Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wayne Shorter - Night Dreamer

Tenor-saxophonist Wayne Shorter's Blue Note debut found him well prepared to enter the big time. With an impressive quintet that includes trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Elvin Jones, Shorter performed a well-rounded program consisting of five of his originals (this CD reissue adds an alternate take of "Virgo") plus an adaptation of an "Oriental Folk Song." Whether it be the brooding title cut, the Coltranish ballad "Virgo" or the jams on "Black Nile" and "Charcoal Blues," this is a memorable set of high-quality and still fresh music. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Wayne Shorter
Album: Night Dreamer
Year: 1964
Label: Blue Note (1987)
Runtime: 48:10

1.  Night Dreamer (Wayne Shorter) 7:18
2.  Oriental Folk Song (Traditional/arr. Wayne Shorter) 6:54
3.  Virgo (Wayne Shorter) 7:08
4.  Virgo (alternate take) (Wayne Shorter) 7:01
5.  Black Nile (Wayne Shorter) 6:29
6.  Charcoal Blues (Wayne Shorter) 6:54
7.  Armageddon (Wayne Shorter) 6:22

Wayne Shorter (Tenor Saxophone)
Lee Morgan (Trumpet)
McCoy Tyner (Piano)
Reggie Workman (Double Bass)
Elvin Jones (Drums)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kolinda - Ráolvasás (Incantation)

Kolinda plays complex folk music with diverse instrumentation and with medieval and Eastern influences. They lived in France for a time, and were produced by Hughes de Courson of the French folk group Malicorne. Kolinda disbanded in 1979, only to reform five years later. After playing as a group for 11 out of the past 16 years, with 7 albums under their belts, Kolinda is still relatively unknown in their native Hungary and virtually unheard of in North America.- from

Artist: Kolinda
Album: Ráolvasás (Incantation)
Year: 1997
Label: Fonó Records
Runtime: 51:59

1.  Hármasugrás (Skip in Threes) (Peter Dabasi) 3:48
2.  Szótlan Dallamok (Without Words) (Peter Dabasi) 4:34
3.  Ráolvasás (Incantation) (Peter Dabasi) 6:28
4.  Álom-tó (Dream Lake) (Peter Dabasi) 3:57
5.  Botladozva (Stumbling) (Peter Dabasi) 3:04
6.  Elégia (Elegy) (Peter Dabasi) 4:26
7.  Kötõdések (Affinities) (Lilla Varhelyi) 1:26
8.  Hétrõl hétre (Sevens) (Peter Dabasi) 3:15
9.  Négyszemközt (Face to Face) / Air az ötben (Air in Five) (Peter Dabasi) 6:45
10.  Tivadar - hommage á Jacob van Eyck (Gyorgy Robert) 2:37
11.  Vadorzó (The Poacher) (Peter Dabasi) 3:55
12.  Románc (Romance) (Peter Dabasi) 4:00
13.  Coda (Peter Dabasi) 2:10
14.  Újra együtt (Together Again) (Traditional) 1:29

Peter Dabasi (Viloncello, Gadulka, Kaval and Vocals)
Dora Kovats (Violin, Flute and Vocals)
Peter Koszegi (Double Bass)
Gyorgy Robert (Flute, Recorder, Oboa)
Lilla Varhelyi (Violin, Bass Violin, Gadul, Vocals)
Jozsef Szeki (Percussion)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pat Metheny - A Map of the World

The soundtrack to the Sigourney Weaver/Julianne Moore film A Map Of The World features an acoustic guitar-based score written and performed by Pat Metheny. Along with his complete score for the film, the album also includes 25 minutes of expanded versions of the movie's music. The title track, "Fall From Grace," "Outcasts" and "Homecoming" reflect the film's bittersweet tone. - by Heather Phares, AMG

Pat Metheny is a true musical poet. His score to Jane Hamilton's "A Map of the World" does something remarkable - it conjurs up not just the feeling and atmosphere of the book; it actually seems to address the central meaning and essense of forgiveness that makes this story one of the modern miracles of literature. As someone who has loved this book since it was released in the mid-90's, I was concerned when I heard that they were making a movie of it. I saw the movie the other night, and it is excellent. But the highlight of the film - and a major component of it's success is this hauntinly beautiful, truly deep music. Although there are comparisons to be made with Metheny's "Beyond the Missouri Sky", this music is far more substantial. There are several musical themes, especially the title theme melody, which appear regularly throughout this suite, that are some of Metheny's absolute best ballads. The harmonic ambiguity of the first piece on the record (you really cannot tell what key it is finally going to land in, it keeps modulating so much) sets EXACTLY the right tone for the protaganists (Alice Goodwin) mental state. And the basic sound Metheny is getting here out of his acoustic guitars is simply breathtaking - this man has the best touch of any acoustic guitarist in the world right now. But the most impressive aspect of this music is the excellent orchestral writing and overall scope of the music. The piece "Gone" has to be one of the most truly heartwrenching pieces of music writing since Mahler, or Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. I always enjoyed the sections on Metheny's "Secret Story" where his guitar improvisations were mirrored by his orchestral conception - but here it seems to be more concentrated on a single aspect - that of a kind of very simple, but as mentioned before, ambiguous harmonically, kind of "Americana" that resonates as true to not only this story - but to the feeling of this time in American Life. If you are looking for the "virtuosic" Pat, he is actually here - there is no other guitarist I can think of who can render such detail harmonies out of a guitar and make it sound SO SIMPLE - which is the mark of true virtuosity. No, there are not a million notes a second, or those kind of catchy tunes that his regular group is known for. But for sheer beauty, originality, depth and soul, "A Map of the World" may contain Metheny's best work to date. - by Shane Brown,

