Saturday, 28 May 2011

Listening back: Brian Jones

Listening to the rear, we chronicle the happenings to the camel's free weekly jazz on Tuesday night series. Be there if you can.

After a bit of a break, found his back listening. In an effort to catch up, a new set, published all day until that the coffers are empty. On this recording, drummer Brian jones hosts a meeting of Richmond. Guitarist Sean Moran (look at the history here), guitarist Adam Larrabee and bassist Randall Pharr relive late 90′s chemistry while exploring new music and a few blankets on this memorable set.

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Check back tomorrow for more of Brian Jones and keep checking back every day until that empty us the vault.

Make Me Rainbows, Royce Campbell Trio - Albums

Prolific discography Royce Campbell is certainly one of the widest in the jazz guitar circles today. That this is its outputs solos exceptional, his tribute tinted gypsy or his albums of revised standards, Campbell seems unfavourable to repeat himself, even though all of her work shares a melodic sensitivity pronounced. Make me Rainbows, a repeat of his 1995 album, the steps of Campbell in the trio of classical organ with musicians legendary Melvin Rhyne and Jimmy Cobb. In view of this range, it is not a question of if the session will smoke, but only way hot.

The fire immediately ignites with "Mr. Montgomery", a tribute bouncing to Wes Montgomery with whom Rhyne and Cobb played. Assured in its own approach to stylist, Campbell intelligently integrates ways of the great jazz guitar without falling into mimicry. Lose none of its young agility when Rhyne lets loose with an organ solo one could be forgiven to confuse the Decade. The sensation of vibrator continues in "softly, as in a morning Sunrise" which Campbell was reworked in time waltz. Light touch of Cobb really shines on this cut - it along propulsion while never dwarfed the other. Especially pleasant that here is the way in which the support of the Rhyne intertwines with clever lines of Campbell. On the slower side, the ballads are equally interesting and harmonically fertile. "ruby" and "You go to My Head" show the Rhyne lush beauty of chordal accompaniment as well as the possibility of Campbell to play in and around support smooth while that never yield harmonic voice to it.

Fortunately, make Me Rainbows was saved from out-of-print hell with this new edition. Precisely, that it deserves to be heard again. The warm patch of the consolidation of battery-organ-guitar classic shimmer with rich with accents, and the trio of Campbell, Rhyne and Cobb, harmonic and rhythmic interaction is I expressive throughout.

Buddy DeFranco + Tommy Gumina

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Among the least known but most fascinating jazz recordings of 02a the early 1960s are five albums recorded by a quartet co-led by clarinetist Buddy DeFranco and accordionist Tommy Gumina. The first album was recorded for Decca in 1960 while the balance were done for Mercury through 1964. For some odd reason, none of the albums have been reissued on CD, and mint copies of the LPs go for double-digits at eBay. [Pictured: Buddy DeFranco and Tommy Gumina, courtesy of Tommy Gumina]

What made these recordings special was their sophisticated?approach. Both DeFranco and Gumina Screen shot 2011-05-23 at 9.32.30 PM were monster swingers and technicians. They also were fully aware of the pitfalls of combining a clarinet and accordion. Together, the instruments' pleasing personalities pull naturally toward commercial pop, which was the kiss of death for true jazz artists.

So Buddy and Gumina came up with a way to keep the music interesting: They played in a polychordal style— DeFranco-Gumina meaning?Buddy would run the chord changes to a song on the clarinet while improvising. Gumina would voice the song's chords in such a way that he'd be playing in a different key. The resulting sound was provocative without ever losing the melodic quality of the songs. [Pictured: The Buddy DeFranco-Tommy Gumina Quartet, courtesy of Joyce and Buddy DeFranco]

I spoke with Buddy, 88, last week about this nearly forgotten, short-lived quartet and what they were trying to achieve:

JazzWax: When did you first meet Tommy Gumina?
Buddy DeFranco: I met Tommy through my drummer Slingerland Frank DeVito. In late 1959, I was looking for a piano player for a weekend gig at a club in California. I called Frank for a recommendation. He called me back and said he couldn’t find a pianist, that everyone was working that weekend. But he said he knew of a terrific accordion player.

JW: What did you think?
BDF: I thought no way. An accordionist in 1960 was the kiss of death. It was a fast way to sound like a lounge act. When I mentioned this to Frank, he protested. He said, “No, no, Buddy, this guy is different.” I needed a keyboard for the date, so I went ahead and hired Tommy.

JW: How did it work out?
BDF: That night, when we first played together, we clicked. Most accordion players, even the ones who claim to be jazz 04a players, didn’t really know how to function in that space on a sophisticated level. Many could swing, but their voicings were fairly predictable. Tommy was different.

JW: How so?
BDF: He was an experimental musician. He had a special accordion made with a row of bass line chords as well as root 7 and root 10 chords. That gave enormous depth to the bottom of what we were doing. Tommy had an ear for swing but also an unbelievable technique. He was very different from everyone else. He was technically advanced beyond most people on the instrument.

JW: Was the quartet always going to be about polytones?
BDF: Yes, it was. Tommy and I had already been fiddling Profile52 around with polytonal music on our own. So was Nelson Riddle. We were kind of gearing toward it. But instead of sticking with polytones—notes played in two different keys—we changed it to polychordal.

