Monday, May 22, 2017

John Scofield - Quiet

Ironically, Quiet finds guitarist John Scofield using a much larger group of musicians than usual. The basic band has Scofield (who sticks to acoustic guitar), Wayne Shorter on tenor, bassist Steve Swallow, and either Bill Stewart or Duduka Da Fonseca on drums. They are joined by trumpeter Randy Brecker, two French horns, two woodwinds, Roger Rosenberg on bass clarinet, and Howard Johnson on tuba and baritone. Since Scofield is mostly in the lead, the music -- eight originals by
the leader and a song by producer Swallow -- is indeed mostly at a lower volume, although there is plenty of heat, too. However, since the guitarist is less distinctive than usual due to his playing acoustically, this set is not quite as significant as his other Blue Note releases. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: John Scofield
Album: Quiet
Year: 1996
Label: Verve
Runtime: 50:46
Recorded: Power Station Studios, New York City, April 3-6, 1996

Tracks:
1.  After The Fact (John Scofield) 5:26
2.  Tulle (John Scofield) 5:00
3.  Away With Words (John Scofield) 6:49
4.  Hold That Thought (John Scofield) 6:23
5.  Door #3 (John Scofield) 5:48
6.  Bedside Manner (John Scofield) 6:46
7.  Rolf And The Gang (John Scofield) 5:23
8.  But For Love (John Scofield) 5:37
9.  Away (Steve Swallow) 3:34

Personnel:
John Scofield (Acoustic Guitar)
Steve Swallow (Double Bass)
Randy Brecker (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Charles Pillow (Tenor Saxophone, Alto Flute, English Horn)
Lawrence Feldman (Flute, Tenor Saxophone)
Fred Griffin (French Horn)
John Clark (French Horn)
Roger Rosenberg (Bass Clarinet) - 1,3,4,7-9
Bill Stewart (Drums) - 1,3,4,7-9
Duduka da Fonseca (Drums) - 2,5,6
Wayne Shorter (Tenor Saxophone) - 3,5,8
Howard Johnson (Baritone Saxophone, Tuba) - 2,5,6

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Pharoah Sanders - Moon Child

By this point in his career, Sanders had largely withdrawn from the kind of screeching avant-gardism on which he at first staked his reputation. The opening "Moon Child," with its attractively spacy vocals, is reminiscent of the days of "The Creator Has a Master Plan," but this version sounds too contrived to rival the classic earlier recording. The mood is subdued throughout and the choice of tunes definitely on the conservative side ("All or Nothing at All" and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," among the six tracks). William Henderson is lovely on piano, while the drummer (Eddie Moore) and percussionist (Cheikh Tidiane Fale) keep to the quiet side. The results may have originally disappointed some of Sanders' fans, but with time the saxophonist clearly reinvented himself as a more traditional improviser capable of thoughtful and pensive deliberations. - by Steven Loewy, AMG

Artist: Pharoah Sanders
Album: Moon Child
Year: 1990
Label: Timeless Records
Runtime: 52:09
Recorded at Studio Davut, Paris, France, 12- 13. October 1989

Tracks:
1.  Moon Child (Pharoah Sanders) 8:07
2.  Moon Rays (Horace Silver) 6:10
3.  The Night Has A Thousand Eyes (Buddy Bermien/Jerry Brainin) 12:17
4.  All Or Nothing At All (Arthur Altman/Jack Lawrence) 9:23
5.  Soon (George Gerschwin) 5:29
6.  Moniebah (Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand)) 10:43

Personnel:
Pharoah Sanders (Soprano and Tenor Saxophone, Vocals)
William Henderson (Piano)
Stafford James (Double Bass)
Eddie Moore (Drums)
Cheikh Tidiane Fale (Percussion)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Jan Garbarek, Miroslav Vitous, Peter Eerskine - Star

Saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Peter Erskine have been making records for ECM for a long time, both as leaders and as sidemen. They know each other's styles well, they're familiar with ECM label head Manfred Eicher's echo-drenched production tendencies, and they know how to turn jazz formulas into hip, lyrical romanticism. On this leaderless trio album, as with most ECM releases, you get the feeling of music emerging from a vast and echoey space; Erskine's Morse-code drum accents, Vitous' thrumming basslines and the plaintive cry of Garbarek's soprano and alto saxophones are far removed from what some would consider "jazz," but that's not the point. The tunes may be somewhat interchangeable, but the music is virtuosic, thoughtful and thoroughly lovely, at times heart-tugging. Makes you wish these three would get together more often. - by Rick Anderson, AMG

Artist: Jan Garbarek, Miroslav Vitous, Peter Eerskine
Album: Star
Year: 1991
Label: ECM
Runtime: 42:23

Tracks:
1.  Star (Jan Garbarek) 6:15
2.  Jumper (Miroslav Vitous) 4:21
3.  Lamenting (Miroslav Vitous) 6:08
4.  Anthem (Peter Erskine) 6:16
5.  Roses for You (Miroslav Vitous) 5:39
6.  Clouds in the Mountain (Miroslav Vitous) 4:38
7.  Snowman (Jan Garbarek/Miroslav Vitous/Peter Erskine) 5:21
8.  The music of my People (Peter Erskine) 3:41

Personnel:
Jan Garbarek (Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone)
Miroslav Vitous (Double Bass)
Peter Erskine (Drums)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Renaud Garcia-Fons - Entremundo

Bassist Renaud Garcia-Fons' set of originals mixes together Western classical music with world music and the improvising of jazz. The resulting performances are both soothing and stimulating, with Garcia-Fons' bowed bass being quite virtuosic and expressive; his feature on "Aqâ Jân" is very impressive. The many percussion instruments add an exotic element to the music (the core trio is comprised of bass, guitar, and drums) and the leader's strong melodies are full of variety and rich themes. Despite the lack of name recognition in the U.S., this is a special release with plenty of mood variations, unexpected moments, and logical development. Entremundo grows in interest with each listen and is well worth exploring. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Some records are instantly captivating, with an ambience that immediately draws the listener in. Others require more attention, revealing layers of reward with each successive listen. The best records do both. Bassist Renaud Garcia-Fons has managed with his latest disc, Entremundo , to create one of those rare recordings whose first spin compels the listener to play it again and again, revealing richer substance each time. That Garcia-Fons has been called "the Paganini of the double bass" is no surprise. One listen to the closing piece, the solo "Aqâ Jân," and the breadth of his capabilities is clearly evident. With his five-string double-bass giving him access to the range of a cello in addition to the deeper resonance of the traditional instrument, Garcia-Fons' virtuosity is remarkable. From percussive pizzicato to sweeping arco, his ability to coax distinct and unusual sonorities from his instrument is uncanny. And while Garcia-Fons' technical skill is evident from the first note of "Sueno Vivo," which opens the album, he is equally matched by his trio mates, percussionist Jorge "Negrito" Trasante and flamenco guitarist Antonio Ruiz "Kiko." Yet, for all their formidable abilities, Entremundo is never about needless pyrotechnical demonstration. From the light and airy folk sound of "Cristobal" to the lush classical leanings of the title track, Garcia-Fons and his trio, supplemented by a variety of musical guests on various tracks, are never less than lyrical and transcend being mere players. ntremundo means "Between Worlds," and while the majority of the record has a strong flamenco flavour that will appeal to fans of, for example, Strunz and Farah, it's distinguished by a breadth of world view. There are elements of Middle Eastern harmonies, Oriental lines and Latin American rhythms amidst the Andalusian themes of "40 Dias," the brief and dark "Doust," and "Sarebân," which blends in an Indian-inflected theme. Garcia-Fons states that the intention of the record is to be celebratory, and there is, to be sure, a vivacious joy to be found throughout. Passion runs wild, with Garcia-Fons leading the way with his vibrant and emotive playing. Few bassists straddle the line between being a supporting rhythm section instrument and a leading voice as well as Garcia-Fons. Regardless of where he is placing his priority, the augmented trio shuffles responsibilities seamlessly and effortlessly. This is strongly groove-centric music that moves the body as well as the heart. Another characteristic of exceptional records is to make one forget about the individual contributions and experience the music as a transcendent whole. While the admirable skill of all involved makes this sometimes difficult, at the end of the day the album succeeds as an incredibly broad cross-fusion of ethnic influences from around the globe. Entremundo succeeds in making music that draws a coherent link between various musical worlds and, consequently, lives up to its name by fusing the music of a diversity of cultures with an improvisational verve and, in the final analysis, a pure and unadulterated joy in making evocative and provocative music. - by John Kelman, AllAboutJazz.com

