[JPL] Bopndicks 10 Picks Feb 2008

Dick Crockett bopndick at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 4 02:10:53 EST 2008

Bopndicks 10 picks Feb 2008
Saxophonist Jimmy Greene's new cd is a specially
appointed jazz classic. Already?
Listen and dig “Mr McLean,” a soulful tribute to one
of the main brothers of hard bop,  recent Jackie
McLean, whose early playing alto under the aegis of
Charlie Parker was a  Mo Fo! (Do we have to explain.)
Slipping, schlepping, slapping, which ever you prefer.
Then to re- harmonized bop in “Greene's Blues,” so
bright, easy and understanding, as a heavy dose of
vitamin D  with an anecdote to psychology 101. What a
great understated and impressive, organically
committed saxophone player is Jimmy Greene, as you
will discover if you haven't already in the ballad
“Forever,” where guitarist Mike Moreno makes a full
contribution.  These are the dynamics that implore
full disclosure. Therefore young Miami saxophonist
Marcus Strickland, adds, contributes, forecloses on
this jazz happy meal.
Young L.A. pianist Danny Grissett, whose making his
NYC/International bones very quickly here with Jimmy
Greene and fortunate others, Reuben Rogers, bass and
the  heavy and groovy Eric Harland touch on drums.
“26-2” by Coltrane shows how ambidextrous and
versatile this band is with two outstanding
saxophonists. Enough said, as you may want to look
over the territory  and dig these outstanding 
musicians especially on this tune.
Then “Blue Bossa/Boudreaux starts off a soft bossa
between Greene on soprano sax and Strickland on tenor,
then gets into other exotic territories and as the
story goes many sub plots emerge in this Kenny Dorham
Sonny Stitt's “Eternal Triangle”concludes this set
with a hard bop jam session sure to bring out the best
in Jimmy Greene and Marcus Strickland, straight and
sassy with Grisset's voluptuous leanings on piano with
Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland kicking down the door,
so to speak. 
“Gift And Givers” is a tribute to the new moderns, as
Jimmy Greene sets his place at the table of gifted
saxophonists with his performance and writing
DAY TRIP  Nonesuch Records
This is Metheny Au Naturale, a trio format perfect for
your Metheny fix. With the backing of two fine
accompanying musicians,  Reuben Rogers and Antonio
Sanchez,   Metheny lets it all out on this new jazz cd
with his unique take and style. His articulation is
evident in “Snova” as they dance about together in a
bacchanal celebratory give and take with
sophistication and understanding.  It's as joyous as a
hip swing of “Calvin's Keys” giving us some Tal Farlow
musings to ponder, missive- manic and romantic.
“Is This America? (katrina 2005)” is Pat Metheny
displaying his remarkable acoustic and emotive talent
simple, original and folksy intent. “When We Were
Free” is more assertive and demonstrative with an
angular disposition with Sanchez stepping up his
energy and focus.  “Dreaming Trees” is a spiritual
sequence reminiscent of much of Metheny's work,
bright, melodic as the warm sun shining through the
flowing shade ofa Missouri slide, an  impressionist
painting, yellow splashes on green and soft summer
days. There's lots of love here. You just smell the
“The Red One” is hard, direct,  more bombastic but not
too much. When Pat Metheny makes a statement he blends
the right ingredients. There's seems to some a synth
guitar here and there, adding a signature.
“Day Trip” is a final end to a perfect day. You've
left the city life rigors to experience the  freedom
of the open spaces.  
Yes, it's another new addition to the vast Pat Metheny
collection. And you'll be tempted because it's too
good to pass up, as “Day Trip” regales on radios, CD
and MP 3 players around the planet. 
A joyful noise.
FRANK KIMBROUGH       AIR     Palmetto Records
Here's a  solo. A painter with a presence for all art
is done alone in his loft, far from the pretense of
audience, exclusion from the rest, a Chopin
temptation, a solitary soulful journey to a place
where Frank Kimbrough sings lyrics to his own songs,
“Quickening,” as “Coming On The Hudson,”as Thelonious
Monk, as gesture of “Air” by himself and mortal as
“Wig Wise” by Ellington. This sort of intimacy we
implore the form of the jazz artist, open, expansive
and incisive. 
