Monday Sep 25

Reviews

victor 78 sleeveReviews of music on CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray, and various analog formats (LPs and 78s, mainly), current and vintage.  Even I am surprised at how far back some of them go, not to mention how much there is to keep up with.

 

 
 
26 results - showing 1 - 10 1 2 3
Ordering 
 
Pandora pays off with Mozart
Mozart: Three Quintets
Music music05
Sound sound05

I'm hearing this amazing piece over my Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart channel on Pandora. It's a small string group, kind of like a quartet, but not quite. The music is transporting, ethereal yet easy, relaxed yet gripping. I checked the screen and found that I was being transported by Mozart's String Quintet in g minor K. 516, a piece I don't recall ever having heard before. Since I didn't know when Pandora's rotation might bring it up again, I decided to find it on CD and make it my own permanently. I was smart enough to take note of the cover illustration showing a portrait of an 18th century lady.


Mozart Quintets


 
 
Ballads and Blues
Ellington gets personal
Music music04
Sound sound04

This is a very special Duke Ellington CD.

Ellington was a man of many parts. He regularly introduced himself as "the piano player" and he was pleased with his role as "the world's greatest listener." (I have no doubt that many of the "We've had a request to play" announcements were self-referential.) On this CD we get to hear Ellington in both those roles along with Ellington the composer. And it offers an extra treat in the form of Ellington the producer.

 
 
Unreleased Art
Vol. V: Live in Stuttgart
Music music05
Sound sound02

As I listened to the exceptional jazz on this CD set, I felt the frustration and irritation welling up.

 
 
Come Sunday
Vocal Jazz Meets Gospel
Music music04
Sound sound05

Hang in for a slight digression. I promise a proper discussion of Crosscurrents after just a couple of short paragraphs of reminiscence.

 
 
Kenny Werner Live
Balloons: Four by Five at the Blue Note
Music music04
Sound sound05

I can pretty much sum up Kenny Werner's Balloons by quoting the last two words of Bill Milkowski's liner notes:  "inspired evening."

 
 
Dr. Lonnie Smith: today's incredible jazz organist
Spiral
Music music05
Sound sound05

Dr. Lonnie Smith is the most inspiring, exciting, and informative organist working in the jazz idiom today.  That's not just my opinion.  It's shared by the general membership of the Jazz Journalists Association who have identified Dr. Smith as Jazz Organist of the Year five times in the past 10 years.

 
 
Mark Levine: Moacir Santos
Off & On - The Music of Moacir Santos
Music music04
Sound sound04

Pianist Mark Levine's resumé is impressive.  He has major credentials in what's commonly called hard bop (Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Blue Mitchell, Harold Land), in Latin jazz (Mongo Santamaria, Cal Tjader, Moacir Santos, Willie Bobo), and jazz education (authoring The Jazz Theory Book and The Jazz Piano book as well as serving on various jazz faculties and clinics).  His most significant current performing work is done with his "and the Latin Tinge" band.

 
 
Dexter Gordon:  Making a buck in Chicago
Dexter Gordon Featuring Joe Newman
Music music02
Sound sound04

This is another set of previously unreleased performances by a major jazz artist, in this case seminal bop tenor sax star Dexter Gordon. It's pretty much typical of this sort of production. The music was recorded in performance, not originally intended for release as a permanent example of the artist's work, but for better or worse, here it is on a nearly indestructible CD.

 
 
Claire Martin: Boyfriends and more
Old Boyfriends
Music music05
Sound sound05

Meet Claire Martin, the classiest, hippest, most exhilarating British import since the Morgan Plus 4.  Martin's swinging, idiomatically classic vocalizing earned her a Best Rising Star commendation in last year's British Jazz Awards.  In terms of public recognition, the award may be appropriate.  In terms of artistry, Martin's star is not ascendant but solidly positioned in the upper reaches of the jazz firmament.

 
 
Eddie Henderson's Inspired Trumpet Sound
Inspiration
Music music04
Sound sound03

Eddie Henderson produces one of the most convincing jazz trumpet sounds since Clifford Brown. But his personal aesthetic is heavily grounded in the post-Coltrane acoustic adventures of the late '60s and early '70s. So Henderson occasionally sets forth somewhat abstracted melodic lines which, oddly enough, sound dated in today's neoclassic atmosphere.

 
 
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