Monday, March 27, 2023

Music Week

March archive (final).

Music: Current count 39873 [39836] rated (+37), 56 [50] unrated (+6: 28 new, 28 old).

Rated count is down because I lost a day when last week's post didn't appear until late Tuesday. Otherwise, it's the same drill: I've been picking off old jazz records from my unheard Penguin Guide 4-star list, going from Perry to Scott this week. The exception is a Bobby Hutcherson record that Hank Shteamer included in his Twitter list of 10-best classic Blue Note records. I commented there, but also copied the lists into my notebook, as one of my self-check exercises. For Hutcherson, may I suggest Dialogue (1965), Happenings (1966), Oblique (1967), and/or Medina (1968-69 [1998]). Had I been more thorough, I would have checked out The Kicker (1963) and Total Eclipse (1967) -- both Penguin Guide 3.5-stars.

Elsewhere, Shteamer reminded me of the death of Ethiopian pianist Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou (99). Her Ethiopia Song is one of the best volumes in Buda Musique's Éthiopiques series (Vol. 21).

My demo queue has grown to 28, so I need to whittle that down a bit. One problem is that I need to do a major desk clearing first, and some resorting of the queue box. Another is that only 7 of those records (25%) have been released so far, and until recently it was closer to zero. Also, I'll note that I've been sitting non a lot of download offers, which I've started to collect in their own folder, in case I decide I need to look something up.

Two of this week's three new albums were found while looking for something old. Although I updated my 2023 tracking file to reflect what I've heard or have in the queue, I haven't added any records yet that I want to get to, so I'm pretty ignorant of (or maybe just oblivious to) 2023 releases, at least so far. Once I do, it will be easier to figure out what to play next.

This closes out Streamnotes for March. I'll catch up with the indexing later. At last month's rate (193 records), I should crack the 40,000 rated albums level in late April (3 or 4 weeks from now).

I published another Speaking of Which yesterday. Main news today is that Netanyahu delays judicial overhaul plan, backtracking after unprecedented strikes and protests. Key word is "delays," as Israel's current ruling coalition of past and future criminals still want their "get out of jail" cards. For important background, see: Richard Silverstein: Facing Israeli Army Mutiny, Defense Minister Calls to Halt Regime Change Agenda. Silverstein also wrote (posted today): Does Netanyahu Have an Exit Strategy.

A couple more points: Netanyahu made it clear that he's delaying because his junior coalition partner Itamar Ben Gvir gave him permission, making it clear who's calling the shots in the right-wing government. Also, the price for Ben Gvir's delay permission appears to be approval of a new "national guard" under direct control of the National Security Minister (that's Ben Gvir). See Critics slam Netanyahu's alleged OK for national guard: 'Private Ben Gvir militia'. Maybe if they can provoke Palestinians to start an armed uprising, they'll be able to kill off what's left of Israel's democracy as an "emergency measure."

Meanwhile, in America we have another mass shooting in an elementary school: 3 Children and 3 Adults Killed in Shooting at Nashville Elementary School. You know, of course, that Tennessee governor Bill Lee just signed laws to ban drag performers ("protects children") and to loosen restrictions on who can carry guns where. Also, that this guy represents in Congress the district the shooting took place in. Cue the Clash (I was thinking of the "killers in America" line, but sure, all of it).

New records reviewed this week:

Bára Gisladottir: Silva (2023, Sono Luminus): Icelandic double bassist, first album as far as I can tell, uses electronics to process bass sounds, for a dark ambiance. B+(**) [cd]

Rich Perry: Everything Happens (2021 [2022], SteepleChase): My Penguin Guide notes stop around 2002, but he had a very solid decade before that (one 4-star and five 3.5), and he's continued to record regularly since, so I have quite a bit of catching up to do. I thought I'd start with his latest, another quartet, with Gary Versace (piano), Jay Anderson (bass), and John Riley (drums), playing seven originals and longer covers of "Comes Love" and "Everything Happens to Me." B+(**) [sp]