Artist: Renaud Garcia-Fons
Album: Entremundo
Year: 2004
Label: Enja Records
Runtime: 50:57

Tracks:
1.  Sueno vivo 4:46
2.  Cristobal 4:51
3.  Entremundo 3:59
4.  Mahoor 4:06
5.  40 Dias (Soleá) 4:43
6.  Entre Continentes 6:58
7.  Mursiya 0:48
8.  Rosario 5:15
9.  Doust 1:42
10.  Sareban 5:58
11.  Aqa Jan 7:51
All compositions by Renaud Garcia-Fons 

Personnel:
Renaud Garcia-Fons (Double Bass, Vocals, Tanbur, Percussion)
Jorge Trasante (Drums, Bombo, Udu, Latin Percussion)
Antonio Ruiz (Flamenco Guitar)
Claire Antonini (Tar, Cistres, Luth Baroque)
Gaston Sylvestre (Cimbalom)
Angel Sanchez-Gonzalez (Palmas, Cajon, Jaleo, Pandeiro)
Bruno Caillat (Tabla, Daf, Kanjeera)
Philippe Slovinsky (Trumpet)
Allen Hoist (Tenor Saxophone)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Charles Lloyd - Hyperion With Higgins

The December 1999 sessions that produced The Water Is Wide yielded enough material for a second album. Hyperion With Higgins is the result, and its title reflects the sad fact that Billy Higgins, Lloyd's friend and soul mate and the session's drummer, passed away not long after the music was put to tape. The music's spiritual quality is heightened by the after-the-fact dedication. Quite unlike The Water Is Wide, Hyperion With Higgins is comprised entirely of Lloyd's original compositions, although the same lineup is featured: Lloyd, Higgins, John Abercrombie, Brad Mehldau, and Larry
Grenadier. After a couple of fairly straightforward jazz pieces ("Dancing Waters, Big Sur to Bahia" and "Bharati"), the quintet delves into two longer works: "Secret Life of the Forbidden City" and the Coltrane-esque "Miss Jessye." They then romp through the title track, a spirited mid-tempo blues, before tackling the album's centerpiece: the five-part "Darkness on the Delta Suite," an ambitious, free-leaning melange of Eastern and rural blues connotations (with a brilliant solo interlude by Abercrombie). The last two pieces -- "Dervish on the Glory B" and "The Caravan Moves On" -- depart almost completely from jazz vernacular. The former recalls the upbeat, folk-like drone of the sunset portion of "Forest Flower," while the latter, featuring Lloyd on taragato, evokes not only the Middle Eastern desert, but also the inexorable march of time. Thus does a fitting homage to the departed Higgins conclude this exceptionally focused, all-original statement from Charles Lloyd. - by David R. Adler, AMG

Artist: Charles Lloyd
Album: Hyperion With Higgins
Year: 1999
Label: ECM (2001)
Runtime: 70:07

Tracks:
1.  Dancing Waters, Big Sur To Bahia 5:51
2.  Bharati 6:59
3.  Secret Life Of The Forbidden City 10:03
4.  Miss Jessye 10:21
5.  Hyperion With Higgins 7:19
6.  Darkness On The Delta Suite 12:39
7.  Dervish On The Glory B 8:23
8.  The Caravan Moves On 8:32
All compositions by Charles Lloyd

