Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Metheny and Mehldau 2007

Have a nice week !!!
Well, on the sidebar there's Eliane Elias on YouTube !!!!
Last year there was a new Cd:
It was not a good release from both musicians, I was not happy with the results.

Metheny & Mehldau

Cover (Metheny Mehldau:Pat Metheny)

by Thom Jurek
The collaboration between Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau is something that must have been written in the stars. Fans of both men have wondered if it would ever take place, and the end result on the Nonesuch release of Metheny/Mehldau is the confirmation that it was destined. Hyperbole? Put it on and listen before you offer that remark seriously. Of the ten cuts here, eight are duets; the other two feature Mehldau's rhythm section, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard. Metheny wrote seven of these tunes, and Mehldau wrote the other three. Each man's compositional style is evident from the word go. There's the luxurious counterpoint that extends form the haunting melody of "Unrequited." Further, there is the natural extension of rhythm and swing on "Ahmid-6." But the real accomplishment here is the ease with which these men play such sophisticated and engaging music that is, perhaps on paper, difficult. But its expansive sense of lyricism and yes, rhythmic interplay, is continually surprising; there is no competition in these tunes, they flow, one into the other with a language being made on the spot. On the quartet tunes, such as Metheny's "Ring of Life," the influence of postmodern drum'n'bass -- à la electronica -- is heard in the tough breakbeats played by Ballard and the counter-rhythmic invention of both Mehldau and Grenadier. It is Metheny's melodic voice, his continually approaching the euphoric, that holds it all together and makes something utterly moving out of it. The gentle swing of "Say the Brother's Name" (also by Metheny) takes Mehldau's sense of the phrase and expansive left-hand technique as it finds harmonic invention in the middle register as the key to unlocking the track's mystery. Mehldau's typically understated solo splits the seam and allows the genuine intensity of the cut to come through. Rhythmically there are breaks here too, but not as pronounced or as forceful as on the earlier selection. Indeed, when all is said and done, the listener is left wanting -- more that it. One wishes that a double album would have been made, one with the duet -- so full of startling moments it's impossible to list them all -- and quartet, whose genuine sense of extrapolative swing is not only inherent, but infectious.

This year came out the rest of the tracks from that session:
What a good CD !!!!
How can I explain the difference ?? Who cares ???
Just enjoy !!!!!!!

Metheny/Mehldau - Quartet

Cover (Quartet [2007]:Pat Metheny)

by Thom Jurek
Guitarist Pat Metheny and pianist Brad Mehldau created a stir in 2006 with their wonderful duet recording. On that set, two of the album's ten cuts featured Mehldau's rhythm section of bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard. Quartet is a mirror image: seven of these 11 cuts are full quartet sides. The musical magic established by that collaboration sets the stage for the pair to dig deeper here. It's true that melodic and harmonic invention is the root of each of the tunes here, though that doesn't mean there isn't room to move.Metheny's Way Up recording offered ample of evidence of how compositional sophistication could accomplish virtually anything. There, the players had written parts, but also had room for improvisation within that framework. The same happens here, though the pieces are shorter. Partial evidence of this is the disc's second selection, "The Sound of Water," which has a nearly pastoral theme. But Metheny uses counterpoint on a 12-string guitar to meet Mehldau's chordal investigation. One need only go one cut further in on "Fear and Trembling," by Mehldau, to see how quickly the two can step outside their bonds while retaining their commitment. The knotty playing with distortion by Metheny moves toward the rhythm section, which establishes the kind of fluidity his sense of time requires.Mehldau's own post-bop modal solo works through the lyric frames in the tune's structure and cuts through them, finding their densities and spaces. Grenadier's elasticity as a bassist allows the time to float and shift -- seemingly -- without ever losing the harmonic thread even when Metheny moves outside toward the end of the cut.
The duet ballad "Don't Wait," with Metheny on acoustic guitar, comes together with all the warmth and textured lyric sensibility that their debut displayed. These two men are not at all self-conscious here; they seem to hear each other in both solo and chorus with equally gentle ears. The shimmering piano on "Towards the Light" finds Mehldau exploring those gorgeous multi-note phrases he loves so much, with Metheny reacting sparely and creating a virtual shimmering in the cut. Ballard is very impressive here as he shades his beats with cymbals and rim shots, and gives the entire cut something earthy to hang onto. There are two Latin-tinged (barely) tunes, "En la Terra Que No Olvida" (Metheny) and "Santa Cruz Slacker" (Mehldau). The former is knottier and less obvious, but the meter is one Brubeckemployed a lot in the early '60s and perhaps it serves as a model here. The latter cut is more languid on the surface, but Ballard's drumming is simply out of this world as he skitters and scampers all over and in front of the band throughout. There is perhaps no surprise at how well these two communicate -- especially with a rhythm section as wonderful as this one is. If there is a feeling that some tunes run together, they don't; this is not a suite, but a solid amalgam of brilliant musicianship, with a humble approach that is elegant and dignified. These guys have come up with a gorgeous and sexy creation, and listeners should be delighted to spend some time with it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Don't forget to check my favorite singer KURT ELLING, on youtube,it's on the sidebar.

