recommendations: July 2010 Archives

Weiss Snuck.jpgDavid Weiss & Point Of Departure, Snuck In (Sunnyside). Trumpeter Weiss's heart may be in the 1960s, but he and his young band operate very much in the present. His solo style is largely a bequest from the late Freddie Hubbard, with whom he worked closely as a player and arranger. His repertoire here consists of pieces by Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill and Tony Williams, plus two from the neglected Detroit trumpeter Charles Moore. Weiss, tenor saxophonist J.D. Allan, guitarist Nir Felder, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Jamire Williams are expansive and full of vigor. With the shortest track running nine minutes, the soloists go long but maintain focus—theirs and the listener's.

July 30, 2010 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

Spalding Chamber.jpgEsperanza Spalding, Chamber Music Society (Heads Up). The contrarian impulse is to briskly walk away from hype about the latest sensation du jour, but critical duty says, listen anyway. In Spalding's case, I'm glad I listened. She is an accomplished bassist with depth of tone, penetrating timbre and good note choices. Her singing has clarity and lightness. She is consistently in tune. Spalding writes and arranges well. With a small string ensemble, piano, drums and percussion, she interprets William Blake, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dmitri Tiomkin and several pieces of her own. Her duet with Gretchen Parlato on Jobim's "Inútil Pasagem" is a triumph of intricate simplicity. One with Milton Nascimento in "Apple Blossoms" has a lovely blend of their voices but bogs down in an awkward narrative lyric, one flaw in a captivating CD.

July 30, 2010 1:04 AM | | Comments (0)

Thumbnail image for Sardaro Lost.jpgJoe Sardaro, Lost In The Stars (Catch My Drift). Last year, I mentioned in a review of Joe Sardaro's Protégé that the singer's 1986 vinyl album Lost In The Stars had never been reissued. Now, happily, it is on CD. Sardaro recruited high-level backing for his first recording; drummer Shelly Manne, bassist Monte Budwig, guitarist Al Viola, saxophonist/flutist Sam Most and pianist John Knapp. To quote my 1987 Jazz Times review of the LP, "A light baritone without spectacular range or notable resonance, he depends on taste, swing, diction and lyric interpretation. Those elements serve him well..." Most's tenor sax solos are delightful. The CD adds five songs recently recorded by Sardaro. He sings them pleasantly but with less steady intonation than in the original eleven.

July 30, 2010 1:03 AM | | Comments (1)

Heath Master Class.jpgJimmy And Percy Heath, Jazz Master Class (Artists House). In 2004, the year before bassist Percy Heath died, he and his saxophonist/composer brother Jimmy appeared in John Snyder's master class series at New York University. A pair of DVDs captures them in several stunning duets, critiquing student performances of Jimmy's tunes and being interviewed by author Gary Giddins. We also see pre- and post-master class conversations with the students, transcriptions of solos rolling across the screen as the solos are played and Giddins talking at length about the Heath Brothers' importance. Percy's and Jimmy's charm, humor, erudition and contrasting personalities come across strongly. This set is a highlight in an invaluable Artists House project.

July 30, 2010 1:02 AM | | Comments (0)

Pekar Splendor cover.jpgHarvey Pekar, American Splendor: The Life And Times Of Harvey Pekar (Ballantine Books). Pekar, who died this month, mesmerized readers by transforming his ordinary life into comics for adults. Pekar wrote the stories. R. Crumb and a crew of other artists illustrated them to Pekar's specifications, in living black and white. His work led to the movie of the same name. I'm not sure that I'd go as far as some critics who compare him to Chekhov, but I'm not sure that I wouldn't. If Pekar's gritty ironies are an acquired taste, it's a taste that settles in quickly.

July 30, 2010 1:01 AM | | Comments (0)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the recommendations category from July 2010.

recommendations: June 2010 is the previous archive.

recommendations: October 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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