Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day - Django Reinhardt, The Modern Jazz Quartet, and Kenny Burrell

Time again for another Sunday Music Muse Day.  I originally started these to help me keep up my interest in playing music, but they seem to have become an excuse to buy more CD's.  Actually, that's not a bad thing, as I was missing the pleasure of adding new music to me collection.  Especially, as I find myself fulling more holes in my jazz collection as this week's selections do. First up is Django Reinhardt: Nuages with Coleman Hawkins, a nice collection of the legendary Gypsy guitar's playing with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, from the 1930's and 40's.  The Quintet also featured legendary violinist, Stephane Grappelli.  I have some Django tunes on several guitar anthology LPs, but it's nice to have solid collection on one CD.  The bonus is the the two cuts alto saxophonist, Coleman Hawkins, joins him on.  The picture of Django is an iconic image of a "Jazzman", it just draws you it.

Continuing with the concept of filling gaps in the my collection, is The Modern Jazz Quartet Blues on Bach.  By the title you can tell the music is themed around the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.  I always loved the sound of the Modern Jazz Quartet, but surprisingly never pickup a LP.  I always enjoyed hearing them on the radio.  So this gives me a chance to spend more time with their music.

Here's another Rudy Van Gelder Edition CD which he transferred and remastered a classic Blue Note album with 24-bit technology, Kenny Burrell Midnight Blue.  I can't get enough of this classic jazz guitar playing.

A nice thing was I have a copy of the first tune on the CD, Chitlin Con Carne on the Best of Blue Note CD, I featured before.  In case you missed it, here it is again.  There a lot of great classic tunes on it.

I spied more of these Rudy Van Gelder Edition CDs at the record shop. I may have to pick them up.   Until then, enjoy.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sundy Music Muse Day - Herbie Hancock, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Dave Drubeck and Paul Desmond, and Margaret Explosion, again.

This week's Sunday Music Muse day finds me, again, happily embarrassed to feature  CDs of classic LPs the should have been in my music collection ages ago.  First, two classics by Herbie Hancock,  Maiden Voyage and Empyrean Isles.  These are solid, highly regarded sessions, of pre-Headhunter Hancock dates with many well known tunes and legendary sidemen. I'm at lost to think of reason why I didn't have the original LPs.  I do have Herbie Headhunter LP and his VSOP LP.  These are Rudy Van Gelder Edition CDs which he transferred and remastered these classic Blue Note albums with 24-bit technology.  They definitely fill another hole in my collection.  While playing Maiden Voyage, my wife asked who was playing, because she like it.  That's a sign of great music when it grabs the attention of a casual listener (in all fairness she has good taste music).

The next two selections should also have been in my music collection before now, The Dave Brubeck Quartet Time Out, join the other Brubeck CDs I've picked up this past year.  I do have other Brubeck LPs, but not "Time Out".  I know I have versions of tunes like "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and "Take Five" on other Brubeck CDs and on some Jazz collections.  It's nice to have CD of the original session.  Brubeck and Desmond, 1975: The Duets is new to me, but I love the intimacy of it.

Just to show I'm not totally stuck in the past. I picked up another CD of the local group, Margaret Explosion, who was featured in last week's post.  They "play spacey, floating dreamscapes with smart improvisational skill" and I'm liking them a lot.

Going forward to enjoy these CDs.  Enjoy.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Another Delayed Sunday Music Muse Day

Life, a college visit, and the start of the NFL season, combined to push this week's Sunday Music Muse Day to Monday, again.  This time I have some interesting and solid picks for music lovers.
First up, is another great Jazz find with my father, Sam Woodyard, on drums.  It's a Verve Master Edition reissue of the LP Johnny Hodges, Soloist with Billy Strayhorn and THE Orchestra.  "THE Orchestra" has to been the Duke Ellington Orchestra, without the Duke.  Jimmy Jones is on piano, with Billy Strayhorn as bandleader and arranger.  I enjoy finding and listening to Sam's outings with other groups, although this has him familiar grounds.  It's a great set.

 Here the original cover.
 And the original back cover.