Personnel:
Charles Lloyd (Tenor Saxophone, Tárogató [Taragato], Maracas)
Billy Higgins (Drums, Percussion)
Larry Grenadier (Double Bass)
John Abercrombie (Guitar)
Brad Mehldau (Piano)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tania Maria - Europe

This is a compilation of live performances recorded during the early '90s while Maria was touring Europe. The seven tunes are mostly high energy numbers. On "Funky Tambourine," "Senso Unico," "I Can Do It" and "Bom Bom Bom," Maria plays in a quartet format, with Mitch Stein on guitar; Anthony Jackson, bass; and Steve Gadd, drums. "Chuleta" and "O Bom E" has a rhythm section of bassist Kip Reed, percussionist Armando Marcal and drummer Kim Plainfield. Trumpeter Rick Savage and saxophonist Jim Clouse are also heard on these cuts. "She's Outrageous" features bassist Sergio Brandao, percussionist Sammy Figueroa and drummer Ricky Sebastian. All tunes and arrangements are by Maria. "Funky Tambourine" builds to a crescendo with Maria's staccato piano and percussive scatting, Stein's soaring guitar, and Gadd's intense drumming. "Chuleta" [pork chop] is frenzied and spontaneous. "Senso Unico" and "O Bom E" are balladic numbers. Maria's emotional style, her funky drive and drama, propel her bandmates to exceptional levels of musicianship. - JazzTimes.com

Artist: Tania Maria
Album: Europe
Year: 1997
Label: New Note
Runtime: 51:35

Tracks:
1.  Funky Tambourine 10:09
2.  Senso Unico 8:22
3.  I Can Do It 5:47
4.  Chuleta 5:03
5.  O Bom E 5:50
6.  She's Outrageous 10:03
7.  Bom Bom Bom Tchi Tchi Tchi 6:21
All compositions by Tania Maria 

Personnel:
Tania Maria (Vocals, Piano, Keyboards)
Steve Gadd (Drums) - 1-3,7
Anthony Jackson (Bass) - 1-3,7
Mitch Stein (Guitar) - 1-3,7
Kim Plainfield (Drums) - 4,5
Kip Reed (Bass) - 4,5
Armando Marcal (Percussion) - 4,5
Rick Savage (Trumpet) - 4,5
Jim Clouse (Saxophone) - 4,5
Ricky Sebastian (Drums) - 6
Sergio Brandao (Bass) - 6
Sammy Figueroa (Percussion) - 6

Monday, March 6, 2017

Anouar Brahem - Conte de l'incoyable amour

Conte de L'incroyable Amour is Tunisian composer and oud virtuoso Anouar Brahem's follow-up to his excellent ECM debut, Barzakh. Like its predecessor, this release contains original material that mixes Arabic music and jazz improvisation and features a stellar band comprised of some of Turkey's finest musicians (this time out Brahem is joined by clarinetist Barbaros Erkose, nay (reed flute) player Kudsi Ergune, and the percussionist from Barzakh, Lassad Hosni). In contrast to Barzakh's livelier mood, though, the sound here is more meditative and even stark at times, especially on solo flights by both Brahem ("Iram Retrouvee") and Erkose ("Etincelles") and by way of Erguner's ethereal improvisations ("Diversion"). The pace picks up on the sympathetically played and joyous ensemble piece "Conte de L'incroyable Amour" and on the impassioned Brahem and Erkose duet, "Nayzak." ECM's typically sparse and airy production compliments Brahem's ascetic material without making it sound too dry. A wonderful album that, upon repeated listening, reveals many transcendent moments. - by Stephen Cook, AMG

