Danny Moss/Buddha's Gamblers - "A Swingin' Affair"|
British-born tenorman, Danny Moss, links up with a swinging Swiss group
nominally led by pianist Buddha Scheidegger in a 1996 session of
traditional standards. Though Moss, an early bopper in the 50's with
bands such as Ted Heath and Johnny Dankworth who moved to more classic
styles later with Alex Welsh and Humphrey Lyttelton, displays his
Hawkins-Webster influence in such numbers as "Georgia on my Mind",
Waller's "Moppin' and Boppin'", and Basie's "Swingin' the Blues", his
Swiss counterparts also reveal their respective jazz inspirations.
Scheidegger is positively Basie-like on "Moten Swing" or "The King",
while trumpeter Heinz Buhler captures echoes of Roy Eldridge with "The
Jeep is Jumpin'" and "Crazy Rhythm"; as well, there are traces of Dicky
Wells in Hans Meier's trombone work ("The Jeep is Jumpin'") and touches
of Pee Wee Russell in Werner Keller's clarinet ("Crazy Rhythm"). The
highlight for me was "The King", a rousing closer propelled by Moss and
drummer Carlo Capello. This is a very enjoyable romp through mainly
familiar territory. (J.S.)
Nagel Heyer 034to order
Hilario Duran & Cuban All Stars - "Killer Tumbao"|
Over the past 50 years, Cuban music has been widely influential on the
international scene; political isolation does not appear to have
diminished its development. Pianist/arranger Duran spent most of the
80's as musical director for Arturo Sandoval's Cuban aggregation, and
now, in the 90's, he emerges as a potentially powerful musical voice, "a
visionary in Afro-Cuban folkloric" (liner). This 1997 CD, recorded in
Havana, is his second release, and he surrounds himself with talented
musicians capable of incorporating many varied facets of that musical
spectrum. The skillful blending of intricate rhythms and melodic beauty
("Longina"/"Three for One") is only one of the many unfolding surprises
here. The presence of Jane Bunnett (soprano/flute) on such numbers as
"Alfredo's Mood", "Brasiliangada", and "Timba Mabo" speaks for the
dedication of his followers. As a pianist, Duran defies categorization,
delicately lyrical at one moment ("Longina"), percussively explorative
the next ("Les Tres Golpes"). The insistent rhythmic backdrop provided
by Changuito (timbales) and Tata Guines (congas) is exemplary.
Certainly, it is impossible not to be moved (literally) by this
Justin Time 101-2to order
Peter Dent - "An Old-Fashioned Hymn Swing"|
Prepare yourself for an unusual repertoire! Pianist Peter Dent, familiar
both with jazz and the music of the church, has compiled a dozen hymn
tunes, endowed them with the engaging names of his own, and applied a
swinging style to their performance on this 1996 disc recorded at St.
Andrew's-Wesley United Church in Vancouver. Hence, "Jesus Shall Reign
Where'er the Sun" becomes "Don't Get Around Duke Street Anymore",
"Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow" is "Doc' Ology", and "Love
Divine, All Loves Excelling" is "A Love Devine" ( a la Coltrane). Dent
is joined by bassist Danny Parker and drummer Joel Fountain; the
enthusiasm, commitment and vigour of the trio is limited only by a
playing time of about 40 minutes. The liner notes are informative as
well as intriguing.
Bopedo 1001 to order
Freddie Hubbard - "Straight Life"|
Freddie Hubbard is a first class musician who, for four decades, has
struggled with an identity built around classic recordings made under
the designation of others (Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz/Eric Dolphy's Out
to Lunch/Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage). In the 70's, with Creed
Taylor's CTI label, he found for a brief time, the recognition he had
been seeking; both this album (reissue), and the earlier Red Clay
session were tremendously popular and well-received by those who had
developed a taste for the electric, funky sounds of the time. The two
feature numbers, "Straight Life" and "Mr.Clean", are dominated by an
unrelenting rhythm which dictates both tempo and mood. Joe Henderson's
choppy, aggressive tenor and Hubbard's crisp, brassy, polished attacks,
rise above this persussive overlay, aided by Hancock's vibe-like tones
at the keyboard and George Benson's spare, flattened picking on guitar.
The final ballad, "Here's that Rainy Day" is almost an anticlimactic
addendum to what preceded it. Hubbard reflects the trends of the day,
yet shows his mettle in a leadership role. On CD, it runs an untimely 37
minutes however. (J.S.)
