Dick Crockett bopndick at yahoo.com
Tue May 31 17:32:40 EDT 2011

 10 PICKS   MAY 2011


The young very talented trumpet player,  Ambrose 
Akinmusire, literally takes off on his debut with  Blue Note,
displaying great depth and maturity on this CD.  He is a capable
student to a higher degree of jazz consciousness, proffered and
mentored by Jason  Moran and Terence Blanchard. 

Ambrose  Akinmusire quintet is a cast of young, highly
creative and very capable musicians, Gerald Clayton, piano, Walter
Smith III on saxophone, Harish Raghavan, bass and Justin Browns on

And, apparently they all know each other- learn by
doing- together, very well. Probably at the high school jazz
excursions in Monterey. 

There's a strong core that you feel with this group.
has incredible dynamics, powered by Justin Brown's incessant 

The counterpoint between Akinmusire and Smith III, 
throughout is stunning.

The great thing about Akinmusire is he can blow soft
with dexterity and contemplation, not just another, but a depth
defying,  thinking man's trumpet player.
shows deep sincerity and trumpeter with an incredible lips, for
Ambrose Akinmusire can make trumpet sound like a violin.

There are some very powerful hard bop sonic dreams going
on,  in “Jaya.”
strikes me much like Miles did, in his modal days, decades ago.

The Ambrose Akinmusire quintet  is a powerful slate from
the new sector of the non- sequitur, like Miles, soft dreams,  in
“Kind Of Blue,” 

The Heart Emerges Glistening,”  it's a whole new happening...now.

     Savant Records

Pianist Eric Reed gives Thelonius Monk a more elegant
glow, as though Ellington was quite responsive as a psychic 
contributor to  this CD,  “ The Dancing Monk.”

Outside the para normal, there really was a dancing
monk, who would suddenly get up and dance behind his piano. What a
great sense of a kinetic Monk as the audience can be  sure, as the
man would do a soft shoe or two.  As it now swings, through Eric
Reed's gifted articulation, then it must be as “Reflections,”
becoming a romantic ballad.

As an an old classic movie of the past will inspire our
remembrance of great actor, Eric Reed's new CD “Dancing Monk”
will revive the many incantations the man and his music will
engender. Eric Reed has revived the energy and joy that is prevalent
in Thelonius Monk's music.


Acoustic  Concepts

This is a big band given to extraordinary measures.  The
tunes are loose enough to give the musicians room enough to display
ample room for circumspect planning and execution. The charts are
very cool.

And when you hear, “You Go To My Head” with Michael
Mee on alto, it'll take you back to those grand old Oliver Nelsons,
on the  all night jazz show days, where big cities raised hell on
radio, especially on FM, all night long, where there could be little
and extended sets of confrontation, back to back big band and tenor
battles, exciting and extemporaneous on early FM, in early sixties
where creativity was burning up the airwaves, opposed to very little
sets in use-jazz radio good old days.

Big media corporations could care less... no marketing
or hyperbole was available, back then. The illusion was nobody was
listening. But the surreptitious Grundigs were out there- sentinels
in after hour foreplay.

It was in those days, you'd relish the sophisticated
denouement that late night jazz radio implied. 

Oliver Nelson's “Blues and The Abstract Truth” was
the thematic that so many late night jazz show DJ's  would build
around- big city urbanity that ruled the night til sunrise.

This is the kind of noir vision that trumpeter John
Vanore implies with a new post modern Abstract Truth. 

Vanore & Abstract Truth” new CD, “Contagious Words” is as
progressive, durable and sustaining as a Frank Lloyd Wright home and
necessary in this helter skelter pop music world vanity.


Pianist Eldar Djangerov has greatest opujnd swell  with
his latest solo CD, “Three Stories!”

This is a pure joyous view of all of music.  Djangirov,
(sounds like Django,)
Stories”  is a tour de force of  post modern, from Charlie Parker
to Bach, to Monk, to Chick Corea, to Dave Mathews, to Eldar's “Three
Stories,” this is a CD of  great magnitude. 

