Jazz Consumer Guide (9):

This is the surplus file for Jazz Consumer Guide #9. These are short reviews of records that for one reason or another have been dropped from active consideration while working on this column. These reviews will be published in the blog when the column comes out. In some cases brackets provide some reasons for the decision not to cover the record in the Jazz CG: RG is in Recycled Goods; FD was reviewed by Francis Davis in Village Voice; VV reviewed by someone else in Village Voice. In most cases the prospecting notes suffice.

Anders Aarum Trio: Absence in Mind (2002-03 [2004], Jazzaway): Norwegian piano trio, propped up strongly on all three corners -- drummer Thomas Střnen is a name we'll be hearing more from. I should have done this as an Honorable Mention, especially since I give Aarum a good deal of credit in the review of Sonny Simmons' The Traveler. B+(***)

Will Bernard Trio: Directions to My House (2004 [2005], Direct to Disk): An interesting guitar album that I've long meant to get back to but never did. Plays electric, fitting into a trio more like a sax player would, but without the deep anthropomorphic resonance. B+(**)

Terence Blanchard: Flow (2004 [2005], Blue Note): Ambitious and complex, built on synth programming with conventional instruments twisting upward to Blanchard's bright trumpet. Yoked for drama, this gives it more ebb than flow. Even if it pays off impressively in the end, the false starts along the way annoy -- most of all Lionel Loueke's mumbo jumbo vocals. B

Erin Boheme: What Love Is (2006, Concord): Thought about doing her as half of a double Dud of the Month, but wound up just mentioning her in passing. Has something to her voice, but appears to be at the mercy of her packagers. Could be cute, but they make her look sad. Could sing, but they bury her in strings and Tom Scott. Probably thinks this is her big break, but looks to me more like a trap. B

James Carter Organ Trio: Out of Nowhere (2004 [2005], Half Note): Robert Christgau pegged this as a Pick Hit in his Consumer Guide, which I figure is plug enough. He liked the sheer joy of Carter's sax, but I never managed to get past the conceptual sloppiness of the group. To me, Organ Trio implies a tradition, which either one can work with or work against, but at least it needs some sort of recognition. Organist Gerard Gibbs is a nonentity here, providing no reaction to Carter's action, or vice versa. Still, the album does get saved -- by the guests: James "Blood" Ulmer stops by to sing "Little Red Rooster," and unless I'm sadly mistaken, the hellacious baritone sax that closes the album is thanks to Hamiett Bluiett. Something to remember next time you're filling out one of those Downbeat ballots. B+(**)

Critters Buggin': Stampede (2004, Ropeadope): Electro-funk stretched out in various directions, including out when Skerik gets down on tenor sax, and Moroccan when Bachir and Mustafa Attar pump up the jajouka on the closer. Never got a final copy of this, so it languished in hard-to-find places and has gotten old. Skerik, meanwhile, has impressed me on later records, and has a new one out I haven't gotten to yet. B+(**)

Miles Davis: The Cellar Door Sessions 1970 (1970 [2005], Columbia/Legacy, 6CD): Following the Blackhawk and Plugged Nickel boxes, another attempt to find fungible insights by filling in the missing pieces of a well-worn live record. Live/Evil was edited from the last night of Davis's four-day Cellar Door stand, with John McLaughlin providing extra juice. The last two discs here present the unedited sets, which are interchangeable with the ones you already know. The first four document the previous three nights. Without McLaughlin, the young band -- Birdophile Gary Bartz was the oldest at 30 and funk bassist Michael Henderson the youngest at 19 -- was even friskier, with Keith Jarrett's toy keybs most revelatory. In general, I prefer new product to vault projects, but this hard-assed jazz-funk is a strain that no one else developed further, so even its leavings seem new. [FD; RG; this was written and edited for JCG #8, but cut for space.] A-

Delirium: Eclexistence (2005, TUM): A pianoless quartet from Finland, with Mikko Innanen and Kasper Tranberg for the horns, Jonas Westergaard and Stefan Pasborg on rhythm. The booklet compares them to similar groups led by Ornette Coleman and Tomasz Stanko/Edward Vesala. They have a point, even if they stretch it a bit. B+(**)

