Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day & Taxi

I've had About by Day & Taxi sitting way down on my eMusic wish list for maybe a year.  It went on the list for the same reason as all its neighbors: The Penguin Guide to Jazz.  I am not sure quiet why I finally got around to it.  It may have had something to do with the beguiling photo on the cover.  At any rate, it is a real find, exactly the kind of thing you are going to like, if you like that sort of thing. 

Day & Taxi is a trio led by Swiss soprano saxophonist Christoph Gallio.  On the 1998 release, Dominique Girod plays bass and Dieter Ulrich is on drums.  Saxophone trios aren't common and do not seem to command a large audience.  They tend to empty the air around them like some ancient bard and lean heavily toward the moody and abstract.  Playing soprano sax does nothing to reverse the direction.  It is no wonder that sax trios almost always play avant garde jazz. 

On the other hand, I cannot thing of another sort of jazz combo that is so perfect for weaving a muscular narrative.  Ken Vandermark's DKV trio, which I reviewed recently, is a good example.  When a fine sax trio gets going on a theme, it can generate drama faster than a drum and flute with a real, live army behind 'em.  I thought that About is the closest anyone has come to catching up with the genius of Steve Lacy.  I put the best cut on the album, 'Madagaskar', up on my Jazz Note station.  You could pass it off as a Lacy trio.  The same is true of most of the cuts.  

Day & Taxi is a marvelous trio, well worth your while.  Gallio is a very thoughtful storyteller.  Girod and Ulrich provide a lot of thunder and tremor at all the dramatic moments.  This is splendid avant garde jazz. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Joyful Jazz of Noah Haidu

As spring slowly and tentatively emerges from under a  long winter, your South Dakota jazz fan dearly needs something to cheer him up.  I am listening to Noah Haidu's Slipstream.  It is doing the trick. 

Haidu is a New York pianist and member of the group Native Soul.  He is a student of Kenny Baron and Barry Harris.  The personnel on Slipstream include Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, whom I have been keeping an ear to.  Jon Irabagon plays a fine alto saxophone.  Chris Haney plays bass like he means it.  John Davis and Willie Jones III alternate on drums. 

This is a very tight and well-conducted band.  The music is energetic, straight ahead jazz joy.  I especially like Haidu's style of playing behind his horns: leading by commenting with one phrase after another.  His solos are gorgeous.  Maybe the best cut on the album is 'Float', a trio piece with Haney's bass and Davis on drums.  Pelt shines on 'Take Your Time'.  Or maybe the best cut is the opening 'Soulstep'.  That I can't make up my mind is a good sign.  

All I can tell you for sure is that I liked Slipstream, and you will too.  Buy it.  Support your friendly neighborhood jazz man.  You can hear a couple of cuts on my Live365 station.  

ps.  Check out the cut by Day & Taxi on that same station.  It's a rich horn and drums trio.  Tell 'em I sent ya. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Captain Black Big Band

Photo: Howard Pitkow -

I am just beginning to listen to the Posi-Tone recordings that the label was kind enough to send me.  As I type I have 'Here's the Captain' playin' and man oh man am I ever groovin to it.  It's the second cut from Captain Black Big Band.  The band is directed by pianist Orrin Evans.  Evans solos, as does Victor North on sax.  The recording was made at the Jazz Gallery, NYC, about a year ago.  

I don't listen to a lot of big band jazz, having an incurable fondness for the small combo.  This is the kind of album that makes me think I am really missing out.  The kind of big band that I do like has the virtues of a classical concerto, or baseball for that matter: one virtuoso stands on home plate and faces the opposing team.  You get the best of individual action and team play at the same time.  

Captain Black has everything in the playbook.  The band is superbly tight, vibrant, and confident.  I especially like the way that the compositions are laid out and succinctly stated.  One moment the whole band is producing a torrent of gorgeous sound and then the band lays down a bit, with a single, bold notes marking the way.  For the solos, little combos form and break up behind a slithering bass clarinet (Todd Marcus) or a trumpet (Walter White). 

This is a very fine recording.  It will have you dancing in the kitchen, if you can listen to in the kitchen.  Pony up for Captain Black Big Band.  Tell 'em I sent ya. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Posi-Tone Records

I received a very welcome invitation from Posi-Tone records to review some of their catalog.  I accepted the invitation, and expect to post the reviews here.  They have a new Mike DiRubbo recording, Chronos.  I can't wait to hear it.  I have a DiRubbo cut on my Live365 station right now: 'New Year's Dream' from the New York Accent Album. 

Meanwhile I have added a new Mike DiRubbo to my L365 station, as well as a toe-curlingly good cut from a Roswell Rudd album: Live In New York, with Grachan Moncur III: Motelitis.  Keep listening. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oliver Lake & Other New Music on Jazz Note

I've been grovin' to sax man (alto and soprano) Oliver Lake' magnificent Dat Love.  The album features Lyndon Achee on steel drums, which sounds weird.  On an Aurthur Blythe album that would make for a kind of Tiki Hut atmosphere.  On this album the drum simply replaces the piano.  The music is exquisite.  Reggie Washington plays electric bass and Damon Duewhite is on drums.  I've uploaded Stolen Moments, the Oliver Nelson composition that starts off the famous Blues and the Abstract Truth, and D2, a Lake composition. 

I also added 
  • Dave Liebman Trio/Gallop's Gallop/Monk's Mood
  • Dave Liebman Trio/Nutty/Monk's Mood
  • Serge Chaloff/I've Got The World on a String/Blue Serge
  • Mal Waldron Trio/Spaces/Our Colline's A Treasure
  • Charlie Mingus/Black Bats and Poles/Changes Two
  • Lars Guillin/Danny's Dream/Danny's Dream