Before We Say Goodbye To 2012
Jazz listeners, especially those who have come to the music in the last 30 years, might not be aware of the provincial nature of jazz players and their music. While we all know of the prodigious talents of Joe Lovano, few are aware of his father Tony 'Big T" Lovano who was a Cleveland institution of a saxophonist. Locals knew Big T and any New York player traveling through town was sure to hook up with him. Same for guitarist Teddy Pantelas, a self-taught Northeastern Ohio legend.
Any night the past 30 or so years you could have heard him entertaining the locals or schooling a Dana School of Music student on a bandstand in Youngstown, Ohio. So, when he is convinced to record another record, that experience is readily apparent. Heard in duo with fellow guitarist Michael Grappo and backed by Jeff Grubbs (bass) and Nathan Douds (drums), Pantelas delivers six covers and his own composition "Split Second." His signature sound is equal parts Pat Metheny and Wes Montgomery. That is to say he's adept at picking and swinging. The opener, John Coltrane's "The Promise" is taken at a quicker pace than the original, to refresh the sound. On the other hand, the standard "Softly As A Morning Sunrise" is given a leisurely rendition, tapping its essence. Split between left and right channels, Pantelas and Grappo's guitars compliment each other as if they were twins separated at birth.
Ig Henneman Sextet
Live @ the Ironworks Vancouver
Sometimes it is difficult to recognize where the compositions end and improvisation begins with Ig Henneman's Sextet. The second release from this ensemble follows Cut a Caper (Wig, 2011) and features her oft partner Ab Baars playing tenor saxophone, clarinet, and maybe the highlight here heard on "Kindred Spirits," an inspired shakuhachi. While these two often play duos, this sextet includes the amazing improvisers Axel Dörner (trumpet) and Wilbert De Joode (bass), plus Henneman's partners in from the Queen Mab Trio, Lori Freedman (clarinets) and Marilyn Lerner (piano).
The violist's compositions indeed leave abundant room for improvisation, a rare commodity in live music performance today, silence. With all the firepower her Tentet, String Quartet, and this Sextet possess, she seems partial to the silence between the notes, the thought unspoken, and even crowd noise. "Light Verse" toys with the gentle interplay between the players, offering the melody as a preamble to Dörner's growling extended technique, Baars' stabbing clarinet, and Henneman's whispered solo. The Sextet's chamber works, such as these composed tracks, paired with the restrained and disciplined improvising of virtuoso performers makes for a great experience.
Craig Green + Dave king
Long Song Records
The second duo from guitarist Craig Green and The Bad Plus drummer Dave King, Moontower follows the same format as the eponymously titled Craig Green + Dave King (Long Sound Records, 2008). The duo laid down a series of improvised pieces, here arranged as a suite, over two days in Minneapolis. Without the benefit of overdubs or edits the six pieces, and bonus track is pithy and succinct. The sounds are delivered as if a soundtrack to a futuristic Western. Open plains permeate with the echoey guitars and minimalist beat. It isn't until the penultimate track, "Dave King," and bonus "1980's ECM Records," that King has a proper go at his drum kit. These tracks are more about atmosphere and mood.
King's minimalist approach to percussion, his use of odd toys, and here, organ, reveals an introverted personality, or perhaps a perfect accompaniment for Green's desolate sound. The guitarist provides plenty of echoey textures to paint an exposed bleak landscape. Sometimes the visual is not required, nonetheless this music summons a mighty thirst.
Tracks and Personnel
The Art Of The Soprano Vol. 1
Tracks: The Ellington Medley: In a Mellow Tone; Soprano de Aficana: Burkino Faso; A Love Supreme: Acknowledgement; Soprano de Africana: Sub Saharan Dialogue; The Ellington Medley: In a Sentimental Mood; Soprano de Afriacana: Zulu Witch Doctor; A Love Supreme: Resolution; The Ellington Medley: Caravan; Soprano de Africana: Fela!; A Love Supreme: Pursuance; A Love Supreme: Psalm.
Personnel: Sam Newsome: soprano saxophone.
Tracks: In Pursuit of Pleasure; Playing with Mercury; The Sloth; Enigma; Living Jelly.
Personnel: Ivo Perelman: tenor saxophone; Joe Morris: guitar; Gerald Cleaver: drums.
Tracks: Too Good To Be True; The Gift; The Gratuitous Act; Refugee; What Is Anguish? Submission To The Process; A Ride On A Camel; A Flower Bewitched And Too Bright By Far; Without Any Warning; Enlistment .
Personnel: Ivo Perelman: tenor saxophone; Matthew Shipp: piano; Michael Bisio: bass.