New Recommendations


Under Doug's Picks in the right column, and for a time in the main column, you will find the Rifftides staff's newest recommendations for listening, viewing and reading. This time around: a big box of mainstream classics, two fine and rather different pianists, Monk alone, and the charm and humor of a great Dane who chronicled an unparalleled time of jazz abundance in New York. … [Read more...]

CD: Felsted Mainstream


The Complete Stanley Dance Felsted “Mainstream Jazz” Recordings 1958-1959 (Fresh Sound) This nine-CD treasure chest contains dozens of the finest mainstream artists from a golden era. Stanley Dance, who applied the term mainstream to jazz, supervised the sessions for the British Felsted label. Johnny Hodges, Earl Hines, Coleman Hawkins, Rex Stewart, Buster Bailey, Jo Jones, Budd Johnson, Dicky Wells, Billy Strayhorn; they’re all here, along with superb half-forgotten musicians like … [Read more...]

CD: Brad Mehldau Trio

Mehldau Ode

Brad Mehldau Trio, Ode (Nonesuch) Mehldau has recorded lately as solo pianist, in duets with classical mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie Van Otter and with a large orchestra. Bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard join him in a stimulating return to trio playing. They are attuned to the pianist as if by ESP. He describes the title tune as “an ode to odes” and dedicates other pieces to figures in his personal and musical lives. Among those who inspired them are Michael Brecker, Kurt … [Read more...]

CD: Mike Longo


Mike Longo, To My Surprise: Trio + 2 (CAP The trio is pianist Longo, bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Lewis Nash— a formidable New York rhythm section. With the addition on half the tracks of trumpeter Jimmy Owens and tenor saxophonist Lance Bryant, Longo takes the quintet through classic bop territory and beyond into modal country. If there were Oscars for Wilde titles, “A Picture of Dorian Mode,” would win. The adventurous playing on the track awards the listener. With trio or quartet, … [Read more...]

DVD: Thelonious Monk


Thelonious Monk Live in France 1969 (Jazz Icons) The video of Monk alone at the piano in a Paris studio is the jewel of the fifth Jazz Icons box set that many feared would not come. Taped with visual simplicity and excellent sound, he plays 12 pieces, all of them his compositions but “Don’t Blame Me” and a rollicking “Nice Work if You Can Get It.” Except for that exultant conclusion, the concert has an air of reflective, almost Brahmsian, gravity. His harmonies can be breathtaking. The … [Read more...]

Book: Timme Rosenkrantz


Timme Rosenkrantz, Fradley Hamilton Garner, Harlem Jazz Adventures: A European Baron’s Memoir, 1934-1969 Timme Rosenkrantz (1911–1969) had royal Danish blood, but no royal pretensions, and when he came to the US in 1934, his garrulous charm made him fit right in. What attracted him here was jazz. He became a chronicler and friend of musicians from Louis Armstrong to Art Tatum to Lennie Tristano and dozens of others. He was a rounder and a storyteller, and he could write. His memoir, artfully … [Read more...]