The new release from bassist and bandleader McBride is a straight-ahead affair with an acoustic group consisting of Steve Wilson on alto sax, Warren Wolf on vibes , Peter Martin on six of the eight tracks on piano with Christian Sands on the others. Carl Allen handles the drum duties on most of the session and Ulysses Owens Jr. filling in on two tracks.
Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt is an accomplished trumpeter with a string of critically acclaimed albums. A solid straight-ahead artist, he has released two albums (2005's Identity) and (2007's Shock Value) that explore electric jazz directions. For Water and Earth, the noted trumpeter, bandleader & educator is back with his longtime bandmates Frank LoCrasto, keyboards; Dana Hawkins, drums; and newcomers including Roxy Coss on saxophone.
Cuneiform Records has just released a new batch of adventuresome jazz discs. Their usual high standard of creative brilliance continues with a number of fine recordings, most notably The Rob Mazurek Octet's Skull Sessions.
The music of Miles Davis, so firmly entrenched in the instrumental heart and soul of jazz music, has also been embellished with lyrics in several instances. Vocalist Giacomo Gates' latest release gathers a variety of these selections and serves them with his inimitable stylings and superb musical accompaniment.
The music of Miles Davis was changing dramatically in the late 1960s. Most fans of the legendary trumpeter know that in 1969 he recorded Bitches Brew, the hugely successful dawn of jazz-rock that was one of the best selling jazz records ever released. Lesser known is the working unit that Miles took with him on the road was one of the most artistically daring and visionary bands that Miles ever led. Recordings of that outfit have recently surfaced and have been released on a multi-disc set, Live In Europe 1969, The Complete Bootleg Sessions Vol. 2.
Guitarist Pat Metheny, whose artistry has been rewarded with multiple Grammys over the years, has won another award for his fine 2012 recording. Metheny won in the jazz instrumental category with the album Unity Band.
Patricia Barber has long been an important voice on the progressive jazz scene. Barber, an internationally acclaimed pianist, vocalist and composer, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003, the only songwriter ever to be so awarded. Her ability to craft sophisticated lyrics has been documented on a series of fine recordings, which continued until some years ago.
ALBUMS OF THE MONTH – January, 2013 (and some related comment)
The November, 2012 issue of The Atlantic contained a pitifully myopic article entitled “The End of Jazz”. Essentially, its author argued that since the traditional songbook has become passe and with nothing new coming into the jazz repertoire since 1960 the music has exhausted its relevancy. What we have here is a severe case of ignoratio elenchi.
Brian Bromberg’s latest recording is a superb salute to Jimi Hendrix, the legendary guitarist who influenced countless musicians, including jazz artists such as Bromberg. A first listen may lead one to believe the music presented includes a guitar, but that is not the case—Bromberg played all of the guitar sounding parts on the basses that he tuned an octave and a fourth above a standard bass. The effect is quite staggering, as Bromberg releases an arsenal of bass artistry on well known Hendrix numbers “Fire”, “Freedom”, “Purple Haze”, and other classics.
One of the finest recordings of 2012, The Vijay Iyer Trio's "Accelerando" has been recognized throughout the jazz world as an exceptional effort from one of the most compelling pianists on today's jazz scene. A major milestone for the pianist has been the winning of multiple categories in the 2012 Downbeat Critics Poll. Critics have voted Vijay Iyer as Jazz Artist Of The Year, Top Pianist and Rising Star Composer. The Vijay Iyer Trio was also voted the best jazz group of the year, and Accelerando won top Jazz Album.