Anouar Brahem is a Tunisian who is one of the leading present exponents of the oud, a lute-like stringed instrument. Brahem's music is anything but 'exponent'-sounding, however--he makes regular excursions into the world of jazz and crossover (a project of some years back with Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek was wonderful), along with recording pieces with a more traditional sound. This cd is langorous and exotic-sounding with a good bit of a jazz feel thrown in for good measure; it is mostly quiet, introspective and wandering (even ambient), with occasional explosions of what might be termed "rhythmic urgency." It frankly takes a bit of getting used to, but if you like unpretentious, intimate music and can get into this particular blend of North African instrumentation (oud, clarinet, nai flute, and bendir and darbouka), you may well find it very attractive.- by C.H. Smith, Amazon.com

What you will hear in this album is magic solitude. Is silence. Brahem explores the mystical sounds rooted deep inside us, and only giving these his most familiar form, through his oud. This music is born for artists, for sensitive creative people. For rare moments of true happines.- by Alex Balint, Amazon.com

Artist: Anouar Brahem
Album: Conte de l'incoyable amour
Year: 1992
Label: ECM
Runtime: 59:26
Recorded: 1991. October at the Rainbow Studio (Oslo, Norway)

Tracks:
1.  Etincelles (Anouar Brahem) 3:21
2.  Le Chien sur les genoux de la devineresse (Anouar Brahem) 3:44
3.  L'oiseau de bois (Anouar Brahem) 4:48
4.  Lumiere du silence (Anouar Brahem) 5:15
5.  Conte de L'incroyable amour (Anouar Brahem) 10:51
6.  Peshrev Hidjaz Homayoun (Veli Dede) 5:03
7.  Diversion (Kudsi Erguner) 5:39
8.  Nayzak (Anouar Brahem) 5:32
9.  Battements (Anouar Brahem) 1:56
10.  En souvenir d'Iram (Anouar Brahem) 3:02
11.  Iram retrouvée (Anouar Brahem) 3:48
12.  Epilogue (Anouar Brahem) 6:21

Personnel:
Anouar Brahem (Oud)
Barbaros Erköse (Clarinet)
Kudsi Erguner (Nay)
Lassad Hosni (Bendir and Darbouka)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Rothenberg, Boone, Velez - On the Cliffs of the Heart

Celebrated musician, composer, author, and philosopher naturalist, David Rothenberg, is known for his extensive and extraordinary work researching and reacting to the relationship between humanity and nature. His performance at apexart will present examples of his work playing music live together with different creatures, from Why Birds Sing (2005) where he played with lyrerbirds, Thousand Mile Song (2008) where he joined singing humpback whales, and Bug Music (2013) where he was covered in 17-year cicadas. As a composer and jazz clarinetist, David Rothenberg has nine CDs out under his own name, including On the Cliffs of the Heart, named one of the top ten CDs by Jazziz magazine in 1995.- Apexart.org

Artist: David Rothenberg, Graeme Boone, Glen Velez
Album: On the Cliffs of the Heart
Year: 1995
Label: New Tone Records
Runtime: 57:25

Tracks: 
1.  In My Heart There Is a Discord (David Rothenberg / Graeme Boone) 4:12
2.  Man of Constant Sorrow (Traditional) 5:13
3.  Prelude to the Dance of the Dervish (Traditional) 4:28
4.  Chikadedumpewaa (David Rothenberg / Graeme Boone) 2:34
5.  Joie Plaisence (David Rothenberg / Graeme Boone) 5:40
6.  Tales of the Big Drum (David Rothenberg / Graeme Boone) 7:44
7.  I See the Great Mountains (Traditional) 4:14
8.  Aux Marches du Palais (Traditional) 7:06
9.  My Life With the Wave (David Rothenberg / Graeme Boone) 4:52
10.  Rai for Don (David Rothenberg / Graeme Boone) 5:59
11.  On the Cliffs of the Heart (David Rothenberg / Graeme Boone) 5:23

Personnel:
David Rothenberg (Clarinet)
Graeme Boone (Banjo)
Glen Velez (Frame Drums)

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