Guitarist Mark O'Leary is deservedly finding a home-base with a record label. With his third Leo Records effort, the red hot improviser finds himself with jazz superstars, trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and drummer Billy Hart. Throughout these fourteen works, the trio ventures into polyrhythmic structures, airy improvisational tactics and vigorous soloing activities. O'Leary's clean licks are enhanced by his articulate thematic propensities and fiery single note flurries. Essentially, the musicians have quite a story to tell. As each track yields a variable perspective of what three acute musical minds can accomplish sans a rigidly structured game-plan.
Marian McPartland's Piano JazzRadio Broadcast
Pianist Marian McPartland's famed NPR Piano Jazz broadcasts have become entrenched within the jazz society for several decades. This newly released album spotlights piano jazz innovator Teddy Wilson's 1978 broadcast, featuring candid conversations and solo piano performances. It's an affable presentation, due to Wilson's candid responses to Ms McPartland's questions and musings. Wilson's impeccable time, reverent sense of swing and panache is showcased here, on this delightful production.
No doubt, West Coast guitarist Lee Ritenour looms as one of the bonafide superstars of contemporary jazz. And while many astute modern jazz aficionados might dismiss the radio-friendly implications of this genre, Ritenour's technical faculties cannot be undermined. This two-DVD package features the guitarist performing with drummer Harvey Mason, bassist Dave Carpenter and many others of note. Filmed and recorded in front of an audience at a Los Angeles studio, the band covers pianist Bill Evans' "Blue in Green, amid up-tempo numbers and works highlighting the vocal talents of Kenya Hathaway. The guitarist revisits his signature composition, "Captain Fingers, to round out a program which includes nineteen songs. The DVD's are interspersed with Ritenour's reminisces about the past, including his participation with the popular "Fourplay, band. In addition, the footage was shot and recorded in the Hi-definition format.
Billy Martin and Socket
January 14 & 15 2005
Drummer Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin & Wood) delves into the avant-garde throughout this interweaving session recorded live at New York City's "Tonic venue. Vocalist Shelly Hirsch scats to the sounds of abstract jungle and rock grooves, along with Eyvid Kang's expressive violin improvisations. At times, the unit opts for an all-out blitz type approach, as these motifs tend to evolve via sub-plots and minimalist connotations. Martin and his percussionists blaze an asymmetrical path for the soloists while occasionally formalizing matters a bit. Nonetheless, Martin affords the musicians ample breathing room to explore and communicate newfound ideas.
Perky and somewhat streamlined, jazz-fusion effort led by Italian drummer Davide Pettirossi might cater to fans of the "Yellowjackets. It's all pleasant enough, thanks to a throng of melodic intervals, breezy soloing and other niceties. From a technician's standpoint, Pettirossi and his band-mates are no slouches. However, the material suffers from a distinct sense of uniformity: It's all been done before, as they say. Sure, the band has its moments, but you could very well file this one along with the hordes of indistinguishable recordings that to some extent, have given this genre a bad rap.