Archive for August, 2007

Max Roach (1924-2007): An Appreciation

Max Roach, a drummer both of unparalleled force and towering intellect, has passed. A New York Times obit talks about the dramatic scope of his life’s work: Mr. Roach’s death closes a chapter in American musical history. He was the last surviving member of a small circle of adventurous musicians – among them Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk andRead More

Willie Kent – Too Hurt to Cry (1994)

It’s uncommon to find a blues recording with so much originality and verve. Willie “Sugar Bear” Kent, already memorable (as with, say, Willie Dixon) for being the rare leader who plays bass, dared take the music to a new place on this one. Featured is trumpeter and arranger Malachi Thompson, whose idea of jazz mixes the Jelly Roll Morton/Buddy BoldenRead More

California Transit Authority – Full Circle (2007)

Full Circle isn’t not so much about a CD than it is a story of a certain musician’s redemptive long journey back from personal tragedies. And his new band is a musical group led by a man who sought to provide a willing public the soulful, energetic free wheeling style of seventies rock that’s missing so much on the musicRead More

Gary P. Nunn – Totally Guacamole (1993)

NICK DERISO: Man, this is something else. Adamantly not Nashville, for one. (Which is still saying a lot.) Adamantly retro. (Not as unique, but still just fine.) And completely Gary P. Nunn — one of a series of former Jerry Jeff Walker sidemen to step out into their own spotlight. “Totally Guacamole” works as a microcosm for Nunn’s outlaw image,Read More

Something Else! Featured Artist: The Platters

NICK DERISO: Though ever-changing subsequent lineups weakened the Platters’ considerable impact, the fact is — they still matter. The first rock band to have a Top 10 album, these 1990 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame appeared in the initial motion picture based around this then-new music, “Rock Around the Clock.” The Platters perform “Only You (andRead More

One Track Mind: Scorch Trio – "Kjøle Høle" (2004)

by S. Victor Aaron When talking about notable adventurous jazz of any sort that’s being made these days, it’s hard not to mention the Scandinavians. You’ve got your Esborn Svennson Trio (EST), Jaga Jazzist, Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Molvær, and even old stalwarts like Terje Rypdal and Jan Garbarek who remain vital to the scene. A few years ago, oneRead More

Elton John – One Night Only: The Greatest Hits (2000)

NICK DERISO: As pleasant as this compilation of songs from an October 2000 concert by Elton John may be, yeah, there are problems. The truth is, early 1970s records like “Tumbleweed Connection” (a studio release with no – no! – hit singles) and the rollicking “11-17-70” (a live trio album with cover – cover! – songs) are so much betterRead More

Robben Ford – Truth (2007)

A diverse musician like guitar wizard Robben Ford is capable of competently cranking out just about any kind of record he wants to. Rock, blues, jazz, r&b or folk, Ford’s done it all, whether he’s playing for his own records or for the likes of Joni Mitchell, George Harrison or Miles Davis. We touched on Robben’s wide ranging talent lastRead More

Terence Blanchard – The Malcolm X Jazz Suite (1992)

NICK DERISO: The task here was turning sweeping orchestral themes from trumpeter Terence Blanchard’s score for Spike Lee’s epic bio into a piece that not only holds together — but also comes across like a true jazz recording. Blanchard’s effort is a triumph, something memorably better than the original film’s music in its dedication to searing emotion then subtle meloncholyRead More

Guilty pleasures: Goo Goo Dolls – Dizzy Up the Girl (1998)

NICK DERISO: There are funny stories from when the Goo Goo Dolls were nobody. These tales were, before “Dizzy Up the Girl” made them matter, just about the only thing that might help you forget that dumb band name. Almost. The band will talk about the time in Raleigh, N.C. After driving for 18 hours, GGD — not yet theRead More

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