Wednesday, July 29, 2009

George Russell 1923 - 2009

Caros Amigos,
Faleceu ontem, o primeiro musico a entender a grandeza do jazz e do Bill Evans: George Russell.

Posted Tue Jul 28, 2009, 9:04 PM ET
George Russell died today, at the age of 86, after a long bout with Alzheimer’s, and if you’ve never heard of him, all the deeper pity.
Russell was one of the great unsung heroes of modern jazz. In this summer when many are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, it is worth noting that there would have been no such album—the art of jazz might have languished in post-Parker malaise for a few years longer—had there been no George Russell.
Born in Cincinnati, a prodigy on piano and drums, he moved to New York in the late 1940s, wrote “Cubano Be, Cubano Bop” (the pioneering work of Afro-Cuban jazz) for Dizzy Gillespie, and joined a coterie of composers—most notably Gil Evans, John Lewis, and Gerry Mulligan—pushing the music in more inventive directions.
Soon after, Russell contracted pneumonia and spent over a year at St. Joseph’s Hospital in the Bronx, where a nurse showed him a piano in a library that almost nobody used. Friends brought him musical theory books, and every day he fiddled with new combinations of chords and scales. Finally, he hit upon a whole new way of playing jazz—improvising not on chord changes, as Gillespie and Charlie Parker had done in the bebop revolution of a decade earlier, but on scales, specifically church modes that hadn’t been explored by anyone in over a century.
The distinction might sound academic, but it was profound. When a bebop musician improvises, the chord changes serve as a compass; they point the directions to the next bar or the next phrase. The chords follow a particular pattern; you knew what the next chord would be. Playing blues, you also knew that this sequence of chord changes would be finished in 12 bars, and then you’d either end your solo or start over again. The best musicians took flighty excursions on these solos, but the chord structure determined or limited which notes they could play and for how long.
With Russell’s theory, the compass was thrown out the window, or its needle was sent spinning in multiple directions. You could play the notes of the chord, or any note along its scale, and you could play on that scale for as long as you wanted. As Russell put it in his book, The Lydian Chromatic concept of Tonal Organization for Improvisation, “The concept provides the possibilities. It is for the musicians to sing his own song, really, without having to meet the deadline of a particular chord.”
Miles Davis was a friend of Russell’s and one of the first to grasp his theory’s implications. “When you go this way,” Davis explained in a 1958 interview with Nat Hentoff, “you can go on forever. You don’t have to worry about changes, and you can do more with time. It becomes a challenge to see how melodically inventive you are… I think a movement in jazz is beginning, away from the conventional string of chords and a return to emphasis on melodic rather than harmonic variations. There will be fewer chords but infinite possibilities as to what to do with them.”
Kind of Blue, recorded in 1959, would be the perfect expression of this concept—and the exemplar for a new generation of jazz musicians seeking freer ways of playing music (sometimes for the better, sometimes not).
Russell led some great albums of his own: Jazz Workshop with Bill Evans (whom he introduced to Miles Davis—another prerequisite to the wondrous novelty of Kind of Blue), Ezz-thetic with Eric Dolphy, and New York, New York with Evans, Bob Brookmeyer, Max Roach, and John Coltrane. All are very much worth checking out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2 Sem. 2009 - Part One

The Christian Jacob Trio
Live In Japan - WilderJazz 0801

Um grande pianista e arranjador, acompanha a cantora Thierney Sutton (da qual sou um admirador) desde seu inicio, há mais de dez anos. Aqui está o Trio sem a cantora. So confirma o grande musico que ele eh. Uma pena que grave tão pouco. Muito bom Cd.

by JazzTimes
The Christian Jacob Trio with bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinker, is probably best known as Tierney Sutton’s back-up band. But they have also been a stand-alone ensemble for 12 years and sound like it. They interweave their three voices with a confidence and clarity that only come with time.
This album was recorded at the TUC jazz club in Tokyo. Christian Jacob makes the inspired choice to include four melodies that “every Japanese person would recognize.” They are depictions of the four seasons that have been taught in Japanese elementary schools for generations. “Hana” is a little like “Up Up And Away” and is airy and bright with the affirmation of spring. Jacob’s trio makes “Akatonbo” sound like a classic jazz ballad about autumn.
Jacob is an accomplished pianist, but his single greatest strength may be his capacity for creating fresh, ambitious, architecturally meticulous trio arrangements. That skill accounts for his seamless transformation of old Japanese children’s songs into jazz. It also explains why his versions of done-to-death standards like “Too Close for Comfort” and “All or Nothing At All” and “It Never Entered My Mind” all sound like their composers wrote them yesterday and gave them to Jacob to rework them.

