Saturday, March 31, 2012

Today's Additions

I just uploaded Steve Lehman's cut 'Post-Modern Pharoahs' from his superb album Artificial Light.  Lehman and Mark Shim on saxophone, Chris Dingman on vibes, Drew Gress on base, and Eric McPherson on drums. 

I also added 'Get On The Plane', from Crossing Division by School Days.  This is a really intense avant garde that will turn the soul of anyone who really likes the sound of a saxophone.  Here is the lineup:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Vijay Iyer 2

I am adding 'Kinship' to my playlist, from Iyer's 2003 album, Blood Sutra.  The lineup includes 
  • Rudresh Mahanthappa on alto sax, 
  • Stephen Crump on bass, and 
  • Tyshawn Storey on drums. 
I had been playing a cut from Mahanthappa's album, Apex, called 'Summit'.  I have replaced it with 'Rainier and Theresia', a much more compelling and delicious number.  

I have just listened to another cut from Blood Sutra, and it is so bloody good.  'Because of guns/Hey Joe Redux'.  Avant garde does blues across the spectrum of the heart.  This one had me jumpin' in the kitchen.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Vijay Iyer's Solid State Jazz

I frequently read scientific journals both as part of my scholarly work and because of a general interest in science.  It is not often that I come across a reference to jazz in such publications.  This week I read a short and fascinating article on pianist Vijay Iyer in Nature.  It turns out that Iyer was working on a PhD in solid state physics and doing research on materials when his night job turned into a day job. I don't think the PhD ever happened. 

Though I had heard of Iyer, it aroused my curiosity why I didn't have any of his recordings.  In short order I developed a hypothesis.  Most of my jazz collecting has been directed by the inestimable Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, Eighth Edition.  Iyer's entry occurs on page 679, but very on the right column of the page.  I probably just missed it.  

Well, I have been listening now and I am very interested.  When my eMusic credits renew tomorrow, I will start to fill this gap in my treasury.  Meanwhile I have purchased his latest album, Accelerando, from Amazon.  I am playing 'Human Nature' from that album.  Here is the trio:
I expect I'll be adding a lot more.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Don Cherry

Many avant garde jazz men have attempted compositions on the scale and of the form of the great classical composers.  Don Cherry is a fine example.  The two CD set The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Don Cherry presents this work.  It is very hard, very compelling music.  You can find part of this music on Cherry's recording Complete Communion

I am playing the title cut from that album.  Here is the lineup: 
'Complete Communion' is a marvelous articulation of the soul of jazz along a number of traditional dimensions.  Like a lot of Cherry's music, it is drum heavy, but everyone gets their time here.  I really dig this music.

Many jazz fans will know Cherry only from his album with Coltrane: The Avant Garde.   I am playing 'Bemsha Swing', a great Monk tune, and 'Focus on Sanity', an Ornette Coleman composition.  Here is the lineup from that recording:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Please Ms. Postma

If you are reading this blog (if you aren't, who am I talking to?), please take a few moments to comment.  I had no friends when I was a child.  I am desperate for recognition.  

Now that I got that out of my system, a rather long time ago one of my readers directed my attention to Tineke Postma.  I acquired her album First Avenue at the time, and have enjoyed it many times since.  I just purchased a second album, The Dawn of Light.  Both are very good.  

Ms. Postma is a saxophonist based in Amsterdam and New York.  Her jazz has a very bright, crisp sound.  It always reminds me of fine restaurant/club, where every surface is shiny.  Standing on the stage and creating that room is Postma's sound.  To say that her playing is excellent is misleading.  It is, but it is also pensive and inventing.  She always seems to be working her way around something in a very breathy way.  Whatever you're thinking, stop it.  This is more interesting. 

