domingo, 29 de noviembre de 2015

Hamiet Bluiett's Live At The Village Vanguard: Ballads & Blues (1997)

Baritone sax legend Hamiet Bluiett's, Live At The Village Vanguard: Ballads & Blues showcases the bottom-member of the World Saxophone Quartet with an adventurous group featuring guitarist Ted Dunbar. Bluiett's playing is soulful and contemplative on each on of the eight tunes from this live Village Vanguard set. 

This set features two jazz standards, a number of Bluiett originals, a tune apiece by Dunbar and bassist Clint Houston, and one by baritone saxophonist Patience Higgins. Bluiett does not content himself with traditional ballad treatments, instead constructing solos which explore the outer harmonic reaches of the tunes and utilize the full range of his instrument. Dunbar, one of a very small handful on guitarists whose comping rivals the best pianists, follows Bluiett's every move.

Dunbar also comes forward for some remarkable solo work, spotlighting his warm, broad tone, highly melodic phrases, and unusually sophisticated harmonic conception. Houston and Monk alumnus Ben Riley's tight rhythm section work propels the soloists and moves the date along in a swinging fashion.


Michael Moore Trio - Bering (1997)

Michael Moore's trio with pianist Fred Hersch and Mark Helias is one of the union's in modern jazz.Moore restricts himself to playing clarinet on this date, and, with no drummer present, the restrained palette relies on the magic of intervallic invention, the subtle and towering structures of harmonic architecture, and the dynamic considerations that the trio setting affords. 

Over 15 tracks, seven of them Moore's and the rest a vast array of true gems from the jazz and international folk pantheon, this trio manages to create a kind of jazz that transcends the genre and simply becomes music. Whether it is the wonderfully impressionistic lyricism of "Frontier," with it's rearrangement of three harmonic figures between clarinet and piano, or the driving modalism of Wayne Shorter's "Albatross" or the strutting harmonies in Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks," this trio manages to add, shape, contour, and improvise on exactly what makes this kind of trio interaction unique. Helias' bass playing here is singular; he melts into the backdrop while guiding with purpose the tempo and dynamic of every tune in the program. 

He is never absent, never without "wood," yet he moves elliptically through tracks, such as Tom Jobim's "Inutil Paisagem," with a simmering rhythm and contrapuntal staccato that brings Hersch up and into the body of the tune as Moore slips around and under its melodic line. On Moore's "Odin," it is Hersch who inverts the line and turns it back on itself, causingMoore in his solo to reconsider how the lyric is structured and then deconstruct it once more in order to restate it with a silvery glissando. Quite simply, this is a breathtaking if quiet recording, full of surprises and musical innovation at nearly every turn offering a new definition to the phrase "art of the trio."