JW: What is polychordal?
BDF: As I’m playing in one key, Tommy was playing unusual structures of chord progressions 264356466_ac958e0fe8 so it sounded like a different key. I was able to play along, traveling in any of the chord structures he put together. To the average ear, the joy is in the clash of these two keys. The result was a texture that sounded both off kilter and just right. A little messy but right on target.

JW: A dumb question—was Spud Murphy’s "equal interval system” related to what you were trying to achieve with Gumina?
BDF: That’s not a dumb question at all. Spud’s system was indeed the beginning of that. Tommy and I—and Nelson Riddle—elaborated on it.

JW: How soon before you both realized you had a good thing going?
BDF: Almost immediately. It was incredible. It was a 096249 combination of being able to swing and having knowledge of polychordal devices, being able to play with those upper-structure triads. With what we were doing, you had a basic chord and then two or three other chords placed above that structure.

JW: How could you play with such complexity and speed?
BDF: What do you mean?

JW: The music sounds hard to play yet travels fast and never loses its swinging jazz feel.
BDF: If you have an ear for it and a tendency to play that way, you wind up with a free feeling. We had an unlimited Screen shot 2011-05-23 at 9.28.21 PM source of harmonies. To the average ear, you sense something sophisticated is going on but you can’t quite figure it out. Mind you, this had nothing to do with free jazz. We were playing within a structure.

JW: Is it fun to play clarinet with an accordion behind you?
BDF: Fun?

JW: Yes. The instrument has such a rich personality, especially when it swings.
BDF: Oh, my yes. The sound is full, like an organ, but it inhales and exhales, providing a thick base for me to operate from creatively. More important, with Tommy, he was doing complex things back there, which made the experience for me more challenging.

JW: And yet with the accordion, you must have been constantly walking a fine line between jazz and pop.
BDF: That’s true, but it was never a concern. We were Screen shot 2011-05-23 at 9.28.58 PM operating on a complex level. We never slipped into that obvious clarinet-accordion feel. And that’s probably why we never caught on [laughs]. People saw a clarinet and accordion and expected a very specific sound. What they got was much more challenging musically. Maybe 10 years earlier, what we were doing would have been more accepted. Instead, we were a bit too complex to catch on commercially.

JW: How would you two work together?
BDF: Tommy always used his left hand to play root 7 and 10 chords, so we never lost the basis of the entire 05a composition. He was so good he was able to function in two or three keys above that. I was playing in and out of upper-structure triads. The concept was to play freely, not contrived. He got the whole tonality thing.

JW: Did you work out the arrangements in advance?
BDF: A lot of what we did was worked out, but it wasn’t 240px-Buddy_De_Franco,_New_York,_ca._Sept._1947_(William_P._Gottlieb_01941) contrived. One thing led naturally to the next. Tommy would get a bright idea and then I would pick up on it and develop it. Or sometimes I would play something that would bring him into another dimension. Everything always seemed to flow. We didn’t think about sticking to a rigid formula. We just did it. We both had an ear for tonality.

JW: And yet Decca took a chance and signed the group for its first album in 1960.
BDF: At most of the record companies, the a&r guys bought what we did. They had ears and liked what we were developing. They saw how different it was.

JW: Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year from the Polytones LP is a particularly beautiful arrangement.
BDF: That was basically Tommy’s arrangement. Tommy Dorsey used to say, “There’s a tempo for every Tommy2 song.”?Tommy’s arrangement for Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year was taken at the perfect tempo. I had a good flair for polytonality, so I had fun on there. Tommy had an exceptional talent for understanding two or three tonalities at the same time, and you could hear it all on that song.

JW: Did the quartet tour?
BDF: We toured quite a bit, all over the country. But it was hard to stay afloat financially. Many weeks Tommy had to go into his bank account to keep the group going. The 6a00e008dca1f08834011570d7b63d970c-300wi audiences were so hard to predict. Sometimes we’d be in some obscure town and the club would be packed with people who’d jump up and down. In other towns, big ones, we’d play and get almost no reaction. We had our fans, though, even some fanatics, too. Movie composer David Raksin followed us around whenever we were in California. He loved us.

JW: Did you get bad requests?
BDF: What do you mean?

JW: You know, like some drunk guy insisting you play Marie?
BDF: [Laughs] Most of the time the requests were worse than Marie. Sometimes they’d ask for a Lawrence Welk song. Tommy had a little temper. Plenty of times I had to talk him out of throwing his accordion at them.

JW: Why did the group break up in 1964?
BDF: We ran out of places to play.? Rock and roll reared its ugly head. Theaters closed, clubs closed, radio programs Beatle+Wigs folded. When the Beatles came from England and played, a true musician couldn’t believe it. It was impossible to fathom how that music was so popular and why it was putting so many great musicians out of work.

JW: Looking back, what do you think about this quartet?
BDF: I still feel great about what we did. We had some pretty good times. Once in a while we’d hit it just right. Most of the club owners knew what they were buying when they hired us. They were mostly jazz clubs and the owners could relate to our experimentation.

JW: Which album was the high point?
BDF: I like Polytones best. We really hit our stride on there.

