CD: Art Pepper

Art Pepper, Unreleased Art, Vol. III, The Croydon Concert (Widow's Taste). This 1981 concert in the London borough of Croydon captures some of the remarkable music the alto saxophonist made during the last year of his life. Pepper had absorbed some of the Coltrane influence that dominated him for a few years, shaken off the rest and emerged a more powerful individualist than ever. Driven by pianist Milcho Leviev, bassist Bob Magnusson and drummer Carl Burnett, Pepper bares emotions from … [Read more...]

CD: Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson, Loverly (Blue Note). After Blue Skies, Wilson seemed to walk away from the standard repertoire. Twenty years later, we get her second collection of standard songs. It was worth the wait. Her relaxation, phrasing and idiosyncratic interpretations make this one of the vocal CDs of the year. Highlights: irony and boogaloo energy in "St. James Infirmary," "The Very Thought of You" in duet with bassist Reginald Veal, the gentle swing and longing in "Wouldn't it Be Loverly?" Pianist … [Read more...]

CD: Martin Wind

Martin Wind, (Challenge). The versatile bassist brings together multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson, pianist Bill Cunliffe and drummer Greg Hutchinson to play compositions by Wind, Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington. Wind's complex "Mr. Friesen," a tribute to cellist Eugene Friesen, could give this talented composer an entry in the jazz standards book. Of his arsenal of instruments, Robinson confines himself to tenor sax, bass clarinet and echo cornet. His tenor work suggests that he … [Read more...]

DVD: Hank Jones

Hank Jones, Jazz Master Class (Artists House). The pianist will be ninety at the end of this month. He was only eighty-six when he taught this class. Jones plays a solo concert, coaches and evaluates student pianists, charms his audience, chats with critic Gary Giddins and, in general, defies time. Together, the two DVDs in this package run more than five hours. They comprise one of a series of Artists House DVDs that capture producer John Snyder's master classes at New York University and … [Read more...]

The Latest Picks

Three CDs, a DVD and a book: your new Doug's Picks are in the center column. To see previous recommendations, click "more picks" at the bottom of that section. … [Read more...]

Book: Roger Scruton

 Roger Scruton, Culture Counts (Brief Encounters). If you're concerned that the bad in culture is driving out the good, this little book by the British philosopher and polymath may make you feel better. Scruton writes not only about music, but about architecture, painting, literature and the high-water marks of Western culture. He offers hope that lowlife pop culture will not overwhelm a society seemingly bent on dumbing itself down. He proposes that music can play a positive role in moral … [Read more...]