lunes, 25 de agosto de 2014

Adam Levy - Town & Country (2014)

Source: criticalijazz
Label: Lost Wax Records

Adam Levy is a critically acclaimed guitarist, singer / songwriter and journalist. A legitimate improvisational triple threat and given his varied background one could say Levy was one of the few Renaissance men of jazz. Outside of the more traditional roll that Levy assumes with this organ inspired and inspiring trio, the gritty guitarist has done extensive work with Norah Jones as well as contemporaries such as Tracy Chapman.
The sound of Town & Country might best be described as John Scofield and Bill Frisell get into a bar fight...While the influences are seemingly unmistakable what sets this release apart is the gritty punctuated phrasing and unique harmonic style that is all Adam Levy. The label of "organ trio" is strictly an umbrella term. This collective trio fires on all cylinders thanks to strong compositions, a methodical manipulation of harmonics and that all important intangible of chemistry! "The Prettiest Girl In New York" is a whimsical yet slightly gritty country and western number with a swirling melodic counterpoint from Larry Goldings. In direct contrast the composition "Montague Street" is a minor key odd metered tune built around a soulful dissonance smoldering just below the surface while never having the melody lost in the shuffle. The title track "Town & Country" is perhaps the most appealing with clean angular harmonic movement from Levy while Larry Goldings weaves this lyrical tapestry into a delicate yet solid melodic wall of sound. The rock steady beat of Matt Chamberlain propels the trio forward.
Familiar yet different, Adam Levy is the perfect example of an artist that can be inspired while never losing their own unique vision or artistic integrity. Levy has a few projects under his belt now and the sky is literally the limit. It is rare to find a release that can cover so much ground yet remain uniform and accessible with the final product. One of the better sleepers for 2014. I would not be shocked to see this show up on some best of lists by years end. 

 1. Memphis, Tennessee 03:30  
 2. Streets of Baltimore 04:56 
 3. Montague St. 05:02  
 4. The Prettiest Girl in New York 02:37  
 5. Copenhagen 05:37  
 6. I Love Paris 03:52  
 7. Pianos of the 9th Ward 07:15  
 8. Town & Country 05:20  
 9. West L.A. Fadeaway 06:08  
 10. Dayton, Ohio – 1903 02:01 

Adam Levy (guitar)
Larry Goldings (organ)
Matt Chamberlain (drums)


Andrea Keller Quartet With Strings - Wave Rider (2014)

Label: Jazzhead

When Willis Conover announces Thelonious Monk’s set at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival (as preserved in the film 'Jazz on a summer's day') he observes that ‘we can’t describe him exactly as ‘daring’, because I think he is unconcerned with any opposition to his music…’
Which is as good a descriptor of Monk’s view as any (and that of Miles, Shorter et al) and one which fits Australian pianist and composer Andrea Keller to a ‘t’.
The phrase popped into my mind as I checked out Keller’s new Quartet (with Strings) album, Wave Rider – directly after my mind shaped the phrase, ‘Man, Keller takes some chances, daring stuff…’
Wave Rider is the fifth Keller Quartet album and is made with a string quartet. As ever, I won’t list the accolades and awards Keller and her Quartet have attracted. Suffice to say, they are many and they are deserved. I will instead immerse myself in the wonderful world that is Wave Rider.

1. From Nature's Fabric 04:09
2. Ingress 04:33
3. Queen for Tea I 01:49
4. Waves I 03:07
5. Illuminate 02:58
6. Mister Music 05:21
7. Reflection 03:41
8. Patience 10:14
9. Queen for Tea II 01:18
10.Waves II 03:08
11.Breathing In 08:14
12.Wave Rider 00:51
13.Queen for Tea III 01:35
14.Queen for Tea IV 02:48
15.Egress 03:36

Eugene Ball (trumpet)
Ian Whitehurst (tenor saxophone)
Joe Talia (drums)
Andrea Keller (piano)
Erkki Veltheim (violin)
Helen Ayers (violin)
Matt Laing (viola) 
Zoe Knighton (cello)


Roberto Gatto - Live At Casa Del Jazz (2006)


1) Joshua 7:27
2) There Is No Greater Love 13:05
3) Footprints 11:59
4) Stella by Starlight 10:06
5) All Blues 7:45
6) Basin Street Blues 6:28
7) All of You 10:02
8) Seven Seps to Heaven

Flavio Boltro (tp), 
Daniele Scannapieco (tenor sax), 
Dado Moroni (p), 
Rosario Bonaccorso (bass), 
Roberto Gatto (drums).

Recorded Live at Casa del Jazz,
Rome 2006, March 4


The Bill Warfield Big Band (feat. Randy Brecker) - Trumpet Story (2014)

Once upon a time, a musician named Bill Warfield got the idea to celebrate the instrument that he played – the trumpet – and some of the people who played that instrument. He would do so by writing a suite of big-band compositions for trumpet soloist. But rather than make these pieces into showcases for his own playing, he decided to write them for a different trumpeter – who in fact was one of those musicians he had admired as a young man. And that’s how Trumpet Story came into being.

But let’s dispense with the fairytale trappings; although this album is indeed a dream come true, there’s nothing fictional about the hard work and focused talent that merge in these performances. The album does, honor one of the oldest lessons in the jazz canon, however: the importance of presenting a cohesive narrative, of creating music with a beginning and an end – yes, of “telling a story” – which artists from Louis Armstrong to Frank Zappa have made their overriding goal.

