Been all about classic jazz this year, hardly listening to anything new. Here’s what in heavy rotation:
Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage. Can’t get enough of this record. Tony Williams drumming is mesmerizing and Freddie Hubbard is blistering and Wayne Shorter is so thoughtful. Love the compositions, love the vibe. Plan on reading his autobiography.
Miles Davis – Miles In The Sky. Hancock on the electric keys for the first time, cameo by George Benson, Miles being Miles, so good. Read great bio on him this year: So What.
Grant Green – Just got hip to him this year. Read his biography, written by his son’s ex-wife, which is awesome. Hilarious stories, tragic jazz figure. Never got the attention that Montgomery or Benson got, but he sought it. Love his lines and grooves. Great anecdotes in the book, all is fair game. Digging his jazz sides more than anything else.
George Benson – All his early, sixties stuff is deluxe. Reading his autobiography at present. Lotsa cats. Love his comment about Grant Green “that guy knew what he was going to play four measures before he played it.”
Joe Henderson – The Milestone Years. Choice stuff. No book to read (yet).
Been to this a couple times now and always dug it. Lotta great players, guys (and girls!) come out of the woodwork, show up with an instrument, ready to get on stage and blow. Quality of musicianship super high. Some blazing sax players, fierce. And some really talented guitarists. Different bass players each time, again, top notch. And keys were awesome too, some killer solos. Holmberg holding it down throughout, but also will give up the drums to other folks. Love hearing jazz in a hockey bar. $2 PBRs and no cover, ya can’t beat it. Sound is good too.
Seems like Max Holmberg, the host and drummer, is doing a lot around town, bring jazz to new places, like Pies & Pints, Havana, etc. Says on his website’s bio that he’s a local and just graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Great show. Seales accompanied by guys that he’s been playing with for years: Chuck Dearborn on bass, Mark Eisler on drums. Caught the first two sets, missed the last one. Really well put together sets, a mix of Seales originals -- largely tunes he’d written for other people (Larry Coryell, etc.) and was now returning to, not having played, the trick of memory/nostalgia, returning to an old place and taking the audience with you. Where were you 25 years ago? Where are you now? Also, some “american standards” like Doobies “Takin It To The Streets” and James Taylor “Fire And Rain” (which he seems to love to play see this review) love that these guys play these tunes, interpret them, honor them. Also, jazz standards, “Prince of Darkness” by Wayne Shorter and also Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way.”
Band so on it, able to create such dynamism, from the softest to the loudest, with such ease. Seales always fun to watch, charismatic, his enjoyment of playing is infectious. His lines so tasteful, never overplays but doesn’t hesitate to show his hand(s). Chuck Dearborn killing it on the electric fretless. And Mark Eisler, pushing the beat, playing around the beat, on the beat, groovin, nice. Great venue, choice show.
Packed show at the Sci-Fi museum theater. Opening trio of professor jazz masters great to see. The three building these emotive soundscapes, evocative and poignant. Vu’s got the coolest tone and attack and Poor enunciations prolific. Rende providing bass resonance on the bottom and so much weird harmonic foundations. First two tunes were Poor’s, then one by Rende that had the craziest head and then a Vu tune to close it out. The three guys play together so well and sounded so good in that space, filling every crevice, semi psychedelic lighting in the background. Interviewed Cuong Vu four year’s ago on Flotzam btw.
Industrial Revelation a different jam. Some tunes had a real old timey feel, almost 20s, 30s with the straight up beats of D’Vonne Lewis and and the lines Evan Flory-Barnes. Josh Rawlings with some killer solos, crazy wah wah effects on his organ. Ahamefule J. Oluo fun to watch, fired up player. Love how they are just outside forms. You know where you are but then they toy with things. Get some killer grooves going.
Cool set up on Wednesday nights at The Ship Canal (good fish tacos btw) playing straight ahead bop. First set was The Cantaloupes although Jay Thomas was off at Port Townsend so it was Chuck Kistler and Adam Kessler on bass and drums but didn’t catch the trumpet or piano players’ names. Trumpet had amazing tone, so smooth, mellifluous. Piano player had a Monk vibe, playing some dissonant lines, super fast in many cases, really cool interplay between him and the drummer.
Second set invited other players on stage, kids really, didn’t catch their names, but cool to see them get some stage time. Drummer held it down, got in a sweet solo, guitarist had really nice lines, good vibes all around.