Still going strong at the age of 81, legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal's love letter to his favorite Broadway, Hollywood, and Great American Songbook classics, Blue Moon, is arguably one of his most accomplished efforts since his Chess/Impulse! heyday. The Pittsburgh virtuoso, once credited by Miles Davis as a major influence on his career, shows that age is no barrier to invention with six exquisite reworkings of postwar standards.
The drummer gives the saxophonists some on Coexist, another round of sophisticated truth telling from Winard Harper that demonstrates high standards of musical excellence when it comes to expansive compositions, creative arrangements and choice of able bandmates. Leading ensembles ranging from sextets to tentets, the leader taps guest saxophonists on five of the disc’s 12 tracks. He also shows off his considerable gifts as a trap-set wizard, percussionist and, on his African-tinged “Ummah” and “Jeli Posse,” a player of the balaphone, a vibraphone-type instrument from West Africa.
This album confirms it, Virginie Teychené is a musician with a voice. She strolls through her imaginary museum dedicated to jazz singer-songwriters and brings her own light to each of its rooms. A grazing light in Familiar Dream, a bright light in Tight, the light of dawn in I'm Gonna Go Fishing and that of dusk in Goodbye Pork Pie Hat. The contributions of her co-musicians are intense due to their restraint; Gérard Maurin's weightless double-bass arrangements, Stéphane Bernard's chiaroscuro piano playing, Jean-Pierre Arnaud's dance-like drumming, and last but not least, Éric Le Lann's inspired trumpet playing, all make Bright and Sweet an exemplary jazz album, where all the miniatures that make it up are in fact merely beginnings.
A jam band coming out of the Midwest in the mid-'90s, Umphrey's McGee edged toward the Frank Zappa side of the improv rock scale, as opposed to the Grateful Dead/Allman Brothers Band direction of their many contemporaries. The members of Umphrey's McGee met at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana…
Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz steps out on his own to make one of the most primal and tribal installments in the Book of Angels series. Drawing on his Sephardic roots, Shanir plays gimbri throughout, giving the music a primeval Moroccan edge. Featuring the intense guitar pyrotechnics of Eyal Maoz and Aram Bajakian (who recently has been tearing it up in Lou Reed’s new band) and the atavistic drumming of Kenny Grohowski, this is Ritualistic Jewish Rock for the 21st century by a brilliant young lion from the East Village via Brooklyn/Israel!
David Krakauer is one of the greatest of all modern Klezmer clarinetists. A veteran of countless bands and ensembles and a founding member of the Klezmatics, his ensemble Klezmer Madness has been forging new roads in the world of Jewish music since the late 1980s. David and Zorn have a long history and friendship that began with Zorn's legendary Kristallnacht recording of 1992, followed thru with David’s guest appearances in various Masada ensembles and the release of his first CD with Klezmer Madness on Tzadik. Here David takes a variety of Masada compositions back to their roots, interpreting them brilliantly as traditional (and not-so-traditional) Klezmer tunes. A fascinating meeting of old and new by two of the most creative musicians in Modern Jewish music!
This double LP was the first jazz concert ever recorded at the Hollywood Bowl (and only the second one held at that L.A. institution). Although not an official Jazz at the Philharmonic concert, it has the same basic format and was also produced by Norman Granz. Trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Harry "Sweets" Edison, tenors Flip Phillips and Illinois Jacquet, the Oscar Peterson Trio and drummer Buddy Rich all jam on "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside" and there is also a ballad medley and a drum solo by Rich. In addition the Oscar Peterson Trio plays two numbers, the remarkable pianist Art Tatum (in one of his final appearances) has four, Ella Fitzgerald sings six songs (including a scat-filled "Airmail Special") and collaborates with Louis Armstrong on two others. For the grand finale nearly everyone returns to the stage for "When the Saints Go Marching In" which Armstrong sings and largely narrates, cheerfully introducing all of the participants. This is a historic and very enjoyable release featuring more than its share of classic greats.