Denny Zeitlin Trio
In Concert - Sunnyside SSC-1206

Um belissimo CD, do grande Denny Zeitlin. Grava pouco em função de ser psiquiatra e grande sommelier.

by Michael G. Nastos
Denny Zeitlin is the greatest unsung modern pianist jazz has ever produced. His daily occupation as a psychotherapist keeps him close to home in Northern California, but he occasionally steps out with a concert performance or very worthwhile recording. On this CD, done at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles or the Outpost in Albuquerque, you get the best of both with professional musicians like bassist Buster Williams and drummer Matt Wilson. Usually heard solo or in duets, we should be happy Zeitlin's trio hits on all cylinders of passion, literacy, brilliant inventive musicianship, and teamwork to offer a set of music that should please anyone who enjoys original jazz keyboard works without compromise. What is telling in the construct of Zeitlin's melodies, reharmonizations, and solos is that he is always interesting without being flashy or bound to clichés. He has his own voice on his instrument, an admirable quality very few can claim. To "facilitate airplay," Zeitlin splits "Mr P.C." in two shorter parts, the first portion a furiously fast paced blow out with harmonic add ons and a solo break motivated by stride implications, the second an easier swing with bass and drum solos. He also apportions the near-20-minute medley of the standard "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" in improvised and open, completed phrases with his pensive original "10,000 Eyes" with no real paraphrasing or reduced value between the two. When Zeitlin plays a ballad such as "The We of Us," the melody is again advanced instead of sublimated, while the standard "All of You" is revised and reharmonized many times over. Zeitlin's greatest artistic achievement, his Zen-like musings, come full circle during the complex "Prime Times" where endless ideas tumble like streams of consciousness. The David Friesen composition "Signs & Wonders" starts with Zeitlin's atypically zinged strings and arpeggios leading to a free discourse without Wilson, then to swing in two-fisted chordal punctuations and rumblings. The expert backing of Williams and Wilson allows the pianist great freedom to play any way he wants, and the result is an incredibly diverse program within the tried and true piano-bass-drums format. That Denny Zeitlin gets better and better with the passage of time is not surprising. That he is as great as any in contemporary jazz — and that includes Keith Jarrett or Chick Corea — should be a well kept secret no longer. You'd be well advised to pick up this extraordinary live date, and his other live trio CD for the Venus label, as well as his reissued recordings for Columbia records from the Mosaic series.

Joey DeFrancesco
Estate - Zucca Records 2008

O Cd Estate, Joey vem tocando alem do organ, trumpet, fulgelhorn, & vocal. O disco eh gravado na Italia, e eh muito bom, com o bonus de um novo pianista Massimo farao ( sera irmao do Antonio ?? ).

Joey D ! - HighNote HCD-7190

O segundo CD JOEY D ! , um trio e como um sempre um belissimo disco, e apresenta seu novo organ da Diversi.

By Jack Bowers
Joey DeFrancesco, who has graduated from heir-apparent to undisputed king among contemporary jazz organists, is in his element here, presiding over a trio comprised of himself, undervalued tenor saxophonist Jerry Weldon and reliable drummer Byron Landham. Rest assured DeFrancesco's nimble fingers are as virtuosic as ever, and there's no need to fret about the slender rhythm section, as DeFrancesco happily provides his own.
DeFrancesco is perfectly at ease and in control even though recording for the first time on a new Diversi DV-Duo Plus drawbar organ with "modified sound engine and modeling technology." It comes alive, as one would expect, in DeFrancesco's proficient hands, and he is squarely on his game regardless of mood or tempo. The same can be said of Weldon, an unapologetic bopper whose hard-edged tenor complements superbly the leader's more even-tempered moments. Landham, DeFrancesco's longtime companion and helpmate, is ideally cast in the role of rhythmic navigator.
DeFrancesco's choice of music is exemplary, from Miles Davis meteoric curtain-raiser, "Dig," to the heated finale, Gene Ammons impulsive "Blues Up and Down" (which underlines the Dexter Gordon ascendancy in Weldon's arsenal). The trio even manages to make "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" seem fresh and engaging. Completing the prismatic program are J.J. Johnson's plaintive "Lament" and the tasteful standards "If Ever I Should Lose You," "Besame Mucho," "Come Dance with Me" and "Nancy (with the Laughing Face)," the last two associated with Sinatra.
This is high-quality straight-ahead contemporary jazz, a worthy successor to splendid organ trios led in years past. DeFrancesco is the monarch now, and if Joey D! is any signpost, he harbors no desire to abdicate.

