Friday 21 January 2011

Kenny Burrell Trio - Jeannine

Great version of the Duke Pearson classic by Kenny Burrell on a 1980s club date. Kenny's playing is distinctive and inimitable - downhome blues, bebop harmony, nice choice of chords to punctuate the soloing and that overdriven archtop guitar sound.

With Bob Magnusson on bass and the late Sherman Ferguson on drums.

Sunday 9 January 2011

NY Times article on Lennie Tristano's influence on musicians today

Interesting article in the New York Times this week on the Lennie Tristano School and his influence on players like Mark Turner and Kurt Rosenwinkel. It's interesting how the issue of race is addressed (most of the Tristano school of players were white) and rhythm (he favoured a very staid rhythm section, despite the harmonic and rhythmic complexity of the written and improvised lines). This hasn't stopped Mark Turner taking the music as a starting point and addressing these perceived weaknesses:
“People thought it was cold,” Mr. Turner said.“The African diasporic rhythmic element was not there, not strong enough.” In his own music — notably with Fly, a leaderless trio that will appear at the Jazz Gallery on Tuesday — Mr. Turner set out to make an adjustment. “That’s something that I wanted to do, was bring that into the fold,” he said. “The harmonic information, the melodic information, all of that is so interesting, so why can’t it be brought into a warmer place rhythmically?” (He has a tune called “Lennie's Groove.”)
Growing up in Southern California, Mr. Turner discovered Warne Marsh and responded to the style. “It was almost like a no-no,” he said of his interest in the Tristano School. “No one was doing it, no one in the quote-unquote modern mainstream jazz world.” He responded to the articulate force of the music, but it was more than that: “Something about it spoke to my own personal life and upbringing, being a person of African descent brought up primarily in Caucasian neighborhoods. I felt I was going out on a limb, kind of like when I started listening to rock music and new wave and ska.”
It's great to see musicians like Mark Turner seeing how Tristano's approach can be made relevant to the 21st Century.

Here's Mark playing Lennie's Groove with Fly featuring Jeff Ballard on drums.

NY Times writer Nate Chinen continues his thoughts on his blog The Gig.

Friday 7 January 2011

George Van Eps - I've Got a Crush on You

This beautifully illustrates the approach described by Kurt Rosenwinkel in the quote below. This is real "lap piano" stuff. Literally "marvellous"!

Kurt Rosenwinkel, George Van Eps and Bach's fugues

An interesting interview Kurt Rosenwinkel in the April 2010 edition of Downbeat. I am very intrigued by his playing of standards - both on the Reflections recording and having seen him live. He has a very dynamic approach to chord voicings, which he elaborates on in this extract:
Johann Sebastian Bach
Ask Rosenwinkel about his formative influences, and he’ll mention Kevin Eubanks, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Bill Frisell, Tal Farlow and rockers Alex Lifeson and Jimmy Page. But his first-among-equals role model seems to be seven-string guitarist George Van Eps, whom he cites, along with the “Lute Suites” of Bach, as his source for creating multiple independent lines. “The possibilities that Bach’s music contains for the left hand are astounding—how it’s possible to play a fugue with three lines going in different directions at the same time, all contained within the finger mechanics of the left hand. George Van Eps was also dealing with moving lines inside of chords and cadences within a voice through left-hand finger mechanics. What he and Bud Powell have in common is a thorough and deep knowledge of the way that harmony connects in terms of the inner voices.”

Monday 3 January 2011

Lennie Tristano: C Minor Complex

Marvellous solo counterpoint from Lennie Tristano in his take on Pennies from Heaven.

2010/2011 - looking backwards, looking forwards

2010 was a year of change for me, with major events in the areas of listening, learning and playing live jazz. It was quite a feat posting to the blog more than occasionally and highlights included:
  • Playing with Joe Lee Wilson and, in particular, the first kineojazz gig sharing the stage with Martin France, Steve Watts and Terry Seabrook. Playing with Joe Lee inspired me and helped me play above myself.
  • The few days I spent in New York visiting jazz haunts (Smoke, The Village Vanguard, Arturo's) and art galleries and, in particular, hanging out and playing with Joshua Breakstone - another great inspiration.
  • Brad Mehldau playing solo piano at The Wigmore Hall was intimate and intense and the moment when he played Waterloo Sunset towards the end of the encores at sunset on a Friday night was magical.
  • The organ trio gig at The Snowdrop with Terry Seabrook and Dom O'Meehgan was the point in which I started applying some of the new compositional approach I have been working on in a live context.
  • All of the kineojazz gigs but the last one of the year in particular because it felt as though we knew what we were doing and there was a great atmosphere.
    I also really enjoyed the jam on my birthday the other day, Geoff Simkins' Saturday classes at Sussex Uni, listening to Brad's Highway Rider on CD and live, the Tuesday jams at The Brunswick, Martial Solal, LIam Noble . . .  The list goes on. Interestingly I did fewer gigs that in the previous eight years, but seemed to enjoy the ones I did more.

    Jam Session
    I hear that gigs are currently thin on the ground, although I have a new regular Sunday afternoon gig at The Master Mariner with Jeff Howlett. It's good to see that lack of gigs is not putting people off playing. Hopefully, The Brunswick and Bees Mouth sessions will continue to thrive and shortly will be joined by The Jazz Store on a Wednesday night.

    For 2011 I predict much more jamming and a rise in old-fashioned patronage to keep jazz musicians going during these austere times. And by the end of the year, I anticipate pub landlords, concert promoters and club owners falling over themselves to book jazz musicians to play to packed houses . . .