My next selection is a local band the I saw listed to play at the Little Cafe, a small music venue, the our independent movie theatre. I checked their website and sampled their tunes from their CD, Margaret Explosion - Live Dive.  From my first impression of their name, I expect it to been a female-centric, folk-rock band, but to my surprise they're avant-garde jazz band, as one review noted they "play spacey, floating dreamscapes with smart improvisational skill".  Margaret Explosion's music reminds me of "a little" Miles Davis "In a Silent way" era music.  Even, my wife Lisa like it on first listen.  Most of their tunes are totally improvisational live tracks, so in a way they only exist on CD, so if you see them live you should expect a "Greatest Hits" set.  I missed their show this past weekend, but plan to look out for their next performance.

I also like this animated video they  did the music for.

Next is another CD by guitarist Charlie Hunter, titled "Charlie Hunter".  I think it's his first release.  I'm such a sucker for the 8-string guitar sound he gets.  The radical neck design is so interesting.  Some of his stuff can be hit and miss, it's always worth giving it a listen.

The last selection really take me back, Return to Forever - Returns.  It's 2 CD set of the Chick Corea's Return to Forever fusion band with the original members, Al Di Meola, on guitar (actually Bill Conners was original guitarist on the first album) , Stanley Clark, on Bass, Lenny White, on drums, and Chick, of course on keyboards.  This are live track recorded during their 2008 world wide reunion tour, which I missed somehow.  It's fun to listen to the old standards played with new fire and intensity of players who have continue to grow and mature.   Many times there are music nods, musical quotes, to each member's solo efforts.  This is a nice compliment to the Corea-Mclaughlin CD I featured last week.

After a busy weekend, I'm looking forward to spending time with these great tune.  Enjoy.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day - Jack DeJohnette, John Mclaughin and Chick Corea, Egberto Gismonti, and Bill Frisell, Raplh Towner, again.

Sunday got away from me, so here's my Sunday Music Muse Day post a day late.  Actually three of the selections were ones that I delayed buying in an effort to stay on a budget.  Luckily, they were still there at the music shop.  First is Jack DeJohnette, Sound Travels, a wonderful CD which finds the legendary drummer also playing acoustic piano and adding a vocal to one of the tune. Joining Jack is some exciting  young players, like Esperanza Spalding on acoustic and electric bass, and vocals, with Lionel Loueke on electric guitar.  Both Spalding and Loueke were recent purchases.  Sound Travel was one of my delayed purchases, but seeing  Spalding and Loueke as sidemen help put this on my "to buy list".  I'm glad I did.

Here a short promo video on the making Sound Travel.
Next up, two of my favorite jazz musicians from the early Jazz Fusion of the 1970s,  guitarist John McLaughlin, and piano and keyboards master Chick Corea on a 2 CD set titled John McLaughlin and Chick Corea - Five Peace Band - Live.  Listening to this music brings flashbacks of the heady days of Mahavishu Orchestra and Return to Forever, their respective groups.  An added treat is a guest spot by keyboardist Herbie Hancock joining his former Miles Davis band mates on  tune "In a Silent Way / It's About that Time"  from the Miles playbook.  Great stuff, and I like the "Fillmore East" type CD cover graphic.

The next selection is also, a 2 CD set by Egberto Gismonti, world renowned Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and composer, titled Saudacoes.  I have a many of Gismonti's ECM LPs from the 1970s and 80s and saw him  perform several times in NYC.  If your exposure to Brazilian music has been only Samba do yourself a favor and explore Egberto Gismonti's music "his works reflecting the musical diversity of Brazil. From the Amazon Indians' batuque to the Carioca samba and choro, through the Northeastern frevo, baião, and forró, Gismonti captures the true essence of the Brazilian soul in a way that is primitive, yet sophisticated, and reflects it through his personal vision, elaborated by years of classic training and literacy in a wealth of musical languages in which jazz plays a significant role." (  This CD adds that legacy.  The first CD is a 7 part suite Sertoes Veredas - Tribute to miscegenation. Quoted from the liner notes the music "takes a musical journey through Brazil, revealing, in a diffuse way, the different faces of its people, culture and history."    The second CD is a set of  guitar duets with his son Alexandre Gismonti.  Egberto's use of the 10-string classical guitar always amazed me.

The next two selection are happy follow ups to previous CDs.  Bill Frisell - Floratone  is a great companion to his Unspeakable CD I listed week week.  Again, members of the group used tape loops and the whole production reminds of the Miles Davis Bitches Brew era music, a little spacey, but very inviting and interesting.

The last pick is another Ralph Towner CD, Lost and Found, which finds Ralph in a group setting.  I couldn't pass up picking this up.  There is always room for more Ralph Towner in my music collection.

Enjoy, your Labor Day.