Don' listen to me.  Just listen to the album of the

Watch Art Tatum on you tube's “The Greatest Piano Solo
Ever,” and you get a fix on how brilliant a pianist this young
Eldar Djangirov is, combining jazz, classical and pop.  

Eldar's fingers are so maniacally fast, he may just go
far beyond, indefinably, as the next greatest.  Implore this.  Eldar
is more Stravinsky than Debussy. 

After listening to Eldar's version of “Rhapsody In
Blue,” doesn't one think that Eldar is currently one the world's
greatest living pianists!?


This delightful and comprehensive 2 CD set covers a
fifty year span of Sergio Mendes music and it's major  influence on
the  American pop jazz scene.    

In 1967,  I was a young DJ on WABX-FM in Detroit. And
Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66 was the big album and we played it,
highly requested “Mas Que Nada,” “Going Out Of My Head,”
“Constant Rain,””The Look Of Love,””So Many Stars,” “The
Fool On The Hill,””Night and Day”  and “Sittin On The Dock Of
The Bay.” 

In those days, it  was called the new MOR,  pop hit
covers, laced with a  jazzy bossa feeling. 

And Sergio would cover the best current pop and film
hits with his signature, unique, attributable and highly definable
bossa - nova sound and it was very successful for him

The Sergio Mendez sound adapts to almost all pop trends
over the last  half a century, from disco to hip hop- Sergio Mendes
with Gilberto Gil, Gracinha Leporace  and the Black Eyed Peas.

This kind of music would light up a night through the
eighties, nineties and the 2 k of  the  new world sophisticates,
outside the rushing smoke filled summer nights at the Greek Theater
in Los Angeles and the Hollywood Palladium. 

What a groove now that the years have added a step or
two of groove, late night half step, a jump, a tremble, a jumble, a
stomp, a flish, a flash and as the free style romp of “Waters Of

As you listen to this, a celebration, a musical journey
of Sergio Mendes- even as I have, lost a step or two in advancing
age- there's something very joyous about this music.

Anytime, anywhere in a group of family and friends, put
Sergio Mendes, “Celebration  A Musical Journey” on your music
sound system and watch the reaction. How your friends sound more
animated, happier, and when it's all smiles,  you may want to get two
copies for this celebration, as joy among friends will last a while.


CHARLES        LIVE  In Concert         CONCORD

Ray Charles with a big band with youngsters Julien
Priester, “Fat Head” Newman and Hank Crawford, recorded, live,.
at the Shrine Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, Sept. 20, 1964,
remastered and released again in 2011, this, my friends, is indeed, a
collectors dream!

The context, repor and extempore' of the concert remains
intact- very few edits to mine ears. So the flavor of the show just
about glisten with audience joyous partication, for this had to be an
R&B celebration, a  'Come To Jesus' evening.

All the great Ray Charles hits are available, backed
with a  big band powerhouse sound!

These evenings are always electric. What tricked me out
was Charles version of “Margie.” (Brought back memories of my
parents singing that song at basement parties on Kilbourne in

I'm a fan of the old R&B singers, Joe Turner, Sister
Esther and Jimmy Scott, but when it comes to the best, nobody can
cross all borders and make it fun, “In The Evening(When The Sun
Goes Down,)” as the immortal Ray Charles.


Reedist Curt Hanrahan has really scored with a lovely
nice mainstream sound. Recorded live at UWM Recital Hall and at
Caroline's in Milwaukee, there's lasting quality to these
performances-beginning with the title tune, Jim Sodke's upright
sounding piano with Curt on flute, then blossoming to a long evolving
blues excursion. 

Then, “Pirate Vs Ninja” jumps up swinging and
grooving in a skirting up tempo.  “Rumba Grave” involves a subtle
 Halloween groove.  

 enjoins a softer breathier Curt Hanrahan nature on alto.  

