domingo, 27 de diciembre de 2015

DAVID S. WARE / APOGEE - Birth Of A Being (Expanded) 2 CD (2015)

Apogee was saxophonist David S. Ware’s first band where he was the “leader”. It can be hard to pin down one member as the leader of a free jazz ensemble, but Ware is identified as the leader for Birth of a Being since it helped launch his career as a frontman/band leader. Ware and pianist Cooper-Moore met one another in the throes of an east coast education in the ‘60s. The more the two played together and got to know one another, the greater their desire to play “freely” became. Enter drummer Marc Edwards who was already expressing some interest in playing borderless jazz and a very bold trio named Apogee was born. Their jam sessions were intense and their gigs, including opening for Sonny Rollins at the Village Vanguard, were well-received. The racket came to a halt when all three members became busy with other musical engagements. By the mid-‘70s, Ware became keen on documenting the sound of Apogee on record. Two days in a New York recording studio brought about Birth of a Being, Apogee’s one and only album. After being released on the Swiss label hat Hut, the album quietly fell out of print as Ware’s career hit the gas. Ware may be gone now (but not before playing with Cooper-Moore a few more times) but Birth of a Being has received an attractice reissue on AUM Fidelity with a bonus CD that doubles the amount of music.

Free jazz is a difficult thing to discuss since it’s all about the wordless expressions one achieves through the chemistry one establishes with other musicians. Sadly, David S. Ware is no longer with us to give us his take on these 1977 sessions. It is worth noting, however, that Apogee had gone through a two-year hiatus before recording Birth of a Being. Normally bands need to constantly playing with one another in order to keep their music sharp. If they take a break, they risk turning rusty. Ware, Edwards, and Cooper-Moore on the other hand, were still able to make a furiously joyful noise together after not seeing each other for two years. We may never know if they were better before the 1975 split or if Ware and Edwards’s time in the Cecil Taylor Unit with Jimmy Lyons and Raphe Malik further freed up their already freewheeling tendencies. Taking Birth of a Being at face value though, neither scenario is of any concern. The beginning of “Prayer”, the first track on both CDs, sounds like it was actually arranged!

Birth of a Being is initially made up of four very long pieces: “Prayer”, “Thematic Womb”, “A Primary Piece No. 1”, and “A Primary Piece No. 2”, totaling 53 minutes. At 52 minutes, the extra CD has an alternate take of “Prayer” followed by four selections that did not make it to the album. “Ashimba” is a two-minute solo rendition of “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” performed by Cooper-Moore on an 11-tone xylophone, an instrument developed by Ware himself. The disc ends with a solo performance from Ware himself lasting close to seven minutes (unimaginatively titled “Solo”). “Cry” and “Stop Time” add an extra half-hour of telepathic jazz from the trio that had to stop just as they were starting.

It’s better to have only this bulging drop of Apogee’s power than none at all. It represents a pivotal point in David S. Ware’s career and shifts the spotlight to the power of inter-band dynamics. And now that we’ve resurrected one long-lost recording from Ware’s career, I can’t help but wonder what else we have to look forward to. Read more...

Disc One – Birth Of A Being
1 .Prayer .(10:54) 
2 .Thematic Womb.(16:34)
3 .A Primary Piece #1 .(13:48)
4 .A Primary Piece #2. (12:00)

Disc One – Birth Of A Being (Expanded)
5 .Prayer [alt. take]. (12:07) 
6 .Cry .(14:06)
7 .Stop Time .(17:05)
8 .Ashimba * [C-M]. (2:30)
9 .Solo .(6:56)

All compositions (except *) by David S. Ware;
published by Gandharvasphere/Daswa (ASCAP) 

Original sessions produced by David S. Ware
with Cooper-Moore. Recorded by Fred Seibert 
at C.I. Recording, NYC on April 14 & 15, 1977.
This edition produced by Steven Joerg.
Mixed with and mastered by Mchael Marciano
at Systems Two, Brooklyn in July 2015.

David S. Ware: tenor saxophone
Cooper-Moore: piano, ashimba on *
Marc Edwards: drums


Tom Luther Quintet - Necessity (2015)

Label : Self Released
Source : Cdbaby

The music on this album are a series of portraits and stories from the last few years. The language is firmly rooted in the harmonic and rhythmic world of jazz, European formalism, and the textures and colors of Ambient music. The music itself is about friends, relatives, and their stories, as well as my own.

The title track, "Necessity", was the impetus of the album. In the summer of 2013, we were hired to play a festival in Belfast, Maine, and four days before, I got a phone call from our tenor player, Gideon. Gideon had injured his hand in what we all now refer to as "a bizarre dish washing accident" and would be unable to play the festival. Rather than find another tenor player to sit in, I opted to perform as a quartet, and promptly set to re-working the music to a suitable quartet arrangement. I realized that trying to rework all are material in four days was highly unrealistic( many of out arrangements are complex enough that they just don't work as a quartet), and opted to generate some new material, and "Necessity" came out of that. The tune later took on the album title.