With “Air” you're standing looking up at a Monet in 
the Guggenheim on a holiday, alone. You walk outside
and there's no one, no traffic, no workers, no
silence, nothing but the free...quiet, the UN is
closed until further notice and the world is happy,
cooperative and free to choose, where blasphemy takes
a long and difficult holiday. 
Down on Park Avenue, where there's no limousines,
attendants, helicopters, a sunny Sunday afternoon
quiet takes over, a ballet from the Old World, quaint,
private and  understanding Frank Kimbrough's
responsive tribulations”Three Chords.” Only on a
Dorothy Parker trivial Sunday, could “Three Chords,”
such an remarkable composition be borne. “Three Spins”
revitalizes that lazy relaxed frame, where picnics,
family gatherings trace warm afternoons, sky ways to
the highways to ultimate acceptance where everyone has
time and a place to play cards, gossip and listen to
music, the solo piano of Frank Kimbrough fits in, and
if you let it...will change your life.
Is that too much a burden?   Then all you need is
listen, forget the dailies, talk shows and tv gossip,
mountainous newspaper ads, too much wary about
We stop by the Wayfare Inn off the Pennsylvania
turnpike, we sit in the lounge having coffee and
blithe full of  listening to this transformation, this
kilning of remarkable solo piano music .
We are blessed. 
RON BLAKE    SHAYARI    Mack Avenue Records
This is the Ron Blake we've been talking about. The
post modern Sonny, roots deep within  St Johns, the
Caribbean, a dancing enchanting Sonny from the new
rainbow, a blast past and forever new bombast, as Ron
Blake takes everyone aside to his own news gathering,
this very intimate portrayal of a new evolving style,
intimate, prosaic and he has this thing to get funky,
once in awhile.
Don't say this can't be resolved in the first eight
seconds of every song, don't say no to whole show, no
way. There's an intimacy here that may go unchallenged
This is jazz, you know, multi changes, multi plasmic,
orgasmic, inordinate to various stages, plains and
phases of the Ron Blake phenomena. New, that it's new
and all the now new, that's new. 
Isn't this what the post modern is about. 
Only now, upon retrospect, it's all now and new, up
for your review to nudge you in the right direction.
There's something more...pianist Michael Caine is a
motivational aspect of this album. It  just could be
that without Caine's direction maybe this album may
not exist within the context, it does...
These are only apprehensions for we haven't consulted
the artists.
We can only go by ear and maybe that's the only case,
for we're all up for grabs in the world of this
prurient music business, for without we may not exist.
Another breath . 
This will not exist for the rest of us 
As we look over and study, an anthropologist to a
prehistoric worm, the transformation as saxophonist
Ron Blake, a Joshua Redman to his conception and with
pianist Michael Caine,a progressive move forward.
Percussionist Jack DeJohnette offers his sustenance on
a few sets here, “Hanuman,”
“What Is Your Prayer For” features Christian McBride
on bass with a  beautiful sonorous calling. 
“Of Kindred Spirit” highlights another Detroit
musician, violinist  Regina Carter with Michael Caine,
pianist and Ron Blake saxophone, foremost. 
Then the classic, “Please Be Kind,” a saxophone and
piano at closing time, a monastery to an off ramp on
the Ohio turnpike. 
We may be so quick to claim this is what the music is
There are other more perpetuating sequences on this
album where Ron Blake climbs aboard with the other
great saxophonists of our time.
Watch this man and listen to saxophonist Ron Blake and
the cd, SHAYARI, the best of his time, his
articulation and amorphous, could just mean the 2008 
saxophone of the year. This is not Coltrane, maybe a
Sonny Rollins, for Ron Blake goes his own way.
