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Nate Dorward

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Everything posted by Nate Dorward

  1. Dinnertime so I'll interrupt my listening to disc 2. This is as far as I got: disc 2 1: “Nature Boy” (barely!), but I’ve no idea as to the players. Kind of like the plugged-in sax sound. Worth hearing once or twice, anyway. 2: My first hunch was that this was off Ellery Eskelin’s Figure of Speech, which I think has this instrumentation. This didn’t bowl me over – a little too static for me – but it’s a really good tenor solo, slippery harmonic moves and an interesting, non-mainstream tone, which again suggests Ellery. When the voices kicked in I wasn’t so sure, though. If not, possibly someone like Kahil el-Zabar. 3: Well, pretty obviously Marvin Gaye. I like the amorphous quality of the song, with voices & instruments dipping in & out of the arrangement according to no obvious pattern, & with the shape and direction of the melody impossible to predict. I like songs with no “hook”. The content of the lyrics makes me sure this is from Here My Dear, his notorious album about his ugly split from his wife. 4: Steve Swallow, and the piano is so minimal it’s surely Carla Bley. The piece is so static that the backdrop could almost be a prerecorded loop. Like a lot of Carla & Steve’s work I find the intelligence is so impenetrably wrapped in their habitual coziness that while I find it likeable it’s hard to feel very strongly about it. 5: crackle of vinyl & the fierce tempo made me initially fear it was playing too fast! Anyway, nice traditional jazz, probably players I should be able to identify but I can’t as I’m not at at all knowledgable in this area. The clarinet solo is very odd, which made me wonder if it weren’t Pee Wee Russell. Liked this track, anyway. 6: oh, “Lennie’s Pennies”. This will surely be Supersax, won’t it? Was it Clare Fischer who did this arrangement? Have heard OF it but never heard it. Pity about the crap sound on the piano (Fischer or Lou Levy?), which actually manages to sound not unlike Tristano’s sped-up piano exploits in timbre. Probably Gary Foster on alto. A slightly odd solo. Unmistakably Marsh on the tenor solo, with that weird sound that make it sound like he’s half-swallowing the notes sometimes, & the strange rhythmic feel. & that wild yelp in the top register. The ending big-band bit must be an arrangement of a previously improvised solo. 7: more big band sound, obviously Braxton, & sure enough it sounds like he’s written something on Lennie’s minor-key “Pennies from Heaven” changes. A moment in there sounds like a George Russell chart! Probably an Arista date from the 1970s. I can’t say I liked this all that much but it provides some food for thought about the links between Braxton’s big-band scoring & George Russell. The funny thing is that all the saxes sound to me like Braxton, even though obviously it’s only the alto solo that’s Mr B himself.
  2. From a first listen to disc 1: 1: Surely it’s latterday Horace Silver (I didn’t twig to this on the opening solo, but Silver’s mannerisms are more apparent in the later solo with the band). The horns sound terribly familiar & I’m sure if I looked up the lineups in Silver’s bands I could sort this out but won’t bother. OK track, didn’t love it; I didn’t like the rhythmic feel too much. But I don’t really like Silver much anyway of whatever period. Mostly enjoyed the sound of old vinyl, as my record player isn’t working & I miss it. I can’t say it sounds at all like “Ask Me Now” to me, it's probably a Silver original. 2: pity about the horrible fuzz. I liked hearing it once, would have enjoyed it more but for the sound quality. 3: This is a really good track, with a great rhythm section & it’s annoying that I know that I know all these players but can’t quite place them: the trumpeter & drummer in particular sound very familiar. Avant-Blue Note-ish. I liked the use of half-time feel, & the slippage between minor- & major-key blues. The saxophonist is surely a Mingus graduate. 4: Entertaining period piece, virtually defies criticism. It ain’t subtle, that’s for sure. The old-fashioned clarinet solo was the biggest surprise. My guess is an old big-band leader, probably the clarinetist, making a misguided attempt to modernize his sound. 5: This isn’t really my thing: don’t like the extreme juxtaposition between the smooth big-band arrangement & the rough-edged pleading voice (I presume James Brown’s?). 