Saturday, November 12, 2016

2 Sem 2016 - Part Seven

John Beasley
Monk'estra, Vol.1 

By Dave Gelly
Since the 1950s, composer-arrangers have made orchestral versions of Thelonious Monk’s music. I have so far heard none that have been quite so bold as John Beasley in recasting what he calls the “architecture” of these dauntingly angular piano pieces for a jazz orchestra. He lifts Monk’s melodies away from their native idiom of bebop and replants them in the musically cosmopolitan 21st century. Monk’s insistent, almost manic worrying at single phrases is replaced by sudden surprises and changes of direction. The variety of orchestral textures seems endless too. There’s a lot to take in, and a lot of conventional ideas to set aside, but through it all Monk’s themes emerge as strong as ever.

The Fred Hersch Trio
Sunday Night At The Vanguard

By Dan McClenaghan 
Reach up to the CD shelf and pull a handful of Fred HerschCDS down. You'll find that the pianist has a good thing going with the Village Vanguard. Alive At The Vanguard (Palmetto Records, 2012) a stellar two CD set, and terrific solo set, Alone At the Vanguard (Palmetto Records, 2011), are Hersch's most recent recordings from the legendary venue; and now he and his trio offer up Sunday Night At the Vanguard.
Hersch says this is his best trio album. Almost every artist says that about their latest—that this one's the best. But he might be right. The vote here would have gone to a studio recording, Whirl (Palmetto Records, 2010), a marvelous in-the-zone effort with this same trio—John Hebert on bass, Eric McPherson playing drums—until Sunday Night At The Vanguard rolled around.
The trio opens with Richard Rodgers' "A Cockeyed Optimist," which is not exactly a familiar tune, in spite of its authorship. But as an opener it works to perfection, with a silvery, raindrop intro that finds a quirky groove that paints an upbeat atmosphere, with a bright melody that sounds like a second cousin to "It Might As Well Be Spring."
"Serpentine," a Hersch original, is a wandering slither of a tune, unpredictable and spooky, lovely in its fluid, abstract way; "The Optimum Thing" sparkles; and "Blackwing Palomino," maybe the only jazz tune ever written for a pencil, has the feel of a new jazz standard.
Hersch's output has been consistently excellent, but sometimes—as on this special Sunday Night—the stars align. The trio, from the opening notes of "The Cockeyed Optimist," is locked into and to a telepathic interplay zone—playful and eloquent, elegant and assured.
The Lennon and McCartney gem, "For No One," has the forlorn desperation of the song's lyrical content. The Beatles' version—a masterpiece in its own right—didn't take things to this dark of a place.
Kenny Wheeler's "Everybody's Song But My Own" rolls in a restless, jittery mode. "The Peacocks," from the pen of Jimmy Rowles, is pensive, lonely. Hersch explores an almost unmatchable majesty of the tune, with a bit of dissonance, before he jumps into Thelonious Monk, with "We See," an irrepressible jewel, followed—as an encore to the show—the Fred Hersch-penned "Valentine," one of the more inward tunes in Hersch's songbook, counterpointing a mostly gregarious, effervescent set by one of the jazz world's top piano trios at the top of their game.
Track Listing: 
A Cockeyed Optimist:Serpentine; The Optimum Thing; Calligram; Blackwing Palomino; For No One; Everybody's Song But My Own; The Peacocks; We See; Solo Encore: Valentine.
Fred Hersch: piano; John Hebert: bass; Eric McPherson: drums.

Denny Zeitlin
Solo Piano: Early Wayne

By Budd Kopman 
Early Wayne has many things going for it: it is a well recorded, live concert; pianist Denny Zeitlin, who has been recording for over fifty years, is masterful to the point of completely taking over the listening space, and, last but not least, the material used as the base for his improvisation is a set of ten Wayne Shorter tunes, mostly from the mid-60s.
The list of tunes, and the albums from which they come is below; the albums by Miles Davis were made by his second (great) quintet which included Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams:
1) "Speak No Evil" (Speak No Evil, Blue Note, 1966)
2) "Nefertiti" (Miles Davis, Nefertiti, Columbia, 1967)
3) "JuJu" (JuJu, Blue Note, 1965)
4) "Teru" (Adams Apple, Blue Note, 1967)
5) "Toy Tune" (Etcetera, Blue Note, 1965)
6) "Infant Eyes" (Speak No Evil, Blue Note, 1966)
7) "Paraphernalia" (Miles In The Sky, Miles Davis, Columbia, 1968)
8) "Ana Maria" (Native Dancer, Columbia, 1974)
9) "E.S.P." (Miles Davis, E.S.P., Columbia, 1965)
10) "Miyako" (Schizophrenia, Blue Note, 1967)
For many jazz fans, the Davis/Shorter nexus practically defines the music called "post-bop" and belongs to the "golden era" which began with "be-bop," then "hard-bop" and finally "post-bop."
In any case, most of the tunes have title recognition, if not melodic recognition, by which it is meant that most could not "hum" the tune, but could name it when it is played on the album. Shorter tunes are like that because of the way the melodies are constructed and how the lush harmonies and rhythm interact with it. The music is immediately recognizable in its entirety as "Shorter," but the details are for the most part ingeniously hidden under "the sound."
The Piedmont Piano Company offers an annual performance in their own space to an audience that appreciates the music. Zeitlin took the opportunity to do a "Shorter set" and obviously learned this music and these tunes inside and out. His improvisations, most six minutes or longer, are more like excursions or ruminations, and end up washing over the listener in their vastness.
Yes, a melodic fragment can be recognized (say, that of "Infant Eyes") here and there, but not recognizing the "ur text" in no way diminishes the depth, richness and sheer improvisatory invention of Zeitlin's playing. Each piece has it own mixture of that which has the sound of preparation with that of on-the-spot creation; this makes the album an exciting experience.
Anyone who is unfamiliar with sixties Shorter should definitely look into the Blue Note and Columbia catalogs of this period and deeply imbibe in Shorter and Davis.
The sheer pianistic virtuosity and high musicianship of Zeitlin makes Early Wayne a delightful gem and many times a mesmerizing experience.
Track Listing: 
Speak No Evil; Nefertiti; Ju Ju; Teru; Toy Tune; Infant Eyes; Paraphernalia; Ana Maria; E.S.P.; Miyako.
Denny Zeitlin: piano.

