Friday, July 23, 2004


Jazz Picks

From time to time, I will post some jazz picks on the sidebar.  These will usually be what I'm listening to now, with every once in a while a highly recommended classic.  I'll include links to the CDs' allmusic reviews, which tend to be very reliable.  But I'll also try to post some brief comments of my own.

Current picks include two trumpet features ...

Tomasz Stanko Quartet/Suspended Night.  A very mellow trumpet quartet from Poland.  I like Stanko's sound--spare like Miles, gutsy like Jackie McLean.  But the show stealer, I think, is the rhythm section, particularly pianist Marcin Wasilewski, whose voicings are extremely rich and evocative.  The allmusic review is on to something, though, when it suggests that the CD's ten "Suspended Variations" on a single theme aren't always varied enough, and are sometimes too suspended.  I bought this CD in part because I'd like to know more about European jazz.  In 2000 I happened to be in Cortona, Italy, during an open-air jazz festival there.  The show was really good, and I regret that I don't remember the artist's name.  He appeared mainly on European labels, and the fans definitely knew him.  There's a whole transatlantic scene there worth hearing, and it's interesting to me to hear what is usually thought of as quintessentially American music being played by appreciative musicians in other national traditions.

Freddie Hubbard/Ready for Freddie.  It is hard to remember what life was like before Blue Note's Rudy Van Gelder series.  Here's another classic from a time when artists didn't belong to labels, and incredible jam sessions could be cooked up on a moment's notice to record amazing all-star albums.


Collective Improvisation:

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