Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day - Metheny Mehldau, Tony Williams, and RIP Larry Coryell.

Welcome to another Sunday Music Muse Day, where I share newly acquired music and old favorites, and this week to sadly note the passing of a music great.  First is a CD that its minimalist  title and cover art belies the great music of the two musician featured on it.  Metheny Mehldau is a duet CD of guitarist, Pat Metheny, and pianist, Brad Mehldau playing a set of originals by both.  The liner notes reveals their deep mutual respect for the each other, and they show that in their playing.   I've CDs of both, leading their own groups. and this CD is a nice addition to the list.

Next is an interesting find, Tony Wiliams (Anthony Williams on the original LP cover) Life Time. This was the legendary drummer's first recording as a leader, at age 19, and playing with Miles Davis, in fact the personal of this date include his Davis band mates. (I think Blue Note, the record company, used "Anthony" to make him seem more mature)  The music is more avant garde, spontaneous, and improvisational than his later Jazz Fusion group Tony William Lifetime that he formed in 1969 after leaving Miles. The word "Life Time" must have had held a special meaning Tony since he used it again for his New Lifetime groups in 1977, 1979, 1980.  His Blue Note recording definitely heralded great things to come.

On a sad note, this week marked the passing of jazz guitar great Larry Coryell.  Best known for his trailblazing jazz fusion playing. As eulogized in the New York Times, " Larry Coryell a virtuoso guitarist who in the 1960s was among the first musicians to bring a rock sound and sensibility to jazz, and who continued to blur the lines between genres throughout his career, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 73."  To me, he and his contemporaries, like guitarist John Mclaughlin and pianist Chick Corea bridged the gap between Rock and Jazz.  Once you followed these guys int the world of Jazz, it was hard to settle for a steady diet of Rock music ever again.  I featured an early album Spaces just a week or so ago, and his last recording Barefoot Man:  Sanpaku, currently, too. 

I really enjoy reaching his musical journey, and I'm sad it has ended, but he will live in the great legacy of music he has left us with. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day - Roddy Ellias, Bill Frisell, Mike Melito, Miles Davis Sextet

Welcome to another Sunday Music Muse Day, and I'm finding that music is helping me get through the stressful political news of the day.  So, here's some choice selections to ease the tensions of the day.  First a new guitarist, at least to me, Roddy Ellias Monday's Dream.  This was a random pick, a pure shot in dark purchase for me.  The simple, understated CD cover design reminded me of an ECM cover.  I like guitar trios, so, I decided to give it a shot,  I'm very glad I did. Roddy's music, from the very first notes made me think of Ralph Towner, and checking a review online, it mentioned that very point. "If there are hints of Ralph Towner in Ellias' often abstruse but nevertheless compelling compositions, it's because the two share a commonality: the evolution of harmonic languages that make them unmistakable from the first notes of a tune..." (John Kelman - all about jazz) This is very nice, introspective outing.  I hope I can find more recordings by him.

Next, is a favorite musician of mine, guitarist Bill Frisell Nashville.  Again, Bill Frisell's music defies description as he blends so many styles of music into his work.  I think of him as "Modern Americana" in the vain of Aarron Copland of "Fanfare for the Common Man" fame.  Nashville would fit nicely in this theme.

Next is a local treasure, drummer,Mike Melito In the Tradition, another excellent Hard Bop outing as a leader, recorded in 2008.  Joining Mike is another local treasure Bob Sneider, on guitar.  Mike and Bob play together constantly around the Rochester area, and their music rapport is always a pleasure to hear and watch. I missed a gig they did on Friday night, but I know I'll be seeing them again soon.

My last selection is a classic for the music, and the CD cover, Jazz at the Plaza - Miles Davis Sextet, Vol.1.  This is a nice addition to my Miles collection, and a companion to the Duke Ellington Jazz at the Plaza CD that was recorded at the same date.

I'll be turning to these great selections repeatedly in the coming days, using their music to soothe the political beast. I advise you to pick up some good music and do the same. Enjoy

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day (a day late, again) Blue Falcon, Larry Coryell, Rez Abbasi & Junction

Sorry for the erratic Sunday Music Muse Day postings, but the current political climate is distracting.  That said, maybe the best way to get through these stressful days, especially here in upstate New York where we get long periods of grey, gloomy, overcast days, is with good music.  My first selection even has a song about a disorder this causes. On the local band Blue Falcon Full Flight, John Viviani and Ben Stephanus do a  tune "S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). This is a local indie Rock band, I still have to see live.  (John is the husband of a friend, and former co-worker Deena Lipomi Viviani) Personally I like John's jazz fusion outing more, but Blue Falcon is fun band to listen to.

Next is Rez Abbasi & Junction Behind the Vibration is young group of musicans lead by guitarist Rez Abbasi who asked the question,"What might a modern jazz album sound like in the hands of contemporary musicians employing a breath of influences and current technologies?  I'll forgive Res, who wrote the liner notes, for sounding like a pretentious jerk in thinking he doing anything but reinventing the wheel. I was at the being of jazz fusion, which he wrote on his other CD of fusion tunes, Rez Abassi, Acoustic Quartet, that he skipped that period when he was studying jazz.  When you're late to the party you don't get to disrespect the pioneers who came before you.  Time will tell if Abbasi's music stand the test of time.

Speaking of jazz fusion pioneers, guitarist Larry Coryell Spaces, rates as milestone album.  I couldn't resist buying this CD of the classic album, which I still own.   With Coryell, John Mclaughlin on guitar, Chick Corea on electric piano, Miroslov Vitous on bass, and Bill Cobham this is group of musician who went on to play with, and form their own monster groups, Eleventh House (Coryell) Mahavishu Orchestra (Mclaughlin with Cobham), Return to Forever (Corea), and Weather Report (Vitous).  Those are giants Abassi needs to bow down to.

That's it for now.  This is plenty great music to drown the noise of politics for while.