The John Coltrane project described in this post is completed and awaiting release by Concord Jazz. However—I am happy to report—other free lance assignments have developed. Rifftides progress slows a bit while I work on them, but in the next few posts we’ll call your attention to recent listening that may interest you. Some of the albums have been out a while. Others are quite new. First, an invaluable Larry Young discovery made in Paris:
Larry Young In Paris: The ORTF Recordings (Resonance)
Resonance Records specializes in jazz archeology, releasing music by figures who might otherwise fade in the memories of jazz listeners. One not likely to disappear is the organist Larry Young (1940-1978), who made several successful Blue Note and Prestige albums. His presence in one of the more adventurous bands of Miles Davis’s semi-rock period gave him additional exposure, as did his role in drummer Tony Williams’ Lifetime, a trio that also included guitarist John McLaughlin. Resonance acquired recordings that Young made in live broadcasts in Paris in the mid 1960s. They remained in the archive unheard until now. The Paris recordings recall Young’s relatively restrained approach to the organ during an era dominated by players like Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff who were capable of using the instrument as a sonic battering ram. Six tracks of the ten in the Resonance set find Young with the trumpeter Woody Shaw, who was amazingly advanced at the age of 18. The set also gives us the opportunity to hear two superb tenor saxophonists, the American Nathan Davis and the Frenchman Jean-Claude Fohrenbach, who combined aspects of Stan Getz and John Coltrane. The two CDs thrive on blues and blues-tinged pieces and, in the case of Young’s “Luny Tune,” the harmonies of “I Got Rhythm,” that perennial source of jazz originals. Not from the Resonance album but from that period of Young’s life, here is “Tyrone.” It’s on his Into Something! Blue Note CD, with Sam Rivers, tenor saxophone; Elvin Jones, drums; and Grant Green, guitar.
The 66-page booklet for the Resonance set, is filled with stories previously untold and photographs of Young and others never before made public. Resonance’s Zev Feldman and George Klabin put the package together with the help of Woody Shaw III, Nathan Davis, Michael Cuscuna and ORTF’s Paris archivists. The collection is a major addition to Young’s discography.
Akira Tana JAZZaNOVA (Vega)
Akira Tana’s career began in his native San Francisco and blossomed as he developed into one of the most sensitive and adaptable masters of the art of jazz drumming. Along the way, he fell in love with the Brazilian music that went worldwide with the bossa nova explosion ignited by João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Elis Regina, Baden Powell and others. JAZZaNOVA expresses Tana’s feeling for that music and his appreciation for superior singing. The voclalists are Brazlians Claudio Amaral, Maria Volonté and Claudia Villela, and three American steeped in Brazilian music, Carla Helmbrecht, Sandy Cressman and Jackie Ryan.
Amaral and Villela begin the festival with Jobim’s “Aguas de Marco,” following the routine of the famous recording and video by Jobim and Elis Regina but investing the lyric with their own manipulation of time and Jobim’s piquant words. Arturo Sandoval is part of the ensemble and has a muted trumpet solo so hip that he can be forgiven a quote from “Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid.” Sandoval sings and plays with her in Ms. Volonté’s composition “La Gloria Ere Tú.” Ms. Cressman seems moved, and is moving, in her interpretation of Ivan Lins’ and Vitor Martins’ “Bilhete.” Sandoval contributes gorgeous flugelhorn solos to “Corcovado”—sung in Portuguese and English by Ms. Hembrecht—and Ms. Cressman’s caressing of Jobim’s “Caminhos Cruzados.” Ms. Ryan pours emotion into Jobim’s “Por Causa de Vocé.” Branford Marsalis is the guest tenor saxophonist on Lins’ “Love Dance,” sung by Ms. Helmbrecht. On Caetano Veloso’s “Aquele Frevo Axé,” he shares the final chorus in a gentle obbligato behind Mr. Amaral’s vocal.
I don’t know if there is a definition of perfection in bossa nova, or JAZZaNOVA, drumming, but Tana may have established one with his work here. His finely attuned rhythm section mates are pianist Richard Horvath, bassist Gary Brown and percussionist Michael Spiro.
To come, there will be more of Rifftides catching up. Please come back soon.