Saturday, December 12, 2009

CD Impressions

This is the first of occasional posts on music I have been listening to, not necessarily new stuff just what I pull out of my collection:

Lee Konitz, Satori (Milestone)

The great Mr. Konitz from 1974 doing his usual magical liquid improvising, mostly in the company of another iconoclast, pianist Martial Solal. The session is notable for trying to stay up with the times by using electric piano on two tracks, the free-falling title track and "Sometime Ago" where Solal adds burbling keyboards to Konitz's sweeping waltz time playing. Also notable here are the two young turks in the rhythm section, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette.

John McLaughlin, Extrapolation (Polydor)

This is McLaughlin's celebrated first disc as a leader and on of the few that captures him still as a member of Britain's fine jazz scene. Listening to his brawling with John Surman's muscular baritone, you wonder how his career would have gone if he hadn't gone to America to work with Miles Davis and gone the Mahavishnu-Shakti route. This is tough, punchy music of exceptional quality.

John Zorn, "Alhambra Love Songs" (Tzadik)

John Zorn tries out the piano trio format on this disc, writing music supposedly in the style of West Coast musicians like Vince Guaraldi and Hampton Hawes. There is some good mellow jazz here in tunes like "Half Moon Bay", "Moraga" and "Alhambra Blues" but Zorn being Zorn, he can never stay in one genre for very long so there's also exotica, rock, serialism and noir faux-soundtracks. The players, Rob Burger, Greg Cohen and Ben Petrowsky, are very capable but to get the real feeling of the classic West Coast sound, stick with the original Mulligan or Guaraldi recordings.

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