Announcing New Recommendations

Hear Ye! The latest selection of Doug's Picks is posted in the center column. It includes recommendations of new and old music on CD, a DVD documentary about a revered figure and a stimulating -- even provocative -- book. … [Read more...]

CD: Joe Martin

Joe Martin, Not By Chance (Anzic). At the outset, bassist Martin's album has the air of Downtown New York Generic, but the quality of the musicians and the playing soon kicks it into uniqueness. By the time they reach the ballad "A Dream," Martin, saxophonist Chris Potter, pianist Brad Mehldau and drummer Marcus Gilmore have the listener fully involved for the rest of the seventy minutes. Martin augments his eight nicely made compositions with "The Balloon Song," a Jaco Pastorius piece featuring … [Read more...]

CD: Dollison And Marsh

Julia Dollison, Kerry Marsh, Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider (artistShare). Dollison, the enchanting singer of 2005's Observatory, teams with her husband and fellow vocalist Marsh in recreations of orchestral works by Maria Schneider. With flawless matching of intonation and through overdubbing that makes them a choir, they take Schneider's pieces, with all of their complexity and ethereal beauty, into a personal dimension. Pianist Frank Kimbrough, guitarist Ben Monder, bassist Jay … [Read more...]

CDs: Lester Young

Classic Columbia, Okeh And Vocalion Lester Young With Count Basie (1936-1940) (Mosaic). Young's lightness, buoyancy, rhythmic daring and harmonic subtlety on tenor saxophone helped free soloists from the arbitrary restrictions of time divisions. He told beautiful stories as he flew weightlessly across bar lines. His recordings with Basie, stunningly remastered by Mosaic in four CDs, include masterpieces that have set a high bar for generations of musicians. These are essential recordings. … [Read more...]

DVD: Count Basie

Count Basie: Swingin' The Blues (Masters of American Music). Basie's rhythm section supported Lester Young in his greatest flights of invention. Drummer Jo Jones, guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Walter Page and Basie were the heart of a band that brought the looseness and loping swing of Kansas City onto the national scene and permanently enriched jazz. This 1992 documentary, on DVD for the first time, traces the band's evolution and importance. Narrated by Roscoe Lee Browne, the film tells the … [Read more...]

Book: Randall Sandke

Randall Sandke: Where The Light And The Dark Folks Meet (Scarecrow Press). The qualities of directness and original thinking in his trumpet playing are also evident in Sandke's prose. Full disclosure: I read this book in manuscript and wrote a blurb for it, to wit: "Randy Sandke's research and documentation are thorough. His insights and opinions are forthright. His book will infuriate its targets, those in the music world who place myth, race, nationality, sociology, politics and commerce above … [Read more...]