Sunday, January 01, 2012

1 Sem 2012 - Part One

Giancarlo Guerrero & Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Piazzolla - Sinfonia Buenos Aires

Cover (Piazzolla: Sinfonia Buenos Aires; Bandoneón Concerto; La Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas:Giancarlo Guerrero)

by James Manheim
Most presentations of Astor Piazzolla's music by classical ensembles rely mostly on arrangements, but this release by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra comes up with an unusual program relying mostly on orchestral music by Piazzolla himself, and it hangs together nicely. The first two works on the program come respectively from near the beginning and near the end of Piazzolla's career, the two periods from which most of his works in the classical concert tradition arose. The little-heard Sinfonía Buenos Aires, Op. 15, from 1951, has a contemporary idiom reflecting Piazzolla's studies with Alberto Ginastera, but what's most notable is the prominent bandoneón part and the hint of tango flavoring throughout. The slow movement in particular sounds as though it lies partway down an imaginary road connecting French romanticism to tango, and one can almost hear the famous event of a few years later when Nadia Boulanger heard Piazzolla play a scrap of tango and told him it was the music that was most truly his. The Concerto for bandoneón, string orchestra, and percussion of 1979, dubbed "Aconcagua" by a publisher after the name of South America's highest mountain, is a more common item but still deserves wider exposure; more than any other Piazzolla work it explores the relationship between the tango and other African-derived rhythms in its colorful percussion part. The work is given a thoroughly idiomatic performance by Argentine bandoneón player Daniel Binelli. The sole arranged work is the set of Cuatro estaciónes porteñas (The Buenos Aires Four Seasons) in the rather whimsical version for violin and string orchestra by Leonid Desyatnikov. This arrangement, which incorporates quotations from Vivaldi's Four Seasons concertos, sort of breaks the mood, but it's hard to resist the ebullient performance by young Chinese violinist Tianwa Yang, whose comfort level with Western-hemispheric idioms is impressive. Taken as a whole the program is both fresh and fun, and it speaks well for young Venezuelan-American conductor Giancarlo Guerrero and his efforts to put classical music back on the map of Music City, U.S.A. The sound, recorded at the orchestra's Schermerhorn Symphony Center, is solid.

Sammy Nestico and The SWR Big Band
Fun Time And More Live

by Marc Myers at JazzWax
Nobody swings like Sammy Nestico. The 87-year-old arranger knows how to get the heel of your foot bouncing and hands clapping without you even realizing they're moving. It just sort of happens, especially if you dig big bands. Sammy is old school, so his swingers build and build and build. The whole point, Sammy says, is to drive the listener wild, and Sammy always succeeds. Between 1968 and 1983, he was the pen on 10 Count Basie albums, four of which won Grammys. I just received his latest release, Fun Time and More Live: Sammy Nestico and the SWR Big Band. It's so good I was moved to give Sammy a call last evening. More with Sammy in a moment.
I first discovered Sammy in the mid-1970s, when my high school big band ordered a package of arrangements from Sammy's company. Back then, Sammy always included a black floppy vinyl record with a pro band playing the songs, so you could hear how they were supposed to sound. I still have the disc. Sammy has published 600 tunes and thousands of arrangements, and the chart craftsmanship on his new live album is remarkable.
Fun Time and More is a concert reading of compositions that Sammy and German's SWR Big Band recorded in the studio over the past few years. Surprisingly, the band takes each song at a perfect pace. Which is unusual for a live album. As you know, live recordings tend to be rushed, often due to stage nerves, and they lose something in the process. Not so here. This live album is as cool as can be. I only wish I could hear the SWR Big Band playing Sammy's arrangements at New York's Village Vanguard, Birdland or the Blue Note.
Speaking with Sammy by phone is like talking to the Santa Claus of jazz. Sammy is so full of life and laughter—and his passion for swinging hard knows no bounds:
“You like the album? I'm so glad. I haven't even heard it yet. I'm recording another one soon at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood with my favorite studio musicians. The arrangements will be all standards. I have 10 of them done. I just need two more, and we'll be ready to go.
“On Fun Time and More, I think my favorite tune is Blue Samuel. I took the chord changes from Johann Straus' Blue Danube waltz but wrote mine as a 4/4 swinger, like Dizzy [Gillespie] used to do basing new songs on the chord changes of standards. The chords on my tune are nice and the progression is real good, don't you think?
“I also like my arrangement of Johnny Mandel's Not Really the Blues, which he wrote originally for Woody Herman. I first took on that tune back in 1993, when trombonist Bill Watrous was recording an album of Johnny Mandel songs. Johnny had sent me the lead sheet, and I loved every bar of it. The energy just won't quit. I redid my arrangement of his song for the SWR Big Band, and it came out great.
“Whenever I write a tune and arrange it, I first sit in my home and work out both on my piano. After, I record myself playing it on the piano and load the result onto my iPod. Then when I take my walk each day around the circle in our neighborhood, I fine-tune the song here and there. I call the process 'surgery.' “
When I let Johnny Mandel know about Sammy's new album over the weekend and how he reworked Not Really the Blues, Johnny was excited but not surprised that Sammy had done a masterful job: “Of course he did. He's one of us."

