Sunday, March 03, 2013

1 Sem 2013 - Part Eight

Roger Davidson Trio
We Remember Helen

By Dan Bilawsky
The music business holds claim to more than its share of selfish, self-promoting, greedy individuals who built their fortunes on the backs of others but, within its ranks also exist a certain class of individual that truly looks out for the best interests of the music and the people who make it. Helen Keane, by all accounts, was one of the good ones.
Keane, who started out as an A&R scout for CBS and MCA, was best known as the guiding light that directed pianist Bill Evans' career from 1963 until his untimely passing in 1980. Her work in support of this now-iconic figure would have been enough to establish her as an important behind-the-scenes presence in the music arena, but her efforts didn't stop there. When she wasn't helping to shape the Evans legacy, during his lifetime and beyond, she produced records for artists like trumpeter Art Farmer, reed man Paquito D'Rivera and singer Chris Connor. She was also a champion for unsung women in jazz and she inspired many-a-musician to branch out into different stylistic realms; pianist Roger Davidson is one such artist. Keane's encouragement led to Davidson's first jazz recording—Ten To Twelve (Soundbrush, 2006)—which she happily produced. While she sadly passed before the record ever saw the light of day, Keane can be credited for lighting an eternal jazz flame in the heart of its creator.
Now, twenty years after Davidson and Keane teamed up, the pianist pilots an outing that honors Keane's memory. Davidson enlisted longtime bass companion David Finck, who played on the Keane-produced session, and classy drumming exemplar Lewis Nash to help him craft a tribute to Keane and, by default, Evans. Davidson gives Evans his due by performing material associated with ("Yesterdays"), or written by ("Waltz For Debby") this master, but he doesn't play à la Evans. Davidson has a more straightforward, this-is-me approach to the piano trio that runs counter to Evans' introspection and organic flow.
Swing serves as the main course during this fifteen track feast, but the side dishes add some flavor variety. "All The Things You Are" comes with Brazilian backing, the title track provides a taste of melancholy packaged in faux-spiritual fashion, a bluesy 12/8 feel underscores "Soul Search," and a New Orleans snare drum groove enlivens "Joshua Fought The Battle Of Jericho." "How Deep Is The Ocean" is capped off with a rhapsodic but controlled ending that takes it beyond the pedestrian, and "Dance Of Faith" comes off like music from a high-spirited prayer meeting.
Davidson hasn't created anything new or radical here, but he's lovingly crafted a program of well-performed material that highlights his piano handy work and heartfelt appreciation for Helen Keane. We Remember Helen is a highly agreeable, in-bounds trio affair that serves as a fitting tribute to a woman who championed jazz and the individuals who created it.
Track Listing:
Yesterdays; What's New; Whisper Not; Charade; A Tune For Helen; We Remember Helen; Beautiful Love; How Deep Is The Ocean; Soul Search; Joshua Fought The Battle Of Jericho; Dance Of Faith; The Way He Captured You; Early Autumn; All The Things You Are; Waltz For Debby.
Roger Davidson: piano; David Finck: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.