Luigi Ferrara Quartet
Another Day - Philology W 728.2

O sucessor do grande Toots. A Italia eh o pais que mais produz Jazz no mundo e da mais alta qualidade. O grupo eh forte e inspirado, tem um belissimo pianista: Ramberto Ciammarughi. O belo CD.
Luigi Ferrara, musicista marchigiano residente è, da oltre un decennio, uno dei Pianisti- Armonicisti più apprezzati del panorama jazz nazionale. Alcuni anni dopo la realizzazione del suo primo CD "The Life Always' e la registrazione, a Londra, del CD "Simply Me" insieme alla cantante inglese Helen Abbey, l'artista pubblica, proprio in questi giorni, il suo ultimo lavoro discografico."Another Day" – è questo il nome del CD prodotto dalla Philology Records – è stato realizzato insieme ai musicisti Ramberto Ciammarughi (piano), Gabriele Pesaresi (contrabbasso) e Massimo Manzi (batteria). Corriere Adriatico (Italia)

Track List :
1 - Rio
2 - Another Day
3 - In Love In Vain
4 - Blues Hot
5 - Simple Life
6 - Blue To You
7 - Presenza E Apparenza
8 - Mamma
9 - Moment
10 - Libero
11 - Bill Evans

Introducing Giulio Stracciati Trio
Free Three - Philology W 328.2

Uma grande surpresa, não sabia que a Italia fazia guitarista. O trio todo eh desconhecido, mas o CD eh muito bom.

By Marco Losavio per Jazzitalia
Se si suona con coinvolgimento, se la musica spicca il suo volo densa dell'intimità di chi l'ha prodotta, quando giunge all'ascoltatore non può non farsi notare. E' come osservare con i propri occhi una storia, ce ne sono tante, tutte uguali, ma se se ne riconosce l'autenticità allora si rimane, a propria volta, coinvolti. E' ciò che capita ascoltando lo scontato disco di Giulio Stracciati. Già, scontato come potrebbe essere un qualsiasi lavoro che si presenta con un trio chitarra, contrabbasso e batteria e con una sfilza di standard suonati ovunque e da chiunque. L'ascolto quindi deve necessariamente mettere da parte la pretesa di percepire novità, idee geniali che facciano gridare al miracolo, sarebbe controproducente e non sortirebbe effetti positivi. Se invece ci si pone dinanzi a questo album con rilassatezza e con il "semplice" proposito di voler ascoltare un buon jazz ben suonato allora si potrà ascoltare una musica fluida, articolata secondo gli stilemi classici rispettati ed assimilati in modo molto adeguato, con un ottimo controllo dinamico e dei suoni, con una padronanza di linguaggio ragguardevole e, perchè no, con delle invenzioni estemporanee che lasciano anche spazio a sprazzi di novità piacevoli come l'arrangiamento di My Funny Valentine, l'interplay di Memories of Istanbul, i momenti con la chitarra classica di Ouverture e Folk I.
Il chitarrismo di Stracciati fa riecheggiare fraseggi della scuola di Mick Goodrick, Joe Diorio, basati innanzitutto sulla elevata pulizia delle note, l'uso delle dita, i rapidi spostamenti tonali che rendono meno scontate le soluzioni adottate, lo sfruttamento delle triadi, l'andamento obliquo delle frasi. Poi c'è il senso del respiro, il suono della chitarra che, come una voce, rispetta un'esigenza fisica, quella di prendere fiato, principio di cui il grande maestro è Jim Hall e che Stracciati ha assimilato riportandolo in modo naturale nel suo modo di suonare senza perdere in virtuosismo, anzi, riuscendo a prendere velocità in modo molto più consistente ma senza affanno, quindi con timing notevole. La capacità di attendere che il suono abbia finito il suo corso, la mancanza di fretta, possibili grazie a molta tecnica nel tocco, alla solida consapevolezza delle dinamiche disponibili. Ma tutto questo vuol dir poco o nulla se poi non lo si condisce con quell'ingrediente citato all'inizio: l'intimità, la propria anima musicale che rende il tutto comunque unico, forte di un'identità che anche se può tardare dal punto di vista prettamente stilistico (impresa oggi titanica!) sicuramente non manca dal punto di vista della musicalità, del gusto e dell'impronta impressa al suono globale.
Il merito quindi di "Free Three" è nell'essere riuscito a trasmettere, ad arrivare, a non restare lì, nel lettore, a suonare senza che l'ascoltatore se ne accorgesse. Al contrario cattura l'attenzione, impone la ricerca del silenzio per potersi far ascoltare meglio. Altro merito è quello di aver offerto a chi scrive (e speriamo davvero a tanti altri) l'opportunità di conoscere la raffinatezza di un batterista come Piero Borri, eccellente, fondamentale nel permettere che Stracciati abbia potuto esprimersi nel modo descritto e la possenza e precisione dell'ungherese Janos Egri al contrabbasso. Due musicisti che hanno contribuito in modo determinante al raggiungimento del suono globale, risultato a cui ogni trio ha il dovere di ambire.
Good for you, Giulio!

