Like the late Jaki Byard, Dave Burrell is a pianist with a broad grasp of older jazz repertoires, most strikingly those represented by Stride and Ragtime. Hybridizing these antique styles with post-bop and free elements his keyboard sound is a creative pastiche of past, present and possible future. This particular recital focuses attention on what could be considered his more ‘inside’ leanings. Brown’s proven versatility through past gigs with Max Roach and Odean Pope makes him a fine foil for the series of relaxed and lyrical duets. Encompassing a program of standards from various jazz eras from Jelly Roll Morton, through Ellington to John Coltrane the music tailored to their designs provides a tour that is both varied and accessible. Burrell’s firm, but buoyant syncopations on the Satchmo classic “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue” is a beautiful example, where the melodic and rhythmic integrity of the tune is both preserved and expanded upon. Brown plucks out a resilient throbbing line. Burrell’s “Samba Rondo” suggests a startling contrast pushing the pair into an impressionistic place as the pianist pecks out a sparse shower of tightly wound clusters around Brown’s febrile string strums.
Reeling back into quieter and sweeter sonorities the duo’s rendition of “You Go to My Head” once again celebrates the diversity of Burrell’s thematic affections. An open letter to the consummate drummer “Dear Mr. Roach,” shows off Brown’s composerly talents and incorporates a clutch of Monkish melodic angles. Angularity also reigns supreme on the lurching version “Caravan,” which weaves rag-like flourishes between the almost staccato rhythmic suspensions. The simplicity of “Shortnin’ Bread” is another study in contrasts and slips some with some audible hesitations from Burrell. The pianist’s own waltz “With a Little Time” re-establishes equilibrium and Burrell sounds positively resplendent in his explorations of the piece’s dark melody. Ending their concert appropriately with Trane’s “Giant Steps” the Burrell delights in the composition’s interlacing harmonic patterns comping another ragtime counter rhythm against the piece’s vertical theme while Brown sustains a bouncing rhythmic pulse. Another asset to the set is Marc Rusch’s ‘hands off’ approach to sound engineering, which allows the musicians and their instruments the space and freedom to breath and in turn creates a pristine facsimile of the live recital experience.
CIMP on the web: http://www.cadencebuilding.com
Track Listing: Never Let Me Go/ Struttin
Personnel: Dave Burrell- piano; Tyrone Brown- bass. Recorded: August 9, 2000, Canton, NY.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.