[JPL] Jazz Consumer Guide...Village Voice

r durfee rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 26 15:03:28 EDT 2007


Jazz Consumer Guide
No Training Wheels Necessary
Ferocious homage mingles with daring fusion, looking
both back and beyond
by Tom Hull
March 20th, 2007 2:30 PM 

Pick Hits 
Nils Petter Molvaer
ER
Thirsty Ear 


Molvaer's fusion is the proper heir to Miles Davis's
in two respects: He's a master at getting the rhythm
tight, and his trumpet adds a bare minimum of human
voice without detracting from the machines. His
programmed beats grow more complex and varied each
time out, here opening up new paths ranging from
chill-out to a striking Sidsel Endresen vocal. Three
cuts return from An American Compilation, which also
overlaps Streamer in Thirsty Ear's campaign to catch
up with Molvaer's Europe-only releases. Consumers can
weigh the redundancies and bait, but this is where the
others were heading. A 

The Vandermark 5
Free Jazz Classics Vols. 3 & 4
Atavistic 

Two bonus discs from early editions of studio albums,
one exploring Sonny Rollins's compositions from the
'60s, the other engaging Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Both
sources manifested freedom less in form than through
their outsized personalities. The V5's front line of
two saxes plus dirt trombone spreads those
singularities out and formalizes the innovations. But
they also preserve the familiar heads, providing
handles for the mischief that follows and eliciting
some of the group's most boisterous, and accessible,
play. A 

Omer Avital
The Ancient Art of Giving
Smalls 

The second installment in Avital's archives, Room to
Grow, started to make the case for the Israeli bassist
as a catalyst for cutting-edge post-bop in the late
'90s, but this is the album where the payoff becomes
clear. His quintet is structured for hard bop, but he
lets the rhythm slosh around, and once they get warmed
up, Mark Turner's tenor sax and Avishai Cohen's
trumpet break loose. A MINUS 

Ignacio Berroa
Codes
Blue Note 

Like Chano Pozo in 1947, trap drummer Berroa moved to
New York in 1980 and found a job in Dizzy Gillespie's
band. But his Afro-Cuban roots were attenuated—he
blames Castro for suppressing Yoruba religion and
restricting his schooling to the Euro classics. Even
here, Gonzalo Rubalcaba's piano and Felipe Lamoglia's
saxophones provide the Cuban rhythms, not Berroa's
trad percussion. An effective pan-American synthesis,
codified. A MINUS 

Scott Hamilton
Nocturnes & Serenades
Concord 

Slow standards, with "Autumn Nocturne" and Serenade in
Blue" justifying the title, "You Go to My Head" and
"Chelsea Bridge" more instantly recognizable, and "Man
With a Horn" his calling card. He's made virtually the
same record before, and he'll no doubt do it again.
After all, who does it better? A MINUS 

Hat
Hi Ha
Fresh Sound New Talent


Sergi Sirvent is an up-and-coming Barcelona-based
pianist with a handful of tantalizing albums—duets
with guitarist Santi Careta and drummer Xavi Maureta,
a Free Quartet with two drummers, a Thelonious
Monk–inspired group called the Unexpected. Those all
seemed like rough sketches, but guitarist Jordi Matas
fills out a finely balanced quartet here. A MINUS 

Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid
The Exchange Session Vol. 1
Domino 

Better known as Four Tet, Hebden's instrument is
laptop, on which he improvises in real time—at least
in how he deploys samples that are sometimes jazzlike
and often reminiscent of George Russell's electronic
sonatas. Reid, following the model of Rashied Ali's
Duo Exchange, answers on drums, and as you'd expect
from a guy who's worked for James Brown and Fela Kuti,
often finds a groove. A MINUS 

Frank Hewitt
Fresh from the Cooler [1996]
Smalls 

A bebop pianist who almost slipped through 66 years of
life without leaving a trace, Hewitt built enough of a
cult during his Smalls residency to inspire a label in
no small part dedicated to his legacy. His fourth
posthumous release features a trio that steps gingerly
around jazz standards such as "Cherokee" and "Monk's
Mood"—nothing fancy, just a rare touch of melodic
nuance. A MINUS 

Andrew Hill
Pax [1965]
Blue Note 

The recent Time Lines, the avant-pianist's second
return to Blue Note, strikes me as his career average
album, but his elevation to living legend has spurred
the label into restoring his catalog. A few years ago
only the universally revered Point of Departure was in
print. Now, recommended reissues include Black Fire,
Smoke Stack, Judgment!, Andrew!!!, and the
rediscovered Dance with Death. On another obscure one,
he holds the center down so firmly that Freddie
Hubbard and Joe Henderson can go as far out as they
ever got. A MINUS

Maurice Hines
To Nat "King" Cole With Love
Arbors 

Gregory's big brother comes close enough to the mark
to beg the question, why not stick with the originals?
Hines's smooth, agile baritone can't touch Cole's
one-of-kind voice. But the band spans Cole's career,
with more muscle than the Trio and none of the dross
of his orchestras. And because Cole was the hippest of
the pre-rock pop stars (by a margin that has only
grown since), the songs live on. A MINUS 

