Streamnotes: March 27, 2023

Most of these are short notes/reviews based on streaming records from Napster (formerly Rhapsody; other sources are noted in brackets). They are snap judgments, usually based on one or two plays, accumulated since my last post along these lines, back on February 27. Past reviews and more information are available here (21396 records).

Recent Releases

Sarah Bernadette: Sad Poems on My Phone (2023, Blujazz, EP): Singer-songwriter from New Jersey, studying at Berklee, has a couple of previous EPs and a live album on her Bandcamp. Three songs, 16:18. Middle one ("Do You Know What Betrayal Is?") makes me think of Annette Peacock. B [cdr]

Jim Black & the Schrimps: Ain't No Saint (2022 [2023], Intakt): Drummer, modeled this band on Tim Berne's Bloodcount, which he was a member of in the late 1990s, starting afresh with young musicians I've never heard of: Asger Nilssen (alto sax), Julius Gawlik (tenor sax), and Felix Henkelhausen (bass). Gets the sound right (minus Berne's later addition of guitar), and keeps the rhythm well lubricated, as he always does. A- [sp]

Ludovica Burtone: Sparks (2020 [2023], Outside In Music): Italian violinist, seems to be her first album (although she has a number of side-credits). String quartet with Fung Chern Hwei on second violin, backed by a Marta Sanchez-led piano trio, with guests, including vocalist Sami Stevens on one cut, saxophonist Melissa Aldana on another. Vigorous and varied. B+(**) [cd]

Sara Caswell: The Way to You (2019 [2023], Anzic): Violinist, from Indiana, only her third (fourth?) album since 2000 but has appeared fairly regularly with others. Backed with guitar (Jesse Lewis), bass (Ike Sturm), drums (Jared Schonig), plus vibes (Chris Dingman) on 4 (of 9) tracks. B+(***) [cd]

Che Noir: Noir or Never (2023, Poetic, EP): Buffalo rapper Marche Lashawn, has a couple albums, new one is a shorty (9 songs, 22:41). B+(**) [sp]

Andrew Cyrille: Music Delivery/Percussion (2022 [2023], Intakt): Drummer, born 1939 in Brooklyn of Haitian immigrants, joined Cecil Taylor in 1965, many records since then. This is solo. B+(**) [sp]

DJ Black Low: Impumelelo (2023, Awesome Tapes From Africa): South African amapiano producer Sam Austin, second album. B+(***) [sp]

East Axis: No Subject (2023, Mack Avenue): Quartet, three holdovers from their 2021 album (which topped my list): Gerald Cleaver (drums), Kevin Ray (bass), and Matthew Shipp (piano). Allen Lowe's sax slot now belongs to Scott Robinson, so they've replaced an avant player who knows tons about old jazz with a trad player who's been known to swing free (and one who plays a wider range of instruments: tenor sax, alto clarinet, tarogato, trumpet, and slide cornet). B+(***) [sp]

Robert Forster: The Candle and the Flame (2023, Tapete): Australian singer-songwriter, joined Grant McLennan in the Go-Betweens, initially struck me as the lesser of the pair, but he's the one still ticking, and writing and singing new songs that fit nicely into the band's aesthetic. A- [r]

Bára Gisladottir: Silva (2023, Sono Luminus): Icelandic double bassist, first album as far as I can tell, uses electronics to process bass sounds, for a dark ambiance. B+(**) [cd]

Brad Goode: The Unknown (2022 [2023], Origin): Trumpet player, from Chicago. Aside from a 1988 album, his catalog kicks up in 2000, including four early volumes with Von Freeman. This is a fusion quartet, with Jeff Jenkins (keyboards), Seth Lewis (electric bass), and Faa Kow (drums). Has some edge and atmosphere. B+(**) [cd]

Christoph Irniger Pilgrim: Ghost Cat (2022 [2023], Intakt): Swiss tenor saxophonist, fifth group album, several more on the side. Quintet, with names on the cover: Stefan Aeby (piano), Dave Gisler (guitar), Raffaele Bossard (bass), and Michael Stulz (drums). B+(**) [sp]

Floy Krouchi/James Brandon Lewis/Benjamin Sanz: Cliffs (2022, Off): Two French musicians I had never heard of invited the saxophonist for a week in the south of France, where they came up with this totally unheralded album. Not as expansive as Lewis's own work, but in many ways a better showcase for his prodigious skills. A- [sp]

Ingrid Laubrock: The Last Quiet Place (2019 [2023], Pyroclastic): German saxophonist (tenor/soprano), based in New York, with an "altered string quartet in one electrifying sextet": violin (Mazz Swift), cello (Tomeka Reid), guitar (Brandon Seabrook), bass (Michael Formanek), and drums (Tom Rainey). B+(***) [cd]

Bill Laurance & Michael League: Where You Wish You Were (2022 [2023], ACT): Piano and oud/guitar duo, compositions evenly divided (with 4/11 shared credits). B+(**) [sp]

Joëlle Léandre: Zurich Concert (2022 [2023], Intakt): French bassist, tries her hand at a solo album, with her vocals. B+(**) [sp]

Leap Day Trio: Live at the Cafe Bohemia (2020 [2023], Giant Step Arts): Drummer Matt Wilson, saxophonist Jeff Lederer, and bassist Mimi Jones, group assembled for a Leap Day Eve concert, where Wilson and Lederer have played on many of each other's albums. B+(***) [sc]

James Brandon Lewis Trio: Eye of I (2021 [2023], Anti-): Tenor saxophonist, consistently impressive since his 2011 debut, won Jazz Critics Poll for Jesup Wagon in 2021. Seems to be making a bid here for a broader rock audience, what with the new label, and liner notes by Thurston Moore. Nominally a trio with Chris Hoffman (cello/loops) and Max Jaffe (drums), but Kirk Knuffke adds his cornet on two tracks, with the latter bleeding into a closer, where the Trio gets mashed up against the another trio called the Messthetics -- guitarist Anthony Pirog plus the rhythm section from Fugazi. The resulting piece, "Fear Not," is a triumph, but I'm less sure of the rest, including covers from Cecil Taylor and Donny Hathaway. A- [sp]

Liv.e: Girl in the Half Pearl (2023, In Real Life): Hailee Olivia Williams, from Dallas, second album, filed her first one under rap, this one closer to r&b, but only obliquely. B+(**) [sp]

Manzanita Quintet: Osmosis (2021 [2023], Origin): Group based in Reno, but recorded this debut in Colorado: Josh D. Reed (trumpet), Peter Epstein (sax), Adam Benjamin (piano/rhodes), Hans Halt (bass), Andrew Heglund (drums), with all but the drummer contributing songs (Halt most at four), plus covers of Monk and Haden. Intricate postbop textures. B+(*) [cd]

Andrew Moorhead: Interleaved (2022 [2023], OA2): Pianist, first album, nominally a trio with bass (Marcos Varela) and drums (Ari Hoenig), although much of this is layered electronics. B [cd]

The Necks: Travel (2023, Northern Spy): Long-running (since 1989) Australian trio, with Chris Abrahams on piano and organ, Lloyd Swanton (bass guitar/double bass), and Tony Buck (drums/guitar). Double LP, each side a densely patterned texture (17:14 to 20:50). B+(**) [sp]

Aymée Nuviola: Havana Nocturne (2022 [2023], Worldwide): Cuban singer, a half-dozen albums since 2008. Cover adds a featuring credit for pianist Kemuel Roig. B+(**) [cd]

Christopher Parker & the Band of Guardian Angels: Yeah Yeah! (2019 [2023], Mahakala Music): Pianist from Little Rock, wife Kelley Hurt sings, recorded this in Brooklyn with Daniel Carter (winds) and Jaimie Branch (trumpet), backed by William Parker (bass) and Gerald Cleaver (drums). Piano is impressive. The others are all over the place. B+(**) [sp]

Ivo Perelman/Joe Morris: Elliptic Time (2021 [2022], Mahakala Music): Brazilian tenor saxophonist, extremely prolific, comes out with another duo, this with guitar. I've fallen behind in my Perelman listening: I missed his 9-CD Brass and Ivory Tales, haven't gotten to my download of his 11-CD Reed Rapture in Brooklyn, and I'm sure there are others. This, however, is the right combination for a reasonable stretch of time. A- [sp]

Rich Perry: Everything Happens (2021 [2022], SteepleChase): My Penguin Guide notes stop around 2002, but he had a very solid decade before that (one 4-star and five 3.5), and he's continued to record regularly since, so I have quite a bit of catching up to do. I thought I'd start with his latest, another quartet, with Gary Versace (piano), Jay Anderson (bass), and John Riley (drums), playing seven originals and longer covers of "Comes Love" and "Everything Happens to Me." B+(**) [sp]

Scott Petito: Many Worlds (2022 [2023], Planet Arts): Bassist, Discogs credits him with four albums (making this his fifth), but many more production and technical credits. This is some kind of fusion, but closer to new age than to jazz. He did, however, get a long list of recognizable jazz names to work on it. B [cd]

Chris Potter: Got the Keys to the Kingdom: Live at the Village Vanguard (2022 [2023], Edition): Tenor saxophonist. Three things about him: he was just 21 when Introducing was released in 1992, so he's been about a decade younger than almost all of the other major saxophonists who emerged in the 1990s; seems like every year or two, I hear a monster sax solo somewhere I'm not expecting one (like on a Diana Krall album), and it turns out to be him; despite undeniable chops, his studio albums rarely blow me away -- on the other hand, the two A- albums I credit him with were live sets at the Village Vanguard. So after his lockdown solo and trio productions, on top of the wet blanket ECM threw over him, he deserves a chance to break loose. And he does here, with Craig Taborn (piano), Scott Colley (bass), and Marcus Gilmore (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Mason Razavi: Six-String Standards (2021-22 [2023], OA2): American guitarist, has several albums. Opens with a "Stompin' at the Savoy" that doesn't stomp but does manage to be beguiling -- an easier trick with "Body and Soul," "But Beautiful," "Darn That Dream," etc. B+(**) [cd]

