Correspondence: CD Prices, Spelling

A few times you've linked to Amazon listings for Venus releases, such as the Charlap/NY Trio disc in your new set of picks. Just a caveat about this, of which you may be aware. These are CD-Rs with reprinted liner booklets and info. Obviously the price reflects this and Amazon and Venus are to be applauded for offering this important music at a more reasonable price stateside. However, I picked up a Kenny Barron CD recently and the inserts listed nothing but the musicians' names and song … [Read more...]

Hear Ye! New Recommendations

This time around, CDs by Bill Charlap's "other" trio, Miguel Zenón exploring his PR roots and the uncanny Mitchell/Marsh duo. Also: a DVD of Art Farmer in his prime and a book about Scott La Faro. Kindly direct your attention to Doug's Picks in the center column. The Rifftides staff wishes you good listening, viewing and reading. … [Read more...]

CD: Bill Charlap

New York Trio, Always (Venus). This is pianist Charlap's other trio, with bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Bill Stewart rather than his Blue Note companions Peter Washington and Kenny Washington. In his eighth CD for the Japanese label he honors Irving Berlin by lovingly playing the melodies of ten Berlin songs, then improvising on the pieces with inventiveness, harmonic ingenuity and interaction with Leonhart and Stewart. Charlap's keyboard touch and subtle use of dynamics, notable throughout, … [Read more...]

CD: Miguel Zenón

Miguel Zenón, Esta Plena (Marsalis Music). The alto saxophonist and composer illuminates and elevates la plena, the peoples' music of his native Puerto Rico. Zenón augments his quartet with percussionists playing pandero, seguidor and requinto drums to provide the music's rhythmic heart. Zenón's playing further establishes him as one of the most important young soloists in jazz. Pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Henry Cole are impressive throughout. Zenón aids … [Read more...]

CD: Red Mitchell, Warne Marsh

Red Mitchell, Warne Marsh, Big Two (Storyville). Bassist Mitchell (1927-1992) and tenor saxophonist Marsh (1927-1987) played as a duo for two nights in 1980 at the Fasching Club in Stockholm. In this intimate recording, Storyville engineer Nils Edström captured the brilliance and inventiveness of their work. Long unavailable, the 2-CD set captures them at the peak of their powers. Among the highlights: Marsh channeling Lester Young's famous "Lady Be Good" solo, then creating a memorable one of … [Read more...]

DVD: Art Farmer

Art Farmer, Live in '64 (Jazz Icons). Farmer's quartet with guitarist Jim Hall was one of the greatest small groups in jazz history. For this television appearance, he featured pieces never released in the quartet's recordings. Among them are an exhilarating "Bilbao Song," Sonny Rollins's "Valse Hot" and Cole Porter's "So in Love." Steve Swallow is the bassist, Pete LaRoca the drummer. Deeply experienced together by this time, the four were breathtaking in their individual and collective … [Read more...]