Chris Potter: Got the Keys to the Kingdom: Live at the Village Vanguard (2022 [2023], Edition): Tenor saxophonist. Three things about him: he was just 21 when Introducing was released in 1992, so he's been about a decade younger than almost all of the other major saxophonists who emerged in the 1990s; seems like every year or two, I hear a monster sax solo somewhere I'm not expecting one (like on a Diana Krall album), and it turns out to be him; despite undeniable chops, his studio albums rarely blow me away -- on the other hand, the two A- albums I credit him with were live sets at the Village Vanguard. So after his lockdown solo and trio productions, on top of the wet blanket ECM threw over him, he deserves a chance to break loose. And he does here, with Craig Taborn (piano), Scott Colley (bass), and Marcus Gilmore (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:


Old music:

Bobby Hutcherson: Components (1965 [1966], Blue Note): Only album in Hank Shteamer's top-ten Blue Notes list I hadn't heard. Half-written by Hutcherson (vibraphone/marimba), half by drummer Joe Chambers, with Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), James Spaulding (alto sax/flute), Herbie Hancock (piano), and Ron Carter (bass). B+(***) [sp]

Rich Perry: Doxy (1998 [2000], SteepleChase): Tenor sax trio, with George Mraz (bass) and Billy Hart (drums). Jazz staples, starting with Monk, including Evans and Coltrane, ending with the Sonny Rollins title piece, with an 11:59 "How Deep Is the Ocean" among the standards. B+(***) [sp]

Rich Perry: O Grande Amor (1999 [2000], SteepleChase): Quartet with George Colligan (piano), Doug Weiss (bass), and Daren Beckett (drums). Title song from Jobim, one original, the rest standards including nods to Bill Evans and Jimmy Rowles. After the samba, he has so much pent-up energy he really lets loose on the closer, even though it's only "Stella by Starlight." B+(**) [sp]

Rich Perry Quartet: Hearsay (2001 [2002], SteepleChase): It's a little annoying that Discogs makes you go to "Rich Perry Quartet" for his eight quartet albums, given that the quartets are all different. This one is pianoless, with Steve Lampert (trumpet), Dennis Irwin (bass), and Jeff Hirshfield (drums). Another change is all original pieces, though Perry only wrote two, Lampert the other six. B+(***) [sp]

Enrico Pieranunzi/Marc Johnson/Joey Baron: Current Conditions (2001 [2003], CAM Jazz): Major Italian pianist, albums go back to 1975, Discogs lists nine albums with this particular trio (one in 1987, the rest 2001-09). B+(**) [sp]

Jean-Michel Pilc Trio: Together: Live at Sweet Basil (1999 [2000], Challenge, 2CD): French pianist, moved to New York in 1995, one of his first recordings was this trio with François Moutin (bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums). Looks like it was originally released in two separate volumes, then combined in one package, but I can't find a separate date for the combination. I could try to review the volumes separately, but the energy builds and compounds, making the double more persuasive than either half (but if I had to choose, I'd give the edge to Vol. 2). A- [sp]

Paul Plimley/Trichy Sankaran: Ivory Ganesh Meets Doctor Drums (1996-98 [1998], Songlines): Canadian pianist, duo with Indian percussionist Sankaran (originally from Tamil Nadu, educated in Madras, but based in Ontario), credited here with mridangam and kanjira. The rhythm is a steady draw, but that just sets the piano off. A- [sp]

Valery Ponomarev: Live at Sweet Basil (1993 [1994], Reservoir): Russian trumpet player, moved to New York in 1973, played with Art Blakey 1977-80, and has since organized a tribute big band. Follows the hard bop formula here, with Don Braden (tenor sax), John Hicks (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Victor Jones (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Michel Portal: Dockings (1997 [1998], Label Bleu): French clarinet player (also bass clarinet, alto sax, and bandoneon here), albums since 1969. Group here includes trumpet (Markus Stockhausen), piano (Bojan Zulfikarpasic), electric bass (Steve Swallow), bass (Bruno Chevillon), and drums (Joey Baron). The latter moves this along nicely, and I do love the bass clarinet. A- [sp]

Chris Potter Quartet: Sundiata (1993 [1995], Criss Cross): Second album recorded, although Concentric Circles was recorded less than a week later and rushed ahead on Concord, where he was a star through 1998. Quartet with Kevin Hays (piano), Doug Weiss (bass), and Al Foster (drums), playing six originals plus "Body and Soul" and "Airegin" -- no pressure there. B+(***) [sp]

