Jack Reilly strikes again. After boldly tackling Jason Moran under an assumed name, he takes on the whole of the European continent, and is naming names, in an open letter to DownBeat. It starts out great...
"you missed a great opportunity to educate those 'other' cats accross the pond on what real Jazz playing is and what styles/players should be mandatory to absorb and study."
...and only gets better. "Permit [him]."
Rifftides on Kenny Dorham, reminding us that even the greats from the "golden days" sometimes held totally unrelated day jobs.
It's only as I read this that I realised where the inspiration for the dénouement to Garth Ennis's intensely funny and decadent Preacher comic b... sorry, graphic novel, came from.
"'The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail,' a nonfiction work published in 1982 that spins an elaborate theory about how Jesus married Mary Magdalene and how their descendants still live in southern France."
Let me tell you, the result of 2000 years of inbree... sorry, preservation of the holy bloodline, ain't pretty.
Eppy poses a common fan-boy quandary: what to do when you unexpectedly stumble across one of your idols? I'd suggest tentatively approaching them, asking "Excuse me, do I know you from somewhere?" and seeing how long it takes them to say "Well, I'm the Fiery Furnaces [for example]." In this particular case, Eppy also raises the negative-last-impression problem. Personally, I tend not to talk to musicians whose music I don't like. You could call it cowardice, I call it a pre-emptive non-strike.
I'll try it out and report findings in the next be.sightings (1, 2, 3, 4).
Pretty gruesome jazz historian murder story.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Jack Reilly strikes again. After boldly tackling Jason Moran under an assumed name, he takes on the whole of the European continent, and is naming names, in an open letter to DownBeat. It starts out great...
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Yvinek, who's in New York finshing up his album, observes the American in his natural environment. Well, in Starbucks.
Think Denk (no stranger to Starbucks) on phone sex of a different kind. It all ends in tears.
Finally, an opera about Muammar Gadafy, written by Asian Dub Foundation and bringing together the English National Opera, North African musicians and poet-rappers. Sounds good.
"Holliday [sic] would impose the same way of singing on songs for which it was inappropriate. 'The End of a Love Affair' comes to mind. She delivered 'If I talk...a little too fast,' in the same slow style as a torch song. It's 'fast,' Lady!"
- Nicholas Stix betrays a shocking misunderstanding of Holiday's interpretation of the song.
Foreign labour sucks: this Pearl Jam concert review seemed oddly stilted until I saw the author's name. And are PJ really the future of rock?
If Finnish metal is making Eurovision worth watching, its moment of hipness must be over, right? [via ThinkSong]
[Moved out of the overly-long post it was originally in]
Musicians Moments has some interesting info (in French) on the role of music in the 1975 overthrow of Portugal's Salazar dictatorship. In short, the military strategist who led the revolt carefully thought out the broadcasting of two songs: "E depois do adeus" on April 24 1975 at 10:55 PM and "Grândola vila morena" at 12:30 AM. The latter became a symbol of the revolution, with the notable lyrics "O povo é quem mais ordena, dentro de ti ó cidade" ("It is the people who rule, inside you O city").
"Grândola vila morena" was written by Jose Afonso. Jazz fans may want to check out bassist Zé Eduardo's A Jazzar no Zeca – A Música de José Afonso (Clean Feed). It's fairly mainstream post-Rollins/Coltrane that's been opened up by 30 years of free jazz.Listening to it, I have little idea of what Afonso's music sounds like: I can often only guess at what the original melodies and other elements were. I'm sure the Portuguese audience this was aimed at (the liner notes are in Portuguese, even though Clean Feed liners tend to be in English, even for Portuguese musicians) knows the original songs well enough for the changes to make sense. The popular music base gives the trio an enjoyable everyman and real (in a Mingusian sense) feel and there's just enough arrangement (whether in the rhythms - fast swing to calyspo and a touch of reggae - or in the sax/bass and full-trio unisons) to balance out the freedom. Saxophonist Jesus Santandreu is resourceful, but Eduardo and drummer Bruno Pedroso are near-equal partners.
Rifftides republishes an essay by Paul Paolicelli that inadvertently slots right into the "No pop please, we're composers" discussion evoked earlier.
First, I don't know why simple pleasures are so strongly resisted and treated as suspicious, maybe even indicative of a weakness of character. Larry Kart raised the issue in the comments to the Bill Evans debate on Bagatellen:
"Thus in 1964 , after acknowledging that the brilliant, lucid, and 'completely unpremeditated' two-piano improvisation that [Bill Evans] and Paul Bley played on George Russell’s 1960 album Jazz In The Space Age 'was fun to do,' Evans says: '[But to] do something that hadn’t been rehearsed successfully, just like that, almost shows the lack of challenge involved in that kind of freedom.'"
Second, here's the first of two "My One And Only Love" quotes:
"The very thought of you makes my heart sing
like an April breeze on the wings of spring.
And you appear in all your splendor,
My one and only love."
I find this, on the printed page, totally corny - teenage romanticism, rather than deep and sophisticated lyricism. Granted, the second quote of the song's lyrics is much better, but I think the lyrics to GAS songs tend to be overrated. Some are great, many aren't. Take "Laura," for example. Great music, the lyrics make me cringe (except, perhaps, when sung by Jeanne Lee, accompanied by Ran Blake, but that's a subject for another post). The lyrics to Frankie Valli's "Sherry" (the essay hinges on a comparaison of "Sherry" to "My One And Only Love") are plain, direct and efficient. Can't begrudge them that.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Armen Nalbandian responds to the Charlie Parker/Jazz education debate and gives some personal background that illuminates his point of view:
"When I was in high school and the beginnings of my college career, as I sought out to learn Jazz directly from the masters like Horace Silver, many things that I encountered that now seem horribly bizarre to me now, I’m sure is consistent to the norm in Jazz “education” circles now. In my time, never did any big band I played in play a composition by a black musician. NEVER! Never did any of my band directors suggest listening to jazz recordings as a way to learn jazz. Never did any of my Jazz instructors encourage me to seek out live performances. Never were any of the following names even mentioned in any Jazz class I attended, “Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman.” I am not kidding. Almost every song played by all of the big bands I was in was written by Jazz educators, the exception were written by Pat Metheny."
Ouch. Goes against everything I've ever heard or read about learning about jazz (as a musician or listener) and, not to mention, common sense. I've only attended low-level, neighbourhood music schools and piano teachers, but I assumed the total disconnect between what's taught there and the "real music world" isn't as strong at higher levels.
