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December 2005

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Dexter Gordon
Manhattan Symphonie
Legacy
2005 (1978)

Perhaps the most ambitious of Gordon's work for Columbia(this edition including two tracks not released as part of the original lp) completed upon his return from Europe, this session was recorded with the same band that accompanied Dexter in person. Little wonder the musicianship is so rich it conjures an atmosphere that balances that of late-night club mood and an uptown classy elegance—not coincidentally, an apt description of the late great saxophonist himself.


Pat Metheny
Song X: Twentieth Anniversary
Nonesuch
2005 (1985)

Whether you find the music with Ornette Coleman invigorating or off-putting, there's no denying Metheny's bravery in choosing to expand and remaster this free jazz piece as the first archival release in his new label affiliation. This will appeal more to the Metheny fans who listen to non-Group projects, but they might want to sample it because such open-ended approach remains an integral part of Metheny's musical ethos(as he continues to collaborate with the likes of the great bassist Charlie Haden).


Sonny Rollins
Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert
Fantasy
2005

A moving and heartfelt exorcism of collective demons recorded in the wake of the national tragedy, Newk is in his usual fine form, a few bum notes at the outset doing no more than slightly blemishing a scintillating session. Rollins' whole band follows his galvanizing lead, the tradeoffs bewtween trombonist Clifton Anderson and pianist Stephen Scott telepathically quck and smooth , while the percussion of Kimatl Dinizulu adds a warmth that increases the comfort level as much for the members of the band as the audience itself(which was no doubt the point of the occassion).


Woody Shaw
Stepping Stones: Live at the Village Vanguard
Legacy
2005 (1978)

Moving ever so swiftly through a set recorded at the legenary jazz venu almost gives the impression of Shaw & Co. as a too well-oiled machine. But the bristling energy with which the leader plays is infectious, as befits a time when his brand of traditional acoustic jazz was gaining favor with a wider audience in the late Seventies. The only exception to a book of all-original material from various members of the band is McCoy Tyner's "Blues for Ball," proffered as a homage to the (then) recently-deceased Cannonball Adderley, the end result of which honors the tradition of jazz and extends it.


Roy Haynes
Quiet Fire: Thank You Thank You/Vistalite
Fantasy
2004 (1977/78)

The great drummer makes his presence felt in the fusion field back in that sub- genre's heyday in the late Seventies, though not quite so forcefully as you might expect given the strength of his musical personality. This combination of two albums on one CD finds him oddly subdued, though, to his credit, his humility allows peer Joe Henderson and then-unknown guitarist Marcus Fiorello, to step into the spotlight.


Tracks and Personnel

Manhattan Symphonie

Personnel: Dexter Gordon: tenor saxophone; George Cables: piano; Rufus Reid: double bass; Eddie Gladden: drums.

Tracks: As Time Goes By; Moment's Notice; Tanya; I Told You So; Body And Soul; LTD; Ruby, My Dear; Secret Love (bonus track).

Song X: Twentieth Anniversary

Personnel: Pat Metheny: guitar, guitar synth; Ornette Coleman: alto saxophone, violin (8); Charlie Haden: bass; Jack DeJohnette: drums; Denardo Coleman: drums, percussion.

Tracks: Police People; All of Us; The Good Life; Word from Bird; Compute; The Veil; Song X; Mob Job; Endangered Species; Video Games; Kathelin Gray; Trigonometry; Song X Duo; Long Time No See.

Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert

Personnel: Sonny Rollins: tenor saxophone; Clifton Anderson: trombone; Stephen Scott: piano, kalimba (2); Bob Cranshaw: electric bass; Perry Wilson: drums; Kimati Dinizulu: percussion.

Tracks: Without a Song; Global Warming; Introductions; A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square; Why Was I Born?; Where or When.

Stepping Stones: Live at the Village Vanguard

Personnel: Woody Shaw: cornet, flugelhorn; Carter Jefferson: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Onaje Allan Gumbs: piano; Clint Houston: bass; Victor Lewis: drums.

Tracks: Stepping Stone; In a Capricornian Way; Seventh Avenue; All Things Being Equal Are Not; Escape Velosity; Blues for Ball; Theme for Maxine.

Quiet Fire: Thank You Thank You/Vistalite

Personnel: Stanley Cowell: Electric Piano; Marcus Fiorillo: Guitar; Roy Haynes: Drums, Bell Tree; Bobby Hutcherson: Vibes; John Klemmer: Tenor Sax; Milcho Leviev: Piano, Electric Piano; Cecil McBee: Bass; Kenneth Nash: Percussion, Tambourine, Cowbell.

Tracks: Thank You Thank You; Bullfight; Quiet Fire; Processional; Sweet Song; Vistalite; More Pain Than Purpose; Wonderin'; Venus Eyes; Rok Out; Water Children; Invitation 6:05.


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