November 2003


Various Artists - "The UP Compilation"

Listen in RealAudio  Listen in Windows Media  Listen in MP3

All too often one comes across compilations that are culled from out takes, or sometimes tracks that were not considered suitable enough for release on the original albums/CD. Not only is it refreshing to see something that offers selections from recently released material, it is also nice to note that it is all Canadian content.

The UP Compilation Volume 3 is a musical menu featuring ten selections from some of Canada's brightest and talented musicians. The list includes names like pianist Nancy Walker, guitarist Roy Patterson and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen. This is a nice sounding and well-balanced recording that has something for everyone, regardless of his or her jazz preference.

Page Music and the talented folk at UP Records put this project together. Listed among some of the most memorable tracks is "Hidden inside Fantasy" which features the brilliant trumpet playing of Ingrid Jensen. "Old Souls" from Nancy Walker's CD "Luminosity", and an exceptional vocal rendition of Oliver Nelson's classic "Stolen Moments" by Joe Coughlin. This CD is highly recommended to anyone who wants to check out Canadian jazz musicians. C.S.


Dexter Gordon - "The Classic Blue Note Recordings"

Listen in RealAudio  Listen in Windows Media  Listen in MP3

Every so often one has the privilege of reviewing works of the masters and then it becomes almost impossible to say, or in this case, write too much about the artist. Dexter Gordon happens to be a member of that celebrated, and most illustrious group of jazz musicians. A veteran of over forty years, he is loved, known and recognized worldwide as a master of his craft.

The Classic Blue Note recordings are a special compilation that was carefully selected by Bruce Lundvall and Michael Cuscuna as an 80th birthday gift to Dexter and his many fans. Packaged in true Blue Note style with a very informative booklet, this 2CD set finds Dexter leading many different groups that boast a multitude of greatness, featuring such names as Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Drew, Paul Chambers and Billy Higgins.

The selections are just plainly outstanding, and are taken from some of Dexter's finest works. "Second Balcony Jump", Three O'clock in the Morning", and the classic "Society Red", a tune that appeared on his first Blue Note recording. Dexter, who is known for his behind the beat phrasing, has certainly kept his playing true to form on all of these recordings. He can be heard laying back on the downbeat and exploding on the upbeat, sometimes floating on top of the melody, expressing his ideas as only he can.

Other notable selections are the standards "Darn that Dream" and, "I'm a Fool to Want You", which serve as a vehicle for Dexter to demonstrate the fact that when it comes to playing a ballad, he has no equal. These superbly played selections of wonderful compositions lift you up and take you to places you never dreamed of. An excellent way to explore, listen to and appreciate, the music of Dexter Gordon. C.S.

Blue Note 7243 5 80658 2 4

D. D. Jackson - "Suite for New York"

Listen in RealAudio  Listen in Windows Media  Listen in MP3

Inspired to a large part by "events of 9/11, Jackson's tribute to New York follows in a lengthy line of earlier compositions commemorating the essence of the complex metropolis - Ellington's "Tone Poem to Harlem" Mingus' "Nostalgia in Times Square" , George Russell's "New York, New York" , Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" . The 11-part work, built around a series of invocations, depicts the diurnal stages of the city's life from its slow "…dawning of rhythm, increasing cacophony of collective…" - "Awakening", the pastoral-like rambles through "Central Park" , the racing sounds of the "BQE" , the residential tranquility of "Brooklyn Lullaby" , the "…Latino musical and cultural contributions to the city" with "El Barrio" , a final moving meditation on the tragic events of 9/11 - "Towers of Light" . The success of this venture by Jackson is assured by the collective personnel of performers, notably Brad Turner - trumpet, Tom Walsh - trombone, James Spaulding - alto/flute, David Mott - baritone, Peggy Lee - cello; Jackson - piano and his trio, with Dafnis Prieto - drums/percussion, and Uganda Okegwo - bass remain central to its shifting moods. Recommended. J.S.

Justin Time JUST 188-2

The Jim Cullen Jazz Band - "Honky Tonk Train/The Boogie Woogie Craze"

Listen in RealAudio  Listen in Windows Media  Listen in MP3

For anyone interested in the background and wonderful sounds of Boogie Woogie, host David Holt sets the stage for each of 12 classics performed by the Jim Cullum band, live from The Landing (Riverwalk), but recorded for weekly shows on Public Radio International. Cullum's Jazz Band includes regulars Allan Vache - clarinet, Mike Pittsley - trombone, John Sheridan - piano, Howard Elkins - guitar/banjo, Don Mopsick - bass, Ed Torres - drums, with Cullum on cornet and guest pianist Dick Hyman. Holt provides brief, but non-intrusive narration throughout, giving historical perspectives on a wide-ranging selection of numbers with the band's members in varied formats: "Jungle Blues" (2 pianos), "Celestial Express" (celeste/clarinet/guitar/bass). "Beat Me Daddy, 8 to the Bar" (piano/soprano sax/vocal), "Roll 'Em" (band featuring clarinet/trombone/cornet), "Riverwalk Blues" (piano solo with Hyman playing his own original). Two numbers incorporate CBS recordings by Jimmy Yancy and Albert Ammons from the 30's and 40's into the bands overplay. It's music that conjures up the past, played with the air of authenticity by Cullum's aggregation. Recommended. J. S.

Riverwalk (Pacific Vista Productions RW CD2

Previous Picks