Rifftides readers replied in droves to our request for news about what you are listening to these days. Here is the final installment, which provides further evidence of the impressively wide range of your tastes and predilections in music.
Larry Hollis, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
To One So Sweet Stay That Way: Hank Mobley In Holland (Nederlands Jazz Archief). From the Treasures of Dutch Jazz Series comes this more-than- welcome edition of a 1968 visit to the Continent from the underappreciated tenor man. A triad of concerts is heard: Three tunes (“Summertime”/”Sonny’s Tune/Airegin”) from the Theatre Bellevue in Amsterdam on March 20th and five numbers at Jazzclub B-14 in Rotterdam on March 29. Sandwiched between them is a pair of titles (“I Didn’t Know What Time It Was”/”Twenty-Four And More”) of a rare appearance of Mobley with the Hobby Orkest Big Band. These were taped at the VARA studio in Hilversum on 28th of March. Acceptable sound, neat graphics and astute annotation in a thick cover booklet make this a prized addition to the Uptown label’s 2-fer of Newark 1953 regarding Mobley’s live archive.
Stan Jones, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
I’ve been listening to some new, quite varied, female vocalist releases. Diana Krall’s newest release, Turn Up the Quiet, is older standards-based instead of the new standards on her previous Wallflower. I felt that Wallflower had too much David Foster—never my favourite—but Tommy LiPuma did Quiet (maybe his last album) and his hand is less intrusive. The backing groups are worth listening to in their own right (Anthony Wilson, in particular, has in my view made every Krall album he is on better). Eliane Elias has a few standards mixed in with the Brazilian tracks on her Dance of Time; most of them are new to me, but most enjoyable, and it’s always nice to listen to musicians seldom heard in North America. The third vocalist is much different. Lucia Cadotsch is backed by two free improv musicians on , and her interpretation of standards is anything but standard, but I find I’m returning to it a lot, mostly for that reason.
Rob Dewar, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
1. Bobby Womack, The Womack Live on Stateside/Capitol. A great singer guitarist over the years in American Soul music. Innovative singer who was also a great writer and guitarist. The triple threat.
2. Zoot Sims. Quietly There: Zoot Sims Plays Johnny Mandel on JVC XRCD / Warner Bros. This CD has been killing me for weeks. It makes me happy, it makes me sad and near tears. Zoot has a way of opening up my emotions. Hard to believe, given the strength of his playing on this wonderful recording, that he died only a year later.
3. Weather Report. on Legacy/Columbia The first eponymously titled LP and this: The Legendary Live Tapes, 1978-1981 on Legacy/Columbia. Much better than I remembered. I think they were better earlier rather than later, but a great working band.
4. Brubeck and Desmond, Desmond and Brubeck. Just about everything.
5. Hampton Hawes w/Charlie Haden. As Long As There’s Music. I’ve always loved Hawes and I think Haden did as well. It shows on this recording. Someone on this list talked about this one and I’m in his or her debt!
6. Smokey Smothers Sings the Back Porch Blues, a reissue of a classic (OK in nerdy blues scholar circles it’s a classic) session on King Records in Cincy…reissued by Ace Records in the UK. The great Freddie King on second guitar. It’s the stuff you might have heard on Maxwell St. in Chicago back in the day. Wonderful.
7. Billie Holiday. The Columbia box set. Her phrasing is to die for. I borrowed the box from a friend and I don’t want to give it back. Will have to buy it. They say there’s a lot of inferior material she was forced to record on this set but…man o man…she can make it ALL sound like prime material from the pen of Gershwin.
(Thanks to Doug for this indispensable blog)
Michael C Baughan OD, Elizabeth City, North Carolina,USA Thanks all but what’s this? A competitive expose’ on how eccentric or avant garde one’s tastes can be? My choices? “Shuffle” on my iPod full of numerous categories of music. As Dylan would say: “It’s all good!”
Fred Augerman, Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada
Clarke-Boland Big Band: Three Latin Adventures.
Stan Kenton: Adventures In Blues.
Erroll Garner: The Complete Concert By The Sea.
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass: Sounds Like.
Don Conner, New Hampshire, USA
I’m currently listening to to segments of a huge CD and LP collection. For new sides, I’ve got Bill Charlap’s latest called Notes From New York, which I highly recommend. Also two CDs from vocalist Catherine Russell whom I really like, with New York sidemen, some of whom I’m familiar with.The arrangements are tight and enlighten Ms. Russell’s superb versatility. I’m also featuring unsung players from the past who for various reasons were unsung, such as trumpeters Don Joseph and Tony Fruscella.
