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.