Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Music Muse Day - John Abercrombie, Marc Copland and Kenny Wheeler, Trio East, Astral Project.

This week's Sunday Music Muse Day selections finds me picking up three CDs, one featuring  an old favorite player, a group with a guitarist recently featured in a post, and a nod to a local musician I met over the holidays.  First up is a CD titled That's for Sure,  featuring guitarist John Abercrombie, a favorite of mine for many years.  Here, he's playing in a trio setting with leader Marc Copland on piano and Kenny Wheeler on trumpet and Flugelhorn.  This music has the earmarks of a ECM recording, but it was released by Challenge Records, and actually Abercrombie and Wheeler appear courtesy of ECM records.


The next selection is Astral Project, VooDooBop. According to wikipedia, "Astral Project blends styles of jazz, funk, rock and world and have been referred to as one of New Orleans' "premier" jazz groups".  I picked the CD up because of guitarist Steve Masakowski, who's CD, What it was, was featured in a post back in December.  I always read the personal of groups I may not familiar with, if a player I like in on the CD, I'll give it a chance.  It's a way to discover new music outside my comfort zone of favorites.



Another great to find new music is to be introduced to the musician in person, as was the case with drummer Rich Thompson, and the group Trio East.  On the CD, Trio East Stop-Start, Rich plays with Clay Jenkins on trumpet, and Jeff Campbell on bass.  I was introduced to Rich by drummer Mike Melito at Mike's New Year Eve gig with the Bob Sneider Trio at the Little Cafe.  I'm flattered that Rich also a fan of my father Sam, as Mike is. 


I enjoy meeting local jazz musicians and supporting them by buying their CDs and getting out to see them play live.  I hope I can catch Trio East and Rich Thompson in the near future.  Until then, I have this CD to enjoy.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Sunday Music Muse Day - Duke Ellington, Stanley Clarke Band,Ochion Jwell Quartet, and Bill Frisell

Here's my Sunday Music Muse Day, delayed 24 hours by football games and Downton Abby. My first selection is one should have posted last week to commemorate my late father's  birthday,  Duke Ellington Piano in the Foreground, with, my father, Sam Woodyard on drums.  I almost passed on buying this CD, since I already had a copy, but checking  the song list I saw it was a remastered collection with 7 bonus tracks.  That made it well worth buying.  I really enjoy the small group setting of Dukes. Plus, the cover is a favorite of mine, because Sam is on it.



Next, is the Stanley Clark Band which find the Jazz Fusion pioneer fronting a band of young talented players, including the popular pianist, Hiromi.  Stanley playing sound as fresh and daring as the early outings with Return to Forever, and his solo efforts.



My next selection is one of those leaps of faith.  Ochion Jewell Quartet, Volk, is group and CD I knew nothing of, but two cuts features the Lionel Loueke, a guitarist I recently started following,  So, I picked up the CD, and I can say I enjoyed. It's a very contemporary sound, with a leaning toward avant garde, but still accessible.  I'll keep my eye out for other releases from this group.



My last selection is head scratcher. Richter 858, Music by Bill Frisell, is a very abstract, experimental, project by the amazingly adventurous guitarist Bill Frisell with a string trio. The music is explorations inspired by the 8 abstract paintings by artist Gerhard Richter.   I admired the effort, but I don't know if can warm up to this CD.  Maybe someone into new modern Classical music that borders on avant garde will find this more interesting than I did.  That said I still will pick up a Bill Frisell CD, just because it's always a surprise.


That's week post.  Hopefully I'll get back on the track on next Sunday.  Enjoy.



Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sunday Music Muse Day Joe Pass, Dann Zinn, and Hanna-Barbera Classics

Happy New Year, and welcome to the first Sunday Music Muse Day of 2016.   In between Christmas shopping and family holiday celebrations I managed to pick up two new CDs to start the New Year on a high musical note.  First is the Joe Pass Resonance CD.  This Pablo CD finds the legendary guitarist in a trio setting with Jim Hughart on electric bass and Frank Severino on drums, recorded at Donte's in North Hollywood in December 1974.  Joe Pass always leaves me amazed at the artistry of his playing.  Just great music.


The next CD, Dann Zinn Shangri La is one of those leaps of faith.  I wasn't familiar with the leader, saxophonist Dann Zinn, but I love drummer Peter Erskine, of Weather Report fame, and his own solo projects, that made this a worth a try.  With mostly original tunes by Zinn, it a pleasant enough outing,  very modern jazz sound, I guess you can call it Fusion, with some processed sax sounds and guitar loops by guitarist Chris Robinson.  I still need to give it a few more listens to decide if it's a full thumbs up.


