An octogenarian jazz master who exerted an influence on not just other pianists, but most prominently on Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal has remained a vital presence on the music scene since the 1950s. His nuanced 2017 album, Marseille, finds him drawing upon his years of experience with a set of originals and covers that reveal just how vital and creative he remains. Primarily, the album showcases three distinctly varied interpretations of the title track, a hypnotic, modal ode to a city he loves, and to a greater extent a country that awarded him the prestigious Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et de Lettres in 2007. In fact, Marseille was even recorded in France; specifically in the Parisian suburb of Malakoff. Joining Jamal are several longtime associates including bassist James Cammack, former Jazz at Lincoln Center drummer Herlin Riley, and percussionist Manolo Badrena.
Here comes Wynton Marsalis with a whopping seven CDs culled from septet performances at the Vanguard from 1990 through 1994. The music is cleverly presented: Each disc represents a different night of the week, starting on Monday and wrapping up with Sunday…
The eighth installment in Marsalis' exhaustive series of 1999 releases, this disc was originally offered as a freebie in the mail only if you bought the previous seven, and it didn't appear in the shops on its own until 2000. It was a strange marketing scheme, and one that unnecessarily muted the fanfare for the most artistically successful of Marsalis' original works in his 1999 series. Marciac, a small town in France, hosts an internationally renowned jazz festival and even erected a statue of Marsalis, which moved the composer/trumpeter to conceive this 76-minute suite for his favorite septet lineup.
This is a follow up release of additional material from the May 1994 concerts at the Village Vanguard by the 20-something piano sensation, the first volume having been released in 1995 to wide attention. Onishi is a master of the post-bop piano, playing with speed and command. She is also characterized by a heavy-handed, propulsive approach.
This is a memorable set. When pianist Junko Onishi performs songs from the likes of Charles Mingus ("So Long Eric"), John Lewis ("Concorde"), and Ornette Coleman ("Congeniality"), she interprets each of the tunes as much as possible within the intent and style of its composer.