Friday, January 23, 2009

... and David, we'll miss ya

Listening again to It's Mr. Fathead last night and this morning I was struck by two things. First, I just love hearing him play Hard Times. Second, he got impressive range out of his horn, which can sound like an alto one moment and a baritone the next and also features a lot of the kind of tenor sweetness that gives me goose bumps when I listen to Sonny Stitt. What a loss.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy (25th) birthday, Mac

So long Fathead...

Glad I took the opportunity to see David "Fathead" Newman when he was at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis in recent years.

He was a guy, like Sonny Rollins, who seemed to get better with age. But you could always hear that Texas tenor sound (big as the open range, of course, like everything in Texas) in his playing.

While his new stuff was always good (I'm partial to Chillin' and Song for the New Man, both on High Note), my favorite David Newman CD buy remains the old 32 Jazz set It's Mr. Fathead, where you get four of his early LPs (including one with Ray Charles) for the price of one, sort of. Mr. Gentle, Mr. Cool, a set of all Ellington pieces from Kokopelli, also is another real good 'un.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Things I learned...

...that I wasn't looking out for.

Never thought about how much Bess, You Is My Woman relates to Rhapsody In Blue until I listened to Richard Twardzik render the former on Pacific Jazz Piano Trios, Mosaic. He's a big band on whatever he plays in any event. Stunning, classical rendition of Round Midnight, too, which says a bunch about Monk the composer. I'll Remember April is not like any version I've heard before, and that's a trick.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Top 10 reasons to buy Kind of Blue again...

The 50th anniversary edition, that is (so two reasons per decade).

10) So What.

9) Freddie Freeloader.

8) Blue in Green.

7) All Blues.

6) Flamenco Sketches.

5) What the hey, it might be the last version you can hold in your hand.

4) Cool blue LP in the box, even though you probably haven't had a turntable in years.

3) Nifty posters and 8x10s of Miles, Trane, Cannon and the rest of the guys.

2) The making-of DVD.

1) It's only maybe the greatest collection of American music ever.

Miles Davis, Ascenseur pour l'echafaud, Verve

One of Verve's recent Originals reissues, which I just bought for $11.99, which is a good thing since it lasts for just over 36 minutes, but it's worth it at that.

I don't know whether there's a more concentrated example of Miles working the mute than this French movie sound track he did, eventually issued as an LP. I'll import it into iTunes as a single, megamute track.

Plus you've got European jazz legends Wilen, Urtreger and Michelot in support, not to mention seminal bop drummer Kenny "Klook" Clarke. Michelot lays down an all-time bass solo on Visite du Vigile and Miles and Wilen are, like, Miles and Cannonesque on Au Bar du Petit Bac.

Oh, and it leads to Kind of Blue.

This plays behind the flick of my noir life.