Friday, May 05, 2006


Friday shuffle

1. "Bud on Bach," by Bud Powell, from Bud!
2. "Off Minor," by Thelonious Monk, from Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane
3. "Stolen Moments," by Oliver Nelson, from The Blues and the Abstract Truth
4. "After the Rain," by Duke Pearson, from Sweet Honey Bee
5. "Walkin' in Music," by Gary Burton, from Next Generation
6. "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," by Sonny Rollins, from Without a Song
7. "Knives Out," by Brad Mehldau Trio, from Day is Done
8. "Gypsy Blue," by Freddie Hubbard, from Open Sesame
9. "You Stepped Out of a Dream," by Dexter Gordon, from A Swingin' Affair
10. "Mildama," by Clifford Brown and Max Roach, from Brown and Roach, Inc.

Two new-ish albums showed up in this shuffle: Next Generation by Gary Burton and Day is Done by Brad Mehldau. Both are easy to recommend.

Burton is a vibraphonist whose 1998 album, Like Minds, is one of my favorite albums from recent years. That album featured Burton alongside titanic sidemen like Chick Corea and Roy Haynes -- players who needed no introduction. But Next Generation introduces Burton with an extremely young band of players who are just getting started. It's saying a lot, therefore, to say that this album compares in quality with Like Minds.

Brad Mehldau is routinely touted in the jazz media as this generation's Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett. It shouldn't be too much longer before he's simply this generation's Brad Mehldau. One reason he is frequently compared to Evans and Jarrett is his penchant for reinventing popular songs and standards. But whereas Evans and Jarrett liked to mine Broadway and Tin Pan Alley for ballads to jazz up, Mehldau prefers to turn to the repertoire of Radiohead. "Knives Out," the song that appears in this shuffle, is Mehldau's interesting take on one of the creepiest tracks on Radiohead's Amnesiac. On one of his other recent albums -- a solo record made Live in Tokyo -- Mehldau plays an epic version of "Paranoid Android," one of the singles from Radiohead's masterpiece, OK Computer.

Mehldau also likes to cover Nick Drake, but he can handle Gershwin too: the Tokyo album features a Jarrett-esque version of "Someone to Watch Over Me" with a beautiful introduction by Mehldau. Playing around with introductions to standards hearkens back to Bill Evans, whose famous composition, "Peace Piece," started off as an improvised introduction to "Some Other Time."

Argh! Now I've spent half of a post comparing Mehldau to Jarrett and Evans too! Trust me, though: he doesn't need the comparisons to warrant a listen.

Collective Improvisation:
Hi Caleb, -- I've been meaning to drop you a line re: your Jazz Primer. I found it to be quite interesting. My wife is a trained jazz saxophonist. She studied with George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi.

Yesterday she brought home George Garzone's Modiology and Ahmad Jamal's after fajr. Both are quite good. Have a nice weekend.

Posted by Blogger Kevin on 5/05/2006 03:50:00 PM : Permalink  

Post a Comment

Back to Main Page

Site Meter