New Jazz Adds – 1/21/2015

New Jazz Adds – 1/21/2015

Anthony Braxton – Trio And Duet (Sackville): Remarkable tour de force recording from 1974.  Most famous for expanding his styles and listeners ears, Braxton decided to step away from the more familiar quartets and open with a trio, including Leo Smith on trumpet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, and percussion and Richard Teitelbaum on Moog synthesizer.  Braxton shifted among clarinet, contrabass clarinet, chimes and bass drum in what covered the first side of the original LP.  Side 2 featured Braxton on alto accompanied by Dave Holland on bass turning out three excursions based upon the standards “The Song Is You”, “Embraceable You”, and “You Go To My Head”.  The new release also adds “On Green Dolphin Street” and “I Remember You”  from the latter session but not originally included on the LP.  The music is adventurous but certainly worth the listen. This is not as far out as free jazz, but it’s certainly “hopped up” or beyond bebop.  Click here for a Braxton performance from a year after this recording. This song is not on this disc.     

Joshua Bruneau Septet – Bright Idea (Cellar Live): Leader Bruneau (trumpet) has joined forces with his former band leader Steve Davis (trombone) to build solidly melodic and skilled group for this live recording from March, 2014.  He also composed three of the seven songs on the disc.  The septet is rounded out by Ken Fowser (tenor), Andrew Renfroe (guitar), Taber Gable (piano), Matt Dwonszyck (bass) and Jason Tiemann (drums).  The performance is smooth as the group connects and communicates so well.  Everyone was clearly on top of his game for this gig!  Click here for a live performance from a year ago. Bruneau on trumpet.

George Colligan & The Theoretical Planets – Risky Notion (Origin): Multi-instrumentalist Colligan pulled this current group together by recruiting two of his students at Portland State (Nicole Glover, tenor & soprano sax and Jon Lakey, bass) and other locals Joe Manis (tenor & alto sax and Tony Glausi, trumpet). Though most widely known as a pianist, Colligan is the drummer on this release – his first as a leader as a drummer.  The saxes, often playing in harmony, literally fill the sonic space on most of these tunes, with Colligan and Lakey laying down a terrific almost lyrical rhythm. A solid disc throughout.  Click here for a live performance of the title song.

Matt Criscuolo – Headin’ Out (Jazzeria): Leader Criscuolo (alto) has a powerful partner in Tony Purrone (guitar) who opens this disc as if it were his own, but just when you might think that is the case, Criscuolo lights up his sax and turns your ears his way.  There is great communication between these two, making for an exciting set.  In fact, the cover reads “Matt Criscuolo …with Tony Perrone” AND Criscuolo composed four of these tunes while Purrone inked two, leaving the rest to Miles, Randy Weston, and Billy Strayhorn!  On top of that, bassist Preston Murphy and drummer Ed Soph provide such a solid base for the group that the listener is enveloped by the quartet’s great sound.  Criscuolo says in the liner notes that, “Headin’ Out” can simply be described as high-quality, impassioned 21st Century modern jazz,” and that is RIGHT ON THE BEAM!  Check this one out!!!!  Click here for a live performance featuring Crisuolo and Purrone from March 2014.

Quincy Davis – Songs In The Key Of G (self-produced): Educator-jazz drummer Davis has recorded with numerous jazz musicians, including Bobby Watson and Tom Harrell, and now steps out with his own debut as a leader.  He is accompanied by Dayna Stevens (tenor sax), Warren Wolf (vibes), Xavier Davis (piano), and Vicente Archer and Richie Goods (bass). All but one of these compositions are his compositions with the outlier having been composed by pianist Xavier Davis.  The music has a contagious sound and beat – it is melodic, groovy and hip.  A delightful set of tunes!  Click here for 2012 performance featuring Quincy on drums and son Xavier on piano.

Art Hirahara – Libations & Meditations (Posi-Tone): Pianist Hirahara’s third release as a leader is a joy!  His playing is melodic, fluid, swinging, sometimes playful, and often exquisite.  He is supported and complimented by Linda Oh (bass) and John Davis (drums) through the many styles and atmospheres represented in this collection of nine originals by the leader and one of the remaining two by drummer Davis.  Fans of piano trios will love this! Click here for a brief interview with Hirahara about this recording.

