recommendations: December 2009 Archives

Carla's Carols.jpgCarla Bley, Steve Swallow, The Partyka Brass Quintet, Carla's Christmas Carols (Watt). Bley arranges nine classic carols with tenderness, wit, harmonic brilliance, wide dynamic range and a wry sense of nostalgia. She adds two of her own pieces, the gorgeous "Jesus Maria" and "Hell's Bells", a joyous concoction on "I Got Rhythm" changes. Swallow's bass work, as always, is perfection. Prepare to be captivated by the brass ensemble and by the solos of trombonist Adrian Mears, trumpeter Axel Schlosser and hornist Christine Chapman.

December 12, 2009 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

Thumbnail image for Coming Together.jpgChris Potter, Steve Wilson, Terrell Stafford, Coming Together (Inarhyme). This was to have been the recording debut in 2005 of the young tenor saxophonist Brendan Romaneck. That year he died at 24 in a traffic accident. In his memory, saxophonists Potter and Wilson, trumpeter Stafford and a fine rhythm section completed the project. Eight of the compositions are Romaneck's. Three are standard songs. Potter is compelling with a pianoless trio on "My Shining Hour." Wilson and Stafford shine on Romaneck's daring "Minion." Pianist Keith Javors, bassist Delbert Felix and drummer John Davis are strong throughout.

December 12, 2009 1:04 AM | | Comments (0)

Kind of Blue.jpgMiles Davis, Kind of Blue (Columbia). Okay, this is the zillionth reissue, and it's not the first to include alternate takes, false starts or a second CD of performances by the classic Davis sextet. The difference? Columbia got the sound right - no forced reverberation, echo, clipping, compression or other digital-age engineering cuteness. This is how the music should sound. Nice packaging, too, retaining the original cover on a sturdy three-panel fold-out box. If you don't own Kind of Blue, this is the one. If you do, the improved sonics are worth considering.

December 12, 2009 1:03 AM | | Comments (1)

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Herman '64 DVD.jpgWoody Herman, Live in '64 (Jazz Icons). This captures Herman on British television long after he stopped naming or numbering his Herds. It was one his most exciting bands, driven by drummer Jake Hanna and bassist Chuck Andrus. Upstate New York terrors Joe Romano and Sal Nistico are fascinating in their contrasting tenor sax styles. Two underrated trumpet soloists, Paul Fontaine and Billy Hunt, stand out, as does trombonist Phil Wilson, a master of high-note eloquence. But it's the tout ensemble that grabs you. Woody is charming in his set-piece introductions. BBC sound and video quality are good.

December 12, 2009 1:02 AM | | Comments (0)

Jade Visions.jpgHelene La Faro-Fernández, Jade Visions: The Life and Music of Scott La Faro (North Texas). There will be other books about the most important young bassist of the last half of the twentieth century. Their authors will mine this invaluable first biography. The insight La Faro's sister gives into his character, musicality and determination could come only from someone so close. But the book is not just memories. La Faro-Fernández conducted dozens of interviews and did meticulous research to create a full portrait of the man who in a tragically short career changed jazz bass playing.

December 12, 2009 1:01 AM | | Comments (0)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the recommendations category from December 2009.

recommendations: October 2009 is the previous archive.

recommendations: January 2010 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
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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