Vinyl is becoming the preferred medium of listeners to a variety of genres, particularly of young people who counter the traditional youthful notion that anything from their parents’ generation must be shunned, even ridiculed. Come to think of it, for people under 30 music on vinyl is more likely to seem an artifact of their grandparents’ generation, but LPs are rebounding. Saturday, when you are flipping through the bins on Record Store Day, you may want to be on the lookout for a couple of additions to the growing supply of new 33&1/3 RPM jazz LPs.
Matthew Shipp, Michael Bisio, Live In Seattle (Arena Music)
Live In Seattle was recorded in a former church on International Jazz Day almost exactly a year ago. Frequent collaborators, pianist Shipp and bassist Bisio give intriguing duo performances of five Shipp compositions and three standards. Shipp pays obeisance to the melody and chords of Rogers & Hart’s “My Funny Valentine” during its first chorus while Bisio, using his bow with speed and vigor, invents eerie countermelodies. As the storm subsides, there is a momentary pause before they launch into “New Fact,” a Shipp D-minor fantasy. The Roberta Flack hit “Where Is The Love?” gets Bisio’s wild bowing treatment while Shipp plays straight-time eighth notes, then the two become downright lyrical—briefly—and morph into “Psychic Counterpart,” with Bisio pizzicato in traditional time-keeping swing—for a while. “Green Dolphin Street“ appears in a game of melodic hide-and-seek, but Shipp’s chords leave little doubt about what they’re playing, and Bisio’s steady ostinato offsets Shipp’s peregrenations.
The advent of CDs led far too many musicians and producers to stretch music to fill the digital disc’s 80-minute capacity to nearly overflowing. But, you know what? With music as demanding and free as Shipp’s and Bisio’s on this LP, 43 minutes and 31 seconds seems just right.
The Definitive Vince Guaraldi (Fantasy)
Fantasy recently reissued in a four-LP box its compilation of pianist Vince Guaraldi’s greatest recordings for the label. They are all there; the Charlie Brown Christmas pieces, so familiar to generations of TV kids; “Great Pumpkin Waltz”; “Cast Your Fate To The Winds,” “Samba de Orfeu” and the other definitive bossa nova pieces; Guaraldi’s beautiful religious composition “Hymn To Grace;” “Calling Dr. Funk,” the early triumph that circulated his nickname; and a couple of dozen others.
Full disclosure: I wrote the liner notes. And I’d do it again.
For more on Record Store Day, go here.