Monday, June 18. 2012
Music: Current count 20049  rated (+25), 777  unrated (+2). Hit a point midweek and just gave up. Spent the better part of three days cooking up a fancy dinner for my sister's birthday, and mostly spent that time playing things I had already rated/written about, like MDNA and Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, and occasional older things I pulled randomly off the shelves. My wife retires in two weeks, and that promises to change things. I'm not sure whether that means I can give up my make-believe music reviewer work, or do I need to get serious about my own work?
Was figuring I'd punt on Jazz Prospecting this week, but I might as well dump out what I have. Should make a project some time out of Raoul Björkenheim, given that all of the few things I've heard by him have "A-" written next to him in my database. My favorite is still one called Shadowglow he did with Lukas Ligeti on TUM in 2003, but I've missed all those Scorch Trio records -- the first is the only complete one on Ingebrigt Håker Flaten's bandcamp page, and it's another winner.
Started playing ECM's advances when I noticed that I wasn't always getting final copies, and jumped the gun on Sclavis. Have held that review back a few weeks now, but as short as this week is, I figured I might as well share it.
Raoul Björkenheim/Anders Nilsson/Gerald Cleaver: Kalabalik (2012, DMG/ARC): Two guitarists from Scandinavia, perhaps not natural allies back home but they fit together remarkably well in New York, plus a drummer -- always a good idea. Cut live at Bruce Lee Galanter's downtown record store. First four cuts are hard fusion thrash with a lot of intricacy between the lines. Then they cut the volume for a duo that spreads their lines out. A-
Budman/Levy Orchestra: From There to Here (2010 , OA2): Alex Budman plays tenor sax, soprano sax, and bass clarinet. He has a previous record (nice title: Instruments of Mass Pleasure), a couple dozen side credits. Jeremy Levy composes, arranges, and plays trombone. Looks like his first album (side-credits include Brian Setzer and Susan Tedeschi). Everything you'd expect in a big band, including both piano and guitar, plus extra percussion for that Latin tinge, and a string quartet on one track. B
Orrin Evans: Flip the Script (2012, Posi-Tone): Pianist, from Philadelphia, in a trio with Ben Wolf (bass) and Donald Edwards (drums). Played it four times and it keeps slipping away from me. B+(*)
Jazz Soul Seven: Impressions of Curtis Mayfield (2012, BFM Jazz): Ad hoc group, in the order given on the jacket: Terri Lyne Carrington (drums), Russ Ferante (piano), Master Henry Gibson (percussion), Bob Hurst (bass), Wallace Roney (trumpet), Phil Upchurch (guitar), Ernie Watts (sax). No idea why just that pecking order, but Ferrante appears to be the main arranger. The songs, of course, come from Curtis Mayfield, the melodic themes are glorious, and everything else is typical mainstream jazz. B+(*)
Guillermo Klein/Los Gauchos: Carrera (2011 , Sunnyside): Argentine pianist, studied at Berklee, stuck around New York, frequently composing and arranging for a near-big band he calls Los Gauchos. This plays like a song cycle, and while I have no idea what the vocals signify, nor do I much care for them, the flow is intriguing, and the solos -- including saxophonists Chris Cheek, Miguel Zenon, and Bill McHenry -- are proper highlights. B+(*)
Hailey Niswanger: The Keeper (2012, Calmit Productions): Alto saxophonist, b. 1990, studied at Berklee, second album, plus a side-credit on Terri Lyne Carrington's The Mosaic Project. Don't know the quartet, although there's a drummer named Mark Whitfield Jr., and they're joined by trumpeter Darren Barrett on three cuts. She can swing and wail through the straight postbop set, and switch to soprano for a charming "Night and Day." B+(**)
Ben Powell: New Street (2011 , self-released): Violinist, don't have any bio readily available, but looks to be his second album. Seven cuts with is piano-bass-drums quartet -- one each with guitarist Adrien Moignard and vocalist Linda Calise guesting -- plus three cuts by his Stéphane Grappelli Tribute Trio, with Julian Lage (guitar) and Gary Burton (vibes). Does like to swing. "La Vie en Rose" with Calise is especially delicious -- I've rarely felt more Francophile. B+(**)
Louis Sclavis Atlas Trio: Sources (2011 , ECM): French clarinet player, twenty-some albums since 1981. Trio adds keyboards (Benjamin Moussay) and electric guitar (Gilles Coronado). The guitar has a charged rough edge the other instruments flesh out, and everyone is so keyed to the flow they avoid thoughts of chamber music without bass or drums. A- [advance: June 26]
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
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