I am playing 'Off Minor' from The Dawn of Light, a very daring reinvention of Monk's tune.  Should anyone think that Postma isn't serious, that person should seriously listen to this cut.  I am also playing 'The Man Who Stared At Coats.'  This is a good showcase for her band, which is inevitably tight.  Marc van Roon is soo good on piano.  I am also playing 'Moody Voyage' from First Avenue.  Here are the lineups: 

The Dawn of Light
  1. Tineke Postma; saxofoon, 
  2. Marc van Roon; (elektrische) piano, 
  3. Frans van der Hoeven; bas, 
  4. Martijn Vink; drums, gast: 
  5. Esperanza Spalding; zang  
Okay, Esperanza zang on one cut. 

First Avenue
  1. Tineke Postma (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); 
  2. John Ruocco (clarinet); 
  3. Rob Van Bavel (grand piano, Fender Rhodes piano, keyboards); 
  4. Martijn Vink (drums)
 Okay, that was a great review, no?  Now I want a comment from Postma.  I think I earned it.  She certainly earned this review.  I'll take what I can get.  Like I said, I had no friends as a child.  Now?  I ain't sayin'. 

William Parker Makes My Day

I just downloaded Evolving Silence Vol. 1, by Hamid Drake, Albert Beger, and William Parker.  Drake plays drums, Beger plays sax and flute.  Parker, of course, is the genius on bass.  The cut I am playing, 'The Naked Truth' will root out all the plaque from your gums if you let it. 

Parker might be the greatest jazz composer of our age, whatever our age is.  I also loaded a piece from his monumental album The Mayor of Punkville, with William Parker and The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra.  'Oglala Eclipse' is quite an adventure.  Enjoy. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More Trane

I think that the most essential Coltrane issue is the The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings.   That collection is the heart of John Coltrane.  Less well known is Live At the Village Vanguard Again!  It's no rival to the former, but it is still full of unstable genius bursting forth in all directions.  I am playing 'Naima'.  Here is the band:
The cut features a long, leathered  solo by Sanders.  I like it, like it or not.  There is Trane enough for everyone here. 

I am also playing the same composition from the 1961 recordings.  This is the live one.  Here is a marvelously complete list of the personnel: 
  • Double BassJimmy Garrison (tracks: 1.1, 1.3, 2.3, 3.1, 3.3, 3.6, 4.1, 4.3, 4.4), Reggie Workman (tracks: 1.1, 1.2, 1.4 to 2.5, 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 4.1 to 4.5)
  • DrumsElvin Jones (tracks: 1.1 to 2.1, 2.3 to 4.5), Roy Haynes (tracks: 2.2)
  • Oboe, Bassoon [Contra]Garvin Bushell (tracks: 2.3, 2.4, 4.4, 4.5)
  • OudAhmed Abdul-Malik (tracks: 1.1, 2.3, 4.1)
  • PianoMcCoy Tyner (tracks: 1.1, 1.3 to 1.6, 2.3 to 2.5, 3.2 to 4.5)
  • Saxophone [Alto], Clarinet [Bass]Eric Dolphy (tracks: 1.1 to 2.4, 3.3 to 3.5, 4.1, 4.3 to 4.5)
  • Saxophone [Soprano, Tenor]John Coltrane 
The cut I am playing is 1.6.  Eric Dolphy has something to say here, as does Tyner.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Trane Box 1

I am listening to John Coltrane tonight.  Prestige issued three marvelous box sets: Fearless Leader, Interplay, and Sidesteps.  They are reasonably priced and if you've got 'em you have got a lot of Trane.  I am playing some cuts from Sidesteps.  'Witch's Pit' was released on Dakar
'Minor Mishap' has been one of my favorite cuts for decades.  It was released on The Cats.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day & Taxi, More or Less,

Christoph Gallio's Day and Taxi recordings are exquisitely bold expressions of avant garde jazz.  This is music that will never be popular.  It is music for those who seek purity of thought.  I have been enjoying About for some time.  Tonight I began listening to a second album from the same session: Less and More.  This music reminds me of the more laconic work of Steve Lacy.  Gallio uses his horn like an icebreaker.  It rides up over the shell and breaks down into it.  

I am playing 'To Walk On Eggshells', to make the point.  Behind Gallio are: