Mark Saleski’s Jazz Favorites for 2010

What kind of a year was it for music? It was so good that very often, I had a tough time figuring out what to listen to next. The proper cliché to be applied is “an embarrassment of riches.” Not only was it a great year for music, it was a great year for writing about it. I had anRead More

On Second Thought: Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden – Jasmine (2010)

Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden hadn’t played together in over 30 years before getting together in Jarrett’s studio to work on these duets. The two men went their respective ways in the late 1970s. In the interim, there has been a lot of music-making. What’s particularly amazing about the just-released Jasmine is not that the players put their own essenceRead More

Steve Howe Trio – Travelling (2010)

Howe’s long and distinguished résumé as a guitarist for Yes, Asia, GTR and several frethead albums under his own name has been more than enough to put him in the elite category among rock guitar players. Even after all that, Travelling needs to be highlighted because it captures Howe in an entirely different environment: organ-based soul jazz. The Steve HoweRead More

Half Notes: Jeff King – Catalyst (2010)

by S. Victor Aaron “Catalyst” is not just the name of the album, it’s also the name of the band sax/flute player King leads, and this is their debut album. This band which features King, Luis Deniz (saxes), David Braid (piano and keyboards), Rich Brown (bass), Joel Haynes (drums), have Juno Award (Canadian Grammies) and National Jazz Award winners amongstRead More

John McNeil/Bill McHenry – Chill Morn He Climb Jenny (2010)

by S. Victor Aaron John McNeil is a trumpet player, a veteran of the illustrious Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra and has led recording dates since 1978. Bill McHenry is a sax player, has played with Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Henry Grimes and Norah Jones, and has led recording dates since 1998. A few years ago the two cross-generational players haveRead More

Todd Clouser – Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric (2010)

Fusion guitarist and Berklee grad Todd Clouser splits his residency between the frigid climes of Minneapolis, MN and the balmy, seaside vistas of Los Cabos, Mexico at the tip of the Baja California peninsula. Like scenery, Clouser enjoys contrasts in his music, too. After fronting a number of rock bands, tackles jazz on his third release, Todd Clouser’s A LoveRead More

Steve Turre – Delicious and Delightful (2010)

By Mark Saleski Odd instruments in jazz: pedal steel guitar, theremin, the Samchillian (You’ll have to trust me on this one. Its “formal” name is the “Samchillian Tip Tip Tip Cheeepeee.” Don’t believe me? Look it up), the harmonica, the human voice (if you’re Shooby Taylor or Mike Patton), the saw blade. Some of these instruments are not “odd” soRead More

Wynton Marsalis – The Magic Hour (2004)

Wynton Marsalis – The Magic Hour (2004)

“The Magic Hour” by Louisiana-born trumpeter Wynton Marsalis was that sweetest of swinging homecomings – like time spent laughing with old friends on a front porch. We have Marsalis returning finally to small-band work – where he once sparked the kind of mainstream interest in a jazz trumpeter enjoyed long ago by the likes of Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis.Read More

Half Notes: Art Hirahara – Noble Path (2010)

Posi-Tone Records delivered a rare new album by NYC-based pianist Art Hirahara in 2010, called Noble Path. “Lyrical” is an adjective I’ve seen ascribed to Hirahara, and it’s one he lives up to on this trio date, his Posi-Tone debut. Though he hadn’t been very prolific leading sessions, Hirahara has been busy on the club circuit since arriving in NewRead More

Ken Fowser & Behn Gillece – Little Echo (2010)

by S. Victor Aaron It’s not unusual at all for the tenor sax and the vibraphone to appear on the same jazz record; we’ve heard these on countless jazz recordings. But by co-leading a record, saxophonist Ken Fowser and vibraphonist Behn Gillece gives us fairly rare opportunity to hear both instruments as the two lead voices sharing equal billing. LittleRead More