New jazz albums seem to appear every hour on the hour, and the best a struggling young blog can do is notify you when something catches the ears of the staff. We’ll mention a couple of new releases, realizing that it’s impossible to hear…much less review…everything the postman and the delivery service leave at the Rifftides door.
Peter Furlan Project, Between The Lines (Beany Bops Music)
Furlan is a New York area saxophonist who leads a mid-sized band of experienced players. Their years of working together have resulted in an intriguing blend of discipline and adventurousness. The capacious baritone saxophone of Roger Rosenberg begins the interwoven fun and games of Furlan’s “A Visit From The Goon Squad” Some of Furlan’s arrangements may remind listeners of ensemble ventures by such predecessors as Rod Levitt and Chuck Israels but, overall, Furlan’s writing suggests an original mind at work. That is as true of his energetic pieces like “A Visit From The Goon Squad” as of the relatively relaxed tracks, which include “Invisible” and “Black Hole Blue.” Furlan’s aggressive soprano saxophone solo on “Black Hole Blue” is a highlight. Rosenberg’s bass clarinet interludes on “Transatlantic” are reminders of why that versatile reedman is in steady demand.
Stan Getz: Getz At The Gate (Verve)
It is unlikely that anyone who has been a jazz listener for longer than ten years or so needs to be reminded of Stan Getz. Even the tenor saxophonist’s most dedicated followers are likely to encounter, in this previously unissued two-CD set, Getz playing in 1961 at New York’s Village Gate with drive, swing, beauty and humor that was uncommon even for him. His quartet colleagues were pianist Steve Kuhn, bassist John Neves and drummer Roy Haynes. Before his return to the US, Getz lived in Europe for a time and battled drug abuse that led to serious illness. Recovered, he was back in New York and–the evidence in this album proves–fully in possession of the lyricism, swing and imagination that had made him one of the post-bebop era’s leading figures. The repertoire here includes tunes from Getz’s earlier days, admired standards (“Stella By Starlight”, “When The Sun Comes Out, “Like Someone In Love,” “It’s You Or No One”) and a couple of pieces by tenor players who were among his instrument’s new stars, Sonny Rollins’ “Airegin” and John Coltrane’s “Impressions”). They may have been his successors as top tenors, but Getz’s tone on “Stella By Starlight,” reminds us why Coltrane once said, “We’d all sound like that if we could.” The rhythm section is, to say the least, impressive throughout, with Haynes using his unflagging energy and control to inspire Getz, Kuhn and Neves. But it’s Getz’s album, finally released after 58 years. It is a dramatic reminder of his greatness.
(More recent-listening reviews coming soon.)