Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

48

Todd Bishop Group: Little Played Little Bird

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
In the twilight days of the compact disc as a sound storage device, the most compelling reason for keeping what still seems a "new" audio media (compared to wax cylinders and 78s) in the face of purely electronic media is "concept" or "thematic" releases. One such example was drummer Todd Bishop's Pop Art 4 album, 69 Annee Erotique (Origin Records, 2009). This excellent release surveyed the music of French pop artist Serge Gainsbourg, music with popularity in Europe, little heard in the United States. Bishop used this collection of music as a vehicle for novel arrangements and improvisation, turning it into a more than familiar period sound and thereby achieving greater New World exposure for one of France's greatest artists.

Bishop has picked another enigmatic subject in Ornette Coleman, assembling a collection of never before covered compositions (save for "Lonely Woman"). Coleman's enigma extends to the disc's title, Little Played Little Bird. The "Little Played" represents the songs from Coleman's book that are rarely covered. Coleman was never called "Little Bird" like Sonny Stitt or Frank Morgan, but the association could not have been clearer. As it turns out, the name Ornette literally means "Little Eagle" or "Little Bird" in Old English. Bishop does with this repertoire what he did with the Gainsbourg material; he refracts it through the prism of his experience, making something new and vital.

The music selected by Bishop covers 1959—"Lonely Woman" from The Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic)—to 1987—"Feet Music" from In All Languages (Caravan of Dreams). The band Bishop assembled to perform this rarified music is notable for the lack of an alto saxophone. Instead, Bishop heads up a quintet made up of Hristo Vitchev's pianist Weber Iago, bass reeds player Richard Cole, tenor and soprano saxophonist Tim Willcox, and bassist Bill Athens. In contrast to much of Coleman's work, Bishop's inclusion of Iago on piano lends a greater harmonic depth, and therefore, a foundation to these ruminative compositions.

Bishop's performances plumb the freedom inspired by Coleman while placing the composer's song in a postmodern light. Most notably, the plaintive alto wail that is the hallmark of "Lonely Woman" is conspicuously absent, the underlying theme presented instead by Willcox on tenor and Cole cleverly on bass clarinet. Iago plays nervous, percussive dances in the background. Iago's use of the Wurlitzer on "Friends and Neighbors" and "Country Town Blues" is very effective. For a collection based on music where the piano is anathema, Iago discharges himself admirably on both keyboards. The leader provides that vibe essential to the Coleman sound—that controlled chaos that so permeated post bop in the wake of John Coltrane's classic quartet and Miles Davis's second great quintet—freewheeling and solid.

Track Listing: Mothers of the Veil; Enfant; Feet Music; Comme Il Faut; Friends and Neighbors; Check Up; Country and Town Blues; Lonely Woman; Strange As It Seems.

Personnel: Richard Cole: bass clarinet, baritone, tenor and soprano saxophones; Tim Willcox: tenor and soprano saxophones; Bill Athens: bass; Todd Bishop: drums.

Title: Little Played Little Bird | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Origin Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Warning: include(/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php5:/data/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html:/usr/share/php') in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

More Articles

Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Vertical CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Open Book" CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Malnoia" CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Float The Edge" CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by John Sharpe
Published: July 23, 2017
Read "Aerial" CD/LP/Track Review Aerial
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Blues and Boogie Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "No Matter Where Noir" CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017