Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day Sunday Music Muse Day.Oliver Nelson, Charles Lloyd, George Benson,and Weather Report.

Today is Father's Day, so first of all, Happy Father's Day to all of you dads.  What better way to enjoy and celebrate the day than with some good music. Let's start with a classic, Oliver Nelson, The Blues and the Abstract Truth.  The classic first track, Stolen Moments, alone makes this a must have.  (Actually I had a download copy from my friend Bruce Younger, that tied me over until I found this) It's nice to have the CD package, but they reproduced the original album liner notes so small, you'd need a magnifying glass to read it.

Next is real blast from the past, with a new release, Charles Lloyd Canto, on ECM.  I remember Charles Lloyd from his Waves (1972) and the cut TM, although critic didn't rate the album too well.  Canto receives high praises. I'm looking forward the exploring the music fully.

Next is, It's Uptown with the George Benson Quartet (The Most Exciting Guitarist On The Jazz Scene Today, according to the label), his second recording as a leader,and his first on Columbia Records. I like listening to early Benson more jazzier stuff.  And thought his album Breezzin' was the start of his pop vocal, but he sang on his early album, too.  So, I stand corrected.

Last, is a 4 CD set, I waited months to find at a reasonable price, Weather Report - The Legendary Live Tapes: 1978-1981.  I love Weather Report, and I'm always amazed that so much sound bring out of four or five musician depending on the line up. Their music is always a great addition to my collection Although, there are a couple of track where live show theatrics overshadowed the music, for example a Jaco solo the was very unfocused.  But, that nitpicking.

  Again, Happy Father's Day, and hope you make some good music part of your celebration.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day - Modern Jazz Quartet, Owen Howard, and Mitch Haupers

This Sunday Music Muse Day has me picking from a backlog of new purchases.  I've selected four that are loosely connected around drummers, and drumming.  First up, The Modern Jazz Quartet Dedicated to Connie, a two CD set in honor the group's drummer Connie Kay after his death in December 1994.  This concert was recorded in Slovenia in 1960. John Lewis has stated that the group never played better than during this concert.  Listening to music it's hard to argue with him on that point.  A beautiful set, and fine tribute to Connie Kay.

Next, are two CDs by the drummer Owen Howard Drum Lore, and More Lore Drum Lore Vol. 2.  I didn't know Howard's playing, But I was intrigued by the concept. As the Howard related: The birth of Drum Lore took place at a summer jazz workshop where Howard was one of the several artists-in-residence . The drummer explains further, "As we were getting ready for a discourse on the finer points of our various approaches to composition, one of the participants said to me. Owen, why are you here? You're a drummer, and this is a composition class? Well, how does one answer a comment like that? Rather than being offended, I took it upon myself to dispel this myth that drummers can't, or don't, compose." Drum Lore, a recording dedicated to exploring compositions exclusively by many of the revered drummers of our time. Since the playlist included tunes by Peter Erskine, Tony Williams, and Jack DeJohnette, favorite drummers and composers of mine, I had to give this a listen. As luck would have it I found the More Lore Drum Lore Vol. 2 on  my next visit to the record shop.  Both CDs offer a nice selection of drummer/composer selections.  It's nice to "give the drummer some" in respect of their writing skill.  I'm sure my drummer friends, Mike Melito and Rich Thompson will agree.

 My last selection was prompt by seeing drummer Peter Erskine as a sideman.  Mitch Haupers Invisible Cities - Original Jazz & Chamber Music.  Haupers is a longstanding faculty member of the Berklee College of Music.  Some consider this a long over-due debut.  A online review by Paula Edelstein states,"Mitch Haupers’ debut of original jazz and chamber music succeeds as an innovative work with diverse arrangements and skillfully written songs that you are sure to enjoy."  I wholeheartedly agree, as it's nice to discover new artists.  It's worth noting this was a Kickstarter funded project. 

So that is it for this week.  I'm looking forward to Rochester Jazz festival starting soon. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hittin' on All Six, a History of the Jazz Guitar, Jazz-Culb Guitar witth Various artists

This solemn Memorial Day weekend finds me absorbing a collection of jazz guitar music.  First up is Hittin' on All Six: a History of the Jazz Guitar.  Here's how the All Music website describes it, "Hittin' on All Six follows the evolution of the six-string instrument from early jazz (Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson) up through the bebop era (Herb Ellis,and Barney Kessel). In between, of course, there's plenty of treats from French legend Django Reinhardtand such swing giants as Charlie Christian and Eddie Durham. A superb package for half the price of most comparable sets."  Plus, " Including extensive sessionographies, notes, and pictures -- all part of the set's handsome 52-page booklet."  It's fascinatin to follow the roots of jazz guitar through all the players on this.  A lot of them, of course, are new, or little known, to me, since I picked up interest in Jazz guitar with the likes of John McLaughlin, Pat Martino, and Larry Coryell in the 1970's.  I know I'll be re-visiting this set over, and over again.

I immediately thought it would be cool to have another set like Hittin' on All Six for the years picking up from BeBop to the present, until than I'll make do with this collection, Jazz-Club Guitar, which features guitars from 1945. Les Paul with Willie Smith (BeBop era) to 1979, Larry Coryell and Philip Catherine (Jazz Fusion).  This bearly scratches the surface.

I do have other collections of jazz guitar, one of the oldest is this Guitar Player Magazine Album, from the late 1970s.

Actually, music anthology CDs are a great way to sample new music, especially if you new to Jazz.  Anyway you start, you're in for an enjoyable journey.  Enjoy.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day - Bob Snieder and Joe Locke, Steve Swallow, Emily Remler (revisited)

On this, another overcast day in Rochester, NY, the music of my Sunday Music Muse Day picks help brighten the spirits.  First up is a companion CD to one I featured last August, that being Bob Sneider & Joe Locke Film Noir Project, "Fallen Angel" (2006).  Nocturne for Ave is the second in their "Film Noir Project", again with Bob's brother, John Sneider on Trumpet. I could play both of these CD all day, and night,  and not get tire of them.  I hope they do more in the future. (My special thanks to Jack Garner, veteran film and jazz critic, who commented on my original Facebook post and told me this CD existed.  He also wrote the liner notes.  Very cool)

Next up is a 1991 solo outing by noted jazz bass player and composer, Steve Swallow titled 'Swallow".   His discography is too massive to list here. Steve Swallow is well known for his association as noted in his wikipedia page, "In 1978 Swallow became an essential and constant member of Carla Bley's band. He has been Bley's romantic partner since the 1980s. He toured extensively with John Scofield in the early 1980s".  My first exposure was to Steve Swallow was his playing with John Scofield, on LPs and live.  Both Bley and Scofield play on this CD. This CD's music easily lives up to the 4/5 star rating on the All Music site listing.

My last pick is a follow up to last week's, post about guitarist Emily Remler.  I mention I was totally thrilled with he last posthumous CD, This is Me,  and mentioned liking her early recordings, more.  As it would happen, I found a CD of it, The Emily Remler Quartet Take Two, and as the title and this quote from an All Music site reveiw states, "Emily Remler's second recording as a leader finds the 24-year-old guitarist still very much playing in the Wes Montgomery vein, although showing her own musical personality here and there."  Hearing it again, only confirmed this session was much more to my liking.

As I finish this post, it's now raining as the sun goes down.  But this music brightens my spirit. I hop you find some good music to do the same, always. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day Sunday Music Muse Day - Emily Remler, Leni Stern, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Snarky Puppy

Happy Mother's Day to everyone.  Just by chance today's Sunday Music Muse Day features two females musicians, who to my knowledge are not mothers.  First is the late Emily Remler This is Me, a posthumous release by this female jazz guitarist, who was gaining acceptance and prominence when she died at the age of 32, in 1990, unfortunately from a drug overdose.  This final recording was released two months after her death.  As stated on the Allmusic site, "On her final session, This Is Me the guitarist incorporates pop and rock elements on her own terms -- maintaining her musical integrity and avoiding radio-oriented smooth jazz drivel altogether". By my ears I have to disagree with the last statement.  This sound like smooth jazz to me, plain and simple.  I remember having a earlier album Concord recordings which were more hard bop outings, much more to my taste.  So it goes.

Leni Stern Like One is another CD that I think I like her earlier music I have of hers.  Leni's music on this CD is jazz fusion at its middle of the spectrum, rather hit or miss.  Good playing but nothing that really grabs you.

My next selection should clear the music palate, The Dave Brubeck Quartet Time Further Out - Miro Reflections.  As review Scott Yanow on All Music states. "Unlike most sequels, Time Further Out is a worthy successor to Time Out.  Among the numbers introduced on this impressive set are "It's a Raggy Waltz" and "Unsquare Dance" (the latter an ancestor of Don Ellis' "Pussy Wiggle Stomp"). The selections, which range in time signatures from 5/4 to 9/8, are handled with apparent ease..."  This release CD has two extra cut, including a live version of the It's A Raggy Waltz.  It a great follow up to the classic Time Out.

My selection is Snarky Puppy Culha Vulcha, the latest from this hard to define group, as it states on their website, "After a decade of relentless touring and recording in all but complete obscurity, the Texas-bred/New York-based quasi-collective suddenly found itself held up by the press and public as one of the major figures in the jazz world. But as the category names for all three of the band’s Grammy® awards would indicate (Best R&B Performance in 2014, Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016 and 2017), Snarky Puppy isn’t exactly a jazz band. It’s not a fusion band, and it’s definitely not a jam band. It’s probably best to take Nate Chinen of the New York Times’ advice, as stated in an online discussion about the group, to “take them for what they are, rather than judge them for what they’re not.”  These young guys caught my ear about a year ago with their Sylva release, and I agree their music stands it own merits. 

Again, Happy Mother's Day.  Try to think of music you mother enjoyed, and maybe shared with you.