By Matt Collar
Jason Moran's 2010 effort Ten features more of the jazz pianist's smart and forward-thinking jazz. Backed by bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, Moran reveals himself once again to be a nimble improviser with an ear toward atmospheric and often fractured hypnotic post-bop jazz on tracks like the lilting "Blue Blocks" (commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and "RFK in the Land of Apartheid," along with ruminative numbers buoyed by the band's laid-back blues inflections and ever-so-subtle funk grooves. Other tracks, such as "Feedback Pt. 2" and "Old Babies," reveal Moran's more experimental edge, mixing sound effects and his son's voices with more straight-ahead jazz stylings that bring to mind both Thelonious Monk and Oscar Peterson. As always with Moran, there is a heavy classical influence, and compositions like his own "Pas de Deux — Lines Ballet" and his rambunctious take on Leonard Bernstein's "Big Stuff" do evince, much like the rest of Ten, both a romantic and modernist point of view.
Litoral e Interior
By Leandro L. Rocha
O novo trabalho de Sérgio Santos,como os anteriores, mostra a música maravilhosa desse grande compositor(infelizmente pouco conhecido) que também é cantor,violonista e arranjador. Sérgio habita o mesmo plano de João Bosco,Dori Caymmi e poucos outros mais. O disco em questão tem as participações de músicos do primeiro time como: André Mehmari(piano,acordeon e arranjos),Rodolfo Stroeter e Zeca Assumpção (baixo), Tutty Moreno(bateria),Teco Cardoso(flauta,sax tenor), Jota Moraes(vibrafone) ,além de cordas em algumas faixas. A música "Litoral e Interior" que abre o CD é logo cativante com intervenções jazzísticas de Mehmari no piano e acordeon e uma arrasadora bateria de Tutty. Outras faixas que merecem destaque são: O mar adormece,que lembra uma peça do repertório da música clássica; Sombrinha Branca um frevo lindo em homenagem ao mestre Edu Lobo e também Lá vem chuva,Ciranda(ao gênio de Moacir Santos) e Batuíra onde brilham o sax tenor de Teco e o piano extraordinário de Mehmari. A maioria das letras é do craque Paulo Cesar Pinheiro e para encerrar o disco, Sérgio chama a cantora Mônica Salmaso para a bela Mar,montanha e sertão. Mônica é dotada de uma voz doce,suave e afinadíssima.
Todas as músicas de Sérgio Santos.
By Ken Dryden
Jessica Williams has amassed an impressive discography over her decades-long career, but as she entered her sixties, she began focusing more on solo piano. This is her second concert recording at The Triple Door in Seattle, a dinner theater with a majestic nine-foot Steinway D grand piano. Her touching, lyrical interpretation of "I Loves You, Porgy" (a favorite of Bill Evans) is full of rich voicings, while her thoughtful setting of John Coltrane's "Wise One" is reflected as a brooding lament. Williams' stunning performance of Charles Mingus' moving tribute to Lester Young, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," is accented by her skillful use of the pedal to accent the anguish within this jazz standard. Her originals also deserve strong praise. "Rosa Parks" is an understated ballad honoring the brave woman whose actions sparked the Montgomery bus boycott during the struggle for civil rights. Williams' dramatic ballad finale, "Simple Things," incorporates a bit of subtle humor. The audience recognized that they were in the presence of a jazz master that evening, remaining hushed throughout each selection, graciously allowing the final notes to fade before applauding. Williams' liner notes are an added bonus, explaining her approach to piano and the reason that some pianists sing along as they play, and openly admitting that she will stop midway into a piece during a performance if she feels it doesn't suit her on that occasion. Jessica Williams' Touch is destined to become not only a high point in her discography, but one for solo jazz piano as a whole.
By John Barron
Inspired by the wonderment and challenge of contributing to a healthy future for his two daughters, Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez presents an eleven-track suite of globally conscious music, fusing elements of jazz, classical and Latin American folk music. Providencia, Pérez's debut for Mack Avenue Records, is an ambitious project, incorporating his longtime trio-mates, bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz, with an eclectic cast of guest musicians. The result is a genre-defying foray into highly-structured compositions heightened by intense improvising.
