April 2009

AAJ Staff By

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The overflowing crowd of friends and fans filling the sanctuary of St. Peter's Church (Mar. 9th) for the memorial of David "Fathead" Newman was as grand a testament to the late saxophonist/flutist's humanity as the diverse roster of musicians performing in his honor was to the greatness of his artistry. Beginning with Dr. John's stirring solo piano/vocal rendition of "My Buddy," an impressive lineup of players and singers held forth for more than two hours. Many of them—like the vocalist Nancy Reed, with Randy Brecker on trumpet, who sang a beautiful "Nature Boy" (a song that came to be associated with Newman after he recorded it following his move to Woodstock)—were joined by members of Newman's last working band of David Leonhardt (piano), John Menegon (bass), Yoron Israel (drums) and Bryan Carrott (vibes). Newman's fellow Texans Cedar Walton, playing his "Holy Land" with a quartet that included Israel, Javon Jackson and David Williams, and Cynthia Scott, who delivered a swinging "Our Love Is Here To Stay," followed. Other highlights of the evening came from saxophonists Frank Wess, Joe Lovano and Lou Donaldson, but by far the most momentous musical offering was Newman's Ray Charles partner Marcus Belgrave playing "Hard Times," the song Fathead made famous, with David Sanborn and Howard Johnson in the frontline, equaled in emotion only by an excerpt from David Ritz' documentary film aka Fathead. —Russ Musto

Curtis Fuller

Curtis Fuller


New York City

March 6, 2009

With its weekly Jazz Legacy Series, the restaurant Creole has been regularly bringing world-class jazz to the community alternately known by its inhabitants as "El Barrio" or Upper Yorkville (depending on the length of their residency and the cost of their rent). The presence of NEA Jazz Master Curtis Fuller at this attractively appointed enterprise with a classic neighborhood vibe further established the room's growing importance as an uptown destination for swinging sounds. Leading a brassy quintet of Jim Rotondi and Don Sickler on trumpets and flugelhorns in the frontline and a strong rhythm section driven by former Dizzy Gillespie drummer Charlie Persip with Cecilia Coleman on piano and Ameen Saleem on bass, Fuller exhibited his lush burnished tone and still impressive technique on a program of mostly his originals, artfully assembled by music director Sickler. The second set on Friday night (Mar. 6th) began as something of a tribute to the recently departed trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, with the quintet (particularly Rotondi) blowing hard on Fuller's "Arabia" and sensitively on the late great hornman's waltzing "Up Jumped Spring". On "The Court," one of the more obscure Fuller compositions that rounded out the set, the trombonist used the microphone to coax a remarkable variety of tones from his horn. His famous soulfulness was in full view on "Mister L," but it was the imaginative calypso closer "Captain Kidd," that really got the audience moving. (RM)

—Russ Musto

Recommended New Listening:

* Michael Blake/Kresten Osgood—Control This (Clean Feed)

* Seamus Blake Quartet—Live in Italy (Jazzeyes)

* Fareed Haque & The Flat Earth Ensemble—Flat Planet (Owl Studios)

* Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra—Muse (with George Garzone) (Creative Nation)

* Ben Wendel—Simple Song (Sunnyside)

* Michael Wolff—Joe's Strut (Wrong)

—David Adler NY@Night Columnist, AllAboutJazz.com

* Michael Blake/Kresten Osgood—Control This (Clean Feed)

* Mark Dresser/Denman Maroney—Live in Concert (Kadima Collective)

* The Thirteenth Assembly—(Un) Sentimental (Important)

* Rakalam Bob Moses—Father's Day Bash (Sunnyside)

* NOMO—Invisible Cities (Ubiquity)

* Hal Schaefer—How Do You Like This Piano Playing? (Summit)

—Laurence Donohue-Greene Managing Editor, AllAboutJazz-New York

* John Butcher—Resonant Spaces (Confront)

* Fred Frith and Arte Quartett—Still Urban & The Big Picture (Intakt)

* Azar Lawrence—Prayer For My Ancestors (Furthermore)

* Revolutionary Ensemble—Beyond the Boundary of Time (Mutable Music)

* Bob Rodriguez—Portraits (Art of Life)

* Torden Kvartetten—Devil's Last Call (Ninth World Music)

—Andrey Henkin Editorial Director, AllAboutJazz-New York


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