BRAD GOODE     NATURE BOY     Delmark Records
A former Chicagoan whose chops and technique have
forgone any conclusion, as he travels west to teach at
Colorado, for students of jazz technique, composition
and improvisation, this new cd fills the bill. Brad
Goode is one of the most articulate, heady, under
appreciated trumpet players whose as well versed in
classical music as well, spending time with The
Chicago Symphony as evidenced by his “Nightmare Of The
Mechanized World.”  
Goode's version  of “Nature Boy” is fierce and 
progressive as if Coltrane was sitting in the room
somewhere with his band blazing away, nothing blasé.
Goode's muted horn is on full display with “Sealed
With A Kiss,” with  Jeff Jenkins, piano on full,
besides... There's something about a muted trumpet.
Miles played it so breathtakingly well. 
Brad Goode's tone is very clear and resonating.
Johannes Weidenmueller, bass and Todd Reid, drums add
a slap happiness to this funky version.
Goode shows his passionate side in “Tres Palabras,” a
Spanish love song in which the Latin deck chairs are
rearranged out of sight of the camera by adding a
contrapuntal frenetic  middle voice that simply swings
with Jeff Jenkins piano in a 'McCoy Tyner' riff.
The romantic “Celedon” conveys Brad Goode's composure
and technique, steely, precise and soulful.
“Just In Time” is another muted light fantastic with
Johannes bass skirting around with Reid's bombastic
“So Beats My Heart For You” is a strange disjointed
rhythmic pose, could be an old Hank Ballard song if
that's the case, but that's secondary for this counter
version, for it's now been branded a Goode jazz tune. 
“It's 4 am” is so young, Chicago and hip, reflective
to my sixties in Detroit.  All youth, romantic,
immortal, forever...
“All Through The Night” is an outright jam reminding
one of early Clifford Brown.
Believe me, that trumpet player BRAD GOODE QUARTET and
the release, NATURE BOY on Delmark is that good!
HOLLY COLE   Koch Records
Holly Cole brings to mind. the old, the new, the
young, the old, the rusted well worn that becomes new
impressionism and bassist Greg Cohen provides added
insight into this very progressive nonet avalanche of
new arrangements to popular standards. You not have
heard anything quite like it. 
Antonio Carlos Jobim's “Waters Of March” is most
revealing, so different iconoclast the way it's
recorded to move, as they say at point of purchase.
It's so majestic, different from above, that you think
of what comes before this. 
So you return to the beginning to find what you
missed.  A different “The House Is Haunted,” now makes
The musicians in the band are highly regarded as
progressive, avant gard and daring. For them to
participate this way is notable and rewarding, causing
us to be receptive to off line repetitive, quicks and
queer, for there's something different going on here. 
Holly Cole and her historic post view of this modern
world, music and life's very apparent, not even close
to child bearing. 
There's a trend to be friendly, very different and
romantic. A holy grail of  Holly Cole.
Then comes “Larger Than Life” and out comes the grand
smoky old ballroom for her voice is very intimate,
inviting, accommodating...
The arrangement of “It's Aright With Me” is forceful
and as band swings traditional with stride acoustic
guitar licks forward.
Then it's the song of the day sung by Holly Cole and a
wonderful arrangement, the highlight of this cd,
“You're My Thrill,” as Holly Cole reaches that
haunting dangerous Joan Crawford fleeting core of this
song, the black & white film noir appeal.
“Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries” is a grand old
expression of stride and high lights of the first part
of the 20th. 
Irving Berlin's “Reaching For The Moon” concludes this
 adventurous cd with a love poem mellow drama. Obscure
and relevant here, maybe antique, but such a treasure,
listening with muted mood and dalliance, besmirched
and aggrandized. There's so much music and creative
arranging down to the intricate production. Holly
Cole's introspection, much like the intricate
formulation of love, where the pieces fall into place,
or you meet, communicate and integrate. Holly Cole's
work  and love for the place that's the real Home Town
Meeting special.
This is the ultra modern composite big band, 
touring now for the MJF 5OTH Anniversary.