Here is an extra, a unexpected, Xmas gift, a student aide give me   The  CD, Hanna-Barbera Classic, Volume 1, a collection the opening, show title, and ending title music for lot of Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the late 1950s and 1960s.  You can't listen this without smiling at the memory of those old childhood cartoons.   Great fun.

So, again, Happy New Year, and let's hope it brings nothing but the best of everything.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day - Charlie Brown's Christmas with Vince Guaraldi

This week's Sunday Music Muse day pick, in keeping the holiday spirit, is "A Charlie Brown's Christmas" featuring the music of Vince Guaraldi.  This is of course the famous soundtrack to the classic animated family Christmas special of the same name. I, of course, have an earlier copy of this CD for years.  This Fantasy CD is re-release which has four additional bonus tracks that are alternate takes from the recording session. Plus, the nice fold-out CD package has the Peanuts characters print on a clear plastic window, like a animated cel, and includes an info booklet.    All in all, a nice way to start the holiday season.


 Now if you'll excuse me, I get back to my egg nog and rum.  Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, ans Steve Masakowski

Just a short Sunday Music Muse Day post as we enter the meat of the Holiday Season.  I was listening to Miles Davis In a Silent Way this morning and happen to find this Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter 1+1 CD while shopping today.  Of course Herbie and Wayne played on the In a Silent Way sessions.  1+1 is a duet outing that presents them in a introspective, be adventurous mood.  All the tunes are new to my ears, but the don't have every CD or album they've recorded.  Well worth a listen.



The next selection is a CD by guitarist Steve Masakowski, What it Was.   This is the second CD I own of his, the first being Direct AXEcess (his spelling, pun on axe being slang for guitar)  I like his playing, there a hint of Pat Martino in it.  He plays a 7-string guitar, which always interest me.   Although I'm not familiar with his career, his wikipedia page
is very impressive.



So that's it for this week entry.  Enjoy the coming holiday season.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day - Movie Sound tracks, The Turtle String Quartet

(Posted a day late due to Blogger being down yesterday)  Just a short Sunday Muse Day post. I was organizing my CD collection, putting several months of current purchases in their proper place, and I came across these two movie soundtracks. A Shock to the System is a Michael Caine dark comedy crime thriller. I remember it being enjoyable. The music by Gary Chang is performed by The Turtle String Quartet, this was my first expose to them.


The other soundtrack is for the movie Unstrung Heroes, music composed by Thomas Newman. The comedy drama film is directed by Diane Keaton, and stars John Turturro and Michael Richards (Seinfeld's Kramer).

 Soundtracks aren't something I pick up often. But once in a while one sticks in my head and I seek it out.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day, Pat Metheny and Ornette Coleman, John Scofield, Jim Hall and Basses, and St. Germain

Welcome to this week's Sunday Music Muse Day.  This week's selection features some old favorites, mostly guitarists, as I admit I'm a guitar-centric music lover.  First up, Pat Metheny  and Ornette Coleman, Song X 25th Anniversary CD.  Ornette's music is challenging  to say the least, but for me it is the my limit of "Avant garde / Free Jazz" I can take, when I'm in the mood.  I had to think twice before buying this as I already have the album, and I try not to buy CDs of stuff I have on LP.  But this 25th anniversary CD has 6 additional cuts not on the original LP.  The stellar line up of musicians, including the late Charlie Haden, on bass, and Jack DeJohnette, on drums, make this a adventurous CD worth considering.



This next selection is what I consider a good come back from a disappointing CD, I featured back August.  John Scofield Works for Me is much better than his John Scofield Band Up All Night CD.  Works for Me, really works for me.  It's much tighter, jazz outing, with solid players.  Sco' is back on track.




The next selection is a puzzler, for me.  Jim Hall & Basses, is a CD of duets which has the legendary guitarist paired with stellar bassists, Scott Colley, Charlie Haden, Dave Holland, Christian McBride and George Mraz.  I have to admit my first listen has me less than excited.  But, I read an online review that praises the CD to high heaven.  So, I plan to give it a good listen, again.

My last selection is outside of the pure jazz area, St.Germain self-titled CD. 
"St Germain is the stage name  of Ludovic Navarre, a French musician. His style has been described as being a combination of house and nu jazz music", according to his Wikipedia page.  I have an earlier CD of his and enjoy his music a lot.  This CD uses  African musicians giving it a nice world music feel.




If you come across these CDs in you musical travels, give them them a listen, you might like them.  Enjoy.