6: Ick. Boring arrangement, a style of vocal I don’t like much. Makes me want to take this off & put on something like June Christy & Pete Rugolo’s albums to hear this kind of thing done right. 7: The altoist sounds familiar – the little fast licks he puts in a few points in particular. A wild guess would be Michael Moore, though I’d have to listen again to confirm it. Maybe then it’d be Fred Hersch on piano, as Fred likes this tune (“Little Rootie Tootie”: there’s a version on Toots Thielemans’ Only Trust Your Heart). Whatever the case, I like the Tristano-school tactic of avoiding the head until the very end. 8: I hate it when organ albums have a separate bass player. Use your feet, for cripes’ sake! Anyway, for what it is it’s fine, though not for me a really standout organ/tenor track. The tenorist sounds very familiar. A little overfond of following out a lick to the bitter end: if he laid off a bit I’ve have enjoyed this a little more. 9: Amusing interlude, if nothing else. I could probably get a better idea who it is if I listened to the words closely, but life’s short..... 10: No idea, though I note that Atavistic has recently reissued Baby Dodds’ solo drum album as part of its UMS series, so that wouldn’t be a bad guess. 11: this one is easily i.d.’d via Google. 12: This one made me feel warm & fuzzy inside. My wife & daughter complained vociferously about this one. With #3 & #13 my favourite track on disc 1. I haven’t heard it before but the Art Ensemble of Chicago would be the very obvious guess. 13: Phil Woods and Zoot Sims with a big band, not sure of the clarinetist. Annoyed that I can’t place the tune; the chord changes of the A section are those of “Confirmation”, so this is presumably whatever tune Parker based that tune on. Nice feel. West Coastish. If it's not Woods then Bud Shank would be my next guess. 14: Not sure. Very late Al Cohn or Zoot Sims maybe. Or Ted Brown even? Very by-the-books white-guy-Lester sound, not enough surprises in the tenor solo (that suggests it ain’t Brown). The Basie-minimalist piano solo a nice touch. Nice, if not a standout. Didn’t quite like the rhythmic feel here, a little inconsistent & not always as graceful as necessary. 15: A tribute to the Goodman/Wilson/Hampton sides, obviously, though the pianist is in an Earl Hines bag instead, a little too scattershot for my tastes though. An OK track, nothing to get too excited about.
  3. Re: Gräwe: I have a few discs-- VicissEtudes with Frank Gratkowski on Random Acoustics is easily one of the best freely improvised discs I have. Period. There's also the same lineup with Paul Lovens added on Meniscus: Quicksand. This is more ordinary blow-out stuff, really doesn't sound much like the other one at all. Impressions of Monk on Nuscope. In terms of "out" players playing mainstream jazz (if Monk is mainstream, anyway) this is one of the few discs that I think really hits the nail on the head. Michael Vatcher is a heavy handed drummer on here, perhaps, but Gräwe is extraordinary. Re: Duos for Doris I've had about every reaction over the spectrum. My main problem is that it's virtually impossible to listen to free of the massive amounts of hype given the disc, especially since several of its key promoters make a point of spreading the gospel on it via the web. Erstwhile has nothing if not an avid fanbase & assiduous promoters. Anyway, I found it extremely hard to listen to it "cleanly" without the constant sensation of someone jogging my elbow, but maybe I'm just an overfussy sort. My (largely positive, but somewhat equivocal) take on the disc is available here: http://www.squidco.com/cgi-bin/news/newsView.cgi?newsID=270 For me some of this genre of minimalist improvising is hard to warm to because of the portentous atmosphere enveloping the performance & every single gesture. But there are many other folks I talk to who are enthralled by it so I may be just a cranky old-school type of guy (at age 30 no less).
  4. Talking about ghastly choices of photos for a Steeplechase session, try the shots inside the booklet for Blues for a Reason by Chet Baker & Warne Marsh (both nearing the ends of their lives).
  5. My favourite instance of simultaneous vocalizing (of a sort) & playing is Dave Frishberg's unison piano+whistling on "El Cajone" on Live at Vine St.
  6. Just to chip in to say that this disc deserves all the thumbs-up it's been getting. Lovely, lovely, music. Ragin's Feel the Sunshine is OK but I find Tshar on that disc a bit of a cutrate David Murray or James Carter. Ragin & the rest of the team sound fine, though.
