Achille Brunazzi - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://jazzreview.com Tue, 23 May 2017 00:10:40 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb The Complete Columbia Album Collection of Woody Shaw http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/the-complete-columbia-album-collection-of-woody-shaw.html http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/the-complete-columbia-album-collection-of-woody-shaw.html The Complete Columbia Album Collection of Woody Shaw
In 1976 Dexter Gordon decided to move back to US after few years in Scandinavia; he got already a contract from CBS records. Gordon started jamming at the Vanguard along with the Louis Hayes/Woody Shaw Quintet and after these live recordings was produced the beautiful double album Homecoming. Michael Cuscuna – the executive producer from Columbia – noticed already Woody's talent and genius on trumpet since the mid 70's: Cuscuna produced for Muse Records all Woody's albums starting from the beautiful The Moontrane in 1974.

In 1976 Dexter Gordon decided to move back to US after few years in Scandinavia; he got already a contract from CBS records. Gordon started jamming at the Vanguard along with the Louis Hayes/Woody Shaw Quintet and after these live recordings was produced the beautiful double album Homecoming. Michael Cuscuna – the executive producer from Columbia – noticed already Woody's talent and genius on trumpet since the mid 70's: Cuscuna produced for Muse Records all Woody's albums starting from the beautiful The Moontrane in 1974.

In 1977 CBS hired eventually Shaw who could finally produce material for a major label. Until 1981 Shaw released five albums for Columbia: the rewarded Rosewood in 1977; Stepping Stones Live at the Village Vanguard in 1978; Woody III in 1979; For Sure! in 1980 and United in 1981. The Columbia period was the most brilliant in Shaw's career not only for the Down Beat reward in 1978 for the album Rosewood, but also for the level achieved in compositions, arrangements and also improvisations.

In 2011 for Mosaic Records Cuscuna and Woody's son raised Woody Shaw's legacy by gathering the Columbia five albums into one box, including one bonus disc of some unreleased music from the live sessions at the Village Vanguard in 1978. The cover was specifically designed to flag Woody Shaw's philosophy of life and vision of music: integrity, sincerity, heart and constant research of harmony. Both the Chinese characters and the Thai Chi's in the center of the cover symbolize all this fundamental principles to wholly understand the figure of Woody Shaw.

After spending the first part of the 70's in San Francisco, Shaw went back to New York. The West Coast disappointed Shaw artistically even if during the live sessions with Art Blakey at the Keystone Corner in San Francisco, he got the chance to play with the trombonist Steve Turre and saxophonist Carter Jefferson: they will both be playing in Shaw's CBS recordings in the next decade.

Woody Shaw had a very recognizable and unique style on trumpet: a real voice!

Despite the physical and mechanical limitations of the instrument, Shaw could play wider and unusual intervals than anybody did: often fourths and fifths. Trumpet players usually performed shorter intervals - Booker Little in the late 50's introduced this extremely difficult technique on. Shaw's lips flexibility and embouchure were literally outstanding: the three trumpet valves wouldn't allow the same fluency as on the saxophone in order to play in such a difficult way, but Shaw was so skillful that even Miles Davis – a notorious critic of fellow musicians – once said: "Now there's a great trumpet player. He can play different from all of them".

The album Rosewood – dedicated to the Shaw's parents - was a real masterpiece even considering the 14-elements orchestra that Shaw afforded leveraging the budget that Cuscuna allocated to support this project. The brass and woodwind sections played arrangements written by the same Shaw that gained after this recording a great reputation as a composer-arranger and bandleader. The whole recording is a unique and extraordinary example of perfect blend between modal music, soul, straight-ahead jazz and even rock elements. The compositions are beautiful and extremely well interpreted by very inspired improvisers: Joe Henderson - backing again Shaw to retrieve the stellar line-up performing throughout most of the 60's and 70's – is just devastating on the opening Latin-jazz tune Rosewood followed by a spectacular Shaw's solo on trumpet. The beat on Rosewood is very fast, and Woody's articulation and speed of fingers is astounding, particularly on the semiquaver passages. A fast tongue is essential to playing the wider intervallic leaps employed by Woody, and Woody has developed his tonguing ability to outstanding levels. Soul music influenced Shaw as well as many other jazz musicians, making the sound of the band more appealing for a non-jazz audience too. The orchestra led by the woodwind section introduces the soulful theme Every Time I See You coloured by the sweet chords of the Fender Rhodes Piano by Onaje Allan Gumbs.The Legend of the Cheops by drummer Victor Lewis is in a B major. Woody' solo is again very fluent and expressive. Saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk was tributed by the beautiful blues Rahsaan's Run - Shaw suffered from retinitis pigmentosa and Kirk used to grasp Woody's arm and walk around downtown San Francisco despite his complete blindness. This is the most straight-ahead number on the album, an extremely fast blues based on suspended chords in the manner of Miles Davis's Eighty One.

