Kinda Blu – Spring 2000
|Kinda Blu – Spring 2000|
|Anthony “Kinda Blu” Callendar|
New and Noteworthy
One for all and all for one. “One for All” comprised of Eric Alexander (ts), Jim Rotondi (tp), Steve Davis (tb), Dave Hazeltine (p), Peter Washington (b), and Joe Fawnsworth (ds) has a new release “upward and onward” (Criss Cross 1172). All the tracks are great. This cooperative group continues the hard bop tradition. Pay special attention to the salute to tenor giant Eddie Harris with ” We All Love Eddie Harris” and a fine rendition of Bill Lee’s “John Coltrane.” On the latter, Eric leads off and calls forth the spirit of Trane. Davis follows and maintains the groove. Next it’s Jim Rotondi‘s turn to burn with his solo, one of his best to date. He echoes Freddie Hubbard’s outstanding soloing on “First Light” (CTI) David Hazeltine is excellent on this one too. Remember All for One!
Honestly, I don’t listen to a lot of trio CDs; you know your basic piano, bass, and drums. However there are three CDs that I recommend. Two are mostly trio dates, they are Gonzala Rubalcaba’s “Inner Voyage” (Blue Note CDP399241) and Marc Cary’s “Trillium” (Jazzteria JZZ20304-2). Rubalcaba, joined by Jeff Chambers (b), Ignacio Berroa (ds) and Michael Brecker (ts) lay down some deep and swinging rhythms. From the beautiful “Yolanda Anas” dedicated to one of the pianists children to the non-pedestrian but elegant “Promenade” through to “Caravan” and the rollicking “Blue Lundvall” where guest Becker burns. Then along comes Marc Carey (p) with yet another over the top CD. With Tarus Nateen (bs) and Nasheet Waits (ds) Cary starts right off by rocking the house with “Minor League.” “Blues for Haseeb” is no joke either. Special guest Yarbrough (Charles) Laws (fl) is added on “Peace Maker” and “King Tut’s Strut.” Both of these CDs will give you hours of listening pleasure.
Last, but not least in the trio category is a Ron Carter recording from 1998 entitled “So What?” (Blue Note CDP724349497627). Kenny Barron (p) and Lewis Nash (ds) complete the trio. Who could ask for anything more? The title tune, THE Miles Davis classic is beautifully played, but that’s just the beginning. Get it- So What?
Jackie “Mac” is back with a new CD entitled “Nature Boy” (Blue Note 724352327324). It’s mostly ballads recording but when Jackie blows there’s always a lot of music being played. Cedar Walton (p), David Williams (b), and Billy Higgins (ds) accompany him. I heard him live at last summer’s edition of the annual Charlie Parker festival in Tompkins Square Park (NYC) and Jackie is still the man!
Check out Greg Osby’s (as) “the invisible hand” (CDP724352013425) Greg’s music is always fresh and he is ably assisted by veteran maestros Jim Hall (g) and Andrew Hill (p). Gary Thomas (ts) an old M-Base buddy, Scott Colley (b), and Terri Lyne Carrington (ds) are the usual suspects on this recording. Standards such as “Jitterbug Waltz,” “Indiana,” and “Nature Boy” are explored in a new way, and several band member originals complete a highly rewarding set.
I picked up two gems. They were expensive but they were worth it. Both are by drummer Dave Bailey “One Foot in the Gutter” (Epic ESCA 7759) and “Two Feet in the Gutter” (Epic ESCA 7760). The first is a sextet date with Clark Terry (tp), Curtis Fuller (tb), Junior Cook (ts), Horace Parlan (p) and Peck Morrison (b). The second is a quintet session featuring Bill Hardman (tp) the fantastic Frank Haynes (ts), Billy Gardner (p) and Ben Tucker (b). Bailey worked with Gerry Mulligan, the Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet, Bob Brookmeyer and Clark Terry. Haynes burns throughout this recording, but unfortunately he died within a few years of this recording, thus he is not widely known. Bailey may be heard with Haynes, Gardner, and Tucker, on Grant Green’s “Reaching Out” (Black Lion CD760129), and with Haynes and Tucker on Kenny Dorham’s “Osmosis” (Black Lion CD760146) where the Haynes wails. Both were actually Bailey dates. “Reaching Out” was recorded for the Jazztime label. “Bash” (Osmosis) was recorded for the Jazzline label.
