Archive for May 10th, 2011

Booker T. Jones – The Road from Memphis (2011)

His name is linked forever with the town, and the sound, of Memphis. But Booker T. Jones’ influence moves beyond Beale, into hip hop and today’s rhythm-and-blues — something that’s underscored on The Road from Memphis

Half Notes: Ahmad Jamal – Ahmad's Blues (1958)

Ahmad Jamal originally recorded this concert at The Spotlite Club, in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 6, 1958. Featured is the same terrific trio that had that Top 40 hit with “Poinciana” — Jamal, bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Vernel Fournier. That signature song, which charted for 108 weeks (then unprecedented for a jazz record) allowed Jamal the financial freedom toRead More

Forgotten series: Paul Motian – I Have The Room Above Her (2005)

by Mark Saleski You wouldn’t suppose that most musicians would look favorably upon being compared to an old pile of rocks. How about an old, organized pile of rocks?

Half Notes: Harris Eisenstadt – Canada Day II (2011)

The Toronto-derived drummer, composer and bandleader Harris Eisenstadt was described by The New York Times jazz critic Nate Chinen as taking a “fixer’s approach to music making, looking for ways to fit the pieces together,” and while I agree with the praise he and others have heaped on Eisenstadt, I see the man more as a demolition specialist. For hisRead More

One Track Mind: The Cars, "Blue Tip" (2011)

“Blue Tip” is tensile and itchy then soaring and romantic — the closest this new record, the Cars’ first in 24 years, gets to approximating its own career-making mixture of Ric Ocasek’s weirdo aloofness and Benjamin Orr’s sun-drenched pop warmth. Orr, of course, passed in 2000 after a bout with cancer, and his absence is sometimes deeply felt. It was,Read More

Half Notes: Kurt Elling – The Gate (2011)

Up until the year 2003, I had successfully avoided Kurt Elling. This wasn’t all that hard to do considering that male jazz vocals never really resonated with me. I do own a Coltrane/Hartman record, and of course some Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Still, only a handful of albums? It does reveal my level of interest — a level thatRead More