Stanley Crouch's Jackie Mclean obituary contains some Mclean quotes that relate to this issue. They can be related to Belinda Reynolds's discussion of the difference between training and teaching:
"From these definitions, "training" seems to be an action directed towards having a student master a certain action. Whereas "teaching" is creating an environment that enables a student to not only learn certain skills but which also allows a student to learn how to actively explore and master ideas and skills on his or her own."
Charlie Parker didn't train McLean in anything, but certainly taught him a lot.
Darcy weighs in on the current "is pop good or bad for the contemporary composer?" debate over at NewMusicBox. The Seth Gordon reply in the comments section of the second post titled "incest, peppermints, color of time..." is absolutely hilarious. Mark Nowakowski's comment (currently at the bottom of the page) is more serious in tone, but also interesting.
Interestingly, both Darcy and Colin Holter highlight the influence of peer pressure on musical choices. I wonder if now, as fans of less-mainstream music can easily congregate online, the burden of being a musical loner has lightened. Jonah Weiner touches on this in his article "Tila Tequila, the first star of MySpace:"
"[David Hadju's] dismissal [which is no longer available online for free, but its first page is in Google's cache] of the site's word-of-mouth musical recommendations—he says they reflect 'social expectations as much as, perhaps more than, musical passions'—is an impossible fantasy: When is 'musical passion' ever so pure that it exists in a vacuum, sealed off from 'social expectation'?"
Scratch My Brain on listening to free jazz. I've had much the same approach to "focusing the ears" on different musical levels, but most probably do it at a less refined level than Jeff.
Fred Kaplan discusses Monk's Pulitzer citation.
A hidden face of the music industry: the music publisher. Isn't Martin N. Bandier the very portrait of what you expect a pre-hip hop industry shark to look like? [via SF/J]
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Not much to say at the moment on the Mingus (that bass-vamp-instead-of-changes "Summertime" with Hampton Hawes must have been pretty startling in 1957) and Parker volumes.
Ella Fitzgerald: is there a more perfect, more I-wrote-the-textbook way of singing than Ella's? It seems to me that she's often cast as the facile, light-hearted virtuoso. Certainly, there's that: "Oh Lady Be Good!" with the JATP in 1949 and "How High The Moon" in 1960 are something of circus acts, but also manages to make scat not sound ridiculous, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" has comic Armstrong and Rose Murphy (who Joanna Newsom fans should check out) imitations. There are the unassailably self-assured performances, such as "Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)" or "The Lady Is A Tramp" (and its biting humour) and "Lover Come Back To Me" (both fronting big bands) than can give an impression of workman-like perfection. But there's a whole other side too, and it's not unconnected.
"Someone To Watch Over Me," a 1950 duet with Ellis Larkin is deeply moving, with Ella lingering on each word, dosing each attack and timbre. "Azure" is just Ella and Barney Kessel in 1956, and floats along with divine serenity. "Whisper Not" is less intimate, but is as well-arranged by Marty Paich as it is sung. If anyone is under-valued, surely Benny Golson is. What's amazing in these performances, is that there is absolutely no excess: she knows what these songs are saying and lets them say it.
There are a few duds too: "A-Tisket A-Tasket" is pretty much obligatory for any Ella comp, but I find it to be little more than a youthful novelty tune, and an annoying one at that. Is "By Strauss"'s pontificating to be taken seriously? A number of the songbook GAS interpretations are middling: great voice, of course, but not much magic ("She Didn't Say 'Yes'," "What Will I Tell My Heart" despite Stan Getz's surprisingly compatible contributions, "Midnight Sun").
The Oscar Peterson volume was one of the ones I was initially most anticipating, because I don't have a single one of his albums. The Peterson-Granz relationship may very well, by length and historical importance, be unique in all of jazz.
Of course, there are plenty of finger-busters and a few things I find barely listenable, but I'd like to point out the magnificently tender "I Got It Bad" and the rather poppish/faux classical "You Look Good To Me" (cool arrangement, on which Ray Brown makes a beautiful, bouncy statement after a wistful piano intro) as subdued moments of uncommon grace (emotional for the former, in the way Peterson twirls around the melody in the latter). "It Never Entered My Mind" could have contended for this category, but goes overboard in overindulging overblown flourishes that overwhelm the song. I probably won't be rushing out to get more Peterson, but since he's on half of the Verve catalogue anyway...
Finally, I wanted to give a shout out to Ed Thigpen's hi-hat pattern behind Milt Jackson on "A Wonderful Guy": three hits spread over two waltz-time bars, each hit making different use of the sock cymbal.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
In a bar-where-you-can-dance context, is there any more depressing sequence of songs than "I Will Survive"/"YMCA"? Then came "Daddy Cool" and things, believe it or not, started looking up. This Guardian article on non-anglophone pop reminds me of how fantastic Shakira's "La Tortura" is. Thank you, reggaetón!
The article also led me to this awesome Glukoza cartoon video. Corrupt-regime-as-pigs, Russian-pop-star-as-rebel-leader, all-out warfare in a mish-mashed retro-sci-fi setting, oink-oinks and an oompah beat: what more could you want?
Nothing really new, but some interesting info in Dan Ouellette's "Digital sales boost indie jazz labels". A philosophical point by Thirsty Ear honcho Peter Gordon sums it up: "What a major label calls marginal, we call a hit. That's the cost of freedom."
Another philosophical point from a totally different source, former model Inès de la Fressange on Belgian TV: "Tradition is interesting, what is certainly not interesting is convention." Rang true as, later, I listened to Eric Dolphy, but certainly all the greats performed this balancing/re-imagining act.
TBP discover GPS. Does it not exist in the USA?
"One of the great misconceptions of the arts is that an artist has to have a "tortured soul" to produce great work. If they haven't experienced suffering and hardship there's no point in listening to what they record, reading what they write, or looking at what they paint. The thing is that most artists could have done without the agony thank you very much.
"You see its not the artist's suffering that produces the great art. It's their sensitivity to the world around them that allows them to produce great art, which also causes their suffering. They feel too much in a society where to feel is to be shunned, end up being taken advantage of, and live a life of quiet desperation looking for some sort of relief."
