Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Paul Desmond - From the Hot Afternoon

Paul Desmond's first genuine all-Brazilian album under the Creed Taylor signature was a beauty, a collection of songs by the then-moderately known Edu Lobo and the emerging giant Milton Nascimento, then only in his early twenties. All Desmond has to do is sit back and ride the Brazilian grooves while lyrically ruminating on whatever pops into his head. It sounds so effortless -- until you try it yourself. The swirling, often gorgeous orchestral arrangements are by Don Sebesky (one CD edition mistakenly gives Claus Ogermann credit on the cover), Airto Moreira leads the samba-flavored percussion forces, and Lobo and his wife Wanda de Sah appear on three of Lobo's four songs. Lobo's "To Say Goodbye," "Circles," and "Martha and Romao" have exactly the brand of wistful sadness that Desmond could communicate so well; on the former, de Sah has to sing well below the register with which she is comfortable, and the strain is painfully obvious. Some of Nascimento's best early tunes are here, including the tense title track, the popping "Catavento," and "Canto Latino." "Catavento" inspires a particularly inventive solo from Desmond where he pulls out one of his age-old tricks, quoting "St. Thomas." The recent Verve By Request edition adds no less than six alternate takes to the package. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

All the featured performances are excellent, Paul Desmond's playing is superb, taking a little more of a back seat, but with some beautiful, memorable phrasing. Not mentioned in other reviews are three vocal tracks featuring Wanda de Sa, "To Say Goodbye", "Circles" and "Crystal Illusions". In "To Say Goodbye", she was forced by the recording schedule and low register of the instrumental part to sing well below her normal register, producing a striking and sultry version of this song, a must-have for her fans. Edu Lobo may not be Jobim, but "Crystal Illusions" is perhaps his best known work. He performs on the track and Wanda (his wife) sings it beautifully. The swirling '70s orchestation suits the song very well, the edgy chord shifts provide Paul with a challenging backdrop for his solos; this is probably my favourite version. This is an easy listening classic which is head and shoulders above others in the genre and has the power to move you with some exceptional performances by several icons of jazz and the '60s "Bossa" sound. - by Ricardo,

Artist: Paul Desmond
Album: From the Hot Afternoon
Year: 1969 (A&M Records)
Label: Verve (2000)
Runtime: 57:18

1.  Outubro (October) (Fernando Brant/Milton Nascimento) 3:00
2.  Gira Girou (Round 'n' Round) (Milton Nascimento) 4:32
3.  Faithful Brother (Milton Nascimento) 3:09
4.  To Say Goodbye (Edu Lobo) 4:01
5.  From the Hot Aftenoon (Milton Nascimento) 3:31
6.  Circles (Edu Lobo) 3:46
7.  Martha & Romao (Edu Lobo) 3:05
8.  Catavento (Milton Nascimento) 2:46
9.  Canto Latino (Latin Chant) (Milton Nascimento) 4:25
10.  Crystal Illusions (Edu Lobo/J. Guarneri/Lani Hall) 4:41
11.  Gira Girou (Round 'n' Round) [Alternative Take] (Milton Nascimento) 4:21
12.  Faithful Brother [Alternative Take] (Milton Nascimento) 2:49
13.  From The Hot Aftenoon [Alternative Take] (Milton Nascimento) 3:56
14.  Catavento [Alternative Take] (Milton Nascimento) 2:31
15.  Canto Latino (Latin Chant) [Alternative Take] (Milton Nascimento) 4:01
16.  From The Hot Aftenoon [Alternative Take] (Milton Nascimento) 2:37

Paul Desmond (Alto Saxophone)
Patrick Rebillot (Piano and Elelctric Piano)
Dorio Ferreira (Guitar) - 1-5,8,9,11-16
Edu Lobo (Guitar and Vocal) - 6,7,10
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Airto Moreira (Drums and Percussion)
Don Sebesky (Arrenger and Conductor)
Wanda De Sah (Vocal) - 4,6,10
Marky Markowitz (Trumpet)
Marvin Stamm (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Paul Faulise (Bass Trombone)
Jimmy Buffington (French Horn)
Don Hammond (Flute)
Hubert Laws (Flute)
Stan Webb Jr. (Flute and Percussion)
Phil Bodner (Saxes, Clarinet and Oboe)
George Marge (Saxes, Clarinet and Oboe)
Margaret Ross (Harp)
Jack Jennings (Percussion)
with strings

