viernes, 31 de octubre de 2014

Mostly Other People Do The Killing - Blue (2014)

Source: Allaboutjazz
Label: Hot Cup Records

Imagine coming home from work to find the furniture in your house was moved and say, your tooth brush is now on the other side of the bathroom sink. A few inches here, and a few inches there. Would you notice? Maybe yes, if you had been gone just a day. What happens in the same scenario if you returned after a month's vacation. You may never discern the change.

Now, consider Mostly Other People Do The Killing's note-for-note remake of Miles Davis' seminal recording Kind Of Blue (Columbia, 1959). Is that month-long absence what Moppa Elliott's quintet is going for?

The band, which is known for painting the musical equivalent of a mustache on the Mona Lisa, takes on the task of actually painting La Gioconda. Play Blue for any unknowing jazz fan, and I dare say they won't recognize this counterfeit edition.

So, what is the point of this exercise? The liner notes to the disc, a reprinting of Jorge Luis Borges satirical piece "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote," hint at the answer. Borges writes a glowing review of a word-for-word recreation of Cervantes text. Citing Menard's work, with tongue-in-cheek, as anything but plagairism, Borges' spoof calls us, not to worship heroes, but to kill them. Because to glorify them, we have in effect destroyed our own creativity.

MOPDTK is perhaps one of the most unorthodox bohemian bands working today. Their technical skills, as evidenced here (and in their previous six discs), are superlative. By recreating, not just the notes, but the sound of Miles' recording, Elliott suggests (like Borges) that imitation of our heroes alone equals death. Calling jazz, "America's classical music," is commensurate with musical taxidermy.

Blue is not the same treatment as director Gus Van Sant's shot- for-shot remake of Hitchcock's film Psycho. MOPDTK copies the sound. For instance, John Coltrane's off-mic entrance on "Freddie Freeloader" is faithfully reproduced by Jon Irabagon, as is every other feature of the original. What MOPDTK has done is demanding and esoteric. But it is not jazz and, importantly, they know it.

Perhaps a better accompanying text for this recording would be Tom McCarthy's book Remainder, in which the protagonist spends a million dollar insurance settlement reconstructing and re-enacting a scene from his life. Of course, he fails each time because once a moment has passed, it's gone. Same for a jazz performance as renowned as Kind Of Blues: it is quite impossible to step into the same river twice.  - Mark Corroto -

So What
Freddie Freeloader
Blue in Green
All Blues
Flamenco Sketches

Peter Evans: trumpet
Jon Irabagon: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
Ron Stabinsky: piano
Moppa Elliott: bass
Kevin Shea: drums 

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


Jozef Dumoulin & The Red Hill Orchestra - Trust (2014)

Source & Label: Yolk Records

The Red Hill Orchestra brings together the keyboarder Jozef Dumoulin with Ellery Eskelin and Dan Weiss, two major figures of the american scene. Three artists who stand out with their capacity to combine jazz with the mastery of other musical practices, such as classical Indian music and improvised music. Together, they give life to a vivid repertoire, with songs and sonic meditations, where everyone's creativity naturally adds up. TRUST is a vast sound-poem that surprises and fascinates.

”After having experimented extensively with the Fender Rhodes solo, and having been nurtured by numerous and divers other musical experiences, I wanted to get in contact with musical approaches that would be different and at the same time related. Ellery and Dan each distinguish themselves with a capacity to combine strong roots in the jazz and american tradition with the mastery of other musical cultures such a indian classical music or improvised music. I myself feel very linked to what is called 'jazz' here in Europe but also to other kinds of music that are remote from that. This common kind of relation to music, among other reasons, made me feel like bringing us together and play.
And after the first work-phases I'm truly delighted by the adventure. Also, I've always liked the idea of creating a musical environment in which musicians of very different horizons can move freely without having to do too much concessions. This band gives me a new opportunity for that. As for the repertoire, I opted for a mixture of songs, improvisations and more abstract sonic improvisations.
My intention has been, since the beginning, to create an approach, a dance, and a sound with the three of us, which allows to integrate all our influences by and large. To give way to evoke them at all times, without necessarily being aware, or without making them perceptible. I've always been fascinated by different sonic universes, by their interior functioning, by the way they move forward or not. Over time, I've learned that all that I listen to and practice, finds sooner or later its way when I'm playing. As of now, I trust this process and it's been a while since I stopped asking myself if this or that element has a place or not in a sound, as long as it makes sense to me. My approach to composition, to recording a disc, or lead a band, fall under the same process; what is important to me, it's the creation of a universe that is consistent and alive. I let myself be led by what touches me moment to moment. And the rest, I try to ignore.
I love working with Dré Pallemaerts when it comes to mixing, because I like a lot the warm and meticulous sound he creates a lot, and also because he's someone who understands the music I bring to him although we barely talk about it. He takes his time, in order to bring out the character of each song, without prejudice. Sometimes it shows the song through a perspective different than what I have in mind, but this is for the best, since I recognize myself in this approach, and since it's always done with love and in a very consistent way.”  Jozef Dumoulin. September 2014 