CTI ZK 65125 to order
Milt Jackson - "Sunflower"|
Milt Jackson celebrated his 74th birthday this year. Best known for his
long affiliation with the Modern Jazz Quartet, he shows here, in this
1972 recording (reissue), his adaptability to the new musical forces of
that period. He had a strong desire to fashion a new format for his
considerable talents, and CTI was interested in offering musicians "an
opportunity to considerably broaden their audience" (liner). Though
enmeshed at times in the heavily lush reed/string arrangements of Don
Sebesky, especially on such numbers as "What Are You Doing the Rest of
Your Life?" and "For Someone I Love", he transcends that barrier, with
the help of Hancock, Ron Carter and Billy Cobham on "Sunflower" and his
own composition, "SKJ", to show us the range, vibrancy and uniqueness
that have made him one of the most respected and creative vibraphonists
in jazz. (J.S.)
CTI ZK 65131 to order
Hubert Laws - "In the Beginning"|
Flautist Hubert Laws draws upon a wide range of musical touchstones on
this 1974 recording (reissue), and the result is a pleasing amalgam of
stylistic variations. From a relaxed, blues-centred title tune with
subtle tempo shifts by bassist Ron Carter and drummer Steve Gadd, to
lyrically gossamer renditions of "Restoration" and "Reconciliation", an
ethereal treatment of Satie's "Gymnopedie #1", a restrained but
emotional gospel treatment of "Come Ye Disconsolate", a virtuosic
display of the limits to which a flute may be transported with Sonny
Rollin's "Airegin" and John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice", and the
Latin-edged, funky original "Mean Lene", Laws shows us that the
instrument has come a long way since Wayman Carver's 1930's efforts.
Laws proves not only that he is one of the premier flautists on the
scene, but also that the flute deserves wider recognition for its
versatility in the jazz idiom, a reality thus far proven by only a
handful of performers. (J.S.)
CTI ZK 65127 to order
Joe Henderson - "Porgy and Bess"|
Tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson has recently been courting the "Theme"
albums for Verve. This latest effort finds him in great company, with
some well-crafted arrangements by Joe, Kevin Hayes and Conrad Herwig.
The material chosen is well produced and allows Henderson to move well
within the limits of said material.
One is tempted to make comparisons with the wonderful Miles Davis/Gil
Evans recording on Columbia or the Oscar Peterson session for Verve, but
this particular recording will, I think, over time run on par with
The small group is outstanding with previously mentioned Herwig on
trombone, John Scofield - guitar (gets better every time I hear him),
Stefon Harris - vibes, the beautiful Tommy Flanagan - piano, Dave
Holland - bass and Jack DeJohnette - drums.
Outstanding tracks include "Bess, You is My Woman Now", a duet with
Henderson and Flanagan, that calls for repeated playing to fully
appreciate the wonder of these two giants of jazz, and the instrumental
version of "Summertime". There is a vocal version with Chaka Khan, the
one disappointment, her voice is shrill and lacks sincerity for this
particular piece. It really is supposed to be a ballad.
Scofield is surprising to listen to as he blends with the other
musicians and his solos are a pure joy to hear.
The sound quality on the CD is superb, one can hear every little nuance.
But...the liner notes leave a lot to be desired, I'm sure they are very
interesting, but one cannot read them without a magnifying glass, and
they are blocked out by graphics and dark colours.
Regardless, pick this one up, it will make for many happy hours of
listening and a worthy addition to your Joe Henderson collection.
Verve 539 048-2 to order
Ranee Lee - "Seasons of Love"|
Ranee Lee's latest recording for the Justin Time label is full of
pleasant surprises. With husband Richard Ring on guitar, Tilden Webb -
piano, Jeff Hamilton - drums, John Clayton - bass and special guest
David Murray on four of the twelve tracks, she takes on familiar paths
with some very special tunes. My favourites are "Early Autumn", "Let the
Flowers Grow", "Summer Me, Winter Me", and "Spring Can Really Hang You
Up The Most".But all twelve tracks offer a caressive passion, sparkling
elegance and a gorgeous voice from a lady who knows how to captivate.
As Jurgen Gothe says in the liner notes "Dig out the '63 port, light a
fire, set a cat on your lap and someone you like beside you, and listen
to the Season a la Ranee" (H.H.)
Justin Time Just 103-2 to order
Highly recommended CD's without
reviews, star rated as follows:
These are some of the many CD's
we at Jazz Canadiana suggest for your fall/winter buying:
||Label & Cat. No.
||"Fire and Song"
||"Playing for Change"
||Uptown UPCD 27.43
||"Beyond the Blue Horizon"
||CTI ZK 65130
||CTI ZK 65133
||"The Jazz Messengers"
||Columbia CK 65265
||Columbia CK 65295
||"A Portrait of Thelonious"
||Columbia CK 65187
||Columbia CK 65293
||"Sketches of Spain"
||Columbia CK 65142
||Columbia CK 65121