Friday, February 15, 2013

Jim Tomlinson - Only Trust Your Heart

This is a pleasant, very traditional jazz offering from British tenor saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, who is strongly influenced by the suave, pre-bop style of Lester Young. Leading off with a "Sweet Georgia Brown"-based original called "Makin' Brownies," Tomlinson and band establish a confident, swinging feel that sets up strong solos by the leader, pianist John Pearce, and guitarist Colin Oxley. Bassist Simon Thorpe and drummer Steve Brown ably handle rhythm section duties throughout. Trumpeter Guy Barker and vocalist Stacey Kent (Tomlinson's wife) make three guest appearances each. Kent is especially good on Duke Ellington's "I'm Just a Lucky So and So." Tomlinson displays a sensitive touch on the ballads "Only the Lonely," "Just a Child," and "What Will I Tell My Heart?" He also does well on the bossa novas: Johnny Mandel's "El Cajon," Jobim's "If You Never Come to Me," and the title track. On Hans Koller's "Vienna Blues" and Colin Oxley's "Blue Corners," Tomlinson and his group make it very clear that Brits are no strangers to that quintessentially American idiom, the blues. On the whole, a fine album, but its very inoffensiveness might actually be a shortcoming. - by David R. Adler, AMG

Since completing a postgraduate year at the London Guildhall School of Music, Jim has earned a growing reputation on the jazz scene as an accomplished saxophonist in the mold of Lester Young and Stan Getz, equally at home in mainstream and modern settings. He first became known through his playing with NYJO. His ballad style, described by Humphrey Lyttelton as 'like Lester Young on valium' is heard to perfection on several tracks, notably Only The Lonely and What Will I Tell My Heart. His gorgeous tone is admirably suited to to the Bossa treatments of Only Trust Your Heart and If You Never Come To Me. Guest appearances by Guy Barker and Stacey Kent on several tracks set the seal on this highly impressive debut from 2000. - from,

Artist: Jim Tomlinson
Album: Only Trust Your Heart
Year: 2000
Label: Candid
Runtime: 57:59

1.  Makin' Brownies (Jim Tomlinson) 5:22
2.  Only the Lonely (Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen) 5:04
3.  I'm Just a Lucky So and So (Duke Ellington/Mack David) 5:23
4.  Only Trust Your Heart (Benny Carter/Sammy Cahn) 5:55
5.  Just a Child (Johnny Mandel) 6:28
6.  Vienna Blues (Hans Koller) 5:02
7.  Glad to Be Unhappy (Richard Rodgers/Lorentz Hart) 4:53
8.  El Cajon (Johnny Mandel/David Frishberg) 5:21
9.  Blue Corners (Colin Oxley) 4:55
10.  What Will I Tell My Heart (Jack Lawrence/Pete Tinturin/Irving Gordon) 5:02
11.  If You Never Come to Me (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Ray Gilbert/Aloysio Oliveira) 4:34

Jim Tomlinson (Tenor Saxophone)
Colin Oxley (Guitar)
John Pearce (Piano)
Simon Thorpe (Double Bass)
Steve Brown (Drums)
Guy Barker (Trumpet) - 3,5,10
Stacey Kent (Vocals) - 3,7,11

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Holly Cole - Temptation

I have been a fan of the Holly Cole Trio for several years, and I must say, this recording just gets better and better the more I listen. Having listened to all styles of the trio's music - blues, R&B, "pop", and...whatever you want to call Ms. Coles "unique" realizations of songs, this would fall moslty in that last category. Fortunately, it's where she (and the trio) excels the most. If you are new to The Holly Cole Trio, they are a jazz/based ensemble that excels in REALLY digging into the zeitgeist of dark, poignant, or even slightly scary song writing. In other words, the writing of songwriters such as Tom Waits. They both are from the "meloncholy" category of personality types (rather than phlegmatic, choleric, or sanguine. The "sanguines" are the folks in the other reviews that complain that this recording should be more "peppy!" They just don't get it, and that's OK. Try Britney Spears or Bare Naked Ladies - very peppy! This recording is for the "meloncholies", or those that desire to peer into that side of their personalities) MS. Cole has the uncanny ability to completely own a lyric and all its depth of meaning. Then, she has the voice to interpret it with exquisite nuance and laser-like delivery. Make no mistake - every nuance she brings to the song is carefully planned and executed, down to her breathinig, lip smacking, growls, and even out-of-tune delivery. Her method - she tends to slow things down a bit, thin out the arrangement (sometimes just her and the bass), and then deliver the "story" of the song as if she had sidled up, placed her arms around your neck, looked you unwaveringy in the eye, and then begins to sing. I haver rarely ever had repeated repeated shivers run up and down my spine listening to a recorded vocalist, but it happens here, and more with each listening. Its at once both an intimate and mind-expanding experience. One caveat - this is an amazingly rendered recording, as are most of her works. Its the reason Audio Installation professionals always have their Holly Cole CD's with them when they test out their work - the stark clarity of her voice, the amazing depths of the bass (down to 10hz), the purity of the piano micing, and the very present rendering of the rare guest musicians are all reference-standard. Because of their detailed sparseness, much is lost if listening on a a less-than-stellar system. Part of the talent of the trio lies in the wonderful subtleties they bring to their performances, and much of it is lost in typical "boom box" systems, car systems, or computer systems. I believe this is why some folks may be led to say things such as "needs more pep!', or God forbid, "This is boring". If you have at least some meloncholy tendencies, or are a fan ot Tom Waits, or like the song stylists of the early part of the last century, you will love this recording. Buy it, and let Ms. Cole and her trio take you places you may have never been before. - by TSO,