Dave Sewelson/William Parker/Steve Hirsch: The Gate (2022, Mahakala Music): Baritone saxophonist, best known for his work with Microscopic Septet and in William Parker's Little Huey Orchestra, but he ventured out on his own in 2018 with Music for a Free World, and it's been all aces since. Just a basic trio with bass and drums here. B+(***) [sp]

Steve Swell/Joe McPhee/Chris Corsano: Sometimes the Air Is (2022 [2023], Mahakala Music): Two horn (trombone and tenor sax) trio, with drums. Label promises "aggressively beautiful music," which this certainly is, though after several such albums I'm having trouble distinguishing. B+(***) [sp]

Rich Thompson: Who Do You Have to Know? (2023, Origin): Drummer, has several albums, this one a quartet with Corey Christiansen (guitar), Bobby Floyd (organ/piano), and Peter Chwazik (bass), playing standards as chintzy muzak, most cleverly on the chintziest ("What a Wonderful World," "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing"). B+(*) [cd]

Triogram: Triogram (2023, Circle Theory Media): Bassist Will Lyle leads a trio with Bijan Taghavi (piano) and Kofi Shepsu (drums). B+(**) [cd] [04-07]

Dan Trudell: Fishin' Again: A Tribute to Clyde Stubblefield & Dr. Lonnie Smith (2019-21 [2023], OA2): Keyboard player, mainly Hammond B3 here, hence the tie to Smith. Stubblefield I had to look up, and felt stupid when I did: drummer, James Brown, 1965-70. He led his own bands after that, and recorded a few albums 1997-2006. All Trudell originals, with Mike Standal (guitar), Dana Hall (drums), two saxophonists (Pat Mallinger and John Wojciechowski) and trombone (Joel Adams). B+(***) [cd]

Kali Uchis: Red Moon in Venus (2023, Interscope): Pop singer-songwriter Karly-Marina Loaiza, born in Virginia, father from Colombia, third album. B+(**) [r]

Stephen Ulrich: Music From This American Life (2023, Barbès): Guitarist, led an instrumental folk-rock group called Big Lazy from 1999, first album under his own name, backed by drummer-producer Dean Sharenow and (more faintly) keyboards. B+(***) [sp]

Nadia Washington: Hope Resurgence (2023, New): Singer-songwriter, plays guitar and many other instruments, nine songs ("six years in the making"), doesn't fit any genre (least of all jazz), although I wouldn't be surprised to find a church back story. Skillful, and annoying, in more ways than I can list. B- [cdr]

Wednesday: Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling 'Em Up (2022, Orindal): Indie shoegaze band from Asheville, NC, with a couple albums under their belt. Nine covers, including a couple country songs (Roger Miller, Gary Stewart), Chris Bell's "I Am the Cosmos," and others closer to niche, and therefore less interesting. MJ Lenderman joins for the back side. B+(*) [sp]

Yo La Tengo: This Stupid World (2023, Matador): Indie band, goes way back, many albums, guitar remains distinctive (as much so as Sonic Youth), and that's the payoff in most of the songs here (in what they describe as their "most live-sounding" Yo La Tengo album in years"). Lyrics and vocals less so, but I've never been a stickler on that account. A- [sp]

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

Balka Sound: Balka Sound (1981-83 [2022], Strut): Band from Brazzaville, on the north side of the Congo River, won a recording contract in 1979. This compilation is selected from three early-1980s albums. B+(***) [sp]

Old Music

Sil Austin: Swingsation (1957-61 [1999], Verve): Tenor saxophonist (1929-2001), played with Roy Eldridge, Cootie Williams, and Tiny Bradshaw before striking out on his own, recording what at the time was regarded as "overtly commercial rather than jazz," what he described as "exciting horn, honking horn, gutbucket horn, what kids wanted to hear." To me that's the primaeval sound of rock and roll, what drew me to the music in the first place. A- [r]

Charlie Barnet & Jimmy Dorsey: Swingsation (1936-46 [1999], GRP): Popular big band leaders during the 1940s, eight songs from each. Barnet (1913-91) was a saxophonist, began recording in 1933, had a big band hit in 1939 with "Cherokee." As far as I can tell, these tracks date from 1942-46, including a couple of Kay Starr vocals. Dorsey (1904-57) played alto sax and clarinet, working with his younger brother Tommy Dorsey, Paul Whiteman, and Bing Crosby before leading his own big band. His set here starts with "Stompin' at the Savoy," and extends to 1945. MCA has a 20-track CD of Barnet (Drop Me Off in Harlem), but I'm not aware of any comparable compilation of Dorsey. B+(**) [r]

Wild Bill Davis & Johnny Hodges: In Atlantic City (1966 [1999], RCA): Davis (1918-95) was a keyboard player, mostly organ in his later years, but he played piano with Louis Jordan 1945-49. He recorded several albums with Hodges, starting with Blue Hodge in 1961. B+(**) [r]

Tommy Dorsey & Artie Shaw: Swingsation (1950-53 [1999], GRP): Another shared set of big bands, split 9-7 for Dorsey. Both were bigger stars than Charlie Barnet and Jimmy Dorsey, but did most of their recording on RCA, only moving to Decca in 1950 (as usual, securing dates on this collection is difficult), so this is something of an afterthought. (Dorsey died at 51 in 1956; Shaw lived until 2004, but he stopped peforming abruptly in 1954.) The highlight, of course, is Shaw's clarinet. Both artists produced substantial bodies of recommended work. Dorsey's career-spanning The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing is big (3-CD) but remarkable. I haven't heard Shaw's 5-CD Self-Portrait, but the 2-CD The Essential Artie Shaw is superb throughout. B+(*) [r]

Ella Fitzgerald With Chick Webb: Swingsation (1937-39 [1998], GRP): She started out as the singer in drummer Webb's Orchestra, then took over in 1939 when he died, and led the band until 1942. Decca has a recommended compilation based on Webb's instrumentals (Spinnin' the Webb), but this is useful to focus on how special the singer is. While she went on to gain command as a singer, she rarely had another band that swung this hard. A-

Benny Goodman: Swingsation (1956 [1999], GRP): Clarinet player, the "king of swing" in the 1930s, recorded for RCA back then, and for Capitol in the 1950s, so the only recordings this label could snatch came from his soundtrack to The Benny Goodman Story. But the idea there was to recreate the old magic: the big band, and some of the small groups, sometimes with old-timers (Teddy Wilson, Harry James, Gene Krupa), plus the occasional ringer (Stan Getz). As with most re-recorded hits, there's an element of disappointment, but it gives a fair taste of what made the band great. B+(**) [r]

Barry Guy & the London Jazz Composers Orchestra: Harmos (1989, Intakt): Bassist-led avant 17-piece big band, one 43:48 piece. B+(**) [r]

Barry Guy & the London Jazz Composers Orchestra: Double Trouble (1989 [1990], Intakt): Another massive piece, 46:20, the musicians impressive when they're isolated, but less pleasing when they pile on. B+(*) [r]

Barry Guy/The London Jazz Composers Orchestra: Portraits (1993 [1994], Intakt, 2CD): Same 17-piece group for another Zürich radio shot, long enough to sprawl over two discs. B+(**) [r]

Barry Guy/London Jazz Composers Orchestra/Irene Schweizer/Marilyn Crispell/Pierre Favre: Double Trouble Two (1995 [1998], Intakt): Guests bring the band up to 19 players, replacing regular Howard Riley two explosive pianists. Again, they tend to pile up, but somehow that bothers me less here. B+(***) [r]

Lionel Hampton: Swingsation (1942-47 [1998], GRP): Sixteen tracks from Hampton's Decca years, including two two-part singles ("Rockin' in Rhythm" and "Airmail Special"). Fair sampler with most of his hits, including one vocal ("Blow Top Blues"). A- [r]

Stefon Harris/Jason Moran/Greg Osby/Mark Shim: New Directions (1999 [2000], Blue Note): At least one source credits this to The Blue Note New Directions, others just to New Directions, but the four names are on the cover, young stars at the label with a couple notable records out each, and more to come. Not on the cover: bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits. One song each from Harris, Moran, and Osby, but everything else comes from Blue Note artists from the early 1960s -- newly arranged, as if recovering the mojo of a classic period might be the way forward. No lack of chops here. B+(***) [sp]

Johnny Hodges and His Orchestra: Castle Rock (1951-52 [1955], Verve): Duke Ellington's star alto saxophonist, quit the band in the early 1950s and recorded a few albums for Norman Granz before returning for Ellington's 1956 Newport triumph -- Paul Gonsalves stole the show, but Hodges was exquisite as ever, as he is here. Tenor saxophonist Al Sears wrote the title song here and it was something of a hit. A- [sp]

Johnny Hodges: Duke's in Bed (1956 [1957], Verve): Full credit adds: "and the Ellington All-Stars without Duke." That means Billy Strayhorn on piano, two trumpets (Clark Terry and Ray Nance), trombone (Quentin Jackson), two more reeds (Jimmy Hamilton and Harry Carney), bass (Jimmy Woode) and drums (Sam Woodyard). Hodges wrote three songs, but the title is an Ellington tune, and not the only one. B+(**) [r]

Johnny Hodges and the Ellington Men: The Big Sound (1957, Verve): Opens with Cat Anderson leading a full trumpet section on three of his own songs (plus one of six Hodges credits), after which they drop back to a smaller big band. B+(**) [r]

Johnny Hodges and His Orchestra: Not So Dukish (1958, Verve): Title comes from bassist Jimmy Woode's song (a slow blues), seems to signify as a declaration of independence, but little else here will fail to register as Ellingtonia. Aside from Roy Eldridge, the band includes Ray Nance (trumpet), Lawrence Brown (trombone), Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Billy Strayhorn (piano), and Sam Woodyard (drums). The only thing un-Dukish here is that the record never really takes off. B+(**) [r]

Johnny Hodges: Sandy's Gone (1963 [1964], Verve): Creed Taylor produced, with Claus Ogerman arranging and conducting orchestra, attempting muzak and failing even that. [NB: A rare record I couldn't even finish, although I skipped ahead to "Blue Velvet" before leaving in disgust.] D+ [r]

