[JPL] Bopndicks 10 picks Mar 2007

Dick Crockett bopndick at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 4 23:44:36 EST 2007

Bopndick's 10 Picks March 2007
Recently I sat with a friend, Brian Gallagher who's in
his early 80's. He's  a rare human who seems to have
the answer; “It's all an illusion,” he laughs. For a
man as educated as he,  that's profundity in it's
simplest form. He grew up in Dublin in the same
neighborhood where Oscar Wilde and James Joyce
cavorted years before...
Which brings me to the man who sits in the Parthenon
of the jazz piano, Oscar Peterson, a 'Charles Dickens'
in all aspects of dichotomy, encompassing  jazz at
it's very beginnings, (you'll note his blazing,
flawless articulation with stride- like long uplifting
 runs, dazzling audiences around the world with his 
brilliance, a force of jazz encompassing  the earliest
and later, with unifying lateral natural motion.) For
every version of a song by Oscar Peterson is a new and
different song, for the same song sung the same every
time, is boring and Oscar Peterson is never boring.  
This 2 cd compilation feature excerpts from classic
recordings unifying Oscar Peterson's poignancy as one
of jazz great purveyors. 
Oscar Peterson was one of those rare young gifted
pianists who awoke one day as a born again into modern
jazz classicism, a grinder who ain't stopped since.
Too much fun! 
This collection features other great artists,  in
person, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Pass , Herb Ellis, 
Bennie Carter, Milt Jackson and others.  These are
'live' recordings  over the years featuring Oscar
Peterson at his best.
THE KNITTING FACTORY    Oxingale Records
David Sanford & the Pittsburgh Collective is very
original, innovative jazz orchestra. A third stream
environ evoked by Gunther Schuller and characterized
by Whitney Balliett of the New Yorker in 1959 as “a
cross-breeding of jazz and classical music.”
This CD supports the  claim that this is a unique and
powerful orchestra of five saxophones, five trumpets,
five trombones and a world renowned cellist, Matt
Haimovitz especially his intro and work on “Scherzo
Composer David Sanford's  innovative music reminds you
of the soaring harmonics of Stan Kenton, especially
with composer Bob Graettinger, with a lulling
compassionate symposium of “Link Chapel” with soaring
brass and long arresting harmonies segueing to a slow
at first, then up tempo, “Uno Notte All'Opera” with a
stand up explosive drum solo by Marc Haynes. And then
the horns come to play with a melophonium roar that
would leave Don Ellis and Maynard  startled and
enthralled. Then the remarkable talents of cellist
Matt  Haimovitz on Sanford's four part cello concerto,
“Scherzo Grosso.” enough to make “The Chain Saw
Massacre”  sound  magnificent  and tragic as an opera.
There are parts here that'll remind you of the great
Russian cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich.  This is the
kind of Third Stream inventive musical consciousness
we haven't  heard, since the fifties.  And David
Sanford lends a hand to making modern music a much
better place to live.
This fiftieth anniversary 2 cd  set commemorating the
great Ella Fitzgerald is very special, marking the
beginning of Verve Records, elevating her already
remarkable  career and bridging a transition for many
listeners from the big band swing era to a more  noir
ballad era of the fifties to the early sixties,  a
baroque era for vocalists interpreting the great song
writers for the first fifty years, the golden era of
the 20th century.
For me, it was the bridge to the Ella my parents
listened and danced to in the forties through  the
fifties,  a time we heard a different Frank Sinatra,
Nat King Cole, June Christy and the superb artistry of
the great Ella Fitzgerald. You'll hear a version of 
“The Lady Is A Tramp, that'll remind you of that great
Ella and Frank duet.  
As a young jazz DJ in the early sixties, I recall the
Ella when the Verve songbooks were the face of the
late night jazz shows, along with Sara Vaughn, Dakota
Staton and Carmen McRae. It was always Ella who set
the standard that others ascribed, for this very
gracious Lady with a pearl like quality in her voice
is the Grand Dame of modern jazz. 
You hear the superb phrasing, sense of time and swing
on the Ellington Song Book “Take The A Train,””I Got
It Bad And That Ain't Good” and “It Don't Mean A
Thing, If It Ain't Got That Swing.” In fact, her vocal
elasticity and relaxed ability to swing especially on
“Swing” just glistens with Stuff Smith, Ben Webster
and Barney Kessell.  On “Blue Skies,” you hear that
wonderful facility to scat, a whimsical free motion
with the playful extemporaneous  joy. Yes it all
grooves.  Then “Swonderful” with Nelson Riddle's
glorious arranging, let the great ones do what they do
best, emote with alacrity and penache', all over the
place.  If you're not jumping out of your socks when
you hear this then you're tone deaf and unaware of
great music in the first place.