- Richard Marcus reviewing a Billie Holiday album
I bloglined myself and saw that I had 23 subscribers. Awesome! I've been using Bloglines for some months now, it has immeasurably improved my online life.
The lastest Secret Society show is up at Darcy's. It wasn't until I read Steve Smith's Time Out NY pre-concert announcement that I realised that the then-4-now-5 concerts on the blog represented the DJA SS's entire performance history. The band was born in New York and worldwide almost simultaneously. Already, the staggered spires/spirals that open "Ritual" feel like old friends (and Sebastian Noelle's guitar solo on that tune is crazy. Is that Björk?) and newcomer "Induction Effect" is a welcome, quietly whirling, addition.
Steve Smith's review of the above-recommended concert (as well as his ongoing, indefatigable classical coverage) made me wonder what the Ratliffs, Chinens and Davises of the world were waiting for (if any French/European jazz journalists blog, let me know). Some questions need to be answered: do the NY Times guys ever see anything other than first sets? Don't they feel like escaping the cookie-cutter feel of their newspaper's day-to-day coverage? It even seems to be dragging Kelefa Sanneh down: his old spark seems to have gone out, lately (addendum: he does bring the passion in this N.O. rap piece, even it's a compilation of things he's been saying for nearly a year). Mssrs. Smith, Ross, Reynolds, Gann, Ramsey, Wilson and many others have proven how complementary the two forms can be.
"Odd" meters are so common. Do they still merit mention?
"Women over 50 now buy almost twice as many albums as teenage girls and the charts are now reflecting their tastes."
- The BBC brings this big story. Mum-rock: thank you Tesco's!
Tyshawn Sorey: it's cool that today, you can be 26, have a big afro, be known as a jazz drummer but also play Afro-American 12-tone piano improv. Unrelated, but see also Gabriel Kahane for some quietly harmonically daring piano/voice music. [via The Rest Is Noise]. I have yet to really delve into MySpace, perhaps principally because I find the format horrendous (but the media player is fantastic, as I prefer streaming over downloading). I kind of feel like I'm not seeing the elephant in the other room, though.
"'You don’t want people to think you’re homeless,' [Jason Stuart] instructs. 'Though how could they, when I’m carrying around a $4,000 piece of wood? But they will. People are strange. They’re more inclined to tip you if they think you don’t need the money.'"
- In a nutshell, the basis for much of contemporary society. Howard Mandel on busking. [via Arts Journal]
Thursday, April 20, 2006
I was nosing around the Jazz on 3 site while listening to Dave Douglas's "Blue Latitudes" and discovered that Brad Mehldau is covering Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." I haven't heard this song in years, but it seems to me to be stretching the logical connection between Thom Yorke and Nick Drake to breaking point. Although I guess there's a kind of anguish to the song. Anyone heard him play it?
The near-full Blue Note Festival programme has been determined. I've never been, but I'm going to try to make it this year. It takes place from the 13th to the 23rd of July. The combined friday-saturday-sunday ticket for the "real jazz" part of the festival is extremely appealing:
Friday: Robert Glasper Trio, Kris Defoort Sound Plaza, Andrew Hill Quintet, Masada
Saturday: Washington / Vann / Galland, Eric Legnini Trio, Jason Moran & The Bandwagon, Wayne Shorter Quartet
Sunday: Paolo Fresu Quintet, Nathalie Loriers, Romano-Sclavis-Texier, Charles Lloyd ‘Sangam’
As usual, the "All That Jazz?" part is less interesting, but friday's triple-bill of Tony Allen, Chucho Valdés and Cesaria Evora stands out.
That would make for a combined bill of 83 euros. Value for money (just over 5 euros per concert), sure, but I've become increasingly anti-festival over the years. At least there aren't any overlapping sets at the BNF, but even then, I don't really feel like listening to four concerts in a row, especially when every single one of them could provide a substantial evening's worth of music on its own. I don't even feel like asking for an accreditation: I'd rather pay and just write about it informally here. I can never get motivated for festival write-ups, oddly.
I think Jacques has been to the BNF before, what do you think of it? Does it take place under a tent or in a hall? Is a 45 minute break enough to digest Andrew Hill and prepare for Masada? To recover from the Bandwagon and open your mind for Wayne Shorter?
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Dave Douglas chat transcript. I haven't listened to the "Blue Latitudes" radio broadcast yet, but will do so soon (haven't got much of a choice, since it's only up until friday...).
Douglas admits a scandalous hole in his musical knowledge, proving that there is still hope for 18 year olds who still haven't fully studied their Charlie Parker:
"I also made a decision to lead fewer projects after I turned forty... Also, I made a decision to go back and study several areas of music I thought I had missed. Counterpoint and by parallel process, Bach and before."
Something to look forward to:
I'm mesmerized by Miles Davis Box Set Live at The Celler Door. Have you heard it? What are your impressions?
OK. That does it. I've been working on an essay about the Miles Davis Cellar Door box set. Now I'll have to finish it. And I will post it in the next few days."
...on monday, the great trumpeter/composer/arranger Bert Joris going for a bike ride with his family, in Mortsel (an Antwerpen satellite)...
I found out a few months ago that Joris lived just down the street from IVN's family, but it was the first time I spotted him there. Of his discography I give my highest recommendation to the Brussels Jazz Orchestra's "The Music of Bert Joris." His Quartet's "Live" is a good way to hear the Italian pianist Dado Moroni. If you ever have the chance to see them as a duo, drop everything and attend. A couple of years ago, I sat almost within arm's reach of Joris's trumpet in Flagey's Studio 4, as Moroni's right foot thumped the wooden floor a few metres away. It was a magical concert.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
After the great discussion of Miles's electric music stirred up by his HOF induction, I think Herbie Hancock's quite different, but no less energising, efforts merit some attention, too. I remember that when I bought Herbie Hancock's "Mwandishi," it was with some anxiety: if it sucked, I'd be forced to take it personally, seeing how close the band's name was to mine. Of course, it didn't (and still doesn't) suck, in fact it's very good. The later "Sextant" is mind-blowing.
"Mwandishi" could be seen as a post-"Bitches Brew" recasting of "Filles de Kilimandjaro"/"Waterbabies"-era Second Quintet. Billy Hart's drumming draws a bit from funk, but even more from Tony Williams's sense of space and fractured rhythm. Thus, there's a fruitful tension between openess and steady groove.