On her third American album, Holly Cole turned in a set of Tom Waits songs recorded with an augmented version of her trio; in addition to piano and bass, there are drums and guitar, as well as the occasional contribution from The Canadian Brass and harmonica player Howard Levy. The result puts a welcome twist on the songs, which include numbers from each stage of Waits's career, and reasserts Cole's talent as an interpreter. - by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG

Artist: Holly Cole
Year: 1995
Label: Metro Blue
Runtime: 61:57

1.  Take Me Home 2:29
2.  Train Song 3:28
3.  Jersey Girl 3:47
4.  Temptation 3:07
5.  Falling Down 5:20
6.  Invitation To The Blues 4:24
7.  Cinny's Waltz 2:36
8.  Frank's Theme 3:12
9.  Little Boy Blue 3:00
10.  I Don't Wanna Grow Up 4:32
11.  Tango Til They're Sore 4:30
12.  (Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night 3:39
13.  Soldiers Things 3:25
14.  I Want You 2:58
15.  Good Old World 1:37
16.  The Briar And The Rose 5:17
17.  Shiver Me Timbers 4:27
All compositions by Tom Waits

Holly Cole (Vocals) - 1-13,15-17
Aaron Davis (Piano) - 1,3,5-8,10-17
David Piltch (Double Bass, Nautical and Bass Percussion) - 1-6,9-13,16,17
Dougie Bowne (Drums) - 2-6,9,11,12,14
Howard Levy (Harmonica) - 5,7,12,13
Cyro Baptista (Percussion) - 2,11-13
The Colettes (Choir) - 3
Rhoda Dog (Vocals) - 4
Phil Dwyer (Alto Saxophone) - 9
Earl Seymour (Baritone Saxophone) - 9
Perry White (Tenor Saxophone) - 9
Kevin Breit (Electric Slide Guitar) - 12
Rob Piltch (Acoustic Guitar) - 12
Anne Bourne (Cello) - 14
Douglas Perry (Viola) - 14
Anne Lederman (Five String Viola) - 14
Ronald Romm (Trumpet) - 16
Frederic Mills (Trumpet) - 16
David Ohanian (French Horn) - 16
Eugene Watts (Trombone) - 16
Charles Daellenbach (Tuba) - 16

Friday, February 8, 2013

Horace Silver - Blowin' The Blues Away

Blowin' the Blues Away is one of Horace Silver's all-time Blue Note classics, only upping the ante established on Finger Poppin' for tightly constructed, joyfully infectious hard bop. This album marks the peak of Silver's classic quintet with trumpeter Blue Mitchell, tenor saxophonist Junior Cook, bassist Gene Taylor, and drummer Louis Hayes; it's also one of the pianist's strongest sets of original compositions, eclipsed only by Song for My Father and Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers. The pacing of the album is impeccable, offering up enough different feels and slight variations on Silver's signature style to captivate the listener throughout. Two songs -- the warm, luminous ballad "Peace" and the gospel-based call-and-response swinger "Sister Sadie" -- became oft-covered standards of Silver's repertoire, and the madly cooking title cut wasn't far behind. And they embody what's right with the album in a nutshell -- the up-tempo tunes ("Break City") are among the hardest-swinging Silver had ever cut, and the slower changes of pace ("Melancholy Mood") are superbly lyrical, adding up to one of the best realizations of Silver's aesthetic. Also, two cuts ("Melancholy Mood" and the easy-swinging "The St. Vitus Dance") give Silver a chance to show off his trio chops, and "Baghdad Blues" introduces his taste for exotic, foreign-tinged themes. Through it all, Silver remains continually conscious of the groove, playing off the basic rhythms to create funky new time patterns. The typical high-impact economy of his and the rest of the band's statements is at its uppermost level, and everyone swings with exuberant commitment. In short, Blowin' the Blues Away is one of Silver's finest albums, and it's virtually impossible to dislike. - by Steve Huey, AMG