Fabio Giachino Trio 

By Traccedijazz
E' uscito il nuovo album, "Blazar", del pluripremiato trio torinese guidato dal pianista Fabio Giachino e formato con il contrabbassista Davide Liberti e il batterista Ruben Bellavia. Prodotto e edito da Abeat Records, è stato presentato in anteprima a Bruxelles per rappresentare la città di Torino in occasione dell’EXPO-TO e dell’Expo 2015 di Milano.
E' uscito "Blazar", il nuovo e terzo album del Fabio Giachino trio, una grande formazione che sta facendo sempre più parlare di sé e che si è affermata nel panorama italiano raccogliendo importanti riconoscimenti. Guidato dal pianista Fabio Giachino, insieme al contrabbassista Davide Liberti e al batterista Ruben Bellavia, il trio con "Blazar" firma il suo terzo lavoro, prodotto ed edito da Abeat Records, che segue i precedenti “Jumble up” (2014) e “Introducing Myself” (feat. Rosario Giuliani, 2012).
In collaborazione con il Torino Jazz Festival, l'album è stato presentato in anteprima a Bruxelles presso l’Istituto Italiano di Cultura per rappresentare la città di Torino in occasione dell’EXPO-TO e dell’Expo 2015 di Milano.
Il titolo dell'album richiama la passione di Giachino per l'astronomia: tecnicamente, il termine blazar siginifica "blazing quasi-stellar object", indicando un fenomeno energetico molto potente che ben rappresenta il carisma dirompente del trio e della sua musica, che sarà portata in tour nel 2015 toccando diverse città italiane.
Dei nove brani presenti nel disco, otto composizioni originali di Giachino e un arrangiamento reggae di "In the wee small of the morning" di D. Mann e B. Hilliard.
Fabio Giachino: "Credo in questo terzo album si sia delineata maggiormente la via che abbiamo intrapreso in questi anni, la coesistenza di differenti influenze stilistiche legate dall’amore comune per lo swing e il beat più incalzante ma, con una maggior ariosità all’interno delle composizioni ed un’attenzione maggiore alla melodia e alla forma. "Blazar" è proprio questo, in scienze viene definito come una sorgente altamente energetica e supercompatta, uno dei più violenti fenomeni dell’universo, ed è così che amo vedere il mio gruppo e la nostra musica: energica, violenta, ma anche dolce e delicata...e che magari faccia anche ballare, come il jazz faceva agli inizi del '900!"
Nato ad Alba e trasferitosi successivamente a Torino, Fabio Giachino è un talento inarrestabile. Seppur giovanissimo ha collaborato con grandi artisti come Dave Liebman, Furio Di Castri, Fabrizio Bosso, Rosario Giuliani, Emanuele Cisi, Maurizio Giammarco, Dino Piana, Aldo Zunino, Dusco Goycovitch, Javier Girotto, Miroslav Vitous esibendosi anche in Francia, Svizzera, Inghilterra, Repubblica Ceca, Polonia, Turchia, Romania, Canada, U.S.A.
Negli anni è stato insignito di importanti riconoscimenti a livello nazionale e internazionale: il "Premio Internazionale Massimo Urbani 2011", il "Premio Nazionale Chicco Bettinardi 2011" e il Red Award "Revelation of the year 2011" JazzUp channel; inoltre, nel 2011, 2012 e 2013 è stato votato tra i primi 10 pianisti italiani secondo il referendum "JAZZIT Awards" indetto dalla redazione della rivista JAZZIT.
Con il Fabio Giachino Trio ha ottenuto il Premio Speciale come "BEST BAND" al "Bucharest International Competition 2014", il premio "Fara Music Jazz Live 2012" (sia come miglior solista che come miglior gruppo), il premio "Barga Jazz Contest 2012" ed il "Premio Carrarese Padova Porsche Festival 2011".
Il trombettista Fabrizio Bosso, nelle note di copertina: "Ho conosciuto Fabio qualche anno fa suonando come ospite del quartetto Jazz Accident e, fin da subito, ho capito che stava nascendo un grande talento. Credo che i progressi che ha fatto in questi ultimi anni siano veramente notevoli, lo dimostra questo riuscitissimo lavoro "Blazar", un disco che strizza l'occhio al jazz newyorkese, ma senza tralasciare la vena melodico-mediterranea che contraddistingue i jazzisti italiani in tutto il mondo. In quanto alla tecnica questo musicista non ha nulla da invidiare ai migliori pianisti della scena jazz internazionale, coadiuvato da una ritmica sempre pronta ad assecondare i suoi input musicali."

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