The Real Deal
Is there a Mingus aMonkst us? Certainly these are two of the greatest jazz composers this side of the Duke of Ellington. Where do you start with these geniuses who cast the conventional wisdom aside and in doing so allowed us to see truth and justice despite the American way! Yes, they have long crossed over to the other side but they have left us with “a comforter” – their music.
We are thankful for our Prince, Duke, Count, President and even our Vice-President, but what about the Monk!(?) Thelonious Sphere Monk was credited with being one of the founding fathers of bebop, the music that took us beyond being viewed as minstrels, happily dancing our lives away in the midst of oppression. His music, our music spoke to the soul and the spirit of struggle and life and the will to live fully despite our circumstances! “Locomotive” and “Let’s Call This” from the CD entitled “Monk” (OJCCD 06-2) CD are two of my favorites and led me to listen more closely to his music. Sonny Rollins and Frank Foster (ts), Julius Watkins (fh) and Ray Copeland (tp) join him on these among others. .
His spiritual brother, ignored by the classical institutions on the West Coast, is Charles Mingus. He, unlike the Monk, did not let his silence shout out to the world. While Monk’s silence was deafening, Mingus screamed yes, I am here! He dream was to play cello in a symphony orchestra, but he was discouraged because he was black (mulatto-how many degrees of separation?) So, when we listen to Mingus what do we hear? We hear anger, but we also hear a joyous noise, steeped in the Negro spirituals reaching out to all mankind. “Mingus at Antibes” (Atlantic 7905322) with Ted Curson (tp), Eric Dolphy (as), Booker Ervin (ts), Bud Powell (p) on one track only, and Dannie Richmond (ds) is a killer album. “I’ll Remember April” is the highlight of this memorable set where Bud, Dolphy and the Book turn it out – listen to the interplay of the two saxophonists. .
Monk and Mingus live, thank God!
Blue Note Reissues
Blue Note has reissued some very interesting recordings. Try Sonny Clark’s “My Conception” (Blue Note 72432267422) which includes the original date as well as a portion of another one recorded earlier with a different band. With Donald Byrd (tp), Hank Mobley (ts), Paul Chambers (b), and Art Blakey (ds) Sonny Clark put together a set in 1959 in the finest hard bop and Blue Note traditions. This is another one of those recordings where one wonders why it wasn’t released at that time. It is highly recommended. As an extra treat the listener gets to hear three tunes, Minor Meeting (First Version), Eastern Incident, and Little Sonny by a Clark fronted quintet including Clifford Jordan (ts), Kenny Burrell (g), Paul Chambers – “Mr. P.C” again, (s) and Pete LaRoca (ds). This release was long overdue.
Don Cherry’s “Complete Communion” (Blue Note 724352267323) has Leandro “Gato” Barbieri (ts), Henry Grimes (b), and Ed Blackwell (ds) accompanying the nimble piccolo trumpeter. This is another Blue Note treasure and is wonderful listening for those who like their music modern and challenging. Don Cherry got his start with Ornette Coleman and made some serious music with Steve Lacy, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and the collective Cordona. Don died a few years ago and is missed.
An added starter in this reissue lineup is Jackie McLean’s “Vertigo” (Blue Note 724352266920) consisting of the original date and another simply entitled “The Jackie McLean Quintet” previously released by the Japanese. Donald Byrd (tp), Herbie Hancock (p), Butch Warren (b), and Tony Williams (ds) get busy on with Jackie on “Marney”, “Dusty Foot”, “Vertigo”, “Cheers” and “Yams”. Kenny Durham (tap), Sonny Clark (p), Butt Warren (b) and Billy Higgins (ds) back up the Jack on “The Three Minors”, “Blues in a Riff” “Iddy Bitty” and three other tunes.
Are You Ready for Freddie?
