Trumpeter/educator and big band leader Bob Lark, reunites his Alumni Big Band after their critically acclaimed debut Reunion (Jazzed Media 2012), produced some of the best Jazz orchestrations in the business. Sweet Return is the group's encore performance, their return engagement, their audacious follow up and another masterful stroke by leader Lark. This Alumni band is comprised of eighteen players that the trumpeter has directed throughout his nearly thirty years as a band leader and draws on their talents for the fresh new arrangements and original compositions that make this return so sweet. The music starts swinging right ...read more
As many of you know, I've discontinued my column here at All About Jazz called the Mort Report." See my final one (number 22), aptly named My Final Mort Report." Clever, what? My reports were mostly autobiographical, as I kind of put myself on automatic pilot and opened the storage lockers of my brain to let the good times and the bad times roll. In retrospect, they sure as hell did. I read some awhile back, as I was kicking testosterone shots cold turkey and would burst into tears at a cricket fart. Reliving some of the shit I used ...read more
Yep, this is the Senor Blues" album. That's not the name, obviously, but it could be. This outstanding hard bop CD, recorded by Horace Silver's quintet in 1956, has 10 tracks, and three of them are Senor Blues." No wonder. It's arguably the best track in the collection--a Spanish-tinged slow blues toe-tapper. Even so, three versions may be one too many. First, there's the album version. It's a 7-minute original by Silver himself. It's a groovy piece with a catchy hook, featuring nice bluesy solos by Donald Byrd on trumpet, Hank Mobley on tenor sax and ...read more
Benny Golson's timeless ballad, I Remember Clifford" is but one measure of the reverence and love with which Clifford Brown was regarded by musicians, friends, family, and fans. The affection in which he was held during his lifetime was made all the more poignant by his untimely death at the peak of his rapidly advancing career. Over the years, legends and myths have grown up around Brownie, and, although most are based on loving memories, many of the details of his life were lost in the shuffle. Don Glanden, pianist and Division Head of Graduate Jazz Studies at The University ...read more
Clark Terry Keep On Keepin' On RADiUS-TWC 2014 Produced by Quincy Jones and Paula Dupre' Pesmen with first time filmmaker Al Hicks the multiple award winning documentary Keep On Keepin' On brings an intimate view into the extraordinary friendship between trumpet great Clark Terry and aspiring young pianist Justin Kauflin. The film begins with what seems like a simple teacher/student session. But there's something different about the setting. Terry is almost bedridden, wearing a robe and oxygen mask and in declining health. Kauflin is blind. As the lesson concludes there's a shared gratitude between the ...read more
After recording his first CD as leader in 2001, New York-based trombonist Jason Jackson took his time before releasing a second--thirteen years, to be exact. To say it was worth the wait would clearly be an understatement. Inspiration, on which Jackson employs horn, rhythm and string sections to emblazon his musical scenario, is a superb anthology recorded in three sessions spanning a decade and spotlighting along the way such eminently talented artists as Slide Hampton, Dick Oatts, Pete Christlieb, Terell Stafford, Evan Christopher, Steve Wilson, Rufus Reid and Roy Hargrove, not to mention Jackson himself, a Renaissance man who not ...read more
Jazz fiddlers are not exactly household renowned. Joe Venuti, Ray Nance, Stephane Grappelli, Michal Urbaniak, Svend Asmussen, Jean-luc Ponty and Regina Carter pop to the forefront, but then the list falls off quickly. Presently there emerges one Nora Germain (a name made to be in lights if there ever was one) who not only fiddles but also sings. She might be considered a more mainstream jazz Natalie Cressman, a singer/composer who doubles on trombone. Her voice is all jaunty NYC (perhaps due to time she spent at the New School) despite her originating on the Left Coast. ...read more
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