If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.
You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...
Folk's Songs, led by drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts and his group Tain and the Ebonix, comprises ten compositions, including seven Watts originals all dedicated to various folks. The tunes not composed by Watts are by pianists Keith Jarrett ("Rotation and "Rotation II ) and the late Kenny Kirkland ("Blasphemy ). Specific tune dedications range from other musicians such as Curtis Mayfield, Branford Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland and the late Dewey Redman to comedian Dave Chappell, artist Jean Michel Basquiat and all the citizens of Earth. The recording primarily employs the talents of Marcus Strickland on saxophones, Christian McBride on basses, and David Kikoski on piano.
Pieces of particular note are "Ling's Lope, "Laura Elizabeth, and "Blues 4 Curtis. "Ling's Lope capture's much of the musical spirit of its dedicatee, saxophonist Branford Marsalis. The tune's head sounds inspired by the music of Thelonious Monk, with an angular melodic line that includes well-placed and purposeful non-harmonic tones. Along with the wonderfully loping groove and Strickland's approach on tenor, Ling's Lope certainly brings to mind Marsalis' playing.
The beautifully playful "Laura Elizabeth, dedicated to Watts' girlfriend, features Strickland's engaging soprano saxophone and Kikoski's expressive piano work. "Blues 4 Curtis offers a good deal of variety in terms of rhythmic feel. The opening of the tune is a very groove(y) vamp associated with the sound of early 1970s Curtis Mayfield. Its opening vamp leads to a minimal head played by Strickland on tenor and David Gilmore on guitar. The groove under the saxophone/guitar head ultimately changes to a more swinging feel with a heavy backbeat on Watts' snare. Strickland's solo is backed up by yet another rhythmic feel, more akin again to early 1970's jazz/funk. After Gilmore's solo in a similar vein, the band literally swings into another feel altogether as Strickland and Gilmore return to the tune's head.
Overall Folk's Songs is an enjoyable collection of well-performed compositions. A good example of modern straight-ahead jazz, the listening experience may be more meaningful as the result of the dedications to particular individuals, as it no doubt was for Watts.
Track Listing: Samo; Rotation; Ling's Lope; Seed of Blackzilla; Laura Elizabeth; Galilee; Blues 4 Curtis; Rotation II; Same Page
Personnel: Jeff "Tain" Watts: drums, percussion; Marcus Strickland: tenor and soprano sax; Christian McBride: acoustic and electric bass; David Kikoski: piano; Juan Tanish: vocals (9); David Gilmore: guitar (7, 9); Henry Hey: keyboards (6, 7, 10); Samuel Torres: percussion (10).
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.