"Sextant," though, is the true killer. From the first moments of "Rain Dance," when Eddie Henderson's backward-looking trumpet is injected into a watery jungle of synthetic blips and bleeps, the realms of possibility suddenly expand and these new territories are explored. For example, the idea of the soloist as being in the foreground is radically abandoned - arguably more so even than in collectivist free jazz. Rather, he becomes another element of texture, which is now the key ingredient keeping repetition from tipping over into monotony. Hancock wisely varies keyboard sounds, even breaking out a bit of old-fashioned piano, and even hints at Stevie Wonder when a clavinet riff interlocks with another keyboard. I wonder if this was recorded before or after "Superstition." The old idea of the heroic soloist even seems to be mocked in "Hornets," with a kazoo-like solo evoking the titular flying insects. Indeed, this is one reason why I prefer the Mwandishi band to the Headhunters: great as that "Chameleon" riff is, I don't need to hear 7 minutes of bombastic synth soloing on top of it.
"Hidden Shadows" sounds like proto-Wu Tang: blaxpoitation soundtrack with a touch of kung-fu thrown in. Even the title is Wu Tang-y.
The music's flow is more organised than Miles's brand of "fusion" was: beyond the brief motifs that serve as rallying points and the bass-riff-as-melody, the continuous morphing and contrasting seem indicative of a more composerly hand at the till. Most important of all, though, is the pervasive feeling of wide open possibilities, of old things being remade and new ones being uncovered. The labels that are now used to hastily discuss this music - jazz-rock, jazz-funk, fusion - obscure its revolutionary reality and tend to play up the commercial sell-out put-down. Tell me where the facile rock or funk appropriations are: there's a thoroughly avant-garde spirit here. It's jazz continuing to bend "pop" to its own will and needs.
Finally, a mention of Benny Maupin. He's rarely cited, but his bass clarinet work is a central sound, especially for its textural possibilities, in the Mwandishi and Headhunters bands, on "Bitches Brew," but also in very different contexts such as Andrew Hill's "Lift Every Voice," where he also plays some good tenor.
After Miles being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Thelonious Monk is getting a Pulitzer for "a body of distinguished and innovative musical composition that has had a significant and enduring impact on the evolution of jazz."
And he only had to wait 24 years!
Fascinating, in-depth Bill Evans discussion over at Bagatellen. Is the I-don't-like-Bill camp taking over? Make sure to also read the essay Larry Kart has posted in the comments section, it's taken from his book "Jazz In Search Of Itself." My own experience of Evans is limited: after years of "Waltz For Debby" consistently failing to grab me (texture, as dissected by Djll, is the probable culprit), I was very agreeably surprised by "Everybody Digs Bill Evans."
Some passages of Tom Djll's text are of relevance to an ongoing dicussion of young musicians and Charlie Parker. Djll relates his feeling in regards to his brief stay at Berklee in 1974:
"The irony is that Berklee’s blinkered approach to the jazz tradition – concentrating on the years 1955 to 1965 – was soon taken up with a vengeance by the neocon revolutionaries of the Eighties. But at least Marsalis and his allies looked farther back in time, and now it’s expected that any real piano player be able to pull some Walleresque stride out of the pocket – just for fun, mind you"
Berklee remains incredibly central to jazz education, but perhaps the overall viewpoint has changed in the 30 years since?
Settled In Shipping discusses Canada's linguistically-divided music scene and aks if similar things happen elsewhere. They certainly do! There are two aspects: Belgian and European.
First, within Belgium, there are the French-speakers and the Flemish-speakers (and the Germanophones, but noone really cares about them... sorry, guys). I go to jazz concerts on both sides of the "linguistic border" regularly and audiences tend to be mono-lingual. I speak both languages, but Walloons tend not to speak Flemish. Historically, Flems have spoken pretty good French (perhaps a legacy of French having been the language of the aristocracy), but that's slipping in favour of English. Brussels, even though it's 80% francophone, is slightly more mixed, in places such as the Beursschouwburg or the Ancienne Belgique (both of which are Flemish-leaning in terms of administration), for example. The biggest summer festivals (and there are a lot per capita) attract mixed crowds, I think. My impression is that the pop/rock audiences don't cross over that much, but I don't know too much about it. I remember Hooverphonic, who are Flemish, extremely well-known, international stars and sing in English, drawing blanks at a multi-act open-air show in Brussels a few years ago. That might have been because it was mainly a hip hop crowd, though. In jazz the division is less pronounced, thankfully, though still sometimes felt, in terms of getting gigs in the part of the country you're not from. Finally, Flanders seems to have a stronger network of subsidised cultural centers and organisations.
Second, on the European level, national scenes are fairly hermetic. It's very difficult for non-French (or non-American non-stars) to get gigs in France. It's somewhat easier if there's a French musician in the band. There is relatively little in the French press about musicians from other European countries, unless they're based in France (eg. Aldo Romano, Stefano Di Battista) or are huge (eg. Enrico Rava, Tomasz Stanko). The UK and German scenes are pretty isolated, apart from a few totemic (generally free jazz/improv, or the WDR Radio Orchestra) figures and I don't expect to hear or read about any Portuguese musicians, no matter how many great records Clean Feed puts out. It's all kind of fragmented, but perhaps not more so than the various regional scenes in the US, relatively speaking, if you factor in the various language barriers. The situation may actually be similar to that of movies: the French go to see French and American movies, and the occasional Hugh Grant film.
Well, those are my impressions, but I stopped reading the jazz magazines some years ago.
Monday, April 17, 2006
I am forced to once again bow down and issue an "I am not worthy" in Jazzques's direction. His day-to-day be.jazz.scene coverage (in this case, the Sounds' 20th birthday bash) deserves a Pulitzer. Or something. And for those wondering: he has a job, kids... AFAIK, it's a race between him, Jempi and that elderly couple at the Hopper for the "most dedicated" title.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
JazzWord follows up on recent debate by making a distinction:
"But it's one thing to be underrated, but another to be underrated and unknown."
Indeed. This sentence made me think of the 3 U's of this post's title. The difficulty in applying them to the jazz world is that of context: it's such a minority interest that very few jazz musicians register on any radar beyond specialised circles. Still, there are some egregious cases.
In the unknown category: Frank Hewitt, dead at 66 before his first record was released and could show what a great, intense and maverick player he was; Herbie Nichols, dead almost literally from neglect, stuck in dixieland bands despite his advanced bop ideas. Both were known by very few in their time. Ironically, it's almost ontologically impossible to know how widespread this phenomenon is.
