Elliott Simon joined All About Jazz in 2001
Elliott enjoys music with energy, chops and tension; whether it be from the mainstream or the outermost fringe.
Civil War Diaries
Bill Carrothers, through other like-minded projects, has become known for his re-styling of songs closely linked with American historical periods. Civil War Diaries, recorded before a live audience, takes well known tunes with intense imagery impact such as "Tenting on the Old Campground, "The Yellow Rose of Texas, "7th Calvary March and even "Dixie and explores them anew from a deep jazzman's awareness. The endeavor succeeds in presenting a unified statement that magically maintains the time period's feeling while opening up melodies, which have in some cases unfortunately become clichés, in a new way that reveals their original strength. For "Tenting, Carrothers expands on the piece's ethereal mood and slowly intersperses melodic variations that lay bare the image of "dying on the old campground. Followed by an equally haunting version of Henry Tucker's 1862 ode from a soldier to his lover, "Weeping Sad and Lonely, things relax a bit, with a very bluesy "Yellow Rose of Texas and the Celtic underpinnings of the fife and drum classic "7th Cavalry March are used as a springboard to a jazzy look backward. Likewise the inherent balladry of "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia is beautifully exposed as are the many faces of "Dixie that seem to include rag, blues, swing and a nod to Art Tatum.
Light On Water
Beginning and ending with two lusciously blue takes on "Summer Theatre, Robert Silverman's Light on Water, with the exception of a rousing version of Professor Longhair's "Mardi Gras Blues, is all original music. The selections are compositionally strong and portray a varied look at traditional styles with a heavy dose of the blues. "Fragments of the Self and "From A Dream are artfully touching ballads, while the two improvisations, "Light on Water and "Contemplation each commence in delicate unhurried fashion before the former builds through several tension filled exercises and the latter introspectively reflects on its inner soul. "Summer Theme In Blue has Silverman playing the pauses as well as the notes an approach that makes his program a clinic in the beauty of phrasing, tempo and mood.
Full Moon Fantasy
Israeli-born Yitzhak Yedid's Full Moon Fantasy is an emotive blend of Mid-Eastern modes within a classically inspired jazz framework. The six pieces are movements of a greater symphony that draws on Yedid's heritage and influences. A heartrending kaddish for those "Remembering Yitzhak Rabin, has Yedid's right hand crying tears for the assassinated leader while his left hand consoles. North Indian composer Nashad Ali's "Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya finds the piano improvising over murmuring chords that trail out before the "Pessimist Optimist gorgeously tries to look forward with hope. The title cut resonates with lyricism and lovely tonal color in celebration of its subject before the enveloping bleakness of "From Imagination to Reality gives way to the identity reaffirming "Le'emor. No pyrotechnics here but sounds straight from the heart.
Civil War Diaries
Tracks: Tenting On The Old Campground; Weeping Sad And Lonely; The Yellow Rose Of Texas; 7th Cavalry March; Bonnie Blue Flag; Carry Me Back To Old Virginia; Kingdom Coming; All Quiet Along The Potomac; Dixie.
Personnel: Bill Carrothers: piano.
Light on Water
Tracks: Summer Theatre #1; Mardis Gras Blues; Fragments of the Self; From a Dream; Makin Money; Improvisation #1-Light on Water; Improvisation #2-Contemplation; Summer Theme in Blue; Blue Lights; Summer Theatre #2.
Personnel: Robert Silverman: piano.
Full Moon Fantasy
Tracks: Remembering Yitzhak Rabin; Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya; The Pessimist Optimist; Full Moon Fantasy; From Imagination To Reality; Le'emor.
Personnel: Yitzhak Yedid: piano.
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