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March 2004

Glenn Astarita By

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Selected Recordings

Eberhard Weber

ECM Records

The latest wave of ECM Records' Rarum series includes German bass great Eberhard Weber’s hand-picked selections spanning 1974-2000. Weber produced some notable outings for the record label; many of these pieces feature his work with the likes of Gary Burton, Ralph Towner, Bill Frisell, and others. The fun factor within this series partly resides within guessing which songs the artist will select. It is a treat to hear these wonderful pieces, re-mastered and grouped on what is basically a Best Of compilation. ECM includes a discography, the artists’ liners, personnel listings, and photos. Overall, this is a must-have for fans of this truly unique bassist.

Dreyfus Night In Paris

Marcus Miller – Michel Petrucciani – Bireli LaGrene – Lenny White – Kenny Garrett

Dreyfus Jazz

Recorded in 1994, this live event documents the second Dreyfus Night performance. The late pianist Michel Petrucciani served as the master of ceremonies for this acoustic-electric based program. Nonetheless, it’s a multinational get together for several jazz stars. The artists perform three lengthy pieces primarily founded upon various jazz-funk grooves and a wealth of soloing spots. There’s not much that could be considered strikingly novel here, but it’s a nicely recorded live session characterized by the musicians' upbeat performances.

Hold On

Billy Dechand

Muss My Hair

Singer-songwriter Billy Dechand recorded these sessions in Chapel Hill N.C., and New York City. Given that, he’s difficult to pigeonhole. Dechand’s impish vocals and crunchy, electric guitar licks accelerate various grooves that contain moments of dissonance or sweet melodies. The various musicians coalesce for a sound that sometimes transmits notions of a well-rehearsed garage band, via a diverse track mix. Dechand writes about refuse, love, and other topics via a quirky musical demeanor. He’s an interesting voice amid the sometimes uninteresting East Coast nouveau rock scene.

The Surrealist Table

Ken Hatfield Trio

Arthur Circle Music

Ken Hatfield uses a classical acoustic guitar for this most enjoyable set. Hatfield’s guitar work is not stereotypical of what many of his predecessors are noted for. He simply intertwines subtle melodies with winding discourses and polyrhythmic time signatures. It’s a comprehensive musical journey without becoming too heady, yet palpable for both the mainstreamers, and progressive jazz aficionados. In time, Hatfield should become a recognizable force within the global jazz community.

Airstreams & Satellites

Garrison Starr

Vanguard Records

Vocalist Garrison Starr’s angelic voice serves as an extremely effective complement to her ensemble’s electric pop/rock oriented riffs. She’s a shrewd tunesmith for sure. In many instances, the singer morphs a Southern rock sound, although her methodology and approach is not just about radio-pop type fare. To that end, Ms Starr’s subtly compelling way of spinning a tale, translates into a demure stylization, marked by traces of influence and authority.

Strange Liberation

Dave Douglas

RCA Bluebird

There’s a reason why trumpeter Dave Douglas is a perennial poll-winner. To coincide with the kudos and recognition, his recordings generally find there way on many critics' Top 10 lists. Consequently, Douglas has hit a home run here, with his latest release featuring guitar hero Bill Frisell. Not only does the guitarist add a jazz-fusion twist to the proceedings, but the trumpeter’s longtime associate, Uri Caine employs a Fender Rhodes piano. The sextet covers quite a bit of ground, but it is all tangible and cohesively arranged. They burn through torrid time signatures, in concert with sanguine blues grooves and dabs of background treatments. In addition, Douglas, and saxophonist Chris Potter integrate regally articulated melodies into the variable flows.

Sapphire Blue

Larry Carlton

Bluebird Jazz

Guitarist Larry Carlton takes on the blues with his latest outing. A zestful horn section, keyboard performers, and a rhythmic unit support him, whereas the artists gets down and dirty while maintaining his customary eloquence. It’s an up-tempo vibe manifested by Carlton’s clean licks and the ensemble’s jazzed-up arrangements. A nicely produced and altogether pleasing engagement it is!


Pablo Aslan

ZOHO Music

Argentinean double bassist Pablo Aslan is a notable proponent of New York City’s Tango-Jazz scene. Backed by fellow Argentine musicians such as trumpeter Diego Urcola and others, the bassist covers tango luminary, Astor Piazzolla’s tunes, and original works. It’s a delightful outing indeed, as the octet expounds upon Piazzolla’s methodology in concert with a slight edge towards progressive jazz frameworks. Aslan is most assuredly one to watch!

Lullabies of Birdland – A Musical Autobiography

George Shearing


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