The Good, The Bad & The Beautiful Ladies

Bruno Leicht 2

Bruno Leicht of Cologne, Germany—trumpeter, composer, teacher, and frequent commenter to this blog—has dedicated a four-part suite to Rifftides. The work is based on George Gershwin’s “Oh, Lady Be Good” and played by a band of Bruno’s students. On his web log, Brew Lite’s Jazz Tales, he explains the suite’s gensis and makeup, and links to the band’s performance at a festival earlier this month. The Rifftides staff is, to say the least, flattered. Thank you, Bruno. To go to Brew Lite’s … [Read more...]

Mid-July Recommendations

Thumbs Up

The latest listening, viewing and reading suggestions are posted immediately below and in the right column with the heading Doug's Picks (scroll down). They include CDs with the music of a forthright quartet, a great 20th century composer-arranger, and the satisfying second volume of a piano trio's club engagement. We also recommend a DVD by a quartet that changed jazz and the biography of a pianist whose musical partnership with cartoon characters endeared him to generations. … [Read more...]

CD: Branford Marsalis

B. Marsalis, Four MFs

Branford Marsalis, Four MFs Playin’ Tunes (Marsalis Music) The Marsalis quartet achieves openness without abandoning harmonic guidelines, hipness without complex chord permutations. A saxophone soloist who manages to meld aggressiveness and wryness, Marsalis is at his peak here. The delight that he, pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and young drummer Justin Faulkner find in supporting and surprising one another is likely to also affect the listener. The tunes are by members of the … [Read more...]

CD: Ryan Truesdell/Gil Evans

Truesdell Evans

Ryan Truesdell, Centennial: Newly Discovered Works Of Gil Evans (artistShare) Truesdell apprenticed with arranger and composer Maria Schneider, who apprenticed with Gil Evans. That makes him, in effect, Evans’ musical and spiritual grandson. He does his heritage proud, taking 10 previously unrecorded Evans arrangements from manuscript—or, in some cases, expanding Evans sketches—to performance by a superb collection of musicians. The scores go back as far as Evans’ Claude Thornhill … [Read more...]

CD: Alan Broadbent

Broadbent Giannelli 2

Alan Broadbent Trio Live At Giannelli Square, Volume 2 (Chilly Bin) Recorded in Los Angeles shortly before Broadbent transplanted himself to New York, Giannelli 2 is the equal of Volume 1. That is high praise. The pianist’s harmonic acuity, melodic invention, touch and rapport with bassist Putter Smith and drummer Kendall Kay made this one of the finest trios in jazz. They find freshness in “Yesterdays,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and a romp based on “Just Friends.” Broadbent’s … [Read more...]

DVD: John Coltrane


John Coltrane, Live In France, 1965 (Jazz Icons) Television cameras captured Coltrane with his classic quartet months before it disbanded and he began the space-bound journey he was on when he died two years later. At the Juan-le Pins Jazz Festival in Antibes, Coltrane, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones accomplished a concentration of passion even greater than that in their studio recordings of “Naima,” “Ascension,” “Impressions” and “A Love Supreme.” Much of … [Read more...]

Book: Derrick Bang/Vince Guaraldi


Derrick Bang, Vince Guaraldi at the Piano (McFarland) There was much more to Vince Guaraldi (1928-1976) than “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” and his “Peanuts” television sound tracks. Bang’s substantial biography covers the pianist and composer’s life from his pre-Cal Tjader days through success with the vibraphonist’s jazz and Latin groups, his own trio, his collaborations with Bola Sete and the Charlie Brown connection that made him famous. He captures the balance between Guaraldi’s serious … [Read more...]