Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Playlist for Tom Ossana – The Thin Edge – January 24, 2018 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m. ~ Use this link to access the show online.

Moldy figs are purist advocates of early jazz, originally those such as Rudi Blesh, Alan Lomax, and James Jones who argued that jazz took a wrong turn in the early 1920s with developments such as the introduction of printed scores. ~ Wikipedia

Let’s have an update on the idea of “Moldy Figs.” In my mind, the term should be applied to jazz before the mid-forties bop revolution led by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Max Roach and to some extent, Lester Young and the esoteric Thelonious Monk. The music continually evolved from that point up to 1969, a time that was less moldy. For the next twenty years jazz developed an inferiority complex brought about by the rock explosion which led most jazz performers to include that genre in their efforts. There is no fig to describe this period; it was jazz’s dark ages. From the nineties forward jazz has resurged with artists better educated, more facile, their energies devoted to taking the music to the next level. This is an oversimplification, obviously, as the results have been spotty. Labels like ECM, ACT, SteepleChase and Cellar Live seem be the important players, outpacing Blue Note and Concord Jazz.

As for Wednesday’s show, we begin – finally – with Herbie Hancock’s title track from his 1965 Blue Note “Maiden Voyage”. My favorite pianist currently, Marcin Wasilewski, follows with his “Night Train to You” from his “Faithful” (ECM 2011). Italian great, Enrico Rava brings this half to a close with “Thank You, Come Again” from his “New York Days” (ECM 2009).

If you’re curious about details about the show, go to Republic of Jazz and search for Tom O. Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko gets the second half going with “Suspended Variation II” from his “Suspended Night” (ECM 2004). This one features the Wasilewski trio: Marcin, Slawomir Kurkiewicz and Michal Miskiewicz. Borrowing from Gamelan, the traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali in Indonesia, we get “Wayang No. II” (Shadowdancer) as imagined by pianist Anthony Davis from his “Episteme” (Vanguard Studios 1981): otherworldly and utterly fascinating. Never heard before on this show comes drummer Cecil Brooks III and his cover of John Lewis and Wes Montgomery’s “West Coast Blues” from Cecil’s “The Collective” (Muse 1989). The group includes heavy hitters Gary Thomas (ts), Greg Osby (as), Geri Allen (p) and Lonnie Plaxico (b). John Scofield recruits Eddie Harris’ tenor sax in a performance of “I’ll Take Les” – a nod in the direction of legendary guitarist Les Paul – from his “Hand Jive” (Blue Note 1993).

From one of pianist Horace Silver’s big hits from the early 60s, we’ll hear the title track from his “Silver’s Serenade” (Blue Note 1963). The group features the trumpet of Blue Mitchell and the tenor sax of Junior Cook. “Olympia 13 Mai 1961 Part 3” (Trema 1961), an obscure live Art Blakey recording, follows with his treatment of Monk’s “Round Midnight” featuring Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan and Bobby Timmons. Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette: “Setting Standard (Standards I+II)” (ECM 2008) closes this half with a cover of Jerome Kern’s “In Love in Vain”, a tune from the American Songbook that will make the idea of romance inevitable.

Charlie Haden’s “The Best of Quartet West” (Universal 2007) gets us cuddling with a cover of Schwartz and Deitz’s “Alone Together”, unusual in that it merges Jo Stafford’s vocal from her performance with Paul Weston and His Orchestra 1944. Pawel Kaczmarczk, another Polish pianist of note, follows with his treatment of Elton John’s “Blue Eyes” featuring a large Polish ensemble. Vocalist Carl Anderson gets together with Weather Report in a cover of Willie Tee’s “Can It Be Done” from the group’s “Domino Theory” (Columbia 1984). Marcos Valle & Stacey Kent (and her husband, tenor saxophonist Jim Tomlinson) help us understand the pain “If You Went Away” (Marcos Valle/Gilberto Gil) from their “Ao Vivo: Comemorando Os 50 Anos De Marcos Valle” (Sony/Bmg Brazil 2013). “Come Down in Time” – one of Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s most enigmatic compositions – follows from Elton’s “Tumbleweed Connection” (DJM Records 1970). “Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown” (EmArcy 1954) is next as she interprets Jimmy Dorsey and Paul Madeira’s “I’m Glad There Is You” featuring Clifford’s trumpet, much missed Paul Quinichette’s tenor, Herbie Mann’s flute and Jimmy Jones’ piano. Acting on a request from Juan, we’ll conclude this romantic soirée with Noa Lur’s take on Horace Silver’s “Nica’s Dream” from her “Badakit” (Youkali Music S.I. 2013) featuring Pepe Rivero’s piano.

Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star. ~ e e cummings

Let's have some fun!