Bobby Hutcherson: Components (1965 [1966], Blue Note): Only album in Hank Shteamer's top-ten Blue Notes list I hadn't heard. Half-written by Hutcherson (vibraphone/marimba), half by drummer Joe Chambers, with Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), James Spaulding (alto sax/flute), Herbie Hancock (piano), and Ron Carter (bass). B+(***) [sp]

Italian Instabile Orchestra: Litania Sibilante (1999 [2000], Enja): Italian avant big band, recorded ten albums 1992-2010, including guest leader projects for Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton. Featured guests here are Enrico Rava (trumpet) and Antonello Salis (accordion), bringing total band size to 20. Most impressive when they figure out how to swing. B+(***) [sp]

Milt Jackson: Ain't but a Few of Us Left (1981 [1982], Pablo): Vibraphonist (1923-99), his early work with Thelonious Monk was especially brilliant. He spent many years in the Modern Jazz Quartet, but recorded extensively on the side. When Norman Granz started Pablo in 1975, Jackson was one of his first calls, along with Oscar Peterson, whose trio, with Ray Brown and Grady Tate, join in here. These guys grew up with bebop, but also knew how to inject an element of swing, thanks to which they left the world a happier place. A- [sp]

Milt Jackson: Wizard of the Vibes (1948-52 [2001], Blue Note): Originally an 8-song, 10-inch LP released in 1952, with John Lewis (piano), Percy Heath (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums), and Lou Donaldson (alto sax). The title was reissued in 1956 with extra tracks from an earlier session with Thelonious Monk. The two sessions were combined for CD as Milt Jackson (or Milt Jackson With the Thelonious Monk Quintet) in 1989, then repackaged here. Still ends with three Kenny Hagood vocals the world would be better off forgetting. A- [r]

Milt Jackson: Early Modern (1949-54 [1999], Savoy Jazz): A compilation in the "Savoy Jazz Originals" series (1998-2002), draws on six sessions: half quartets with John Lewis (piano), the others with different pianists and extra horns (two with Julius Watkins on French horn). I particularly like the early session with Billy Mitchell on tenor sax. A couple years later Jackson recorded two more Savoy albums, perhaps his best ever: Jackson's-ville and The Jazz Skyline. B+(***) [sp]

Milt Jackson/Coleman Hawkins: Bean Bags (1958 [1959], Atlantic): Always a delight to hear the tenor saxophonist, especially with Tommy Flanagan (piano) and Kenny Burrell (guitar) on top of the rhythm: Eddie Jones and Connie Kay, plus the ever-swinging vibraphonist. A- [r]

Milt Jackson & John Coltrane: Bags & Trane (1959 [1988], Atlantic): The vibraphonist easily complemented damn near anyone he played with, so with both stars on the label, this seems inevitable. Jackson wrote two of his more enduring songs for the date, and they added two standards and "Be-Bop" for a fast one. Rhythm section was Hank Jones (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Connie Kay (drums). Everyone's in fine, if less than spectacular, form. CD adds three bonus tracks. B+(***) [r]

Milt Jackson: Memories of Thelonious Sphere Monk (1982, Pablo): Original LP was subtitled Milt Jackson in London, but the 1995 CD reissue dropped that line, offering larger print to the band: Ray Brown (bass), Monty Alexander (piano), and Mickey Roker (drums). Opens with four Monk tunes but, being a live set, they then throw in a 10:23 "Django" and end with two Jackson pieces (one adding Brown to the byline). Jackson was one of the first musicians who got Monk, back in a time others found him impossible. But by this time, everyone got Monk, and this becomes less interesting as a result. B+(**) [r]

Milt Jackson/Ray Brown/Cedar Walton/Mickey Roker Quartet: It Don't Mean a Thing if You Can't Tap Your Foot to It (1984, Pablo): Discogs limits the credit line to Jackson and Brown, possibly because those two are pictured, as the typographic hints are subtle (even more so on the 1990 CD reissue). B+(**) [r]

Milt Jackson Meets the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: Explosive! (1999, Qwest): Possibly the vibraphonist's last album (dates are uncertain), featured with the big band led by Jeff Hamilton (drums) and brothers John and Jeff Clayton (bass and alto sax). The band has some power, but is mostly restrained. B+(*) [sp]

Illinois Jacquet: Jacquet's Street [The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions] (1976 [2003], Black & Blue): Tenor saxophonist, from Louisiana, his solos in the 1940s influenced rock and roll and made him a star with Jazz at the Philharmonic. This is one of several live sets he recorded for Black & Blue in France -- this particular one in Nice, with a sextet of trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, and drums. B+(**) [sp]

Ahmad Jamal Trio: Cross Country Tour: 1958-1961 (1958-61 [1998], Chess, 2CD): Pianist, trio with Israel Crosby (bass) and Vernell Fournier (drums). Leads off with the 1958 Chicago set previously released as At the Pershing: But Not for Me -- one of his most famous releases, a popular hit to boot -- then picks from other live albums, including sets at the Alhambra (in Chicago) and the Blackhawk (in San Francisco). Constantly delightful. A- [r]

Ahmad Jamal: À L'Olympia (2000 [2001], Dreyfus Jazz): A 70th birthday party for the pianist, his trio of James Cammack (bass) and Idris Muhammad (drums) joined by tenor saxophonist George Coleman -- a tower of strength here, but when he lays out, the pianist more than holds his own. A- [sp]

Jazz at the Philharmonic: Best of the 1940s Concerts (1944-49 [1998], Verve): Norman Granz started his series of package shows in Los Angeles in 1944, and continued them around the world for decades. The formula was to collect an all-star band and let them jam some blues, drop in a "Ballad Medley," and sometimes feature a singer. This collects nine songs from seven concerts, doubling up on Hollywood 1946 (with Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and Willie Smith) and New York city 1949 (with Young, Parker, and Flip Phillips) but only because the concerts were varied: 1946 switched to a Gene Krupa trio, while 1949 added a singer: Ella Fitzgerald. (The only other singer here is Billie Holiday). Highlights abound, like when Bill Harris reclaims "Perdido" for the trombone. A- [r]

Jazz at the Philharmonic: J.A.T.P. in Tokyo: Live at the Nichigeki Theatre 1953 (1953 [1990], Pablo, 2CD): Group billed as J.A.T.P. All-Stars this time: Charlie Shavers and Roy Eldridge (trumpets), Bill Harris (trombone), Benny Carter and Willie Smith (alto sax), Flip Phillips and Ben Webster (tenor sax), Herb Ellis (guitar), Oscar Peterson (piano), Ray Brown (bass), JC Heard (drums). They're followed by smaller groups: trios led by Peterson and Gene Krupa, then Ella Fitzgerald, bringing the band back to close on "Perdido." Everyone has fun, but Fitzgerald is really at the top of her game. B+(***) [r]

Jazz at the Philharmonic: Stockholm '55: The Exciting Battle (1955 [1974], Pablo): An octet this time, smaller than most JATP groups, but the focus was on the trumpets: Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Eldridge. All-star backup, of course: Flip Phillips (tenor sax), Bill Harris (trombone), Oscar Peterson (piano), Herb Ellis (guitar), Ray Brown (bass), and Louis Bellson (drums). Long blues jams to open and close, sandwiching their usual "Ballad Medley" and Bellson's "Drum Solo Medley." B+(**) [r]

Jazz at the Philharmonic: J.A.T.P. in London, 1969 (1969 [1989], Pablo, 2CD): Looks like two shows, with the first disc headlined by trumpets (Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry) and tenor saxophones (Zoot Sims, James Moody). The second disc opens with the rhythm section -- Teddy Wilson, Bob Cranshaw, and Louis Bellson -- and T-Bone Walker, then brings in Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins. The latter wasn't in prime form: he only had a couple more months to live, making his solo on "September Song" and his famous "Body and Soul" all the more poignant. B+(***) [r]

The Jazz Tribe: The Jazz Tribe (1990 [1992], RED): Label-organized supergroup, seemed like a one-shot but further albums came out in 1999 and 2009. Otherwise I'd be inclined to credit this to the musicians named on the cover: Bobby Watson (alto sax), Steve Grossman (tenor sax), Jack Walrath (trumpet), Walter Bishop Jr. (piano), Charles Fambrough (bass), Joe Chambers (drums), and Ray Mantilla (percussion). Mantilla wrote half of six originals, with "Star Eyes" the only cover. Mainstream with a little extra, and not just Latin tinge. A- [sp]

The Jazz Tribe: The Next Step (1999, RED): Second album, the group retained three essential members -- Jack Walrath (trumpet), Bobby Watson (alto sax), Ray Mantilla (percussion) -- ably filling in the gaps with Ronnie Matthews (piano), Curtis Lundy a(bass), and Victor Lewis (drums). Still more Latin tinge here: Mantilla seems to be the driving force, although Watson wrote two songs; Lewis, Lundy, and Matthews one each, and "Good Bait" tops them all. B+(***) [r]

The Jazz Tribe: Everlasting (2008 [2009], RED): Another decade, another album. Only personnel change is the piano slot going to Xavier Davis. Still a strong group, with a strong Latin tinge. B+(**) [r]

Billy Jenkins: Beyond E Major (1984 [1985], Allmusic): British guitarist, rather eclectic with a blues sideline, not all that well served by his vocals, which are rare but occasionally present even in his most surrealistic jazz sides. Guitar-bass-drums trio, accompanied (sometimes) with horns. Four pieces: "Country & Western," "The Blues," "Heavy Metal," "Rock and Roll." B+(**) [bc]

Billy Jenkins: Motorway at Night (1987 [1988], De Core): One piece in two takes (20:27 + 22:19). Fairly large groups, including Django Bates (keyboards), Steve Argüelles (drums), and string trio on both, adding Any Sheppard and Iain Ballamy (saxophones) on the second. B+(**) [bc]

Billy Jenkins With the Voice of God Collective: First Aural Art Exhibition (1984-91 [1992], VOTP): This was collected over much of a decade, with various lineups in his often used but rarely defined group moniker. The best are when saxophonist Iain Ballamy comes to play (like the opener), but even without horns the slippery guitar is most often marvelous. A- [r]