Enrico Rava
New York Days - ECM2064

Ultimamente tenho a certeza de estar ouvindo o melhor trumpetista do Jazz, e quando se junta com o Stefano Bollani, não tem para nobody. Eh um CD no estilo Rava, a medida que se vai ouvindo, vai crescendo no prazer do Jazz. Obrigatorio.

By John Kelman
In assessing Enrico Rava's lengthy career, while it is clear that he is still reaching for the unattainable, in recent years the Italian trumpeter's context has been considerably more centrist. Easy Living (ECM, 2004) and The Words and the Days(ECM, 2007) were undeniably mainstream, albeit with an unmistakable European and, at times, Mediterranean bent. New York Days teams Rava and pianist Stefano Bollani—last heard in duet on the marvelous The Third Man (ECM, 2008)—together with perennially underrated tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, increasingly ubiquitous bassist Larry Grenadier and drum icon Paul Motian for a set of nine originals and two free improvisations that, like The Third Man combine innate lyricism and swing with some of Rava's freest playing in years.
Whether suggested by Rava or ECM owner/producer Manfred Eicher, it's an inspired grouping. Motian collaborated with Rava and Bollani on TATI (ECM, 2005), though that was a more compositionally democratic affair. Here, with the exception of the two improvs, it's all Rava, and the trumpeter's writing brings the set a greater stylistic focus. The material does have breadth, however, ranging from the dark-hued, European impressionism of "Interiors" to "Thank You, Come Again," which leans more to the west side of the Atlantic in its harmonic approach and gentle swing.
Elsewhere, however, there are unexpected detours. "Outsider" begins with Grenadier's frenetic bass line, setting the stage for Bollani's oblique harmonies and Motian's trademark implicitness. Rava retains his own unmistakable melodicism while reaching for abstract heights as Grenadier, Bollani and Motian regularly break down and regroup, with Rava leaving space for Turner to demonstrate the kind of immediacy that's made him a highly respected figure amongst musicians—if not a hugely popular figure amongst the jazz listening populace. Wayne Shorter-like in his cerebralism and ability to make a single note mean everything, he darts in and out, punctuating and delivering lean, lithe lines that set up a brief but unrelenting duet between Bollani and Motian where the excitement is ratcheted up, with Grenadier only reentering in time for a brief recapitulation of the piece's high velocity theme.
How well these artists work together— intersecting in the past but never together as a quintet (e.g. TATI, Turner with Grenadier in Fly; Grenadier with Motian's Trio 2000+One)—is, perhaps, best heard on the two improvisations. Despite the freedom of "Outsider," "Improvisation I" is a classic case of pulling form from the ether, as the quintet gradually coalesces, over the course of four spare minutes, to create a clear compositional kernel. "Improvisation II" is starker still, but half-way through Bollani begins to bring form, leading to a remarkable series of cascading lines where the quintet magically connects.
Throughout, Turner's interactions with Rava at an equally deep level are further evidence of his remarkable talent. As the entire quintet finds new ways to coincidentally respect and reject tradition, New York Days emerges early in 2009 as one of Rava's richest and most rewarding showings since he returned to the label in 2003.
Track Listing:
Lulu; Improvisation I; Outsider; Certi Angoli Segreti; Interiors; Thank You, Come Again; Count Dracula; Luna Urbana; Improvisation II; Lady Orlando; Blancasnow.
Enrico Rava: trumpet; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Stefano Bollani: piano; Larry Grenadier: double-bass; Paul Motian: drums.

