Sonny Criss plays Cole Porter – and the results are way greater than the sum of the parts – even though those parts are already pretty darn great! Criss' alto sax has a superb tone at this time – razor-sharp, and nicely crisp – yet still filled with warmth that sets it apart from some of his more modern contemporaries – a beautiful balance that really illuminates these tunes, and has you thinking of them as fresh Criss compositions, not older Porter standards. The instrumentation is quite fresh, too – thanks to the addition of Larry Bunker on vibes, which is a really nice surprise – and piano by Sonny Clark and Jimmy Bunn. The great Lawrence Marable plays drums – and titles include "I Love You", "Easy To Love", "Night & Day", and "Love For Sale".
Here is another LP helping from the Keith Jarrett "American" Quartet's last recording session – one that is almost as consistent in quality as its predecessor. The happy-go-lucky groove of the title track perfectly expresses its name, with Jarrett blithely singing along; both Dewey Redman and Charlie Haden get plenty of solo space on Redman's "Gotta Get Some Sleep" and Haden's "Pocket Full of Cherry" (a pun referring to Haden cohort Don Cherry); and Paul Motian remains a marvelously flexible drummer. Moreover, there is another fascinating swatch of Middle Eastern experimentation on "Pyramids Moving."
There's a nicely warming vibe on this album from Keith Jarrett – a sound that's sometimes a bit more laidback and personal, but which is still carried off with familiar associates Dewey Redman on tenor, Charlie Haden on bass, and Paul Motian on drums! Most of the tunes are shorter compositions built around gently lyrical lines – somewhat introspective, and a bit less organic than in years past – but in a way that more than makes up for that difference with their own inner beauty. Titles include "Konya", "Rainbow", "Trieste", "Fantasm", "Yahllah", and "Byablue".
A lost gem from Keith's "with horns" period – a quintet session from the mid 70s, recorded with a group that features Dewey Redman on tenor, plus Charlie Haden on bass, Paul Motian on drums and percussion, and Guilherme Franco on additional percussion. The feel is a bit straighter than Jarrett's excellent Death & The Flower set – as the tunes have a highly rhythmic component, and make good use of the extra percussion to create a flowing, organic groove. There's still a nice loose feel overall, though – almost a take on the loft jazz sound, especially at the moments when Jarrett goes a bit outside on piano. Titles include "Shades Of Jazz", "Southern Smiles", "Rose Petals", and "Diatribe".