Billy Jenkins With the Blues Collective: Life (2001, VOCD): One of his Blues Collective albums, so hard on guitar and harsh on vocals, with a little violin in the mix (Dylan Bates). [Bandcamp dropped two covers from the album.] B+(***) [bc]

Leroy Jenkins: Themes & Improvisations on the Blues (1994, CRI): Violinist (1932-2007), pretty much the first to make a mark with the instrument in avant-garde jazz, especially with his group, Revolutionary Ensemble. Four 13-to-18 minute pieces, two with the Soldier String Quartet, the others with groups that add horns, notably Don Byron (clarinet), Marty Ehrlich (bass clarinet), Vincent Chancey (French horn), and Henry Threadgill (flute). B+(*) [r]

Jan Johansson: 8 Bitar (1961, Megafon): Swedish pianist, died at 37 in a car crash, his brief but stellar career starting with this trio of Gunnar Johnson (bass) and Ingvar Callmer (drums). Four originals are impressive, a Swedish folk song and three standards (including "Night in Tunisia") done with complete authority. A [r]

Jan Johansson: Innertrio (1962, Megafon): Piano trio, this one with Georg Riedel (bass) and Egil Johansen (drums). B+(***) [r]

Jan Johansson: 8 Bitar/Innertrio (1961-62 [1989], Heptagon): Two albums on one CD. A- [r]

Jan Johansson: Jazz På Svenska (1962-64 [1964], Megafon): Piano-bass duo with Georg Riedel, playing Swedish folk songs. This is reportedly the best-selling Swedish jazz album ever, and kicked off a series of Folkvisor albums. B+(***) [sp]

Jan Johansson: Jazz På Ryska (1967, Megafon): "Jazz in Russian," which is to say Russian folk songs. Piano trio with Georg Riedel (bass) and Egil Johansen (drums) grows to include clarinet (Arne Domnérus), trumpet (Bosse Broberg), and tenor sax (Lennart Åberg). B+(***) [sp]

Jan Johansson: Folkvisor (1962-67 [1994], Heptagon): Combines two albums, Jazz På Svensk + Jazz På Ryska. B+(***) [sp]

Charlie Johnson's Paradise Band: Harlem in the 1920s (1925-29 [2018], Digital Gramophone): Pianist (1891-1959), born in Philadelphia, led a band in New York that included Benny Carter, Sidney de Paris, Jabbo Smith, and Jimmy Harrison (names on the cover here). Penguin Guide recommends Hot 'N Sweet's The Complete Charlie Johnson Sessions (1990, 24 tracks, 78:13; probably the same as the 1994 EPM Musique edition). The "complete" sets are padded out with multiple takes. This digital set (not in Discogs as far as I can tell, but seems to match the first side of an undated RCA Japan LP), offers one take each of eight key songs (26:42). By the way, this is not the Charlie Johnson who played trumpet for Ellington in the late 1920s, and who died in 1937. B+(***) [r]

Etta Jones: Sings Lady Day (2001, HighNote): Jazz singer (1928-2001), debut 1958 on King, signed to Prestige in 1961, followed her long-time collaborator Houston Person to Muse and finally to HighNote. Of course, no one sings the Holiday songbook quite like the original, but this comes close, and adds its own depth and poignance. Richard Wyands (piano) and Peter Bernstein (guitar) help a lot, but no saxophonist has ever served singers quite as much as Person, and Jones was his favorite -- all the more so on her last record. A- [sp]

Etta Jones: Don't Go to Strangers (1960, Prestige): After an r&b album on King, Jones moved to Prestige, where she recorded at least eight albums through 1963. Ten standards, kicking off with "Yes, Sir That's My Baby," and ending with "All the Way." Band built around a rhythm section led by pianist Richard Wyands, plus guitar and Frank Wess (preferring flute over tenor sax). B+(***) [sp]

Etta Jones: Lonely and Blue (1962, Prestige): Her Prestige albums came fast: this seems to have been the fifth. Standards, but with a few exceptions ("Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You," "Travelin' Light") less common. Fewer names in the band (Patti Bowen? Wally Richardson?), but Budd Johnson is magnificent on four tracks. Singer's pretty good, too. B+(**) [sp]

Etta Jones: My Buddy: Etta Jones Sings the Songs of Buddy Johnson (1997 [1998], HighNote): Johnson (1915-77) was a jump blues pianist (not the tenor sax great Budd Johnson) who led an important band in the 1940s featuring his sister Ella Johnson's vocals. These songs have long deserved a revival, and Jones is up to the task. And tenor saxophonist Houston Person is near-perfect. A- [sp]

Etta Jones: All the Way: Etta Jones Sings Sammy Cahn (1999, HighNote): Good songs, although perhaps a bit on the elegant side. Solid rhythm section of Norman Simmons (piano), John Webber (bass), and Kenny Washington (drums), with guest spots scattered among Houston Person (tenor sax), Steve Turre (trombone), Tom Aalfs (violin), and Russell Malone (guitar). B+(**) [sp]

Etta Jones: Easy Living (2000, HighNote): More standards, no obvious theme this time, backed by long-time pianist Richard Wyands, Ray Drummond (bass), Chip White (drums), with tenor saxophonist Houston Person (on 7/11 tracks). B+(**) [sp]

Quincy Jones: This Is How I Feel About Jazz (1956 [1957], ABC-Paramount): Conductor-arranger here, wrote three (of six) songs, recording this over three sessions, with varying groups. Only the first two tracks (the last session) qualify as a big band (and barely: full brass sections, four saxophones, piano, bass, drums). The other sessions have 9-11 musicians (including Charles Mingus and Lucky Thompson). B+(***) [r]

Quincy Jones: Go West, Man! (1957, ABC-Paramount): West coast jazz, home of most of the famous names on the cover: Buddy Collette, Bill Perkins, Red Mitchell, Leroy Vinnegar, Mel Lewis, Lou Levy, Benny Carter, Herb Geller, Charlie Mariano, Art Pepper, Walter Benton, Pepper Adams, Harry Edison, Conte Candoli, Pete Candoli, Jack Sheldon. Opens with three Jimmy Giuffre pieces, followed by Johnny Mandel (2), Mariano, and Lennie Niehaus (2), plus a standards medley. Very talented musicians, and Jones has a lighter touch than Stan Kenton or Woody Herman, which pays off dividends here. A- [r]

Louis Jordan: Swingsation (1939-53 [1999], GRP): Jump blues genius, sings and plays alto sax, had a huge number of jukebox hits in the 1940s. this offering 16 of them. I won't recommend this over The Best of Louis Jordan or for that matter Five Guys Named Moe: Vol. 2, but there's nothing here you won't want to hear or own. I've barely sampled the series, but half or more of the artists have earlier CD compilations I'd recommend. A- [r]

Theo Jörgensmann & Eckard Koltermann: Pagine Gialle (1995 [2001], Hatology): German clarinetist, debut 1977, duo here with bass clarinet. B+(***) [sp]

Egil Kapstad: Cherokee (1988 [1989], Gemini): Norwegian pianist (1940-2017), in a trio with Terje Venaas (bass) and Egil Johansen (drums). B+(**) [sp]

Egil Kapstad Trio: Remembrance (1993 [1994], Gemini): Another piano trio album, same group. B+(***) [sp]

Jan Kaspersen Quintet: Live in Sofie's Cellar in Copenhagen/Vol. 1 (1991, Olufsen): Danish pianist, albums start 1978, must be a couple dozen. This one features Anders Bergcrantz (trumpet) and Bob Rockwell (tenor sax), with bass (Peter Danstrup) and drums (Ole Rømer). One Monk song, the rest Kaspersen originals, but obviously indebted to Monk (e.g., "Another You Walked In"). Horns impressive, especially Bergcrantz. Runs 73:10. Haven't found a Vol. 2. B+(***) [sp]

Stan Kenton: Innovations in Modern Music (1950, Capitol): Pianist and bandleader (1911-79), born in Wichita, moved to Los Angeles area as a teen, started organizing his own groups in the early 1940s, including one from 1950-51 collected in 1997 in a 2-CD The Innovations Orchestra (Capitol). This is a piece, eight tracks (35:08), billed as Volume One at the time (but I'm not aware of a second volume). Big band, plus strings (directed by George Cast), June Christy vocals on two tracks, many other names among the musicians, and a staff of arrangers including Pete Rugolo and Chico O'Farrill. B [r]

Stan Kenton: New Conceptions of Artistry in Rhythm (1952 [1989], Capitol): His first album was a set of eight songs on 10-inch 78s called Artistry in Rhythm (1946). This title appeared on another 8-song, 10-inch set in 1953, expanded to 12 tracks for CD. Crack band, but something pretentious about the whole thing. B+(*) [r]

Stan Kenton: Easy Go (1950-52 [2001], Capitol): A compilation of singles, twenty songs none running more than 3:16 (or less than 2:36), the brevity keeping the bombast in check, and gives the faux Latin effects a chance to shine. For all the brilliant musicians here, the only one who pops out is Maynard Ferguson, and that's by design. B+(*) [sp]

Stan Kenton: City of Glass (1947-53 [1995], Capitol): Title credit: "Stan Kenton Plays Bob Graettinger," who composed all but two tracks, and arranged those. It's not that they can't make a glorious noise, but it does get tedious over time. B [sp]

David Kikoski: Almost Twilight (1999 [2000], Criss Cross): Pianist, from New Jersey, studied at Berklee, moved to New York, debut 1989. This is a trio with John Patitucci (bass) and Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums), playing all Kikoski originals. B+(***) [sp]

Rebecca Kilgore With Dan Barrett's Celestial Six: I Saw Stars (1994 [1995], Arbors): Standards singer, second album, tends to hang with trad/swing jazz bands like trombonist Barrett's group here, plays some guitar but here leaves most of that to Bucky Pizzarelli. With Dave Frishberg on piano and Scott Robinson on sax and clarinet. B+(**) [sp]

Rebecca Kilgore: Harlem Butterfly: A Remembrance of Maxine Sullivan (2000 [2001], Audiophile): "Accompanied by The Bobby Gordon Trio," with Gordon (clarinet), Chris Dawson (piano), and Hal Smith (drums). Sullivan (1911-87) had her initial impact in 1937, still in the swing era but moving on. The small group preserves this ambiguity, but swings nonetheless. B+(***) [sp]

