Friday, January 25, 2008

Criss craft

What I like about Sonny Criss is that he works that alto with the freedom Charlie Parker fought for but with his own sound entirely.

Good stuff: I'll Catch the Sun! Absolutely benefits from the sympathetic piano playing of Hampton Hawes (read his autobiography, Raise Up Off Me, which Cahl turned me on to). These guys should have played together all the time. Their version of I Thought About You is stunning. Monty Budwig on bass is sympathetic as well. S.C. has all the panache of Bird and Benny Carter on California Screamin' and his version of Cry Me a River is blues city. Check out the title track for a guy every bit of Bird, in his own way.

Sonny's Dream. S.C. in a tenet with Teddy Edwards on tenor (great solo on The Black Apostles), Conti Candoli on trumpet, Tommy Flanagan on piano (as righteous here as Hawes) and Ray Draper on tuba, among others. But Criss is the centerpiece, whether wailtastic on Sonny's Dream or on the semi-classical Ballad for Samuel. I read that Horace Tapscott laid all this out. He ruled.

Somewhere, Big Ben is smiling

I have to think Mr. Ben Webster, maybe the ultimate ballad player on the tenor, would greatly appreciate Saxually Romantic by J.J. Jones, whose tone is as thick as peanut butter (smooth, no nuts) and as sweet as honey. Wonderful version of Stardust followed by a standout rendition of She's Out of My Life. Even his fast-paced take of Fly Me to the Moon is soul drenched.

He doesn't play My Funny Valentine anything like Chet Baker or Miles, who clearly played it to kick Chet's ass, but he spins it just as emotively. And his funktastic roll through Summertime is such that I'm willing to forget I've heard, what, a million versions of it. He makes well-trod Misty similarly interesting.

By the way, I think this stuff would absolutely promote getting laid.

A gem.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thoughts on Holy Ghost (not that one)

day old donuts
I didn't eat them coming home from Chicago last night
Albert Ayler makes them taste better
-- From Mr. Greg's Sidekick II