Greeting’s jazz connoisseurs, it’s great to return with another intriguing palette of creative music from some of today’s most unique, adventurous and inspiring voices known and unknown artists alike in the world of jazz.
Terence Blanchard -][- Flow – [BLUE NOTE, 2005]
Terence Blanchard’s “Flow” may seem from the title to be some sort of easy-going smooth jazz effort. Instead, it’s a fairly strong mainstream jazz CD. The core group is a sextet, though it switches around, and Herbie Hancock evens plays on two songs. The three “Flow” songs are all fairly loose quartet jams — just trumpet, guitar, bass and drums. Blanchard lets his bandmates bring the tunes, and despite variations in style the CD flows nonetheless. “Wadagbe” is a good Lionel Loueke song which includes Lionel’s wordless yelps. I could do without the intro, though. “Benny’s Tune” is a slow song, also by Loueke, but it sounds more like a song from a Blanchard album than a Loueke album. “Wandering Wonder” is strong uptempo, mainstream stuff. “The Source” is by drummer Kendrick Scott and builds and gathers song parts like so many eighth notes laying in the grass. Bassist Derrick Hodge’s “Over There” is strong enough to get revisited in Blanchard’s 2007 “A Tale Of God’s Will” CD. Brice Winston wrote “Child’s Play” and it reminds me of something Wayne Shorter might have written. “Harvesting Dance,” by Aaron Parks, is another long, strong tune to close the CD.
“Flow” is a modern, mainstream CD, but there’s much more to it than its title indicates. There’s strong writing and improvisation. Pretty much any jazz fan ought to like this CD. —Anthony Cooper | Amazon.com
Michael Brecker -][- Pilgrimage – [Heads Up, 2007]
Clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, this posthumous release comprises the last recordings Michael Brecker made before his untimely death in January 2007. Battling the debilitating effects of leukemia, he sought comfort, strength, and transcendence through music.
The all-star lineup on Pilgrimage, which includes Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnette, and John Patitucci, has worked in various combinations over the past four decades. Here, they perform with the compelling group interplay of a longstanding ensemble. Brecker’s nine compositions mark the first time he made an album solely of his own material. This is further testament to the creative drive that helped sustain him during his physical decline.
From balladry to classic post-bop reveries, Brecker has fashioned one of his finest albums, and certainly his most personal work. The disc closes with the title track, which was also–fittingly–the last number he recorded. Never maudlin, this music and these fine musicians celebrate the power of music to connect human beings to one another, note by note, measure by measure. —David Greenberger
Al Di Meola -][- Consequence of Chaos – [Telarc, 2006]
The veteran guitarist is back in the trusty electric saddle. Di Meola was the blazing jazz fusion axeman par excellence in “Return To Forever” back in the ’70s and he has come a long way since – he’s explored acoustic via Brazilian, tango and flamenco collaborations and developed his compositional and arranging abilities considerably.
That expanded knowledge base is evident in the fifteen tracks on this release, but so is the obvious fun he has reconnecting with his first love – the solid-body electric guitar. So although this record is not all about electric flash – there’s plenty of rich texture and strong melody to get your head round – it’s great to hear him cut loose as in days of yore. Di Meola’s distinctive style and classy approach congeal the music with authority.
He’s signed up good support too: former boss Chick Corea appears on two tunes (the lovely acoustic duet on “Cry for You” which brings out the best in both musicians as their interplay , and the scalding “Red Moon” ).
Percussionists Ernie Adams and Gumbi Ortiz’s standout work, especially on the subtle “Hypnose,” add hot, bubbling flavor to the project,and drum maestro Steve Gadd guests on another couple and Di Meola’s working quartet provide road-tested grooves throughout. A must for all electric guitar aficionados. —Amazon.com
..:: Source: Amazon.com ::..