The Nelson Riddles sequences are especially grand,
full of nostalgia and romance.
Many young vocalists will say,  the quality and scope
of Ella Fitzgerald is to learn and strive for,
attained by this The First Lady Of Song. There's so
much quality in this CD that you must listen to all
the songs,  for the arrangements are to revel in the
majesty of it all.
Charles Tolliver gets right up in your face! May not
be his personality, but put a trumpet in his hand and
with his bop background, especially his tenure with
Jackie McLean, he knows what it takes to shake his
Asimov, an educated man who possesses  the hard bop
instinct. Tolliver's chops are reflected in the
interesting memorable charts he writes, as evidenced
in his new big band CD. 
You're familiar with his tenure with the Gerald Wilson
big band in the sixties with one high energy album
after another on the Pacific Jazz label, gripping,
exciting and inventive as a Coltrane set in those
There's so much great music on this CD, reserve this
for your '07' top 100.  “With Love” is that good! When
you hear Tolliver's rendition of “Round Midnight,”
you'll understand he knows the score of the range,
power of that tune and impact of that era on modern
Monk would say,”hope Juilliard doesn't ruin Miles” and
Miles hocking his horn for some scorn  in Detroit and
living to tell about it. 
Charles Tolliver doesn't have to go 'Hell And Back'
for the essence of his soul and music to frame it in
our modern jazz Odyssey.  It's  all right here in this
classic new CD, 
Charles Tolliver
“With Love.”
Music/Rounder Records
If you've ever spent time in New Orleans, you feel the
music. It's everywhere from moldy Pentalba railings,
dank aromas rising from gumbo kettles in the thick
air, to faded colored only signs on decaying stucco .
It's a blend of the old and new,  the rascally repute
to the vain glorious,  a jazzy bit of sanctity
celebrated with high style in this original and
supreme music. Harry Connick Jr has captured that
feeling inthis CD. And when you hear that rousing
tribute on “bourbon street parade” sung and paraded on
trumpet by LeRoy Jones, you kind envoy those who grew
up there.  It's a as close to jazz heaven as you get.
This isn't  just charts with scribblings on paper. 
With Sidney Bechet's “Petite Fleur” this is more than
a song you've heard before. With saxophone soloist
David Schumacher, this is love for the music and your
city in it's purist form. This Cd is a local colorist
echoes from old Story ville, Preservation Hall to post
modern French Quarter outrageous.  Harry Connick
performs with Errol Garner incantations on Hoagy
Carmichael's “New Orleans,” like Sam Peckinpah in a
crime thriller with lots of juice and gyration. The
highlight here is that Connick's arrangements and
orchestrations are so grand in originality with
unparalleled down home love that it could be his best
work yet.
What can you say about Thomas Marriott that says
fabulous. This CD will more than
make that claim.  Marriott has a strong tone, great
command and swings like...fabulously.   Listen to his
forceful attack right off on “Both Sides Of The
He's clear, precise, strictly down to business, the
essence of hard bop swinging. The band of Marc Seales,
piano, Jeff Johnson, bass and John Bishop, drums lend
ample support to this exciting re-occurrence of post
future past as a vivid dream keeps re inventing
itself, especially when you're  in a hard bop '
jones,' you can't shake. Marriott has taste,  tonality
and a slight uplifting melodic touch. 
Imagine, you're  having a small glass of 20 year
single malt scotch on the rocks, with a sliver of
lemon just enough for the taste.  Marriott's trumpet
gives you  that taste and aroma  as you swirl it
around in your mind, a scent of those  Clifford Brown
and Freddie Hubbard  early days.  His understated
muted horn on Ellington's “New World A Comin'” is
What really cements it is his absolute flawless
version of  Hubbard's “Sky Dive.” Seales work on
Rhodes adds so much to this hymn of late night jazz
romantic exotica.  (Face it, some songs sound cooler
after hours.)  Marriott caps it off with a` great
version of another hard bop classic, Chick Corea's
“Tones For Joan's Bones.”  Joe Locke, vibes, makes a
cameo on a couple of selections as in “Joan's Bones”
adding a 'Milt Jackson'  tasty garnish to this already
heady mix of truth and bop and the blues.
When driving to Salinas on the I -5 from Sacramento, I
pass through Gulliet and pick up the 152 over Pacheco
Pass to the 101. In the middle of nowhere, there's a 
new walled in community, resembling stuccoed
communities all across America. There's a common
modality occurring in our architecture, a sameness, 
lack of identity. So moving from one point to the next
you may lose perspective of who you are and where
you're going. You may note it at the time but your on
a journey, to Porta Villarta or to liberate the soul.
Two extremes to be sure but  may not seem so at the
moment.   This sort of angst and motion can be
expressed in modern American music.  In 1959, Mal
Waldron portrayed the feeling in “The Quest.” 