Jonny King: The Meltdown (1997, Enja): Pianist from New York, day job a lawyer, released a few albums in the 1990s, one more in 2012. High-flying septet here with David Sanchez (tenor sax), Steve Wilson (alto/soprano sax), Steve Davis (trombone), Larry Grenadier (bass), Billy Drummond (drums), and Milton Cardona (congas). B+(***) [sp]

Ryan Kisor: Power Source (1999, Criss Cross): Trumpet player, originally from Iowa, signed to Columbia for his first two albums, has another dozen albums but none since 2008, although he's continued to play in Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Quartet here faces off against Chris Potter (tenor sax), backed by James Genus (bass) and Gene Jackson (drums). B+(***) [r]

Hans Koch/Martin Schütz/Fredy Studer & El Nil Troop: Heavy Cairo Traffic (1995 [1997], Intuition): Avant Swiss trio (reeds, cello, drums) goes to Egypt, hooks up with a trad folk group named for the river. Not clear whether the element of chaos was baked into the music from the start, or it just took these pranksters to bring it out. A- [sp]

Steve Kuhn: The Best Things (1999 [2000], Reservoir): Pianist, from New York, first album a 1960 trio with Scott LaFaro and Pete La Roca; led a group with Sheila Jordan in the 1970s. This is a trio with David Finck (bass) and Billy Drummond (drums), plus singer Luciana Souza for the final track. B+(**) [sp]

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: The Hottest New Group in Jazz (1959, Columbia): Vocalese trio: Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks, and Annie Ross. Second album after Sing a Song of Basie, where the idea was to replicate the big band with overdubbed vocals. Here they're backed by the Ike Isaacs Trio, taking standards and bop pieces and adding words (as in "Twisted" -- the Wardell Gray solo that Joni Mitchell later covered), or just scatting. Has its amusing moments, but far from surefire. B+(**) [r]

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: Sing Ellington (1960, Columbia): With the Ike Isaacs Trio. Probably seemed like a surefire idea after their Basie album, but lack of swing hurts, and many effects just seem perverse. B- [r]

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: High Flying (1961, Columbia): With the Ike Isaacs Trio. No theme to inspire them, or to drag them down. B [r]

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: The Hottest New Group in Jazz (1959-62 [1996], Columbia/Legacy, 2CD): Tacks two full albums (Sing Ellington and High Flying) onto their label debut, plus seven extra tracks (generally better, including two "twist" tunes, and two takes of "A Night in Tunisia"). Penguin Guide gave this 4 stars. The earlier compilation, Everybody's Boppin' (1989), hits the highlights without improving the average. B [r]

Joëlle Léandre's Canvas Trio: L'Histoire De Mme. Tasco (1992 [1993], Hat Art): French avant-bassist, sings some (her soprano adding contrast to the bass), many credits since 1982, often duets, fairly minimal affairs. With Carlos Zingaro (violin) and Rüdiger Carl (accordion, clarinet), this has a lot of sonic depth. B+(***) [r]

Joëlle Léandre & Kevin Norton: Winter in New York (2006 [2007], Leo): Bass and percussion duo, Norton playing vibes as well as drums, etc., and Léandre singing a bit toward the end -- not her calling, but works here. B+(***) [sp]

John Lewis: The John Lewis Piano (1956 [1957], Atlantic): Pianist (1920-2001), best known as director of Modern Jazz Quartet, well schooled in the classics, played in groups in the Boy Scouts and the Army, moved to New York in 1945 and got a masters degree at Manhattan School of Music, and jobs with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis (Birth of the Cool). After MJQ got going, he continued to record albums on his own, like this one: a step up from solo, three tracks with minimal Connie Kay drums, two of them with Percy Heath on bass, the others duets with guitar (Barry Galbraith or Jim Hall). B+(***) [sp]

John Lewis/Bill Perkins/Percy Heath/Chico Hamilton/Jim Hall: Grand Encounter: 2° East - 3° West (1957, Vogue): Two east coast musicians (Lewis, bassist Heath) and three from the west coast (tenor saxophonist Perkins, drummer Hamilton, and guitarist Hall). This is about as cool as jazz can get. B+(***) [sp]

John Lewis: Improvised Meditations & Excursions (1959, Atlantic): Straightforward trio album, piano with bass (George Duvivier or Percy Heath) and drums (Connie Kay). Two Lewis pieces, five standards, all impeccably done. A- [sp]

John Lewis: Essence (1960-62 [1964], Atlantic): Subtitle: John Lewis plays the compositions & arrangements of Gary McFarland. McFarland (1933-71) was a vibraphonist perhaps better known as a producer and arranger, including a few bossa nova projects (e.g., Stan Getz: Big Band Bossa Nova). Split over three sessions, with varying groups. B+(*) [sp]

Ove Lind Quartet: One Morning in May (1975 [1991], Phontastic): Swedish clarinet player (1926-91), influenced by Benny Goodman, played in Swinging Swedes 1952-54. Quartet with piano (Bengt Hallberg), vibes (Lars Erstrand), and drums (Egil Johansen), mostly playing standards. If that reminds you of Goodman with Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, and Gene Krupa, that's probably the idea. [CD adds extra tracks.] A- [r]

Joe Lovano: Sounds of Joy (1991, Enja): Tenor sax great, from Cleveland, one of his early albums, a trio with Anthony Cox (bass) and Ed Blackwell (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Jimmie Lunceford: Swingsation (1934-37 [1998], GRP): Bandleader (1902-47), started as an alto saxophonist, group was especially admired for its precise timing and tight section work. There are several compilations of prime Decca material -- Stomp It Off (1992), and For Dancers Only (1994) are my favorites, especially the latter. This covers the same territory, if anything too briefly. A- [r]

Junior Mance/Martin Rivera: For Dancers Only (1983, Sackville): Pianist (1928-2021), played with Gene Ammons as early as 1947, his own albums start in 1959. This is a duo with the bassist. Not my idea of danceable, but had he been born a generation earlier, there's little doubt that Mance would have been one of the stride piano greats. B+(**) [r]

Mat Maneri Trio: So What? (1998 [1999], Hatology): Avant violinist (electric here), father was a pioneer in microtonal music. Trio with Matthew Shipp (piano) and Randy Peterson (drums), playing four Miles Davis tunes, with five Maneri originals. Shipp makes a big difference here. B+(***) [r]

Mat Maneri Trio: For Conseqeuence (2001 [2003], Leo): Maneri moves to viola here, as it was becoming his main instrument. Trio with Ed Schuller (bass) and Randy Peterson (drums). B+(**) [r]

Albert Mangelsdorff Trio: Triple Entente (1982 [1983], MPS): German trombonist (1928-2005), long career, one of the most important German jazz musicians ever. Trio with bass (Léon Francioli) and drums (Pierre Favre). Play it pretty close to the vest. B+(***) [r]

Albert Mangelsdorff: Three Originals: Never Let It End/A Jazz Tune I Hope/Triple Entente (1970-82 [1995], MPS, 2CD): Three albums collected, at least two other sets like that, this one a Penguin Guide 4-star. I previously reviewed the first at A-, the second a mid-B+, so averaging is easy: B+(***) [r]

Michael Mantler: More Movies (1979-80 [1980], Watt): Austrian trumpet player (b. 1943), studied at Berklee and moved to New York in 1964, where he married Carla Bley and helped found the Jazz Composers' Orchestra Association (JCOA), New Music Distribution Service, and the label Watt (after the Samuel Beckett novel). He left all that when he returned to Europe in 1991, but along the way wrote a number of striking compositions, some of which he slotted as movie music. A first set called Movies appeared in 1978, followed by this one. Philip Catherine (guitar), Gary Windo (tenor sax), Bley (piano/organ), Steve Swallow (bass guitar), and D. Sharpe (drums) help out. B+(**) [r]

Michael Mantler: Movies/More Movies (1977-80 [2000], Watt/ECM): Combines the two LPs on one 78:40 CD. The first, with Larry Coryell (guitar) and Tony Williams (drums) and no sax (but more trumpet) is a bit meatier, but neither falls into the doldrums soundtracks are prone to. B+(***) [r]

Bill Mays Trio: Summer Sketches (2000 [2001], Palmetto): Pianist (b. 1944), from Sacramento, several dozen albums since 1976, this a trio with Martin Wind (bass) and Matt Wilson (drums), each bringing one original to go with seven standards. B+(***) [r]

Ron McClure Quintet: Closer to Your Tears (1996 [1997], SteepleChase): Bassist (b. 1941), from Connecticut, worked with Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, and Charles Lloyd (1966-69 Quartet), debut as leader 1979. Quintet has no horns, just: guitar (Jay Azzolina), piano (Marc Copland), drums (Billy Hart), and percussion (Manolo Badrena). B+(**) [r]

Howard McGhee/Milt Jackson: Howard McGhee and Milt Jackson (1948 [1955], Savoy): Trumpet player (1918-87), one of the first to join the bebop movement. Early album with the vibraphonist, Jimmy Heath (sax), Vernon Diddle (piano), Percy Heath (bass), and Joe Harris (drums). Jackson adds the right touch of swing. [This set later got rolled into the 1995 CD Maggie: The Savoy Sessions.] B+(***) [r]

Marian McPartland: Contrasts (1972-73 [2003], Jazz Alliance, 2CD): Combines two albums, Plays the Music of Alec Wilder (a delicate and thoughtful trio which I previously underrated at B), and A Sentimental Journey (a throwback to former husband Jimmy McPartland's trad jazz roots, and a personal favorite, an A). Hard to grade such a combo, but at least they come on separate discs. A- [r]

Misha Mengelberg: Mix (1994, ICP): Dutch pianist (1935-2017), founder of Instant Composers Pool (ICP Orchestra), which he led for 45 years. Solo, two pieces each 34:37. B+(***) [yt]

Helen Merrill: At Nalen With Jan Johansson (1959 [2012], Riverside): The singer at Nalen Jazz Club in Stockholm, with the soon-to-be-famous Swedish pianist and unidentified bass and drums. B+(***) [r]