Grant Stewart / Marc Johnson 2007

Well nothing new inside my CD player.
I've received yesterday the recent release of tenor sax:

Grant Stewart
In The Still Of The Night  - SharpNine Records 1038-2.

Cover (In the Still of the Night:Grant Stewart)

At first hearing a good strong session. He is a very good sax player, no bull shit involved.

by Ken Dryden
This is hardly tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart's first recording as a leader, but his earlier CDs were for various European labels. In the Still of the Night is the release that set his career afire, as he joins forces with three of New York's in-demand musicians in his rhythm section: the hard-driving pianist Tardo Hammer, everyone's first call bassist Peter Washington and the talented drummer Joe Farnsworth. Right of the box, the big-toned Stewart makes his presence known with an up-tempo rendition of "In the Still of the Night" that makes one stand up and take notice. Stewart and Hammer dive head first intoThelonious Monk's "Work" (not exactly one of the pianist's more frequently recorded numbers), with Washington and Farnsworth fueling their spirited solos. But Stewart is also no slouch playing ballads, as his dreamy take of "Autumn in New York" and haunting treatment of "Lush Life" display a profound lyricism. Stewart's astute choice of Richard Rodgers' "Loads of Love" uncovers another gem that is rarely recorded, his sizzling solo will invite comparisons to Dexter Gordon. Even Burt Bacharach's often blandly played "Wives & Lovers" is rejuvenated with Stewart's lighthearted but aggressive interpretation. Highly recommended!

Marc Johnson
Shades of Jade " ECM 1894. 


Cover (Shades of Jade:Marc Johnson)

I do love Eliane Elias playing, but I do Hate when she sings. STOP SINGING !!!!!!!!
A friend(Lucius) burned this CD ( soulseek, e-mule ) with no indication of whom the players were,
but one thing was sure, it was Eliane's beautiful playing; but then came a fantastic tenor sax
but I didn't know who it was, my surprise, JOE LOVANO.
This recording is very good, two masters at their prime, but wait the CD is not from any of them, is from another master MARC JOHNSON(ex-Bill Evans Trio, Eliane's husband ).