Coltrane in the sixties, Miles and Wayne Shorter in
the seventies ands eighties, Metheny and others in the
nineties to now. It serves as an extended music
metaphor on our seemingly mundane lives.
What Scott Colley has accomplished  with “Architect Of
The Silent Moment' is in fact a celebration of our
'Americana' modern mores.   I recall listening to
Scott Colley's last CD while stuck in L.A. traffic two
years ago. It was uplifting and I recommend that you
listen to this new CD while traveling around town and
view 'everyday,'  through a different lens. For it's
changing molecularly before our eyes and we're not
even noticing it.  Scott Colley blends many musical
forms together, an uplifting experience- a new modern
writer/musician carrying on the blessings of Charles
Mingus to our modern architecture. It  says a lot
about us.
The next time I pass Gulliet, I'll listen to
“Architect Of The Silent Moment” and know the
Strayer Productions.
Kerry Strayer's distinctive baritone saxophone sound,
in harmony with George Foster's elegant alto and or
tenor saxophone.  A perfect juxtaposition, hip, laid
back and reminiscent of the Gerry Mulligan/Paul
Desmond era, touched by an edginess  of an Art Pepper
as in “3625 Central,” original by Strayer. This band
moves clean and quick through the locked in changes,
so purifying in West Coast Jazz Lore for over fifty
years. On Hank Mobley's “Funk In A Deep Freeze,”
Stryker and Foster swing free and loose,  like, it's
true hard bop. The form shines in Stryker's original
“Mentor” where both trade licks in true West Coast 
locked in cadence. The Lanny Morgan bop original is
“Friends Again” as Stryker and Foster open and close
post bop earnest with great harmony  to  break out in
a free flowing jam with an excellent solos free
blowing solos by both Kerry Strayer and Gary Foster.
“Perfectly Frank” was written in memory of Frank
Mantooth  who's the  pianist on  “36 25 Central” is
ingrained for us on this CD
TIA FULLER         HEALING SPACE    Mack Ave. Records
This lady's remarkable muscular play on alto, soprano 
and flute  is evidenced through- out this CD.   Sean
Jones, trumpet,  Ron Blake tenor saxophone blend with
Tia's alto and Miki  Hayama's  'smoked' keyboards on
“Ebonics,” a very hip, laid back urban contemporary
piece. Two very somber yet prominent soliloquies to
Katrina, one “Katrina's Prayer” and the other
“Katrina's Lullaby.” 
“Fertile Ground” provides a soliloquy, a remarkable
and steady Latin undertone  with fiery solos by Fuller
and Sean Jones.  Fuller's heady flutist sound, almost 
carmel and burnice coupling with Jones throaty sounds
express the  compatibility with  these two musicians. 
  There are other feminine Goddess – like notations in
this “Healing Space.”
It's an all lady ensemble with a nice vocal included
by Charenee Wade  on “A Reason, A Season, A Lifetime.”
And the very full and luscious sound of Fuller's
ascending alto on “Blue Room In Mama's Womb,” so much
a lore, a union of John and Alice Coltrane. Then “I
Release Me/Healing Space,” a contesting virtue to the
Sappho- greatness of this young very talented
musician, Tia Fuller.
It takes youthful indiscretion to separate the rotund
from moribund,  a minimalist not to  over analyze with
discretion to let the music scenario to play itself
out, even to perfidy. Yes, it takes an original to
make it original. And young Stefano Bollani is
original.  We accept and encourage it from those who
practice this art of jazz.   Italian pianist Stefano
Bollani brings a new and different sound point of
view. His reharmonization detects a lush fixation for
past perfect reharmonization. “For All We Know”
expresses the exuberance of a passing fancy with a
Beethoven replete in the end.  With Scott Joplins,
“Maple Leaf Rag,” Bollani plays a high energized
stride piece in glaze-like atmospheric boogie woogie
tonalities, with Albert Ammons  sitting on one side
and James P Johnson on the other shoulder, snapping
back in a playful mood, jousting one another. 
Upon finishing his classical music studies with top
honors, but considered a career out of the question.  
Bollani says: “The idea of literal interpretation goes
against the grain with me. I just want to play
something differently each time, I never want to pin
down how a piece should sound. The main thing for me
is evolution, the ongoing process.”
The essence of why improvisational music is
intoxicating to the musician and to us. Finally,
Bollani's interpretation of  the Beach Boys, “Don't
Talk” from “Pet Sounds” is an intimate poignant
classic, offering us more  insight into Brain Wilson's
stormy fragility, beauty and humanity.
Dick Crockett
“The Voice” 88.7fm
4637 T Street, Suite A
Sacramento, Ca. 95819-4743
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