September 1996


All of Hal's monthly reviews will be made available here in Hal's "Picks From the Past".

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Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra - "Coming About":

This is the second recording by this new composer/arranger, for the Enja label, previous release is "Evanescence"( a tribute to the late Gil Evans). This is no ordinary big band recording, no blues in D flat, or standard-issue flagwavers with a shout chorus tacked on at the end. The music on this CD is an ambitious presentation of a completely original sound performed by seventeen players who thrive on the challenging charts laid out by Maria. Highlights are the suite "Scenes from Childhood" featuring solos by Scott Robinson, Ben Monder, Rich Perry, Tim Hagens, Frank Kimbrough and Rick Margitza. "El Viento" with solos by Ben Monder, Larry Farrell and Greg Gisbert. A refreshing version of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" brings to the fore the arranging talents of Maria and again some excellent solo work. If you like big bands with a difference, this one is a must for your collection.

ENJA ENJ-9069 2. To Order

Diana Krall - "All For You":

Nat King Cole's interpretation of music, standards or his own originals had a touch of magic. Like Sinatra, when Cole sang he made the song his own, no other version mattered any more, he had placed his stamp on it. His piano playing was another extension of his magic, he could easily have made it in the world of jazz as a pianist, but that's another story.......

Diana's tribute to Cole, especially the Cole trio is not meant as a clone version, it has a new dimension with three people who, at the time of this recording, were a working group, and it shows. As guitarist Russell Malone says in the liner notes, yes this CD has liner notes..."She plays all that piano, and then she sings like that! I don't think she knows how good she is". Thirteen tracks with tunes such as "I'm an errand Girl in Rhythm", "Frim Fram Sauce" (wait 'till you hear this one), "Hit that Jive Jack", and "When I grow too old to Dream" will make you want to know more about Diana Krall's work, both on recording and live "in person".

JUSTIN TIME JTR 8458-2 To Order

Arnie Krakowsky - "Where the Tenor Meets the Bone":

Tenor Saxophonist Krakowsky meets (the Bone), trombonist George Masso, is the debut recording of this artist inspired by Zoot Sims, Ben Webster Al Cohn, and Lester Young. Arnie met and worked with Masso in the Artie Shaw band. Whilst in New York he honed his talents by studying with Eddie Daniels and later when he moved to New England working with Herb Pomeroy, Dave McKenna and Gray Sargent. The results are presented here on this CD as both Arnie and George have fun with "Little Brown Book", "Three little Words", "Sophisticated Lady", "Lester Leaps In", "Dynaflow" and others. I feel inclined to believe that we will hear much more from this hard swinging tenor man in the future.

Seaside SSAK 139 To Order

Phil Wilson - Paul Schmeling - "Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive":

This is a recording by two masters of musical creativity. A previous recording by trombonist Phil Wilson and pianist Makoto Ozone was musically well received, but unfortunately not commercially, due in part to being released on a very small label with limited edition pressing. Let us hope this current recording does not meet with the same fate. Both Wilson and Schmeling are both faculty members of Berklee School of Music where both of the recordings mentioned above were recorded. This particular CD is a celebration of the music of Harold Arlen and both musicians have a thorough understanding of the lyrical quality Arlen's music is known for. Paul utilizes all eighty-eight notes of the keyboard, incorporating a little bit of stride on occasion, with a lush legato touch of Bill Evans. Phil is all bravura, some stop-time slide effects and classic bop changes. They play cat and mouse on "Paper Moon", create a blues feeling on "When the Sun Comes Out" and "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea", a touch of bossa on "Out of This World" and pretty ballad tapestry on "Stormy Weather" and continue to amaze and please on the balance of the 17 tracks.

Seaside SSWS136 To Order

James Moody - "Young at Heart":

The title captures the very essence of this recording, Moody is still young at heart in his playing and even his singing (on title track only). The senior citizen of jazz celebrates the old master of pop, Frank Sinatra in this new release. Moody also celebrates his 50th year in music and still has that fire and joy of living as he did when he joined Dizzy Gillespie's group way back in 1946. In the company of Mulgrew Miller on some tracks, Larry Goldings replacing Mulgrew on others, Todd Coolman - bass, Billy Drummond - drums and on other tracks an orchestra conducted by Gil Goldstein, who also did the arrangements. This is a happy, timely session aimed at Moody and Sinatra fans alike. Great choice of tunes too: "Love and Marriage", "Nancy", "The Song is You", "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" and others.

Warner Brothers CDW 46227 To Order

James Carter - "Conversin' with the Elders":

Most of the "Picks" this month appear to be celebratory in manner, (not intentional), and this is no exception.

This young player pays tribute to his elders by inviting them to play alongside him on this recording. Those elders include Lester Bowie, Larry Smith, Harry Edison, Hamiet Bluiett and Buddy Tate, and Carter proves once again how great a saxophonist he is playing Baritone, Tenor, Alto and Bass Clarinet in tandem with the above on selected tunes. As the players suggest, this is a healthy mix of genres and Carter meets the challenge in every case with a wealth of ideas. Backed by Craig Taborn - piano, Jaribu Shahid - bass and Tani Tabbal - drums this is an exciting and worthwhile recording.

Atlantic CD 82908 To Order

Brad Mehldau - "Introducing Brad Mehldau":

"Introducing Brad Mehldau" has this young Bud Powell influenced pianist performing both originals and standards in the company of two different rhythm sections. Larry Grenadier bass and Jorge Rossy - drums are replaced by Christian McBride and Brian Blade on half of the tracks. The music on this CD reflects Brad's understanding of the Bop idiom in general and of Bud Powell's manner of expression in particular. He has great harmonic sense and his ability to trace out long, fluid single-note lines in the right hand, are for all the world like a horn player. Why it took so long to be released here in Canada puzzles me, it was recorded in March and April of 1995. Favourite tracks include "It Might as Well be Spring", "Prelude to a Kiss" and one of his originals "Angst".

Warner Brothers 9 45997-2 To Order

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