Dave Douglas: Keystone (2005, Greenleaf Music): I have no doubt that Douglas is one of the half-dozen or so most important musicians of his generation, but I find his albums maddeningly inconsistent. A big part of the reason is that he tries to do so much -- few musicians trust their skills so completely that they take such risks. The follow-up to this one, Meaning and Mystery, is one of the ones that I don't much like despite being impressed by. This one I like a good deal more even though it does much less -- in part that's a summary judgment on soundtracks, which this is. DJ Olive helps with beats, and Marcus Strickland plays sax. The Fatty Arbuckle movie on the bonus DVD is interesting in its own right. Probably should have been an Honorable Mention, but it got lost on my shelf. B+(***)

Free Fall: Amsterdam Funk (2004 [2005], Smalltown Superjazz): Second installment from Ken Vandermark's clarinet-piano-bass trio, named for the Jimmy Giuffre Trio's famous album. I've yet to make much sense either out of the model or the tribute -- I suspect that the mappings are off but the coincidence persists. Nonetheless, this has spots of interest: the piano can pound out some rhythm, and the quiet spots develop into austere atmospherics. B+(*)

Cor Fuhler: Corkestra (2004, Data): Dutch avant big band, with the leader playing organ, clavinet and piano. Like all Dutch avant big bands I'm familiar with, mischief seems to be the main order of the day. B+(**)

Satoko Fujii Quartet: Angelona (2004 [2006], Libra): Fujii and/or husband Natsuki Tamura keep recording way too frequently for me to keep up. The records have formed a big logjam on the Honorable Mentions cusp, so I think that this point I'll just wipe the slate clean and start again -- just got a new one I haven't played yet. They are all interesting, and at some point I promise I'll do a survey. Meanwhile, Francis Davis did one in the Voice, which catches us up to this one: a quartet that reprises my thus-far favorite one, Zephyros. This is more of a good thing, but the previous one grabbed me harder. Perhaps because it rocked harder. B+(**)

Marshall Gilkes Quartet: Edenderry (2005, Alternate Side): Trombone plus piano trio, a very attractive postbop outing. Got this early, before I started writing up prospecting notes. Kept it active because I liked it, but never managed to write much about why. B+(**)

Robert Glasper: Canvas (2005, Blue Note): A few years back Jazz Times did a poll on who's overrated. Keith Jarrett wrote in and argued that jazz is so marginal business-wise that nobody who plays it could possibly be overrated. Still, when a young pianist debuts on Blue Note it's tempting to hold him to some higher standard. After all, the last two guys that happened to were Bill Charlap and Jason Moran. Glasper's not in either of those molds, but Blue Note must know that. I suspect they hope he'll make some sort of jazz/hip-hop connection that'll bring some fresh money into a superannuated industry, but to do that he's going to have to get hipper, not to mention hopper, than Bilal. Aside from two cuts with Mark Turner doing his thing, this one's pretty ordinary. Thought about dudding it, then remembered Jarrett. But it would have been better had I thought of Jarrett when I was playing it. B

Ned Goold Trio: The Flows (2004, Smalls): Fairly mainstream tenor saxophonist. I like his tone, his logic, his dynamics. But this is a record that's been sitting in the file for a long time, not going anywhere or getting any fresher. B+(*)

Andrew Hill: Time Lines (2005 [2006], Blue Note): Forty years after Hill's first tenure at Blue Note marked him as one of the most important pianists to emerge in the '60s, he makes his second return to the label, this time as living legend. As with his 1989 return, he turns in a perfectly typical Andrew Hill album: balancing his piano with his horn arrangements, he steps out a little but stays within the bounds of his past practice. Nice to see Charles Tolliver back too. [FD] B+(***)

Monk Hughes & the Outer Realm: A Tribute to Brother Weldon (2004, Stones Throw): A tribute to jazz-funk keyboardist Weldon Irvine, although only loosely so, with new "inspired by" pieces. Madlib produced, aiming for dense improv patterns whirling around synth-sounding instruments. The long closer moves further into free jazz territory, losing the beat, then compensating with chaos. An interesting convolution. B+(*)

