Sunday, June 06, 2010

1 Sem. 2010 - Part One

Bill Mays
Mays At The Movies

by Ken Dryden
Bill Mays' remarkable career has included stints with Sarah Vaughan and Gerry Mulligan, in addition to an extensive discography as a leader and occasional solo pianist. This trio date with Peter Washington and Billy Drummond marked the first time they had played together as a group, while the lack of rehearsal didn't keep them from sounding like a working unit. Mays conceived this CD as an opportunity to explore some of his favorite songs from movies, kicking off with a lively treatment of I've Never Been in Love Before that adds a few twists to this decades-old standard. The breezy setting of Pure Imagination swings hard, while Mays manages to put his personal stamp on Alex North's Love Theme from Spartacus, a special challenge due to the late Bill Evans' well-known recordings of this haunting ballad. Mays adds a good-natured vocal to You Leave Me Breathless, while Washington's playful exchanges with the leader in the driving take of Henry Mancini's Charade are delightful. The pianist also includes an original that has been heard in more than one film, Judy, an elegant swinger with a humorous detour into quoting Thelonious Monk. If music such as this session were only heard more often in film soundtracks, it would make a noticeable difference.

Brad Mehldau
Highway Rider 

Cover (Highway Rider:Brad Mehldau)

By Leonardo Barroso
Estava com "high hopes" com o novo trabalho, de um dos mais inventivos pianistas do jazz de todos os tempos. Porém achei que faltou o que mais aguardava.... JAZZ ! Bonito mas sem sal !

by Thom Jurek
The Highway Rider is pianist and composer Brad Mehldau's second collaboration with enigmatic pop producer Jon Brion. The first was 2002's ambitious but tentative Largo. As a collaboration, The Highway Rider is much more confident by contrast. Mehldau’s most ambitious work to date, its 15 compositions are spread over two discs and 100 minutes. His trio —bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard — is augmented by saxophonist Joshua Redman, drummer Matt Chamberlain, and a chamber orchestra conducted by Dan Coleman. The album is a narrative jazz suite, orchestrated and arranged by Mehldau, though it has much in common with classical and pop music, as well.The group settings range from solo to quintet, with and without strings, all of it recorded live in studio. Redman's addition is welcome. “Don’t Be Sad” features his consoling tenor, Mehldau (on pump organ and piano), Grenadier, and both drummers with orchestra. It begins as a piano solo, languidly establishing a pace that begins to swing with gospel overtones. Later, Redman's lower-register blowing, strings, and winds carry it out joyfully. Brion adds drum‘n’bass overtones to the trio on the title track. The electronics are a narrative device designating motion; they accompany the gradually assertive knottiness in the post-bop lyric. Mehldau begins “The Falcon Will Fly Again” with a complex solo that touches on Latin grooves, even as Chamberlain and Ballard create an organic loop effect with hand percussion. Redman's soprano creates a contrapuntal melody extending the harmonic dialogue. Disc two’s lengthy “We’ll Cross the River Together” has quintet and orchestra engaging in a beautiful study of texture, color, and expansive harmonics with wildly divergent dynamics. It showcases Mehldau’s trademark pianistic elegance in counterpoint. Redman's deep blues tenor nearly weeps on “Sky Turning Grey (For Elliot Smith).” “Capriccio’'s Latin rhythms contrast ideally: Mehldau’s classical, gently dissonant motifs create an exploratory harmonic palette as Redman’s magnetic soprano playing joins Mehldau's in the last third, anchoring the complex melody. The closer, “Always Returning,” builds to a climax that incorporates themes from the cycle. Redman and Mehldau soar with the orchestra before they all close it in a whispering tone poem. By combining sophisticated — yet accessible — forms with jazz improvisation, The Highway Rider exceeds all expectations, giving jazz-classical crossover a good name for a change. It is Mehldau’s most ambitious, creatively unfettered, and deeply emotional work to date, and will stand as a high watermark in his catalog.

