Jeff "Scratch My Brain" Albert has posted some live MP3s of his band Lucky 7s. "Afterwards" starts with a slow vibraphone/bass section and develops from there, staying uncluttered even when edging into freer territory. Given the instrumentation (vibraphone, cornet, tenor, bass, drums and not one, but two trombones), comparaisons with the MacLean/Moncur band are inevitable. Also get the title track of their album at on AAJ as a free download. It has a slamming 3/4 beat and a sturdy solo by saxophonist Jackson Keefe, then nicely folds a bout of collective improvising into a fanfare.
While I'm on the subject of MP3s, those on the improvised music edge might be interested in bassist Reuben Radding's one-free-album-per-month offering. The January issue is here and features trumpeter Nate Wooley (you may remember him from regular - almost obsessive - mentions on It Is Not Mean...), saxophonist Jack Wright and percussionist Andrew Drury alongside Radding. It's not quite as user-friendly as Lucky 7s, obviously, but this round-table conversation is consistently interesting. [via Bagatellen]
Nat Hentoff has a sobering Village Voice column on the work of the Jazz Foundation of America, which takes care of elderly jazz and blues musicians in need. Hentoff reminds us that greats such as Wynton Kelly and Phineas Newborn died ignominious deaths and he could have added others, which shows how necessary the JFA's work is.
Controversy in the French jazz world! Critic Michel Contat writes a scathing review of cornetist/vocalist/all-around troublemaker Médéric Collignon in taste-making mag Télérama (yes a TV guide... apparently it's big, I've never read it). Even if you don't understand French (basically, Contat calls Collignon's Porgy And Bess "remake" pathetic, inept, tasteless and pointless) check out the image used to rate the album, then see the t-shirts the band wore at a concert shortly afterwards (it's at the end of the post). Apparently, Collignon is taking it in his stride. It should also be said that the same album won the jazz prize from the prestigious Académie Charles Cros.