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

Miles Davis and Quincy Jones – Miles and Quincy: Live at Montreux (1993)

NICK DERISO: Featuring the classic arrangements of seminal Davis mentor Gil Evans, “Montreux” includes long-awaited live runthroughs of key selections from their collaborations — including “Boplicity” from “Birth of the Cool” as well as several cuts from “Miles Ahead,” “Porgy and Bess” and “Sketches of Spain.” On “Miles and Quincy,” we find a bright, sometimes rip-roaring backing band conducted byRead More

Forgotten series: Duke Ellington and John Coltrane (1962)

To take the old-school harmonic brilliance of Duke Ellington into the realm of John Coltane — soon to establish himself as the picture of avant garde, stimulatingly free, out there in such a way as to legitimately draw comparisons with the spiritual — was, you imagine, a challenge of equal measure for both. Coltrane’s core band is joined by EllingtonRead More

Les McCann + Lou Rawls – On the Soul Side (1994)

NICK DERISO: Pianist Les McCann is something like a lesser Horace Silver — somebody with a soulful, bluesy delivery who often strayed a step too far into pop. This release showed why: Despite its many joys, a fat electric bass gave the CD an unwanted fusion-y feel — in particular, on the otherwise pleasant “Shambala” and the unfortunately named “NewRead More

Forgotten series: Dave Brubeck – Trio Brubeck (1993)

“Trio Brubeck,” though not the first time that Dad Dave had collaborated with the kids, had the randy feel of a whole new direction for the legendary pianist. Following the 1970s recording “Two Generations of Brubeck,” and the more recent “Quiet as the Moon” with son Darius (also on MusicMasters), Brubeck sat down with other sons Chris and Dan forRead More

Betty Carter, with Kenny Burrell – Inside Betty Carter (1964)

NICK DERISO: Starting her career with a winning performance at a Paradise Theater amateur contest in her native Detroit, Betty Carter first came to a large number of ears as a vocalist with Lionel Hampton’s group in the late 1940s. (Hamp, in fact, is the one who gave her the early nickname Betty Bebop.) Later, she partnered with Ray CharlesRead More

Brian Blade Fellowship – Season Of Changes (2008)

by S. Victor Aaron This is one I’ve been eagerly anticipating for a while; I’ve even said as much when I reviewed his last album, Perceptual. The wait finally ended on May 8 with the release of Season Of Changes. In that eight year span, Blade was providing drumming for every big name out there, but still getting his FellowshipRead More