Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday Music Muse Day - Wayne Krantz and Leni Stern, Margaret Explosion

This Sunday Music Muse Day is another cloudy gloomy day in Rochester.  Grey, overcast and cold makes it prefect to settle in with some good tunes and warm drink of choice. First up is Wayne Krantz and Leni Stern Separate Cages. This 1996 session by these two jazz fusion guitarist is reviewed by All Music critic Alex Henderson as "an acoustic-oriented blend of jazz, pop and rock that called for subtlety and economy rather than aggression." I don't consider either guitarist essential listening, but I do like their playing, as I have other CDs of them. 

Next is Margaret Explosion, a local group, described in our weekly newspaper, the City, as "a delicate free-form jazz group that takes its listeners on an almost narcotic journey. The music is dreamy and tactile; you can take a hit and hold it. Because the sound is created in the moment, no one song is ever given the same treatment twice. It’s beautiful and mesmerizing." - Frank DeBlase. That's an accurate statement. I haven't seen them play live yet.  So, I'd be interested to see how a live set holds up, if there are no set tunes.  On CD their music is pleasant enough, but I use it more as background music for "zoning out". 

Sometimes non-essential and zoning out fits the bill.  Stay safe, stay healthy, wear a mask.  


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sunday Music Muse Day - Artemis, Gerry Gibbs Sextet

This Sunday Music Muse Day finds us enjoying periods of sunny breaks between periods of passing snow falls. The temperature is cold and hasn't raised above freezing in weeks, so the snow is piling up, but manageable in our area, not what in Texas and other parts of the country are experiencing.  Still, sitting down in a comfy chair, a warm drink and good read, while listening to some music could be the order of the day. First is Artemis, an all female jazz group's debut recording by the same name.  I totally support the group on the strength of their music alone.  It's a shame being an "all female group" is such a rarity in the music business, to have be noted.  I definitely look forward to more from the group. My favorite tune on the CD is Nocturno written by Anat Cohen, Clarinet, bass clarinet. 

My second selection is Gerry Gibbs Sextet The Thrasher. This is the drummer's debut recording from 1995, featuring his friend Ravi Coltrane, son of jazz legend John Coltrane, on saxophones. Also in the group is local musician, Joe Locke, on vibes.  This is high energy set that shows why Gibbs earned the nickname "Thrasher".  I couldn't help be think what a session where "The Thrasher meet the Scrapper", John Sneider, trumpeter would sound like.  I imagine they might have met through Joe Locke at some point.  If a session ever happens I want credit for it.

Winter has hit with a vengeance, so stay warm, stay safe. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday MusIc Muse Day - Remembering Chick Corea (June 12, 1941 - February 9, 2021)

This Sunday Music Muse Day find us still absorbing the lost of jazz great Chick Corea. Chick's music was central in my growing interest in jazz in my early 20s.  First, as a sideman with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew, considered the birth of jazz fusion.  Then Chick's early  Return to Forever group, then the RTF electric band.  My most personal memory of Return to Forever was when I heard the original group, with Bill Conners on electric guitar, before being replaced by Al DiMeolo, playing a free summer concert in Central Park, NYC, near the Metropolitan Museum.  At the time I didn't catch their name. It was only months later when their record was released that recognize them as the band playing in the park.  From then on I was a fan of Chick and his music.  One other story, I answered a radio call in ticket giveaway question, "what was Chick Corea most famous tune?", the answer of course is "Spain". The prize was tickets to see Jaco Pastorius Word of Mouth Big Band.  (I think I take my friend Karen Donelson to it)  I just pulled most of the stuff under his name I have, but there are countless others from his long and distinguished career. 

Chick will truly be missed, but never forgotten. RIP and thanks for the music.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sunday Music Muse Day - Ron Carter, Keith Jarrett

This Sunday Music Muse Day finds most sport fans killing time before tonight's Super Bowl game. I'll probably watch part of it before switching over to PBS's Masterpiece Theatre, our normal Sunday viewing. Likewise, I'll rather spend the afternoon listening to some good jazz. First up. is Ron Carter Spanish Blue, a classic from the acclaimed legendary bassist, and Rochester native. This is "The Original CTI Recordings Digitally Remastered for Compact Disc" of an album released in 1976. Of the four tunes, three are by Ron Carter.  The liner notes states Carter "plans to intensify his writing efforts",  indicating he hasn't writing much for his previous records.  It also says two of the tunes, El Noche Sol and Sabado Sombrero, were inspired by a tour with Miles Davis to Barcelona, Spain in 1964. Of the two, Sabado Sombrero in my favorite, but more for the version by guitarist Jimmy Ponder on his Illusions LP  (unfortunately not on CD). Still Spanish Blue is a must have recording.

