[JPL] Jazz Consumer Guide...village voice

r durfee rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 29 17:12:12 EDT 2007


Jazz Consumer Guide
The Raw Power of a Fresh Start
Pleasurable epitaphs, avant-garde daring, and
wonder-filled immigrant songs
by Tom Hull
October 23rd, 2007 
  
Maria Anadon
A Jazzy Way
Arbors 

Anadon turns her back on her native Portugal and takes
a bite of "Old Devil Moon" and a dozen more show tunes
and vocalese skits. Her Women of the World band, with
Japanese Tomoko Ohno on piano and Israeli Anat Cohen
on clarinet and tenor sax, are no less at home—more
proof that sometimes immigrants discover wonders we
take for granted, making them the best Americans. A
MINUS 


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Fred Anderson & Hamid Drake
>From the River to the Ocean
Thrill Jockey 

The grizzled AACM saxophonist has never sounded more
congenial. Life's been good lately: He got a fresh
start when the Social Security checks started arriving
and his virtual son developed into one of the world's
outstanding percussionists. This makes five straight
winners, the novelty this time being the addition of
guitarist Jeff Parker. A MINUS 


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Pablo Aslan
Buenos Aires Tango Standards
Zoho 

The Argentine bassist's Avantango pushed his national
heritage to extremes, dramatizing tango's twists and
turns. This second album takes a different tack,
eschewing bandoneón and violin in favor of a standard
jazz quintet. The standards are more orthodox, but
subtler and less jagged, opening up the melodies, as
jazz is wont to do. A MINUS 


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Billy Bang Quintet Featuring Frank Lowe
Above & Beyond
Justin Time 

The fire-breathing tenor saxophonist was down to one
lung here, so out of breath by the end of the gig that
the promoter wanted to call an ambulance. Lowe died a
few months later, leaving this as his last
testament—all upbeat, with hard piano and swinging
fiddle. Lowe makes up in clarity what he lacks in
volume, his pleasure staving off the pain. A MINUS 


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Kahil El'Zabar's Infinity Orchestra
Transmigration
Delmark 

His 25 years' worth of trips to the Bordeaux Jazz
Festival pay off, with the locals—including
turntablists, rappers, and 12 percussionists—expanding
El'Zabar's trio, a/k/a the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble,
to 39 pieces. The big band doesn't blow hot and
brassy. Rather, they fill in details so subtly that it
takes a while to realize how far they've expanded
El'Zabar's world-brotherhood shtick. A MINUS 


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David Murray Black Saint Quartet
Sacred Ground
Justin Time 

Begins and ends with two Ishmael Reed lyrics sung by
Cassandra Wilson: The title cut, tied to Murray's
soundtrack for the Marco Williams film Banished,
recalls atrocities between 1890 and 1930, when rioting
white mobs drove thousands of black Americans from
their homes, clearing out whole neighborhoods; the
closer conjures up an ancient Cassandra as "The
Prophet of Doom." In between, Murray waxes
poetic—lamenting the past, redeeming the present,
offering hope for the future. A 


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Joshua Redman
Back East
Nonesuch 

Before the East takes over with two originals and
Coltrane's "India" (the latter a last session with
father Dewey), Redman has some fun with the West,
including a rollicking "I'm an Old Cowhand." He earns
his right to play soprano sax on three cuts, and the
last time his tenor was this robust was when he played
Lester Young in Kansas City. AMINUS 


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Logan Richardson
Cerebral Flow
Fresh Sound New Talent 

The debut album from a Kansas City alto saxophonist
starts a cappella, then takes flight over free rhythms
acutely accented by Mike Pinto's vibes. Next up is a
wry-toned ballad with Mike Moreno's guitar filling in.
Step by step, Richardson works around the edges,
showing everything you can do with an alto sax except
sit on it. A MINUS 


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Sonic Liberation Front
Change Over Time
High Two 

Their third album offers more of the same mix of
Afro-Cuban Lucumi rhythms, avant-garde daring, and
communal popcraft. Drummer Kevin Diehl studied with
Rashied Ali before taking up the bata drums and
launching his revolution. This time the songs don't go
much beyond chants (compared to their sweet and sour
Ashé a Go-Go), but the avant-ethnic fusion is still
potent, and Dan Scofield's sax rises to the call. A
MINUS 


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The Tierney Sutton Band
On the Other Side
Telarc 

She declares her pursuit with eight songs featuring
"happy" in the title, plus "You Are My Sunshine,"
"Smile," and "Great Day!"—more fascinated with the
search than the attainment, which she has reservations
about anyway. Maybe that explains the odd song out,
"Haunted Heart": The whole album feels haunted, from
its tentative opening, "Get Happy," to its wistful
closer, "Smile." Last time her shtick was "I'm with
the band"; this time the band's with her. A MINUS 


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Albert van Veenendaal/Meinrad Kneer/Yonga Sun
Predictable Point of Impact
Evil Rabbit 