  7. No, the Tristano/Marsh disc is out of print. Perhaps Hat Art/ology will bring it back into print at some point, who knows, though I'm not sure Braxton & Uehlinger still see eye to eye. I have a burn of one of the discs on the 4-disc GTM set. It's interesting, though I can't honestly say I've listened to it more than twice. There's a review of the whole thing at http://www.paristransatlantic.com/magazine...ug_text2.html#3 if you're curious.
  8. The 1970s work with Holland & Altschul is utterly superb. There was a decent one-CD condensation of the 2LP set with Wheeler & Lewis (one on each of the LPs). I had it & foolishly lent it to a drummer who has never returned it. Though it's had mixed reviews for some reason I thought the new Four Compositions (GTM) 2000 on Delmark was the first really good thing of Braxton's I'd heard for a while. One of the few Ghost Trance discs I've liked a lot. I'm not a big fan of Braxton's standards playing. Charlie Parker Project has some wonderful things on it, but it also has some remarkably verbose & sloppy playing, & everyone goes on too long (e.g. Ari Brown is fine for one or two choruses--but he simply repeats himself over & over again on the longer tracks). On "Dewey Square" Braxton manages to lose his place in the tune at the end (he returns to the head in the wrong spot). "Ko-Ko" ends up a mess, if an exciting mess--why are they playing the B section twice every chorus during the trading-eights with akLaff? -- I also don't like the Tristano disc, which is again very sloppy & verbose. The best of the repertoire albums I've heard is the Monk, which still has some verbose moments (hey, Mr Braxton, couldn't you have spared Mal Waldron a little extra room? on "Skippy" Mal barely gets a lookin while Braxton takes chorus after chorus, scattering notes everywhere)--but the ballads "Ask Me Now" & "Reflections" are some of the prettiest things Braxton has ever recorded. Willisau has its ups & downs. The best stuff from that band is in the Santa Cruz set & the three sets on Leo. For Alto is a tough listen & I rarely pull it out, but I'm still glad I have it, crappy sound & all. It's truly great music.
  9. This is what I sent in to Coda when they asked for a top-ten. Geof Bradfield, Rule of Three, Liberated Zone Rhodri Davies, Trem, Confront Whit Dickey, Prophet Moon, Riti Marty Ehrlich, Line on Love, Palmetto Vijay Iyer, Blood Sutra, Artists House Ahmad Jamal, In Search Of: Momentum (1–10), Birdology/Dreyfus Fredi Luescher, Cécile Olshausen, Nathanael Su, Dear C. – The Music of Carla Bley, Altrisuoni Giorgio Pacorig, My Mind Is on the Table, Splasc(h) Evan Parker and Joe McPhee, Chicago Tenor Duets, Okkadisk Trio-X (Joe McPhee, Dominic Duval, Jay Rosen), Journey, CIMP
  10. Yes My Foolish Heart is a really good one. I wish, though, that Friedman would stop titling his albums after famous compositions (mostly Bill Evans-associated). His two previous albums were My Romance & The Days of Wine and Roses. Anyway, a great player.
  11. Great list. Pity it's missing David Liebman--that's one I always stumble over. Is it Leeb or Libe?
  12. Ben Webster & Sweets Edison, with Hank Jones leading the rhythm section, on Columbia. Nice stuff, & one of the best "My Romance"s on record.
  13. Plenty of good rec's here, catching most of the discs I'd care to name. (Except I don't think anyone mentioned Trio-X?) -- Let me mention one that recently came to my attention, Geof Bradfield's Rule of Three, which is IMHO is one of the best jazz releases of this year. Here's what I wrote on it (forthcoming shortly in Cadence):