Underrated: Armen and JazzPortraits claim that Parker and Gillespie are vastly underrated and even looked down upon among certain circles. Not having frequented jazz schools, I don't know if this is true, but as Darcy points out in the comments to my first post on this topic, great players, avant or not, will have accumulated extensive historical knowledge. That certainly entails going back to Parker, Gillespie, Powell, Armstrong and others of later avant-gardes (from the AEC and Weather Report to Ellery Eskelin and Ben Allison, according to your sensibilities), especially if you want to hear people on the cutting edge, before everything had been theorised.
JazzWord puts Booker Ervin in both the underrated and unkown categories, but I find the two to be contradictory. So I have a third category.
Undervalued, a local example: guitarist Pierre Van Dormael. I was shocked when he told me that "Vivaces," an incredible masterpiece, sold 250 copies. Even in Belgium, that's nothing. Granted, Pierre isn't the best self-marketer, but neither is he unknown. There might be a better term than undervalued, because it is rather synonymous with underrated...).
Those of you who have been awaiting the fusion of synchronised swimming and helicopter quartets, rejoice!
[via Scratch My Brain]
Isn't Gnarls Barkely's "Crazy" (great as it is) essentially updated Moby? Interesting, also, that it coincides with Massive Attack's equally great "Live For Me," which is barely updated Massive Attack.
Steve Coleman fans should run, not walk, to the Steve Coleman Archives for unreleased concert recordings. I'm listening to a recording from the 2001 Middelheim Festival, with (among others) Nasheet Waits, Lonnie Plaxico and Bunky Green, so it sounds more like Green's recent "Another Place" than Coleman's more typical scientific funk.
Selim Sivad brings the following LP cover to my attention:
Friday, April 14, 2006
Jazzques has a report and some photos of tuesday's Ben Sluijs concert. The photos give a good idea of the unadorned Walvis experience. I imagine jazz concerts around the globe take place in somewhat similar conditions. You can see the edge of my sweater in the first picture.
Jazzques also informs me that the Jef Neve Trio is heading back to the studio for their third album. Good news!
Thursday, April 13, 2006
22 songs that sample Herbie Hancock. A complete list could fill a small book, probably.
Caught Saul Williams's awesome Outkast meets TV On The Radio "List of Demands" on the radio recently, maybe two months after having first heard it. I was again mystified as to why I hadn't yet bought any of his albums.
One of the more ludicrous encounters of recent times. I was on a sidewalk waiting at a bus stop, as were two other young women, one of whom, remarkably Christina Aguilera-sized, was standing in front of someone's door. The inhabitants, an elderly couple, came up the street, shooed her aside and went inside. I didn't quite catch what the older woman said, but it didn't seem particularly kind.
Five minutes later, the woman came back out with a broom and started sweeping the doorstep, the window sill and the sidewalk. As she shoved the dust my way, I moved back to the edge of her house, I smiled at the two women, sharing their amused bemusement at such a mad display.
"It does that trick that I think bands know they need to do but always have a hard time with: you don't want to make music that sounds like your favorite bands, you want to make music that makes other people feel like your favorite music makes you feel."
- Clap Clap. I don't really get the used-car salesman story, but Eppy needs to keep on writing letters like this one.
Back in February, this quartet gave an absolutely magical concert at the Botanique: minimal amplification (bass amp), an attentive audience, musicians in a state of alert listening (I briefly evoked it here). The Walvis was bound to be a somewhat different affair: sill no microphones in sight, but a spread-out barroom crowd, a couple of red carpets in a corner signifying a stage... Correspondingly, the music was more boisterous, a little less sublimely thrilling, but very good nonetheless.
The way Ben Sluijs is adapting his clean, melodic alto to this freer context is fascinating and contrasts nicely with Jeroen Van Herzeele's rough-throated tenor (although he did pick up an alto from time to time). Two conceptions of free jazz saxophone meet fruitfully. The writing and band interplay, seem to turn a few conventions on their head. For example, harmonic indications emanate more from the two-saxophone intervals than from Manolo Cabras's aggressive bass playing. Don't be fooled by his wild back-and-forth rocking, though: he can also craft very beautiful solo statements that include agile chord voicings and evoking a kora by playing under the bridge. Marek Patrman and his relationship with Cabras, continue to astound. What I took to be his bread 'n' butter - Charnett Moffett-like wide open swing - turned out to be only one part of his arsenal, as he continuously shifted textures and dynamics. Sometimes he was aggressively on the beat, at other times he made himself near-invisible, simply adding a regular clack behind a Sluijs solo, for example, but even his silences seemed essential contributions.
I'm told that Sluijs is bringing out a two-CD live album soon. Considering how far the music has evolved since last year's "True Nature" studio session, it should be an indispensable document.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
"later, [Tyshawn] Sorey broke loose, putting on a conceptual sideshow. In the third song, after simultaneous trumpet solos, he bent forward over his snare drum, blowing on its surface; he then picked it up, turned it around, and held it in front of his face, making percussive sounds with the metal wires. Then he turned to his floor tom and wrestled it a little, scraping its legs on the floor. (He looked about to transform the instrument's purpose, as if he would next use it to take a photograph or water a plant.) He turned the tom over, so that its legs stuck up in the air, while still shaking and shoving it. He wasn't playing the drum in the usual sense; he wasn't hitting it with sticks. But his motions were part of his solo, and this required no explanation."
- Ben Ratliff on Shane Endsley and Jonathan Finlayson.
"As we move into the second century of jazz it is important that our standards remain high. We must encourage and allow for the natural occurrence of the evolution of jazz, which involves simple, not-for-profit human interaction for art’s sake, including the inherent relationship between master and student. This simple and humbling relationship needs to be recognized as the principal model for jazz education and, whenever possible, heralded as such."
- Bobby Broom on traditional mentoring in jazz
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
The Carlo Nardozza Quintet zoomed from my Unknown category to my Ones To Watch in 2006 list in a couple of weeks, thanks to their debut CD "Making Choices" and, especially, last night's performance. You still have two chances to catch their April Hopper residency, try to make it.
Carlo Nardozza and guitarist Melle Weijters jumped out to me as the stars of the show. I'm less taken with the rest of the band, but they're more than serviceable. German drummer Steffen Thormähle provided precise, broad-shouldered support, saxophonist Daniël Daemen shone on the suite's waltz section and his playing on the written sections showed that this wasn't a gig he took lightly.