At the Village Vanguard in 1978 Columbia's engineers recorded live the fabulous album Stepping Stones: a post-bop modal acoustic set in two stint nights at Vanguard. The Quintet led by Shaw sounds extremely passionate, straight and deeply soulful. The leader is slashing, cracking and soaring. Yet Shaw is also capable, as on In a Capricornian Way – a slow waltz live version - of a very ferocious cornet solo. On Escape Velocity, he follows the abrasive Jefferson's phrasing with a more elegant catharsis of his own. All Things Being Equal Are Not is ballad from pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs features a very introspective solo by Shaw. The box also features bonus tracks from the same concert and never released before. Joining Shaw is his regular group period, including tenor saxophonist Carter Jefferson, pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, bassist Clint Houston, and drummer Victor Lewis. One would be hard-pressed to find a better hardcore, post-jazz ensemble in the late '70s. To that end, the music here is soulful, cerebral, harmonically complex jazz that is the epitome of post-bop.

The beautiful album Woody III – dedicated to three Woody's generations – is articulated on the gorgeous three movement piece: Woody I: On The Newark, Woody II: Other Paths, Woody III: New Offering. A12-piece orchestra plays along with the Shaw's classic period Quintet. Woody III represents the most mature recording in terms of compositions and arrangements. Onaje Allan Gumbs on piano plays the chords of Woody I backed by the percussion section to introduce the Latin melody of the first part of the suite and followed by the quite angular improvisation of Shaw's cornet. The next Woody II features a basso solo intro and a typical Woody's dissonant theme coloured by the low brass orchestra section; Woody's solo is just astounding and very aggressive. New Offering – Woody III – written for Shaw's son recalls Eric Satie's compositions: the sound being very introspective and deep. A real testament of Shaw's ability to move from hard dissonant sounds to sweet and innocent melodies performed on the flugelhorn solo. The last two tracks – To Kill a Brick and Organ Grinder - of the recording are dedicated to two great Shaw's mentors and friends: Art Blakey and Larry Young.

In 1980 Columbia produced another studio album reissued on CD as part of Mosaic's limited-edition box. The record is entitled For Sure!

This fine set finds the trumpeter's regular quartet (with pianist Larry Willis, bassist Stafford James and drummer Victor Lewis) backed by Carter Jefferson on tenor and soprano saxophones, trombonists Curtis Fuller and Steve Turre, altoist Gary Bartz and flutist James Spaulding, the percussion of Nana Vasconcelos and, on two tracks, up to six strings. For Sure! involves more conventional post hard-bop material: the tunes Opec and Ginseng People feature awesome solos by Shaw. Singer and vocalist from Edmoton Judi Singh adds vocals to Time Is Right and Why not probably reaching the same intensity as some Flora Plurim's recording along with the band Return to Forever in the mid 70's. The ballad We'll Be Together Again – the opening track of the album – was recorded with a string section and played on trumpet by Shaw.

Columbia affiliation ended with the record United issued in 1981. Mulgrew Miller on piano and Tony Reedus on drums debut in Shaw's band during the recording of this album. Even more than the last For Sure! the tracks in United reviewed some Shaw's originals like Katrina Ballerina and jazz standards like What is This Thing Called Love. Compared to other Shaw's work, this is the most straight-ahead jazz one. Both the compositions and improvisations are quite conventional as well as the instruments involved into the project.

The Complete Columbia Album Collection stands for a real piece of jazz history and represents at best a giant of music: Mr Woody Shaw.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Achille Brunazzi) BeBop / Hard Bop - CD Reviews Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:54:31 -0600
Woody Shaw - Rosewood http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/woody-shaw-rosewood.html http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/woody-shaw-rosewood.html Woody Shaw - Rosewood
Michael Cuscuna – executive producer from CBS Records - hired Woody Shaw in 1977. Someone thought that Miles Davis in person " sponsored " Shaw to the board of Columbia. Anyway this partnership would have made a larger audience aware of Shaw's huge talent.

Michael Cuscuna – executive producer from CBS Records - hired Woody Shaw in 1977. Someone thought that Miles Davis in person " sponsored " Shaw to the board of Columbia. Anyway this partnership would have made a larger audience aware of Shaw's huge talent.

The album Rosewood – dedicated to the Shaw's parents - was a real masterpiece even considering the 14 elements orchestra that Shaw could gather leveraging the budget that Cuscuna allocated specifically to support this project.

