Archive for March, 2008

Frank Sinatra – Sinatra and Sextet: Live in Paris (1994)

NICK DERISO: Frank Sinatra never called himself a jazz singer, but his delivery had notable shadings associated with Billie Holiday and his old boss Tommy Dorsey — from whom a young Sinatra learned the breath-control technique that made his so-very-long ballad verses achingly memorable. This release, featuring a 1962 live date, underscored just how clear those connections were. We discoveredRead More

Kurt Rosenwinkel – The Remedy: Live At The Village Vanguard (2008)

by S. Victor Aaron Kurt Rosenwinkel first got my attention as the cerebral but melodic guitarist on Brian Blade’s masterpiece Perceptual back in 2000 and then via Rosenwinkel’s own major work of art Heartcore from three years later. That vastly overlooked record was a commanding balance of musicianship, texture and composition that today remains one of the best fusion releasesRead More

Lizz Wright – The Orchard (2008)

by Pico Over the last five years Lizz Wright has become a widely known and respected singer in jazz circles. But much as Eric Bibb often gets unfairly pigeonholed as just “blues” I sort of resent the “jazz” bin she is often put into. That’s because the very thing that makes Wright a compelling listen is her hard-to-categorize style thatRead More

Little Brother Montgomery – Goodbye Mister Blues (1973)

To call this the most successful melding of New Orleans-style rag with hard Chicago blues presupposes that there ever was one before. Eurreal “Little Brother” Montgomery, as was his way, tills up new earth here, and with remarkable results. A stride pianist of great wit and power, Montgomery had the rare ability to keep pace with the early jazzers ofRead More

John Ellis & Double-Wide – Dance Like There's No Tomorrow (2008)

by Pico Of all the sax-organ-sousaphone-drums ensembles out there, John Ellis & his Double-Wide ensemble really do stand out. That might be because there aren’t any other such ensembles out there. To get to this point where he’s leading such an unusual combo, North Carolina native John Ellis had been on a musical odyssey that took him from singing hymnsRead More

Jim Hall – Dedications and Inspirations (1994)

Jim Hall displays an extraordinary warmth here, expanding upon his terrific 1984 duo collaboration with bassist Ron Carter on Concord, “Live at the Village West.” This is where Hall was perhaps always headed, even while he established himself as an ace sideman in associations with legends like Ella Fitzgerald (on the famous “Ella in Berlin” concert for Verve), then downsizedRead More

One Track Mind: Joe McPhee "Give Them Flowers While They're Here" (1992)

by Pico Tribute records to living icons don’t occur nearly as frequently as the salutes to fallen musical heroes, but they do happen here and there. I was reminded of that occurrence when I covered Jeff Richman’s celebration of Jeff Beck’s music last year. Similarly, avant garde saxophone player Joe McPhee didn’t wait until one of his progressive jazz heroesRead More

Quickies: Jack Bruce/Robin Trower, Amos Hoffman, Ruthie Foster, Kevin Ayers

by Pico Hey, it’s been a while since we’ve last done a “Quickies;” time to play catch up. This go around includes a couple of new releases by some Brit rockers from the sixties and seventies showing they still have what it takes. Since their names don’t end with “Clapton,” “Page,” “McCartney” or even “Davies,” their fresh new records haveRead More

Gimme Five: Producer/musician Daniel Lanois

The Tuesday release by Daniel Lanois of Here Is What Is, a soundtrack to the documentary tour film of the same name, got me to thinking. After all, this one-time New Orleanian had a guiding hand as producer in creating the just-right atmosphere around several of my favorite rock recordings of the 1980s — including memorable efforts from U2, theRead More

Sam Barsh – I Forgot What You Taught Me (2008)

by Pico After arriving in New York City in 2001 and woodshedding as a notable sideman, composer and more recently, producer, a jazz keyboard player is ready to put his best foot forward. Chicago-born Sam Barsh is a name that’s only come up in conversations about the current jazz scene in the last few years, but this bright young musicianRead More