Jazz

The Best of 2008, Part 2: Traditional & Modern Jazz

The Best of 2008, Part 2: Traditional & Modern Jazz

by Pico Yesterday was a look back at what I thought were the best mainstream music releases of 2008. Now it’s time for the installment of this year’s “Best Of” series that’s my main bread and butter: straight ahead jazz. More records of that sort were covered in this space than the other music styles, so naturally, it’s going toRead More

Deep Cuts: Herbie Hancock, "All Apologies" (1996)

Deep Cuts: Herbie Hancock, "All Apologies" (1996)

by Nick DeRiso Herbie Hancock almost didn’t pull off “The New Standard.” This High Concept offering from 1996 found Hancock, with varying degrees of success, adapting songs by popular artists like Peter Gabriel, The Eagles’ Don Henley, Paul Simon, The Beatles and Prince. You had to give him credit — again — for sticking his thumb in the eye ofRead More

Sonny Rollins – Road Shows Vol. 1 CD; In Vienne DVD (2008)

Sonny Rollins – Road Shows Vol. 1 CD; In Vienne DVD (2008)

by Nick DeRiso Funny what an early end does to a legacy. Doomed geniuses are always better off, accolade-wise. They make their mark, even if it is ever so fleeting, and that moment is examined by fans-turned-archaeologists for generations. Pity the poor soul, then, who keeps at it. Who remains vital, unparalleled and upright. Jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins is thatRead More

Boz Scaggs – Speak Low (2008)

Boz Scaggs – Speak Low (2008)

There’s a reason it took Boz Scaggs five years to complete the follow up to “But Beautiful,” a terrific, small-group collection of American songbook classics that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard jazz charts in 2003. Scaggs aimed to add more instrumental complexity to his next recording, but was sensitive to the pitfalls associated with using a post-Connick, perhapsRead More

Miles Davis All-Stars – Broadcast Sessions 1958-59 (2008)

Miles Davis All-Stars – Broadcast Sessions 1958-59 (2008)

There is a grail-like anticipation to these recordings, captured during four live performances just as trumpeter Miles Dewey Davis’s career transformed from a twinkling light at dusk into remarkable super nova. Too, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill sideman constellations; they are, actually, all stars. Namely, the band features a still-rising John Coltrane. Also Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley and Red Garland. NotRead More

Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Suite 4 y 20 (1993)

Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Suite 4 y 20 (1993)

NICK DERISO: While Rubalcaba was making troubling (if not downright boneheaded) political decisions, he was also proving to be an inspiring (and sometimes downright thrilling) young pianist. Not long after Rubalcaba said the crippling Communist regime in his native Cuba wasn’t all that bad, after all — much to the consternation of expats like saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera — he issuedRead More

Aaron Parks – Invisible Cinema (2008)

Aaron Parks – Invisible Cinema (2008)

photo by Mamoru Kobayakawa Last August 19, jazz pianist Aaron Parks released the first major label album of his young solo career, Invisible Cinema. And who is this Aaron Parks, you ask? Seattle native Parks is something of a fast learner. He skipped high school to study math, computer science and music and the University of Washington. Before long, heRead More

Torben Waldorff – Afterburn (2008)

Torben Waldorff – Afterburn (2008)

Used to be that whenever the term “Scandinavian jazz” would come up, one could summarize it by pointing to the sterile, pristine folk-jazz popularized by Jan Garbarek and the ECM label from the seventies on. In recent times, it’s come to mean such a variety of styles and tendencies that the jazz scene there has become every bit as complexRead More

Lionel Hampton Orchestra – Swiss Radio Days: Basel 1953, Part 2 (2008)

NICK DERISO: Finding an impressive record by Lionel Hampton, known for both his harmonic and rhythmic sophistication, is easy. Finding one that delights as much as its intrigues anymore, however, is rare. His legacy, now more than ever, is secure: Born in Louisville, Ky., in 1908, Hamp would record hundreds of albums over six decades before his death at 94Read More

Terence Blanchard – Simply Stated (1991)

Terence Blanchard – Simply Stated (1991)

This record was, Blanchard told me, his love letter to Miles Davis. In retrospect, it was the beginning of his ascension from young lion into modern standard bearer, too. Born in New Orleans, and brought up in one of the final incarnations of Art Blakey’s traveling finishing school the Jazz Messengers, Blanchard was often inappropriately compared to the similarly resumedRead More

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