Your New Recommendations

The Rifftides staff is pleased to announce that the new Doug's Picks are on display in the center column. Your comments are invited and treasured...and usually posted.   … [Read more...]

CD: Miles From India

Miles From India (Times Square). Producer Bob Belden wound up a monumental series of Miles Davis reissue box sets for Sony/Columbia, then he and fellow arranger Louiz Banks turned to interpreting the trumpeter's immense output of recordings after 1959. This two-CD set considers the intersection of Indian music with Davis's adventures in scales and modes from Kind of Blue forward. Belden laid down the initial tracks in India, later adding soloists in New York. Among the players are sidemen from … [Read more...]

CD: Norma Winstone

Norma Winstone, Distances  (ECM). The British singer places the purity of her voice, intonation and phrasing in the spare setting of Glauco Venier's piano and Klaus Gesing's soprano sax. Winstone's songs include that rarity, a successful vocal version of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," and pieces by Cole Porter, Eric Satie, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Peter Gabriel. She uses her artistic range to bring disparate compositional styles into a collection not unlike a suite. Winstone comes close to … [Read more...]

CD: Johnny Griffin & Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis

Johnny Griffin & Lockjaw Davis, Live in Copenhagen (Storyville). The hard-charging tenor saxophonists worked in tandem for twenty-six years. This 1984 club date at the Montmarte club two years before Davis's death is typical of the unremitting swing and visceral excitement of their live appearances. The rhythm section is pianist Harry Pickens, bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Kenny Washington, in his mid-twenties and formidable. Griffin's blues "Call It Whatcha Wanna" is a highlight in a set … [Read more...]

DVD: Joe Zawinul

Joe Zawinul: A Musical Portrait  (ArtHaus Musik). This well crafted documentary offers generous helpings of Zawinul's music while outlining his life and philosophy. Zawinul's luxurious existence in Malibu during his final years ("I have everything I want in life") contrasts with a visit to his boyhood home in Vienna and his account of surviving an Allied bombing in 1944. The sequences featuring the last edition of The Zawinul Syndicate illustrate his charisma and power as a … [Read more...]

Book: Wildly Irish

Dick Wimmer, The Wildly Irish Sextet (Soft Skull Press). Following the elemental Seamus Boyne (Irish Wine: The Trilogy) into the genius painter's old age, Wimmer cuts his creation no senior citizen slack. Boyne is wilder, more famous and more self-centered than ever. Still, he manages to maintain his loved ones' and the reader's affection as he rampages through New York, Westchester, Long Island and much of Ireland. You wouldn't want him as a house guest, but he's a great drinking buddy. … [Read more...]