Terence Blanchard is lead trumpet on through this
Dizzy Gillespie's classic “Be-Bop,” with James Moody,
soloist, who wrote the book along with Gillespie in
the late fifties. This is big band jazz post modern
with charts eerily sounding Gerald Wilson, meaning
that good sounding memorable music goes a long way, as
far as Monterey. 
If you haven't been to Monterey and it's celestial of
jazz, then this is the next best thing.
Vocalist Neena Freelon is next up front of the band
with a song that she penned the lyrics to,  a Gerald
Wilson “Romance(Winter Love.)”
Freelon's high register will remind you of Ella, if
you imagine.
A lovely testy Ellington's “Just Squeeze Me”
with a reparte 
between a scatty and a friskie, 
James Moody and Neena Freelon, 
who I swear just sounds like Ella.
Benny Green, who knows the piano 
is musical director of this Monterey Big Band 
embarks on this journey 
a Monterey 50 anniversary 
as his opening chords
 gestate us to Gerald Wilson's  “Monterey Mist”
 and a wonderfully long James Moody solo 
with Terence Blanchard next up  
a man ready to go ' I got your back'
kind a  long intensive solo, 
curling his phrase around a misty night in Monterey.
“Misty” provides an interesting character 
to an all night Clint Eastwood radio show
“Play Misty For me” Errol Garner's
classic Carmel “Concert By The Sea.”
“Benny's Tune” features Benny Green's soft blue
with a Terence Blanchard and James Moody celebration
and Neena closes the session with a rousing version
“Time After Time.  I tell myself that I'm 
so lucky to be loving you, 
so lucky to be the one
you run to see
when the evening is through...” 
Quintessential Nnenna Freelon  Concord Jazz
This is a compilation of famous Nnenna recordings. 
Nnenna Freelon's has an exceptional voice, a range for
downtown scat, smack and sophisticated review, who
sounds so Ella in many ways. Nnenna can sing with such
composure as in “Better Than Anything” trading phrase
with saxophonist James Sandon. “I Won't Dance” is a
Latin dance with a septet of Michael Abene- piano,
Dick Oatts- saxophone, Ed Neumeister-trombone, Dave
Valentin-flute, Peter Washington-bass, Clarence
Penn-drums and Sammy Figueroa-percussion. Freelon is
surrounded by all stars, a credit to her wonderful
talent and her music, so inviting and resourceful.
This is a mix of standards, pop hits, spirituals and
live gigs, a gift box of soft, slow, hard, sweet
sounds. That's what a varietal is about, a chemistry,
an archive of the artist , Nnenna Freelon.
>From Bacharch's,”I Say A Little Prayer,”Stevie Wonder
and Smoky Robinson's “Tears Of A Clown” to a more hip
traditional, “I Won't Dance,” Nature Boy” and a reggae
“Body And Soul,” to big city style, “Button Up Your
This lady is the real thing, that way she approaches a
We try to leave a memory in anything we do, as Nnenna
does, we do.
Then comes an original she wrote, “One Child At A
time.”  This is were feminine optimism with a gospel
mother church comes from. As Ray Bradbury says,” The
center of the Universe.”
The last, most best here, “Balm In Gilead,” Nnenna
sings with pianist  Brandon McCune in a most spiritual
intent, a mood is so warm and magic, there's nothing
left to say, for Nnenna Freelon says it all.
We need not understand the language, but we understand
the metaphor . It's all you need to know to appreciate
the message of families, singing, laughing, rejoicing
love's message, for we always remember the good
things. Where the poetry begins by remembering  the
life's true love of being there.
Grazyna Auguscik, a Polish American jazz singer from
Chicago who understands the nuance of music, love and
dance sings with Paulinho Garcia, Brazilian guitarist,
composer and the DAFO String Quartet, the music of
Antonio Carlos Jobim, Baden Powel, Airto and Milton
“Andanza”a lovely song with a brightly colored bridge,
 a harmony of singers rising to a connection of
strings, of life, music that proclaims the fountain
everlasting. “Bala Com Bala” a rousing greeting to
dance, enjoy a carioca carefree moment. 