  14. There's a hell of a lot of stuff on the Philology label, I'm not sure the provenance--the "Bird's Eyes" series.
  15. I was a little surprised to see Sonny Rollins' Solo Album pop up here--I've not heard it but I've rarely heard anyone say it was that good. The classic Rollins solo stuff I know is the one-off tracks on otherwise full-group albums. There's examples on his Verve disc (I forget the title--Sonny Plus Brass or something)--a reading of "Body & Soul". & one on The Sound of Sonny. Lee Konitz has a few solo discs. Lone-Lee is pretty remarkable, as it's very long essays on just "Cherokee" & "The Song Is You"--one of them 40 minutes long (in the unedited form on the CD reissue). There's one called Unaccompanied in Yokohama which I haven't heard. There's also Self-Portrait on Philology, which is a mix of solo stuff & overdubbed pieces. The overdubbed pieces are a bit of a mixed bag & could have been produced with more intelligence by Philology (start with the volume VERY low, as they don't EQ it with each successive layer: this means that by the time it's 4 layers of sax it's 4 times as loud!). But it has a 15-minute "Self-Portrait in Blues" which is one of my favourite Konitz tracks on record. Did Dolphy ever record any other unaccompanied alto solos than "Tenderly"? Everything else I've heard has been bass clarinet (the "God Bless the Child" features). Yeah Evan Parker, McPhee, Braxton, Lacy are the champs among living players. David Murray has also recorded solo discs though I haven't heard them. John Butcher is another player working the free end of the spectrum you should know. I gather Fixations is the one to plump for though actually I haven't heard it (I have 13 Friendly Numbers & Invisible Ear both of which I'd recommend too, though the latter is fairly extreme stuff, using amplified sax). The adventurous might also enjoy Berlin Reeds, on Absinth, which is mostly pretty extreme stuff, by 4 different German players, though the Rudi Mahall segment is straightforward free jazz. I recall that Joe Lovano released a solo disc, not on a regular label but as part of an instructional CD/book set. I don't have it. He also has one or two solo tracks on Rush Hour. Joe Henderson did "Lush Life" of course on the album of that title. Charlie Parker recorded, very early on, one solo piece (I think it was 1940-41). It's in rough shape but it survives--I have it on a Stash compilation of rare Bird records.
  16. "a bit longer"? Looks to me like 95% of the list was done in the past 4 years. That said, I recall the sound on the Konitz/Mehldau/Haden disc, for instance, as being entirely acceptable, though a tad dark.
  17. Rudd is indeed a remarkable player but actually, I'd not been at all impressed by the first volume of the Unheard Herbie Nichols set & got rid of it. I don't remember it very clearly now, except that it was a bit disappointing if you actually wanted to hear the tunes played "straight": two were taken as unaccompanied solos, the lead-off tune was devoted to a drum solo, & I recall that the disc was dominated by an OK but very, very long reading of "Jamaica". Anyone have a more recent take on the disc(s)?
  18. Thanks for the recommendations. Yes one reason why I was a bit cautious in investigating this area is that my impression was that a number of these labels were willing to release albums which, even though recently recorded, had fairly gruesome sound.... Hadn't quite decided what I make of Mosca from the appearances of his I have on disc--I'd always found him rather dour, though sometimes the circumstances of the sessions don't help (e.g. Spirits with Konitz features a rather dark-sounding & out-of-tune piano). There's quite a contrast with Ball's rather brighter & (true to his name) bouncier take on Tristano's piano style. Yes Gary Foster--I remember his duet album with Alan Broadbent as being very fine. He's also a good partner on Warne Marsh's Ne Plus Ultra, which Hat Art/ology really ought to see about reinstating in their catalogue (even better if they dug up more stuff from the live session--only one track from this on the disc, which is tantalizing).
  19. Yes, in fact I wrote a bit on him here: http://www.paristransatlantic.com/magazine...nov_text.html#7 He's very much worth your attention. As for other Andrew Hill-influenced pianists I'd name Jason Moran & Noah Rosen.
  20. I'm familiar with Tristano's work & with that of Konitz & Marsh. What I was curious about & thought folks here might have opinions on, was about the merits of records by other players from the 1st & 2nd generations of the Tristano School--there's a pile of records on specialist labels like Jazz Records, New Artists, Zinnia, &c. E.g. Sal Mosca, Ronnie Ball, Peter Ind, Ted Brown, Billy Lester, Connie Crothers, Liz Gorrill, Lenny Popkin, Susan Chen, Richard Tabnik &c. Anyone dug into this corner of the field? I don't know the younger players in this bunch at all, & players like Mosca, Ball, & Brown I've encountered only glancingly. I do quite like Ronnie Ball's disc on Savoy, which I picked up from a cutout bin: it's notable for having a lot of Willie Dennis's absolutely stunning trombone work on it, the only record I've heard where he gets a lot of solos (he's on a couple Mingus discs but isn't really featured).