The Anthony Wilson Trio
Jack Of Hearts

Cover (Jack of Hearts:Anthony Wilson Trio)

By Leonardo Barroso
Este para mim, é um dos melhores jazzistas americano, possui ótima noção de arranjo e de escolha de repertório. Neste CD ele traz um mix de ótimas faixas e outras não tão boas. Melhor faixa do ano "Theme from Chinatown" é puro eargasm !!!

by Alex Henderson
Jack of Hearts isn't the first Anthony Wilson album to feature an organist extensively; for example, he worked with the Los Angeles-based organist Joe Bagg on his 2005 release Savivity. But the guitarist has worked with acoustic pianists more often than organists (at least as of 2009), and Jack of Hearts is unusual in that it finds Wilson not using a pianist at all. On this early 2009 session, Wilson forms an intimate trio with Larry Goldings on organ and Jeff Hamilton or Jim Keltner on drums. In the '90s and 2000s, Goldings was one of the leading proponents of a post-Jimmy Smith aesthetic on the Hammond B-3. Goldings has been greatly influenced by the late Larry Young, who started out as a Smith disciple but evolved into an innovative, distinctive post-bop/modal player and went down in history as "The John Coltrane of the Organ." Of course, Goldings is not a clone of Young; he is most certainly his own person, but he shares Young's love of post-bop. So it isn't surprising that Goldings does a lot to shape the post-bop perspective that dominates Jack of Hearts. His presence is a major plus on material that was composed by Goldings and/or Wilson, and it is a major plus on memorable arrangements of Coleman Hawkins' "Hawkeyes" and two of Duke Ellington's lesser-known pieces ("Zweet Zursday" and "Carnegie Blues"). The fact that neither of those Ellington tunes is a standard speaks well of Wilson, who is smart enough to realize that one of the joys of the vast Ellington songbook is hearing all of the worthwhile Ellington compositions that didn't become standards. Jack of Hearts is a consistently engaging addition to Wilson's catalog.

Carlos Franzetti
Mambo Tango

Cover (Mambo Tango:Carlos Franzetti)

by Ken Dryden
Although Argentinean-born jazz pianist Carlos Franzetti is well-versed in both South American and Cuban styles, don't think of Mambo Tango as strictly a Latin recording. Sticking exclusively to solo piano for this session, his take of "Have You Met Miss Jones" could easily be mistaken for one of the neo-bop players who emerged during the 1980s and 1990s, with inventive improvisations against a walking irregular bassline. It is surprising that relatively few pianists have recorded Gary McFarland's moving "Gary's Waltz," a favorite of the late Bill Evans, who played and recorded it numerous times. But Franzetti's approach is less dramatic and alters the melody in a subtle, infectious way that is far removed from Evans' interpretation. He also tackles Evans' popular "Waltz for Debbie," shading it with an Erroll Garner-like bouncing rhythm for a time against his dazzling improvising in the upper keyboard. Franzetti's originals are equally of interest. His delightful "Mambo Tango" combines the two styles in a masterful performance, while "Milonga del Adios" is a bittersweet Latin ballad that deserves to have lyrics. To wrap this top-notch CD, Carlos Franzetti offers a tantalizing, deliberate setting of Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)." Highly recommended.

Sylvian Luc

Standards is a clever mix up of improvisations, spontaneous compositions, and famous themes that Sylvain Luc proposes us.
All the possibilities of the acoustic guitar are exploited here with a sensitivity and an emotion directed by a huge strictness.
Here the guitar is sensual and makes us travel.
From a trip at the far end of himself on his own, Sylvain comes back with a music which speaks and even sings to anyone.

Fred Hersch
Plays Jobim

Cover (Fred Hersch Plays Jobim:Fred Hersch)

by Ken Dryden
Fred Hersch has long been heralded as a lyrical jazz pianist with a wide and always growing repertoire. For most of this tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hersch plays solo piano, in a manner that reflects much of the authentic aspects of the composer's works, filtered through the pianist's perspective. The emphasis on the delicious counterpoint within his setting of the well-known "O Grande Amor" (a piece he learned during his short tenure in Stan Getz's band) marks a refreshing change from typical jazz recordings. His arrangement of "Insensatez" is almost whispered, played at a very slow tempo, which puts greater emphasis on its melancholy nature, even though no lyrics are heard. "Desafinado" was an obligatory number for jazz musicians during the heyday of bossa nova, but Hersch's skillful, demanding bassline gives it a freshness rarely heard in jazz treatments. The pianist also found several lesser-known but deserving Jobim works in his research for the making of this CD, highlighted by the gorgeous miniature "Por Toda Minha Vida." Percussionist Jamey Haddad is added on the lively "Brigas Nunca Mais." Beautifully recorded on a brilliant-sounding piano, Fred Hersch Plays Jobim is among the finest releases in the pianist's extensive discography.

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