Erik Satie's music is timeless and beautiful, but can it stand up to interpretation by downtown New York jazzbos? In the hands of Dan Willis & Velvet Gentlemen the answer is a resounding "YES!" Willis' arrangements are as brilliant as they are varied. There are some straightforward readings (as on most of the Nocturnes) right alongside some pretty inventive and even daring ones. Second Gymnopedie starts as an accordion-sax-drums trio, then slides almost imperceptibly to a guitar-trumpet-drums trio. John Hollenbeck's alway engaging drumwork ties it all together, but the really amazing thing is how much the tune now resembles Miles Davis' "All Blues!"
Working a bright, innovative corner of Latin jazz and drawing on Jamaican, Afro-Cuban, Venezuelan, and Peruvian rhythms to create a hybrid mosaic (as the title suggests), the loose, rotating collective that is the Caribbean Jazz Project manages to be many things at once, including a dance band with a hard bop sensibility, and at times the ensemble comes close to being a new age chillout orchestra. Whatever label they wear, CJP have a bright, infectious sound, led by vibraphonist Dave Samuels' bubbling and watery tones and, on three tracks here, the amazing talking steel drums of Andy Narell. Violinist Christian Howes guests on Samuels' "Slow Dance," giving it a wonderfully eerie and wheezing feel.
Despite his failing health, Blackwell's skills on his drum kit were razor-sharp when he got on the bandstand for this headliner's gig at the third annual Eddie Moore Memorial Jazz Festival, recorded at Yoshi's in Oakland, CA. just two months before he passed away. Everything clicks – the band is tight, powered by the supple bass of Mark Helias, while saxophonist/flutist Carlos Ward and trumpeter Graham Haynes play inspired, almost possessed improvs and written lines, bent on giving the audience their best, and Blackwell the proper setting to weave his percussive wizardry. First up are pieces written by Ward. "'Nette," sporting a bright unison horn line, suggests Monk's angularity and Ornette Coleman's interval-leaping vision of expansion.
Official Release #107. Uncle Meat gets the deluxe treatment in this three CD Project/Object Audio Documentary. Included is the original 1969 vinyl mix (restored, remastered and available digitally for the first time), an original sequence that includes unique source material and bonus vault tracks mostly compiled from the recording sessions at Apostolic Studios in NYC between 1967 and 1969.
When Biréli Lagrène's Routes to Django: Live was issued in 1980, the 13-year-old jazz guitarist was immediately praised by critics as a protégé of Django Reinhardt. He had already won a prize in a festival at Strasbourg in 1978, and his appearance at a Gypsy festival was broadcast on television.
40 Break Beat, Drum'n'Bass & Trip Hop Burners. Compiled by Jake Stephenson.
The first 30 seconds of Voodoo Funk Project's debut album will send listeners scurrying to the liner notes looking for the recording date: "Black Magic" is Blackbyrds-style funky soul-jazz, right down to the vintage synth whooshes that lazily ripple across the sound field and the introduction of an extremely 1970s-vintage clavinet part about two minutes in. The rest of the album maintains this retro vibe, unsurprising since the brain behind this U.K. foursome is producer and programmer Geoff Wilkinson, formerly half of acid jazz pioneers Us3.