1  Sea Green (4’49)
2  Water Bears (3’32)
3  M (7’14)
4  Sleeping Warriors (1’13) 
5  Inner White (4’18)
6  Lord Blue Throat (8’59)
7  All the Dragons in our Lives (2’19)
8  Up and Down (6’35)
9  Now that I have a Human Body (2’11)
10 The Gate (10’16)
11 Said a Blade of Grass (6’53)
12 Sea Green (4’48)


"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


David Virelles - Mbókò (2014)

Source: Allaboutjazz
Label: ECM

For a relatively young musician nearing his 31st birthday in 2014, pianist David Virelles has managed to both garner a strong reputation and emerge with a singular voice in a relatively short period of time. While his early experiences in North America were within the confines of what might be expected from a Cuban expat, playing with Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett, whose career has been predicated on a decades-long fascination with the music of Virelles' native country, in recent years he's emerged as a much broader artist. The first recording to give notice was, perhaps, saxophonist/composer David Binney's wonderful 2011 Criss Cross date, Barefooted Town , but it was not long after that Virelles began to garner even more significant attention with his own 2012 recording Continuum (Pi), but even more so when he began appearing on ECM recordings, specifically saxophonist Chris Potter's 2012 label debut as a leader, The Sirens, and in label stalwart Tomasz Stanko's New York Quartet on the equally impressive Wislawa (2013).

Clearly, even at this relatively early stage in his career, Virelles has nothing to prove and so, with his own leader debut for ECM, Mbókò, he has fashioned a recording whose success is absolutely founded on the musical excellence of his chosen band mates, but which is nevertheless anything but a showcase for overt virtuosity and instrumental pyrotechnics. Instead, its subtitle says it all: Sacred Music for Piano, Two Basses, Drum Set and BIankoméko Abakuá, with the emphasis on Sacred Music. On this set of ten Virelles originals, the emphasis is more about evocation, whether it's the blockier angularity and energy of "Seven, Through the Divination Horn," where drummer Marcus Gilmore and biankoméko expert Roman Diaz create a polyrhythmic stew made denser still through the contributions of double bassists Thomas Morgan and Robert Hurst, or the lyrical beauty of the sparer "The Highest One" where, with ECM's characteristic attention to detail and sound, everyone's contributions are there to be heard with pristine clarity and absolute transparency. Read more...

Wind Rose (Antrgofoko Mokoirén)
The Scribe (Tratado de Mpegó)
Antillais (A Quintín Bandera)
Aberiñán y Aberisún
Seven, Through the Divination Horn
Stories Waiting to Be Told
The Highest One
 Èfé (A María Teresa Vera)

David Virelles: piano
Thomas Morgan: double bass
Robert Hurst: double bass
Marcus Gilmore: drums
Román Diaz: biankoméko, vocals

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


The Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra - A Beautiful Friendship (2014)

Sometimes, just when it seems things couldn't possibly get any better, they do. That is certainly the case with A Beautiful Friendship, the spectacular new recording by arranger Gary Urwin's superlative southern California-based Jazz Orchestra. Having released three earlier albums showcasing the exceptional artistry of tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb and / or trombonist Bill Watrous, Urwin has upped the ANTE and pulled out all the stops on this one, not only re-enlisting Christlieb and Watrous for a consistently pleasing encore performance but enlivening the menu with yet another appetizing component, namely Carl Saunders, one of the most versatile and creative jazz trumpeters on the planet.