Artist: Pat Metheny
Album: A Map of the World
Year: 1999
Label: Warner Bros.
Runtime: 66:37

1.  A Map Of The World 5:38
2.  Family 2:09
3.  North 4:19
4.  Home 0:42
5.  Sisters 4:08
6.  Childhood 1:26
7.  Fall From Grace 2:37
8.  Memory 0:55
9.  Gone 6:31
10.  Flight 0:54
11.  Alone 1:21
12.  Outcasts 1:30
13.  Sunday 1:38
14.  Discovery 2:34
15.  Acceptance 1:15
16.  Realization 1:23
17.  Soliloquy 2:52
18.  Night 2:00
19.  Sunrise 0:51
20.  Resolution 3:46
21.  Pictures 0:21
22.  Patience 1:22
23.  Transition 0:52
24.  Reunion 1:17
25.  Renewal 1:53
26.  Homecoming 3:25
27.  Forgiving 4:36
28.  Holding Us 4:08
All compositions by Pat Metheny

Pat Metheny (Acoustic Guitar, Piano and Keyboards)
Steve Rodby (Double Bass)
David Samuels (Percussion)
Gil Goldstein (Conductor and Orchestrator, Organ)
Sara Cutler (Harp)
Victoria Drake (Harp)
Virgil Blackwell (Bass Clarinet)
Melanie Feld (English Horn)
Elisabeth Mann (Flute)
Sheryl Henze (Flute)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Helen Merrill - Clear Out of This World

Although Helen Merrill is often thought of as a singer from the 1950s (when she made her initial reputation), she has stayed aware of more recent developments in jazz. On this superior CD, Merrill is accompanied by pianist Roger Kellaway, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Terry Clarke; three songs add trumpeter Tom Harrell, while two others have Wayne Shorter on tenor or soprano. Whether performing veteran standards (such as "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" and "Some of These Days") or more modern pieces, Merrill's haunting voice and her all-star sidemen uplift and revitalize the material. A consistently memorable set full of subtle surprises. - by Scott Yanow, AMG
Another magnificent record by Helen Merrill. She is unable not to give herself entirely when making music. Moreover, she seems able to inspire her colleague-musicians to their best performance by means of her artistic talent and her personality. I hesitated between four and five stars in my rating, but there must be left room for the best of all. Tom Harrell, for instance, makes an even better performance on Helens CD You and the Night and the Music, but that's relativity. Wayne Shorter plays some of his most tenuous notes ever in accompanying Helen. Enjoy this wonderful record! - by Bertrand Vermeer,

Artist: Helen Merrill
Album: Clear Out of This World
Year: 1991
Label: Gitanes Jazz (1992)
Runtime: 50:02

1.  Out Of This World (Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer) 6:22
2.  Not Like This (Jeremy Lubbock) 3:07
3.  I'm All Smiles (Herbert Martin/Michael Leonard) 7:15
4.  When I Grow Too Old To Dream (Oscar Hammerstein II/Sigmund Romberg) 6:41
5.  Some Of These Days (Shelton Brooks) 4:04
6.  Maybe (Shelton Brooks) 5:42
7.  A Tender Thing Is Love (Jerry Ginsberg/Torrie Zito) 4:22
8.  Soon It's Gonna Rain (Tom Jones/Harvey Schmidt) 4:45
9.  Willow Weep For Me (Ann Ronell) 7:44

Helen Merrill (Vocals)
Roger Kellaway (Piano)
Red Mitchell (Double Bass)
Terry Clarke (Drums)
Tom Harrell (Trumpet and Flugelhorn) - 3,4,8
Wayne Shorter (Soprano and Tenor Saxophone) - 1,9

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dee Dee Bridgewater - This Is Now

Dee Dee Bridgewater may be the first jazz singer to devote an entire release to the theater music of Kurt Weill. She's in great form, with arrangements for the most part by her ex-husband Cecil Bridgewater. "Bilbao Song" is quite novel, with the addition of exotic flamenco guitars and percussion and a guest appearance by Antonio Hart on flute, and her tender interpretation of "My Ship" is first rate. "Alabama Song" leans more toward outright blues, with a saucy vocal and churning Hammond B3 organ. The obscure "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" starts out funky, but its middle section is pure hard bop with a fine solo by alto saxophonist Daniele Scannapieco. But the overly pop sound of keyboardist Thierry Eliez's scoring of "This Is New"; the uninspired chart of "Speak Low," which detracts from her fine singing and the bland French cabaret setting of "Youkali" hardly make them memorable. Still, she has to be admired for taking a chance by covering so many of Kurt Weill's songs (while avoiding the obvious choice of "Mack the Knife"), most of which have been overlooked in the decades since his death in 1950. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Dee Dee Bridgewater
Album: This Is New
Year: 2002
Label: DDB Productions
Runtime: 59:42

1.  This Is New (Ira Gershwin/Kurt Weill) 3:46
2.  Lost In The Stars (Maxwell Anderson/Kurt Weill) 5:36
3.  Bilbao Song (Michael Feingold/Frank McGuinness/Kurt Weill) 10:24
4.  My Ship (Ira Gerschwin/Kurt Weill) 4:56
5.  Alabama Song (Bertold Brecht/Kurt Weill) 5:38
6.  Tha Saga Of Jenny (Ira Gerschwin/Kurt Weill) 4:54
7.  Youkali (Roger Fernay/Kurt Weill) 3:54
8.  Stranger Here Myself (Ogden Nash/Kurt Weill) 5:50
9.  Speak Low (Ogden Nash/Kurt Weill) 4:17
10.  September Song (Maxwell Anderson/Kurt Weill) 4:40
11.  Her I'll Stay (Alan Jay Lerner/Kurt Weill) 5:42

Dee Dee Bridgewater (Vocals)
Thierry Eliez (Piano, Hammond B3 Organ and Backing Vocals)
Ira Coleman (Double Bass)
André Ceccarelli (Drums)
Louis Winsberg (Guitar)
Nicolas Folmer (Trumpet)
Denis Leloup (Trombone)
Daniele Scannapieco (Alto Saxophone and Flute)
Minino Garay (Percussion)
Tulani Bridgewater Kowalski (Backing Vocals)
China Moses (Backing Vocals)
Antonio Hart (Alto Saxophone and Flute) - 2,3,10
Juan José Mosalini (Bandoneon) - 7

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mick Karn - Bestial Cluster

His best effort sees Karn team up with David Torn (and Jansen/Barbieri). Better production and excellent musicianship combined for the awesome title track and pieces -- such as "Saday Maday" -- that showcase his frenetic wonder and a Chilean backing vocal. But Karn can only deliver a half-decent record, with the murky "Bones of Mud" concluding. - by Kelvin Hayes, AMG

Mick Karn was born on the island of Cyprus, with the music/culture of Egypt, Israel, Syria, and Turkey all around him. At a young age he moved to London, later forming the band "Japan" with his school chum David Sylvian. Mick plays bassoon, clarinet, keyboards, and other instruments on his recordings, but in the context of Japan he held down the low notes. Early on, he pulled the frets out of his bass, and his trademark fretless playing quickly developed. In 1983, the band dissolved, leaving Karn with a unique style and plenty of musical inspiration. His studio work with other musicians such as Midge Ure and Joan Armatrading is pretty interesting, and is worth investigating. Check out "Dalis Car" (with former Bauhaus vocalist Peter Murphy) for evidence of surreal atmospheric pop; take note of the fact the Mick plays ALL the instruments on this CD. The atmospheric multicultural grooves on Bestial Cluster are vidence of his maturing musicianship and compositional abilities. It is perhaps his most musically complex CD to date, and he has said it was among his most challenging endeavors. You will frequently find him collaborating with guitarist/loopist David Torn. Their complimentary musical explorations are always interesting (listen to "Polytown" for a good starting point). David Torn once described Mick Karn by saying "It's as if Bootsy was Moroccan." Hard to top that :) Torn lends some tasty guitar work to this effort, and it's well worth finding a copy. Take a listen to this CD and be entranced by an intoxicating tapestry of sounds. - John Hendow,

Artist: Mick Karn
Album: Bestial Cluster
Year: 1992

Label: CMP Records (1993)
Runtime: 45:04

1.  Bestial Cluster (Mick Karn) 4:10
2.  Back In The Beginning (Mick Karn) 5:10
3.  Beard In The Letterbox (Mick Karn/David Torn) 7:05
4.  The Drowning Dream (Mick Karn/David Torn) 5:06
5.  The Sad Velvet Breath Of Summer And Winter (Mick Karn) 5:46
6.  Saday, Maday (Mick Karn/David Torn) 6:28
7.  Liver And Lungs (Mick Karn) 5:40
8.  Bones Of Mud (Mick Karn) 5:35

Mick Karn (Vocals, Bass Guitar, Bass Clarinet, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Keyboards, Percussion, Programming)
David Torn (Guitar, Slide Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Harmonica, Keyboards, Voice, Percussion)
Steve Jansen (Drums, Dumbek, Congas)
Richard Barbieri (Keyboard Bits, Sounds)
Joachim Kühn (Keyboards) - 1,2,5
David Liebman (Soprano Saxophone) - 3,6,7
Richie Stevens (Samples) - 3
Steve Gorn (Flutes) - 5,8
Glen Velez (Frame Drums, Percussion) - 5,8
Jürgen Kernbach (Bassoon) - 6
Walter Quintus (Violin) - 7
Mario Argandona (Vocals) - 2,6
Sabine Van Baaren (Backing Vocals) - 2


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