Sunday, March 04, 2012

1 Sem 2012 - Part Thirteen

Richie Beirach
Impressions Of Tokyo - Ancient City Of The Future

By OutNote Rec
Solo expression will reveal someone’s true character mercilessly. The fainthearted should abstain! Richie Beirach, New Yorker residing in Leipzig (Germany), most certainly doesn’t lack personality. His has been strengthened by forty years of practice in which he combines the discipline of a classical training with the vertigo of improvisation. These arguments work wonders with « Impressions of Tokyo » which fits in the « Jazz and the City » collection, already illustrated by his fellow pianists, Kenny Werner (New York), Eric Watson (Paris), Bill Carrothers (Excelsior), with Joachim Kuhn (Ibiza) still coming.
Richie has a deep knowledge of Japan – no less than 26 visits since the Seventies with numerous concerts and recordings – and doesn’t hide his admiration for its impressive culture and respect for art and music in all its forms. Under his fingers, Tokyo reveals itself in its duality, at the crossroads of tradition and modernity. His « impressions » follow like a series of snapshots presented in the form of haikus, the purest of poetic forms (3 verses of invariably 5, 7 and 5 syllables). Make no mistake; this freely chosen constraint enables Richie Beirach to go straight to the heart of the matter. Whether evoking the Japan of times immemorial – Kabuki theatre, stone gardens surrounding monasteries, flowering cherries, or even earthquakes …, or the Japan of today - the Shinkansen (Bullet train), Kurosawa’s movies, Takemitsu’s music… he appears alternatively sober, almost ascetic, or dense, searching the entrails of the piano. In other words: how can one translate, without betrayal, the Tokyoite soul and the daily life of millions of city dwellers? With this journey to Tokyo, Richie Beirach reaches this form of Zen serenity which is simply the prerogative of the greatest.
Producer’s comment:
This recording was made in September 2010. Six month later, Japan suffered its worst disaster since the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. A catastrophe that took a triple form: earthquake of March 11th, the worst in a century, tsunami causing thousands of victims, major accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. « I would like to dedicate this album to the Japanese people and thus show them my deep affection, confided Richie Beirach. I sincerely and respectfully wish that this work may bring them a spark of hope in the face of this unprecedented tragedy ».

1. Haiku - (Intro) - Tokyo Lights At Night 0:41
2. Haiku 1 - Baker-san 3:14
3. Haiku 2 - Butterfly 3:20
4. Haiku 3 - Cherry Blossom Time 3:46
5. Haiku 4 - Takemitsu-san 4:54
6. Haiku 5 - Bullet Train 3:38
7. Haiku 6 - Togashi-san 3:28
8. Ancient City of the Future 3:19
9. Lament for Hiroshima and Nagasaki 3:56
10. Haiku 7 - Japanese Playground 2:33
11. Haiku 8 - Kabuki 3:15
12. Haiku 9 - Zatoichi-Kurosawa 4:09
13. Haiku 10 - Rock Garden 4:47
14. Haiku 11 - Tragedy In Sendai 2:40
15. Haiku 12 - Shibumi 5:31
16. Eyes of the Heart 4:03

Helen Sung

Cover ((Re)Conception:Helen Sung)

by Ken Dryden
Helen Sung has made great strides since winning the 2007 Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition. Recruiting two of the most in-demand rhythm players for this trio date, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash, the pianist mixes things up with fresh arrangements of standards, time-tested jazz compositions, and a few less frequently played works. Her swinging take of Duke Ellington's "C Jam Blues" begins with a playful exchange with Washington before launching into the familiar theme, with the walking bass and light percussion propelling her inventive improvising as she avoids the clichéd route through this jazz standard. She also offers a snappy midtempo setting of the maestro's "Everything But You," playfully incorporating "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" before she turns on the afterburners in her superb solo. Her punchy take of George Shearing's "(Re)Conception" reveals the potential of this neglected bop gem. Thelonious Monk's "Teo" is another overlooked piece, though Sung transforms it into a rapid-fire Bud Powell-flavored romp. Jerry Bock's "Far from the Home I Love" (from the musical Fiddler on the Roof) is not typically heard much on jazz record dates, but Sung delivers a sentimental yet shimmering interpretation. Her bright rendition of Burt Bacharach's "Wives and Lovers" puts the spotlight on the talented Washington for an extensive solo. Sung also contributed one original, the lively, constantly shifting "Duplicity." Helen Sung is clearly one artist to watch among the musicians of her generation.

