Thursday, July 17, 2014
Sometimes you just want to hit play and hear something that you were waiting for, something that joins to your heart like a key to a lock. It isn’t easy to find that key, even when you have a large jazz library. There is too much to choose from.
Tonight the lock and the key met. I am presenting a paper at the International Political Science Association in Montreal next week and I have been making notes all day. I wanted some music to settle me in as I anticipate the plane ride and a city I have never seen. I got this CD to review and boy did it do the trick.
Andrew Hadro’s For Us, The Living is just splendid jazz. Hadro plays baritone sax and flute. I am very fond of the low horn. It just seems to dig down into my heart. Here is some info on the band:
Hadro's band is a powerhouse, starting with veteran drummer and bandleader Matt Wilson, whose unerring time and creative use of sound give the rest of the band a strong foundation for exploration. Pianist Carmen Staaf, recently accepted to the exclusive Monk Institute, shows again why she's one of the current jazz scene's most sensitive and inventive players. Bassist Daniel Foose works well with Wilson rhythmically and with Staaf harmonically. Together the quartet creates a rich sonic world for each of these compositions.
The album's title comes from President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Lincoln's speech, which marked its 150th anniversary in 2013, urged Americans to appreciate, honor and respect the unsung and fallen heroes, and to further their unfinished work and thus usher in a new era. Hadro felt it a fitting title for an album featuring current American composers who are carrying on the tradition of those who came before.
As I was schooled under a Lincoln scholar, Harry Jaffa, I cannot but salute the historical reference in the title. Lincoln saved the United States both by preserving the Union and by returning it to the founding principle that “All men are created equal”. That is the root from which all American culture flowers. I am profoundly grateful to see this brilliant flower.
Hadro’s band erupts with moody significance. It lifts all sails. All the band is superb. Staaf’s piano makes me want to learn to play the damn thing and makes me despair of ever doing so. Foose keeps laying down pegs into the soil. Wilson’s drumming punctuates my mood.
This is excellent jazz. Buy the disc, if ever you listened to good advice. I am playing
‘Allegrecia’ and ‘Wadding the Sea’ on my Live365 Station.