  21. Konitz, yes--but you guys missed the lovely Plays French Impressionist Music, with the Axis String Quartet, on Palmetto. It's superb. I rather like Joe Lovano's Rush Hour. There are two or three dull Lovano/Silvano duos as interludes, but those are easily ignorable: the full-orchestra tracks are lovely. Though Coltrane didn't do a with-strings album per se, I seem to recall that Alice Coltrane did overdub strings & harp onto a posthumously released John Coltrane album. Moving off into singer+strings albums, those June Christy/Pete Rugolo albums are fine, fine things. There's also a rather nifty track on Patricia Barber's Verse (only one strings track on the album, though).
  22. Re: questions of Blue Note's keeping stuff in the vaults: my recollection was that in the liner notes to the Mosaic Cuscuna in fact states plainly that he thought it was unfortunate that it was left in the vaults as it was Young's best post-Unity Blue Note session. He blames its suppression on the fact that the heads are not always very neatly stated (some very obvious bum notes for instance) & that Alfred Lion hated sloppy heads. I'll have to pull it out. I recall thinking it was quite good, not great, but a nice change from the downwards spiral of his previous three Blue Note discs.
  23. A few belated responses: 1) I had (no longer have) the belatedly issued CD that pairs up a bunch of Pony Poindexter material with the incomplete album of Larry Young, Booker Ervin & Jimmie Smith (the drummer). It's OK if you're curious but not nearly as good as you'd imagine from Ervin & Young being together. There's one Young original (miscredited on the sleeve to Poindexter as "Absotively Posalutely"--if I remember rightly it's "Back-Up", which turns up later on the disc with Sam Rivers), & a few standards, mostly rather low key (including two takes of "Old Folks"). The drummer isn't anything to write home about, & Ervin & Young don't really mesh--in fact Young mostly just plays the head & takes a solo, then Ervin comes in much later, plays a solo then bows out. 2) I have the Mosaic set. Basically there's a good reason the material from after Unity hasn't been rereleased: it's all middling to downright bad, & is virtually unidentifiable as the work of the guy who made Unity, the albusm with Green & Into Something. The one good one is Mother Ship with Lee Morgan, Young's late Blue Note disc; it's not his best, but it's certainly worth hearing. But there are three albums in between which are best left untouched--his free-jazz effort Of Love and Peace (which has its moments admittedly), & his two efforts at more commercial stuff, Contrasts & Heaven on Earth (with his wife Althea doing the vocals--"Wild Is the Wind" & "My Funny Valentine", both excruciating--& George Benson on the latter disc). The one notable track is "Major Affair" on Contrasts, an organ-drums duo which compares well with "Monk's Dream" from Unity. It was at one point available separately on The Art of Larry Young compilation along with one piece from Of Love and Peace. Has anyone heard the late duo album with Joe Chambers? Now that's one I'm curious about....
  24. Yeah, I like Walter's review on Bagatellen. The Jurek is a complete fraud. There's room for debate on whether the disc is merely underwhelming or downright awful (my vote is for the latter) but Jurek's review is perfectly insane. For what it's worth here's my zap of the disc-- www.squidco.com/cgi-bin/news/newsView.cgi?newsID=259 & here's Dan Warburton's pan of the disc-- www.paristransatlantic.com/magazine/monthly2003/10oct_text.html#8 Incidentally I gather that Jurek's pre-publication review was excerpted & incorporated into the packaging of Threads--suggests an awfully cozy relation between Jurek & Thirsty Ear.... On the other hand Tim Berne's The Sublime And is a darn good date, even if a bit relentless.
  25. Yes, it plays in an ordinary CD player. Got an advance copy from Artists House last month. It seems to me in many ways an advance over Panoptic Modes. A new drummer, who somehow makes the complex time signatures & subdivisions sound a lot looser. Though it's very much a continuation of the previous album, there's more rock & pop in the music, including a nifty cover/rewrite of "Hey Joe" (with a new line written over it which strongly reminds me of The Inner Mounting Flame). It's initially a little less immediately in-yer-face than Panoptic Modes, in part because of the nicer, deep-set studio sound, but if anything it gets more intense as the album reaches its conclusion (the Hendrix cover is just before the end). A darn good disc all told: I was quite impressed.
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