Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

107

David Lahm: Jazz Takes on Joni Mitchell

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
It would be so much easier (I presume) to review this new release by arranger/pianist David Lahm if one were at all familiar with the music of Joni Mitchell. I blush to admit that I am not. The only song by Mitchell I can remember being drawn to is “Clouds,” and that one isn’t here. So it’s back to square one (which, come to think of it, could be another name for one who doesn’t know anything about Joni Mitchell). Approaching Jazz Takes from the standpoint of an album of original and unknown (to me) compositions, I was immediately impressed by the swinging groove of its opening tune, “Solid Love,” with tasteful brass/harmonica/guitar riffs buttressing a smoldering tenor solo by Lew Tabackin. This is the first of nine songs by Mitchell reframed by Lahm, one of which, “The Blonde in the Bleachers,” comprises the first part of a medley with his own coda, “The Vamp from Hell.” Tabackin returns on “Blue Motel Room,” and his soulful, Jacquet–style performance on that ballad is another highlight (as is William Galison’s harmonica solo). Galison isn’t in the lineup on the alternate version of “Solid Love,” but Tabackin more than makes up for his absence with another warm–blooded solo (and sorry, William, but I like this one even better without the harmonica). In terms of Jazz content, “Solid Love” stands apart from the others, but several of them are quite engaging in their own way. Randy Brecker’s flugel brightens the ballad “Edith and the Kingpin,” vibraphonist David Friedman sparkles on the rhythmic “Song for Sharon,” and alto saxophonist Tom Chapin is all over his horn on the gospel–like “Shadows and Light.” To these ears, “Blonde in the Bleachers/Vamp from Hell” and “The Fiddle and the Drum” are less successful, but that’s only an opinion, not a pronouncement. Starting at ground zero, as I was here, I must assume that Lahm has fashioned commendable adaptations of Mitchell’s songs. Everyone plays well, and much of the music is worthwhile. For fans of Ms. Mitchell, an interesting “take” on her music; for the rest of us, a reasonably diverting hour or so of mainstream Jazz.

Track listing: Solid Love; Song for Sharon; Edith & the Kingpin; Coyote; Blue Motel Room; The Blonde in the Bleachers / The Vamp from Hell; Fiddle and the Drum; Solid Love (alt.); Shadows and Light (61:58).

Collective personnel: David Lahm, piano; Thomas Chapin, alto sax, flute; Lew Tabackin, tenor sax; Rick Centalonza, tenor sax, clarinet; Roger Rosenberg, soprano sax, bass clarinet; Jim O’Connor, trumpet; Randy Brecker, trumpet, flugelhorn; Ed Neumeister, trombone; Jack Schatz, bass trombone; David Friedman, vibes; Mike LeDonne, organ; William Galison, harmonica; Mark Feldman, violin; James Chirillo, rhythm guitar; Peter Herbert, Peter Washington, bass; Skulli Sverisson, electric bass; Ron Vincent, Kenny Washington, drums.

Contact: Arkadia Entertainment, 34 E. 23rd St., New York, NY 10010 (212–533–0007; e–mail jazz@arkadiarecords.com)


Title: Jazz Takes On Joni Mitchell | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Cristal Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "The Fever: The Remastered Epic Recordings" CD/LP/Track Review The Fever: The Remastered Epic Recordings
by Doug Collette
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Songs Without Words" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Without Words
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "June" CD/LP/Track Review June
by John Sharpe
Published: March 18, 2017
Read "Music Box Music" CD/LP/Track Review Music Box Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Fractured Pop" CD/LP/Track Review Fractured Pop
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts" CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017