News: 5 Jazz offerings to make your MondayBy Reverb Staff | October 18th, 2010 | 2 comments
By Brett Saunders
The following are five top-of-mind jazz items that might enrich your life, or at the very least, help contain your election cycle/sports/whatever’s-bothering-you anxiety. The creativity is worthy of your attention.
Upcoming Concert: John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension, Dec. 4, Boulder Theater: McLaughlin has been so prolific and reliable for so long that it’s easy to overlook how remarkable his career really has been. An accomplished British guitarist with wide-ranging interests, he was introduced to American audiences via Miles Davis (see at right.) His latest band, the 4th Dimension, assists him in reflecting on the impact of ’60s spiritual jazz.
McLaughlin digs deep with breakneck electric runs and flashy rock fusion on his newest CD, “To The One,” which recalls similar decades-old forays with his Mahavishnu Orchestra. His music may be a bit overlooked now, but his attack is as stunning as ever. (Tickets are $41-$61.40; get information at bouldertheater .com.)
CD: Rudresh Mahanthappa, “Apex” (Pi Recordings): Boulder native and alto saxophonist Mahanthappa continues his run of striking discs with an unlikely collaboration. Fellow alto saxophonist Bunky Green, who had essentially vanished from the spotlight for the past 30 years, holds his own with Mahanthappa in an enticing set of knotted improvisations that will certainly end up on a number of top 10 lists for 2010, mine included.
“Apex” is not a series of saxophone duels as much as it is a highly developed conversation, with ace pianist Jason Moran adding commentary throughout. And will someone please get Green into a studio for a quartet date of his own? At 75 he still has plenty to say.
Book: “Coltrane on Coltrane” (Chicago Review Press): Who knows why it’s taken so long for someone to do it, but editor Chris DeVito has finally compiled all of saxophonist John Coltrane’s print interviews in one publication. Dismissed or disrespected by some in his own time and revered now, Coltrane was refreshingly sincere and humble in conversation, and it’s revelatory to track his creative progress from project to project. This could be the ideal reading material to accompany the next time you put on “A Love Supreme,” but you might just turn up the music and sit transfixed. Maybe it’s best to take it in during periods of silence.
Box Set: “Bitches Brew” 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (Columbia/Legacy): Oh, Sony, just how much unreleased Miles Davis material do you have in your vaults? The “Super Deluxe” version includes the original nerve-rackingly wonderful jazz-rock landmark 2 LP set on vinyl, presented in its original form. You also get the same music on two CDs with bonus tracks, a previously unissued live 1970 show on CD, a DVD from Copenhagen in 1969 and a book with Grammy-bound, thought-provoking liner notes that remind you how important the whole thing is in the scope of recorded music.
While I’m skeptical of re- releasing the same material ad infinitum as a way of grabbing cash for the ailing record industry, this package won me over for the love and care that went into it. Davis geeks will want the big box for around a hundred bucks; but you can’t go wrong with the “Legacy Edition” which comes with two CDs and the DVD for about a quarter of the price. If you’ve read this far and you need more of the trumpeter in your life, then you know what’s right for you.
CD: Food, “Quiet Inlet” (ECM): American fans of the Norwegian collective Food must have numbered in the hundreds up to the release of this CD; a contract with ECM gives drummer Thomas Stronen and saxophonist Ian Ballamy the potential U.S. audience in the thousands.
Stronen has been the driving force behind the project since the ’90s, supplying intriguing soundtrack-style backdrops for Ballamy and guests Nils Petter Molvaer (trumpet) and Christian Fennesz (guitar) to head out in cerebral directions. It’s hypnotic and icy in spots, and I put it on a lot, especially when I’m driving at 5 in the morning. That’s high praise, by the way.
SET LIST. The Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra appears at Dazzle on Monday. . . . Longtime favorites Dotseroplay their home turf at Jazz @ Jack’s on Friday. . . . Guitarist Jonathan Butler is scheduled for the Soiled Dove Underground on Saturday while the Rocky Mountain Violin Summit takes place at Swallow Hill with Josie Quick, Julia Haysand Lionel Youngon the same night.
Bret Saunders’ column on jazz appears every other Sunday in A&E. Saunders is host of the “KBCO Morning Show,” 5:30-10 a.m. weekdays at 97.3-FM. His e-mail address is email@example.com