viernes, 18 de diciembre de 2015

Erik Friedlander - Oscalypso (2015)

Label: Skipstone Records

As a veteran of the fertile 1990s Downtown NYC scene, cellist Erik Friedlander has been involved in myriad creative endeavors, including innovative sideman work with Dave Douglas and John Zorn, while leading his own unique ensembles, such as Chimera and Topaz. More recently, Friedlander has been performing solo and developing projects inspired by rural Americana, but he has never released an album of covers—until now.

Oscalypso features creative reinterpretations of nine of Oscar Pettiford's most beloved tunes. Although Friedlander hasn't actually recorded Pettiford's compositions before, this effort can be heard as an extension of Broken Arm Trio (Skipstone, 2008), Friedlander's original tribute to the renowned contrabassist's groundbreaking cello experiments, which Pettiford first embarked upon in 1949 while recuperating from a broken arm.

Friedlander is joined on the frontline by saxophonist Michael Blake, whose impulsive phrasing and breathy high notes contrast with the leader's classical form and pure tone, yielding multihued juxtapositions. Regularly engaging in deft interplay with Blake, Friedlander plucks, strums, and bows plangent refrains with lyrical sustain, while the saxophonist occasionally harmonizes on two horns simultaneously (ala Rahsaan Roland Kirk), reinforcing the program's nostalgic post-war ambience. Providing understated support, Friedlander's longstanding rhythm section of bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Michael Sarin lend the proceedings a suitably carefree, chamber-esque quality.  Read more...

Bohemia After Dark
Cello Again
Two Little Pearls
Pendulum at Falcon's Lair
Tamalpais Love Song
Cable Car
Sunrise Sunset

Erik Friedlander: cello
Michael Blake: saxophones
Trevor Dunn: bass
Michael Sarin: drums 



Yaniv Taubenhouse Trio - Moments In Trio, Vol. 1 (2015)

Pianist Yaniv Taubenhouse presents his second album as leader with the bold Moments In Trio, Volume One providing another fresh set of innovative new originals continuing the personal musical journey he began documenting with his highly-acclaimed debut Here From There (Fresh Sound Records, 2015). Together with new fellow band mates Jerad Lippi on drums and Rick Rosato on bass, this Tabenhouse Trio glide gently through nine original compositions of classically-tinged modern jazz and one re-imagined standard delivering several balladic and some swinging moments to savor. 

The opening "After the Storm" is a tender tune shedding a ray of sunshine through a seemingly clouded sky of emotions capturing the pianist on some of his finest solo moments of the disc while the following "All the Figs," reveals brighter landscape where bassist Rosato weighs in with strong, solid and extended bass lines well before the leader makes his own mark on the piece. Drummer Lippi takes center stage with a rousing opening statement on the aggressive "Sunshine in Pain" as his stick work and cymbal accents pronounce the track.

Tabenhouse brings the trio back to much calmer waters on the light "Conversation," another of the warmer balladic tunes the trio is best known for, as bassist Rosato introduces the intricate and introspective "Migrations," a challenging composition that changes directions and texture making it one of the more modern-styled tunes of the set. 

The pianist's classical training seems to seep through on the beautiful "Prelude of the Ozarks" as the "Unknown" original takes the group back to the modern side offering another testament of the leader's skills on the piano with another excellent solo joust on the keys.

The impressive session begins to close on the most ambitious piece of the repertoire with "Imaginary Darkness" and a creative treatment of the old 1941 standard by Burton Lane "How About You?" providing one of the finest renditions of the classic around. Following the formula he used on his debut recording, Yaniv Tabenhouse once again takes moments of the classical and moments of jazz and designs a sparkling session of music with more delightful Moments In Trio, Volume One, pleasantly laying the musical groundwork for Volume two.