Nardozza is a young Belgian trumpeter, a clear descendant of the Clifford Brown hard bop tradition. I know what you're thinking. Still, he plays with personality and uncommon facility, which is more obvious in concert than on the CD. He admitted to having been a little intimidate during that maiden studio session. We walked into the Hopper in the middle of the first set and only a few bars into Nardozza's blistering solo, I thought "Whoa, I didn't realise he was that good!"
Nardozza also has a knack for catchy lines and arrangements with a little twist, often dipping into his Italian heritage for a melody, rhythm or mood. The one standard they played got an interesting treatment, with the theme barely coalescing. The second set consisted of the unrecorded 5-movement "Dozzy Suite" that nimbly shifted between hard bop and mediterranean modes, dropping new thematic material on a dime. As the concert wore on, his soloing did seem a bit inflexible: very long and impressive lines spun quietly, with subtle shadings to give them character, inevitably building up to louder, but not brash, statements. Also, everything was pretty much mid-tempo. Even though there was a lot of variety in those mid-tempos, style-wise, it would have been refreshing to hear a few outright slow or fast tempos. These niggles aside, Nardozza, and the band in general, is very promising.
The quintet's wildcard is Dutchman Melle Weijters (pronounced weh-ters). He claims Jim Hall, Bill Frisell and Ben Monder as influences and plays in a fascinatingly instinctive way, with a skewered take on traditional jazz guitar. For example, comping chords jutted out at weird angles and could morph into noisy funk, solos floated disconnectedly or turned rock-ish, but all this without being too in-your-face or self-concious about it. Sometimes he's right inside with the rest of the band, sometimes he's somewhat outside and independent of it, and it works.
Jazz Portraits questions young musicians' attachment to the past, a trend excacerbated by the Young Lions backlash:
"I think right now, especially amongst young players, it's NOT COOL to be into Bird or Dizzy, to really study their music (on one's own time - not in class) because that's going to label you in the current out of fashion group of the neo-boppers. It's not that I don't want to see musicians moving beyond bop, but there's both an ignorance and an arrogance that is just as troubling to me as anything controversial Wynton Marsalis ever said."
A backlash against the Young Lion backlash?
He makes a good point:
"Fast forward ten years, now many musicians are out of their attempts to reinvent the music of the 60's and are now doing the same for the music of the 70's. The sunglasses are different, the instruments are plugged in, and the coat and tie is gone... It's as if finally, musicians got the message that jazz is lacking in "innovation" and everyone is now scrambling (and overcompensating) to make sure they don't appear to be in that "non-innovation" camp, even if what they're doing is just as derivative as anything the neo-boppers ever did."
That whole spate of recordings (Payton's "Sonic Trance," Hargrove's "RH Factor," for example) belonged to that movement, or moment. Interesting or not, they were all a lot less innovative than their authors claimed or wished them to be. However, Jazz Portraits may be ignoring another aspect: could a Jason Moran have emerged had the Marsalis era not happened? What about all the technically-gifted inside-outside players? Maybe the Marsalis era provided a context, a clear ideology and focus, a renewed interest in history, that could be fruitfully exploited or reacted against. Just an idea.
Jazz Portraits was following up on an earlier post by pianist Armen Nalbandian. In comparing 2005's Big 4 new archival releases (Cellar Door, 1D1U, Monk/Coltrane, Parker/Gillespie), Nalbandian notes that the Parker/Gillespie got a lot less attention. I'm not sure that's true: the NY Times' Fred Kaplan called it "the Rosetta Stone of bebop," for Francis Davis of the Village Voice, 2005 "is shaping up as a year of archaeological finds. But nothing figures to top this." For my money (which was spent on all of these releases), nothing did. Simple consideration of the relative size of Uptown Records versus Sony/Columbia, Universal/Impulse! and EMI/Blue Note answers the visibility question.
As an aside, one thing I particularly love about the Town Hall album is that it sounds like music made by 25-year-olds. It's fast, brash, joyous and doesn't bear the weight of the rules that would later be imposed on bop.
Nalbandian claims: "Most people (including Jazz fans) don’t know (and possibly don’t care) about Jazz history. If we look back at the CD sales over the past decade, I have no doubt that the sales of releases from Jazz musicians such as Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau, and Joshua Redman far overshadow those backlist titles from Bird, Diz and Art Tatum."
That may be the first time jazz fans are accused of living too much in the present! What I've read tends to say that catalogue sales (apart from the odd Norah Jones or Diana Krall) outweigh new releases. My knowledge of jazz fans comes mainly from message boards and my own experience, which probably skews me towards the fanatics rather than the fans, but, if anything, tastes tend to run towards the good ol' days rather than the up-to-the-minute. Granted, this isn't quite the same as knowing your history, but I think that serious fans are interested in filling in the historical gaps.
Kneebody's Adam Benjamin has a fascinating essay on the Greenleaf blog that sort of deals with this issue, but from the musician's point of view:
"...freedom in jazz is a useful term only within the context of language. Someone not well-versed in the language of bebop melodies would find the style quite restrictive. And, in the context of the language of Frisell’s more recent music, he is able to express just as much as in his ‘freer’ forms, because of his fluency in the language
Additionally, consider that the development of the ‘freest’ forms of jazz in the 50’s and 60’s – free jazz, the avant-garde, etc. – was not a path to greater, freer expression for many musicians. In fact, the language of this music was so different than the language of more traditional jazz, that many musicians of previous generations not only found it to be a restrictive and unexpressive form for them to play, but foreign enough that they did not connect with the versatile expressions of those who developed, and intimately understood, the language. Anyone who is fluent in the languages of both traditional jazz and free jazz will tell you that, despite the apparent lack of rules and restraints, free jazz is no more or less intrinsically expressive, nor is it easier to play."
The whole essay is detailled and engrossing.
Finally, Jazz Portraits also asks if people in other genres get tangled up in "that's not jazz!"-type debates. He believes not, but I've spent enough time on hip hop boards to know that the boundaries are just as tightly policed everywhere.
I'm convinced that Bruno Vansina, recently mentioned here, is not quite as known as he should be. "In Orbit" is even better than "Trio Music," which itself was a promising debut.
Isn't that something you'd like to have on your shelf and show off to all your friends?