Artist: Horace Silver
Album: Blowin' The Blues Away
Year: 1959
Label: Blue Note (RVG 24bit remastered, 1999)
Runtime: 42:57

1.  Blowin' The Blues Away (Horace Silver) 4:45
2.  The St. Vitus Dance (Horace Silver) 4:09
3.  Break City (Horace Silver) 4:57
4.  Peace (Horace Silver) 6:02
5.  Sister Sadie (Horace Silver) 6:19
6.  The Baghdad Blues (Horace Silver) 4:52
7.  Melancholy Mood (Horace Silver) 7:10
8.  How Did It Happen (Don Newey) 4:40

Horace Silver (Piano)
Blue Mitchell (Trumpet)
Junior Cook (Tenor Saxophone)
Gene Taylor (Double Bass)
Louis Hayes (Drums)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Eleni Karaindrou - Eternity And A Day

Greece's film critics and music journalists have long felt that Eleni Karaindrou's compositions for cinema transcend the soundtrack's conventions. Her music does not merely accompany or prettify a film, they argue, but is an essential element of it. Writer Nikos Triantafillides, nothing that Karaindrou's music is as vast in scope as the time-transgressing sequence shots of Angelopoulos, says that "in all these hundreds os feet of film, Eleni's music represents the blood not shed on the screen. Her constant presence..reveals something deeply spiritual beneath the lyricism." George Monemvasites talks of a music made "to wound and liberate" as it creates "new visions and ideas" which counterpoint or parallel the cinematic action. Yet the music, heard independently, seems to insist upon its autonomy. The collection at hand is not "film music" in the limited sense but rather music that is inherently cinematic in its reach: It establishes an emotional climate. Hints at storylines it invites a listener/viewer to take up and develop, paints sky and seacapes in subtle, muted hues and, sometimes, simply, sings. - by Steve Lake,

The soundtrack to Theo Angelopolous' Golden Palm-winning Eternity & A Day was written by Eleni Karaindrou, one of Greece's most prominent modern composers. Her score for the film incorporates Greek folk instruments, especially the clarinet, and other indigenous touches that reflect Eternity & A Days lyrical tone. - by Heather Phares, AMG

Artist: Eleni Karaindrou
Album: Eternity and a Day
Year: 1998
Label: ECM
Runtime: 46:35

1.  Hearing The Time 3:06
2.  By The Sea 1:47
3.  Eternity Theme 2:18
4.  Parting A 1:31
5.  Depart And Eternity Theme 4:02
6.  Borders 2:41
7.  Wedding Dance (Traditional) 1:28
8.  Parting B 1:30
9.  To A Dead Friend 4:34
10.  Eternity Theme - Variation I 1:48
11.  Depart And Eternity Theme - Variation I 3:02
12.  Bus - Part I 1:08
13.  Depart And Eternity Theme - Variation II 6:50
14.  Bus - Part II 0:56
15.  Trio And Eternity Theme 2:12
16.  The Poet 3:04
17.  Depart And Eternity Theme - Variation III 2:34
18.  Depart 1:56
All songs composed by E. Karaindrou

Eleni Karaindrou (Piano) - 2
Sergiu Nastasa (Violin) - 1,4,6,8,15,17
Renato Ripo (Violoncello) - 1,4-6,8,13,15,17
Iraklis Vavatsikas (Accordion) - 1,3,4,8,10,12,15
Vangelis Christopoulos (Oboe) - 3,5,10,13,15,18
Nikos Guinos (Clarinet) - 3,5,10,11,13,15,17
Spyros Kazianis (Bassoon) - 3,5,10,13,15,18
Vangelis Skouras (French Horn) - 3,5,10,11,13,15,18
Aris Dimitriadis (Mandolin) - 3,5,10,11,13-15,17
Manthos Halkias (Clarinet) - 6,9
Kostas Siamidis (Accordion, Lyra) - 7
Katrin Zenz (Flute) - 15
Fabrizio Bentivoglio (Voice) - 16


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