Russ Johnson: Save Big (2004 [2005], Omnitone): A good example of the pianoless quartet, with Johnson's trumpet and John O'Gallagher's alto sax up front. Another record that should have made the Honorable Mention list but wound up sinking through the cracks. B+(**)

Arturo O'Farrill: Live in Brooklyn (2005, Zoho): With Andy Gonzalez and Dafnis Prieto, this should be a lively Latin-tinged piano trio outing, but only the closing Monk piece gets my attention. Thought I'd hang on to this and try to figure out why he impresses me so little, but I never found time. Now that Lincoln Center's hired him to run their Latin Big Band, I figure that whatever it is that turns them on must be what turns me off. B

Wallace Roney: Prototype (2004, High Note): A sketchy album that starts out promising but winds up unfulfilled without clearly resolving what's missing. DJ Logic's electronics are limited to three tracks -- a mere flirtation even when they hold promise. But the extended family is dependable -- I've rarely if ever heard Antoine sounding so robust. B+(**)

Wallace Roney: Mystikal (2005, High Note): Val Jeanty does the DJ work this time, but Roney is still dabbling, which doesn't satisfy anyone. Once again, Antoine props him up, and Geri Allen reminds you who's the top musician in this house. B+(**)

Mick Rossi: One Block From Planet Earth (2004 [2005], Omnitone): Quintet with the leader's piano in the center, Andy Laster (reeds) and Russ Johnson (trumpet) for horns, virtuosic Mark Dresser on bass, a drummer I don't remember (Charles Descarfino). Looks good on paper, but got lost in the shuffle and has finally timed out. B+(*)

Christian Scott: Rewind That (2005 [2006], Concord): The best of Concord's Mod Squad, a young trumpeter from New Orleans; also nephew of alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, who's gotten some press lately for his teaching, and who guests here. Probably the most cost-effective too, as he didn't require the make-up and hair styling the whites needed to look presentable. Sounds like his goal in life is to rebirth the cool. B+(*)

John Sheridan's Dream Band: Easy as It Gets (2005, Arbors): I plugged Randy Reinhart's As Long as I Live as featuring better performances than any of the band members turned in on their own albums. This one might deserve an asterisk, because the stride pianist comes damn close. B+(***)

Tamura + Sharp + Kato + Fujii: In the Tank (2005, Libra): One of many Satoko Fujii projects that got lost in my B+ files, this one with husband Natsuki Tamura getting top billing. Kato is Takayuki, who plays a mean guitar. Sharp is Elliott, who could be sharper. B+(**)

Tommaso-Rava Quartet: La Dolce Vita (1999 [2005], Cam Jazz): Lovely work from a fine veteran Italian quartet, led by bassist Giovanni Tommaso and trumpeter Enrico Rava, filled out by pianist Stefano Bollani and drummer Roberto Gatto. The pieces come from various famous movies. Over the last couple of years I've heard a number of fine albums with Rava. B+(***)

Myron Walden: This Way (2005, Fresh Sound New Talent): A Charlie Parker clone several decades too late -- won a prize for that in 1993 and never looked back. Among Birdmen I don't think he matches the late Massimo Urbani, but he's a likable craftsman, and dependable as a sideman. Jimmy Greene's tenor adds to the saxiness. [ex-HM] B+(**)

Dave Weckl Band: Multiplicity (2005, Stretch): A fusion band in ye olde Weather Report mode, which means the bass groove (Tom Kennedy), keybs (Steve Weingart) and reeds (Gary Meek, balancing soprano and tenor sax, alto flute and bass clarinet) are layered on thick. The difference is drummer Weckl, who as leader gets to show off -- a plus. B

Gerald Wilson Orchestra: In My Time (2005, Mack Avenue): Wilson paid his dues when big band were still in flower, but he didn't really move out on his own until the '60s, when it was too late. Still, at 86 he ranks as a living legend, and he's active and fertile enough to get some grant money. This band plays like stars because they mostly are, but as a band they play better than you'd expect from stars. [FD] A-

Other Drops

Also dropping the following. Don't have anything to add to what was previously said in the prospecting notes (for this or some previous Jazz CG cycle).