"Flight of the Moon" was written for my Uncle Bob, and based on Claude Debussy's "Clair De Lune" from "Suite Bergamasque". My Uncle would often play this piece at family gatherings when I was growing up, and was a big support to me as a young musician. I think he came to every marching band competition and jazz band concert I was in, and I really wanted to give something back. The work applies similar modal shifts that Debussy uses in his piece, and mimics the rhythmic changes as well. There are three distinct rhythmic worlds: a two feel, 12/8, and a simple three. During the formal melodic statement, these are fixed in a specific order, but throughout the improvised sections the band freely mixes and adapts depending on how the soloist responds. This is very evident in trumpeter Mike Whitehead's solo.

"A Fisherman's Dance" was written for my friend Noah, who was the bass player on our first album. "Everything Is Blue". It's initial harmonic anchor is similar to "Flight of the Moon", but reversed. I tried to create a sprightly bounce and a sense of wonder to this tune, to match Noah's personality, He is one of the smartest and most curious people I know, and also quite fearless, The title is a play on his surname, Fishman.

"Echoes" is one of the most recent tunes in our book, and the third on the album to use the modal shifts of "A Fisherman's Dance" and "Flight if the Moon". The three tunes are a kind of cycle, and positioned on the album to create a specific architecture. The title refers to the specific ostinato carried by the rhythm and saxophone parts throughout the tune.

"Wisteria" and "Portrait of Nixie" both were inspired by photographs. "Portrait of Nixie" came from a photo series taken by my friend Nick, entitled "Sunrise in the Saddle". These were a series of photos he took first thing in the morning as he was riding his bike up the coast to his job. The tune is a musical imagining of him on his bike in the early morning. "Wisteria" is probably the most traditional setting, and an homage to Thelonious Monk, loosely referencing "Ugly Beauty".

"Approaching Autumn" is both literal and metaphorical. Autumn has always been my favorite time of year, and has always felt like a time of renewal, even more than Spring. Conversely, it is also a tune about getting older and is ironically one of the faster tempo pieces on the album.

"Bingo" is a feature for our bass player, Duane Edwards. This tune came out of my year long writing blog, "The September Project". From September 2011 until September 2012, I wrote and recorded a piece of music every day, and posted them online. "Bingo" came around late in the project, and was a reference to the expression used by airplane pilots when they are low on fuel( "bingo fuel").

"Breathe" was also from that period, and also inspired by my Yoga studies at that time. It is something of a bridge piece for me, as I began to break away from the earlier more complex harmonic writing into a simpler more haiku like approach. More than any other, "Breathe" is a pure canvas for this group.

Regardless of the different constructions and architecture of the music on this record, improvisation plays a key role. As distinct as each piece is, the musicians on the album sculpt shapes of their own and sign each piece with their own ideas and stories. It makes the album a clear snapshot of who we are at this moment and where we may be headed.

1. Approaching Autumn
2. Portrait of Nixie
3. Echoes
4. Breathe
5. Flight of the Moon
6. Necessity
7. A Fisherman's Dance
8. Bingo
9. Wisteria

Mike Whitehead - Flugelhorn
Gideon Forbes - Tenor
Tom Luther - piano
Duanne Edwards - bass
Jacob Forbes - drums



Brad Turner Trio - Here Now (2015)

Label : Groundhog Recordings 
Source : Cdbaby 

Think of what Monk would have been like had he been raised in Europe. Turner's style exhibits some of the same quirky eccentricities, especially on the set-opener "Lucie from Prague," which has its tongue planted firmly in cheek, but is tempered with a broader harmonic palette that brings to mind British pianist John Taylor. At the same time there is something distinctly contemporary about Turner's vision, placing him squarely in the same territory as the Bad Plus and E.S.T...

1. Here Now
2. Hopalong
3. Frogger
4. Sasha
5. Hindsight
6. Laundry Lessons
7. You Must Believe in Spring

Brad Turner (piano)
Darren Radtke (bass)
Bernie Arai (drums)



Matt Hopper - First Love (2015)

Label : Self Released
Source : Cdbaby
Thank You, Mr. SEBPOL!

First Love is the debut release by Kansas City jazz guitarist and composer Matt Hopper.

Matt has studied and absorbed the rich history of jazz guitar and the blues drenched tradition of Kansas City jazz. Matt's playing and approach to composing, however, is original rather than derivative. His unique playing reflects the romantic, Spanish roots of the guitar. Matt has also explored the rich musical culture of Brazil with frequent trips playing and listening to music and just hanging out with new friends.

On First Love, Matt brings all of these influences to bear as he creates something new. The instrumentation is the traditional organ jazz trio format: guitar, hammond organ, and drums.

Drummer Kevin Frazee has worked with Matt for many years. Initially, they played music together with jazz organ master and musical mentor to many, Everette DeVan. Organist Ken Lovern has worked with both Kevin and Matt often, and their musical empathy and telepathy are present in both the arrangements and the numerous extended solos.

The material for this release developed over several years during weekly gigs at Kansas City's Green Lady Lounge. The release includes 6 original compositions and 2 new arrangements of jazz standards. 

