes referred to as "classical") integrating jazz, Martin Denny exotica, electronic and African music that’s both creative and eminently approachable.

3) Von Freeman, The Great Divide (Premonition) Hearty hard bop with some "out"/avant monkey-wrenches lovingl …

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 …

29.01.2011

Top Ten of 2008

Published in Jazz Viewpoints
As one year slowly fades into memory (sort of--still some unfinished business, alas), lots of writers like/need to share their views on the best (and sometimes worst) of 2008...the following is my take on the jazz/creative music of the year that was:

In no particular order:

1. Saxophone Summit, Seraphic Light Three of the (arguably) finest American jazz tenor sax guys alive-Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, and Ravi Coltrane-pay alternately joyo …

CONCERT PREVIEW: You lucky West Coasters! Coming to your side o’ the country is guitarist Joel Harrison’s Free Country band, which specializes in very creative, sometimes far-in, sometimes far-out reinventions of classic country (and occasionally folk) tunes. Country music and jazz have always been uneasy riders, strange bedfellows, and only occasionally allies, simpatico: there was Fusion decades before the term had been coined and it was called Western Swing (Bob Wills, Milton Brown, Hank Penn …
What becomes a semi-legend most? Jazz trumpeter/composer Eddie Gale is hardly a household name even in jazz households but he’s been a part of some very influential musical events in the post-bop and avant-garde arenas. Gale performed on Cecil Taylor’s Unit Structures and Larry Young’s Of Peace and Love (both on Blue Note) as well as playing in several editions of the Sun Ra Arkestra.

As a leader, he helmed two under-recognized albums that were a fascinating amalgam of soul-jaz …

Like fellow NYC’er John Zorn, trumpeter/composer Frank London has his fingers in so many musical pies it’s a wonder he has time to sleep: Klezmatics, Klezmer Conservatory Band, the big band/Ellington tribute band Ballin’ The Jack, They Might Be Giants, Les Miserables Brass Band, his own Hasidic New Wave and his Klezmer Brass Allstars. For those unfamiliar, Klezmer is an old-world-carried-to-the new-world form of small-band (usually) Jewish/Hebraic/Yiddish folk-oriented dance music in the new wor …