Peter Nordahl Trio
The Look Of Love - ADCD 26

Ouvi Peter Nordahl pela primeira vez acompanhando a cantora Lisa Ekdahl. Ela aquela tipica voz nordica "fina" mas o trio muito bom. Este eh o primeiro CD que ouço dele. Bons arranjos, bem tocado e em consequencia uma bela surpresa.

Julia Hülsmann Trio
The End of a Summer - ECM2079

A alemã Julia Hulsmann tem um estilo "ECM", mas com boas composições. Este eh o prmeiro CD trio dela que escuto, me lembrou o segundo CD do Tord Gustavson. Belo inicio. Tem um outro CD dela com o cantor Roger Cicero.

By John Kelman
Why do some artists achieve popularity in their own country and fail to make an impression elsewhere, while others cross that boundary with apparent ease? It's easy to argue that there's an "X" factor involved, a singular and identifiable something that allows an Esbjorn Svensson to attain international stature while pianist Julia Hulsmann, with a trio nearly as old as the late Svensson's heralded e.s.t., hasn't managed to break out of her native Germany.
Differentiation is key; equally, exposure is a factor. e.s.t. landed a strong break with its two-album Columbia deal in North America, spending some serious road time in Europe, Canada, and the United States. While three of Hulsmann's first four discs are on the not insignificant German ACT label, they didn't receive the same kind of international push. The End of A Summer, the pianist's first pure trio disc since the indie Trio (BIT, 2003), benefits not only from its wider reach, but from the brand loyalty ECM has built over the past four decades. That The End Of A Summer is deserving of that loyalty only makes Hulsmann and her twelve year-old trio all the more overdue a discovery.
Hulsmann has, in the past, demonstrated a pop sensibility not unlike Svensson's, enlisting singers to interpret pop music by Randy Newman, Nick Drake, and Sting, as well as the oblique poetry of e.e. cummings and the fatalistic Emily Dickinson, supported by Hulsmann's own music. Here, stripped down to its essentials—bassist Marc Muelbauer and drummer Heinrich Kobberling—Hulsmann's trio continues to largely work in song-like miniature, with the disc's ten tracks rarely cracking the five minute mark. Lyricism and introspection define the set, although the trio isn't averse to bursts of energy on Hulsmann's spry "Quint" and more dramatic yet still sparsely populated "Geld," where Muelbauer's pedal point allows the pianist to wax modal, even as the occasional injection of changes lends it more definitive form.
The chemistry is deep and the approach democratic. Muellbauer's robust bass is a melodic partner to Hulsmann's gentle but confident touch on Kobberling's "Where In The World" where the trio subtly stretches and contracts time, underscoring its unshakable forward motion with an understated tension and release. On Hulsmann's more pensive title track and Muellbauer's deceptively idiosyncratic and implicitly swinging "Last One Out," the trio combines generous use of space with thoughtful melodies—at times, near-singable but elsewhere more curious and opaque. Hulsmann demonstrates elegant simplicity and respectful reverence on a tender rework of the Seal hit "Kiss From A Rose" and her own "Senza," adding blue shades to her lengthy solo on the loosely swinging "Not The End Of The World."
Avoiding blatant virtuosity, The End Of A Summer engages, instead, on a deeper, more subconscious level. Profoundly beautiful and possessing a telepathic interaction that can only come from years playing together, this may not be the Julia Hulsmann Trio's debut, but it will be a first encounter for many, and a fine one it is.