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.