Saturday, July 12, 2014

Old Jazz Cd's - Part Six

Enrico Pieranunzi, Marc Johnson, Joey Baron
Deep Down

By C. Katz
I must admit not every outing of Pieranunzi has been a favorite of mine (some of the European themed LP/CD's).And I wouldn't say Marc Johnson or Joey Baron would be among my top five on a list of bass players or drummers.But here it just plain works. Pierenunzi is obviously heavily influenced by Bill Evans (here he penned "Evans Remembered" and "Don't Forget The Poet") and plays Evans "TTT".This and Evans associated material "We'll Be Together Again" and "Someday My Prince Will Come".though rotted in Evans the influence of others who followed or were influenced by his path are here.But what makes this a GREAT session id the interplay of the three members.They are in sync the way Evans,Lafaro,and Motian were.And it's the synthesis as opposed to the sum of it's parts that makes this a wonderful CD.You won't be disaponted if you have ever enjoyed a Pieranunzi CD.
Cheers, Chazz

Sarah Vaughan
After Hours

By Mary Whipple
In this most unusual album, Sarah Vaughan conjures up images of after hours performances in smoke-filled clubs, where a few sad and lonely people nurse their drinks and listen to a solitary singer crooning softly. Here Vaughan sings "pure," without a big band behind her, without sharing the stage with a jazz superstar, and without any restrictions on her own interpretations. Accompanied only by a guitar (Mundell Lowe) and a bass (George Duvivier), both of which play quietly in the background, Vaughan turns in a remarkable performance, recording her most intimate album, one in which she makes the listener feel as if each song is sung for him/her and no one else.
Her famous versatility is on display here, but it is far more subtle than in most of her other albums, since nearly all these songs are slow and lacking in pyrotechnics. Changes in mood are controlled totally by Sarah and not by her accompanists. In "My Favorite Things," a surprising introduction to this album, she sounds like an ingénue, singing in a light soprano without any hint of the deeper register for which she is famous--until halfway through, when the beat picks up and the real Sarah starts to emerge. "Every Time We Say Goodbye," a melancholy song, has a swing beat, and "Easy to Love" is sung almost a capella, with her finger snapping audible in the background. In "Sophisticated Lady," slowly paced and contemplative, she sounds like the great jazz singer we know, but quieter than usual, and in "Great Day," the fastest song on the album, she dances across her notes, improvising as she goes.
The "real" Sarah Vaughan is totally in charge here, singing the mellowest, smoothest, and most intimate album ever, but it is a moody, blue Sarah in many songs--and the album is for quiet times, not celebrations. If you are a lover of Sarah Vaughan and ever fantasized about having her sing a private concert for you alone, this is your chance.

Warne Marsh with Hank Jones, George Mraz and Mel Lewis
Star Highs

By Scott Yanow
Tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh and pianist Hank Jones had not performed together before they met up in the studio to make what would be the second release for the Criss Cross label. With bassist George Mraz and drummer Mel Lewis completing the quartet, plenty of sparks fly between the two lead soloists. Marsh plays with more fire than one would expect from the cool-toned tenor; the material (four lesser-known tunes by the leader, one by Jones, "Moose the Mooche," and "Victory Ball") is fresher than usual, and the album can be easily recommended to straight-ahead jazz collectors.

Lena Horne
We'll Be Together Again

By Stephanie De Pue
"We'll Be Together Again" was one of the last records made by the great singer Lena Horne: it was originally released by Blue Note in 1994. The diva, who was born in Brooklyn in 1917, had had an extremely long career, as a pop/jazz/Broadway/cabaret diva, that ran from 1938, when she was discovered singing and dancing at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem, to 2000. She'd been famous since 1943, on the after stream of her worldwide hit "Stormy Weather," from the movie of the same name (Stormy Weather) that was made at 20th Century Fox, while she was a young beauty on loan from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. (Although it must be said, at that time and place, her career was greatly limited by her color.)
Horne, who was blacklisted in the 1950's for her political beliefs, has won many awards in her long career. Several Grammies, including a Lifetime Achievement Award; an NAACP Image Award for her civil rights work, and a Kennedy Center Award. She has headlined at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria in New York - her 1957 live album, "Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria" was the largest selling record by a female artist in RCA history. She has made many, many television appearances. But, as she is now well into her nineties, she no longer appears in public.
Horne recorded the record at hand following her 1993 performance at a tribute to the musical legacy of Strayhorn. To coincide with its 1994 release, she made her last two public appearances, at Carnegie Hall, and the New York Supper Club. But its genesis was much earlier, to quote from the liner notes of David Hajdu:
"It's a prayer: "We'll Be Together Again"--a private, sacred promise to a lost love. And it's fitting: the last time they [Horne, Strayhorn, and Ellington] were together on stage, December 26, 1965, Lena Horne and Billy Strayhorn were praying in song. Duke Ellington, presiding grandly over lavish proceedings at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, hushed down the assemblage of 14 musicians, 8 singers and one tap dancer. `And now there will be a change in programming,' Ellington said, announcing, with no further explanation, `Billy Strayhorn and his pretty little friend.' A spotlight popped on, and there, snuggled together on a piano bench, the pianist and his friend made music for 1,800 churchgoers exactly as they'd been doing for some 25 years, alone all night at one or the other's home."
Horne married elsewhere twice, but often told interviewers that Strayhorn was her closest friend, her "soulmate," and the love of her life, and she had wanted to marry him. However, Strayhorn was basically homosexual, and, the 1940's being what they were, he was said to be tormented about it. His relationship with Ellington, otherwise an enthusiastic heterosexual, is ambiguous; as were the relationships among the three musicians. Be that as it may, Strayhorn's musical gifts were tremendous. In addition to playing piano and arranging, he was a composer of note, and is represented on this record by "Maybe," "Something to Live For," "Love Like This Can't Last," "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing," and "You're the One." Oddly enough, his perhaps most famous songs, "Chelsea Bridge," "Take the A Train," "Satin Doll," and perhaps also his most beautiful, "Lush Life," are not presented here. (Incidentally, I understand you never will find a Strayhorn song available on karaoke, as he wrote only for trained voices.)
What is here is packed with emotion, sung by a great singer at the end of her performing career. There can be no better way to remember these performers.

Claus Ogerman featuring Jan Akkerman

By Michael Killen 
This CD is a must have for fans of Claus Ogerman. While Akkerman is up to the task of fronting Ogerman's orchestra, it is the arrangements that pull you in and stay with you. A gorgeous recording with a timeless feel, get this one and marvel at how amazing music can be.
1. Adagio From 'Concierto De Aranjuez' ; 2. Nightwings; 3. Modinha (Preludio)
4. Espanoleta; 5. Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte; 6. Love Remembered
7. Seed Of God (From 'Magdalena'); 8. Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5

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