Guitarist Jay Mollerskov has a moody Gabor Szabo effect,
especially with his consistent lengthy solo on  “Proclivity.”

What's really so refreshing with  Curt Hanrahan's, “Soul
Journer,” is the soft glow of sex in the afternoon.

This is what the music perceives- long extended
secretive encounters, similar to the music-long extended evolving
solos, that elaborate, existentially.

   Origin Records
with a full tone and a very solid sound, trumpeter, Thomas Marriott,
has the command and the answer 
as the West Coast's  hardest working trumpet player. He posesses a
similare skill of a Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, even echos of the
immortal Clifford Brown.

In this scenario, “Human Spirit” with a  strong
straight ahead brass/reed Hammond B-3 bop combination, starting  with
stellar Hammond B-3 ist,  Gary Versace, alto  saxophonist Mark Taylor
 and an inventive  Matt Jorgensen on drums. By the time you hear the
second selection,”Hiding In Public”, you along with the band are
deep into the funk. My oh my, “Human Spirits”  reflects deep
intentions of Brother Jack, Blue Mitchell, Kenny Dorham, Tina Brooks
and sister, Shirley.  

And of which “Low Key Lightly” a slow dance ballad,
sounding like last dance, last chance, ages ago in Elkhart.

And hence “Yakima,” clearly establishes the course
of Tom Marriott's “Human Spirit,” to all the East Coast bowling
alleys that played this music over the decades, as straight ahead and
lovingly as on this CD!  

As any bop tune that ends, replete on a half measure.

R /
E / D / S         SIGN  OF  FOUR     
Origin Records

The distinctive sound of a baritone sax and guitar
sounds very cosmopolitan-European. Ed Epstein is the baritone
saxophonist. Dane Bjarne Roupe', the guitarist. Two other Danes are
Goran  Schelin,  bass and Dennis Drud on drums. 

Not since Shahib Shihab have I heard such sophisticated
bop. Of course, Gerry Mulligan was probably the most progenitor of
the bop Baritone.

This piano less quartet is more post bop-European-
celebratory of the after hours clubs-everywhere.

The Epstein/ Roupe' collaboration is different,
articulate and  highly referential to the new post modern.  

     Origin Records

“Transperence” reveals Chuck Deardorf's amazing
versatility on the upright, as well as the fretless and fretted
electric basses,  an insight into Deardorf''s whole jazz bass
curriculum. Yes, he's articulate in all current facets of modern
music from rock fusion  on  “Dear Prudence,” to the facile
fingering in  time and tempo of the upright on “Bruzette,” “Alone
Together,” a dramatic duet with Bill Mays on “Moon and Sand,”
where Deardorf's  uncanny ability to carry the melody as a matador of
the bass- a special bookmark of this CD. 

Deardorf's  intricate Latin interpretations are highly
regarded here with challenging arrangements on “De Mansinho” and
Jobim's “Zingaro.”
states an contemporary avant gard view, showcasing guitarist Rick
Peckham's  burning dissonance.  

Then the closing interpretation of Jimmy Rowles
“Peacocks” is endearing with Bill Mays piano lines overview,  of
which Hans Tauber imposes a sonorous saxophone refrain with room
enough for Deardorf's rather articulate-not since Pettiford- approach
on the final green of the Masters. Believe me, you'll not hear as
much lush history and jazz prominence, as,  in this marvelous

What can I say, for this “Transparence” by Chuck
Deardorf  is the denouement of all denouements. There's much variety
and good music on this CD.


TRICKS           ALTERNATE SIDE...     New
Tricks Records

Trumpet player, Ted Chubb and saxophonist Mike Lee team
with NYC dwellers bassist Kellen Harrison and drummer Shawn Baltazar
to create a kind of  bop madness I haven't heard since the  anarchic
Ornette sixties. This is the kind of music that's kept among the
smoke filled, humidified bistros and jazz cellar dwellers of the
world. For “New Tricks” who probably have up front daytime gigs,
go underground with this funky blues infused CD, recorded in Shawn
Baltazar's apartment, all in the same room, with blankets wrapped
around music stands for the separation.  