Monday, April 10, 2006
Manic posts about the latest Dutch-language madness.
It seems odd for such a small and flat country, but the linguistic variations from one place to the next are huge. In recent decades, the differences have been declining, of course, but IVN tells me that her step-father's parents spoke a dialect she and her mother could not understand a word of, and that was roughly 20 years ago and concerned cities less than 100 kilometres apart. I wonder what allowed this rich linguistic ecosystem to spring up.
An unrelated piece of zaniness: I saw a TV report about Justo Gallego Martinez's breath-taking self-built cathedral a few days ago. He's been working at it for over 40 years! There's a similar story in Charles Mingus's "Beneath The Underdog." I didn't believe it when I read it, but maybe Mingus wasn't making it up...
So it turns out Mingus's Simon Rodia/Watts Towers story is entirely true. I'll never doubt anything in the book again.
Pianist Kenny Drew, Jr. chimes in with the umpteenth anti-hip hop screed. At least there's some wit and humour mixed in with his good-old-days sanctimoniousnes, but it's ironic he should complain about negativity right after having called for the killing of 50 Cent and Eminem.
Musically, Drew's main claim is this: "When I first started studying music I was told that music had to consist of three elements: melody, harmony and rhythm. Rap music... has basically discarded the first two elements and is left with nothing but rhythm" and therefore does not qualify as music, or at least, good music. The argument is flimsy, obviously: whether or not hip hop has harmony or melody, one can easily think of other musics lacking one, two, or even all three of these elements. Further, one can just as easily think of important elements the canonical triad leaves out (texture, tone/timbre, structure, time (different from rhythm), etc.). The one most relevant here, and which Drew tellingly leaves out of his definition of music but spends the majority of his essay discussing, is the social function of music.
Any music, in any setting, has a social function. Whether people are congregating in a concert hall or damp basement, whether the music is accompanying a raucous Balkan wedding or a worldly Uptown dinner and whether it's meant to make you feel part of a collective or enhance your already inflated sense of hip superiority. I won't argue whether Drew is right or wrong to decry hip hop's promotion of gangsters, misogyny and coke-peddling (while ignoring any hip hop that is about other things). What I'm wondering about, is why it is that while no-one seems to really believe that music can solve the world's problems, we are all so ready to believe, time and time again and despite historical precedent, that it can make the world a much, much worse place. Despite all the "We Are The World"'s and Live 8's that have been shoved down our throats, clearly, the world has not been made a better place, for you or for me. Perhaps hip hop is just as innocuous.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
My man Teun Verbruggen has set up his website. He told me about this a couple of weeks ago, but I forgot to post about it... Teun is a versatile and busy drummer, but also one of my favourite musicians to chat with: warm, gentle and open-minded. Anyway, wait for the "certified 31% evil" sound clip to load: it's a dark, evil, swampy, updated Miles-circa-Dark-Magus guitar-driven improvised groove, but then midway Jozef inserts these pop-ish clear-as-a-bell Rhodes tones into the maëlstrom... it's awesome. Othin Spake (Teun, Jozef Dumoulin on keyboards and Mauro Pawlowski on guitar) at the Beurs was one of the year's highlights, for me. These excerpts will apparently be remixed and put on the album, so my expectations are very high. Definitely part of the new jazz-rock thing I talked about early this year.
While I'm talking about Teun, I should mention that the VVG Trio he's a part of has released their sophomore CD, a double album called "In Orbit." It (and the title track) was meant to be called "Blues In Orbit," but was changed when they realised they'd be up against Duke Ellington... Not only is the music superb (first CD in the studio, mainly as a trio, second CD live as a quintet, with Jozef on piano and Magic Malik on flute and some characteristically wacky/haunting vocals) and a definite progression over their already-good debut, the packaging is beautiful too. The cover is like a mix between Mondrian (colours) and Han Bennink (line drawing style), to make a Dutch-themed comparaison. Inside, one CD is metallic red, the other metallic yellow. It looks awesome folded out.
The music is free-wheeling-yet-melodic saxophone trio, and the quintet is even more free-wheeling, due partly to not being a regular band (although they're touring soon) and partly to Jozef and Magic Malik making very personal and creative contributions. Also, you get to hear Jozef on acoustic piano, which is rare, since he's almost always heard on Rhodes. He's a monster pianist (despite the, um, lackluster Archiduc piano), but he also imports his fertile Rhodes-based textural ideas (cf. the twinkling at the end of "All Or Nothing At All," which kind of destabilises saxophonist/leader Bruno Vansina, but is beautiful. The concert is full of curveballs like that). Check it out here.
at least, not yet.
Condoleeza Rice: so much to love (the pianist), so much to hate (the politician).
"more than the box sets, more than the innumerable T-shirts and posters, a seven-inch statuette is the ultimate commodification"
Really? I know that this is the common point of view, but I don't agree. T-shirts are acceptable, but underwear isn't; mugs, maybe, statuettes equal sell-out. It's all the same to me. As soon as your selling "branded" stuff beyond your music, it makes no difference what it actually is, no one object represents commodification more than another. Of course, I'm all for poseable musical figurines.
the NY Times
"In the 1860's, thousands of former Gypsy slaves fled Romania for the American South, landing in mostly black neighborhoods. The brass music they brought with them, like that of all Balkan countries, can be traced to the Turks, the original band geeks."
Friday, April 07, 2006
Tantilising article on the resurrection (exhumation?) of Horace Tapscott's music. [via erg]
Nate pointed me to this article on smooth jazz. I loved one reader comment in particular:
"It's exactly like calling the average prints-which-match-the-carpet one enjoys in a motel 'contemporary art' to try to pass off smooth jazz as contemporary jazz. Yes, they may be both recent and colourful, but is it art?"
Zoilus adds very interesting commentary on the issue:
"[Smooth jazz] doesn't take jazz back to being the social music in which it had its roots. Rather it is an extension of the way jazz has been used by upper-middle-class people since the 1950s - but with the excision of all the intellectual content that was the justification for the move away from social dance music in the first place... it hasn't got either the musical experimentalism or the social populism that are arguably the two legs on which the tradition stands."