Auguscik adds a Polish lullaby, “Gdy wybiarac' jeszcze
mogtam” with a Brazilian flavor, instinctive. She's
able to sing in both languages. 
Maybe the rules don't apply here as Garcia adds a line
or two, the meaning of life is music in any language.
“Casa Forte” is expressive vocalize. Jobim's “Falando
de Amor,” “O boto” and “Photograph.” Bellisimo!
The classic “So Nice” is done so nice in this
Auguscik/Garcia emergent duet with a saxophone
reminiscent of Stan Getz.
Then a fragrance of Milton Nascimento's “Nothing Will
Be As It Is” with strings where Grazyna sings in
English and Garcia in Portuguese. Wondrous.
“Spinoza Nas” is another song that Grazyna sings in
Polish and Garcia in Portuguese.
We can only speculate. That's the fun of this review. 
“Prelude in e-minor” is performed in a minor with “How
Insensitive” is poetry, carmel, joy and chocolate.
The Grazyna Auguscik and Paulinho Garcia duet is
remarkable, iconic, reflective, everlasting in the
minds of fans, creating believers everywhere in this
multi shrinking universal world we live.
Paulinho Garcia's acoustic guitar adds just the right
gist to Grazyna Auguscik's method a prominent part in 
this project, his stamp, his scenario as a French new
wave, blends with her life of mood, permissive world
view and joy.
YOU    EMI/Blue Note
Bill Evans was considered a made member, a vital
contributer, way back when, to the new post moderns of
the fifties.
Ever since, most jazz piano players identify with
Evans immense contribution to modern jazz, his blues,
his lyricism.
Eliane Elias sings and plays Bill Evans. This is not
just kitch, for that's left to the kitchen, this is a
true representation of her ears. “Waltz With Debby,”
Evans most true and famous  with lyrics by Gene Lees,
is a vehicle most comfortable for Elias as she gleans
the keys for us and them's and these. Elias rendition
of Evans “Five.” The changes, the hipness is reserved
for a table at the first, last and most definite.
We're all aboard on this.
“Blue And Green”  is another most Miles and styles,
where a tasty Elias never over- plays, just sits in
there and plays.
She also has one of the world's greatest rhythm
sections with Marc Johnson, bass and Joey Baron,
drums, the same five stars associated with world class
jazz pianist, Enrico Pieranunzi.
Here's the point. Eliane Elias piano playing is warm,
remarkable and memorable in respect for the first
disciple of the post modern. Her rendition of “Minha,”
(All Mine) a solo/vocal accompaniment that's special.
A memorable classic”My Foolish Heart” is portrayed par
excellence by Elias on piano, a real reminding
performance.  “But Beautiful/ Here's That Rainy Day” a
sample of her remarkable pianist ability..
Solo pieces, “I love My Wife” and “For Nanette” are
Evans romanticism.
She understands the theory of Evans lyricism. 
“Evanesque” should explain it, a missed train, a
slight refrain. Miles Davis “Solar” that Evans
This Eliane Elias cd is a good blissful honorarium to
Bill Evans, and her best piano performance yet. 
METRO EXPRESS  with Chuck Loeb-guitarist and Mitchell
Forman-keyboards, you can never forget the electric
glistened modernity. 
 Dare to dank and trivialize this upper straight up 
funk laced in avant gard traditionalim with louder
back dynamisms.  This is not rage, but a period avant
gard, romanced in dynamics and experimental musical
jiu jit su.
Stephan Grappelli, Nigel Kennedy, Zach Brock take
note, Pedro Alfonso, the  Cubano, is the new Latin
maestro of the violin.
An artist who's able to command a performance with
just a piano accompaniment has to be special. Gregory
Hickman-Williams versatility is beyond Broadway, opera
and cabaret. He's a powerful talent for some
inexplicable reason has been taken away from us.

Dick Crockett
“The Voice:” 88.7fm
4623 T Street, Suite A
Sacramento, Ca 95819-4743
Mondays 10am & 10 pm, Pacific
radio”Live 365”

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