By Mark Saleski Subtitled “Works for Jazz Orchestra,” this album showcases the arranging talents of Earl MacDonald as well as a stellar cast of cohorts. I have to be honest here and say that big-ish bands are not usually my thing. That is, unless they’re doing something “odd” (see: Carla Bley, The Either Orchestra). This recording grabbed me from theRead More
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by Mark Saleski Baritone sax (Evans) and piano recorded live at a church. The room gave just the right amount of natural reverb, which is a great thing because too much echo can muddy all of those wonderful details my ears parts expect from the bari sax: clacking valves, breathy passages. The improvisations range from simple call and response motifsRead More
by Mark Saleski Hey, so the trio is actually a quintet. Sort of. In any event, there’s a healthy dose of telepathic interplay on this disc. I particularly like how Summers plays his soprano sax (he plays alto as well) off of David Braid’s piano on “Contemplation.” There are also long-form compositions (“Solitary Candle”) and tracks that build drama withRead More
by Mark Saleski Ever have a dream where the impossible has suddenly come true? No, I don’t mean something like you’ve won the lottery, or you finally hooked up with that special someone. No, I’m talking about the impossible. In my case, it was my guitar playing ability. For a brief moment, I could play whatever I wanted. At theRead More
Musician and street poet Gil Scott-Heron, best known for “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” died today. Cause of death was not immediately known; he was 62. Scott-Heron started out at the dawn of the 1970s as a jazz-inclined R&B singer and spoken-word performer, a rapper years before the genre was formally invented. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” —Read More
by Mark Saleski There are drummers who can keep time, who stay out of the way in the effort to enhance their fellow musicians’ sound. Moving a step beyond that are people like Joe Chambers, who play with so much nuance and obvious consideration for the ongoing moment that what you’re hearing is no longer mere percussion, but a livingRead More
Vacation Part 3. OK, so I didn’t win the lottery. I didn’t buy a big house on the Maine coast. There was no affair with the real estate agent. But you could have probably guessed all of that.
When I listened to the all-time-great bassist Rufus Reid’s brand new CD Hues Of A Different Blue for the first couple of times, it kind of threw me for a loop. Last year’s release Out Front, an SER “Best of 2010: Mainstream and Modern Jazz” selection, was the perfect bass-led trio jazz record . His latest one, out last AprilRead More
Vibraphonist Gary Burton’s entire career as a musician has been about thinking outside the box and exploring new frontiers in jazz music.
by Mark Saleski First off, I just have to say that this album, recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio in Boston, sounds gorgeous. Many modern recordings, even in the quieter jazz realm, are tainted by the overuse of compression. Not so here. The inner detail of Winard Harper’s cymbal work is right there and Onaje Allan Gumbs piano is veryRead More