[JPL] Taking Coltrane’s Music and Making It Their Own

David Kunian dkunian at bellsouth.net
Mon Sep 18 17:58:59 EDT 2006

Can't wait for J at LC to tackle Meditations and Ascension. 

Oops.  Wrong universe.

r durfee wrote:

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>September 16, 2006
>Music Review
>Taking Coltrane’s Music and Making It Their Own 
>Jazz at Lincoln Center began its new season on
>Thursday with the first of three nights devoted to the
>music of John Coltrane. The occasion doubled as an
>early celebration of what would have been Coltrane’s
>80th birthday (Sept. 23) — cake was served during
>intermission — and an opening salvo for the
>organization’s third year of programming in Frederick
>P. Rose Hall at Columbus Circle. It was a success on
>both counts.
>Wynton Marsalis played host, and horn, in “Coltrane,”
>a concert at the Rose Theater featuring his Jazz at
>Lincoln Center Orchestra. (“Coltrane and Hartman,”
>with the saxophonist Todd Williams and the singer
>Kevin Mahogany, was scheduled for last night and
>tonight in the Allen Room.) The program featured a
>dozen of Coltrane’s compositions, mostly in
>arrangements for the full orchestra.
>Some were conventional enlargements: essentially
>vehicles for improvisation. The saxophone interludes
>and brass accents on “Giant Steps,” for instance, were
>less interesting than the brisk solo fashioned by its
>arranger, Mr. Marsalis. “Big Nick,” in a big-band
>chart by Richard DeRosa, mainly served as a bluesy
>showcase for the saxophonist Sherman Irby. “Like
>Sonny,” as arranged by Vincent Gardner, was a
>screeching thrill ride; still, its most memorable
>feature was a passage featuring some excellent
>choruses by Erica vonKleist on flute.
>The promise of an orchestral interrogation of
>Coltrane’s themes was fulfilled in several other
>arrangements, which took liberties with dynamics and
>timbre. The melody of “Naima,” in an arrangement by
>Victor Goines, was harmonized for five bass clarinets;
>the bridge fell to a single muted trombone. Ted Nash
>imbued “Grand Central” with some intricate
>cross-voicings, while his arrangement of “My Favorite
>Things,” the Rodgers and Hammerstein bonbon that
>Coltrane turned epic, assigned the melody in unison to
>five soprano saxophones. 
>Mr. Marsalis’s version of “Alabama” was another
>highlight, both gorgeous and unsettling. The baritone
>saxophonist Joe Temperley played its haunting line
>with quiet intensity over an eerie trill of brass and
>reeds. Mr. Marsalis prefaced the piece with some
>background: it was Coltrane’s response to the bombing
>of a Baptist church in Birmingham that killed four
>girls. So the weight of the piece was lost on no one.
>Two things were missing from the concert. One was any
>reference to Coltrane’s squalling late period, which
>Jazz at Lincoln Center will acknowledge on Wednesday
>with a discussion called “Did Coltrane Lose His Way?”
>(The panelists, including Coltrane’s drummer from
>those years, Rashied Ali, seem predisposed to dismiss
>that question.) 
>More conspicuously absent was the immersive thrust of
>Coltrane’s rhythm section, which could make a vamp
>feel like a voyage. The pianist Dan Nimmer sounded
>unconvinced about the hammering modal style of McCoy
>Tyner, his counterpart in the Coltrane quartet. Dennis
>Irwin, a veteran bassist, and Ali Jackson, the
>orchestra’s drummer, threw themselves into the music,
>but they had few opportunities to lift it off the
>One came in the concert’s final moments, during a solo
>on “Africa” that had Walter Blanding straining and
>surging on tenor saxophone, while Mr. Jackson thrashed
>powerfully beneath him. It was the only moment in the
>evening that summoned the sound of Coltrane more than
>the idea. But that’s partly why the concert worked so
>well: it played to the orchestra’s strengths, and
>bypassed mimicry to signal a deeper respect. 
>The Coltrane Festival repeats tonight at Frederick P.
>Rose Hall,60th Street and Broadway; (212) 721-6500
>Roy Durfee
>P.O. Box 40219
>Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196-0219
>rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
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>This week's sponsor:  Russ Kassoff - ''SOMEWHERE'' (2006) - RHK JAZZ 
>''It goes without saying that FRANK SINATRA could have enlisted the services of any accompanist he wanted. The fact that he chose RUSS KASSOFF speaks volumes about Kassoff's unequivocal artistry, which is splendidly showcased on SOMEWHERE'' (Jack Bowers-AAJ).  After almost 40 years as a professional musician, KASSOFF's first album as a leader features his serene beauty, intriguing style, and vivid concepts as an outstanding composer and gifted improviser.  With MARTIN WIND (bass) and TIM HORNER (drums), ''SOMEWHERE is vibrant, compelling, and destined to become an essential component of collections that favor jazz trios'' (Paula Edelstein-AMG).  ''Performed with class and a fine touch'' (Marion McPartland), ''SOMEWHERE is a masterpiece'' (Bucky Pizzarelli).
>Available on-line:  www.cdbaby.com/kassoff
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