Quartett: No Secrets (1988, New Albion): One-shot quartet, with Jay Clayton (vocals/effects), Julian Priester (trombone), Gary Peacock (bass), and Jerry Granelli (drums). I rarely care for voice mixed into free jazz, but Clayton is adept, and the contrast with trombone works nicely. B+(**) [sp]

Freddy Randall & His Band: My Tiny Band Is Chosen: The Parlophone Years 1952-1957 (1952-57 [2017], Lake): English trumpet player, led a trad jazz band up to 1958, appears occasionally after 1963. Penguin Guide recommended an earlier compilation from this label and period, but only three songs reappear here. B+(**) [r]

The Recyclers: Visit (1995 [1997], Babel): Mostly French group, released four albums 1994-97. In this one, the core group is a trio -- Steve Argüelles (drums), Benoît Delbecq (piano), and Noël Akchoté (guitar) -- joined on several tracks (8/15) by François Houle (contra-alto clarinet), Kenneth Newby (suling), Billy Jenkins (guitar), and Wolter Wierbos (trombone). B+(**) [sp]

Buddy Rich: Compact Jazz: Buddy Rich (1955-61 [1987], Verve): Drummer (1917-87), mostly led big bands from 1945 on, but there are a few smaller groups here (e.g., a quintet with Sweets Edison, Sonny Criss, and Jimmy Rowles). Nice, varied sampler, with one vocal (Rich singing "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," with Edison and Ben Webster). [r]

Howard Riley: Flight (1971, Turtle): British avant pianist, first two albums are superb, including the Penguin Guide crown album, The Day Will Come. He followed them up with this trio, with Barry Guy (bass) and Tony Oxley (drums), all very young, with major careers ahead. Oxley is especially vital here. A- [yt]

Howard Riley: Feathers With Jaki (1984-88 [1996], Slam): Two tracks (21:43) of piano duets with Jaki Byard, originally released as Live at the Royal Festival Hall, plus the album Feathers, a piano trio with Mario Casrtronari (bass) and Tony Marsh (drums). While the duo is interesting, the trio packs more punch. B+(***) [r]

Howard Riley: Consequences (2003 [2005], 33 Records): Solo piano. Still impressive. B+(***) [r]

Howard Riley: Short Stories (Volume Two) (2004-06 [2006], Slam, 2CD): Even more solo piano. B+(**) [r]

Max Roach: With the New Orchestra of Boston and the So What Brass Quintet (1993-95 [1996], Blue Note): Drummer (1924-2007), one of the first to get the hang of bebop (Kenny Clarke was first, then Art Blakey and Roach; it's hard to find any decent pre-1950 bebop records with anyone else). Guest star here for a 50:43 piece composed by Fred Tillis, conducted by David Epstein, and played by the New Orchestra of Boston, followed by a 12:13 piece played by the So What Brass Quintet (two trumpets, trombone, French horn, and tuba). B+(**) [sp]

Max Roach: To the Max! (1990-91 [1992], Enja, 2CD): Forty-some years into a multifaceted career, he's recapitulating, opening with his Chorus and Orchestra, reprising his M'Boom percussion, assembling a quartet -- with Cecil Bridgewater (trumpet), Odean Pope (tenor sax), and Tyrone Brown (bass) -- and then doubling it, with a couple tracks on his own. B+(**) [yt]

Renee Rosnes: Art & Soul (1999, Blue Note): Canadian pianist, played with Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter in the late 1980s, recorded for Blue Note 1990-2002 (and a couple times each: one duets with husband Bill Charlap, the other in the supergroup Artemis). This is a trio with Scott Colley (bass) and Billy Drummond (drums), plus percussion (Richard Bona) on two tracks, with Dianne Reeves singing two songs. B+(**) [sp]

Jim Rotondi: Iron Man (2005 [2006], Criss Cross): Trumpet/flugelhorn player, originally from Montana, studied at UNT, moved to New York, later to Austria. Leads a quintet here with Jimmy Greene (tenor/soprano sax), Steve Nelson (vibes), Doug Weiss (bass), and Bill Stewart (drums). B+(***) [r]