A seamless melding of styles is evident on the lengthy opener "Daniela's Chronicles," a piece written for Pérez's eldest daughter that progresses through five buoyant movements. With a subdued undercurrent of rhythmic intensity, Pérez leads his band through the music with commanding control of the piano. Alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa brings a flurry of energy to "Galactic Panama," tossing solo lines back and forth with Pérez over an insatiable Latin-inspired groove, augmented by percussionists Jamey Haddad and Ernesto Diaz. Mahanthappa appears toward the end of the disc on "The Maze," a duet with Pérez in two parts. Here, the saxophonist is able to balance a harsh urgency with breathy lyricism.
Portugese-born, New York-based singer Sara Serpa, who specializes in wordless vocalizing, brings out the melodic strength in Pérez's writing. She floats effortlessly through the challenging theme of the title track. One of the more enticing tracks on the disc, Pérez takes advantage of the tune's melodic repetition to apply a countering barrage of piano showmanship. Another enduring moment from the session comes with the tender ballad "Irremediablemente Solo," composed by Panamanian composer Avelino Muñoz. The piece features the trio with bassist Street taking up the pensive melody with conviction.
As an organizer of the annual Panama Jazz Festival and the Fundación Danilo Pérez, an organization offering musical and cultural opportunities to disadvantaged youth, Pérez has become a musical ambassador for his native country. Homage to Panama is evident throughout Providencia, especially on the two-part "Bridge of Life," orchestrated for woodwind quintet and trio. The title refers to Panama's role as a land bridge between North and South America. With this disc, Pérez succeeds at creating a musical bridge between the intricate and visceral, inviting all listeners interested in forward thinking sounds.
By Mark Corroto
For fans, music critics, and musicians, the music of pianist Keith Jarrett can be like a dopamine release in the brain. Like any pleasurable activity —sex, drugs, food—listening to Jarrett's music releases a neurotransmitter chemical in the brain that reinforces the pleasure systems of the body. Pick any spot in his nearly 50-year career and fans will tell you about their first encounter and the visceral response they had to his music. For this writer, it was Bop-Be (Impulse!, 1977), but for others, The Köln Concert (ECM, 1975), or, gulp, the marathon ten-LP (now six-CD) Sun Bear Concerts (ECM,1978) as their initiation into Jarrett's music. Along the length of his career, devotees continually search for that pleasure response they first had with Jarrett's music.
The two nights that make up Testament - Paris / London fire off large doses of brain chemicals, enough to satisfy the hardest, of hardcore fans.
The attraction here—and with all of Jarrett's original music—is his emotional effort. He is always able to convey feeling in his playing, from the fervid to the sentimental, the passionate to the giddy; or maybe, perhaps, those are just listener responses to his playing.
As explained in Jarrett's liner notes, his return to solo improvisation has come at the expense of some very important assets (his health and his wife), and that effort is evident across these three discs. Following the critically acclaimed concert recordings Radiance (ECM, 2005), from Japan in 2002, and The Carnegie Hall Concert (ECM, 2006), from New York in 2005, Testament excels in breadth of playing and range of passion.
Unlike the marathon pieces he attempted in the now-distant past, these tracks—all simply numbered and ranging from just under four minutes to nearly fourteen—are dense, consumable brilliance. Maybe the effects of the chronic fatigue syndrome are still with him, but these smaller blocks of improvisation clearly demonstrate Jarrett's enthusiasm for playing. He seems to be reacting more to the audience's response and presence, playing into the attendees' desire to make these shows a positive and supportive experience.
Jarrett's streams of consciousness include classical, jazz, free improvisation and touches of gospel. His physical playing—seated, standing, hovering face nearly touching keys—are all parts of this singular individual's expression of his soul, and, indeed, supplies plenty of those dopamine brain chemicals.
Personnel: Keith Jarrett - piano.