New Recommendations (it’s about time)

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In the right column and for a while directly below, you will find the latest batch of Doug's Picks: two new CDs, a classic album on CD at last, a DVD documentary about a giant of the piano who should not be forgotten, and a book that examines non-musical factors in the evolution of jazz. As always, reader comments are welcome by way of the "Speak Your Mind" box at the end of each post or the "Contact" button on the blue stripe. … [Read more...]

CD: Keith Jarrett

Jarrett Somewhere

Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, Somewhere (ECM) The first release in four years by Jarrett’s Standards Trio captures interaction among the pianist, bassist Peacock and drummer DeJohnette that is like the activity of one mind. Their exploration of Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere” melds into “Everywhere,” a mantra that builds hypnotic fascination. In the quirkiness of his fragmented first bars of “Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” and his unaccompanied ruminations leading … [Read more...]

CD: Bill Potts

Potts Porgy & Bess

Bill Potts, The Jazz Soul of Porgy & Bess (Fresh Sound) In jazz, 1959 was a watershed, milestone, landmark (choose your cliché). Clichés embody truths; that’s how they become clichés. The truth is that this all-star recording of Porgy & Bess was one of the most important of the final year in a golden decade of jazz in New York. Potts’s arrangements are his most celebrated, for good reason. There is passion and commitment in the playing of the 19-piece ensemble and in solos by Art Farmer, Bill … [Read more...]

CD: Cécile McLorin Salvant

Savant Woman Child

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Woman Child (Mack Avenue) In this November post, I observed that it was going to take a while to catch up with Cécile McLorin Salvant. It will take a while longer because she is moving fast, but her first CD portrays a singer who has emerged in her early twenties full of talent, versatility, taste and rare artistic judgment. With pianist Aaron Diehl’s trio, Salvant is unfailingly on target interpreting a collection of 12 dissimilar songs. She is equally affecting in … [Read more...]

DVD: Erroll Garner

Garner DVD

Erroll Garner, No One Can Hear You Read (First Run Features) This compact, well-made documentary leaves the viewer a puzzle: only 36 years after his death, how can memories of a stunningly original, universally admired pianist have grown so dim? Many, perhaps most, young listeners don’t know about Garner. The film’s abundant performance clips provide reasons that he should be an icon —his spontaneity, his irresistible swing, the witty deceptiveness of his introductions; the joy he took … [Read more...]

Book: Marc Myers


Marc Myers, Why Jazz Happened (University of California Press) A respected jazz critic and blogger with a masters degree in US history, Myers assesses the effects of social, political and business forces on the development of the music. He provides context in chapters on the influences of recording technology, radio, race relations, the G.I. Bill, the musicians union and rock culture, among other phenomena. Myers confines discussion of jazz’s first two decades to the introduction, but he is … [Read more...]