Following the critical success of her Haydn/Mozart series Claire-Marie le Guay concentrates her new recording on the Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina. This portrait features the beautiful piano works Invention (1974), Chaconne (1963), Musical Toys (1969) and Introitus (1978), a chamber concerto with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jean-Jacques Kantorow.
Hailing from a trio of Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) sessions, Django (1955) contains some of the earliest sides that Milt Jackson (vibraphone), John Lewis (piano), Percy Heath (bass) and Kenny Clarke (drums) recorded for Prestige Records. Initially, the combo was part of Dizzy Gillespie's influential backing band and after a change in drummers (to Connie Kay), they continued as one of the more sophisticated aggregates of the post-bop era. The album commences with Lewis' sublime and serene title track "Django," dedicated to the memory of guitarist extraordinaire Django Reinhardt. This musical paean aptly recaptures the essence of Reinhardt's enigmatic gypsy-like nature, especially evident within Jackson's leads, which emerge from the thoughtful opening dirge with a refined, warm tone throughout.
Pianist Cedar Walton's debut as a leader is quite impressive. This CD reissue (which includes a "new" rendition of "Take the 'A' Train") showcases Walton with bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Billy Higgins on "My Ship," features a pair of quartet numbers with trumpeter Kenny Dorham, has tenor saxophonist Junior Cook in Dorham's place on two other pieces (including "Come Sunday") and uses a quintet on the two remaining selections. One of the top hard bop-based pianists to emerge during the 1960s, Walton also contributed four originals to his excellent set.
One of the truly wonderful aspects of living in a metropolis like New York City is the diversity that is built in. The mingling of cultures and ideas has made the City an important destination for open-minded and searching individuals. Hailing from Brazil, pianist/composer Vitor Gonçalves came to be a part of the bustling scene and has ended up bringing a vital new voice to the fore. His debut recording Vitor Gonçalves Quartet provides a great example of his mature voice in the blending of Brazilian music with progressive jazz.
Violinist Jenny Scheinman was a full-fledged Left Coaster before transplanting herself to the fertile artistic ground of Brooklyn, so it was only natural that she return to her former home turf to record her first CD as a leader at Oakland's venerable Yoshi's nightspot. On this debut release she seems to have emerged fully formed as a bandleader and compelling soloist. But given Scheinman's extensive experience preceding the September 1999 recording date, playing with everyone from Rova Saxophone Quartet to Charming Hostess, her skillfulness shouldn't be surprising.