Monday, May 19. 2008
This week's meager selection follows the same rules as last week's: first pass notes based on listening to music only, no packaging, rather minimal research, all grades tentative. Didn't get very far, as the experiment was suspended when I hit the road from Detroit. Just got back to Wichita late Monday. In between, I took a long detour through northern Arkansas, northeast Oklahoma, and southeast Kansas, visiting relatives, none of whom provided me with internet connections. Didn't drag the music inside either, and tended to listen to old Louis Jordan and Johnny Cash comps while driving.
Got home only to find a mountain of mail, roughly four feet in diameter, over a foot high. Haven't opened anything yet, but will start working on it tomorrow, so next week should see a belated return to normalcy here. (Maybe not instantly: I still need to figure out how to integrate the new laptop into the setup; in the meantime, working on the laptop is relatively unproductive.)
As noted before, Jazz CG #16 came out last week. I didn't send out the usual notice because I didn't have the address list handy, but will do so soon. Also haven't done the usual intercycle cull and some of the related bookkeeping. Something else to try to get done this week. One bit of good news is that the threat to make Jazz CG online only has lifted. Don't fully understand the crisis, but it looks to be temporary, and editor Rob Harvilla appears to be strongly committed to the column.
Spring Heel Jack: Songs and Themes (2008, Thirsty Ear): John Coxon and Ashley Wales built up their brand name as DJs mixing techno, but parts of their hearts and/or brains were more attached to free jazz, resulting in a series of inconsistent, sporadically fetching records. The big names here are saxophonist John Tchicai and trumpeter Roy Campbell, with other oddities packed in like Orphy Robinson's vibes, J. Spaceman's guitar, and the leaders' samples. Doesn't add up, but now and then threatens to. [B] [advance]
Misha Alperin: Her First Dance (2006 , ECM): Ukrainian pianist, currently based in Norway. Has a couple of well regarded ECM albums from 1995-97, but little since. Everything in ECM's current batch (well, except for the Evan Parker) can be viewed as some sort of chamber music, but this one most of all. Unorthodox trio, with Arkady Shilkloper on French horn and flugelhorn and Anja Lechner on cello -- a combination that doesn't produce much momentum. [B+(*)] [advance]
Sal Mosca Quartet: You Go to My Head (2001-06 , Blue Jack Jazz): Pianist, studied under Lennie Tristano, recorded in Lee Konitz's group in 1949, recorded spottily over the years, often with Konitz, Warne Marsh, or here with Jimmy Halperin -- a saxophonist who sounds like one of the family. Mosca died in 2007 at age 80, so this is a memento as well as a very late showcase, covering standards like "How High the Moon" and the title track, standards like "Scrapple From the Apple" and "Groovin' High," and an appropriate non-standard: "Sub Conscious-Lee." [B+(***)]
Dafnis Prieto: Taking the Soul for a Walk (2008, Dafnison): Cuban drummer, made a big splash when he showed up in New York in 1999. I no longer have any doubts about his talent, but still haven't gotten the hang of his music -- mostly Afro-Cuban with those weird sharp rhythmic shifts, way too complex for my taste. But he manages his horns well here -- saxophonists Peter Apfelbaum and Yosvany Terry blend nicely on the relatively straight "Until the Last Minute," and Avishai Cohen's trumpet impresses. I may get the hang of it eventually. [B+(*)]
No final grades/notes this week on records put back for further listening the first time around.
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