Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day- XRIJF John Zorn with Bill Frisell, Ralph Towner, Larry Young, Trio East

This Sunday Music Muse Day finds us two days in the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.  I have a chance to participate is a TV promo for it as my wife and I were invite to be part of the audience for the taping of promo by guitarist Bob Sneider. (Lisa and I are the blurry head over the male host's shoulder)

Bob hosts one of the festival after hours jam sessions.  You can see the segment with Bob at this link. 13WHAM Jazz festival Preview.
 Lisa and I attend the part of the festival and jam session Saturday night.  We hope to take more shows this coming week, before we go on vacation.

One of the shows I'm sorry to miss is Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan duet. So, I'll console myself with listen to Frisell on one of my Muse Day picks, John Zorn Naked City, which AllMusic reviews states, "performs his unpredictable originals, abstract versions of some movie themes...The stimulating music rewards repeated listenings by more open-minded listeners."  Well, to put I lightly, the music on this CD is not for the faint of heart.  It can be as brutal as the cover photo, and bizarre as the package artwork, but just a intriguing. I thought picking this up it would compliment the movie theme CD by Bob Sneider and John Locke I enjoyed so much.  Naked City is harder to get into.




Next is a Ralph Towner Solstice Sounds and Shadow (1977) is the follow up to Towner's first ECM outing "Solstice" (1976), which I have on vinyl.  Both are classic ECM productions. Well worth seeking out.


Next is early CD by the late organist Larry Young Unity.  My knowledge of him was through his work John McLaughlin pre-Mahavishu CDs, and as part of Tony Williams Lifetime, both more fusion than this outing. There is a CD of Larry Young's from Resonance Records that's getting of attention.  That got me interested in this CD.  I think some of the same tunes are on it.

My last selection, I present with a little embarrassment.  It's the Trio East Stop-Start, which I already so how have two copies of.  This is clearly a fault of my being a visual person.  This release has different cover from the other copies. Thanks, guys. I'll have to ask Rich Thompson about this.



 Here's the other cover.

I guess it was so nice they had to release it twice.  In any case, the music is great.  They played at the Little Theater Cafe, the same night the XRIJF started, so they are right the thick of things.  So, if your in the Rochester area be sure to enjoy the festival.

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.