The Andrew Read Trio

By Johan van Deeg 
J.S.B. is the fourth CD from the Andrew Read Trio and the first release on Aliud Records. For this CD the trio has drawn largely on the classical repertoire for their inspiration. My first opinion prior to hearing the CD was, here we go again, another crossover CD however after hearing the first few tracks this preconceived opinion was completely dispelled. The fact is you need to listen extremely closely to pick the piece where the changes originate from. Luckily Read gives this away in the liner notes.
The opening track’s title ”J.S.B.” eludes to Johan Sebastian Bach and is based on the harmony from the aria “Erbarme dich” from Bach’s St Mathew Passion. The track opens with an 8 bar pedal point leading to the new melody composed by pianist Hans Kwakkernaat over Bach’s chord changes. The solos are tasteful but as far as I am concerned a little on the short side. “Just before dawn” is based on the harmony of Samuel Barbers famous Adagio for strings and is beautiful piece presented here as a bossa nova. Kwakkernaat opens the solos on this track with a short but well formed solo leading to a beautifully melodic bass solo from band leader Andrew Read.
My favorite track on this CD is without a doubt the up tempo swinger W.A.M. This track opens with a unison melody played by the piano and bass weaving through the complex harmony of Beethoven’s piano sonata Op2 no3. Kwakkernaat shows his substantial chops in an impressive solo reminding me of Kenny Baron. The haunting ballad “Lara” is beautiful piece featuring a rather simple melody played by both bass and piano and is great example of less is more.
The CD also contains some standards including a solo piano rendition on Monk’s “Round Midnight”. Kwakkernaat is brilliant in this rendition of Monk’s classic stretching the harmonic possibilities of the changes to their outermost edges while still retaining the essence of the original. One of the highlights of this CD is the closing track, John Scofield’s “Grey and visceral”, with solid solos from both Kwakkernaat and Read while drummer Erik Poorterman holds down the steady 12/8 feel.
The only down point I can find with this CD is that the recording sounds a little indirect. Personally I would have preferred the sound to have been more direct although this is always a matter of personal opinion. I really like this CD and if asked if I it’s worth buying, the answer would be simple, In a New York minute.

Joaquin Chacón
Out Of This World

Chacon, Joaquin - Out Of This World CD Cover Art CD music music CDs songs album

By Alejandro Cifuentes, Jazz Session 
Recorded in Madrid, Spain, March 2003 
Featuring: Joaquín Chacón (g), Ben Besiakou (p), Sigurd Ulveseth (b), Keith Copland (d)
This is the latest release from Madrid-based guitarist and composer Joaquín Chacón. Over the past last ten years of Fresh Sound "New Talent", Joaquín has released some terrific titles, such as "San", with musicians Uffe Markussen, Jorge Pardo, Chano Domínguez and, Carlos Ibáñez, among others, then came "European Quintet Time" and then the guitar duo album, "Waltz For Katy", with Doug Raney. "Out Of This World" is a brilliant new album from a brilliant musician.
"Out Of This World" is one of those albums you can enjoy again and again. The album opens perfectly with the piece that lends it's title to the album; from the first moment we can appreciate the clear finger work and warm sound of Joaquín Chacón in a very bluesy context...(the choice of tunes) is a good example of the excellent taste Joaquín possesses as a composer; his original melody lines appear to break up before they reach their destinations. There are many surprises on this album: the extraordinary gem that closes the disc with an acoustic guitar, "Dos Gardenias", a delicious cover version, the fruit of a blend of jazz and bolero, where we can appreciate the dexterity of the Norwegian bassist Sigur Ulveseth throughout. There are very few albums by a guitarist with such good taste. Please let's have more albums like this one" .

1. Out of this world (Arlen-Mercer) 6:58
2. La dictadura encubierta (J.Chacón) 8:40
3. Inner Urge (J.Henderson) 7:04
4. I can't get started (V.Duke) 11:10
5. En un instante (J.Chacón) 5:08
6. Impressions of Prag (J.Chacón) 7:57
7. All the things you are (Hammerstein-Kern) 4:23
8. Dos Gardenias (I.Carrillo) 6:42

No comments: