Blindfold 174: Reveal
It has been fun, but here is the “reveal.”
Four of the thirteen tracks were not identified in any way—those by Styrker/Slagle, Duke Pearson, Jane Ira Bloom, and Tom Harrell.
1. (“Hartland” from Latest Outlook—2007): No one identified this track by Dave Stryker/Steve Slagle. It’s a fine collaboration between the two, who have worked together quite a bit—and sometimes are joined by Joe Lovano. Their stuff is fairly mainstream, but sometimes with an edge—maybe a notch below artists like Lovano and Dave Douglas.
2. (“Cold Irons Bound” from Ships with Tattooed Sails—2007): The trio is Michael Moore, Lindsay Horner, and Michael Vatcher (with Bill Frisell on some cuts, but not this one). Dylan may not seem like a natural for jazz artists, but these guys do his music really well from first track to last.
3. (“Speak Easy” from Open Land—1999): In my opinion, this is one of Abercrombie’s finest albums. He was transitioning from the organ group to the violin group—and this particular track features Kenny Wheeler, who always had a magical connection with John. I find Abercrombie way up there as a guitarist and musician in general—and a good composer too. He’s very distinctive, he put together interesting groups, and none of us should ever forget the fabulous work of Gateway.
4. (“Lifeline” from With These Hands—1956): Randy Weston with Cecil Payne, playing an original on an album of mostly standards. The late Randy Weston is one of my all-time favorite jazz figures, and this shows his superb work even at this early point in time. Payne and Weston had a special connection, and Cecil was on several of the early albums; it’s too bad he didn’t reappear on the records from Weston’s renaissance in the 1990’s.
5.(“After the Rain” from Sweet Honey Bee—1966): I’m surprised no one got this piece by Duke Pearson: pianist, composer, arranger, producer, Blue Note stalwart. I find this to be one of his greatest compositions, and it curiously has the same title as one of Coltrane’s greatest pieces. James Spaulding provides the sterling flute work.
6. (“Sidewalk Meeting”: title track—2001): A rather interesting piece (and album) by multi-reedist Ted Nash, who plays all kinds of saxes and clarinets. The great trombone work is by Wycliffe Gordon.
7. (“Opus 1.5”from Ron Carter's Great Big Band—2011): The legendary Ron Carter, who has done just about everything; and here he is in late career leading his own big band.
8. (“Monk’s Rec Room” from The Red Quartets—1999): One of the few players who performs only on soprano, Jane Ira Bloom, to my mind, is the greatest living soprano saxophonist. She has a great feeling for Monk, whether his tunes or a tribute like this track.
9. (“Baroque Steps” from Paradise—2001): I’m surprised no one got this, but it took me quite a while to catch on to Tom Harrell. He is a very skilled and creative player. As jazz with strings albums go, this one is way up there.
10. (“War Orphans” from Tribute—1974): The highly inventive Paul Motian, with the great Charlie Haden on bass and Sam Brown on guitar. The track comes from one of his earliest dates as a leader.
11. (“Sound Off” from Time is of the Essence—1999): Michael Brecker was identified very quickly—no surprise. Perhaps he devoted too much of his life to being a session player, but he offered up quite a few leader dates playing bona fide jazz with giants of the field. This is my favorite of his records; it includes Pat Metheny on guitar and Larry Goldings on organ.
12. (“Aqua Blue” from Aquarius—2013): This track by Nicole Mitchell was identified, but some pointed out that it sounds a lot like James Newton and Jay Hoggard. Since we never hear from those guys anymore, this is the next best thing. I don’t have a lot of Mitchell’s work, but she seems like a pretty amazing player and composer.
13. (“Simple Things” from Dialogues—1995): Quite interesting date by Jim Hall, although the tracks are generally not duets in the usual sense. Hall has influenced so many guitarists, including Bill Frisell. This may be my favorite track from a great record.
I tried including images of the album covers, but it would not work for me.