Dutch piano trio, mostly hard rhythmic stuff, which
Kneer's bass and Sun's percussion are clearly up for.
Van Veenendaal's prepared piano offers some surprises,
especially when the group slows down a bit. Dutch
avant-garde jazz is known for biting humor—here, the
joke is edge and energy you can still tap your toes
to. A MINUS 


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Pick Hits
Jewels and Binoculars
Ships with Tattooed Sails
Upshot 

Michael Moore plays more alto sax and less clarinet on
this trio's third volume of wordless Dylan songs,
which should give them a harder edge. But the
trio—which includes Lindsey Horner on bass and Michael
Vatcher on drums—sounds more serene than ever, a feat
of meticulous balance. The two previous volumes picked
off the more obvious tunes, so most here slip past me
unrecognized, doing what filler should do: holding the
album together around landmarks like "It's Alright Ma
(I'm Only Bleeding)," one of three tracks with Bill
Frisell, whose Americana interests are right at home.
A 


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Powerhouse Sound
Oslo/Chicago Breaks
Atavistic 

Another Ken Vandermark vehicle, or actually two. He
wrote a batch of dedications to beats and raw
power—evocations of Coxsone Dodd, King Tubby, Lee
Perry, Burning Spear, Miles Davis, Hank Shocklee, the
Stooges—and took them first to Oslo, then to Chicago.
Nate McBride, in his Spaceways Inc. electric-bassist
mode, made both trips. In Oslo, Lasse Marhaug's
electronics plug into the rhythmic team of Ingebrigt
Haker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love, a powerhouse
platform for Vandermark's tenor sax. But the Chicago
group has an extra dimension in Jeff Parker's guitar.
Some Vandermark band names are obscure, but this one
is just what it claims. A 



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Dud of the Month
Soweto Kinch
A Life in the Day of B19: Tales of the Tower Block
Dune 

Kinch's previous Conversations with the Unseen
littered its tasty sax-blowing with rap skits. This
time he reverses the ratio, burdening both: The raps
are saddled with an ambitious narrative concept that's
peculiarly British and left waiting a second volume to
resolve (not that you care), while the grime beats
stunt the instrumentals. He's conscious enough that he
has one character urging him to "put down the
microphone and stick to the sax." But the irony is
wasted in this shotgun wedding. B MINUS 



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Additional Consumer News 
HONORABLE MENTION
William Parker/Hamid Drake
First Communion + Piercing the Veil [2000]
[AUM Fidelity] 

Riddim exercises and intimate exotica, doubling a
studio reissue with a live warm-up. 


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Joe Morris/Ken Vandermark/Luther Gray
Rebus
[Clean Feed] 

Abstract guitar leads spur tenor-sax improvs recycling
one piece six ways. 


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Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet
American Landscapes 1
[Okkadisk] 

Big birds have deep, rumbling hearts . . . 


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Frank Carlberg
State of the Union
[Fresh Sound New Talent] 

Framing a voiceover critique of (political) stupidity
with somber free jazz, forcing musicians (and us) to
think. 


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Avishai Cohen
As Is . . . Live at the Blue Note
[Razdaz/Half Note] 

Fluid quintet showcases the bassist's songbook, plus
funky "Caravan." 


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Phil Bodner
Once More with Feeling [1960s-'70s]
[Arbors] 

Prolific studio pro offers a taste of old-fashioned
clarinet. 


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Tord Gustavsen Trio
Being There
[ECM] 

Low-key, precise, sensible, satisfying—archetypal ECM
piano. 


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Jason Lindner
Ab Aeterno
[Fresh Sound World Jazz] 

Piano trio, transported with Afro-Latin beats, oud,
and melodica. 


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Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Hot 'n' Heavy
[Delmark] 

A quartet now, with Fareed Haque's guitar adding
pan-ethnic groove to hot trumpet, heavy sax, and
El'Zabar's pan-ethnic beats. 


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Dave Liebman
Back on the Corner
[Tone Center] 

Redeems his Miles Davis debut by jettisoning the
keyboards and trumpet. 


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Kieran Hebden/Steve Reid
Tongues
[Domino] 

If Hebden's laptop fails the Turing test for improv,
it's for lack of competition. 


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Nicole Mitchell/Harrison Bankhead/Hamid Drake
Indigo Trio/Live in Montreal
[Greenleaf Music] 

Fred Anderson's rough-tumbling rhythm section, iced
with flute. 


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Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet
American Landscapes 2
[Okkadisk] 

. . . which swell over time, pumping longer and
louder. 


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Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy
Cornell 1964
[Blue Note] 

A rough and amusing draft for Town Hall Concert and
all those Euro bootlegs Sue Mingus fumes over. 

DUDS
Kenny Burrell
75th Birthday Bash Live!
[Blue Note] 

History repeats, tragedy and farce in no particular
order. 


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Kenny Garrett
Beyond the Wall
[Nonesuch] 

Crawling up Mount Coltrane, making fake vistas look
painful. 


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p> Mark Murphy
Love Is What Stays
[Verve] 
Lost his hip, leaving sensory deprivation and
orchestral torture. 

 
http://www.villagevoice.com/music/0743,hull,78137,22.html

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

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