Jazz music, news and views

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Morph the Cat

Fans of Donald Fagen (one half of the ever-hip, ingeniously quirky, story-spinning, jazz-fusion group Steely Dan) will be happy to know Donald's new album Morph the Cat will be out March 7th, his first solo release since Kamakiriad thirteen years ago.

Get the low-down from Mizar5, a Steely Dan-oriented blog, and pre-order your copy of Morph the Cat. "We've got to have some music on the new frontier..."

Edit, 03/04/06: More info/sounds in a more recent post here.

More jazz blogs

A few more jazz blogs to dig (links added on right, as well):

- Jazz and Conversation: Voila, the blog for veteran jazz DJ/programmer Nick Francis, currently MD for KPLU, Seattle. Some nice jazz mp3 mixes featured weekly on his site along with artist backgrounds, commentary, etc. New sounds mixed in with the classics!

- Jazz Portraits: Here, you'll find Joe Moore, station manager of KFSR in Fresno, CA. Good place to stay up-to-date with new jazz releases, to keep classic sounds in your ear, and for the industry insider's perspective on jazz trends.

- Rifftides: Eminent jazz journalist/author Doug Ramsey. Often, you'll find multiple posting here daily with plenty of background and insight. His most recent book is Take Five: the Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond.

- Also, note that Xanax Taxi has relocated to http://jazz-improvisation-fusion-funk.blogspot.com/ -- same cool tunes, new home.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Chris Potter Goes Underground

Since coming into fame in the 1990s, reedsman Chris Potter has proved to be a formidable player destined for longevity. Though the sounds of Johnny Hodges and Paul Desmond introduced him into jazz, Potter's sound has now developed into a fiery, virtuosic voice that can no longer be ignored. He was playing professionally by the time he was a teenager, joined veteran trumpeter Red Rodney's group fresh out of the Manhattan School of Music, and has been exploring the possibilities of jazz ever since. Consequently, you can hear him alongside more adventurous players on the outskirts of the mainstream such as guitarists John Hart or Adam Rogers, pianist Kenny Werner, trumpeter Dave Douglas, the Mingus Big Band, and he currently holds a chair in Dave Holland's big band. (Also, he takes a great tenor solo on "West of Hollywood" from Steely Dan's Two Against Nature!)

This coming Tuesday, 1/31, Potter's new album Underground will hit the streets. Heavy grooves, cerebral funk, and sonic grime abound... Guitarist Wayne Krantz, drummer Nate Smith, and pianist Craig Taborn (on Rhodes) turn up the collective electricity here (Adam Rogers also makes an appearance). Fans of Joshua Redman's Elastic Band will enjoy the new album, though Potter's group is grittier and grungier. I always get excited when heavyweights like Potter are able to help shift jazz in a more modern direction. You might also note that there's no bass, but with so much sonic intrigue and funkiness already, I suppose it could've gotten crowded...

So, buy Underground.

Random note: Potter has suffered from bouts of Meniere's disease (symptoms include vertigo, tinnitus, low-frequency hearing loss) which resulted in near-hearing loss in one of his ears. His success in spite of these difficulties is quite a testament to his dedication to the art, not to mention his talent.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Pat and Wes

Some Velvet Blog gives us the heads-up on Pat Martino's forthcoming Blue Note release, Remember: a Tribute to Wes Montgomery, to be released April 4, 2006. The sidemen are pianist David Kikoski, bassist John Patitucci, drummer Scott Alan Robinson, and percussionist Daniel Sadownick.

For a glimpse into the technical mastermind that is Martino, go to his website and click on "Nature of the Guitar." Also, keep refreshing the home page for other guitar theory diagrams/graphics.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Steve Cardenas

Hailing from Kansas City and currently in New York, Steve Cardenas (pronounced "CAR-din-us") has carved out a niche for his modern guitar stylings in NYC, holding the guitar chairs in Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra (check out his work on their latest, Not in Our Name) and Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band (Garden of Eden is due out January 24th). He's also broken musical bread with veterans like Eddie Harris, Slide Hampton, and Jay McShann as well as performed abroad at the North Sea and Montreux Jazz Festivals. And what's more, he passes on his knowledge to students at the New School University as well as his private students.

He can certainly shred, but he never fails to grab your ear with lyrical lines spanning the whole range of his axe. His sensitive attack and tone hint at Vic Juris or Ben Monder with a touch of Metheny. His acoustic guitar work is captivating (though his work on his most recent album, Panoramic, is on electric). Tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby mirrors Cardenas's flexible style and slithery lines, and bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Kenny Wollensen give the perfect balance of support and interplay.

Buy Panoramic!

P.S. He also has some great moments to shine on Kate McGarry's latest, Mercy Streets. Also, check out the Thelonious Monk Fakebook that he co-edited with Don Sickler. It's the first publishing of all of Monk's tunes in one place, including some never previously seen!

Friday, January 13, 2006

A new year, new places to go

Happy New Year! To kick off 2006, how about highlighting some other jazz blogs? Here's a handful of mp3 blogs that've been established for a while. They have plenty of eye/ear candy to get started:

Straight, No Chaser: Drop in regularly for plenty of tunes by jazz greats along with artists' backgrounds -- a good way to build your collection of "jazz essentials." Weekly podcasts, too.

Xanax Taxi: As he says, it's "jazz, improvisation, fusion, funk and the rest." There's an eclectic selection of tunes, occasional features on differing versions of standards, lotsa info and anecdotes, visual goodies and more.
[Edit: Xanax Taxi has relocated to http://jazz-improvisation-fusion-funk.blogspot.com/. Same cool tunes, new home.]

Some Velvet Blog: This is the blog of renowned triple-A radio maven, Bruce Warren, currently the PD of Philly's WXPN-FM (I'm privileged to say that I worked for him for several years in my college days). He mostly features new sounds from up-and-comers in the triple-A and indie scenes, but you'll find the occasional jazz-related posting, too.

More on the way...
eXTReMe Tracker