Monday, May 20. 2013
Music: Current count 21440  rated (+34), 629  unrated (+7).
Lost some ground last week, after a good start which picked up some stragglers, finding some honorable mentions but nothing to add to the A-list. Rated count is up because I've adding things to the Rhapsody Streamnotes file -- including a fair amount of jazz I didn't receive. (Including three new AUM Fidelity releases that finally make me feel not so bad about being jilted and dumped from their mailing list.) No Clean Feed package yet -- probably time to complain. Did get a package from Lithuania with tantalizing obscurities, including a 1974 item with a very young William Parker on bass (Melodic Art-Tet).
Streamnotes will run after A Downloader's Diary, whenever that's ready, certainly by the end of the month. Trying to keep up with the incoming jazz, but not worried about it. More bothered by everything else that's slipping, including a way overdue update to the Christgau website, and lots of seemingly imaginary projects of my own. I did manage to finish my "stone moat" around the back of the house -- just in time for it to get roughed up by yesterday's tornado. We didn't suffer any building damage, so whatever it was wasn't a real ground-touching tornado but it stripped a lot of leaves and twigs and deposited them in swirling patterns on our roof -- something I've never seen before.
Perry Beekman: So in Love: Perry Beekman Sings and Plays Cole Porter (2013, self-released): Guitarist-vocalist, based in Woodstock, NY; first album as far as I can tell, although he's "been playing in jazz clubs, and at private and corporate events throughout New York City for the past 25 years." Fifteen Cole Porter songs, backed by piano and bass. Hard to go wrong. B+(*)
Marc Bernstein & Good People: Hymn for Life (2012 , Origin): Saxophonist, from New York but based in Denmark, lead instrument here is bass clarinet. Fourth album since 1999, quartet with Jacob Anderskov (piano), Jonas Westergaard (bass), and Rakalam Bob Moses (drums), plus featured singer Sinne Eeg. She has a remarkable voice, dark and smoky. B+(***)
Blue Cranes: Swim (2013, Cuneiform): Group, quintet with two saxes (Reed Walsmith and Joe Cunningham), keyboards (Rebecca Sanborn), bass (Keith Brush) and drums (Ji Tanzer); based in Portland, OR; handful of albums since 2007, including a remix of the last one (not counting an intervening EP). Long guest list this time, including strings on 5 (of 9) cuts. Big slabs of sound, nothing but volume to make you think they need more than one horn. B [advance]
Freddy Cole: This and That (2012 , High Note): Nat's little brother, 14 years junior which makes him 81 now, finally found his mature voice a few years back and has been on a steady roll. Backed by pianist John Di Martino, with tasty guitar by arranger Randy Napoleon, and select sax and trombone spots. Scrounging a bit for songs he hasn't done before, but he even makes something of "Everybody's Talkin'." B+(***)
The Jay D'Amico Quintet: Tango Caliente (2012 , Consolidated Artists Productions): Pianist, sixth album since 1983, the last three subtitled "Jazz Under Glass." First tango themed album, although he's done classical- and opera-themes. Expanded his trio to include Andrew Sterman on tenor sax and flute, and Richie Vitale on trumpet and flugelhorn -- nothing that will be mistaken as authentic. Nothing caliente here; don't know the Spanish for "lukewarm," but it's not even that. C+
Marko Djordjevic & Sveti: Something Beautiful 1709-2110 (2013, Goalkeeper): Drummer, from Serbia, studied at Berklee. Recorded first album as Sveti in 1995. Group now is a piano trio (Bobby Avey and Desmond White) with tenor sax added on half the tracks (Eli Degibri and Tivon Pennicott, three cuts each). All originals. B+(**)
Satoko Fujii Ma-Do: Time Stands Still (2011 , Not Two): One of pianist Fujii's many groups, with Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, Norikatsu Koreyasu on bass, and Akira Horikoshi on drums: their third and final album together -- Koreyasu died of a heart attack shortly after. Some typically fine moments from Fujii and (especially) Tamura, but overall a bit subdued, almost poignant in the end. B+(**)
Satoko Fujii New Trio: Spring Storm (2013, Libra): Japanese pianist, has a lot of albums but not many conventional piano trios. This one has Todd Nicholson on bass and Takashi Itani on drums. Some fine examples of her impressive block chording and much more in a more melodic vein. B+(***)
Laszlo Gardony: Clarity (2012 , Sunnyside): Pianist, b. 1956 in Hungary, came to US in 1983 to study at Berklee. Tenth album since 1986, a solo, all original material, inching up to a strong rhythmic vamp at the end. B+(***)
I Compani: Extended (2013, Icdisc): Dutch group, founded by saxophonist Bo van de Graaf around 1985, ten or so albums since then, their favorite subject the film music of Nino Rota, although another is Sun Ra, who provides the only non-Rota cover here, plus a song title. As the title suggests, the band has been beefed up here, to as many as 24 members, which can mean massive or mayhem but is usually slyly amusing. Weak spot is the vocals, a mix of art song and opera that easily rubs me the wrong way. B+(*)
Richard Lanham: Thou Swell (1998 , RL Productions): Singer, started out with his brothers in a doo-wop group called the Tempo Tones -- YouTube has a video dated 1957, and Discogs lists one song on an obscure, undated compilation -- and went on to sing with King Curtis, did something with Wynton Kelly, joined another group called the Boateneers -- can't find any evidence of them -- and so forth, eventually recording this debut album, which in turn was shelved for fifteen years. Tenor saxophonist Jerry Weldon arranged, the songs notably checking Ray Charles and Nat Cole, with some gospel and calypso worked in, all of which are to his taste. B+(*)
Ivan Lins: Cornucopia (2012 , Sunnyside): Brazilian singer-songwriter, b. 1945, scored his first hit in 1970 and has been a major figure ever since, with over 35 albums. This one is a major production, backed by the SWR Big Band, singer Paula Morelenbaum, Themba Mkhize's South African Choir, bassist Nilson Matta, and lots of extra percussionists. B+(**)
Miki Purnell: Swingin' to the Sea (2013, Sweet and Lovely Music): Standards singer, one original on this her debut album. From San Diego, where she maintains a day job as a family practice physician. Likes vocalese (titles like "Bluesette" and "A Night in Tunisia"), doesn't scat much, has a slightly girlish voice that grows on you. Guests Tamir Hendelman (piano) and Lori Bell (flute) produce. Nice, delicate reading of "The Nearness of You," and her "Swinging on a Star" is utterly delightful. B+(*)
Sherri Roberts: Lovely Days (2011-12 , Blue House/Pacific Coast Jazz): Standards singer, fourth album, backed by pianist Bliss Rodriguez and nothing more -- she handles it well, but it doesn't feel like much, especially when the pace turns glacial on "Moon River." B
Wallace Roney: Understanding (2013, High Note): Trumpeter, has at least 16 albums since 1987, basically a mainstream hard bop guy although he's been dabbling with electronics the last few albums. No such electronics here: back to basics, and crank it up a bit. He'a also replaced his brother, saxophonist Antoine Roney, with Arnold Lee on alto and Ben Solomon on tenor. Mostly covers from the hard bop years, including two each from McCoy Tyner and Duke Pearson. One original each by Roney and Solomon. Nothing new here, but it does smoke. B+(**)
Anna Webber: Percussive Mechanics (2012 , Pirouet): Plays flute and tenor sax, originally from British Columbia, studied at McGill and moved to New York. Second (or third) album, recorded in Germany, with clarinet/alto sax, piano, vibes/marimba, bass, two drummers -- no names I recognize -- the emphasis on jangly, off-center percussion. All original compositions. B+(*)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week: