Return To Forever's new multidisc recording is an essential addition to any progressive jazz fans library. Founding Return To Forever group members Chick Corea(piano, keyboards); Stanley Clarke(bass) and Lenny White(drums) are joined by Frank Gambale(guitars) and Jean-Luc Ponty(violin). Recorded on tour in 2011, this version of the band creates one magical moment after another onstage with excellent readings of RTF gems "Medieval Overture", "After the Cosmic Rain", "The Romantic Warrior", and others. A DVD is included.
Summertime has been a wonderful season for fine new jazz releases. With a proliferation of smaller labels that specialize in jazz music and independently produced efforts a diverse bounty of music is available for the listener. Many new releases are now available within just a few months after their being recorded. All of this seems to have invigorated the recording scene and, vitally, brought more artists in touch with a wider audience. This beneficent activity is evidenced by some fine releases over the summer and I'll touch upon just a few standouts:
Drummer Lewis Nash leads a quintet at the Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver, BC from September of 2011. First call musicians share the stage in the persons of Jeremy Pelt, trumpet and flugelhorn, Jimmy Greene, tenor and soprano saxophones, Renee Rosnes, piano and Peter Washington, bass. This engagement at Cory Weeds' Jazz Club exhibits the loose spontaneity of straight-ahead jazz. There's formidable talent to burn, and burn they do in a wide-ranging program including compositions by Bobby Hutcherson, Renee Rosnes, Clifford Jordan, Ornette Coleman, Thad Jones and Thelonious Monk.
Bassist Marcus Miller has released his second recording in less than a year. This one sees the veteran bassist, bandleader, sideman and famous associate of Miles Davis on a groove driven project with a number of special guests, including vocalist Gretchen Parlato. Miller's signature bass sound is one of the most distinct in jazz, and it sets the pulse on a number of fine gems on the new disc, including "Detroit", "Slippin' into Darkness", Setembro(Brazilian Wedding Song) and "Mr. Clean". As a 30 year veteran of the jazz scene his records have been featured frequently on Last Call.