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Broadbent Giannelli.jpgAlan Broadbent Trio Live At Giannelli Square: Volume 1 (Chilly Bin). No outer space explorer, Broadbent finds in the song form all that he needs for freedom earned through discipline. The technique he has intensified in recent years is evident in the precision and relaxation of his counterpoint in "Lullaby of the Leaves," stunning parallel constructions, speed and independence of hands in "Solar" and in dozens of other demonstrations of his skill. Broadbent's music, however, is not about chops. He concerns himself with beauty. The manifestations of it include his poignant reharmonization of "Embraceable You," called here "You and You Alone." Broadbent's longtime sidemen, bassist Putter Smith and drummer Kendall Kay, are strong and sensitive in support.

December 22, 2010 1:05 AM | | Comments (2)

Mahanthappa, Green.jpgRudresh Mahanthappa & Bunky Green, Apex (Pi). Mahanthappa, aged 39, is one of the most visible alto saxophonists of the 21st century; Green, aged 75 one of the least. As a result of this album, Green is gaining the prominence he might have achieved in the 1960s had he not left Charles Mingus for academia. Among the saxophonists he influenced through recordings was Mahanthappa. Together, they are formidable kindred spirits. Throughout, but notably on "Summit" and "Playing with Stones," their singleness of purpose, interplay and energy are remarkable. Pianist Jason Moran, bassist Francis Moutin, and drummers Jack DeJohnette (four tracks) and Damion Reid (six tracks) abet this inspired pairing.

December 22, 2010 1:04 AM | | Comments (0)

Danko Oats Perry II.jpgHarold Danko, Oatts & Perry II (SteepleChase). Pianist Danko was a colleague of alto saxophonist Dick Oatts and tenor saxophonist Rich Perry in the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band and never got over them—with good reason. This successor album to Oats & Perry (2006) again teams the three with bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Jeff Hirshfield. It reemphasizes the reasons that Oatts and Perry are admired among musicians and serious listeners for their inventiveness, passion and tonal qualities. In addition, it has plenty of Danko's incisive soloing. They glorify tunes by Danko, Jones, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, Richard Rodgers, Johnny Mercer and Miles Davis, whose "Sid's Ahead" is a moody highlight.

December 22, 2010 1:03 AM | | Comments (0)

Brubeck Moscow.jpgDave Brubeck, Brubeck Returns to Moscow (Koch Vision). This 2005 film about Brubeck's 1997 visit to Russia for a performance of his mass To Hope is a beautifully crafted documentary. It incorporates Brubeck's quartet with a symphony orchestra and chorus performing the mass and a rousing "Blue Rondo ala Turk." We see Brubeck's informal encounters with the Russians, including a spirited impromptu duet with a young violinist, and conductor Russell Gloyd amusingly overcoming the language difference to rehearse the dozens of musicians. There is also footage of Brubeck on a previous Moscow occasion, at the Reagan-Gorbachev summit of 1988, before the wall came down.

December 22, 2010 1:02 AM | | Comments (0)

The Big Love.jpgLaurie Verchomin, The Big Love: Life & Death With Bill Evans (Verchomin). The "Laurie" of the pianist's song by that name spares nothing in her account of their romance or of the drug use that hastened Evans' death at 51. Love between the pianist and the young woman flared in the year-and-a-half before Evans died in late 1980. Her book is the story of the life-affirming brilliance of his music in the final months, a man resigned to the inevitability of his early mortality and the devotion of the young woman he chose to share the end of his life. The drug ugliness is at odds with the beauty of Evans' music, but Ms. Verchomin illuminates his generosity, consideration and humor.

December 22, 2010 1:01 AM | | Comments (0)

Baker, Chet, Sesjun.jpgChet Baker, The Sesjun Radio Shows (T2). The trumpeter and singer soars in two CDs compiled from 1970s and '80s concerts on the Dutch radio program Tros Sesjun. Baker's fleetness, lyricism, hard swing and vocal improvisations put this among the best work of his later years. Of the sidemen, pianists Harold Danko and Phil Markowitz, bassist Cameron Brown and drummer John Engels make outstanding contributions. Sound quality is superb. There are five stunning 1985 tracks by Baker with guitarist Philip Catherine and bassist Jean Louis Rassinfosse. Even the most hardened Baker detractors will find it difficult to dismiss these glowing performances.

November 9, 2010 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)

Reid Out Front.jpgRufus Reid, Out Front (Motéma). Passionate performances of compositions by its members highlight this album by the stalwart bassist's new trio. Reid's "Caress the Thought" evolves through changing atmospheres and rhythms into a crescendo and a peaceful resolution. Drummer Duduka Da Fonseca's "Doña Maria" alternates between the samba tradition of his native Brazil and the mainstream jazz of his adopted country. Pianist Steve Allee drew on twelve-tone music in "The Rise of the Row," but the mood of the piece is closer to Bill Evans than to Schoenberg. Throughout, Reid's bass is remarkable for its depth, richness and power.

November 9, 2010 1:04 AM | | Comments (0)

Barone Live Redux.jpgMike Barone, Live 2005! Redux (Rhubarb). Barone is one of the most accomplished big band arrangers never to become famous. For this reissue, he remixed to improve the sound, pruned overlong solos and added a track. Why "Grand Central" hit the editing room floor the first time around is a mystery. Ernie Watts and Vince Trombetta share the tenor sax glory in Barone's pungent treatment of the John Coltrane classic. Alto saxophonist Kim Richmond, trumpeter Steve Huffsteter and Barone the trombonist also shine in the CD, but Barone the arranger cuts everyone. A few seconds into "When You're Smiling," you'll be smiling.

November 9, 2010 1:03 AM | | Comments (0)

Thumbnail image for Note By Note.jpgBen Niles, Note By Note: The Making Of Steinway L1037 (docuramafilms). This gem of the documentarian's art follows a 9-foot concert grand for a year, from its beginning as lumber to its arrival at the Steinway showroom in New York. Director Ben Niles and his crew equal the love, knowledge and skill that went into making the instrument. They incorporate conversation and playing by Hank Jones, Kenny Barron, Marcus Roberts, Harry Connick, Jr. and Bill Charlap. Classical pianists Hélène Grimaud, Lang Lang and Pierre-Laurent Aimard also appear. The film transmits to the viewer the emotion and pride of the Steinway craftsmen. Charlap narrates with understated authority.

November 9, 2010 1:02 AM | | Comments (0)

Maynard!.jpgRalph Jungheim, Maynard! (Buster Ann). Jungheim's book is a collection of 30 transcribed reminiscences about the trumpeter and bandleader. Most of them are by musicians, but Ferguson's valet, bus driver and instrument maker also contribute. Some of the anecdotes are amusing, some interesting, some appalling. The exclamation point after his name in the title applies to Ferguson's spectacular playing and his ego. Even associates who had problems with his music and his insecurities had affection for him. The mystery of Ferguson's supernatural chops is probably not explainable, but the book gives insights into his musicality and the contradictions in his character.

November 9, 2010 1:01 AM | | Comments (2)

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About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
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Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
State of the Art
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
The Unanswered Question
Joe Horowitz on music

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
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