This 2006 release of an on-location recording features a non-working band of five musicians who live above 96th Street and have studied at the New School or the Manhattan School of Music. The sounds are less suggestive of the conservatory, however, than Rudy Van Gelder's Blue Note recording studio from the late '50s and early '60s, an association that's furthered by the inclusion of Sonny Clark's Blue Minor" from Cool Struttin' (1958), one of many seminal hard bop sessions for the legendary label.
It's not clear from either the music on the CD or Ira Gitler's liner notes ...read more
Let's start off with the meat of the matter: Live in New York is hard bop of the highest order; it drives straight ahead with a crackling energy. If Art Blakey can hear this disc up in jazz heaven, he surely has a big grin on his face.And now a tangent. You've got to love the cover art: a clean line design, nice geometry, a square within a square, and enclosed in the smaller of the two, a painting (by Madeline Bachan Kaur Sullivan) of five codgers on a bench--a bit of a joke, perhaps, about the relative ...read more
In the press materials accompanying Uptown Swing, trombonist Jeff Williams describes the Uptown 5 as a swing quintet playing mainly Basie and Basie influenced music utilizing the enormous and under-used sound of the trombone and tenor saxophone. The description is certainly true, as far as it goes, but it leaves out the palpable sense of joy these musicians communicate while playing the music they love. While the sounds are certainly not cutting edge, the affection evident in the performances brings the material right up to date.
Basie's Blue and Sentimental, almost the platonic conception of what one would ...read more