Listen Up: New Recommendations

Listen 1

The Rifftides staff has done exhaustive auditioning, winnowing and selecting from among hundreds of CDs, DVDs and books hoping to be chosen. The result: a new batch of recommendations. They are compact discs by a pianist and a trumpeter who love Mingus, musical portraits of the seven deadly sins, a Nat King Cole concert that surfaced after 61 years in hiding, a DVD of two elderly avant-garde saxophonists with the energy of teenagers, and a book dedicated to the proposition that Louis Armstrong's … [Read more...]

CD: Knuffke & Stacken

Orange Was The Color

Kirk Knuffke & Jess Stacken, Orange Was The Color (Steeplechase). Balancing daring and restraint, Knuffke and Stacken address 11 of Charles Mingus’s compositions. Knuffke sets aside his trumpet in favor of cornet to intertwine, contrast and parallel his lines with Stracken’s piano. He achieves remarkable precision and velocity at low volume. Stracken equals Knuffke in the control and articulation departments. Among the highlights: a section of free counterpoint on “Ecclusiastics” and … [Read more...]

CD: Joseph Daley

Daley Deadly

Joseph Daley Earth Tones Ensemble, The Seven Deadly Sins (Jaro). Inspired by Wade Schulman paintings, Daley wrote orchestral impressions of the sins. To the veteran composer and tubist, earth tones mean low notes. Anchored by tubas, bass saxophone, contrabass sax, contrabass clarinet, contrabass violin and bass trombone, Daley’s variegated writing nonetheless encompasses a full range of orchestral sounds for reeds, brass and percussion. New York stars including Bob Stewart, Scott Robinson, … [Read more...]

CD: Nat Cole

Cole, Herman

Nat King Cole, The Forgotten 1949 Carnegie Hall Concert (Hep). Cole’s trio and the Woody Herman Second Herd teamed up for a successful concert tour, with Carnegie Hall a high spot. It was recorded but never before issued. Now, here it is, with Cole’s singing and piano playing at a high level. He included many of his famous numbers—“Sweet Lorraine,” “Lush Life,” Body and Soul,” “Bop Kick” among them—and a terrific new piece called “Cuba Libre” by the trio and bongoist Jack … [Read more...]