Bill Carrothers Trio
A Night At The Village Vanguard

Cover (A Night at the Village Vanguard:Bill Carrothers)

by C. Michael Bailey
The sonic character of New York City's Village Vanguard is one of sound as memory. There is a pillow of pungent warmth and familiarity surrounding the sounds captured that can be heard on the early recordings, like Sonny Rollins' A Night At the Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 1957), Bill Evans' The Complete Village Vanguard Sessions, 1961(Riverside, 2005), and John Coltrane's The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (Impulse!, 1997), as well as the later recordings like Tom Harrell's Live At The Village Vanguard (RCA, 2002), Al Foster's Love, Peace and Jazz (Jazz Eyes, 2007), and Martial Solal's Live At The Village Vanguard: I Can't Give You Anything But Love (CAMJAZZ, 2008).That famous sound is captured in all its smoky warmth on the Bill Carrothers Trio A Night At The Village Vanguard. Carrothers, along with close friend/pianist Marc Copland, has been instrumental extending the piano language created by Evans, transforming it from impressionistic to expressionistic, while retaining an introspective nature. Carrothers relies on Joyspring (Pirouet, 2010), his recent tribute to the music of Clifford Brown, for a good part of the recital, kicking things off with the trumpeter's up-tempo "Tiny Capers," where the pianist extracts the bebop from Brown's hard bop. That is followed by a lengthy medley of Brown's "Joy Spring" coupled with Victor Young's "Delilah." Carrothers also draws on the compositions by Brown's pianist, Richie Powell, for "Gertrude's Bounce" and "Time," giving a full accounting of Brown's famous quintet with drummer Max Roach from the early and mid-'50s.
Amid all of this hard bop, Carrothers throws in his sideways blues, "Home Row," from his 2010 Pirouet disc of the same name, mixing in a bit of modernity as the pianist slowly incorporates the young and old into something new and vital. He does the same with his inventive and exciting "I Got Rhythm" montage, "Discombopulated." This add a level of performance tension that reveals Carrothers as a capable bandleader directing a performance for maximum listening pleasure.
In the end, it is the exquisitely unique sonics of the room that crown this very fine performance. There is a nostalgic, analog warmth in these pieces that recall Evans' famous recordings 50 years ago, while at the same time showing how far piano trio practice has come since that time. Carrothers turns in a definitive trio set a the definitive jazz club.
Track Listing:
CD1/First Set: Tiny Capers; Joy Spring/Delilah; Gerkin for Perkin; Gertrude's Bounce; Jordu; This Is Worth Fighting For; Home Row; News From Home; Let's Get Lost; those Were The Days.
CD2/Second Set: Junior's Arrival; Time; Jordan Is A Hard Road To Travel; Peg; Blue Evening; Discombopulated; Snowbound; Days Of Wine And Roses; Our House.
Personnel: Bill Carrothers: piano; Nicolas Thys: bass; Dre Pallemaerts: drums.

Madelene Peyroux
Standing On The Rooftop

Cover (Standing on the Rooftop:Madeleine Peyroux)

by Thom Jurek
In 2009, Madeleine Peyroux issued Bare Bones, her first recording of all-original material with producer Larry Klein and a small group of jazz musicians and co-composers. Standing on the Rooftop is her debut recording for Decca with producer Craig Street. The group of players here is a diverse lot: drummer Charlie Drayton, guitarists Christopher Bruce and Marc Ribot, bassist Me'Shell Ndegeocello; John Kirby, Glenn Patscha, and Patrick Warren alternate on keyboards, percussionist Mauro Refosco, violinist Jenny Scheinman, and Allen Toussaint guests on piano. The program is richly and elegantly painted with modern production touches even as its songs are rooted in the historical past of classic Americana: pop songs, blues, jazz, and sitting room tunes. It includes eight originals and four covers, among them a poem by W.H. Auden set to music by Ribot entitled "Lay Your Sleeping Head, My Love." The music is summery and laid-back. The languid parlor-room reading of "Martha My Dear" by Lennon & McCartney has a deliberate old-timey feel and twins well with "Fickle Dove" (one of two Peyroux tunes written with Scheinman). Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain," with its strange pump organ backdrop and studio echo, indulges the kinds of production tricks Tom Waits might employ in disguising a blues. That said, this song too has a twin of sorts in the sonically similar title track; a clattering rag blues with ambient electronics held in check by Peyroux's elegantly earthy vocal. Ribot's acoustic guitar and Toussaint's upright on the Auden poem give the singer a perfectly loose frame to create a song inside. The thin, lean, funky blues on "The Kind You Can't Afford" (co-written with former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman) and Bob Dylan's "I Threw It All Away" are both slow shuffles and high points. In the latter, Peyroux's voice shifts the lyric's meaning to where the implied bitterness gives way to bewilderment. The album's final three cuts, "Meet Me in Rio," "Ophelia," and "The Way of All Things" make fine use of Peyroux's jazz chops; and because of Street's production, make an exact time-space continuum wonderfully imprecise. As an album, Standing on the Rooftop may not be as striking as its predecessor, but perhaps it wasn't meant to be. It is a seemingly effort that pushes the familiar toward an uncertain future where pop genres cease to need to exist at all.

Jane Monheit

Cover (Home:Jane Monheit)

by Matt Collar
Vocalist Jane Monheit delivers a sophisticated and romantic set of standards on her 2010 effort Home. Once again showcasing Monheit's sparkling virtuosic singing, Home also features the backing talents of the singer's longtime associates pianist Michael Kanan, bassist Neal Miner, and drummer Rick Montalbano. Also featured are guitarist Frank Vignola, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, violinist Mark O'Connor, and others. Although Monheit takes the spotlight on such American popular songbook tunes as "A Shine on Your Shoes,'' "This Is Always," and "I'll Be Around," she also allows for several exceptional duets, including "Tonight You Belong to Me" with singer/guitarist John Pizzarelli and "It's Only Smoke" with singer Peter Eldridge. Home is an urbane, immaculately produced effort that should appeal to Monheit's longtime fans.

Traincha (Trijntje Oosterhuis) & The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
Sundays In New York

by EMI Holland
For the first time in patriotic music appears an album of top artists from a Dutch newspaper."Sundays in New York, the new album by Traincha/Trijntje Oosterhuis, on Saturday, January 15 through the AD spread. Free, that's a first.EMI Music Netherlands is working with the AD and they increase the print run single Saturday to 750,000 copies. For example, "Sundays in New York" without doubt one of the most listened to albums of the year.Christiaan Ruesink, AD editor: "We are proud to have the new album by Trijntje Oosterhuis on Saturday, Jan. 15 to offer free to our readers. For us a unique gift to readers and a great experiment. Trijntje Especially since one of the best singers of the Netherlands. The increased circulation of the AD that day is about 750,000 copies to ensure that as many people in the music and enjoy the newspaper. "New fansErwin Goegebeur, Managing Director, EMI Music Group: "For a modern music company like EMI Music is important to develop new distribution channels to explore. The extensive campaign and printing in cooperation with the AD allows us to create a large audience to become acquainted with this brand new album from one of Dutch most important and talented vocalists ever. Of course we hope in this way thousands of new fans for her to win. "Trijntje Oosterhuis ended 2010 with second place in the album charts for her Christmas album "This Is The Season". In the summer of 2010, Trijntje in the U.S. is still a full album "Sundays in New York. This album is the result of recording sessions with producer John Clayton in the famous Capitol Tower Studios in Los Angeles, where Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and the Beach Boys recordings. A special album with Trijntje both new and existing songs from the soul-jazz and has recorded with a full big band, the famous Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.A dream come trueTrijntje Oosterhuis: "With the inclusion of" Sundays in New York "to me is a long cherished wish come true. Recording with a famous big band for me, holy Capitol Studios did I until recently thought impossible. Working with the top in the American soul and jazz scene has the utmost of my abilities required, and I found it delightful. Finding and writing your own new songs was a great challenge. I'm actually never on my own albums, but I am genuinely proud of what we are included. I feel privileged to support me on this AD. That so many people just going to hear this record, is for me a dream come true. I'd be surprised if known colleagues of mine do not follow. "Producer / arranger John Clayton on "Sundays in New York ':" It was great to Trijntien mirrors craftsmanship can be seen while in the studio adventure started with these wonderful songs. I have many famous artists included, Trijntje of the same high level. "

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