The Long Wait Is Over: New Picks

Maybe it was the holidays. Maybe I've been busy writing for a living. Maybe I'm lazy. Well, no matter. You finally have a new edition of Doug's Picks. Consult the center column for the latest recommendations. … [Read more...]

Weekend Extra: Oscar Peterson and NHØP

Here is a lovely opportunity to hear and see two masters toward the ends of their lives. Oscar Peterson played at the Montreal Jazz Festival in July of 2004 with bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, guitarist Ulf Wakenius and drummer Alvin Queen. The piece is "Cakewalk." NHØP died the following April, Peterson in December of 2007. To see other videos from their Montreal concert, go here. … [Read more...]

CD:SFJazz Collective

SFJAZZ Collective, Live 2009 (SFJazz). Last year's tour by the all-star septet was built around their arrangements of music by pianist McCoy Tyner. It also included new compositions by its members, Joe Lovano, Miguel Zenón, Dave Douglas, Robin Eubanks, Renee Rosnes, Matt Pennman and Eric Harland. This two-CD set, recorded in halls across the US, is a tribute to Tyner, offering invigorating playing and writing by members of a younger generation he influences. Among the new pieces, Zenón's "No … [Read more...]

CD:Eddie Thompson And Brad Terry

Eddie Thompson and Brad Terry, Eddie and Me (Living Room). Thompson, a blind British pianist, spent ten years in the US before he returned home in 1972. He performed often around New York with Terry, a peripatetic clarinetist whose brilliant work would be better known if he had pursued a conventional career. This album, finally reissued on CD, captures their empathy, harmonic audacity and wit. It is available as a download here and as a CD by e-mailing here. Full disclosure: I wrote a pro bono … [Read more...]

CD: Henry Threadgill

Henry Threadgill Zooid, This Brings Us To, Volume 1 (PI Recordings). Threadgill names his band Zooid after a cell "that is able to move independently of the larger organism to which it belongs." Accordingly, five musicians simultaneously and freely invent within, around and through structures devised by saxophonist and flutist Threadgill, one of the leading lights of the avant AACM movement. The music has moments of amusing bluster, others of reflective calm. Its intricacy demands patient … [Read more...]

DVD: The Story Of Jazz

Masters of American Music: The Story Of Jazz (Medici Arts). An opening montage cleverly synchronized to Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing" introduces the first in a series whose other initial subjects are Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. The programs ran on public television in the last century. It is good to have them revived on DVD with crisp picture and sound. The Story Of Jazz features superb performance clips, interesting interviews and a … [Read more...]

Book: Teachout On Armstrong

Terry Teachout, Pops: A Life Of Louis Armstrong (Houghton Mifflin). Teachout is a consummate biographer. His books about H.L. Mencken and George Balanchine proved that. With Armstrong, he exceeds himself. Teachout combines the advantage of unique access to Armstrong's archives with deep musical understanding and the gift of writing clearly about complex matters. He makes the reader understand that when the history is told and the analysis finished, there is just one real explanation of how a … [Read more...]