A Pouting Grimace is the audacious new release from pianist/composer Matt Mitchell, whose prior release Vista Accumulation (Pi 2015) The New York Times calls “a bold signature” that “simmers with deep intensity.” Not only is he one of the most in-demand pianists in jazz – Mitchell plays in bands such as Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, Steve Coleman’s Natal Eclipse, the Dave Douglas Quintet, John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Jonathan Finlayson’s Sicilian Defense, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Birdcalls, and David Binney’s Quartet — he has established himself as a composer of bold distinction. Substantial in scope, the album, which features twelve musicians: five woodwinds, four percussionists, harp, bass, and the leader on piano, Prophet 6, and electronics, weaves an intricate web of off-kilter rhythms and logical frenzy. Produced by the acclaimed guitarist/composer David Torn, the work is completely beyond genre, a daring tour de force that headily mines the interstice between precision-plotted compositions and the thrill of improvisation.
Features 24 bit digital remastering. Comes with a description. In the early '60s, bassist Red Mitchell and tenor saxophonist Harold Land co-led a quintet in Los Angeles. The group did not catch on but they did record one Atlantic set that has been reissued on CD. In addition to the co-leaders, the quintet included trumpeter Carmell Jones, pianist Frank Strazzeri, and drummer Leon Pettis, and, although their original program of six songs was comprised entirely of group originals, the music falls easily into the hard bop area with plenty of fine solos and swinging ensembles. This is a fine effort from a group that deserved greater recognition at the time.
Lee Konitz has been a constant explorer throughout most of his career, never satisfied with a standard approach or falling into a rut with a particular instrumentation. This 1974 duo session with bassist Red Mitchell, which focuses exclusively on the works of Cole Porter, is one great example. With an inventive accompanist like Mitchell spurring him on, the alto saxophonist is able to work magical variations of the familiar Porter works, while Konitz retains his remarkable dry signature tone.