New Recommendations

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The new batch of suggested listening and viewing—a long time coming—will be posted in the main column for a day or so before the recommendations move down for new exhibits. They will be in the right column under Doug's Picks until the staff can be persuaded to post new ones. This time around, we have two trumpeters named Miles; one guitarist twice; an enchanting CD by a young singer with an (ahem) experienced pianist; and a music book held over because rereading Dostoevsky's The … [Read more...]

CD: Ron Miles

Ron Miles Quiver

Ron Miles: Quiver (enja yellow bird) Miles’s playing on “There Ain’t No Sweet Man Worth the Salt of My Tears” draws 21st century Denver and 1928 Chicago close. Some of his flurries of wildness on this album are as daring as the work of any modern trumpeter, but the Bix Beiderbecke lyricism in Miles’s soul extends into everything he plays. With just Bill Frisell’s guitar and Brian Blade's drums, Miles may seem to be operating lean. No, there is richness in their harmonic inventiveness and … [Read more...]

CD: Heather Masse And Dick Hyman

Masse and Hyman

Heather Masse And Dick Hyman: Lock My Heart (Red House) With The Wailin’ Jennys and the Wayfaring Strangers and appearances on radio’s Prairie Home Companion, Heather Masse has attracted a following among folk and bluegrass fans. This album of duets with master pianist Dick Hyman discloses the jazz foundation that has long been evident in her singing. Their treatments of Strayhorn’s “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing” and Buddy Johnson’s “Since I Fell For You” are ballad perfection. In their … [Read more...]

CD/DVD: Miles Davis

milesdavisquintet_bootegseriesvol2-liveineurope

Miles Davis Quintet Live In Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 (Columbia/Legacy) This three-CD, one-DVD set finds the trumpeter fomenting even more dramatic change than usual. The first volume in the so-called bootleg series of Davis concert recordings found his primarily acoustic 1967 quintet already tending toward electronic music and rock. Saxophonist Wayne Shorter remains from that band. Here, the transition intensifies. Electric pianist Chick Corea, bassist Dave Holland and drummer … [Read more...]

DVD: Bill Frisell

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Bill Frisell, The Disfarmer Project (La Huit) Belgian filmmaker Guillame Dero captures the eclectic guitarist Frisell, violinist Carrie Rodriguez, guitarist Greg Leisz and bassist Viktor Krauss in a live performance set to portraits by the 1950s Arkansas photographer Mike Disfarmer. Some of the music was on a 2009 CD mentioned in this Rifftides post. Hearing it in new versions with Disfarmer’s eccentric and vaguely disturbing photos looming over the band is an adventure. Watching interaction … [Read more...]

Book: Paul de Barros on Marian McPartland

deBarros McP

Paul de Barros, Shall We Play That One Together? The Life and Art of Jazz Piano Legend Marian McPartland (St. Martin’s Press) The nonagenarian pianist presented de Barros with every biographer’s hope, unrestricted access to his subject’s personal papers and nearly unrestricted access to her private thoughts. He made the most of it, turning exhaustive research and hundreds of hours of interviews into a true story with the sweep of a novel. From the early discovery of McPartland’s musical gift … [Read more...]