  • Ahleuchatistas: What You Will (2005 [2006], Cuneiform) B+(*)
  • Monty Alexander: Concrete Jungle: The Music of Bob Marley (2005 [2006], Telarc) B
  • Scott Anderson/Nia Quintet: End of Time (2004 [2005], BluJazz) B+(**)
  • Ernie Andrews: How About Me (2005, [2006], High Note) B+(**)
  • Susie Arioli Band Featuring Jordan Officer: Learn to Smile Again (2005, Justin Time) B+(**)
  • Jeff Arnal, Seth Misterka, Reuben Radding, Nate Wooley: Transit (2001 [2006], Clean Feed) B+(*)
  • Michaël Attias: Credo (1999 [2005], Clean Feed) B+(**)
  • Michaël Attias: Renku (2005, Playscape) B+(**)
  • The Bad Plus: Suspicious Activity? (2005, Columbia) B
  • Roni Ben-Hur: Signature (2004 [2005], Reservoir) B+(**)
  • Sathima Bea Benjamin: Musical Echoes (2002 [2006], Ekapa) B+(*)
  • John Bishop: Nothing If Not Something (2004 [2006], Origin) B+(**)
  • Karen Blixt: Spin This (2006, Hi-Fli) B+(**)
  • Don Braden: Workin' (2005 [2006], HighNote) B+(*)
  • Anouar Brahem: Le Voyage de Sahar (2005 [2006], ECM) B+(*)
  • Bonnie Bramlett and Mr. Groove Band: Roots, Blues & Jazz (2005 [2006], Zoho Roots) B
  • Cecil Brooks III: Double Exposure (2000 [2006], Savant) B
  • Bill Bruford/Michiel Borstlap: Every Step a Dance, Every Word a Song (2003-04 [2004], Summerfold) B+(**)
  • Bill Bruford/Tim Garland: Earthworks Underground Orchestra (2005 [2006], Summerfold) B+(*)
  • Michael Carvin: Marsalis Music Honors Michael Carvin (2005 [2006], Marsalis Music/Rounder) B
  • George Cotsirilos: On the Rebop (2005 [2006], OA2) B
  • Joan Crowe: Bird on the Wire (2004, Evensongmusic) B+(**)
  • The Eddie Daniels Quartet: Mean What You Say (2005 [2006], IPO) B+(*)
  • Dave Douglas: Meaning and Mystery (2006, Greenleaf Music) B+(*)
  • The Dutch Jazz Orchestra: The Lady Who Swings the Band: Rediscovered Music of Mary Lou Williams (2005 [2006], Challenge) B+(**)
  • Peter Eldridge: Decorum (2005, www.petereldridge.com) C
  • Béla Fleck & the Flecktones: The Hidden Land (2006, Columbia) B+(*)
  • The Alon Farber Hagiga Quintet: Exposure (2003 [2005], Fresh Sound New Talent) B+(**)
  • Fred Frith/Carla Kihlstedt/Stevie Wishart: The Compass, Log, and Lead (2003 [2006], Intakt) B+(**)
  • Satoko Fujii Four: Live in Japan 2004 (2004 [2005], P.J.L) B+(**)
  • Jacob Garchik: Abstracts (2004 [2005], Yestereve) B+(**)
  • Aaron Goldberg: Worlds (2003 [2006], Sunnyside) B+(**)
  • Mats Gustafsson & David Stackenĺs: Blues (2003 [2005], Atavistic) B+(*)
  • Slide Hampton Meets Two Tenor Case: Callitwhatchawana (2002 [2005], Blue Jack Jazz) B+(**)
  • Jeannette Lambert: Sand Underfoot (2004 [2006], Jazz From Rant) B+(**)
  • Gato Libre: Strange Village (2004 [2005], Onoff) B+(**)
  • The Jeff Gauthier Goatette: One and the Same (2005 [2006], Cryptogramophone) B+(*)
  • Gutbucket: Sludge Test (2005 [2006], Cantaloupe) B
  • Barry Guy New Orchestra: Oort-Entropy (2004 [2005], Intakt) B+(*)
  • Iro Haarla: Northbound (2004 [2006], ECM) B+(*)
  • Jim Hall/Geoffrey Keezer: Free Association (2005, ArtistShare) B
  • Kevin Hays: Piano Works III: Open Range (2004 [2006], ACT) B+(*)
  • The Skip Heller Trio: Liberal Dose (2006, Skyeways) B
  • Nachito Herrera: Bembé En Mi Casa (2005, FS Music) B+(**)
  • Vincent Herring: Ends and Means (2005 [2006], HighNote) B+(**)
  • Reuben Hoch and Time: Of Recent Time (2006, Naim) B+(**)