JW: When you boil down Gumina’s playing, what was so 09a appealing about it from your perspective?
BDF: Tommy had a technique like Art Tatum's. That brush of notes energizes me. It was special, and for a player, exciting. It challenged me to try to new things, to take risks. It was both inspiring and competitive. That quartet was one of the highlights of my career. It’s still pleasing to the ear without selling out.

JazzWax tracks: Between 1960 and 1964, Buddy DeFranco and Tommy Screen shot 2011-05-23 at 9.32.30 PM Gumina recorded five albums. They are: Pacific Standard Swingin' Time (1960), Presenting the Quartet (1961), Kaleidoscope (1962), Polytones (1963) and The Girl From Ipanema (1964).

My favorite is Presenting the Quartet. Unfortunately, none of the LPs has been released digitally, making the five albums a prime candidate for a Mosaic Select release. Some of these albums may be available at download sites.

JazzWax note: For more on Tommy Gumina, go here.

JazzWax clip: Now would I write this long, enticing post without leaving you with a taste of what this brilliant group sounded like? Of course not. Here's Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year, from the quartet's Polytones LP. Dig the polychordal mashes of Buddy DeFranco and Tommy Gumina, that swell intoxicating tempo and the swirl down at the end...

17 Hippies: Phantom Songs - review

A band sophisticated and unusual Berlin singing in French, German and English, 17 Hippies spent 16 years in developing an unlikely style that mixes the French chanson and German cabaret with Gypsy music of the Balkans and Americana, with a dash of what either of calypso styles of the Middle East lifted. Hippies are currently a group of 12 parts and they play anything brass accordion, violin, ukulele and banjo, sometimes sounding like a cool European meet all also hard-to-categorize Pink Martini.

As these accommodating American mavericks, they are excellent musicians and a singer fine, Kiki Sauer, which is at its best here with the tone foreign gently edgy, which corresponds to the song with what sounds like support hidden for a spaghetti western. Moreover, European dance is singer Dirk Trageser tackles the influences on the backs of brass and accordion Biese Bouwe; a third singer, Christopher Blenkinsop, echoed Leonard Cohen on through waters; and there is a jazzy reworking, brass and violin of Gimme Dat Harp Boy of Captain Beefheart. Some songs more than Sauer would have been welcome, but it is a courageous and entertaining global fusion which deserves international success.

Writings of musical Hightower of the Octave-Thomas V√°czy

I ran across an interesting web page written by a Danish named Thomas Vaczy Hightower. This stuff is up my alley. Hightower wrote Music & Society, creation of ranges, harmonics on consciousness and health effects, spheres of music with and other acoustic esoteric ideas.

Page of ' The Musical Octave' of Thomas Vaczy Hightower

Colin Vallon Trio: Live in Santa Monica - Concerts

The Jazz Bakery non-profit Culver City is one of the two or three sites most important jazz in the megapolis of Los Angeles for 17 years. He lost his lease, and closed in June 2009. Miraculously, he was rescued by a grant from the Annenberg Foundation $ 2 million. The Jazz Bakery returned in late 2012, a new space performance on the Washington Boulevard, a mile from its old site.

But that still leaves a period of 3 ? years without a location, so artistic director Ruth Price has created the "Jazz Bakery Movable Feast." She continued to present jazz in places such as the Institute of musicians in Hollywood, the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles and Santa Monica borrowed keyboard Concepts.

Keyboard concepts is by far the smallest of these spaces, a room of 67-seat in a piano on the Boulevard of Santa Monica store. With its pure acoustic privacy and its magnificent Bosendorfer piano (price tagged @ $150 K), it is a chance for the Colin Vallon Trio setting. Santa Monica was the fourth stage on a tour of the United States, support ECM debut album of the trio Rruga.

It is always interesting to hear a set of jazz live immediately after the meet for the first time on record, especially when the folder is superb. Rruga continuously opens epiphanies and revelations. The question, given that the album is so spontaneous and free, was how different the Rruga live in Santa Monica would be saved by Manfred Eicher to Pernes, in France in May 2010.

In short, the answer is: very different. On the album, "Polygonia", composed by drummer Samuel Rohrer, is a mild hover triple wrinkles and chuchotees incantatory chords and then moves into something as the time time ambiguous, somewhere between 5 and 4). In Santa Monica "polygonia" was longer and more difficult and much more diversified. It is not unexpected for live music include the wider dynamic range. But Vallon in person of forms more dynamic and more impulsive, prepared to disrupt musical environments gentle with dark chords heavy and to undermine by fixing some of their fragments.

Two pieces by bassist Patrice Moret were also transformed. The folder "telepathy" slowly releases a gesture of melody above chordal obsessive repetition. In concert, she came out of its earlier cycles is diverted and dispersed. "Fjord" is the simplest on the album, a Crystal melodic, ornate, alternating with a rustle of Rohrer percussion. Keyboard Concepts has begun with a prelude of free time, Vallon plucking strings of the piano, and when he sat down and the song was quickly departed into a set of new ideas that arise for the three players in the moment.