Tony Burrell, II, Frederick, Maryland, USA
At Home: Lately, I have been listening a lot to Claire Daly’s 2648 West Grand Boulevard: Jazz Interpretations Of Classic Motown 45s, which has some rather interesting takes of these classic soul songs. Claire – who has always been one of my favorite baritonistas – really rips up “Cloud Nine”, “Ooo Baby Baby (!)” and turns “Ain’t That Peculiar” into an intense up tempo swing waltz. Aided by Steve Hudson on piano, Mary Ann McSweeney on bass, Peter Grant on drums and Jerome Harris on Guitar, they have reworked these songs into a really rather unexpected imaginative treatment of these tunes. Strunkin’ by Leigh Pilzer and Open Heart by Céline Bonacina are on my to listen-to-again list as well. Also At Home: ABC Jazz [Australian Broadcast Corporation , which was discovered on a trip to Down Under back in 2011 and have been listening to it ever since. Jazz 24 hours a day. Jessica Nicholas and Mel Stanley are two of the on-air hosts that have live shows that are rebroadcast several days later. Of course the times on the web site are Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) which is 10 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
In the car: Lately, since the bluetooth audio system grabs whatever is on my iPhone, I have been listening to Yuhan Su’s A Room of One’s Own, which showcases her four-mallet vibes playing. So, still getting kind of familiar with some of her songs although “Valedīcere I” and “Amulet” have rather attractive themes and developments. Ms. Su, on vibraphone, is nicely supported by Matt Holman: trumpet, flugelhorn; Kenji Herbert: guitar Petros Klampanis: acoustic bass and Nathan Ellman-Bell: drums.
When I really have time: YouTube videos of Steely Dan, whose horn section has included such stellar musicians such as Michael Leonhart- trumpet; Jim Pugh- trombone; Walt Weiskopf, alto and tenor sax; and Cornelius Bumpus, tenorsax, who was later replaced by Roger Rosenberg on bari sax along with Carolyn Leonhart-Escoffery as another of the backing vocalists. It was pretty well known that Donald Fagen and Walter Becker have a lot of jazz roots which could be seen by their using Ray Bryant’s “Cubano Chant” and Dee Barton’s “Turtle Talk” as the opening introductory songs played by the band before Becker and Fagen walked on the stage.
And briefly, without links, because the Rifftides staff has done yeoman linking work for days and is on the verge of mutiny:
Dan Holm, Cedar Falls Iowa, USA
The Heads of State, Search For Peace; Steve Nelson, Brothers Under The Sun; Mosaic Records Classic Savoy Be-Bop Sessions 1945-49.
Art Klempner, no location given
Last night on the turntable: Randy Weston, Little Niles: Teddy Edwards, Good Gravy; Horace Silver, Finger Poppin’; Elmo Hope Trio; Frank Rehak, Road to Jazzville, vol.4; Al Cohn, Cohn, Kamuka, Perkins. Pop, click and hiss, always!
Author: Art Manchester, Newport, Rhode Island Area, USA
I’ve been listening to many recordings either on my car CD player, or on my ipod. One memorable recording is Chance Encounter by A. G. N. Z. (Jay Azzolina, guitar; Dino Gavoni, tenor sax; Adam Nussbaum, drums; Dave Zino,bass). Excellent original tunes and great playing by all. Also, I keep coming back to Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra’s last : Time/Life. Just fine ensemble playing (Carla Bley charts) and impassioned solos. Last, a classic that I just discovered, Johnny Hartman’s I Just Dropped By To Say Hello, especially the title cut with Hartman’s beautiful baritone and Hank Jones’s bluesy, soulful piano work. Looking forward to the Newport Jazz Festival.
Des Stanley, Capetown, South Africa
After getting hooked at the age of 7 (Benny Goodman Quartet’s recording of “Moonglow”), Ihave spent my life persuing the greatest art form ever. Thankfully, at 75 my hearing has not deserted me, soI continue to explore the myriad of jazz genres available. My most recent standout CDs:
Hands On: Warren Bernhardt, piano, and the great Marc Johnson on bass. Manu Katche, Neighbourhood, with Tomasz Stanko. Erroll Garner, Ready Take One. This is very special, as most Garner albums have been badly recorded.
Frank Roelliger, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
Some of the Dave Brubeck studio sessions in the 1950s for Columbia produced alternate takes which were not released for decades. On Dave Digs Disney I’ve always especially liked “When You Wish Upon A Star.” In recent years a “Legacy” version of this recording appeared, which contains another version of this tune that is almost as good as the original and at least makes for very interesting comparisons. I’ve been listening to them recently and both can be found on YouTube.
Charlton Price, Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA
My habits haven’t changed for years. My LPs and DVDs are inoperative right now, soo I’m into these heroes of mine on You Trube and in iTunes downloaded to my hard drive: Al & Zoot, Ellington and Basie of the 50s-70, Richie Kamuca and other West Coasters, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Band, late Brookmeyer, especially in Europe with his own compositions and arrangements, and Toots Thielemans from the mid 1940s on. Constant nourishment!
Tom Ball, Midland, Michigan, USA
Been listening to many Blue Note 2-fers over the past few weeks—those tan covers from BN: Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, et al. Also re-discovering James Clay, Double Dose of Soul. Great flute and Sax playing.
Maryanne de Prophetis, no location provided
I have gotten to know a wonderful Danish singer/composer, Helle Henning, and am listening to her recording Lyden af ensomhed. The personnel are: Helle Henning, voice/composition/text; Nicolai Hess, piano’ Jay Andersen, bass; Marc Momaass, saxophone: Gregory Hutchinson, drums. Produced by Nicolai Hess. Helle’s writing and singing sounds like no one else. It is soulful, groovin’ and direct. Her band speaks for itself.
That concludes this round of Readers’ Choices. Many thanks to all who responded. If your communiqué did not appear, please accept our apologies. At tonight’s staff meeting, we agreed that we may do this again in a few years—say around 2025.