And when it comes to storytelling, you need two things: good material and, just as important, a good storyteller. In this case, make that two storytellers: Randy Brecker and Warfield himself. Each is justifiably lionized for his tale-spinning skills, and on this album they complement each other like prologue and epilogue.

Warfield tells his stories on paper. His arrangements sharply illustrate his own compositions, but also reveal his thoughts and emotions when he embroiders pieces written by others. And like any gifted chronicler, Warfield can shift his voice to fit the mood and the action – from the showy funk of the opening track to the lambent subtleties of the very next piece (Herbie Hancock’s “Speak Like A Child), to the elegant British majesty of “Flowerdale” to the jittery caffeination of Joe Zawinul’s “Pharaoh’s Dance.”

Brecker, on the other hand, speaks through his horn, in statements laconic or garrulous and in tones gilded or blunt, with phrases that either slide off a log or race for the mountaintop. Brecker is a skilled composer himself – witness “Sponge” in this collection – but that aspect of his music has receded into the shadow cast by his improvising. For over 40 years, he has towered above contemporaries in a succession of genres. His solos have blended lyricism and virtuosity, with such consistent inventiveness – and over so long a time – that many listeners have come to take him for granted. Sure, he’s a six-time GRAMMY winner; a fusion hero, as a founding member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, and of course his own Brecker Brothers Band; and a famed contributor to a panoply of styles – hard-bop, fusion, big-band, Brazilian – who has energized bands led by Charles Mingus, Horace Silver, and Larry Coryell. Yet for all that, you might well describe him as “underappreciated” – which speaks to the true level of Brecker’s artistry, and the real range of his accomplishments.

He may have no bigger fan than Warfield, who conceived the compositions at the heart of this album specifically for Brecker’s trumpet. (“I don’t really sound like him,” says Warfield. “But I know a lot of the things I play are based on things I heard him do.”) The two horn players met in 1994, at a big-band studio date. A couple years later, Warfield invited Brecker to perform Sketches Of Spain, the iconic 1958 collaboration between Miles Davis and Gil Evans, with the band directed by Warfield at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. (Warfield eventually rose to the position of Director of Jazz Studies at Lehigh, and the university provided major financial support for the production of Trumpet Story.)

“Randy’s commitment to this project was remarkable,” Warfield says. “I’ve done studio projects with a lot of famous people, and he was just like one of the guys in the band: ‘What do you need? How can I help?’ I’ve never had someone in his position commit to a project with the level of intensity that he did.” You’ll find similar praise from Brecker for Warfield elsewhere in this booklet.
Originally a four-part suite, Trumpet Story grew from a vehicle for Brecker into a larger project incorporating facets of Warfield’s personal history – specifically, the impact of musicians who inspired his own development. That includes “not just trumpet players but also some composers who influenced me as I was coming up,” he explains. “They’re often the same, but not always.” Thus the compositions by Hancock and Zawinul, and also the hard-bop “Theme For Malcolm” by Donald Brown, best known for his stint with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the early 80s: all three were pianists, not trumpeters, but their writing left its mark on Warfield’s work. The most telling of these, “Speak Like A Child,” comes from Hancock’s 1968 album of the same name, which, says Warfield, was “reminiscent of the French Impressionistic composers of the early 20th century. The horns were woven into the fabric of each tune and not used as they traditionally had been; I tried to maintain that quality in this big band arrangement.” He succeeds with fleshed-out textures that still recall Hancock’s original chamber-band instrumentation.

Warfield’s career featured some early experience in r-&-b and funk bands, a period represented by “When Janie Takes The Stand”; he recounts that “The melody is derived from a background I made up for use behind a saxophone solo on the James Brown tune ‘Payback.’ The musicians, usually a quiet bunch, have a bit of an exuberant reaction after the take.” (Considering the solos from Brecker, guitarist Vic Juris, and trombonist Tim Sessions, who could blame them?) His other compositions reflect the personal as well as the professional. Of “Carol,” he says, I’ve always wanted to write a tune for my wife. So here it is. Carol is a visual artist of an extraordinary sort. We inspire each other day in and day out, and I’m grateful to her for all of the support she has given over the years.” The episodic and intriguing “In The Land Of Chad And Barbie” stems from Warfield’s association with Daniel Brita, a Brazilian composer of contemporary electronic music, who used some of Warfield’s tunes as the basis for a computer-generated piece of his own. And Warfield combined elements from two favored compositions – “Waltz For Debby” by pianist Bill Evans and “Up Jumped Spring” by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard – to come up with “A Window That Shows Me The Moon,” with a lovely piano introduction from Art Hirahara.

They all fit together like chapters of a book: one part autobiography, one part history, and one part character study, portraying one of the great trumpet players of our time. It makes for one heckuva good story.

Bill Warfield: trumpet
Randy Brecker: trumpet
and the Big Band

01. When Janie Takes the Stand (feat. Randy Brecker)
02. Speak Like a Child
03. A Window That Shows Me the Moon (feat. Randy Brecker)
04. Theme for Malcolm (feat. Randy Brecker)
05. Flowerdale
06. Sponge
07. In the Land of Chad and Barbie (feat. Randy Brecker)
08. Carol (feat. Randy Brecker)
09. Pharaoh's Dance (feat. Randy Brecker)
10. When Janie Takes the Stand (Radio Edit) [feat. Randy Brecker]

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins