Rifftides Recommendations

In the center exhibit under the legend Doug's Picks you will find new recommendations assembled by the Rifftides staff. They include CDs, a DVD and a book. They are by: •A great pianist in the creative burst of his last days •A bassist eschewing hybridized jazz for the straight but not narrow •Another bassist, who sings as well as she plays •A trumpeter at the beginning of what may turn out to be a significant career •A composer with a keen ear, assessing his fellow composers … [Read more...]

CD: Bill Evans

Bill Evans, Turn Out The Stars: The Final Village Vanguard Recordings (Nonesuch). This six-CD box set has kicked up a fuss lately on several blogs and web sites. The great pianist was dying when he recorded it. That knowledge informs the way critics hear the music he made with his trio at the Vanguard in June, 1980. Their arguments about artistic ascent or decline are fascinating. But the music is what matters, and the music is magnificent. This would be an essential item even if the price were … [Read more...]

Time Is The Enemy

The following exchange showed up on the Jazz West Coast listserve today. It was attributed to Bill Crow's book Jazz Anecdotes, although I couldn't find it there. Wherever it's from, it deserves wide exposure. "How late does the band play?" "About half a beat behind the drummer." … [Read more...]

CD: Christian McBride

Christian McBride & Inside Straight, Kind of Brown (MackAvenue). The bassist sets aside his fascination with rock, hip-hop and electronica to cruise the mainstream. He uses only his acoustic bass. The music is latterday bebop, with a few modal tinges. Alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, always impressive, is at a peak here. His unison lines with young vibraphonist Warren Wolf are an attractive element. Eric Reed and Carl Allen are on piano and drums. After nine tracks of hard swinging, McBride picks … [Read more...]

CD: Kristin Korb

Kristin Korb, In The Meantime (KK). In the nature of things, attention will go to Korb's vocals and her glamorous makeover illustrated in the cover shots. Serious listeners will also be drawn to her bass playing. She accompanies herself as she sings with pianist Llew Matthews, saxophonist Bob Sheppard, guitarist Larry Koonse, drummer Steve Barnes and vibist Nick Mancini. She solos impressively on "Ain't Misbehavin'," adapts James Brown's "I Feel Good" to introduce Bob Dorough's "Better Than … [Read more...]

DVD: Philip Dizack

Philip Dizack Quintet Live In Barcelona Featuring Greg Tardy (Fresh Sound). Dizack, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was 20 when he played a club during the 2005 Barcelona Jazz Festival. Fresh Sound Records was on hand with a camera crew to capture a trumpeter with a huge sound, audacity and polished technique tempered by taste and imagination. Pianist Miro Sprague, bassist Pere Loewe and drummer Obed Calvaire appear to be only slightly older than Dizak. Tenor saxophonist Greg Tardy, 39 at the time, … [Read more...]

Book: Graham Collier

Graham Collier, The Jazz Composer: Moving Music Off The Paper (Northway). The title reads like that of a textbook, but this evaluation of the art is accessible to any layman with ears. Contradicting conventional wisdom about some composers, Collier nudges Thad Jones from his pedestal, for instance, and shrugs off Bill Holman with minor praise. He puts in perspective Ellington's habit of borrowing and praises Gil Evans nearly without reservation. Whether or not you agree with Collier, he backs … [Read more...]