Monday, October 8. 2012
Music: Current count 20551  rated (+37), 642  unrated (-0).
Spent the early part of the week on Recycled Goods, not stopping with the October column post but trudging on for a couple days. Result is a healthy rated count with a relatively slim Jazz Prospecting. Streamnotes still struggling from neglect, but I'm listening to Carolyn Mark as I try to write this intro. In any case, Dowloader's Diary has been delayed until this week, and I probably won't run Streamnotes until a week later. (If I cram, that'll mean another slim Jazz Prospecting next week, but as you can see from the unpacking the new stuff has been pouring in.) Made a pitch to revive Jazz CG last week, but no response thus far, so I'm not optimistic. At some point I need to clear my desk of the piles of HM and better CDs I've been saving up.
No A-list records this week, after quite a few lately. Couple near misses, and some quality also-rans. Thought I'd like to see the cover I didn't get.
Rez Abbasi Trio: Continuous Beat (2012, Enja): Guitarist, b. 1965 in Karachi, Pakistan; based in New York; has at least seven albums since 1995, some referring back to the subcontinent's musical heritage, some (like this one) not: trio, with John Hebert on bass, Satoshi Takeishi on percussion. Five (of nine) originals, covers of Gary Peacock, Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk, with a short, delicate, very respectful "Star Spangled Banner" closing. B+(***) [advance]
Bill Anschell/Brent Jensen/Chris Smyer: Blueprints (2012, Origin): Piano, soprano sax, bass, respectively; recorded in Seattle, which is at least the pianist's home town. Jensen started out on alto but has become a specialist; he's a mainstream player, always precise and eloquent, should be regarded as one of the main players on his instrument. One group improv, eight standards, none in any way obscure ("All Blues," "How Deep Is the Ocean," "Blue Monk," "Star Eyes," "Yardbird Suite" -- for example). Nothing daring about any of them, and the lack of a drummer ensures a leisurely pace, but they're tasteful and lovely, another feather for Jensen's hat. B+(***)
Clarice Assad: Home (2010 , Adventure Music): Brazilian singer, also plays piano, b. 1978. Third album, accompanied by percussionists Keita Ogawa and Yousif Sheronick. Three originals, pieces by Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Dorival Caymi, an Elis Regina medley, a few lesser knowns (i.e., no Jobim). Was playing Abbey Lincoln before, so I was struck by the similarity, but Betty Carter would have had the same effect, especially when Assad scats. B+(**)
Natalie Cressman & Secret Garden: Unfolding (2012, self-released): Trombone player, also sings, 21 (so b. 1991?), from San Francisco, based in New York (studies at Manhattan School of Music), first album, wrote 7 of 9 songs (covering "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" with Joni Mitchell's lyrics). The band adds trumpet, tenor sax, piano, bass, and drums for a suitably quirky postbop mix. B
Jeff Davis: Leaf House (2011 , Fresh Sound New Talent): Drummer, originally from Greely, CO; second album, plus a dozen-plus side credits since 2007, notably with pianist Kris Davis. This is a piano trio, with Russ Lossing and Eivind Opsvik doing all original compositions by Davis. B+(**)
Michael Formanek Quartet: Small Places (2011 , ECM): Bassist, tenth (or ninth) album since 1986, second on ECM after a decade-long break. All-star quartet: Tim Berne (alto sax), Craig Taborn (piano), Gerald Cleaver (drums). Aside from the pianist, the album is a little languid, with the sax painting background colors, tones only slightly brighter than the arco bass. But Taborn's developed into a remarkable pianist, and he shines here. B+(**)
Kalle Kalima & K-18: Out to Lynch (2011 , TUM): Guitarist, b. 1973 in Helsinki, Finland. Third album, quartet with Mikko Innanen on reeds (alto and baritone sax, flutes), Veli Kujala on quarter-tone accordion, and Teppo Hauta-aho on bass. The guitar doesn't ring out much, leaving the sax and accordion to duel, the latter holding its own in the noise department. B+(**)
Lisa Kirchner: Charleston for You (2012, Verdant World): Singer-songwriter, b. 1953, father was classical composer Leon Kirchner (1919-2009), himself a student of Schoenberg. Her credits include a 1976 Threepenny Opera, but her records didn't start until 2000, now numbering five. Cut in seven studios with changing support groups -- many just piano, only one with a horn -- half originals, half covers, including one Brazilian medley (De Moraes/Powell/Veloso); focused, assured. B+(**)
Max Marshall: Instant Camaraderie (2011 , Jazz Hang): Pianist, originally from Chicago, now based in New York; first album, wrote 5 (of 9) originals, adding one from a band member (alto saxophonist Sharel Cassity), Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, and "When I Grow Too Old to Dream." Quintet, with trumpet, sax, bass, and drums: the traditional hard bop lineup with some postbop curves. B+(**)
Maria Neckam: Unison (2012, Sunnyside): Singer, third album, writes her own music, occasionally pinching famous poets for lyrics (here: Hafez, Rilke, Neruda). Produced her own album, drawing on a talented core band -- Aaron Parks, Nir Felder, Thomas Morgan, Colin Stranahan -- working in horns on half the cuts, cello on a couple. No doubt a lot of talent and thought went into this, but the result is a sort of art song that I find all but unlistenable. Except, that is, when it isn't. C+
Russ Nolan: Tell Me (2012, Rhinoceruss Music): Tenor saxophonist, third album: quartet with piano, bass, and drums, sometimes electric, plus producer Zach Brock plays violin on three tracks. Four originals, five covers, the jazz sources from Oliver Nelson and Joe Zawinul, pop from Stevie Wonder and the Beatles; lets them kick up their heels. B+(*)
Zohar's Nigun: The Four Questions (2012, Rectify): Australian group -- Daniel Weltlinger (violin), Daniel Pliner (piano), Simon Milman (bass), Alon Ilsar (drums) -- playing Jewish music, some trad, some new, the violin in the lead. B+(**)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
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