For all that, I can't help but have the same reaction to this debate as I did to k-punk's great Basic Instinct 2 review: the discussion seems more interesting than the music (or film). That said, I do find myself singing along to the music Euronews plays under its weather reports, which adheres totally Considine's portrait: "Usually meant to describe soulful, melodically accessible jazz that relies on electric instruments and funk-derived rhythms... It includes all sorts of ensembles, but tends to prefer guitar, soprano sax, synthesizer... and invariably emphasizes lush and pretty over brash and abrasive." The first sentence's key word being "describe."
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Certainly the musical highlight of my trip (along with a live 1973 video of a slim Stevie Wonder singing a slightly sped-up, very intense and muscular "Higher Ground"). The day before we left for Lisbon, I remembered the store's existence, scrambled onto its website and quickly jotted the address into my phone. As it turned out, the store was just down the street from M's appartment. I'd first heard about it through Dennis Gonzalez: his albums on Clean Feed and his accounts of playing in the Trem Azul store.
Despite being situated below street level, the store is bright, airy, capacious and still feels new (it opened less than 18 months ago). Thus, it's surprisingly comfortable and high-tech for a specialist store that's made for jazz lovers, by jazz lovers (and musicians). Besides the prominent display devoted to the latest Clean Feed releases, there's a vast range of albums, both new and used, vinyl and CD, that, collectively, feel like they've been handpicked by a connaisseur. Which they probably have. Clean Feed's catalogue provides a good idea of the items displayed with the most pride: Cecil Taylor and BYG vinyl, Hamid Drake's debut album as leader, Cooper-Moore's wood-encased box set, to name a few I remember. You can listen to any CD comfortably seated in one of two sofas at the back of the store, or maybe the clerk will play it on the store stereo for you. A concert was held there while we were in Lisbon, but unfortunately I couldn't make it.
Combine an impeccable selection, stylistic oecumenism (from ye olde Blue Notes to the first Erstwhiles I've ever seen in the flesh; I'm forced to admit that those Keith Rowe covers look great), a friendly and helpful staff (who introduced me to the Swedish Moserobie label) and reasonable prices (maximum 16 euros for a single disc, I think) and you've got an addictive, winning formula. It's the kind of place where not only do you feel that you can buy music almost blindfolded, there's also a sense of supporting this fantastic venture. It's a mandatory stop for anyone visiting Lisbon.
While there, I got:
Lisbon Improvisation Players - Live_Lx Meskla (Clean Feed)
Zé Eduardo Unit - A Jazzar no Zeca – A Música de José Afonso (Clean Feed)
Gerry Hemingway Quartet - The Whimbler (Clean Feed)
Excellent representatives of the swinging free jazz (or post-free jazz) aesthetic which has become one of jazz's default settings. It's usefully described here by Ellery Eskelin:
"Eskelin brings some of free jazz's audacity to bop and some of bop's harmonic complexity to free jazz ... 'I grew up with that harmonic thing,' says Eskelin ... 'It's easy for me to go back into that. I don't have to make an artificial choice about sounding as different as possible. I like to think my sound has many things in it. Phrasing, juxtaposing textures--that's more indicative of free music in general--there's nothing really new about that. But for me, there's a certain blend. I like ingredients from both, where harmonic awareness and ideas about phrasing come together.'"
And from the used bin:
Michael Moore Quintet - Home Game (Ramboy)
KD's Basement Party - Sketches of Belgium (De Werf)
The latter is the very first De Werf release back in 1993. I got it because I'm reviewing the recently released 10th anniversary reunion concert and wanted to be able to compare the two.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Weird development in the Petranich vs. Moran story after I posted it on Jazz Corner.
According to Sergio Zamora, Krey L. Jilca, the Oxford philosophy professor is no more than an anagram of Jack Reilly. In fact, a Google search returns incredibly few hits, apart from this tidbit:
"The Harmony of Bill Evans; FA: Jack Reilly; 78 Nautilus Street, Beachwood, NJ 08722; PH: 732-818-0840; FAX: 732-818-0840; EM: email@example.com; Jack Reilly, Dr. Krey L. Jilca; 8/1-4; AD, HS; TU: $350, RB: N/A; CP, I, PL, T."
I'm not exactly sure what that means.
It's a similar Google situation with alleged Italian "Author, Critic, Musician" Giovanni Petranich. The piece's translator, Sean O'Rathile, is equally suspect, notes Tom Storer: "Sean = John, for which the nickname is Jack, and O'Rathile, pronounced in Irish Gaelic, is close enough to 'O'Reilly'."
Finally, the original post seems to have been erased from Reilly's Sequenza 21 blog.
Weirdly, in his latest (and terribly-written) post, Reilly indirectly calls Moran an "innovator" and someone who "changed the face of Jazz."
Incredibly, Stephen M. Stroff, and thus his mind-boggling review of Reilly's 3 volume jazz course, seems to be real.
While the post itself is gone, the comments are still there. Reilly claims the philosopher exists (to be proven in 2008) and that he's related to Giovanni Petranich.
Those interested in Caribbean Jazz, especially that of the French West Indies (Martinique, Guadeloupe), or in discovering a somewhat ignored branch of the African-Diaspora-meets-jazz tree, should check out the Music Metis store. Those I personally recommend are:
The two Franck Nicolas albums Jazz Ka Philosophy 2: Papillon Ka (based on Guadeloupe's gwo-ka rhythms and melodies. The trumpeter is backed by two hand drums and no drum kit, so the rich percussion can be heard in all it's glory. There is also some good electric bass, a little additional percussion and backing vocals on one track, but the hand drums and lack of kit are really the crucial elements. This is highlighted by the fact that the 7 tracks are repeated in a mix that removes the bass tracks, and are even better for it. FWIW, much more real gwo-ka-meets-jazz than David Murray's efforts. Brilliant album.) and Manioc Poésie (a more expanded and slightly less rootsy effort).
Mario Canonge Rhizome (Excellent acoustic, electric and eclectic album by a formidable pianist. From groovy to rhapsodic, features Roy Hargrove and Richard Bona in spots.)
Alain Jean-Marie That's What... (Solo piano. It's pretty much straight-ahead, though, not Caribbean Jazz. Jean-Marie is, of course, recognised as one of France's greatest pianists.)
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Download this Jef Neve radio session. In addition to some chatter, he plays originals "Not What I Asked For" and a particularly good "It's Gone," followed by a tempestuous "Alone Together." There's even a cameo by enfant terrible Arno.
It's actually part of Jérôme Colin's podcast-only weekly "radio" show VOX and it seems pretty good.