Thursday Jun 21

Reviews

Critics used to complain that Ahmad Jamal's playing "lacked density" and "left too many spaces." They were objectively correct, but subjectively in error. Indeed, Jamal used few notes and outlined melodic space rather than filling it in. But he did it expertly, compellingly, and artistically.

 

Yes, Elvin Jones is a busy drummer: complex, daring, creating circles of polyrhythmic pulsations. But, as the title of this CD implies, "that swing" is the foundation of everything Jones plays.

Crescent With Love is Pharoah Sanders's tribute to John Coltrane. Happily, Sanders chooses to focus his attention on tunes that Coltrane recorded in the years preceding Coltrane's direct association with Sanders. We get "Lonnie's Lament," "Crescent," and "After the Rain," rather than "Kulu Se Mama," "Ascension," and "Om." This is a remembrance of the sounds of classic rather than cosmic Coltrane. And what wonderfully evocative sounds they are!

Bite of the Apple displays a focus and depth of character that eluded pianist Peter Delano on his earlier Verve release. This set features Delano in a variety of ensembles exploring genres from chamber jazz with cellos and alto flute to traditional trio performances to hard bop modernism laced with a Latin beat.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but youthful drummer Sebastian Whittaker obviously believes that emulation is the finest form of appreciation.  One for Bu!! is Whittaker's heartfelt and skillful tribute to the late jazz master drummer and leader Art Blakey, not an attempt at simple simulation.

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