Monday, February 11. 2013
Music: Current count 21005  rated (+18), 620  unrated (+10).
Eased over the 21,000 mark this week, mostly listening to those Marilyn Crispell records on Rhapsody. Still very little time to listen to much of anything. Some of the distractions are lessening, but some are increasing as well. I did manage to get two handrail projects done -- big shout out to Max Stewart there -- so the house is more cripple-friendly.
Didn't meet my quota for a minimal Jazz Prospecting column, but figured I came close enough I should lower my minimum to seven (or even six -- the Shipp Greatest Hits is recycled from last week's Recycled Goods). As "unpacking" shows, I'm falling behind (but right now only the vocals queue is overflowing).
One more thing to point out: the Spanish magazine El Intruso has posted results of their jazz critics poll. I voted in this along with 47 other critics -- about half American and half European, unlike the Downbeat and Jazz Times polls (and for that matter Francis Davis's) which are almost exclusively American. Generally interesting results: more, I must say, to my taste than the aforementioned polls. Individual ballots follow. There is also a poll of international musicians: just for favorite 2012 records there, and again the individual ballots follow. Of course, the artist roster gives you an idea of who the editor(s) consider important. Similar self-selection occurs in virtually every poll. This one is just more "right on" than most.
Jaiman Crunk: Encounters (2012, Origin): Guitarist, originally from San Francisco; moved to Europe, then to Seattle. First record, shuffles as many guests in as possible -- e.g., one bassist per tune, and no, Ron Carter didn't miss out -- but only one pianist (Bill Anschell, on 2 of 8 tunes). Three cuts have orchestral back up, and a fourth isolates the ickiness to the strings. One more cut has vocals -- Take 6, pretty awful. Aside from those faux pas, pretty pleasant. B-
Yelena Eckemoff Trio: Glass Song (2012 , Yelena Music): Pianist, originally from Moscow, USSR; moved to US in 1991; started in classical but lately moved into jazz with a steady stream of tasteful, erudite albums. Partners this time are Arild Andersen on bass and Peter Erskine on drums, but they never challenge the primacy of the piano. B+(**)
Benny Green: Magic Beans (2012 , Sunnyside): Pianist, long list of records since 1990; all originals including titles like "Kenny Drew," "Jackie McLean," and "Harold Land." Superb mainstream rhythm section -- Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums -- keeps this flowing. B+(**)
Sean Moran Small Elephant Band: Tusk (2011 , NCM East): Guitarist, prefers nylon strings, based in Brooklyn, first album mostly under his own name although he has several as the Four Bags, and has appeared with Michael McGinnis, who plays clarinet and bass clarinet here and occasionally takes charge. Otherwise, the soft guitar is accented with Chris Dingman's vibes, and the Reuben Radding-Haris Eisenstadt rhythm section is plenty shifty. B+(**)
Chris Potter: The Sirens (2012 , ECM): The quintessential postbop tenor saxophonist for twenty-some years now, after which he's still only 42, he can blow you away, but rarely does. His "first ECM record" is a frothy little thing propped up with riches -- for example, he couldn't decide between pianists Craig Taborn and David Virelles so went with both. B+(***)
Matthew Shipp: Greatest Hits (2000-2012 , Thirsty Ear): Before 2000 Shipp had established himself as one of the avant-garde's most rigorous pianists through a series of often startling duo and trio albums -- mostly duos. Most were on the usual obscure European labels, but a couple -- ranging from the tedious 2-Z with Roscoe Mitchell to the superb Zo with bassist William Parker -- came out on a postrock label in Connecticut. Thirsty Ear wound up hiring Shipp to curate "The Blue Series": think of them as postrock crossovers made by Shipp's avant chums plus a few secretly admiring DJs. Early on, the series tracked public interest in "jazztronica" -- but unlike the previous decade's "acid jazz" fad or the later dabblings of more-or-less mainstream figures ranging from Nicholas Payton to Dave Douglas -- Shipp's series never felt like a compromise. But later on, Shipp seemed to grow weary of the electronics and tried to reassert himself as an acoustic jazz pianist (especially on the solos One and 4D and the mixed solo-trio Art of the Improviser). Of course, nothing he did was a "hit" in the pop sense, but these dozen cuts from eleven albums both hit the high points and drive home the primacy of his piano. A-
Neil C. Young: El Camino (2011 , Canadian American): Guitarist (trio adds bass and drums), b. 1973, has at least one previous album. No idea where he came from or how he got here. Sounds more like John Scofield than Neil Young. B+(*)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
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