Butch Morris: Homeing (1987 [1989], Sound Aspects): Cornet player (1947-2013), credits from 1977, known for his process of conducting improvisers (conduction). Live from Berlin, a fairly large group: 11 pieces, including violin (Jason Hwang), French horn, oboe, vibes, and electronics, plus voice (Shelley Hirsch). B+(**) [sp]

New Winds: Potion (1997 [1998], Victo): Group founded by JD Parran (clarinet), Ned Rothenberg (alto sax/bass clarinet), and Robert Dick (various flutes, down to bass) in 1989, recorded two albums for Sound Aspects (1989-91), then two more for Victo (1995-98), this the last. The winds are augmented here by Herb Robertson (trumpet/flugelhorn). B+(**) [sp]

New Winds: Digging It Harder From Afar (1989-94 [1995], Victo): Not sure which of this dates from when, but the three principals -- JD Parran, Ned Rothenberg, and Robert Dick -- have been in for the duration, and there's little to distract from the open airiness of the deep flutes, clarinets, and bass saxophone. Only other credit is Gerry Hemingway on one track, for electronics. B+(***) [sp]

David Newton: 12th of the 12th: A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra (1995, Candid): Scottish pianist (b. 1958), albums from 1990 (mostly trios), accompanied Stacey Kent 1997-2003. His second solo album here, standards, and while Sinatra didn't write any, there's no doubting over a list that starts with, "My Kind of Town," "I've Got the World on a String," "I Fall in Love Too Easily," "Witchcraft," "The Lady Is a Tramp," and ends with "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning." It's all very nice, but odd in that I rarely notice the songs unless I concentrate. B+(**) [sp]

Anita O'Day: Anita O'Day's Finest Hour (1954-62 [2000], Verve): Jazz singer (1919-2006), joined Gene Krupa's band in 1941 and had her first hit ("Let Me Off Uptown," featuring Roy Eldridge, reprised here). Part of a series of 34 albums, released 2000-03. Variety helps here, with small groups mixed in with the big band tracks (only two led by Billy May), showing how well she could acquit herself even with minimal backup (a highlight is a "God Bless the Child" with just Barney Kessel (guitar). A- [r]

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band: The First Jazz Recordings 1917-1921 (1917-21 [1998], Timeless): White "jass" band from New Orleans, led by cornet player Nick LaRocca, jumped the line to be the first to record, which they followed up with widely acclaimed tours to New York and London. To a large extent, they defined the 1920s as "the jazz age," although today we tend to favor the great soloists who emerged later, like Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins. Still, they were a fine band, and remain a model for still-vibrant trad jazz bands. Penguin Guide prefers the sound here to RCA's The 75th Anniversary collection [1992], although they seem to have gotten the title wrong. B+(***) [sp]

Greg Osby: Zero (1998, Blue Note): Alto saxophonist, albums from 1987, got a boost when he joined Blue Note in 1993, and lapsed back into obscurity after his last album there (2005), although he sounded better than ever on last year's Tyshawn Sorey Trio + 1. Jason Moran plays piano piano/organ/electric, with Kevin McNeal (guitar), bass, and drums. B+(***) [sp]

Greg Osby: Inner Circle (2002, Blue Note): Alto sax-led quintet with Jason Moran (piano), Stefon Harris (vibes), Tarus Mateen (bass), and Eric Harland (drums). Moran is sharper sticking to piano, breaking the rhythm up more, but the slow ones hold Osby back a bit. B+(***) [sp]

Greg Osby: St. Louis Shoes (2003, Blue Note): Jazz standards, opens with "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" and closes with "St. Louis Blues," but jumps from the opener straight into "Shaw Nuff" and Monk, before cycling back to "Summertime" and "The Single Petal of a Rose." Nicholas Payton's trumpet adds an authentic touch, but most pieces are stretched 5-8 minutes, so there are plenty of tangents. With piano (Harold O'Neal), bass (Robert Hurst), and drums (Rodney Green). B+(**) [sp]

Oslo 13: Off Balance (1987 [1988], Odin): Large Norwegian band, led by pianist Jon Balke, released four albums 1983-93 (a derivative group without Balke called itself 1300 Oslo for one more album in 2001). With Nils Petter Molvaer on trumpet, two trombones, and an impressive array of saxophonists. B+(***) [sp]

Tony Oxley: Ichnos (1969 [1971], RCA): British drummer, from Sheffield, his 1969 debut (The Baptised Traveller) a Penguin Guide crown album. Difficult free jazz, one cut percussion solo, two quartet, two sextet: young players at the time, now regarded as giants of the genre: Evan Parker (soprano/tenor sax), Kenny Wheeler (trumpet/flugelhorn), Paul Rutherford (trombone), Derek Bailey (guitar), and Barry Guy (bass). B+(**) [yt]

Tony Oxley: 4 Compositions for Sextet (1970, Columbia): Second album out, although it was recorded after Ichnos. Aside from Jeff Clyne taking over at bass, same sextet: Evan Parker, Kenny Wheeler, Paul Rutherford, Derek Bailey. Unruly, but a bit better thought out than Inchos. B+(***) [yt]

Tony Oxley/Derek Bailey: Quartet (1993 [2008], Jazzwerkstatt): Drums and guitar, quartet filled out by Pat Thomas (piano/electronics) and Matt Wand (sampler). I've always had trouble getting a handle on Bailey, who seems to crave chaos, or at least breaking things. Teaming up with a drummer seems like his zone. B+(***) [sp]

Tiny Parham: Tiny Parham 1928-1930 (1928-30 [1996], Timeless, 2CD): Pianist (1900-43), born in Canada, grew up in Kansas City, moved to Chicago in 1925, picked up the nickname because he was the opposite of tiny. Cover notes as featuring: Punch Miller (cornet), Charles Johnson (clarinet/alto sax), Milt Hinton (bass tuba). The latter, along with banjo, violin, and washboard, contributes much to the sound. Much more than you need, especially with all the extra takes, but a good example of those years. B+(***) [sp]

Evan Parker/Keith Rowe: Dark Rags (1999-2000 [2000], Potlatch): Duo, Parker plays tenor sax, Rowe guitar and electronics. Recorded on two consecutive nights starting with the eve of Y2K. Dark indeed. B+(***) [yt]

Evan Parker Trio & Peter Brötzmann Trio: The Bishop's Move (2003 [2004], Victo): Festival set in Victoriaville, one 73:31 piece, a clash between two premier avant-saxophone trios. Parker's trio, with Alex von Schlippenbach (piano) and Paul Lytton (drums), goes way back. Brötzmann picked up William Parker (bass) and Hamid Drake (drums) for the occasion. I'm not normally happy with blowouts, but this is exceptional in many ways. Schlippenbach, especially, is outstanding. Even the breather, a Parker bass solo offered an hour in, is a highlight. A- [sp]

Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton: Zafiro (2006, Maya): Avant sax (soprano/tenor)-bass-drums trio, all three played in Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra in 1972, often since. Live set from Barcelona, as solid as any they've done. A- [bc]

Evan Parker/Matthew Wright/Adam Linson/John Coxon/Ashley Wales: Trance Map +: Crepuscule in Nickelsdorf (2017 [2019], Intakt): Parker (soprano sax) and Wright (turntable/live sampling) above the line, the others (bass/electronics, turntable/electronics, electronics) below, with "Trance Map +" larger and brighter and on the spine, whereas "Crepuscule in Nickelsdorf" is the 7-part song title (58:47). Coxon and Wales are better known as Spring Heel Jack. B+(**) [sp]

Partisans: Max (2004 [2005], Babel): British group -- Phil Robson (guitar), Julian Siegal (tenor/soprano sax, bass clarinet, cuica), Thaddeus Kelly (bass), Gene Calderazzo (drums) -- produced three albums for Babel in the 2000s, two more on Whirlwind to 2019. This one is dedicated to Max Roach, with guest trumpet, percussion, and organ (three tracks each). A- [bc]

Rich Perry: Beautiful Love (1994 [1995], SteepleChase): Tenor saxophonist, originally from Cleveland, in New York since 1976, second album, trio with bass (Jay Anderson) and drums (Victor Lewis), playing standards. The mid-1990s were a golden age for mainstream saxophonists. While Perry got less notice than many others, he shows he belongs here. A- [sp]

The Rich Perry Quartet: What Is This? (1995 [1996], SteepleChase): With Fred Hersch (piano), Jay Anderson (bass), and Tom Rainey (drums). Starts with an original called "Squishy," includes one of Hersch's tunes, the rest standards ending with "Epistrophy." B+(***) [sp]

Rich Perry Quartet: So in Love (1997 [1998], SteepleChase): Different but very comparable group: Renee Rosnes (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Billy Drummond (drums). Seven standards, three edging over 10 minutes. He keeps sounding better. A- [sp]

Rich Perry: Doxy (1998 [2000], SteepleChase): Tenor sax trio, with George Mraz (bass) and Billy Hart (drums). Jazz staples, starting with Monk, including Evans and Coltrane, ending with the Sonny Rollins title piece, with an 11:59 "How Deep Is the Ocean" among the standards. B+(***) [sp]

Rich Perry: O Grande Amor (1999 [2000], SteepleChase): Quartet with George Colligan (piano), Doug Weiss (bass), and Daren Beckett (drums). Title song from Jobim, one original, the rest standards including nods to Bill Evans and Jimmy Rowles. After the samba, he has so much pent-up energy he really lets loose on the closer, even though it's only "Stella by Starlight." B+(**) [sp]

Rich Perry Quartet: Hearsay (2001 [2002], SteepleChase): It's a little annoying that Discogs makes you go to "Rich Perry Quartet" for his eight quartet albums, given that the quartets are all different. This one is pianoless, with Steve Lampert (trumpet), Dennis Irwin (bass), and Jeff Hirshfield (drums). Another change is all original pieces, though Perry only wrote two, Lampert the other six. B+(***) [sp]

Enrico Pieranunzi/Marc Johnson/Joey Baron: Current Conditions (2001 [2003], CAM Jazz): Major Italian pianist, albums go back to 1975, Discogs lists nine albums with this particular trio (one in 1987, the rest 2001-09). B+(**) [sp]