Freddie Hubbard made two wonderful albums for the Impulse label. They are “The Artistry of Freddie Hubbard” (Impulse MCAD-33111, with John Gilmore (ts) Curtis Fuller (tb), Tommy Flanagan (p), Art Davis (b), and Louis Hayes (ds). Just listen to “Caravan,” “Summertime” and “The 7th Day.” Also try “The Body & The Soul” (Impulse MPD-183) whish is a large group offering including such standouts as Ernie Royal, Clark Terry and Richard Williams (tap), Curtis Fuller and Melba Listen (tb) Wayne Shorter and Jerome Richardson (ts) Eric Dolphy (as), Cedar Walton (p), Reggie Workman (b) and Philly Joe Jones and Louis Hayes (ds).
On both recordings he is simply marvelous, Hubbard soars and swings as few others before him. His music is bright, fluent and full of light and life. He is one of a trio of great trumpeters born in 1938 – the others being Booker Little and Lee Morgan -these three were known for kickin’ brass!
Listen to Freddie on an outstanding earlier release, “Ready for Freddie” (Blue Note) with Bernard McKinney (euphonium), Wayne Shorter (ts), McCoy Tyner (p), Art Davis (b), and Elvin Jones (ds). He also plays wonderful supportive roles on Kenny Drew’s “Undercurrent” (Blue Note), Oliver Nelson’s “The Blues and the Abstract Truth” (Impulse), Tina Brooks, “True Blue” (Blue Note), and Eric Dolphy’s “Outward Bound” (Prestige-New Jazz).
Some fellow musicians, Larry Ridley and The Jazz Legacy Ensemble are hosting a birthday bash for Freddie Hubbard at Brooklyn’s Up and Over Café’ on Friday, April 7, 2000. For information call 718-398-5413. Be there to pay tribute to this great musician on his 62nd birthday!
Bossa Nova Ball
Many musicians checked out the Bossa Nova scene of the early sixties. Stan Getz did a great job interpreting that musical genre, but a lesser known experiment was conducted by Cannonball Adderley on his album entitled “Cannonball’s Boss Nova” (Capitol Jazz 7243
52266722). Originally recorded while ‘Ball was under contract to Riverside he brought this recording and six others with him when he signed with Capitol Records. Interested in this new musical concept the adventurous Cannonball hooked up in New York City with a group of Brazilian musicians which included the yet-to-be-famous Sergio Mendes (p) and the incomparable Dom Um Romao (perc). Cannonball adds his own funky thing to the Bossa Nova, which makes for a more-spirited rather than laid back Bossa Nova recording.
Three new Naxos releases are well worth getting. Joel Palsson’s (ts) “Prim” (Naxos Jazz 86049-2) contains some great music from a seemingly unlikely source. This Icelandic group shows us how universal is the music called jazz! The youthful Palsson is one to hear. His bandmates are Hilmar Jensson (g), Einar Scheving (ds) and Matthias Henmstock (ds) (perc), Eythor Gunnarson (p), Gulli Gudmundson (b), and Sigurdur Flosason (as) (bcl) on two tracks.
I also enjoyed Don Christianson’s “Gualala” ,(Naxos Jazz 86050-2). He plays tenor and soprano saxes in addition to the oboe, English horn and clarinet. He, like so many other Naxos leaders is new to me. The new crop of jazz musicians has a lot to say and Naxos is doing a terrific job in giving so many of them a high degree of exposure at a very reasonable price. Multi-reedist Charles Pillow (ts, cl, bcl, oboe and sopranino sax), Sastoshi Takeshi (perc), and Ben Allison and Doug Weiss (b) complete the ensemble.
The Tyrone Brown Sting Sextet’s “Song of the Sun” (Naxos 86038-2) is another winner. This all-string sextet comprised of Tyrone Brown (g, bg), John Blake (v), Melissa Ortega (v) Beth Dzwil (viola), Nina Cottman (viola), Ron Lipscomb (c) and William “Duke” Wilson (perc) give us a different sound, and one that is refreshing.
ONE MO’ For Old Times Sake
The Caledonia Jazz Band – put out a recording consisting of rag, New Orleans, swing called “creole nights” (Hot Club Records 97) it’s baaaaaaaaaaad! Now, these are some serious Norwegian brothers from across the sea.
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