What is important on the Colin Vallon Trio, it is that they lead you to the understanding of musical organization and space music. While they were often more aggressive in person, they were also a ready set barely impinge on silence, to reduce the content basic patterns and repeated like mantras, stay with simple figures until they melted into a trance. It is the opposite of linear music. There is no single story. There is a succession of various beautiful forms the relationship to another is never explained. But just where you thought it was music on meditation and the quest Interior, just at the point where you thought Vallon had abandoned and transcended the pianistic technique and stripped at basic runes and symbols, it broke with a right hand long, spectacular run. By integrating the most classic of development, even if exceptionally fast and complex, Vallon that see you the possibilities of musical form that you didn't know existed. They are forms which place jazz high level we know next to unfamiliar abstraction and render to manifest itself in an arc of discovery.

As Moret and Rohrer, they are independently articulated voice. Bill Evans jailli loose trio for piano, fifty years ago free bassist and drummer from their escort role. The Vallon trio gave this concept its extension farther away to date. Often, Moret and Rohrer were not clearly answered Vallon or to one another, but the assumed parallel realities. Moret drawn implacable, torsion of the lines as private rituals, sometimes broken, sometimes continuous. It was difficult to take your eyes off Rohrer. He was constantly in movement, clicks and chiming total cacophony, tapping bells with little sticks, barely affected cymbals with brushes, then suddenly erupts, securing his snare. Moret and Rohrer juxtaposed representations with the Vallon and three models superimposed in a fourth, the whole evolution which was this music. A drone in place increase and fall and take on small details. Gradually, their collective actions, the music would greatly fear the future, the rise in intensity and speed not seen before it on you.

Really listen to improvised music, is not a passive activity. It requires creativity on the part of the listener. Colin Vallon Trio requires unusual levels of patience and attention and imagination of his audience, in return, he offers unusual rewards.

Matt Lavelle - Goodbye New York, Hello World (major, 2011)

Clarinetist trumpeter and low Matt lavelle was once a contributor prolific and thoughtful on the blog of jazz Brilliant Corners , with the man who helped bring the legend of free jazz almost forgotten Logan to realize in the spotlight. It has been quiet of late, but what he did, he did wonders and allowed him to produce an excellent album. Lavelle plays an arsenal of instruments: bass clarinet and viola, Horn, trumpet, Bugle and is joined by Francois Grillot on bass, Ras Moshe to SAX tenor and Rob Hubbard drums and percussion. The music is divided into two parts inter-woven, with four tracks featuring Lavelle in the context of Duet with the three remaining performances are intense full band improvisations. "Endings and beginnings" are indicative of the track in duo, with Lavelle way playing spare and open the accompanied by Bass trumpet in a duo open and spacious. It switches to the bass clarinet on "goodbye new york, Hello world", with light pulses of clarinet playing offshore which haunted and probe the cymbals. Full band tracks are another matter entirely. "You the tonic" is a stunner of jaw dropping of nineteen minutes of intensity and composure. Horn lead the band in a bloated free-bop improvisation, building massive intensity on the back of the features solo reed. Development deeply intuitive free-jazz band delves into deeper of the musical cosmos, screeching and caterwauling sometimes, but with a purpose always, never a nihilistic way. Another band full impressive improvisation is "Wayne" where the group develops a profound statement of theme before parade trumpet and saxophone and a pace of massive battery keep things move forward inexorably. Spare solo bass clarinet opens "Choice" until everyone joins in and harmonize the horns beautifully with frottees bass and percussion. A strong and deep frottee joined by clarinet solo bass low hollow sounding are still attractive sound for apprehension. This album was very well planned out and executed with the duo and full band to many tracks. Progressive jazz lovers are advised to check this soon. Now if we only get him blogging again... Goodbye New York, Hello World - amazon.com

Send your comments to Tim. (Who is tone-deaf and can make a difference in the cornet, trumpet and Bugle).

Chamber Music Society


Centuries ago, long before the advent of radio or recording technology, chamber music was the music for the masses - the music in which people from nearly every segment of society could find meaning and relevance. A decade into the 21st century, Esperanza Spalding - the bassist, vocalist and composer who first appeared on the jazz scene in 2008 - takes a contemporary approach to this once universal form of entertainment with Chamber Music Society.

Backed by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and pianist Leo Genovese - and inspired by the classical training of her younger years - Esperanza creates a modern chamber music group that combines the spontaneity and intrigue of improvisation with sweet and angular string trio arrangements. The result is a sound that weaves the innovative elements of jazz, folk and world music into the enduring foundations of classical music.

"So much of my early musical experience was spent playing chamber music on the violin, and it's a form of music that I've always loved," says Esperanza. "I was very inspired by a lot of classical music, and chamber music in particular. I'm intrigued by the concept of intimate works that can be played and experienced among friends in an intimate setting. So I decided to create my version of contemporary chamber music, and add one more voice to that rich history."

Chamber Music Society is a place where connoisseurs of classical music and jazz devotees - and fans of other musics as well - can find common ground. The recording offers a chamber music for modern times - one that brings together people of different perspectives and broadens their cultural experience, just as it did in an earlier age.

Esperanza first took the world by storm in 2008 with her self-titled debut recording that spent more than 70 weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. Two years later, she continues to push the boundaries of jazz and explore the places where it intersects with other genres. Co-produced by Esperanza and Gil Goldstein, Chamber Music Society surrounds Esperanza with a diverse assembly of musicians. At the core are pianist Leo Genovese, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and percussionist Quintino Cinalli. The string trio is comprised of violinist Entcho Todorov, violist Lois Martin, cellist David Eggar and Gretchen Parlato on voice. The great Milton Nascimento also makes a guest appearance on one track.