Jean-Michel Pilc Trio: Together: Live at Sweet Basil (1999 [2000], Challenge, 2CD): French pianist, moved to New York in 1995, one of his first recordings was this trio with François Moutin (bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums). Looks like it was originally released in two separate volumes, then combined in one package, but I can't find a separate date for the combination. I could try to review the volumes separately, but the energy builds and compounds, making the double more persuasive than either half (but if I had to choose, I'd give the edge to Vol. 2). A- [sp]

Paul Plimley/Trichy Sankaran: Ivory Ganesh Meets Doctor Drums (1996-98 [1998], Songlines): Canadian pianist, duo with Indian percussionist Sankaran (originally from Tamil Nadu, educated in Madras, but based in Ontario), credited here with mridangam and kanjira. The rhythm is a steady draw, but that just sets the piano off. A- [sp]

Valery Ponomarev: Live at Sweet Basil (1993 [1994], Reservoir): Russian trumpet player, moved to New York in 1973, played with Art Blakey 1977-80, and has since organized a tribute big band. Follows the hard bop formula here, with Don Braden (tenor sax), John Hicks (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Victor Jones (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Michel Portal: Dockings (1997 [1998], Label Bleu): French clarinet player (also bass clarinet, alto sax, and bandoneon here), albums since 1969. Group here includes trumpet (Markus Stockhausen), piano (Bojan Zulfikarpasic), electric bass (Steve Swallow), bass (Bruno Chevillon), and drums (Joey Baron). The latter moves this along nicely, and I do love the bass clarinet. A- [sp]

Chris Potter Quartet: Sundiata (1993 [1995], Criss Cross): Second album recorded, although Concentric Circles was recorded less than a week later and rushed ahead on Concord, where he was a star through 1998. Quartet with Kevin Hays (piano), Doug Weiss (bass), and Al Foster (drums), playing six originals plus "Body and Soul" and "Airegin" -- no pressure there. B+(***) [sp]

Mel Powell: Trios: Borderline/Thigamagig (1954 [1993], Vanguard): Pianist (1923-98), original name Melvin Epstein, started in classical but switched to jazz when he saw Teddy Wilson play, and before long he was arranging for big bands (including Earl Hines), before he spent WWII fighting for Glenn Miller. After the war, he played with Django Reinhardt, Benny Goodman, and Raymond Scott. Later he was founding dean of the music department at the California of the Arts, and won a Pulitzer for composition. In 1954 he recorded these two short albums: trios with a horn (Paul Quinichette on tenor sax or Ruby Braff on trumpet) and drums (Bobby Donaldson). This material has later (1999) been split over two compilations: It's Been So Long and The Best Things in Life. I prefer the former, which includes Borderline, but the trumpet of Thigamagig adds a bit of energy here. A- [r]

Quartett: No Secrets (1988, New Albion): One-shot quartet, with Jay Clayton (vocals/effects), Julian Priester (trombone), Gary Peacock (bass), and Jerry Granelli (drums). I rarely care for voice mixed into free jazz, but Clayton is adept, and the contrast with trombone works nicely. B+(**) [sp]

Freddy Randall & His Band: My Tiny Band Is Chosen: The Parlophone Years 1952-1957 (1952-57 [2017], Lake): English trumpet player, led a trad jazz band up to 1958, appears occasionally after 1963. Penguin Guide recommended an earlier compilation from this label and period, but only three songs reappear here. B+(**) [r]

The Recyclers: Visit (1995 [1997], Babel): Mostly French group, released four albums 1994-97. In this one, the core group is a trio -- Steve Argüelles (drums), Benoît Delbecq (piano), and Noël Akchoté (guitar) -- joined on several tracks (8/15) by François Houle (contra-alto clarinet), Kenneth Newby (suling), Billy Jenkins (guitar), and Wolter Wierbos (trombone). B+(**) [sp]

Buddy Rich: Compact Jazz: Buddy Rich (1955-61 [1987], Verve): Drummer (1917-87), mostly led big bands from 1945 on, but there are a few smaller groups here (e.g., a quintet with Sweets Edison, Sonny Criss, and Jimmy Rowles). Nice, varied sampler, with one vocal (Rich singing "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," with Edison and Ben Webster). [r]

Howard Riley: Flight (1971, Turtle): British avant pianist, first two albums are superb, including the Penguin Guide crown album, The Day Will Come. He followed them up with this trio, with Barry Guy (bass) and Tony Oxley (drums), all very young, with major careers ahead. Oxley is especially vital here. A- [yt]

Howard Riley: Feathers With Jaki (1984-88 [1996], Slam): Two tracks (21:43) of piano duets with Jaki Byard, originally released as Live at the Royal Festival Hall, plus the album Feathers, a piano trio with Mario Casrtronari (bass) and Tony Marsh (drums). While the duo is interesting, the trio packs more punch. B+(***) [r]

Howard Riley: Consequences (2003 [2005], 33 Records): Solo piano. Still impressive. B+(***) [r]

Howard Riley: Short Stories (Volume Two) (2004-06 [2006], Slam, 2CD): Even more solo piano. B+(**) [r]

Max Roach: With the New Orchestra of Boston and the So What Brass Quintet (1993-95 [1996], Blue Note): Drummer (1924-2007), one of the first to get the hang of bebop (Kenny Clarke was first, then Art Blakey and Roach; it's hard to find any decent pre-1950 bebop records with anyone else). Guest star here for a 50:43 piece composed by Fred Tillis, conducted by David Epstein, and played by the New Orchestra of Boston, followed by a 12:13 piece played by the So What Brass Quintet (two trumpets, trombone, French horn, and tuba). B+(**) [sp]

Max Roach: To the Max! (1990-91 [1992], Enja, 2CD): Forty-some years into a multifaceted career, he's recapitulating, opening with his Chorus and Orchestra, reprising his M'Boom percussion, assembling a quartet -- with Cecil Bridgewater (trumpet), Odean Pope (tenor sax), and Tyrone Brown (bass) -- and then doubling it, with a couple tracks on his own. B+(**) [yt]

Renee Rosnes: Art & Soul (1999, Blue Note): Canadian pianist, played with Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter in the late 1980s, recorded for Blue Note 1990-2002 (and a couple times each: one duets with husband Bill Charlap, the other in the supergroup Artemis). This is a trio with Scott Colley (bass) and Billy Drummond (drums), plus percussion (Richard Bona) on two tracks, with Dianne Reeves singing two songs. B+(**) [sp]

Jim Rotondi: Iron Man (2005 [2006], Criss Cross): Trumpet/flugelhorn player, originally from Montana, studied at UNT, moved to New York, later to Austria. Leads a quintet here with Jimmy Greene (tenor/soprano sax), Steve Nelson (vibes), Doug Weiss (bass), and Bill Stewart (drums). B+(***) [r]

ROVA Saxophone Quartet: Bingo (1996 [1998], Victo): Saxophone quartet, started in 1977 with Jon Raskin, Larry Ochs, Andrew Voigt, and Bruce Ackley, with Steve Adams (who previously played in Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet) replacing Voigt by 1990. Possibly one of their better pure quartets. [Spotify only has 3 (of 6) tracks.] B+(**) [sp]

Paul Rutherford/Philipp Wachsmann/Barry Guy: ISKRA NCKPA 1903 (1992 [1995], Maya): English avant-trombonist, formed the band Iskra 1903 in 1972 as a trio with guitarist Derek Bailey and bassist Guy: their albums (Chapter One: 1970-1972) were collected by Emanem on 3CD. This revival replaces the guitar with Wachsmann's violin. B+(**) [bc]

Samo Salamon Quartet: Ornethology (2003 [2004], Samo): Slovenian guitarist, probably his first album, quartet with Achille Succi (alto sax/bass clarinet), Salvatore Maione (bass), and Zlatko Kaucic (drums). A- [sp]

Samo Salomon Sextet: Ela's Dream (2004 [2005], Splasc(H)): Achille Succi (alto sax/bass clarinet) and Zlatko Kaucic (drums) return from his quartet, with new bassist Paolino Dalla Porta, the group fortified with Kyle Gregory (trumpet) and Dave Binney (alto sax). Most impressive when Binney goes on a tear. B+(***) [sp]

Marit Sandvik: Song, Fall Soft (1995, Taurus): Norwegian jazz singer, first album, Discogs co-credits this to Jazz I Nord but that's not clear from the cover, which just lists the musician names: Øystein B Blix (trombone), Jørn Øien (piano), Konrad Kaspersen (bass), and Trond Sverre Hansen (drums). Three originals (co-written with Øien), a Sandvik lyric to a Wayne Shorter piece, and seven standards. B+(***) [sp]

Michel Sardaby Trio: Night Cap (1970, Disques Debs): Pianist, b. 1935 in Martinique, moved to Paris in 1956. Early album, a trio with Percy Heath (bass) and Connie Kay (drums), playing five originals and "Satin Doll." Near perfect. A- [yt]

Dave Schnitter: Sketch (2001 [2004], Omix/Sunnyside): More often David, b. 1948 in Newark, tenor saxophonist, played with Art Blakey and recorded four albums for Muse 1976-81, a bit more after 1996, with this one of the few items one can find. Quartet with James Zollar (trumpet), bass, and drums. B+(***) [sp]

Irene Schweizer/Maggie Nichols/George Lewis/Joëlle Léandre/Günter Sommer: The Storming of the Winter Palace (1986-88 [1988], Intakt): Piano, vocals, trombone, bass, and drums. I've never been a fan of vocals in this sort of music, but Nichols fits in better here than elsewhere. B+(***) [sp]

Jimmy Scott: Dream (1995, Sire): Jazz singer (1925-2014), a genetic disorder stunted his growth and left him with a high voice, joined Lionel Hampton in 1949, had some success with Savoy into the early 1960s, recorded an album for Atlantic in 1970, had a comeback with All the Way in 1992, followed by this album. Nine standards, taken at a snail's pace, his voice unique and affecting, just enough support from a rhythm section stocked with stars (Milt Jackson, Junior Mance, Ron Carter), tasteful guest spots including two bits of saxophone (Patience Higgins, Red Holloway. A- [sp]

Cecil Taylor/Bill Dixon/Tony Oxley: Cecil Taylor/Bill Dixon/Tony Oxley (2002, Victo):n Piano, trumpet, drums, a live improv set from the festival in Victoriaville. They go back quite a ways: Dixon was on famous Taylor albums in the late 1960s, Oxley has been Taylor's most frequent drummer for almost that long. B+(**) [sp]

Sam "The Man" Taylor: Swingsation (1954-56 [1999], Verve): Tenor saxophonist (1916-90) from Alabama, played with Scatman Crothers in the late 1930s, many more jump blues bands, and played sax on many early rock and roll records -- notably Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll," the Drifters' "Money Honey," and the Chords' "Sh-Boom." Most of this comes from a 1956 double pack called Rock and Roll Music With "The Big Beat". B+(***) [r]

Music Weeks

Music: Current count 39873 [39680] rated (+193), 56 [40] unrated (+16).