Justin Kauflin – Dedication (Jazz Village): This young pianist has an amazing story: Clearly recognized as a gifted youngster, he began performing in public at age 6 on the piano and violin.  Tragically, he lost his sight at age 11, but immediately began learning Braille and mastering walking with a cane.  He also gave up violin to focus on piano and by age 15 was again performing – this time at festivals around the country.  He also had the opportunity to study with Mulgrew Miller and for the past two years performed as part of Quincy Jones’ world tour.  Jones, in fact, produced this, Kauflin’s second disc.  The pianist composed and performs on all of the songs – eight in a quartet, including Billy Williams on drums, Christopher Smith on bass, and Matt Stevens or Etan Haziza on guitar; three with without guitars; and one solo.  Kauflin’s music and playing swing lightly and are typically upbeat and always melodic. In the words of Quincy Jones:  “Simply beautiful cat – you feel it in every note he plays.”  Click here for a live performance of “For Clark” after being introduced by Quincy Jones.

Jack Mouse & Scott Robinson – Snakeheads & Ladybugs (Tall Grass, self-produced): Drummer Jack Mouse and horn player Scott Robinson (tenor and c-melody sax, cornet, e-flat clarinet) present these improvised duets or tonal representations. According to the duo, the title song was inspired by discovering two stones in a rock garden which bore an “abstract resemblance to a snakehead and ladybugs.”  That may sum up the titles on this disc, but you’ll have to find or ignore the connections by listening to the music, which is not terribly crazy or “far out” but whose titles didn’t always resonate to communicate any specific understanding for me.  That being said, this isn’t mainstream, but also not totally weird either. Cuts range from 2 to 6 1/2 minutes and connecting with the soundscape rather than the title made this a better experience for me.  The music is within reach if you have the time and interest to give it a try.  No links available.

Marcus Parsley – Sunday Strollin’ (Rondette Jazz):  Trumpeter/vocalist Parsley’s first release as a group leader immediately signals his love of mainstream swing and his musical debt to pre-modal Miles and Chet Baker (he even sings). But, hold on, this Sunday stroll also tips its hat to the soul jazz of the later 60s (check out his sly treatment of Donald Byrd’s “Slow Drag” – a ten minute stroll that will “flat domino your lame act”).  Parsley is ably supported throughout by Ian Hendrickson-Smith (tenor & alto sax), Roy Dunlap (piano), James Genus (bass) and Lawrence Leathers (drums).  Whether interpreting Ellington or Berlin, playing straight-ahead jazz a la the great years of the Blue Note styles of late 50’s and 60’s, or giving a nod to New Orleans, Parsley has something that will please most every jazz taste.  Click here for an interview with Parsley about this release.

Chris Potter Underground Orchestra – Imaginary Cities (ECM): Chris Potter is the composer and session leader of this fascinating recording.  Potter plays tenor and soprano sax and bass clarinet and is complimented by Adam Rogers (guitar), Craig Taborn (piano), Steve Nelson (vibes, marimba), Fima Ephron (bass guitar), Scott Colley (double bass), Nate Smith (drums), Mark Feldman and Joyce Hammann (violins), Lois Martin (viola), and David Eggar (cello).  The title is actually a four-part composition and is a remarkable blend of jazz and orchestral sensibilities. The performance is both beautiful and dynamic.  Click here for an interview and short samples from this disc.

Charles Ruggiero – Boom Bang, Boom Bang! (Rondette Jazz): Drummer Ruggiero’s first disc as a leader, supported by Ian Hendrickson-Smith (flute), Jeremy Manasia (Fender Rhodes, piano), and Barak Mori (bass).  Hilary Gardner provides vocals on one track.  Mellow and swinging with the flute and Fender Rhodes carrying the day, Ruggiero adds some really nice accents.  The final track “Liftoff” turns up the urgency and is the closest connection to the disc’s title.  Click here for an interview with Ruggiero about this recording.

Thanks everyone!  Ann will be back next week!  Bebop


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