  • John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble: A Blessing (2005, Omnitone) B+(**)
  • Sarah Hommel: A Sarah Hommel Drum All (2003 [2006], Sahara Ford) B+(*)
  • Nils Landgren & Joe Sample: Creole Love Call (2005 [2006], ACT) B
  • Bernd Lhotzky: Piano Portrait (2005 [2006], Arbors) B+(*)
  • Rolf Lislevand: Nuove Musiche (2004 [2006], ECM) B+(*)
  • Joe Locke & Charles Rafalides: Van Gogh by Numbers (2005 [2006], Wire Walker) B+(*)
  • Carmen Lundy: Jazz and the New Songbook: Live at the Madrid (2005, Afrasia Productions, 2CD) B+(*)
  • Peter Madsen: Prevue of Tomorrow (2005 [2006], Playscape) B+(**)
  • The Chad Makela Quartet: Flicker (2004 [2005], Cellar Live) B+(*)
  • Pete Malinverni: Theme & Variations (2005 [2006], Reservoir) B+(*)
  • Mat Maneri: Pentagon (2004 [2005], Thirsty Ear) B+(*)
  • Ray Marchica: In the Ring (2005, Sons of Sound) B+(**)
  • Ellis Marsalis: Ruminations in New York (2003 [2004], ESP-Disk) B
  • Billy Martin: Solo Live Tonic 2002 (2002 [2006], Amulet) B+(*)
  • Billy Martin and Socket: January 14 & 15, 2005 (2005, Amulet) B+(**)
  • Pat Martino: Remember: A Tribute to Wes Montgomery (2005 [2006], Blue Note) B
  • Virginia Mayhew: Sandan Shuffle (2006, Renma) B+(**)
  • Bill Mays Trio: Live at Jazz Standard (2004 [2005], Palmetto) B+(**)
  • Mike Melvoin Presents Dan Jaffe: Playing the Word (2005 [2006], City Light) B+(*)
  • Paul Motian Band: Garden of Eden (2004 [2006], ECM) B+(**)
  • David "Fathead" Newman: Cityscape (2005 [2006], High Note) B+(**)
  • Next Order: Live-Powered Nexus (2005, Lolo) B+(*)
  • Keith Oxman: Dues in Progress (2005 [2006], Capri) B+(*)
  • Francisco Pais: Not Afraid of Color (2004 [2006], Fresh Sound New Talent) B+(*)
  • Jaco Pastorius Big Band: The Word Is Out (2006, Telarc) B
  • Houston Person: All Soul (2005, HighNote) B+(**)
  • Kerry Politzer Quartet: Labyrinth (2004 [2005], Polisonic) B+(**)
  • Chris Potter: Underground (2005 [2006], Sunnyside) B+(**)
  • Shaynee Rainbolt: At Home (2005 [2006], 33 Jazz) B+(*)
  • Enrico Rava: Tati (2004 [2005], ECM) B+(**)
  • Herb Robertson NY Downtown Allstars: Elaboration (2004 [2005], Clean Feed) B+(**)
  • Duke Robillard: Guitar Groove-A-Rama (2006, Stony Plain) B+(*)
  • Carol Robbins: Jazz Play (2005, Jazzcats) B+(*)
  • Aram Shelton: Arrive (2001 [2005], 482 Music) B+(**)
  • Janis Siegel: A Thousand Beautiful Things (2006, Telarc) B
  • Daniel Smith: Bebop Bassoon (2004 [2006], Zah Zah) B
  • Bob Sneider & Paul Hofmann: Escapade (2004 [2006], Sons of Sound) B
  • Loren Stillman: It Could Be Anything (2005, Fresh Sound New Talent) B+(**)
  • Ralph Towner: Time Line (2005 [2006], ECM) B+(*)
  • The Derek Trucks Band: Songlines (2006, Columbia) B+(***)
  • Assif Tsahar: Solitude (2005, Hopscotch) B+(*)
  • Ugetsu: Live at the Cellar (2005 [2006], Cellar Live) B
  • Upper Left Trio: Sell Your Soul Side (2005 [2006], Origin) B+(**)
  • Roseanna Vitro: Live at the Kennedy Center (2005 [2006], Challenge) B
  • Chris Walden Big Band: Winter Games (2006, Origin, EP) C
  • Cedar Walton: Underground Memoirs (2005, High Note) B+(**)
  • The Mary Lou Williams Collective: Zodiac Suite: Revisited (2000-03 [2006], Mary) B+(*)
  • Larry Willis Trio: The Big Push (2005 [2006], HighNote) B+(**)
  • Anthony Wonsey: The Thang (2005, Sharp Nine) B+(**)
  • World Drummers Ensemble: A Coat of Many Colors (1996-2005 [2006], Summerfold) B

