This cheery modern/mainstream jazz jubilee is brought to us by West Coast trumpeter Joel Penner and his sextet. There's nothing particularly novel here, but Penner and saxophonist Michael Rose render snazzy, finger-snapping charts through vigorously flowing swing, jazz-funk and other styles. The band also delves into Latin terrain, along with fast-paced bop lines. The highlight for me is their radiant, quasi-jazz-shuffle-blues spin on Keith Jarrett's "The Windup, where guitarist Doug Macdonald trades sprightly fours with the soloists as they respectively redefine melodies and harmonic intervals. Ultimately, Penner and his sextet churn out a series of stridently conceived and slightly edgy jazz standards. It's a workmanlike effort, performed with passion and gusto.
Dub Syndicate is a collective of space-dub heroes like bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Style Scott. This two-CD extravaganza is all about echoing trance overlays, booming bass lines and vocals by Big Youth, Junior Reed, Yasus Afari and others. Naturally, it's a groove-oriented endeavor; the artists capitalize and reformulate the sounds of reggae beats with Rob Smith's so called "mega-mixes and reverberating background treatments. Beyond the subculture implications, including the snazzy and ultra-hip text often used to describe these DJ/hip/groove/dub recordings, the music offers high-end entertainment. The dual CD package packs a mighty wallop, effectively revealing the various ways and angles in which a dub motif can be spun.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.