Francois Richard - "Coincidence"

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Flutist Francois Richard has been active on the Montreal music scene since the late 70's. His unquestionable technical assuredness complements a "…love of jazz…wedded to an undeniable talent for improvisation and composition" (liner). On this 1998 CD of seven original numbers, he is joined by pianist Jean Beaudet, bassist Frederic Alarie, and drummer Pierre Tanguay, while choosing for himself both alto and C flutes in an exploration of their tonal and textural diversity. The relaxed, swinging style of "Danse Celeste" and "Entre Les Mots", the gentler, more melodic lines of "Bonne Fin De Siecle" or "Coincidence", and the saucy samba beat of "Salsamba" - all with a solid rhythm backing - give credence to his virtuosity and compositional insights. (J.S.)

DSM 3022 to order

Dinah Washington - "The Swingin' Miss 'D'"

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Supported by an all-star lineup directed by a 23-year old Quincy Jones, the recognizably distinctive voice of Dinah Washington is showcased on this 1956 re-release, augmented by seven additional numbers drawn chiefly from 45 rpm singles from the same period. Brief but tasteful accompaniment is provided by instrumental veterans - trombonists Jimmy Cleveland/Quentin Jackson ("You're Crying"/ "Is You is or is You Ain't My Baby?"), tenorman Lucky Thompson )"Never Let Me Go"), vibist/percussionist Don Elliot ("They Didn't Believe Me"/ "Somebody Loves Me"); however, it is the spirited powerfully penetrating voice of Dinah, blues-edged ("You Let My Love Grow Cold"), Latin-flavoured ("Caravan"/ "Relax Max"), with an occasional gospel influence ("I'll Drown My Tears"), that dominates the 18 selections on the CD. Her approach to even the most mundane of tunes remains startlingly fresh. (J.S.)

Verve 314 558 074-2 to order

Michael Feinstein - "Michael and George"

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Vocalist Michael Feinstein is one of the leading exponents of the music catalogued over two decades by the Gershwin brothers, music that captures the "…snappy jazz rhythms of the Twenties and the more angular deco melodic lines of the Thirties……"(liner). On this 1998 CD, his silken voice envelops a musical sampling of that enormous output with a delicacy of phrasing and a power of passion and commitment second to none. The selections encompass some less familiar numbers - "Lonely Boy" (deleted from Porgy and Bess), "Oh Gee! Oh Joy!" (1928), and "Delishious" (from a 1931 film); in addition, Feinstein accompanies pianist George Gershwin (from an early piano roll) on a wonderful version of Gershwin's biggest hit, "Swanee" (1918). Feinstein, who plays the piano as well on most of the cuts, insightfully chronicles in his liner notes the joys and disappointments encountered by the two composers in their quest for success. Though this is not a jazz recording, it is a lasting tribute to the Gershwins whose music lives on, often in a jazz context. (J.S.)

Concord CCD-4849-2 to order

John Patitucci - "Now"

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New York was obviously a good relocation choice for Patitucci because since moving back to the Big Apple (he grew up there); he has put out two fantastic recordings. His second is this one and features some heavy hitters who help make this recording of mostly Patitucci originals a must have CD. With players like John Scofield on guitar, Bill Stewart on drums and Michael Brecker and Chris Potter on tenor saxophones, Patitucci is able to show how good he is, not only as a composer and soloist, but also as a great rhythm section player too. He and Bill Stewart hook up like "hand in glove" and sound like they have been playing together for years. Brecker really shines on the delicate "Hope" and Potter rips it up on the fast paced "Now" and "Expresso". Scofield's gritty comping and angular, bluesy soloing on "Labor Day" stands out with Patitucci digging in and grooving hard on Stewart's laid back shuffle and ending with a series of "outside" exchanges on the end of the tune with Brecker and Scofield being the volleying partners. This recording is a great addition to any jazz fan's collection. (S.B.)

Concord CCD-4806-2 to order

Chris Potter - "Vertigo"

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Vertigo has the same instrumentation as Potter's last outing (sax, guitar, bass and drums), but he has chosen lesser-known players to make his originals blossom. As Potter states in his liner notes, he wanted a band that he could actually tour with. Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, and John Scofield graced his last CD and played to their usual greatness, but these musicians are pretty busy to say the least, so Potter called on some younger players who are burning it up on the New York scene. Billy Drummond, who has recorded with many big name artists as well as a leader for the Criss Cross label, plays drums. Kurt Rosenwinkel handles the guitar duties, and quite inventively, and Scott Colley on bass.

This group can really play and help make this CD a great piece of work. Potter continues to be one of my favourite saxophonists playing today. He is always probing and searching and never fails to be nothing less than astonishing. Joe Lovano guests on three tracks and brings his years of expertise to the project and certainly plays like the world class artist that he is. (S.B.)

Concord CCD-4843-2 to order

David S.Ware - "Go See the World"

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Having worked with the likes of Andrew Cyrille, Cecil Taylor, and Beaver Harris in the 70's before forming his own groups in the 80's, Ware continues in an Ayleresque-primitive mode of the 60's, to pursue his own tenor voice on this 1997 CD with pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist William Parker, and drummer Susie Ibarra. Six of the seven compositions are originals, including a blues-oriented opener ("Mikuro's Blues"), starkly abrasive to an insistent throbbing rhythm, the propulsive, discursive dialogue of "Logistic", the gritty, strident "Lexicon" with its sequence of splintered chordal changes, a lurching, explosive "Quadrahex" marked by segmented spatial silences. Moreover, an iconoclastic treatment of Marvin Hamlisch's "The Way We Were"finds energy raucously supplanting sentiment, except for Shipp's brief, baroque-like excursion into melody. Looking both forward and back in time, the effort is cathartic, but definitely not for foot-tappers or the faint of heart. (J.S.)

Columbia CK 69138 to order