The brass and wood section played arrangements written by the same Shaw that gained after this recording a great reputation as a composer-arranger and bandleader. The whole recording is a unique and extraordinary example of perfect blend between modal music, soul, straight-ahead jazz and even rock elements. Compared to the breakdown record Blackstone Legacy is more advanced musically and harmonically

The compositions are beautiful and extremely well interpreted by very inspired improviser: Joe Henderson - backing again Shaw to retrieve the stellar lineup performing throughout most of the 60's and 70's – is just devastating on the opening Latin-jazz tune Rosewood followed by a spectacular Shaw's solo on trumpet. The tempo on Rosewood is very fast, and Woody's articulation and speed of fingers is astounding, particularly on the semiquaver passages. A fast tongue is essential to playing the wider intervallic leaps employed by Woody, and Woody has developed his tonguing ability to outstanding levels.

Soul music influenced Shaw as well as many other jazz musicians, making the sound of the band more appealing for a non-jazz audience too. The orchestra led by the woodwind section introduces the soulful theme Every Time I See You colored by the sweet chords of the Fender Rhodes Piano by Onaje Allan Gumbs.

The Legend of the Cheops by drummer Victor is in a B major. Woody' solo is again very fluent and expressive. Saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk was tributed by the beautiful blues Rahsaan's Run - Shaw suffered from retinitis pigmentosa and Kirk used to grasp Woody's arm and walk around downtown San Francisco despite his complete blindness.

This is the most straight-ahead number on the album, an extremely fast blues based on suspended chords in the manner of Miles Davis's Eighty One.

The intro of Sunshowers recalls Miles Davis's In a Silent Way to becoming a fast swing performed by Carter Jefferson on tenor saxophone.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Achille Brunazzi) BeBop / Hard Bop - CD Reviews Wed, 28 Dec 2011 11:40:41 -0600
Passing Ships http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/passing-ships.html http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/passing-ships.html Passing Ships
Over nearly half a century, composer-arranger-pianist-ensemble leader Andrew Hill gained international jazz renown for his uniquely original music, which is by turns dark, fragile, funny, stark, unforgettably tuneful, percussive, insightful, oblique, transparent and mysterious. Giants like Art Tatum, Bud Powell and above all Thelonius Monk influenced Hill's style that was marked by heavy chromatics, complex chords, flowing and legato phrasing as well as by Ravel and Debussy; classic contemporary music recalls on several composition arrangements and improvisations.

Over nearly half a century, composer-arranger-pianist-ensemble leader Andrew Hill gained international jazz renown for his uniquely original music, which is by turns dark, fragile, funny, stark, unforgettably tuneful, percussive, insightful, oblique, transparent and mysterious. Giants like Art Tatum, Bud Powell and above all Thelonius Monk influenced Hill's style that was marked by heavy chromatics, complex chords, flowing and legato phrasing as well as by Ravel and Debussy; classic contemporary music recalls on several composition arrangements and improvisations.

Blue Note Record signed Hill in 1963. The first album was Black Fire whose music was specifically conceived for a Quartet featuring the young Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone along with the veteran Roy Haynes on drums and Richard Davis on bass.

The label started off to produce the so-called " New Thing " from a new vague of musicians like Eric Dolphy, Joe Henderson, Larry Young, Bobby Hutcherson and Andrew Hill.

The breakdown record was Point of Departure released in 1964 involved Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet and alto saxophone. This is a very innovative project compared to the previous records from Blue Note: the atonal compositions are performed by a great lineup involving also Tony Williams on drums, Joe Henderson and Kenny Dorham on brass section.

Passing Ships ends up in 1969 the Hill's period at Blue Note. Hill recruited a quite unusual large ensemble: Howard Johnson on tuba, Joe Farrell on bass clarinet, alto flute, English horn, soprano sax, tenor sax, Bob Northern on French horn and the underrated Woody Shaw and Dizzy Rice on trumpets provide excellent work, turning out some ferocious solos. The compositions on this recording are what one would expect from Hill: colorful orchestration, ingenious use of polyrhythms, and an almost dialectical development of ideas underneath solos. The recording is excellent and sounds as if it could have been recorded yesterday. Hill's solos do not disappoint either, as "horizontal" and percussive as they have been in other Blue Note dates

The band sounds both crackling and soothing. The tunes Sideways and Cascades feature late Coltrane-like improvisations from Joe Farrell's tenor saxophone and blowing solos from Dizzy Rice and above all Woody Shaw. Joe Farrell's English horn introduces the sweet melody of Passing Ships; Julian Priester develops the theme on trombone backed by the rookie Lenny White on drums and the legend Ron Carter on acoustic bass.

