Jazz

Lists: Jazz rhythm standouts Peter Erskine, Christian McBride, Tony Williams, Dave Holland

by S. Victor Aaron PETER ERSKINE, Sweet Soul (1991) I’ve got scads of records led by John Abercrombie that show Erskine’s prowess on the skins better than this record. But here, Erskine does such a great job leading an ensemble that shifts from track to track. On some, we are treated to Kenny Werner’s inspired keyboard work and on others,Read More

Something Else! sneak peek: Miles Davis – The Complete 'In a Silent Way' Sessions (2001)

by S. Victor Aaron On the Columbia re-release of Miles Davis’ “The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions” … This 3 cd set covers Miles Davis’ recoding sessions from September, 1968 to February, 1969, chronicalling the line of demarcation between “acoustic Miles” and “electric Miles”. It is an important piece of work for historical reasons, making the listener a flyRead More

Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra – Fire of the Fundamentals (1994)

by Nick DeRiso While it doesn’t have the cohesiveness of 1992’s “Portraits of Ellington,” this makes its own kind of statement. The playlist is an evocative pairing of older, traditional big-band selections by composers like Billy Strayhorn, with more modern tunes from Miles, Monk and Coltrane. In that way, the CD nearly mirrors the band’s own makeup.

Something Else! Featured Artist: Jean Luc Ponty

by S. Victor Aaron LIFE ENIGMA (2001): Born in Avranches, France, in 1942, classically-trained violinist Jean Luc Ponty discovered Miles and ‘Trane in his twenties and became a pioneer in the fusion movement of the late-sixties and throughout the seventies. He was — and still is — arguably the finest electric violinist in the world. Oops, did I say “arguably”?Read More

Lionel Hampton and Friends – Rare Recordings, Vol. 1 (1977)

by Nick DeRiso A line-up from jazzer nirvana is one thing. Wringing such ringing performances out of the guys is quite another. Call this cool vibes from vibrophonist Hampton, who certainly knows where to mail the invitations — a veritable who’s-who of jazz for the newbie: Pianist Hank Jones, trumpeter Thad Jones, pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines, bassist Charlie Mingus, trumpetRead More

Gimme Five: Overlooked Miles Davis recordings

Another in a series of overlooked jazz classics. This time we look at diamonds in the rough by perhaps the single most influential figure in jazz since World War II: Miles Davis. A high profile artist whose work has been picked apart as much as Davis’ won’t have a lot of unturned stones despite some 45+ years of recording history.Read More

Forgotten series: Soul jazz saxophonist Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley

by S. Victor Aaron If someone were to ask me who was the best alto sax player ever, I couldn’t at least not heavily consider Cannonball Adderley, the Miles Davis sideman. He had both technique and soul by the sackful. Adderley churned out some fine ones even without the Prince Of Darkness’ help.

Miles Davis – Tutu (1986)

by S. Victor Aaron Recently I revisited an album that wore our my cassette player during late ’86-early ’87: Tutu by Miles Davis. It typically takes a long time to get the right perspective on a Miles record, he was often took a direction in music before his listeners were ready to follow him down the path he was taking.Read More

Forgotten series: Coleman Hawkins – Rainbow Mist (1944)

by Nick DeRiso Rainbow Mist, Coleman Hawkins’ 1944 smoker on Delmark, was a brilliant record borne out of boredom. Hawkins, the tenor saxman, had already made his splash with the song “Body and Soul,” back in 1939. When he returned from living in Europe for five years, he took a chance on updating his by-then decrepit standard — stirring inRead More

Branford Marsalis – I Heard You Twice The First Time (1991)

Neatly mixing two of our favorite topics, Branford Marsalis pays no empty lip-service to exploring blues through the jazz idiom here. In fact, you don’t have to listen more than once to hear that’s he’s gone off the deep blue end. Any CD with appearances by B.B. King, Linda Hopkins and John Lee Hooker isn’t playing footsie.