Excerpts from this month's Music Week posts:

March 6, 2023

Music: Current count 39730 [39680] rated (+50), 50 [40] unrated (+10: 22 new, 28 old).

Continuing to work through my list of unheard 4-star Penguin Guide albums. Most of the records only get one spin, so my grades tend to be reserved, but Milt Jackson seemed to demand further study, and the whole J-section kept coming up aces. I often found extra albums of interest where I looked -- some were Penguin Guide 3.5 albums, others just caught my eye. For example, I was looking for a different Illinois Jacquet, but noticed a Black & Blue Sessions album, and I generally like that series. Billy Jenkins has long been one of my interests, so it's tempting to fill in there. After the first Jazz Tribe album, I didn't need much persuasion to try the other two.

I had a problem with Jan Johansson: Penguin Guide reviewed later twofer compilations, but I found the albums broken out separately, so reviewed them as such, then added the twofers so I could check them off the list. A second Quincy Jones album struck my eye, and it turned out I liked it even more than they one they recommended.

Then when I got to Louis Jordan's Swingsation entry, I decided to see what else that particular series of CD compilations had to offer (the only one I had previously picked up was Red Prysock, which I had down as a B): the Hampton and Lunceford discs were subsets of records I already rated highly (I couldn't find the Count Basie Swingsation, but that would have been an easy A- or higher -- I have the 3-CD The Complete Decca Recordings, as well as the 1-CD The Best of Early Basie, as solid A).

After a couple lax weeks, I got quite a bit of mail (with a couple more packages arriving today, not yet logged), so I'm falling behind on new work. I'm also paying very little attention to new releases elsewhere. I'll catch up eventually, but I'm in no hurry. The way things are going, formerly simple things like replacing windshield wipers seem like accomplishments.

My wife has been on a kick to see 2022 Oscar nominated films, We hadn't gone out for one in 3-4 years. We stopped a year or two before the pandemic, when the local Warren chain sold out to Regal (not that we were big Warren fans). Perhaps a bigger reason is that I've been in a long funk over movies, finding them too long and hacnkeyed, but I've tried to be a good sport as long as we can stream the things. These are ones I remember seeing (Oscar-nominated):

  • All Quiet on the Western Front -- German WWI. B+
  • The Banshees of Inisherin -- Irish rural. B
  • Elvis -- Baz Luhrman on Presley. B+
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once -- kaleidoscopic quantum mechanics, or something like that. B-
  • The Fablemans -- teen filmmaking sage. B+
  • Tár -- classical music. B
  • Top Gun: Maverick -- USAF promo. C
  • Triangle of Sadness -- "a supposedly fun thing I'll never do again." B
  • Women Talking -- pacifist "me too." B+

That's all but Avatar: The Way of Water. Laura went out to the theater to see it (in 3-D), while (not wanting to be a wet blanket) I stayed home. She thought it was better than Top Gun, but didn't rank it above anything else on the list above. I haven't been keeping track, but scanning through the lists reminds me of a few more 2022 movies I've seen:

  • The Bob's Burgers Movie -- animated. B
  • Causeway -- PTSD. B+
  • Death on the Nile -- Kenneth Branagh remake. B+
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery -- B+
  • The Sea Beast -- animated. B
  • The Woman King -- Dahomey. B-

On the other hand, scanning through the list, I did see some films that looked possibly interesting and/or enjoyable (not necessarily): Aftersun; Argentina, 1985; Babylon; Downton Abbey: A New Era; Empire of Light; Enola Holmes 2; Living; Till; To Leslie; Where the Crawdads Sing. On the other hand, I've seen quite a bit of TV in the past year, and much prefer the pacing and character development. A rundown of that will have to wait another time.

March 13, 2023

Music: Current count 39787 [39730] rated (+57), 48 [50] unrated (-2: 20 new, 28 old).

Again, mostly old jazz from the Penguin Guide unheard 4-star list. The K-M section has produced fewer A-list albums than the J section did, and I got so frustrated trying to look up entries on the M list I temporarily brought up some new 2023 albums. However, since I'm not keeping a tracking list this year, I only had a few names ready in mind.

I will note that I'm generally skipping over long box sets that are available, like Stan Kenton's Retrospective and MJQ 40. I'm also skipping past many compilation of old jazz, which are rarely available as such (e.g., Classics has mostly vanished, and many European archival labels aren't available). Obscure works from European avant-gardists are also very hard to find (although sometimes I'm surprised). On the other hand, to check items off the list, I sometimes synthesize listed compilations from various sources. (Unfortunately, three John Lewis twofers on Collectables were only half-available to stream.)

I'm able to add two more movies to the short list of 2022 releases from last week:

  • Enola Holmes 2 -- imagine if Sherlock had a smarter sister A-
  • She Said -- NY Times reporters chasing Harvey Weinstein A-

That brings the A- movies list for the year up from zero to two. We also rewatched the original Enola Holmes (Laura had missed it). Both were great fun, albeit (especially 2) with an excess of fighting (and bomb throwing from the mother).

She Said was as expertly constructed and paced as any newspaper/intrepid reporter film I can remember, and the lead reporters managed to keep their ambitions wrapped in decency. Too bad the New York Times can't bring such diligence to their political reporting. I doubt we'll ever see a movie about Judith Miller's Iraq propaganda (but if we do, I bet it's played for laughs).

I watched the opening and first couple Oscar awards, then decided I'd better get back to work. My distaste for all the nominated films probably had something to do with that. I had read a couple prediction pieces, and as best I recall they were all exactly right. I'm not sure why they were so accurate, but it can't think of any reason that might suggest that's a good thing. [PS: I now see Alissa Wilkinson proclaiming this "the end of predictable Oscar winners," but who didn't predict that EEAAO would win big?]

Laura still wants to see To Louise and Aftersun, so we'll probably get to them this week. Neither of us are keen to see The Whale, but a friend who sometimes comes over to watch movies with us thought it was very good. I have an interest in a couple more movies, but I'd probably prefer to spend our limited time watching crime series (Beyond Paradise is enjoyable so far; we've also been into The Nordic Murders and have just started Bloodlands).

March 21, 2022

Music: Current count 39836 [39787] rated (+49), 50 [48] unrated (+2: 22 new, 28 old).

I want to write more about the weekend posts, but let's get the music out of the way first. Old Music continues to work through the Penguin Guide unheard 4-star list, which netted six A- records and eleven high B+'s. Also a fair amount of new music, mostly because I started looking for records I knew existed (three from Christgau Consumer Guides, and several more I received PR on but had been waiting, hoping that a CD might appear in the mail: most obviously, previous chart-toppers East Axis and James Brandon Lewis). More finds there from Intakt and Mahakala Music, which are on Spotify. Four five more A- records there, plus seven high B+, so a big haul this week.

Minor bookkeeping news: I've finally decided I should start a tracking file. It's not even caught up yet, and I doubt I'll pursue it aggressively, but it's clear that it would help as a prospect list, and it will eventually be necessary if/when I do another Francis Davis Jazz Poll. I still don't plan on doing any metacritic/EOY aggregate lists this year (or ever again), but eliminating the tracking file seems to be a bit too much.

March 27, 2022

Music: Current count 39873 [39836] rated (+37), 56 [50] unrated (+6: 28 new, 28 old).

Rated count is down because I lost a day when last week's post didn't appear until late Tuesday. Otherwise, it's the same drill: I've been picking off old jazz records from my unheard Penguin Guide 4-star list, going from Perry to Scott this week. The exception is a Bobby Hutcherson record that Hank Shteamer included in his Twitter list of 10-best classic Blue Note records. I commented there, but also copied the lists into my notebook, as one of my self-check exercises. For Hutcherson, may I suggest Dialogue (1965), Happenings (1966), Oblique (1967), and/or Medina (1968-69 [1998]). Had I been more thorough, I would have checked out The Kicker (1963) and Total Eclipse (1967) -- both Penguin Guide 3.5-stars.

Elsewhere, Shteamer reminded me of the death of Ethiopian pianist Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou (99). Her Ethiopia Song is one of the best volumes in Buda Musique's Éthiopiques series (Vol. 21).

My demo queue has grown to 28, so I need to whittle that down a bit. One problem is that I need to do a major desk clearing first, and some resorting of the queue box. Another is that only 7 of those records (25%) have been released so far, and until recently it was closer to zero. Also, I'll note that I've been sitting non a lot of download offers, which I've started to collect in their own folder, in case I decide I need to look something up.

Two of this week's three new albums were found while looking for something old. Although I updated my 2023 tracking file to reflect what I've heard or have in the queue, I haven't added any records yet that I want to get to, so I'm pretty ignorant of (or maybe just oblivious to) 2023 releases, at least so far. Once I do, it will be easier to figure out what to play next.

This closes out Streamnotes for March. I'll catch up with the indexing later. At last month's rate (193 records), I should crack the 40,000 rated albums level in late April (3 or 4 weeks from now).


Everything streamed from Napster (ex Rhapsody), except as noted in brackets following the grade:

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [cdr] based on an advance or promo cd or cdr
  • [bc] available at
  • [r] available at
  • [sc] available at
  • [sp] available at
  • [yt] available at