01. Green Lady Low Down  3:16
 02. Song for Wes  4:55
 03. Heartbreak Hurts  4:08
 04. Set Your Fears Aside  7:09
 05. First Love  9:54
 06. Straight Chill'n  4:59
 07. Darn That Dream  8:25
 08. My Ideal  5:37

Matt Hopper / Guitar
Kevin Frazee / Drums
Ken Lovern / Hammond Organ  



Kenny Burrell - The Road to Love (2015)

Label : HighNote

Still vitally active well into his mid 80s, jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell is as dependable as one’s prized Rolex watch. As the watch can keep time impeccably, so can Kenny, but he can also inspire, and bring on a deep sense of effortless swing.
Witness his latest CD on High Note Records, recorded live at Catalina’s over this past Memorial Day weekend. With a blend of Burrell’s tunes combined with mostly well-known classics, Kenny keeps the Hollywood audience satisfied. Adding saxophonist/flutist, Justo Almario, to a crack LA-based rhythm section expands the sound palette to add some punch to Kenny’s bluesy guitar lines. It is rare to get the opportunity to hear Mr. Burrell provide commentary on a third of the eighteen tracks. It peaks a listener’s interest and provides a feeling of attending the live session.
Pianist Tom Ranier is more than an able accompanist, as he is there every step of the way with piano fills and soloing when the time is right. Reed man Almaro sets no new ground, but also fits right in and can dig in when called upon such as on the opening, “Salty Papa.” On “Serenata”  Almaro’s flute section provides a nice addition to Burrell’s Latin lines and Cameron’s percussion. I seldom tire of hearing Neal Hefti’s “Li’l Darlin’” and Kenny does not disappoint. The familiar strumming of the known melody is so sweet.
Clayton Cameron’s brush work is put to strong use on Kenny’s tune,”Brush Magic,” (likely written for Clayton, who has been with Burrell for over ten years). It’s followed by a sublime “Listen to the Dawn,” on which Almaro’s flute is ethereal. It’s a relatively rare opportunity to experience Burrell playing acoustic guitar, and on “Someone to Light Up My Life” and Ellington’s “Single Petal of a Rose,” Kenny puts on a clinic appropriate for a concert hall. Fortunately with warm acoustics we have a front row seat, and on headphones it would be a guitar lover’s dream.
Kenny offers a tribute to his friend, B. B. King, (who passed away just a few weeks before this live session), on “Confessin’ the Blues.” This swinging session concludes with the soulful Barbara Morrison interpreting Ellington and Billie Holiday.
Jazz guitar heaven is keeping a warm seat ready for Kenny Burrell. If we’re lucky it’ll be quite awhile before that time happens.



Kendrick Scott Oracle - We Are The Drum (2015)

While drummer Kendrick Scott's namesake outfit—Kendrick Scott Oracle—has been around in some form since 2006, it's a band that's really come into its own in the last few years. With the arrival of Conviction (Concord Records, 2013), Scott made a major statement on a high-visibility label; jazz listeners and critics both took note. With We Are The Drum, his debut for the storied Blue Note imprint, he raises the bar even higher, melding complex ideas and completely accessible sounds. 

While Scott cites his instrument in the title of this album, this is not a drum-centric record. Yes, there are drum solos, be they introductory in nature ("Mantra," "Never Catch Me") or weaved in and out of an entire song likes waves fiercely arriving and breaking at the shore before receding ("We Are The Drum"). But these solo displays are more about capturing or creating the spirit of a song than anything else. No single instrument dominates these proceedings and there's a democratic spirit at play throughout this album. 

The music presented on We Are The Drum doesn't come at the listener so much as it surrounds and envelops. This band gazes across vast sonic landscapes with a panoramic mindset. Mike Moreno's gleaming guitar lines connect with John Ellis' horns or spiral around them, bassist Joe Sanders finds open spaces to insert his ideas, Taylor Eigsti's sparkling piano lines illuminate the atmosphere, and Scott expertly steers things without ever succumbing to any sort of standard groove-making formulas. He has a rare gift in that he's able to create rhythmic stability without the need to subscribe to any form of rhythmic repetition. 

While there's no shortage of high-energy music here, and Scott is perfectly happy throwing one down the middle ("Synchrony") or taking a soulful detour with guest vocalist Lizz Wright ("This Song In Me"), the most compelling moments on this album aren't the most fiery or the most direct. Evolution and exploration are the dangling carrots that encourage deeper listening. In one case, elegant arco work may lead the way to more energetic environs ("Milton"); in another, the act of questioning is at the heart of the matter ("Make Believe"); and in a third, gorgeously winding melodic lines seduce and continually draw the ears in deeper ("Lotus"). By fully embracing the search for meaning in sounds, We Are The Drum wins out.

We Are The Drum
Make Believe
This Song In Me
The Long Shadow
Never Catch Me
Touched By An Angel (For Maya)
Touched By An Angel

Kendrick Scott: drums
Taylor Eigsti: piano, Rhodes
Michael Moreno: guitar
John Ellis: saxophones, bass clarinet
Joe Sanders: bass
Lizz Wright: vocals (3)