By Michael McCaw
Marc Johnson long ago cemented his abilities as a bassist since his involvement in Bill Evans' final trio. His career as a leader in his own right, though, has been a lttle more questionable. Released periodically over the span of a quarter century, his albums have run the gamut in quality from his excellent early ECM dates featuring Bill Frisell and John Scofield to the somewhat lackluster feel of Sound of Summer Running (Verve, 1998). Nonetheless, all this changes with Shades of Jade. Here, Johnson and his longtime collaborators have cultivated a sound that listeners will find themselves coming back to over the years for well more than a simple cursory listen.
Johnson's concept hasn't necessarily changed over the years. He has tread similar ground on his previous albums in various forms, but what has changed are the results he elicits from everyone—including here the stunning Eliane Elias. Recorded and presented in absolute pristine color, the two account for nine of the ten compositions and share a rapport based on their consistent involvement in each other's projects that the rest of the musicians are able to balance their own performances upon. Completing the equation are Joey Baron (drums), Alain Mallet (organ on a few songs, including the dirge-like closer), Scofield (guitar), and
Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone).
This group cultivates a warm sound that carries the album through its many moods, but the pervasive quiet beauty is the real sound stage for the musicians. Lovano's tenor in particular sounds even more subdued and relaxed than on his recent songbook albums with Hank Jones, and although Scofield or Lovano's name may inspire a majority of listeners' attention when they first listen to Shades of Jade, Elias will certainly usurp it.
Elias performs with an understated beauty that belies expectations. While her output as a leader commonly focuses on themes that have tended to pigeonhole her as an interpreter of Brazilian jazz crossovers, here her talents are laid bare. An incomparable asset to this recording, she guides the momentum and feel of the music throughout, just as she does on her own "Aparecu, where she builds and embellishes the melody behind Lovano, accenting his spaces and keeping pace with every turn of phrase. With a sound reminiscent of Evans, she hardly needs to prove her talents, but it is also impossible not to notice them.
Marked by the measured nuances in every phrase, these pieces are songs more than anything else, and to call them tunes would seem almost insulting. And while the title of Shades of Jade is a reference to Evans' first great trio bassist, Scott LaFaro, the results are more in line with Evans' trio as a whole, where everyone contributes individual characteristics to create a sound that's greater than the sum of its parts. Finally Johnson has created an album with a timeless feel, one that marks a highpoint in the ECM catalog, and something listeners will undoubtedly come back to explore time and again.
Track Listing:
Ton Sur Ton; Aparaceu; Shades of Jade; In 30 Hours; Blue Nefertiti; Snow; Since You Asked; Raise; All Yours; Don't Ask of Me.
Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; John Scofield: guitar; Eliane Elias: piano; Marc Johnson: double-bass; Joey Baron: drums; Alain Mallet: organ.

See you soon,

May the force of jazz be with you !!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Jazz CD of May 2007

After Battaglia, Bollani & Rea there is a new pianist from Italy,

Ettore Carucci Trio - Forward
Dodicilune Dischi ed. 224 - 2006

Forward, Ettore Carucci Trio

This is a very good recording, made in Lecce, with Ben Street/bass & Adam Cruz/drums.
You must hear this.

There is an italian( French ? ) drummer that has been around for a long time, was ( is ?) married to Dee-Dee Bridgewater, and has released two very good CD's:

André Ceccarelli Trio
Avenue des Diables Blues

Cover (Avenue des Diables Blues:André Ceccarelli)

by Ken Dryden/ All Music Guide
During his long career, André Ceccarelli has recorded sporadically as a leader, but this studio affair should open a few doors. Accompanied by the talented Gypsy guitarist Bireli Lagrene and organist Joey DeFrancesco, the drummer puts together a wide-ranging set, delving into standards, swing, bop, jazz fusion, and more. His approach to Duke Ellington's gorgeous "Sophisticated Lady" is soft, as he provides minimal brushwork to back his musical partners. The decades-old chestnut "Summertime" slowly simmers in a thoughtful arrangement honoring the organist's mentor, the late Jimmy Smith. The leader finally cuts loose with the brief "Prelude," which segues into a romp through "April in Paris," while Jaco Pastorius' "Three Views of a Secret" showcases both Lagrene's lyrical side and his virtuosity.

The other one is a new CD:

André Ceccarelli
Golden Land

Cover (Golden Land:André Ceccarelli)

with our great Enrico Pieranunzi, Hein Van de Geyn, Dvaid el-Malek.

