Hank Jones, 88

I had just sat down to write a tribute to Hank Jones on his 88th birthday when I was alerted to a column about Hank by Mark Stryker in the Detroit Free Press. I may flatter myself that I know and understand a great deal about the elegant Mr. Jones, but on my best day I could not improve on what Stryker wrote. I wish Hank a happy birthday and enthusiastically recommend that you read Stryker's article. Here's a sample: Jones' marriage of grace and guts created the template for a school of modern … [Read more...]

CD

One For All, The Lineup (Sharp Nine). I have groused often enough, maybe too often, about soundalike improvisers in the younger generations of jazz players. One For All have their audible influences but for the most part they are happy exceptions to the carbon copy rule. In addition, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trumpeter Jim Rotondi, trombonist Steve Davis, pianist David Hazeltine, bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth are a band, not just a bunch of guys thrown together to … [Read more...]

CD

Neil Blumofe, Piety and Desire (Horeb). If you know New Orleans, you recognize Piety and Desire as the names of streets. If you know Jewish liturgy, piety and desire have additional meaning. If you think you know New Orleans music, you are likely to find surprises in this melding of Jewish and secular wedding themes, protestant hymns, blues, street parade rhythms, the sensibilities of traditional and modern New Orleans jazz and the spirit of a city determined to recover from disaster. Blumofe … [Read more...]

CD

Jan Lundgren in New York (Marshmallow). The great young Swedish pianist teams with two of the brightest rhythm players in New York, both named Washington; Peter on bass, Kenny on drums. Lundgren and the Washingtons give satisfaction in a program of classic standards plus originals by John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Benny Golson and the pianist himself. With the exception of a speedy "Cherokee," Lundgren holds the fiery side of his nature in abeyance, but compensates with his touch, harmonic … [Read more...]

DVD

This is not, precisely, a DVD. It is a portion of the only known video of a collaboration between Stan Getz and John Coltrane, tenor saxophonists of different styles who admired one another's work. (Coltrane once said of Getz, "We'd all sound like that if we could.") The occasion was a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1960. The rhythm section is Paul Chambers, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums; and Oscar Peterson, who is seen at the beginning relieving Wynton Kelly at the piano. … [Read more...]

Book

Ashley Kahn, The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records, Norton. John Coltrane's dominance of the jazz of the 1960s intensified after he moved from Atlantic to Impulse!, a new label. His success made it possible for Impulse! (the exclamation point was part of its name) to record dozens of other important musicians as stylistically varied as Pee Wee Russell and Albert Ayler. Kahn's story-telling ability, reporter-like objectivity and thorough research make what might have been dull … [Read more...]

New Picks

The right hand column sports new CD recommendations under Doug's Picks. DVD and book picks will follow in a few days. … [Read more...]