Cool Struttin', Bill Evans, Loft Jazz, Ryan Keberle, Vocal and Instrumental CDs!
Details in Notes from the Editor
New in Retro Reviews:
SONNY CLARK: "COOL STRUTTIN'" Sonny Clark never made a better album than "Cool Struttin'". This 1958 Blue Note date may have been conceived as just another blowing date, but the high quality of the music made it an instant classic. As Thomas Cunniffe notes in this Retro Review, the magic starts with the iconic album cover but peaks with the music created by Clark, Art Farmer, Jackie McLean, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones.
In the 1970s, many free jazz musicians were unable to find gigs in mainstream clubs. With new zoning regulations in Manhattan, many of the old factories in lower downtown were available as cheap living and performing spaces. The term "loft jazz" was used to describe this esoteric music, even though the moniker was quite inaccurate. Thomas Cunniffe reviews Michael C. Heller's new monograph on the period, noting that Heller brings the era to life, but neglects to discuss the most important element: the music.
MEL, MARTY & THE DEK-TETTE The recorded collaborations between vocalist Mel Tormé and arranger Marty Paich were arguably the highlights of each man's career. The albums they recorded with a 10-piece studio ensemble, the Marty Paich Dek-tette are some of the finest vocal LPs ever made. Thomas Cunniffe's study of this music was originally part of his Master's Thesis, and has been published on several websites over the past two decades. This newly-revised edition of the article (with three embedded videos) now marks its first appearance on Jazz History Online.
Few contemporary vocalists have the stylistic range of Luciana Souza. She is a remarkable improviser and composer who can not only offer passionate interpretations of songs from America and Brazil, but is also a collaborator with contemporary classical composer Osvaldo Golijov. Thomas Cunniffe introduces you to Souza in this JHO profile, which includes audio and video clips of Souza at work
Musicians easily recognize the term "saxophones of the E-flat variety" as a hip way to refer to the alto and baritone saxes (the term refers to the key in which both instruments are pitched). This month, Thomas Cunniffe reviews five new albums which feature alto or baritone saxophonists. Included are CDs led by Steve Slagle, Miguel Zenón and Gary Smulyan, along with co-operatively led dates by Ingrid and Christine Jensen and Hush Point (with Jeremy Udden).
All of the singers featured in this month's vocal CD reviews have been spotlighted in these pages before. The newest releases from Theo Bleckmann, and the groups Double Bass Double Voice (with Emily Braden and Nancy Harms) and Duchess (with Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou) offer a wide variety of songs and styles. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the discs.
Like John McNeil's acclaimed quartet Hush Point, Ryan Keberle's quintet Catharsis combines the aesthetics of cool jazz with the energy of contemporary music. With the intriguing front line of Keberle (trombone), Michael Rodriguez (trumpet) and Camila Meza (vocal and guitar), the group embraces the concepts of improvised counterpoint and simultaneous improvisation. Thomas Cunniffe reports on a live performance by this group at Denver's Syntax Physic Opera, and offers a brief history of the ensemble.
At the beginning of Bruce Spiegel’s documentary, “Time Remembered”, Chuck Israels says that he is constantly asked “What was Bill Evans really like?” Israels, who spent five years as Evans’ bassist, shakes his head and replies “Damned if I know”. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the DVD, which attempts to uncover some of the mysteries surrounding this iconic musician.
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