All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Record Label Profiles

Dreyfus Records: Crossing Continents with Music

By Published: August 26, 2010
While there's a long way from the chamber-like waltzes of Richard Galliano to the full-blown heat of the Mingus Big Band
Mingus Big Band
Mingus Big Band

, what they share is a sense of swing and intimacy. Since its beginning, the Mingus Big Band has revitalized the music of bassist and composer Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
, making the music burn with a wide spectrum of instrumental colors. Over the years, the big band has included such names as pianists Kenny Drew, Jr.
Kenny Drew, Jr.
Kenny Drew, Jr.
and David Kikoski
David Kikoski
David Kikoski
and saxophonists like Chris Potter
Chris Potter
Chris Potter
and Seamus Blake
Seamus Blake
Seamus Blake
sax, tenor
. However, while the orchestra certainly features a host of strong individual voices, what really matters is the organic unity of the band. Gunslinging Birds (Dreyfus, 1995) is the second album from the big band and catches it in one of its earliest and most forceful incarnations. The program includes such classics as "Reincarnation of Love Bird" and "Fables of Fabus," but also gives room for more undervalued material like the madly swinging homage to bassist Oscar Pettiford
Oscar Pettiford
Oscar Pettiford
1922 - 1960
, "O.P.," and the gut-wrenching "Hog Callin' Blues." With a sound that is both contemporary and faithful towards Mingus' musical intentions, the Mingus Big Band is a beautiful example of Francis Dreyfus' intention of making jazz history relevant to the modern listener. It is music that combines the threads of the past and the present in a bodily cry for freedom and peace.

Ahmed Jamal

A Quiet Time

Dreyfus Records


Another example of a forward-thinking traditionalist is the pianist Ahmad Jamal, perhaps the most famous name on the label. While Jamal's prominence is mostly due to the recordings he did in the late 1950s and 1960s, especially the groundbreaking recordings from The Pershing and The Spotlite Club, he still continues to enhance the vocabulary of his art. A nice addition to the conventional form of the trio has been the addition of percussionist Manolo Badrena who played on It's Magic and also finds his way into Jamal's release from 2010, A Quiet Time. While the title points to the contemplative mood of the album, it also a little deceiving, because it's certainly not a slow ballad-album. Instead, Jamal navigates between gentle lyricism and brisk waves of rhythm and melodic embellishments. Badrena gives a nice exotic touch to tunes like title track and "My Inspiration," adding a productive dynamic for Jamal to play against. All the while, Jamal's longtime collaborator bassist James Cammack and new drummer Kenny Washington - Vocals
Kenny Washington - Vocals
Kenny Washington - Vocals
add a supple rhythmic accompaniment to the luxurious phrasings of the pianist, always in tune to the unexpected moves from the keys.

A Quiet Time is a another strong album from Jamal who has released some of his most significant works on Dreyfus Jazz. Though Francis Dreyfus has passed away, the spirit of his musical generosity still lingers on in the releases that come from label. They are about curiosity, quality and trans-cultural collaborations, a beautiful proof that music is able to bridge the gap between past and present, self and other. It's an idealistic enterprise, perhaps, but, nevertheless, a viable goal for one of the great jazz labels in the business.

Tracks and Personnel

Steve Grossman Quartet with Michel Petrucciani

Tracks: Ebb Tide; Inner Circle; Song For My Mother; Parisian Welcome; You Go To My Head; Body & Soul; Why Don't I?; Don't Blame Me; Theme For Ernie; In A Sentimental Mood.

Personnel: Steve Grossman: saxophone; Michel Petrucciani: piano; Andy McKee: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

In & Out

Tracks: You Stepped Out Of A Dream; Come With Me; In & Out; Hey Now; L'Oreille Est Hardie; When You're In My Arms; Neutralisme; Well, You Needn't.

Personnel: Johnny Grifin: tenor saxophone; Martial Solal: piano.

True Story

Tracks: The Other Night; Relic; PBH Factor; A Brief History Of Time; High Sky, The Elegant Universe; Mornings With Franz; Kingston, NY; Try To Remember; B.B.B.; My Heart Belongs To Daddy; True Story Scene 1; True Story Scene 2; True Story, Scene 3; True Story, Scene 4; True Story, Scene 5.

Personnel: Jean-Michel Pilc: piano; Boris Kozlov: bass; Billy Hart: drums.


Tracks: Silenzio; Pasolini; Il Camino Part I; Il Camino Part II; Gamelan; Touch of a Woman; Elis; Celestina; Dreams and Waters; Starless Night; For Michel; Il Camino Part III; Jazz Messengers.

Personnel: Aldo Romano: drums, guitar, vocals; Lionel Belmondo: soprano & tenor saxophone, flute; Eric Legnini : piano; Thomas Bramerie: bass; Stéphane Belmondo: trumpet; Philippe Gautier: flute; Jérôme Voisin: clarinet, bass clarinet; Bernard Burgun: vocals; François Christin: vocals; Cécile Hardouin: bassoon; Bastien Stil: tuba; Géraldine Laurent : alto saxophone; Xavier Desandre-Navarre: percussion.

Lennie's Pennies

Tracks: Lennie's Pennies; Love Letters; How Deep is the Ocean; 74 Miles Aways; Picchi; Over Lines; Dear Father; The Peacocks; Un Des Sans; Goldfish; Patience.

comments powered by Disqus