After the Storm
All the Figs
With You
Sunshine in Pain
Prelude of the Ozarks
Imaginary Darkness
How About You

Yaniv Taubenhouse: piano
Rick Rosato: bass
Jerad Lippi: drums


Antonio Hart - Blessings (2015)

Antonio is a giving, respectful human being. His musical abilities encompass Soul, Science and Sound. This performance, as always, shows a deep passion and love for his God given talent and devotion. Ever since we met he has been “Like a Son to me.” – Jimmy Heath

Baltimore is, naturally, far more than the setting for television’s The Wire. Whereas New York, Detroit, and Philadelphia get the lion’s share of glory, Baltimore is a major source of jazz talent. Eubie Blake, Chick Webb, Billie Holiday, Gary Bartz, Bill Frisell, Gary Thomas, Warren Wolf, Mark Gross, and the Harper Brothers hail from there as does alto saxophonist Antonio Hart. Born September 1968, Hart originally got his musical grounding in classical music but transitioned to jazz in college. Attending the Berklee College of Music was crucial not only for the lessons learned, but there Hart befriended trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Hart became Hargrove’s foil on his first five albums as a leader and Hargrove returned the favor on Hart’s 1991 debut disc For the First Time. After studying with legends Jimmy Heath and Donald Byrd at Queens College, Hart has appeared as a sideperson/bandmember with leaders diverse as Nat Adderley (for three and ½ years), Dizzy Gillespie (playing on Gillespie’s last recordings), McCoy Tyner, and Dave Holland. Hart is in the continuum of not only alto icons Johnny Hodges, Gary Bartz, Cannonball Adderley, and Lou Donaldson but also tenor icons James Moody and Dexter Gordon.

“I’m something of a dinosaur,” Hart says with playful irony. “I’m among the last of my generation to directly learn from the [original] masters—Jimmy Heath (still active, bless him), Art Blakey, James Moody, and Dizzy Gillespie. Like Master Gillespie said, I’ve one foot in the past and one in the present.” While Blessings’ sax/organ/guitar/drums line-up evokes the classic, blues/R&B-inspired soul jazz combos of the 1960s and ‘70s, this set is an homage to a classic era but not a tribute. “Tributes” can be too reverential sometimes, whereas Blessings finds Hart absorbing aspects of that tradition to create an album that’s classic in its own right, as opposed to recreating what was done before (not that there’s anything wrong with that). True, the instrumental context evokes the Jack McDuff/Jimmy McGriff/Big John Patton era—how could it not?—but Hart, like the most creative jazz musicians, takes the organ combo style and builds upon it, reinventing it for his and our Eternal Now. “This is the music I grew up with in Baltimore—there was a hometown hero [tenor player] Mickey Fields I heard at the Sportsmans’ Lounge. It was always a dream of mine to do an album of that style.” While Bobby Floyd’s organ has that hi-caloric Hammond B-3 heft, he doesn’t recall the aforementioned organ masters as much as the late great modernist of the organ, Larry Young. Floyd plays with the fleetness of a modernist hard bop pianist (think John Hicks or Larry Willis), which by some coincidence, he is (a pianist, that is). As the DJs of yore said back-when, the pick-to-click is “I Can’t Help It,” featuring Hart’s soprano saxophone. Beginning with a hot-fun-in-the-summertime melody over a balm-like organ, it develops into some punch-and weave improvisations and an ebullient, rollicking rhythm.

Yotam Silbertstein burns here with a voracious solo that betrays a touch of a bracing, smoldering Jimi Hendrix influence. Jack McDuff’s “Rock Candy” literally kicks the album off like the 1930s Basie band first set of a Saturday night club date. Hart swings like a man possessed, with a drive like Adderley (albeit with his own tone) and Phil Woods at their respective peaks with a bittersweet cry that evokes 1960s tenor titan Booker Ervin. Bobby Floyd’s organ has that hi-calorie richness in the vein of McDuff and Jimmy McGriff but with the fluidity of Larry Young. Silbertsteen’s guitar is sharp as a tack, rooted in the technique of Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery but with an edge all his own. Steve Williams’ drumming is crackling and volatile. For those that value the classic jazz balladry tradition, Hart has that covered—Frank Foster’s “Shiny Stockings” finds AH dancing with that oh-so-pretty melody with great tenderness and aplomb in the manner of jazz balladeers Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins. Read more...

01. Rock Candy
02. Down and Up
03. Mo Dak
04. A Hole in the Flute
05. Speak Low
06. The End of a Love Affair
07. I Can't Help It
08. Shiney Stockings
09. Last Train to Overbrook
10. Like My Own

Antonio Hart, Alto & Soprano sax
Bobby Floyd, Organ
Yotam Silberstein, Guitar
Steve Williams, Drums