This is the work of a brilliant young musical talent who isn't afraid to challenge the limits of jazz and its relationship to other forms of musical expression. Chamber Music Society is the first of two current Esperanza projects. Radio Music Society, set for release in the spring of 2011, features an exciting new repertoire of funk, hip-hop, and rock elements fused into songs that are free from genre. "I'm confident that this music will touch people," she says of Chamber Music Society. "We all want to hear sincerity and originality in music, and anyone can recognize and appreciate when love and truth are transmitted through art. No matter what else has or hasn't been achieved on this recording, those things are definitely a part of this music. Those are the things I really want to deliver."

Price: $18.98

Click here to buy from Amazon

Jazz classic meeting, in a "Caribbean Rhapsody"

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James Carter's new album, featuring compositions of Roberto Sierra, is called Caribbean Rhapsody. Enlarge Vincent Soyez/Emarcy Records

James Carter's new album, featuring compositions of Roberto Sierra, is called Caribbean Rhapsody.

James Carter's new album, featuring compositions of Roberto Sierra, is called Caribbean Rhapsody. Vincent Soyez/Emarcy Records James Carter's new album, featuring compositions of Roberto Sierra, is called Caribbean Rhapsody.

Any new recording from the spectacular saxophonist James Carter is pretty much guaranteed to produce fireworks. But his new album, Caribbean Rhapsody, is his grandest work yet: It's a collaboration with the Puerto Rican classical composer Roberto Sierra. About 10 years ago, Sierra started writing Carter a concerto for saxophones and orchestra; more recently, he's topped it off with the title track, a piece for saxophones, jazz violin and string quartet.

I was curious about this Roberto Sierra fellow — his lush textures and chromatic gestures, his folk rhythms and backgrounds for improvisation. So I brought it to the attention of my colleague Tom Huizenga, who helps to run Deceptive Cadence, NPR Music's classical blog. We had this chat over e-mail, also cross-posted at his blog.

Tom Huizenga: Patrick, I saw the new album by saxophonist James Carter and noticed it was a collaboration between him and the classical composer Roberto Sierra. If they can collaborate, why can't we? It seems like a pretty swell intersection of jazz and classical.

Patrick Jarenwattananon: Hopefully, we can be the same. So many times we get "jazz meets strings," or "jazz meets classical" where you make neither side happy. But here, I sometimes have trouble telling where the composition ends and the improvisation begins. Perhaps that's because James Carter is such an amazing player.


TH: And that's what hooked Sierra. He heard Carter play a concert with soprano Kathleen Battle back in 2001. Afterward, he found Carter backstage and said he wanted to write a concerto for him.

I remember when Carter's debut album appeared in the early 1990s, causing quite a stir. I have to admit I've lost touch with his progress of late, but listening to him play on this record, one thing is obvious, he is in total command of his saxophones – both soprano and tenor. Do jazz folks think of him as some kind of super-virtuoso?

Cover for James Carter's Caribbean Rhapsody.

PJ: Indeed. When JC On The Set came out way back when (1994, I think), it made serious waves. He was all of 25 years old, which is still super young by jazz standards. If there's a thing that critics point out most about him, it's that he's perhaps too virtuosic — i.e. prone to showboating in excess, or lacking direction with his playing. We recorded his organ combo at the Newport Jazz Festival a few years back — you can make up your own minds about that.

I'll tell you something else about Carter, though. He's made a fair amount of concept projects, like, he seems to be down for whatever interesting combination of instruments or programmatic thing gets thrown at him. He's made tributes to Billie Holiday and Django Reinhardt — some 40-50 years after their deaths — and even was a part of Gold Sounds, a jazz quartet re-envisioning of the celebrated indie rock band Pavement. So it's not surprising that his 1) virtuosity 2) curious spirit would be tapped for this.

Tell me about who he's working with. I admit I don't know much about Roberto Sierra.

TH: Roberto Sierra is an agile and thoughtful 57-year-old composer, originally from Puerto Rico. And you can hear a lot of his homeland come through in the two works he's written for Carter on this album – Concerto for Saxophones and Orchestra and Caribbean Rhapsody. He was a runner-up for a Pulitzer Prize in 2008, and I expect him to win one someday. He studied with one of the 20th century's greats, the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti. Sierra's music, though, is a far cry from Ligeti's.

Sierra's style is pretty broad — basically tonal, sometimes overtly lyrical. But I remember some years ago reviewing the world premiere performance of his piece Kandinsky for the Washington Post and in that work, he tried imitating the famous artist's bold slashes and free-floating blobs of color in a more atonal way, with clusters of chords and icy, crystalline glissandos. To my mind, some of it worked, some didn't. In this album, though, the music — especially in the Caribbean Rhapsody — has the flavor of Puerto Rican dances.

He teaches composition at Cornell University. Great orchestras around the world have performed his music. He's a little underappreciated, perhaps, although he's won his fair share of awards.

