Your New Recommendations Are Here

The latest selection of Doug's Picks is posted in the center column, featuring a treasured vocal-piano collaboration, a new young trumpeter, an old free jazz band, a bassist at the helm of an exciting quartet, and a book that recaptures a special place at the end of New York's last golden age of jazz. … [Read more...]

CD: Helen Merrill-Dick Katz

The Helen Merrill-Dick Katz Sessions (Mosaic). The bewitching singer and the late master of piano harmony and touch collaborated in 1965 and 1969 on two classic Milestone LPs. Mosaic's reissue of both on one CD is a genuine event. In addition to Merrill's incomparable singing and Katz's playing, we get Thad Jones, Jim Hall, Hubert Laws, Gary Bartz, Ron Carter, Richard Davis, Pete LaRoca and Elvin Jones. Katz's lapidary arrangements are an exquisite bonus. After hearing them for 35 years, I still … [Read more...]

CD: Ian Carey

Ian Carey Quntet, Contextualizin' (Kabocha). Carey's self-deprecation in his liner notes would have you believe that he's not much of a trumpet player. It depends on what you mean by playing. True, there's not a double high C anywhere on the album and no jet-speed series of gee-whiz chord inversions. Let's settle for good tone, lyricism and contiguous ideas that lead somewhere. Carey and his young sidemen are in tune with one another, in every sense. In Adam Shulman he has a pianist who … [Read more...]

CD: New York Art Quartet

New York Art Quartet, Old Stuff (Cuneiform). As brash, iconoclastic and good-natured as the day it was born, the NYAQ comes roaring out of 1965. Trombonist Roswell Rudd, alto saxophonist John Tchicai, bassist Finn von Eyben and drummer Louis Moholo affirm that if free jazz is going to jettison formal guidelines, its players had better have musicianship, personality and the gift of listening. During its brief existence, the New York Art Quartet met all requirements. Just to prove that they were … [Read more...]

DVD: Martin Wind

Martin Wind New York Quartet, Live At Jazz Baltica (Jazz Baltica). Bassist Wind returned to his native land in 2008 for Germany's Jazz Baltica Festival in Schleswig-Holstein. With the addition of the astonishing multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson, the Bill Mays Trio with Wind and drummer Matt Wilson became the Wind quartet. The vigor, ingenuity and camaraderie among the musicians reach a peak in "Remember October 13th," with Robinson's bass clarinet alternating between the joy of unbridled … [Read more...]

Book: Jazz Loft

Sam Stephenson, The Jazz Loft Project (Knopf). In the late 1950s and early '60s, a loft on New York's Sixth Avenue was headquarters for master photographer W. Eugene Smith and hangout for dozens of musicians including companions as various as Zoot Sims, Pee Wee Russell, Thelonious Monk and Bud Freeman. Stephenson's narrative links transcriptions of conversations taped in the loft and pages of photographs Smith made of jam sessions and of the street life he saw from his windows. The book captures … [Read more...]