Here's the Ron Carter original, with flute by Hubert Laws. 

Here's the Jimmy Ponder version.

My second selection is another Keith Jarrett trio CD, Whisper Not,  with Gary Peacock (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums).  This is a two CD set recorded live in Paris in 1999.  I can't keep from finding more Jarret recordings, although enjoyable his vocalizing while playing can annoy me.  I love Jack DeJohnette's drumming.  He was one of the first drummers beyond Rock drummers like Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell, and fusion drummers like Billy Cobham, I became aware of for his various ECM recordings with musicians like John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner.

I have no picks for the Super Bowl, although I wouldn't mind seeing Tom Brady lose. 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sunday Music Music Day - Joe Pass Quartet & Septet, Kenny Burrell

The Sunday Music Muse Day finds us enduring a cold, but fairly clear, winter day. A rather lazy one, too, consisting of a light lunch, a short walk, and afternoon nap, and filling my waking hours with warm jazz guitar music.  First is Joe Pass Quartet & Septet Walking Up, a two CD set of the earliest recordings of the legendary jazz guitarist as a leader, "including his complete original long unavailable 1962 LP Sounds of Synanon (Pachic Jazz PJ48)." For background Synanon was a therapeutic community that applied the techniques of Alcoholics Anonymous to narcotics addicts.  Joe Pass had a known drug addiction problem. "This session assembled largely unknown jazz musicians who were in residence at the time," from the liner notes by Lawrence Steel (2017).  Many might think more of Joe's incredible solo guitar concerts. The music is amazing on these CDs. The selection of tunes will warm the heart of any lover of jazz guitar.  I can see this set become a favorite of mine. I've enjoyed many of these tunes played by Bob Sneider at his many gigs, keeping the tradition going.

My second selection is by another jazz guitar legend, Kenny Burrell the Road to Love, a live set recorded Catalina's in Hollywood CA, on May 30-31 2015. This was year before Kenny suffer a fall leading to continuing medical problems and hard ships.This another fine collection jazz tune to warm the heart.  Including the Lil'Darlin' which appears on the Joe Pass CD.  That shows how contacted these giants of guitar are connect to jazz guitar tradition. One of my favorite tunes on this CD is Duke Ellington's Single Petal of Rose, from the Queen's Suite (1959) "Ellington and Billy Strayhorn wrote "The Queen's Suite" for Queen Elizabeth II who was presented with a single pressing of the recording, which was not commercially issued during Ellington's lifetime. - Wikipedia. There's much more to enjoy on this CD.

Again, nothing warms the heart on cold winter day than some good jazz.  Enjoy.

Shearlock Holmes & Dr. Watfun

For Throwback Thursday. Some of my first professional jobs were for a small publisher White Lion. I did low budget covers, like the Rock Raps book cover. But, the oddest assignment was for book proposal I'm glad to say didn't happen, a erotic parody of Sherlock Holmes, called "Shearlock Holmes". The short story I read was kinky version of Hounds of the Baskervilles. There is an embarrassing drawing of unnatural act with a dog, I won't share with you. Instead here are the two main characters. Hey, we all had to start our careers somewhere.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sunday Music Muse Day - Larry Coryell, Steve Khan, Gary Burton

This Sunday Music Muse Day find us enjoying a cold, bright sunny day.  After the peaceful Inauguration Day for President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, the mood of the country seems  more relaxed.  This leaves us more time to chill out with some quality tunes.  First up is Coryell-Khan Two for the Road, a CD of duet concerts by guitarists, the late Larry Coryell and Steve Khan. Both are well know for the electric guitar jazz fusion recordings, but this CD features them on acoustic guitars.  Personally, I found myself enjoying Coryell's duet and trio recordings more than his Eleventh House group recording.  Again, this is CD I picked up to replace the vinyl record in my collection, I plan to sell soon.

Next, in celebration his 78th birthday this weekend (Jan. 23)  is Gary Burton The New Quartet, a classic recording of the legendary vibraphonist. Burton mentored and started the careers of many artist including Larry Coryell and Pat Metheny.  This record just one of his many classics.  Some of my favorites are his duets with pianist Chick Corea.  

So, again, after the Inauguration there seems to a ray of the hope in the air, aided by the poet, Amanda Gorman, who's poem lifted the spirits of the whole nation.  Lets enjoy the light, and keep it shining.