recommendations: August 2006 Archives

Sonny Rollins, Work Time (Prestige). This was recorded more than fifty years ago. It is forever new. At twenty-six, Rollins was full of energy and bursting with ideas. I have never listened to him soar through "There's No Business Like Show Business" and Billy Strayhorn's "Raincheck" without grinning. Max Roach, high on his partnership with Clifford Brown, was at his apogee of drumming. Ray Bryant's gorgeous piano solo on "There Are Such Things" is his best ballad playing on record. The bassist, George Morrow, had been working with Rollins and Roach in the Roach-Brown group and locked powerfully into Rollins' momentum. This is a basic repertoire item.

August 24, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

Brian Lynch, 24/7 (Nagel Heyer). I just caught up with this 2002 album. Lynch teams his trumpet with Miguel Zenon's alto saxophone. The two of them groove with a fine rhythm section of pianist Rick Germanson, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Neal Smith. Everyone plays well on the originals by band members, but the prize tracks are Jerome Kern's "Nobody Else but Me" Louis Armstrong's "West End Blues" and Ellington's barely-known ballad "Azalea." In the Kern, Lynch, using a tight mute, is quick and lyrical (yes, those qualities can go together). In "West End Blues," he nails Armstrong's cadenza opening and observes the original arrangement, then he, Zenon and Germanson (keep an eye on him) play stunning extended solos before wrapping it up with the celebrated 1928 Armstrong tag.

August 24, 2006 1:04 AM | | Comments (0)

András Schiff, Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Volume II, op. 10 and 13 (ECM). If you are a jazz listener who doesn't cotton to what is often categorized as "classical" music, you have my sympathy because you won't be hearing this brilliant pianist in the second CD of his projected series of the Beethoven sonatas. Consider relenting. Even you can probably relate to the c-minor, the famous "Pathetique," but Schiff's magic with the slow movement of the D-major could just convert you entirely. Lucky you. Schiff is one of the supreme pianists of his generation. His first two volumes of the sonatas suggest that his complete set will rank with Richard Goode's among his contemporaries and Arthur Schnabel's among his predecessors. Aside: I can't help wondering if the classically-canny Bill Evans had the first movement of the D-major in mind when he wrote "Waltz for Debby."

August 24, 2006 1:03 AM | | Comments (0)

Jazz Shots From The East Coast, Vols. 1-3, Jazz Shots from the West Coast, Vols. 1-3 (EforFilms). The music on these discs is almost uniformly good. The video ranges from TV quality to grainy film, and no wonder; some of these clips are ancient soundies. There are great rewards here, but be warned: the producers provide no information beyond the names of the leaders and the tunes, unless it was superimposed on the original clip. No dates. No sidemen identification. Who was that marvelous alto saxophonist soloing with Duke Ellington on "Sophisticated Lady?" It was Willie Smith, replacing Johnny Hodges for a time in the early 1950s, but if you don't recognize him, you're out of luck. Fortunately, pianist Ronnie Matthews' name appears on the screen in a marvelous performance of "Monk's Dream" by Johnny Griffin, but that is a rarity. Who was East Coast and who was West Coast may have been decided by a toss of the dice. In the course of the series, Duke Ellington, Art Blakey, Bill Evans, Phil Woods, Jimmy Smith and Thelonious Monk show up in both categories. But pigeon holes don't matter, music does, and for all of their informational faults, these DVDs deliver plenty of it by some of the best players of the twentieth century.

August 24, 2006 1:02 AM | | Comments (1)

Vivian Perlis and Libby Van Cleve, Composers' Voices from Ives to Ellington (Yale). This is the book that took first place over Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond in the Independent Publishers awards competition. But, no hard feelings, only gratitude for a hefty volume that presents oral history in a readable--and listenable--form. The book includes two CDs with, in many cases, the voices of the composers. Aaron Copland: "Music needn't be so high-falutin' that it becomes abstract and just pure notes, you know." Duke Ellington: "Everything is so highly personalized that you just can't find a category big enough. And 'jazz' certainly isn't big enough." If you wish to know more about Eubie Blake, Mel Powell, Nadia Boulanger, Edgard Varèse or Nicolas Slonimsky, among many others, this is a book for you.

August 24, 2006 1:01 AM | | Comments (0)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the recommendations category from August 2006.

recommendations: July 2006 is the previous archive.

recommendations: September 2006 is the next archive.

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About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
Rebuilding Gulf Culture after Katrina
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Art from the American Outback
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
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the 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
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
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

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

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
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