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Jazz Journal

Spring 2018


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Jazz Journal is a regular column consisting of pithy takes on recent jazz releases of note as well as spotlights on those titles in the genre that might otherwise go unnoticed under the cultural radar.

Charles Mingus
Live at Montreux 1975
Eagle Records

Right from the opening notes of Charlies Mingus' jaunty insistent bass, Live at Montreaux 1975 captures the idiosyncratic jazz icon's personality to a T. Challenging charts for the ensemble are the foundation for vigorous musicianship where the leader, in his own inimitable and irascible fashion, prods his sidemen (and their two estimable guests) to play with their utmost sense of engagement and adventure. As such, the muscular music filling this double CD set (the second of which runs only about twenty-five minutes in duration), is alternately too rollicking and incisive—but with an implicitly demanding tone as befits the leader of the band.

Patrick Zimmerli Quartet
Songlines Recordings

The ticking that commences Clockworks turns out to be the only over-obvious aspect of this engrossing record. Composing, arranging and performing with equal parts ingenuity and nuance, Zimmerli and the members of his ensemble sound like they can each sense where the others are going at any given time, a demonstration of sharp instinct(s) that in turn lends purpose to the individual playing as well as direction to the collective performance. Yet it's not at all clinical: the sense of joyful play is all too palpable on this LP, as is an atmosphere that's too enticing to allow the music to function as mere background sounds.

Dave Liebman/Tatsuya Nakatani/Adam Rudolph
The Unknowable
Rare Noise

Whether the musicians intended it or not, the thirteen tracks that compriese this album flow together as a single pice of music. Melody and rhythm lines take shape slowly and almost indiscernibly via various horns, percussion, keyboards and electronics; until their logic, such as it is, becomes readily apparent. As such, these three musicians are presenting an object lesson in ever-so-subtle musicianship, that is, If there is anything more difficult that marshaling the intensity of the playing, it's maintaining sufficient patience in theto fully explore ideas as they become manifest through their interaction.

Mike Jones & Penn Jillette
The Show Before The Show
Capri Records

Penn Jillette may not exactly be a renaissance man but this unceasingly jaunty concert release does mark at least his second venture outside that of his four-decades long partnership with Teller: he also wrote an erudite yet personally revealing essay for the Deluxe Edition of Bob Dylan's last archive release, Trouble No More (Legacy Recordings, 2017). Its sixty-minutes plus consists of ten tracks woven seamlessly together and whether the piano/bass duo played this clutch of standards (plus one Jones original "Box Viewing blues") in such breathless sequence matters less than it works on CD, uninterruptedly setting an upbeat mood the likes of which anyone would relish as precursor to a show of their choice (or a party at their home).

Jeff Hamilton Trio
Live From San Pedro
Capri Records

So much of a high-spirited piece with the Jones/Jillette LP, it might be construed as a companion piece, drummer Hamilton's trio piece with pianist Tamir Hendelman and bassist Christop Luty is a slightly more dynamic outing, if only because some measure of quiet reflection appears as on "Poinciana." Yet crucial elements tie the two albums together: naturally intuitive interplay between the musicians, all of which is captured in great detail via a full-bodied recording, here courtesy recordist Bill Smith, missix engineer Steve Genewick and mastering technician Ron McMaster, all three of whom are as integral to the success of this project as the musicians themselves.

Tracks and Personnel

Live at Montreux 1975

CD 1: Devil Blues; Free Cell Block F Tis Nazi U S; Sue's Changes. CD 2: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; Take The "A" Train

Charles Mingus: bass; Don Pullen: piano, Jack Walrath: trumpet, George Adams: tenor saxophone, flute and vocals; Gerry Mulligan: baritone saxphone; Benny Bailey: trumpet; Dannie Richmond: drums.


A Scattering of Stars (Distension Variation); Pendulum; Metric Variation; Waltz of the Polyrhythmic Palindrome; Linear Variation; The Center of the Clock; Entropic Variation; Boogaloo of the Polyrhythmic Palindrome; Harmonic Variation' Windup; A Scattering of Stars (Theme)

Patrick Zimmerli, tenor saxophone; Ethan Iverson, piano[ Christopher Tordini, bass; John Hollenbeck, drums.

The Unknowable

Tracks: Benediction (Opening); The Simple Truth; Late Moon; The Unknowable; Skyway Dream; Transmutations; The Turning; Present Time; Distant Twilight; Iconographic; Cosmogram; Premonition; Benediction (Closing).Tracks: First Track; Second Track.

Personnel: Dave Liebman: tenor and soprano saxophones, c flute, native american flute, recorder, piri, fender rhodes; Adam Rudolph: hand drum set (knogos, djembe, tarija, zabumba), thumb piano, sintir, mbuti harp, slit drum, percussion, overtone flutes, fender rhodes, live electronic processing Tatsuya Nakatani: drum kit, gongs, metal percussion, percussion, double bass, drums

The Show Before the Show

Tracks: Broadway; Corcovado; But Not For Me; Have You Met Miss Jones; There Is No Greater Love; Manha De Carnaval; Tangerine; On The Sunny Side Of The Street; Box Viewing Blues; Exactly Like You.

Personnel: Mike Jones: piano; Penn Jillette: bass. Live From San Pedro

Tracks: Sybille's Day; Poinciana; Hammer's Tones; I Have Dreamed; In Walked Bud; Gina's Groove; Brush This; Bennissimo; Gary, Indiana; Hoosier Friend.

Personnel: Jeff Hamilton: drums; Tamir Hendelman: piano; Christoph Luty: bass.

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Emerald and Sapphire
Ryan Haines Big Band
Weary Gold
Danielle Friedman
My Heart Speaks
Ivan Lins
Mendoza - Hoff - Revels


On the record

Vibes on a Breath
Ted Piltzecker
Jonathan Karrant
Brazilian Match
Luiz Millan
Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio

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