Kidd Jordan/Hamid Drake/William Parker
Palm of Soul
AUM Fidelity 

Driven from his home by Katrina, storied but
little-documented avant-saxophonist Jordan headed for
New York to a cult hero's welcome. At 70, he shows
signs of mellowing a bit—or maybe he's just amused by
his playmates, who augment their world-class bass and
drums with world-class toys like guimbri and tablas. A
MINUS 

Diana Krall
>From This Moment On
Verve 

The Clayton–Hamilton Jazz Orchestra doesn't split the
difference between Billy May and Nelson Riddle so much
as aggregate the virtues of each, but they're no more
useful than May and Riddle without a commanding
singer. And Krall, who's always been able to put over
a song, exerts the necessary authority. And if songs
like "Come Dance With Me" and "It Could Happen to You"
invite Sinatra comparisons, she's up for that too. A
MINUS 

Bucky Pizzarelli
5 for Freddie: Bucky's Tribute to Freddie Green
Arbors 

The rhythm section tracks Basie's legends well
enough—Mickey Roker for Jo Jones, Jay Leonhart for
Walter Page, John Bunch for the Count—and Pizzarelli
can certainly keep the engine humming. But Green was
famous for never taking a solo, which leaves the
guitarist in need of someone else for the spotlight.
Enter Warren Vaché as Sweets Edison, even lighter on
cornet, just enough voice to focus these old swing
warhorses, and totally at home. A MINUS 



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DUD OF THE MONTH 

Warren Vaché and the Scottish Ensemble
Don't Look Back
Arbors 

Fronting a phalanx of strings has been a stock dream
of virtuosos since before Charlie Parker and Coleman
Hawkins, but few have made anything interesting out of
the opportunity—two exceptions are Stan Getz's Focus,
because of the futurist strings, and Art Pepper's
Winter Moon, in spite of them. Vaché might have fared
relatively well here—as he has in such intimate
settings as his Bill Charlap duet 2Gether—but the
12-strong, baroque-rooted Scottish Ensemble is dead
weight. B MINUS 



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Additional Consumer News 

HONORABLE MENTION 

Maurice El Médioni Meets Roberto Rodriguez
Descarga Oriental: The New York Sessions (Piranha)
An Algerian-Sephardic twist on Rodriguez's
Cuban-Ashkenazi synthesis. 

Billy Stein Trio
Hybrids (Barking Hoop)
After decades of quiet refinement, subtle shadings of
guitar, bass, and drums. 

Sergi Sirvent & Xavi Maureta
Lines Over Rhythm (Fresh Sound New Talent)
They start with six from Bird, then lose the training
wheels. 

Ellery Eskelin
Quiet Music (Prime Source)
The avant-saxophonist's title isn't irony, but his
sprawling trio-plus-voice doesn't make quiet any
easier. 

Regina Carter
I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey (Verve)
One last swing through the '40s, in remembrance of
Mom. 

Tomasz Stanko Quartet
Lontano (ECM)
Slow, bleak, haunting, and so subtly understated you'd
think inscrutability was the point. 

Von Freeman
Good Forever (Premonition)
At 84 he finally learns to relax and stretch out on a
ballad. 

Mark Helias's Open Loose
Atomic Clock (Radio Legs Music)
Bassist-led sax-drums trio, with Tony Malaby and Tom
Rainey on the rough edges. 

Samo Salamon Quartet
Two Hours (Fresh Sound New Talent)
Slovenian guitarist hires Mark Helias's Open Loose
trio for backup —a gutsy move. 

Sathima Bea Benjamin
Song Spirit [1963–2002] (Ekapa)
A jazz singer 40 years out of Africa— the roots thin
out, but the pianists keep coming. 

Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet
Way Out East (Songlines)
Where wild but princely bassoon and cello roam. 

Frank Morgan
Reflections (High Note)
Sooner or later, some of Bird's children grow up. 

Dennis González Boston Project
No Photograph Available (Clean Feed)
Working the kinks out on the road to NY Midnight
Suite. 

John Hicks
Sweet Love of Mine (High Note)
Cut a month before his death: poignant solo piano,
plus further proof of how he lifted everyone around
him, even Elise Wood's flutes and Javon Jackson's sax.


Sonny Simmons
I'll See You When You Get There (Jazzaway)
Minimal Sonny, his alto sax or English horn solos
barely clad in admiring bass, piano, or drums. 

Kali Z. Fasteau/Kidd Jordan
People of the Ninth: New Orleans and the Hurricane
2005 (Flying Note)
She fetes the hero of New Orleans, and he centers her
eclecticism. 



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Duds 

Cheryl Bentyne
The Book of Love
(Telarc) 

David "Fathead" Newman
Life
(High Note) 

Charles Tolliver Big Band
With Love
(Blue Note/Mosaic) 
 
http://www.villagevoice.com/music/0712,hull,76137,22.html

Roy Durfee
P.O. Box 40219
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196-0219
rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com


 
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