German label Nagel Heyer knows a good thing when it sees and hears it. This is the third time it has brought New Orleans/post bop trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and contemporary jazz pianist Eric Reed into the studio. But stylistic classifications are set aside when they get together. These two clearly have a special bond which comes through in the fun and excitement they have with the tunes they play with their extraordinary talents. The play list pretty much resembles their first two releases although this time there's no Monk. There's a fair amount of gospel oriented music along with some originals by each of the stars. "He Looked Beyond My Fault", which was on one of their earlier efforts, shows up again. The other major difference is that they are by themselves here. No one else is around to help out or get in the way, depending on your point of view. And they do have a grand time with the music. On "Embraceable You", for example, Gordon comes close to a Tricky Sam Nanton wah wah mute trombone for this classic standard laid on top of a romantic elegant piano by Reed. Quite a contrast and they pull it off magnificently. "The Lord's Prayer" is outright adorational with the unsullied trombone tone of Gordon riding on top of the dramatic piano of Reed. One feels almost compelled to stand up out of respect. It's like going to church and discovering two of the country's top jazz players are doing the music. Gordon reminds everyone that he can sing a tune or two with nonsense lyrics on "This Rhythm on My Mind" and with a bunch of wordless vocalizing.
In this day and age of record companies and performers striving to find something different, working hard, and usually failing, to merge jazz with all sorts of other popular music styles, Nagel Heyer simply gets two very talented young jazz artists into the studio and lets them take off. The results are extraordinary. Good stuff and recommended. Learn more about the record company and the performers by going to the following web sites, www.ericreed.com, www.music.msu.edu/faculty/gordon.html and www.nagelheyer.com.
Track Listing: The Lord's Prayer; Paris Blues; This Rhythm On My Mind; Embraceable You; Precious Lord Take My Hand; Lament; Toast My Bread; He Looked Beyond My Fault; He Cares. (Total Time: 55:15).
Personnel: Wycliffe Gordon: trombone; Eric Reed: piano.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.