Saunders employs his awesome talents throughout, SOLOING brightly on five numbers, "dueling" with Wayne Bergeron on Charlie Parker / Dizzy Gillespie's "Shaw 'Nuff" (taken at an agreeable MEDIUM tempo) and with acclaimed guest artist Bobby Shew on Clifford Brown's classic "Joy Spring," while composing two of the album's more endearing themes, "Autumn Sojourn" and "Dear Mr. Florence," the last dedicated to the late great composer / arranger / pianist Bob Florence. As a soloist, Saunders had to bring his A game, as Christlieb and Watrous match him stride for stride and note for note, lending special warmth and charm to their feature numbers, "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" (Watrous) and "Dear Mr. Florence" (Christlieb).

As for Urwin, who describes himself in the liner notes as, among other things, "chief cook and bottle washer," he deftly arranged every selection save the warm-hearted finale, pianist Christian Jacob's unaccompanied rendition of "We'll Be Together Again." Christlieb, Watrous and Saunders are front and center with Jacob on the flag-waving opener, "A Beautiful Friendship," and with drummer Ralph Razze on Bill EVANS' genial "Waltz for Debby." Christlieb and Jacob share blowing space with Saunders (flugelhorn and high-note trumpet) on MichaelColombier's easygoing "Emmanuel." Christlieb, Jacob and Razze sparkle on the seductive standard "It Could Happen to You," Watrous and Christlieb on Luiz Bonfa's "The Gentle Rain," Watrous and Saunders on Antonio Carlos Jobim's sensuous "Look to the Sky."

While heaping praise on the soloists, one should not lose sight of the fact that this is a world-class ensemble with superb craftsmen in every chair. Together they make A Beautiful Friendship one of the more impressive big-band albums in recent memory. A rating of less than five stars? Out of the question.

From this the personnel is;

Our exciting new CD, "A Beautiful Friendship", features "front line" soloists 

Bill Watrous trombone
Pete Christlieb tenor sax
Carl Saunders trumpet

The first set of big band tracks was recorded at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California with Recording and Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman. The personnel was: 

4 Autumn Sojourn (Carl Saunders)
6 It Could Happen to You (Johnny Burke / James Van Heusen)
7 The Gentle Rain (Luiz Bonfá / Matt Dubey)
11 Joy Spring (Clifford Brown)

Kim Richmond alto sax, soprano sax
Rusty Higgins alto sax
Dan Higgins tenor sax
Rob Hardt tenor sax
John Mitchell baritone sax
Wayne Bergeron, Rick Baptist, Carl Saunders, Pete De Siena, Ron King trumpet, flugelhorn
Alex Iles, Alan Kaplan, Dave Woodley trombone
Rich Bullock bass trombone
Christian Jacob piano
Frank Browne guitar
Trey Henry bass
Ralph Razze drums. 

Recorded Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California 
Recording & Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman

The second set of big band tracks was recorded at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California with Recording and Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman. The personnel was:

1 A Beautiful Friendship (Donald Kahn / Stanley Styne)
8 Shaw 'Nuff (John Birks / Dizzy Gillespie / Charlie Parker)
9 Look to the Sky (Antonio Carlos Jobim)

Kim Richmond alto sax, soprano sax
Rusty Higgins alto sax
Pete Christlieb tenor sax
Dan Higgins tenor sax
Joel Peskin baritone sax
Wayne Bergeron, Rick Baptist, Carl Saunders, Larry Hall, Jeff Bunnell trumpet, flugelhorn
Charlie Loper, Alan Kaplan, Linda Small trombone
Craig Gosnell bass trombone
Christian Jacob piano
Frank Browne guitar
Trey Henry bass
Ralph Razze drums.

Recorded Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California 
Recording & Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman.

The third and final set of big band tracks was recorded at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California, with Recording and Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman. The personnel was:

2 Waltz for Debby (Bill Evans)
3 Emmanuel (Michel Colombier)
5 Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry (Sammy Cahn / Jule Styne)
10 Dear Mr. Florence (Carl Saunders)

Kim Richmond alto sax, flute
Alex Budman alto sax, alto flute
Billy Kerr tenor sax, flute
Rob Hardt tenor sax, clarinet
John Mitchell baritone sax, bass clarinet, bassoon
Wayne Bergeron, Dan Fornero, Carl Saunders, Larry Hall, Jeff Bunnell trumpet, flugelhorn
Charlie Loper, Alex Iles, Andy Martin trombone
Craig Gosnell bass trombone
Christian Jacob piano
Trey Henry bass
Ralph Razze drums

Recorded Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, California
Recording & Mixing Engineer Andy Waterman

12 We'll Be Together Again (Carl Fischer / Frankie Laine)

Piano solo

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins