In a book that serves as a both a sequel to Dead Man's Walk and a prequel to the beloved Lonesome Dove, McMurtry fills in the missing chapters in the Call and McCrae saga. It is a fantastic read, in many ways the best and gutsiest of the series. We join the Texas Rangers in their waning Indian-fighting years. The Comanches, after one last desperate raid led by the fearsome-but-aging Buffalo Hump, are almost defeated, though Buffalo Hump's son, Blue Duck, still terrorizes the relentless flow of settlers and lawmen. As Augustus and Woodrow follow one-eyed, tobacco-spitting Captain Inish Scull deep into a murderous madman's den in Mexico, their thoughts turn toward the end of their careers and the women they love in remarkably different ways back in Austin.
In this prequel to McMurtry's 1986 Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call are invincible young bucks, Texas Rangers, full of youthful energy and, quite frankly, full of themselves. That is until they're utterly consumed by the vicious battlefield of the early-19th-century Wild West. Their journey takes them across barren deserts and raging rivers and through steep and snowy mountains, often on foot and with barely enough provisions and clothing to keep them from certain death. The constant threat of attack by Comanches keeps them awake nights, fearing for their lives–and for good reason.
Pianist Larry Vuckovich has recorded in a variety of settings in his career, ranging from swing to music that reflects his roots in Eastern Europe. Street Scene is one of his finest showcases for it puts the focus on Vuckovich's skills on the piano in a trio that on four selections is augmented by one or two Latin percussionists. The Latin pieces, which include "As Time Goes by Mambo" and "Blue Bohemia Suite," are particularly infectious. The trio numbers, which include standards, a few obscurities (including Sonny Clark's "News for Lulu") and some originals by the pianist, are swinging, boppish, and inventive, attached to the tradition but not predictable. With stimulating support from bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Akira Tana, this is an easily enjoyable and recommended release from one of San Francisco's finest jazz pianists.
Pianist Larry Vuckovich revisits his landmark 1980 recording on this combined reissue and new release. Prefiguring the much-lauded work of Dave Douglas and the Tiny Bell Trio, guitarist Brad Shepik, and even John Zorn, the Yugoslavian-born Vuckovich combines the ethnic melodies and rhythms from his native Balkans with modal jazz. Never as avant-garde as his contemporaries, Vuckovich nonetheless pushes the boundaries of both jazz and folk styles. The original tracks featured the brilliant vibe playing of Bobby Hutcherson, who unfortunately does not reprise his role on the four new pieces.