Wayne Shorter Quartet
Without A Net

By John Kelman
Since convening a new quartet for the 2001 tour that resulted inFootprints Live! (Verve, 2002), soon-to-be-octogenarian saxophonist Wayne Shorter has found himself in the company of a group that's not just turned out to be, hands-down, his most exciting and exploratory acoustic ensemble in a career well into its sixth decade, but now, a dozen years later, his longest-running one as well. Weather Report, the fusion supergroup that Shorter co-founded with keyboardist Joe Zawinul, did, indeed, last longer, from the early 1970s through the mid-'80s, but with almost constant changes in personnel from album to album. Shorter's stable lineup may not release albums on a regular basis—it's been eight long years since the superb, also-live Beyond the Sound Barrier (Verve, 2005)—but the quartet continues to tour, almost every year. Without a Net captures performances from the quartet's 2011 European tour, as well as an extended piece from a live show in collaboration with the renowned Imani Winds.
Beyond being special because of the lengthy recording absence since Beyond, Shorter's return to Blue Note—on which he released a string of eleven exceptional, often groundbreaking albums beginning with Night Dreamer (1964) and ending with Odyssey of Iska (1970)—is another milestone, though it shouldn't be misconstrued as anything remotely nostalgic. If anything, Without a Net—a succinctly accurate description of this group's modus operandi—is even moreuncompromising and unpredictable, reflecting the quartet's ever-growing empathic interrelationship on a set that, with the exception of one tune dating back to his days with trumpeter Miles Davis in the 1960s, one completely re-imagined Weather Report tune from 1983 and one rarely recorded song from the 1933 film Flying Down to Rio (actors/dancers/singers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' first film together), is comprised of half a dozen new Shorter compositions.
Without a Net kicks off with "Orbits," also the opener to Miles Davis' Miles Smiles (Columbia, 1966), but completely revised, its theme becoming a foundational ostinato first introduced with pianist Danilo Perez's left hand, then joined by bassist John Patitucci. It's a method of compositional reduction that Shorter has employed on previous albums with this quartet, turning the tune into an even freer opportunity for Shorter and Pérez to indeed orbit around each other's extemporizations, occasionally conjoining in marvelous synchronicity, all driven by drummer Brian Blade's explosive approach. Shorter's "S.S. Golden Mean," too, is revised from the version onBeyond the Sound Barrier, its repetitive chord pattern a foundation for Shorter's soaring, searing soprano and Blade, who moves from full kit to hand percussion in the blink of an eye, completely altering the song's complexion.
But it's the 23-minute "Pegasus," from Shorter's Los Angeles performance where the quartet was expanded to a nonet with the five-piece Imani Winds, that is the album's centerpiece—and highlight. Not since Alegria (Verve, 2003), his most recent studio recording, has Shorter worked with a larger ensemble, and while that album was plenty ambitious, "Pegasus" trumps it in concept and execution, its powerful blend of form and freedom inspiring such powerful extrapolations from Shorter (again on soprano) that Blade can be heard, in the background, saying "Oh my god!"
Shorter also demonstrates a hitherto unknown talent, whistling at the start of Vincent Youmans' title song to the film Flying to Rio before switching back to soprano and, as Pérez and Patitucci slowly coalesce around another repetitive but continually expanding pattern, stepping back to let the pianist and bassist enter into an exchange as demonstrative of their growing chemistry as any on record. This is no by-rote arrangement of a classic song; instead, while ensuring its core melody is honored, this is another example of the kind of unfettered, uncompromising and freewheeling approach this quartet has taken since inception, but which has only strengthened and become more profound in the ensuing twelve years. Shorter also whistles at the beginning of his own "Zero Gravity," a tune that renders clear the saxophonist's multifaceted interests, with hints of Pérez's impossible to deny Latin leanings blending into harmonic and, at times, contrapuntal sophistication while nevertheless leaving huge, gaping holes for the quartet to spontaneously fill.
Shorter may be turning 80 in August, 2013, but rather than resting on his considerable laurels and resorting to replicating past successes, the saxophonist is as imaginative and conceptually forward-thinking as he's ever been—perhaps even more so. He's also playing at the absolute top of his game, his combination of head and heart never stronger. With this now-longstanding quartet he's truly capable of going anywhere he chooses—and, thanks to the individual and collective improvisational élan of Pérez, Patitucci and Blade, plenty of unexpected places he doesn't—whether it's in the context of detailed structure, absolute, composite freedom...or both. With each record only getting better, Without a Net is not just a new high watermark for Shorter and his stellar quartet, it's a truly masterful masterpiece to add to a discography already brimming with classic recordings that will further cement Shorter's inscription—and, as it evolves, his quartet's as well—in the rarefied upper echelon of jazz history.
Track Listing: 
Orbits; Starry Night; S.S. Golden Mean; Plaza Real; Myrrh; Pegasus; Flying Down to Rio; Zero Gravity; UFO.
Wayne Shorter: soprano and tenor saxophones, whistling (7, 8); Danilo Pérez: piano; John Patitucci: bass; Brian Blade: drums; Valerie Coleman: flute (6); Toyin Spellman-Diaz: oboe (6); Mariam Adam: clarinet (6); Jeff Scott: French horn (6); Monica Ellis: bassoon (6).

Joey DeFrancesco
Wonderful ! Wonderful !

By C. Michael Bailey
B-3 specialist Joey DeFrancesco has enjoyed a long and successful Career; so long, that Wonderful! Wonderful! is DeFrancesco's tenth HighNote release. With Tony Monaco his only real "traditional" jazz organ peer, DeFrancesco pretty well has the market cornered for greasy chitlin' circuit funk jazz cumItalian-American savoir faire. Joined by legends, guitarist Larry Coryell and drummer Jimmy Cobb, DeFrancesco assembles a more than competent organ guitar trio, where the three's empathic understanding makes for a satisfying recital of original and standard material.
DeFrancesco resurrects DeRose and Hill's "Wagon Wheels," from the 1934 Broadway musical,Ziegfeld Follies. Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins illustrated the jazz potential of the song on his critically noted Way Out West (Contemporary, 1957). DeFrancesco extends this treatment with a building slow burn introduced by Coryell. The organist goes orchestral over Cobbs triplets, while the solo space is Vast, as Coryell begins linearly with moderate single-note flourishes before flexing his chops and approaching Joe Pass velocity, all without missing a beat.
DeFrancesco spices the mix with judiciously placed accents behind Coryell, before turning the gas on high and really beginning to cook. He begins slow, using perfected drama to affect his building dynamics. The piece ends in some of the best-behaved chaos recently Recorded, further evidence that DeFrancesco has put together a fine organ trio for Wonderful! Wonderful!.
Personnel: Joey DeFrancesco: organ; Larry Coryell: guitar; Jimmy Cobb: drums.

