Jazz-beyond-rock: Tony Williams addressing today’s emergency

Spectrum Road -- electric guitarist Vernon Reid, bassist Jack Bruce, keyboardist John Medeski and drummer Cindy Blackman -- playing high energy, high volume music at the Blue Note (NYC) this weekend inspired by the jazz-rock amalgam the late, great Tony Williams created 40 years ago, seems utterly cutting edge. Or is it just my old ears, getting deaf to quieter subtleties? … [Read more...]

Big fun news: Santana weds Blackman, Herbie & Wayne play

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The rare notable jazz wedding to celebrate: Beyond-jazz, rock & Latin guitarist Carlos Santana to drummer Cindy Blackman, who's had a great recording year, issuing Another Lifetime, her smashing tribute to the late Tony Williams) and driving Organ Monk, Greg Lewis's trio album that made my top 10.Santana's best albums after the first one always have had a outward reach -- Abraxis, Caravanserai, his spiritualized rave up Love, Devotion and Surrender with John McLaughlin and organist Larry (Khalid Yasin) … [Read more...]

“Big Three” jazz guitarists extended to a couple dozen

In his article on the collaboration of Jim Hall and Bill Frisell in the April issue of Jazz Times, Evan Haga refers to the "Big Three" of current jazz guitarists: Frisell, John Scofield and John McLaughlin.Much as I dig them (and Hall), that designation is a rather typical journalistic foreshortening of a field, relegating to a rich second tier such high-profile powerhouse contenders as Pat Metheny, Pat Martino, Larry Coryell, James "Blood" Ulmer, Vernon Reid, George Benson, Les Paul, Russell Malone, Al Di Meola, Kenny Burrell, Toninho Horta, … [Read more...]

McLaughlin-Corea Five Peace Band and a fan’s disappointment

The Five Peace Band -- guitarist John McLaughlin, keyboardist Chick Corea, alto saxist Kenny Garrett, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade -- opened the last leg of a multi-month tour with a three-night stand at Jazz at Lincoln Center last night. The players' musicianship can't be faulted, their energy was high and they looked like they were deeply  engaged in having fun. So are my expectations and/or standards disproportionate, unfulfillable? Why at concert end did I feel more enervated than invigorated?  … [Read more...]