Finally, the following appeared (or soon will) in Recycled Goods:

  • Mario Adnet & Zé Nogueira Present Moacir Santos: Choros & Alegria (2005, Adventure Music) B+(**)
  • Marcos Amorim: Sete Capelas (Seven Chapels) (2005 [2006], Adventure Music) B+(**)
  • Albert Ayler: Spiritual Unity (1964 [2005], ESP-Disk) A
  • Albert Ayler: Bells/Prophecy (1964-65 [2005], ESP-Disk) A- Albert Ayler: Slugs' Saloon (1966 [2005], ESP-Disk, 2CD) B+(*)
  • Marion Brown: Marion Brown (1965 [2005], ESP-Disk) A-
  • Oscar Castro-Neves: All One (2006, Mack Avenue) B+(**)
  • Dr. John: Right Place, Right Time (1989 [2006], Hyena) B
  • Bill Evans: The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961 (1961 [2005], Riverside, 3CD) A-
  • Stan Getz: More Getz for Lovers (1952-91 [2006], Verve) B+(**)
  • Herbie Hancock: The Essential Herbie Hancock (1962-98 [2006], Columbia/Legacy) B+(**)
  • Carmen McRae: For Lovers (1955-59 [2006], Verve) B
  • Red Mitchell/George Cables: Live at Port Townsend (1992 [2005], Challenge) B+(**)
  • Modern Traditions Ensemble: New Old Music (2003 [2005], Adventure Music) B+(**)
  • Jovino Santos Neto: Roda Carioca (Rio Circle) (2005 [2006], Adventure Music) B+(***)
  • Pharoah Sanders: Pharoah's First (1964 [2005], ESP-Disk) B+(***)
  • Nina Simone: Sings the Blues (1966-69 [2006], RCA/Legacy) B
  • Nina Simone: Forever Young, Gifted and Black: Songs of Freedom and Spirit (1967-69 [2006], RCA/Legacy) B
  • Nina Simone: Silk & Soul (1967-69 [2006], RCA/Legacy) C
  • Nine Simone: The Soul of Nina Simone (1963-87 [2005], RCA/Legacy) B+(*)
  • The Essential Frank Sinatra With the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (1940-42, RCA/Legacy, 2CD) B
  • Sun Ra: Heliocentric Worlds: Volumes 1 and 2 (1965 [2005], ESP-Disk) B+(***)
  • Sun Ra: Heliocentric Worlds Vol. 3: The Lost Tapes (1965 [2005], ESP-Disk) B
  • Sun Ra: Nothing Is . . . (1966 [2005], ESP-Disk) B+(**)
  • Patty Waters: The Complete ESP-Disk' Recordings (1965-66 [2005], ESP-Disk) B