Marc Copland with Gary Peacock & Bill Stewart
Modinha : Vol. 1

By John Kelman
The piano trio may be a longstanding jazz tradition, but that doesn't necessarily make it anachronistic. Pianist Marc Copland has been forging an increasingly distinctive identity that straddles the line between modern mainstream and greater abstraction for the past couple of decades. For this sublime recording, Copland recruited bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Bill Stewart—who last worked together with the pianist on Softly... (Savoy Jazz, 1998). The first of three trio dates in the series, each with a different lineup, finds the usually pensive Copland more outgoing than normal, although he has by no means left his introspective tendencies behind.
Three of the eight tracks are free improvisations, but you'd never know it. Peacock has long been connected with the concept of spontaneous composition, rather than free improvisation per se—which may seem like splitting hairs, but there is a difference. His association with Copland goes back nearly twenty years, and they are clearly of like mind when it comes to pulling form from the ether. It may be an abstruse motif, as on the challenging "Slap Happy," or rhythmically focused, as on "Aglasia," where Peacock's dark pedal tone evolves into a two-chord vamp that Stewart latches onto and develops into greater forward motion. But in either case—as well as in the clear swing of "Flat Out"—the three players share a sense of purpose that transcends mere extemporization.
The rest of the written material includes three standards, one contribution from Peacock, and two from Copland. Peacock's "Half a Finger Snap" opens up the disc, based around a brief but compelling idea that Copland uses to shape his entire solo. Peacock's tone is robust but possesses a sharp edge that distinguishes him from fellow bass icons Dave Holland and Charlie Haden. The song may be only four minutes long, but despite the enforced brevity of the solos, everyone's identity is instantly recognizable. Stewart remains one of the most melodic drummers on the scene today; he builds his solo around Peacock's theme, just as clearly as the others.
The trio revisits "Rain," from Copland's At Night (Sunnyside, 1990), a moody and dramatically understated piece where one can hear the evolution of Copland's more oblique harmonic conception. Its ten-minute length shows just how much a spare but by no means simplistic form can inspire extended extrapolation. The shorter "Peach Tree," the hardest-swinging track on the disc, is more assertive, spotlighting Stewart's compositional approach to soloing.
On the three standards Copland, Peacock and Stewart demonstrate an ability to elegantly think outside the box without neglecting what defines each tune. Copland's recorded work has been remarkably consistent despite its prolificacy—and, on the strength of this first volume, one can only hope that the other two won't be far behind.
Track Listing: 
Half a Finger Snap; Modinha; Flat Out; Rain; Slap Happy; Sweet Peach Tree; Aglasia; Yesterdays; Taking a Chance on Love.
Marc Copland: piano; Gary Peacock: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.

The David Leonhardt Trio
In The Moment

By Steven Loewy
Leading a tight, well-rehearsed trio through a mix of originals and well-known pieces from the modern jazz repertoire, David Leonhardt once again shows why he is so well regarded among his peers. Best known for his Jazz for Kids concerts (which he has documented on disk), the pianist quietly pursues his craft with a loving touch, producing some very fine results. Leonhardt is not a showman on this recording, but a thoughtful, gracious soloist, one who exudes good taste with nearly every phrase. He is helped considerably by bassist Tony Marino and drummer Taro Okamoto, each of whom seems to fit perfectly in the pianist's world. Leonhardt exudes confidence without conceit: he knows where he is going and he plays with a directness that sucks in the listener. If he is not innovative, it is because he is not trying to be. His performances are imbued with order, a sort of ontological certitude. The result is enjoyable and swinging music that does not call attention to itself, the sort that can serve as relaxing background fare. Influences such as Bill Evans, Tommy Flanagan, and Cecil Walton come to mind, as Leonhardt pursues a vision that, while not overly ambitious, achieves a level of sophistication and emotion that is not entirely common, the kind that is perfect for late-night listening with the lights turned down low. 
IN THE MOMENT is available at Recorded on June 5, 2003.
David Leonhardt (piano); Tony Marino (bass); Taro Okamoto (drums).
Track Listing:
1 Witch Hunt
2 Dave's Mood
3 Floating
4 Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square
5 Morning Melody
6 Rising Tide
7 Romatic nights
8 In the Moment
9 Eternal Triangle

Horacio Fumero

Isoca album by Horacio Fumero was released May 09, 2005 on the EMI Music Distribution label. This album from the Argentinean jazz bassist features 12 tracks. Argentinean jazz musician. Isoca CD music contains a single disc with 12 songs.
1. Danzarin
2. Milestones
3. Una Perla En El Vacio
4. These Foolish Things
5. Isoca
6. Cinco Siglos Igual
7. Canco Triste
8. Milonga Para Isoca
9. Libertango
10. Nomada
11. Companera
12. Seu Lorenzo No Vinho Fragmento

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