PJ: That's funny that he's studied with Ligeti. As you said, this music is basically tonal, and I definitely hear some sort of folk rhythms coursing through the "Caribbean Rhapsody." But I also hear that 20th Century high modernism thing emerge, with lots of interesting dissonances, especially in the concerto. In the third movement "Playful – Fast (With Swing)," you get this long tour through the forest of timbres, with Carter on soprano sax, and then his tenor saxophone cadenza. (Did I mention he can play all the saxophones, all really well?) Halfway through some honking, Carter kicks off a serious blues number. It's a little disjointed, but it works. What do you think?

close "Playful — Fast (With Swing)"Album: Caribbean RhapsodyArtist: James CarterLabel: EmarcyReleased: 2011

TH: Sierra says the third movement is his version of a scherzo (in classical music, that's the movement where the composer lets his/her hair down a little – "scherzo" means joke.) And you can hear some witty angularity playing off some very chromatic strings, as you mention. They have a kind of Bartok-like edge to them. This is perhaps the most virtuoso movement for Carter, with that brilliant solo, a mini-cadenza of sorts, at about 3:15 into the movement that morphs into something very funky. Then I love that point — a little calm before the storm really — where strings are in soft tremolo, with murmurs in Carter's sax both low and high, then bang! A full-tilt boogie finale that rocks, just like a good classical concerto should.

Overall, what I like about this sax concerto is that it lets the sax primarily live in its natural jazz habitat. It truly is a hybrid of a jazz saxophonist doing his thing in a classical context. But the beauty is, when you hear it, you don't think about such pointy-headed issues. The music just is what it is, and it's quite good.

But that's not the only Sierra/Carter combo on the album, there's also a 13-minute piece called "Caribbean Rhapsody."

PJ: Indeed. It ought to be mentioned that there are two Carters on this track: James Carter, again on soprano (early) and tenor (later) saxophones, and Regina Carter on violin. They're cousins, acclaimed jazz improvisers both, and both from Detroit. You hear a lot of back and forth between them, especially in the second half of this piece, with that very Caribbean clave feel that you hear everywhere in Latin music.

And that last part swings like it does in part because there are other players who can both read complicated music and improvise (if called upon, though they aren't really here, I think). Cellist Akua Dixon is fluent in jazz and put together the string quartet. On top of the string quartet, sax and solo violin, jazz bassist Kenny Davis is anchoring it all, which assures a rock-solid time feel.

TH: I love how Carter's soprano sax integrates sweetly into the fabric of strings in the opening of the piece, in a kind of bolero rhythm, with Regina and the string quartet. There's a gorgeously expressive sax solo that marks the second section at about 4:30 in. And some nice solo space for Regina, who knows a thing or two about cross-pollinating genres herself. She stopped by to give a Tiny Desk Concert here at our office and had both an accordionist and a kora player in tow. I, too, like that lengthy duet for the Carters, and then, in the final few minutes, the Puerto Rican dances come out to play — a veritable salsa party, with call and response solos from the Carters. Lots of fun.

Question is: who will this album appeal to? Will jazz fans like it if there's a strong sense of classical music; and will classical people be into Carter's jazz sax?

PJ: Well, I think a lot of jazz fans are often into classical music too — they like good writing and good playing, whichever form it takes. I think those who critique Carter for being too all-over-the-place will find some nice direction for him here, even in the solo improvisations. And I think having meaningful grooves — not a Pops orchestra playing a silly movie-theme waltz, but actual legit swing and sway – this is key. As for folks who identify themselves as mostly classical fans, I'd like to think the strength of Carter's playing here will do something. He's not exactly playing in the dirtiest, muddiest, greasiest mode (perhaps that has something to do with the way the concerto was recorded, in such a seemingly cavernous space) which could count either for or against him. I dig it, though.

TH: I like it too. And I agree, the strength of the playing and composing is compelling. It shouldn't be thought of as a crossover project — instead, as just two very accomplished musicians who have much to say when their musical worlds intersect in a remarkably satisfying way.

A Love Supreme

A Love SupremeA Love Supreme is a suite about redemption, a work of pure spirit and song, that encapsulates all the struggles and aspirations of the 1960s. Following hard on the heels of the lyrical, swinging Crescent, A Love Supreme heralded Coltrane's search for spiritual and musical freedom, as expressed through polyrhythms, modalities, and purely vertical forms that seemed strange to some jazz purists, but which captivated more adventurous listeners (and rock fellow travelers such as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, and the Byrds), while initiating a series of volatile, unruly prayer offerings, including Kulu Su Mama, Ascension, Om, Meditations, Expression, Interstellar Space. From the urgent speech-like timbre of his tenor, to the serpentine textures and earthy groove of Elvin Jones's drumming, Coltrane's suite proceeds with escalating intensity, conveying a hard-fought wisdom and a beckoning serenity in the prayer-like drones of "Psalm," where Jones rolls and rumbles like thunder as Garrison and Tyner toll away suggestively--all the while Coltrane searches for that one climactic note worthy of the love he wants to share. --Chip Stern

Price: $11.98

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Album review: ' augmented reality ' by Roy Assaf, Itzik and Jorge Roeder Ronen "

Pianist Roy Assaf, drummer Ronen Itzik and bassist Jorge Roeder form Augmented Reality and has just released their first album, augmented reality:

"Whether an Assaf original as"Ohel Israel", the piece of Benny Carter"Only Trust Your Heart", or the song of Richie Beirach"Start", each room caused by a melody that lends itself well to be sung or whistled.". Dropping of angularity, Assaf, Itzik and Roeder mine for moods, reservation of intensity for moments of choice..."Read more"

Catch the trio Tuesday May 24 Cornelia Street Caf? in Manhattan for their CD release party. Sets are 8: 30 p.m. and 10: 00 p.m. Cornela Street Caf? is low, so call ahead for reservations.