By Ken Dryen
André Ceccarelli has long been one of Europe's premiere jazz drummers and since the new century began he is getting additional opportunities to showcase his talent as a bandleader and composer/arranger as well. His band includes the brilliant pianist Enrico Pieranunzi, veteran bassist Hein Van De Geyn and the promising tenor saxophonist David El-Malek.Ceccarelli excels at driving a band and is equally at home in driving post-bop numbers like the pianist's "Five Plus Five," his own angular "Free Three" and his solo feature "1er Novembre." Van De Geyn contributed the haunting ballad "Though Dreamers Die," which features El-Malek's emotional solo. Vocalist Elisabeth Kontomanou is added for "Golden Land" (which she co-wrote with the leader, while it is also heard in instrumental form) and the standard "I'm Through with Love." This rewarding session will easily stand the test of time.

Thanks to my friend DR. Marcilio for showing all these CD's.
Great Jazz !
Question: Is Jazz dead ?????
I don't think so !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

News 2007 - Is Jazz Dead ?

Sorry I've been away so long.
But I'm back.
2006 had some good jazz music:

- Danilo Rea
- Francesco Cafiso

and some good reading:

Is Jazz Dead? (Or Has It Moved to a New Address) 
By Stuart Nicholson 

By Thomas Conrad 
This book should not be judged by its ugly cover, its clumsy title or its numerous typographical and other errors. Nicholson's thesis is important, and he supports it persuasively. His argument is that all the significant changes in jazz have come out of the United States--until now. Nicholson claims that today, "it is non-Americans who are taking the lead." A corollary argument is that "the people who are not discussing the effects of globalization on jazz are Americans."
Nicholson believes that the pendulum began to swing away from America in the 1980s, when "neoconservativism" stifled innovation. His book contains one of the most devastating indictments of the "Young Lions" fad in jazz literature. But Nicholson also acknowledges that, in the new millennium, the art form has become fresh and restless and diverse again (notwithstanding its economic challenges), both inside and outside U.S. borders. As jazz globalizes, new tributaries enrich the mainstream, and influences flow in all directions, including back and forth across the Atlantic.
It is in explaining this globalization (and "glocalization," wherein artists incorporate their own national imagery and folklore and culture into the language of jazz) that Nicholson is best. For ethnocentric Americans who need help finding great, style-making jazz beyond our shores, Nicholson's guidebook is invaluable.

By Chris Kelsey
I'm sure Stuart Nicholson didn't intend to make me want to hang myself. Unfortunately, his writings on jazz's recent reactionary past, fragmented present and uncertain future have practically that effect. Nicholson's thesis--that America's inclination to treat jazz primarily as a business has resulted in artistic petrifaction--hits the mark. Case in point: the recent plethora of pretty boys and girls singing Tin Pan Alley tunes, and a concomitant decline in industry resources devoted to nurturing originality. Rampant conformity in the guise of Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center and cookie-cutter jazz education are also taken to task.
On the bright side, Nicholson finds much to like about jazz overseas; he clearly believes (with good reason, perhaps) that the European cultural tradition makes the continent a more fertile ground for growth. In the process, however, he underestimates the state of the music in the U.S. Nicholson has a superficial grasp of American jazz: If it ain't on a major label or otherwise a part of the mainstream jazz biz, it essentially doesn't appear on his radar.

By Mike Shanley
Gary Giddins once opined in these pages that "Jazz is dead" ranks as one of two stories that jazz scribes can easily sell to glossy magazines--second place going to "Jazz is back!" So naturally turning the first statement into a question offers the perfect starting point for a book that supposedly "is bound to be controversial among jazz purists and musicians."
Stuart Nicholson actually devotes more time to his subtitle, concluding that this American-born music is stagnating at home while, around the world, it continues to follow its natural course and evolve, thanks to musicians who add their regional influences to the musical brew and governments that put artistic merit before profit. Two chapters are devoted to an honest critique of Wynton Marsalis: one for his music, the other for his work with Jazz at Lincoln Center. Nicholson also explains the shortcomings of jazz education and the way European musicians "glocalize" jazz, by adapting it through local influences.
The book makes some valid points, but many of them get lost among the laundry lists of European players and longwinded sentences that seem like Nicholson is still working through ideas. Further, the answer to the title is never in doubt from page one, making it seem like a cheap publicity ploy than a serious question.