Passing Ships represents a real masterwork in Hill's discography and music period.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Achille Brunazzi) BeBop / Hard Bop - CD Reviews Sat, 10 Dec 2011 13:10:38 -0600
Mo' Avast by Mauro Gargano http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/mo-avast-by-mauro-gargano.html http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/mo-avast-by-mauro-gargano.html Mo' Avast by Mauro Gargano
Mauro Gargano double bass player and composer born in Bari (Italy) studied classical and jazz with Maurizio Quintavalle, Furio di Castri, and Christian Gentet then with Riccardo DelFra at the National Superior Conservatory of Paris where he won a first prize.

Mauro Gargano double bass player and composer born in Bari (Italy) studied classical and jazz with Maurizio Quintavalle, Furio di Castri, and Christian Gentet then with Riccardo DelFra at the National Superior Conservatory of Paris where he won a first prize.

In 2009 Gargano recorded " Mò Avast "; the title coming from the Bari (Italy) dialect literally meaning: " Fight " The CD translates musically the author's compulsive need to go beyond schemes in art and life. Coldplay's clip of "God Put a Smile upon your Face " also inspired Gargano and particularly the broker consciousness rising upon meeting a barefoot man on the street.

This work features each band member by his own creativity and music personality. Alike the first Ornette Coleman and the late Coltrane's any strict harmonic structure features the work; the rhythm section made by Gargano/Moreau plays broken tempos throughout the whole record. Compositions are mostly by Gargano except for "God Put a Smile upon your Face " from the Coldplay and " Turkish Mambo " from Lennie Tristano; Bruno Angelini on acoustic piano appears on the healings " Mars " and " Apulia " this last a tribute to the Gargano's native land described by a very interesting and some dissonant solo from Angelini.

The front line Francesco Bearzatti - tenor saxophone and clarinet - and Stephane Mercier – alto saxophone – make the sound of the ensemble more powerful; on " God Put a Smile upon your Face " and " Orange " both the beautiful sound of Mercier on alto saxophone and the arrangements recall Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come.

" 1903 " shows a very lyrical solo from Francesco Bearzatti on clarinet whose solo perfectly fits to a contemporary project even playing like a certain brass sections into the Duke Ellington orchestra.

" Mo Avast " represents a courageous and even outrageous project from a musician who's constantly researching and developing his own language in music.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Achille Brunazzi) Free Jazz / Avante Garde - CD Reviews Sun, 06 Nov 2011 16:32:55 -0600
Charms of the Night Sky by Dave Douglas http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/charms-of-the-night-sky-by-dave-douglas.html http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/charms-of-the-night-sky-by-dave-douglas.html Charms of the Night Sky by Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas is one of the most innovative and creative musicians in modern jazz. Unlike many other trumpet players he has been trying throughout the years to create his own musical vocabulary. After completing his studies at Berklee School of Music, Douglas moved back to New York where he joined the Horace Silver band in 1987; that introduced him to a larger audience

Dave Douglas is one of the most innovative and creative musicians in modern jazz. Unlike many other trumpet players he has been trying throughout the years to create his own musical vocabulary. After completing his studies at Berklee School of Music, Douglas moved back to New York where he joined the Horace Silver band in 1987; that introduced him to a larger audience.

In 1993 Douglas founded along with the alto saxophonist John Zorn the free jazz ensemble: " Masada Quartet "– this band still performs today live – inspired to the early records from Ornette Coleman; this experience allowed Douglas to spread further the sound boundaries of his improvisation on trumpet. His style even influenced by jazz trumpeter giants like Miles Davis and Booker Little, is also a blend of East European, Jewish folk music elements and chamber classical.

Some years later the German label Winter & Winter published the marvelous Charms of the Night Sky. The compositions – most of them written by Douglas - were arranged specifically in the way of a string chamber music Quartet: the tune Bal Masque is a waltz performed by the duet Douglas on trumpet and above all Guy Klucevsek on accordion recalling the French folk music; Twisted is a real Balkan melody announced by a powerful acoustic bass intro from Greg Cohen backed by the gipsy notes from Douglas and Klucevsek. Eight of 13 tracks are expressive duo solos and particularly trumpet/accordion.

Jazz reminiscences can be heard on the Herbie Hancock's original Little One featuring a very lyrical solo from Douglas on trumpet. East Europe traditional dance sounds are played on Wild Coffee, while The Girl with the Rose Hips contrasts that with a sleep-inducing muted trumpet and accordion duet.

This session shows that jazz constantly can evolve by wisely watching other music cultures.

 

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Achille Brunazzi) Free Jazz / Avante Garde - CD Reviews Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:41:31 -0600