I can dig it! That why I recommend it, for this is the
way it is and used to be.

    Pure Music Records

Guitarist Sheryl Bailey shows a vitality and enthusiasm
for the bop jazz guitar stylists, Kenny Burrell and Tal Farlow. 
She's straight ahead with a smooth definitive touch on “An
Unexpected Turn,” and about cooks on “For All Those Living.”

Pianist Jim Ridl provides a nice  embellished
counterpoint, to her minimal rhythmic approach.  Bailey providers a
delicate nuance on “A Muse Sings” with bassist Gary Wang. 
“Masa's Bag” is close to a blues bop frame, as Jim Ridl adds a
funky run. Good tune, only difference is that Grant Green would do it

Sounds to me “For All Things Living,” that Sheryl
Bailey can get down to the basics. There's no shuck and jive in her
dedication, as a soul sister to the gospel  truth of hard bop.  Then,
her hypnotic,  almost modality on “29-11” reveals a vitality and
dedication. Her picks and runs are stunning-it can leave you almost
breathless. This lady is in charge and in command of her craft. 
“Moblin' is a word about blue collar dedication in the rust 

belt of America, that tells the whole story.

AGAIN        Blue

Willie Nelson, Nora Jones and Wynton  Marsalis in the
same room- on the same stage together, has to be of all time. At an
after hours club, or as we say in Detroit, a blind pig, altogether
has to be an anathema to the state of things, years ago in this small
town of the mind. 

But here they are, struttin on the same stage together,
a country western icon, a alternative contemporary singer and a jazz
legend, appearing in this tribute, “Here We Go Again -Celebrating
The Genius Of Ray Charles.”

Let me get this  straight, this performance was
recorded, live, at the Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz At
The Lincoln Center, NYC. I think that's right.

It could have been a jam session throughout  the history
of honky-tonk New Orleans, that 's why it's so G D a goodie!


PISTOLS      SUPER STRING          Cherry
Town Music

This German electric jazz trio is super
eclectic-electric with guitarist Stefan Ivan  Schafer, Christoph
Victor Kaiser on the six string bass and drummer Thomas Lui  Ludwig,
comprising the Jazz Pistols. .

A circumventing line runs through title tune,
“Superstring,” almost the same never happens twice- it
does-you're just blown away- embellished by Guitarist Stefan Ivan
Schafer, leading off  with blazing forays, he covers with constant
time signatures. And that's just the beginning with the versatility
of Christoph Kaiser on the six string.

From Hamburg, Jazz Pistols tour through out Europe, jazz
bistros and such-there's a nice interpretation of Chick Corea's
“Spain-” offering a nice fix on this band.  

They're versatile and seemingly can play anywhere.

But here in America, how do show case this very dynamic
group. Here you have a cross between Jeff Beck and Joe Zawinal.  Do
you do a light show like a Joe Satriani, or do you tone it down, let
the music tell the story? I see the potential in both presentations.

Great new band. Stay tuned.

HIGH     MAD ROMANCE       Mad
Romance Music

Florida is the perfect place for this singing group. But
there's a sweet spot for me for this has “The Modernaires,”
maybe,  even The Swingle Singers.

Mother would've loved this band.  She recently passed
away in Dunedin.  She lived a full life of 90 years. Her favorite
song was Charles Chaplin's  “Smile.” 

across South Florida, Miami over Alligator Alley to the West Coast,
from the Atlantic to the Gulf, through Orlando, up to the panhandle ,
across to Jacksonville, “Aim High” resonates with Florida seniors
of the big band years. Those who like to cuddle and dance the fox

However, this band can be very hip with “Time Of The
Season, ” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New.”

What I'm saying is …Florida is the perfect place for
Aim High.

This aggregation is hipper than you can imagine.

Voice”  88.7FM

4623 T Street, Suite A

Sacramento, Ca 95819-4743


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