[Full disclosure: Ronen Itzik is a friend to me and sometimes share us the scene, but is not impair my ability to listen to his music objectively]

Image courtesy of Daywood Drive Records

VINCE, Vaillant (Sofia, May 23, 2011)

I confess that my title is a play on the comic strip character.? But it has a more serious meaning.

With Basie, Goodman, Lombardo, Ellington and others have disappeared, how many people have led a band - not only stirred a stick - more than thirty-five years?? Vince Giordano began his career as a conductor in 1975.? I would not have believed it myself, but Dan Levinson provided this fact last Monday night to Sofia and I hope Dan in the matter.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a hero to support an eleven hot musicians so that the length of time.? Hail, Vince!

Vince and Nighthawks hold court - in a more largely affectionately swinging way - to the Cache Club in Ristorante in Sofia (i.e. a flock of steps down, near the tuba at 211 West 46th Street, New York City).

Monday night, was particularly prestigious.? In the audience were George Avakian, Frank Driggs, Leo McConville, Jr. and his wife Linda, Eric Elder, and his significant other drowned, Peter Mintun, Rich Conaty and many others.

Wonderful dancers!? Among them: Sam Huang, Michelle deCastro, Nina Galicheva, Tina Micic, Kathy Stokes, Marty Visconti, Eric Schlesinger, Celia Gianfresco, Jerry Feldman, Carolina Rueda, Eli Charne...

And the band!? Vince, course, vocals, bass, low saxophone and tuba; Mike Ponella and Randy Reinhart on trumpet / cornet. Jim Fryer on trombone. Dan Levinson, Dan Block and Mark Lopeman, reeds. Peter Yarin, piano; Andy Stein violin and baritone saxophone; Ken Salvo, banjo / guitar; Arnie Kinsella, battery.

I was sitting (with the permission of the graceful McConvilles) perpendicular to the Nighthawks table, sort of viewers JAZZ lives will immediately notice the different point of view on the half dozen videos that follow.

Here's IMAGINATION, a "modernist" piece by saxophonist / arranger and composer Joseph "fud" Livingston:

One of the two sessions of jam the evening - it on me BLUES MY NAUGHTY SWEETIE gives to.? Admire the dancers spinning approximately three minutes! :

Vince loves stir "new" arrangements for nightjars, which - being in-depth professional - read through them on the first try.? This is a certain change of pace of SWEETIE - a chart of 1920 of a modest promise of fidelity, I will be with you in APPLE BLOSSOM time - with Dan block shown on flute:

There is only nice?

Something much more addition - a romp to BORNEO, where bamboo babies are swaying to the music of Nighthawks.? Echoes of Bix, Tram, and Bill Challis:

And two for Louis, with Mike Ponella, taking solos.? One is BLUE TURNING GREY on you, a pretty Fats Waller mock-lament (Louis recorded in 1931 and then - a beautiful slow tempo - almost a quarter of a century later, a date of registration supervised by our George Avakian, in the audience Monday):

Close this post with a romping BEAU KOO JACK (translated: "lots of money!") originally recorded by Louis with Earl Hines and Don Redman, organizing and playing alto - later Hines took for his own group of Victor and had its section of trumpet play swirling solo of Louis' in unison:

Wishing all my JAZZ live readers good health, continued to happiness, beau koo jack and the ability to get in Sofia of a Monday or Tuesday night to see nightjars and the dancers in person!? (This position is for professors Sammut and Redmile, but you can join in the chorus).

HAZMAT Modine: Cicada - review

Buy the CDhazmat modinecicada - Hazmat ModineJaro2011

New Yorker Wade Schuman lack of musical ambition. His nine musicians encompasses the history of the America of the New Orleans blues , funk and jazzand adds everything that influences the adjustment; reggae, African and the countries of this second LP. A strong brass section is at the core of their sound (tuba included), but Schuman moan chromatic harmonica is also important along with his swaggering vocals. Singer Natalie Merchant help on the "Child of a Blind Man" poetics and the Kronos Quartet add dead "crow" Chamber strings, but brass parade does most of the work on a surprising, sometimes dazzling record.

