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Setting up this week’s program, I began looking for Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage”, a tune I haven’t played in twenty years. The search led me to some fascinating sides, none of which included Hancock’s Voyage. French newcomer saxophonist and composer Gael Horellou kicks off the first half with the support of his quartet and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt in a cover of pianist Etienne Déconfin’s “Melody” from Gael’s “Coup De Vent” (Fresh Sound Records 2017). Brad Mehldau follows with “Ron’s Place” – a reference to a Texas craft beer eatery – from his “The Art of the Trio Recordings: 1996-2001 Disc 7” (Nonesuch Records 2011). “Brownie Speaks” is next from Lou Donaldson/Clifford Brown Quintet’s 1953 Blue Note recording of the same name. Lou’s alto and Clifford trumpet get help from pianist Elmo Hope, bassist Percy Heath and the drums of Philly Joe Jones. Finnish pianist Olli Ahvenlahti’s “Thinking, Whistling” (WE JAZZ RECORDS 2017) closes this half-hour with his “Miles Away” featuring Finland’s Jussi Kannaste’s on tenor sax.
When I was loading manure on top of ladies’ vehicles in 1949 for Long Beach, California’s Sears, I had a contraption that would wake me up playing Lee Konitz’s “Subconscious Lee”, a tune that should yank us out of our lethargy to begin the second half. Lennie Tristano’s piano begins the soloing followed by Billy Bauer’s guitar and Lee’s alto. It was recorded on shellac by Prestige in 1949. Steve Heckman & Matt Clark’s “Some Other Time / Slow Café” (World City Music 2017) follows with a tenor sax/piano duet cover of Heckman’s “Admiring-Lee” – a definite nod in the direction of Konitz. Pianist Eldar Djangirov, a Russian émigré, follows with his “Point of View” from his “Eldar” (Sony 2005). Eldar’s percussive approach, similar to that of McCoy Tyner, is supported by the late great tenor of Michael Brecker. Herbie Hancock & Bobby Hutcherson Quartet’s circa 1967 “Sketched in the Theme” ends this half with a cover of Hutcherson’s “Little B’s Poem” – a tune dedicated to Bobby’s young son, Barry
One of my unsung heroes, alto saxophonist Gary Bartz, gets the third half cooking with a cover of Monk’s “Let’s Cool One” from his “Reflections of Monk – The Final Frontier” (Steeplechase 1989) featuring another personal favorite, trumpeter Eddie Henderson and Bob Butta’s piano. Baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber follows with a cover of Horace Silver’s “Nica’s Dream” from his “Live at the Blue Note” (Projazz 1986). Featured artists include Randy Brecker’s trumpet and Lonnie Smiths’ organ. Bobby Hutcherson and Harold Land Live: “Blow Up” (Antibes 1969) brings us closer to romance with a cover of Hancock’s “Blow-Up” – the theme song from Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 movie of the same name.
Audrey Silver, one of today’s preeminent female jazz vocalists, gets us holding hands with her treatment of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” – a song from the 1955 movie “Oklahoma!” – from her “Very Early” (Messy House Productions/KARI-ON Productions 2016). Pianist Bruce Barth and trumpeter Alex Pope Norris make their presence felt. From one of Bill Evans earliest outings with bassist Scotty LaFaro, we get Bill’s exquisite treatment of Richard Rodgers’ “Spring Is Here” - this coming from his “Portrait in Jazz” (Riverside 1959). Mark Murphy joins forces with The Five Corners Quintet to cover Steve Allen’s “This Could Be the Start of Something” from the group’s “Chasin’ the Jazz Gone By” (Ricky-Tick Records 2005). Karrin Allyson’s “Ballads: Remember John Coltrane” (Pure Audiophile Records 2001) is next with a previously unheard cover of Rodgers and Hart’s “It’s Easy to Remember”. Bassist John Patitucci and pianist James Williams provide the backup. “Jazz Calls: Best of Australian Jazz 2017” (AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION MUSIC) keeps us cuddling with a cover of Brianna Gaither/Kelcy White’s “Love Is Patient” as imagined by vocalist Gian Slater and the Hieronymus Trio.
If thou remember'st not the slightest folly
That ever love did make thee run into,
Thou hast not loved. Shakespeare ~ (As You Like It, 2.4.33-5)
Let's have some fun!
Thanks to Music Director Serah and friends around the world for the program's content.