New Recommendations

Thumbs Up

For reasons involving the configuration of the new publishing platform, Rifftides had to put off posting a new batch of Doug’s Picks. The crack artsjournal.com technical team has eliminated the barrier and in the right-hand column you will find the staff’s recommendations of new CDs by a pianist leading a big band, a pianist leading a trio and the welcome reissue of classic Stan Getz quintet recordings. We are also alerting you to a delightful Erroll Garner DVD and a book that takes a seriously … [Read more...]

CD: Orrin Evans

Captain Black

Orrin Evans, Captain Black Big Band (Positone). On last year’s Tarbaby: The End of Fear, Evans was the intrepid pianist in an adventurous trio. Here, he is at the helm of a 16-piece band staffed by New Yorkers and Philadelphians, some of them up-and-comers, a few semi-grizzled veterans, all full of fire. Busy conducting, Evans solos on only one piece, but there is no shortage of impressive soloists in this live recording. Among them are saxophonists Jaleel Shaw and Ralph Bowen, trumpeter Tatum … [Read more...]

CD: Jessica Williams

Williams, Trane

Jessica Williams, Freedom Trane (Origin). The pianist has concentrated on solo performance lately but returns to the trio format by way of this paean to John Coltrane. Accompanied by bassist Dave Captein and drummer Mel Brown, Williams explores four pieces by Coltrane and four of her own that pay tribute to the man she has long acknowledged as a major musical and spiritual inspiration. In her notes, she calls him “my light through the darkness.” There is no darkness in the title tune, indeed … [Read more...]

CD: Stan Getz

Getz Quintets

Stan Getz Quintets: The Clef & Norgran Studio Albums (Verve). This beautifully packaged and remastered box set has the nonpareil Getz 1953-1955 quintet sides with valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and pianist John Williams. It also contains the two rarities with trumpeter Tony Fruscella subbing for Brookmeyer; the 1952 tracks with Jimmy Raney, Duke Jordan, Bill Crow and Frank Isola; and the 1954 quartet date with Jimmy Rowles, Bob Whitlock and Max Roach. These are benchmark recordings by the tenor … [Read more...]

DVD: Erroll Garner

Garner Icons

Erroll Garner Live in ’63 & ’64 (Jazz Icons). Garner’s lingering image is of an imp, an elf who smiled and bounced his way into the public’s hearts at the end of an era when “jazz” and “popular” still appeared in the same sentences in Billboard and Variety. Lest we forget: he was a pianist with formidable, if unconventional, technique and a sly master of harmonic and rhythmic surprise. These concerts from Belgium and Sweden capture Garner and his faithful rhythm companions Eddie Calhoun and … [Read more...]

Book: Telegraph Style Guide

Telegraph Guide

Simon Heffer, Philip Reynolds, The Telegraph Style Guide (Aurum). Whenever Rifftides has posted an Other Matters entry about language, our readers, a literate lot, have responded. This book, designed to keep the staff of the UK’s Telegraph newspapers on their toes, will appeal to those interested in correct usage—and in having a good chuckle. “Slammed is acceptable for a door,” it says, “but not as a metaphor for criticism.” “Very, Usually redundant.” Among the Telegraph’s banned words and … [Read more...]