Jason Parker Quartet - five leaves left

The British end-songwriter Nick drake is having something of a resurgence of jazz which now extends to this album well executed by trumpet player Jason parkerand, recently, blow by the pianist Brad Mehldau "River Man" coverage. Playing with Parker on this album is the piano, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass, of Vonne Lewis on drums and special guests Michele Khazak vocals Josh Rawlings and Cynthia Mullis saxophone tenor and flute. Five leaves is a solid if this disc a little melancholic and song is well done, with the keys on saxophone and flute, giving the procedure an Astral Weeks air to it. The whole piece is always excellent and although Parker is clearly the leader, it does not go, keeping his solos concise, allowing the band to interpret the songs in their own way. Song of haunting and slightly wracked of Michele Khazak is a key to the success of the album, especially on early tracks, "Time has told Me" and "River Man." The latter is really the centerpiece, with the song languorous weaving in and out of the music that developed in a fine improvisation. Instrumental tracks towards the end of the album are very tight and work of Drake how there is a place of performance is the jazz parameter. Five Leaves Left took time to enter, but when he clicked for me, music hit with the realization that I listened to great songs well interpreted by excellent game. I need to investigate Nick Drake, which I was not familiar with accepting it as a figure in the fringe of the Joe Boyd book. Five leaves left - Bandcamp

Friday, 27 May 2011

Birth of the Cool

Birth of the Cool2008 edition of the Jazz icon's classic album complete with 11 bonus tracks. Birth Of The Cool was originally released in 1949 and remains one of the best loved Jazz albums of all-time. On the album, Miles is joined by Kai Winding, Junior Collins, Bill Barber, Lee Konitz, Gerry Mulligan, Al Haig, Joe Shulman and Max Roach. The bonus tracks on this edition were recorded live during various radio broadcasts. Jazz Track.

Price: $6.93

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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Austin Peralta - endless planets

Young Los Angeles pianist combines modern jazz tradition on her third album. Daniel Spicer 2011-02-24

There is much to say about juvenile energy, but how far can it you get in life? Austin Peralta pianist seems to have a good crack to discover.

20 Years Los Angeles resident (and son of the original legend of skateboarding Stacy) are a former child prodigy who released his first CD, Maiden Voyage (date of the trio with Ron Carter on bass) in 2006 at the age of 15; monitoring, Mantra, followed a few months later (this time above a quintet with bassist Buster Williams veteran). This third album - her first self-produced effort and the first to include all original documents - is published on Brainfeeder, the label run by the musician of portable California Flying Lotus, alias Steven Ellison, grandnephew of John Coltrane himself immortal. Thus, it may wait until it is album coming of age, showing a new maturity, right? Well, Yes and no.

Tunes such as Capricorn and underwater mountain Odyssey are jazz big, noisy, contemporary, acoustic - at heart, Brad Mehldau horns and an injection of rock 'n' roll energy. Drummer Zach Harmon and bassist Hamilton price work a bullish momentum, crash- and even throughout the ballad Ode to love jogging with a restless reader (Note to Harmon: subtlety does not appear to use only brushes). Electronica artist Strangeloop provides discrete concatenation between tracks and the last piece, Epilogue: Renaissance bubbles, is an ambient collaboration largely insignificant with UK trip-hoppers The Cinematic Orchestra and vocalist Heidi Vogel. Yet, despite these nods to modernity, deep down, this is a very old album. Most of the tunes keep about a conventional head-solo-head structure, while Algiers - with an Arabian lilt to his hook low and good taste tablas - even has a somewhat naive stab, the kind of composition jazz "exotic" popularized by the air as Ole Coltrane, the 1960s at the beginning.

But the way most irresistible Interlude - less than two minutes of swinging deeply hard bop that perfectly mixes energy Saracens of Peralta with his respect for the past. Here is hoping that this is a preview of things to come.

Twelves - calculator

Twelves album of the Trio 2008 here comes the Woodman With His fragmented Soul, announced the arrival of a new promising jazz unit, led by bassist Riaan Vosloo and two featuring the biggest frappeurs of the revival of the 21st century Brit-jazz : saxophonist ex-latrines Mark Hanslip and fraud drummer Tim Giles. Has stimulated a quartet with the addition of guitarist Rob Updegraff, Twelves deliver on that promise - and then some.

As on the previous album, the base for adding Machine model is the kind of swinging free-bop illustrated on the album of 2005 quartet bassist of U.S. William Parker, his unit. As Parker, playing the Vosloo holds a warm throb that manages to inject a hint of soul even abstractions more fractured. Girls Party whips up to a loose yet propulsive groove, step unlike Felon Brown of Miles Davis; Although Kerfuffle begins with a short, head Parade before sliding down into a lope tough, bass and drums to be robust closely as gnarled roots. Giles - certainly one of the most talented batsmen of his generation - is on form flaming, overall spoil rhythmic games and on tracks like the opening of many splendor thing: part 1, rolling of time with the muscular audacity of a young Tony Williams.

In the context of this strong rhythmic section, two melodic voices react with surprising, almost counter-intuitive touch lightness. Hanslip quickly became one of the most original voices on the London improv scene - as recently illustrated on his album in duo with percussionist Javier Carmona, DosaDos. Here, he carefully avoids macho assignment or post-Ayler overstating, sticking instead to a clear, straight lyricism, largely the range average Horn of occupation with a stoic, cool maturity. This is an approach that leaves room for Updegraff explore slightly heavier and more extended techniques on electric guitar, echoes of Hendrix him feedback control atmospheric forth with some of the echo-tired of the many underestimated British guitarist Ray Russell.

All this adds to a yet exploratory tight set that carefully balance the brains and brawn. Here is hoping that this is not a One Shot deal of this impressive quartet again.