Pianist Uri Caine is quickly joining Ry Cooder, Don Byron, and to a lesser extent, Wynton Marsalis as an archivist of American popular music. Ry Cooder's 1978 recording Jazz (Warner Brothers 3197) deftly captured jazz for the '10s and '20s. Marsalis solemnly documents the '20s through the '50s (at one time or another). And Don Byron's brilliant Bug Music (Nonesuch 79438, 1996) attended the music of Raymond Scott, John Kirby and Duke Ellington with a deep-breath joy not found in Marsalis' similar treatments.
The Sidewalks of New York is an impressionistic documentary of late 19th and early 20th century popular music. Not music of the 1920s, the music of the pre -1920s. Each piece flows into the next, often with the background of street and bar noises, all providing a ambiance of a bustling city's life.
Caine has almost single-handedly reintroduced the accordion to other than ethnic music. He employed it with great effect in his Wagner document, Wagner e Venezia (Winter & Winter 910 013-2). The accordion (here played by the capable Dominic Cortez) plays a large role in providing these smoky diamonds with the quaint authenticity that makes them believable. The disc opens with a juxtaposition of a minimalist piano "Sidewalks of New York" and an accordion "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now." Full vocal treatments of "Has Anyone Here Seen Kelly" and "Life's a Funny Proposition After All" raise the disc above novelty, while Irving Berlin's "Cohen Owes Me Ninety-Seven Dollars" makes the disc almost essential. Uri Caine may be the most successful archivist of all.
Track Listing: Overture (Sidewalks Of New York, I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now); Too
Much Mustard; Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly; Life's A Funny Proposition
After All; Sidewalk Story (Daisy Bell, My Wild Irish Rose, Sugar Cane
Rag; Heliotrope Bouquet, My Gal Sal); Charleston Rag; Take Me Out To
The Ball Game; Everybody's Doin' It; Cohen Owes Me Ninety Seven
Dollars; By The Light Of The Silvery Moon; Nobody; Waiting For The
Robert E. Lee. Interlude (Sidewalks Of New York); By The Beautiful
Sea; In The Good Old Summertime; Some Of These Days; Castle Walk; They
Didn't Believe Me; Memphis Blues; After The Ball; You're A Grand Old
Flag; The Bowery; When I Leave The World Behind; Finale (The Sidewalks
Of New York); Coda (In The Good Old Summertime).
Personnel: Uri Caine: Music Director, Pianos, Vocals; Ralph Alessi, Dave Douglas:
Trumpets; Don Byron; Clarinet; Dominic Cortez: Accordion, Vocals; Eddy
Davis; Banjo; Bob Debtless; Flute; Mark Feldman: Violin; James Genus:
Bass; Ben Perowsky: Drums; Josh Roseman: Trombone; Bob Stewart: Tuba;
Nancy Anderson, Sadiq Bey, Renae Morway-Baker, Fay Galperin; Saul
Galperin; Philip Hernadez; Brian D'arcy Jones, Nancy Opel: Vocals.
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.