CD: Chet Baker

Chet Baker, The Sesjun Radio Shows (T2). The trumpeter and singer soars in two CDs compiled from 1970s and '80s concerts on the Dutch radio program Tros Sesjun. Baker's fleetness, lyricism, hard swing and vocal improvisations put this among the best work of his later years. Of the sidemen, pianists Harold Danko and Phil Markowitz, bassist Cameron Brown and drummer John Engels make outstanding contributions. Sound quality is superb. There are five stunning 1985 tracks by Baker with guitarist … [Read more...]

CD: Mike Barone

Mike Barone, Live 2005! Redux (Rhubarb). Barone is one of the most accomplished big band arrangers never to become famous. For this reissue, he remixed to improve the sound, pruned overlong solos and added a track. Why "Grand Central" hit the editing room floor the first time around is a mystery. Ernie Watts and Vince Trombetta share the tenor sax glory in Barone's pungent treatment of the John Coltrane classic. Alto saxophonist Kim Richmond, trumpeter Steve Huffsteter and Barone the trombonist … [Read more...]

DVD: Steinway

Ben Niles, Note By Note: The Making Of Steinway L1037 (docuramafilms). This gem of the documentarian's art follows a 9-foot concert grand for a year, from its beginning as lumber to its arrival at the Steinway showroom in New York. Director Ben Niles and his crew equal the love, knowledge and skill that went into making the instrument. They incorporate conversation and playing by Hank Jones, Kenny Barron, Marcus Roberts, Harry Connick, Jr. and Bill Charlap. Classical pianists Hélène Grimaud, … [Read more...]

Book: Maynard Ferguson

Ralph Jungheim, Maynard! (Buster Ann). Jungheim's book is a collection of 30 transcribed reminiscences about the trumpeter and bandleader. Most of them are by musicians, but Ferguson's valet, bus driver and instrument maker also contribute. Some of the anecdotes are amusing, some interesting, some appalling. The exclamation point after his name in the title applies to Ferguson's spectacular playing and his ego. Even associates who had problems with his music and his insecurities had affection … [Read more...]

Reilly’s Joyful Thanks

Pianist Jack Reilly will be at the Johns Hopkins Medicine Center in Baltimore today to pay musical tribute to the memory of the doctor who saved his life. For details, go here. … [Read more...]