ROVA Saxophone Quartet: Bingo (1996 [1998], Victo): Saxophone quartet, started in 1977 with Jon Raskin, Larry Ochs, Andrew Voigt, and Bruce Ackley, with Steve Adams (who previously played in Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet) replacing Voigt by 1990. Possibly one of their better pure quartets. [Spotify only has 3 (of 6) tracks.] B+(**) [sp]

Paul Rutherford/Philipp Wachsmann/Barry Guy: ISKRA NCKPA 1903 (1992 [1995], Maya): English avant-trombonist, formed the band Iskra 1903 in 1972 as a trio with guitarist Derek Bailey and bassist Guy: their albums (Chapter One: 1970-1972) were collected by Emanem on 3CD. This revival replaces the guitar with Wachsmann's violin. B+(**) [bc]

Samo Salamon Quartet: Ornethology (2003 [2004], Samo): Slovenian guitarist, probably his first album, quartet with Achille Succi (alto sax/bass clarinet), Salvatore Maione (bass), and Zlatko Kaucic (drums). A- [sp]

Samo Salomon Sextet: Ela's Dream (2004 [2005], Splasc(H)): Achille Succi (alto sax/bass clarinet) and Zlatko Kaucic (drums) return from his quartet, with new bassist Paolino Dalla Porta, the group fortified with Kyle Gregory (trumpet) and Dave Binney (alto sax). Most impressive when Binney goes on a tear. B+(***) [sp]

Marit Sandvik: Song, Fall Soft (1995, Taurus): Norwegian jazz singer, first album, Discogs co-credits this to Jazz I Nord but that's not clear from the cover, which just lists the musician names: Øystein B Blix (trombone), Jørn Øien (piano), Konrad Kaspersen (bass), and Trond Sverre Hansen (drums). Three originals (co-written with Øien), a Sandvik lyric to a Wayne Shorter piece, and seven standards. B+(***) [sp]

Michel Sardaby Trio: Night Cap (1970, Disques Debs): Pianist, b. 1935 in Martinique, moved to Paris in 1956. Early album, a trio with Percy Heath (bass) and Connie Kay (drums), playing five originals and "Satin Doll." Near perfect. A- [yt]

Dave Schnitter: Sketch (2001 [2004], Omix/Sunnyside): More often David, b. 1948 in Newark, tenor saxophonist, played with Art Blakey and recorded four albums for Muse 1976-81, a bit more after 1996, with this one of the few items one can find. Quartet with James Zollar (trumpet), bass, and drums. B+(***) [sp]

Irene Schweizer/Maggie Nichols/George Lewis/Joëlle Léandre/Günter Sommer: The Storming of the Winter Palace (1986-88 [1988], Intakt): Piano, vocals, trombone, bass, and drums. I've never been a fan of vocals in this sort of music, but Nichols fits in better here than elsewhere. B+(***) [sp]

Jimmy Scott: Dream (1995, Sire): Jazz singer (1925-2014), a genetic disorder stunted his growth and left him with a high voice, joined Lionel Hampton in 1949, had some success with Savoy into the early 1960s, recorded an album for Atlantic in 1970, had a comeback with All the Way in 1992, followed by this album. Nine standards, taken at a snail's pace, his voice unique and affecting, just enough support from a rhythm section stocked with stars (Milt Jackson, Junior Mance, Ron Carter), tasteful guest spots including two bits of saxophone (Patience Higgins, Red Holloway. A- [sp]

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Matt Barber: The Song Is You (MB) [04-15]
  • Bokani Dyer: Radio Sechaba (Brownswood) [05-12]
  • Marc Jordan: Waiting for the Sun to Rise (Linus Entertainment) [04-23]
  • Le Boeuf Brothers: Hush (Soundspore) [04-21]
  • MUEJL [Michel Stawicki/Uygur Vural/Elisabetta Lanfredini/João Madeira/Luiz Rocha]: By Breakfast (4DaRecord) [02-03]
  • Taiko Saito: Tears of a Cloud (Trouble in the East) [04-28]

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