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Friday, March 30, 2007

Quick Review - several albums

OK - my blog broke down, but no excuses, back to work and let's catch up. I am not a real mainstream lover, but here are some of the more worthwhile CDs which came out recently. All worth hearing, but with the caveat that the reviewer has his prejudices ....

Soil & Pimp Sessions - Pimp Master

A great album - the Japanese have always seemed a bit extreme or mad in their approach to jazz, and this one is no different. This is modern, compact, high energy, roller-coaster band music, with very tight compositions and powerful short solos. As an extra, you can view a short video here of one of their songs. It says it all.

Wynton Marsalis - From The Plantation To The Penitentiary

What can I say? Marsalis is a great trumpet player? Whatever he does, is worth listening to, just for the joy of listening to his technique. But why, why, why, has he been disciplined into a nice boy, polished and straightened? I would have loved to hear someone with his technique deliver the anger, the agony, the despair, the horror of the African American's history. Wynton! Cry! Shout! Revolt!

Dave Holland Quintet - Critical Mass

Dave Holland does it again. A great album in the same vein as Extended Play. Great musicians : Chris Potter (sax), Steve Nelson (vibes), Robin Eubanks (trombone), Nate Smith (drums), and of course Holland on bass. A pleasure to listen to, great improvisors, great musicians, great interplay, although the compositions start to sound too familiar. Extended Play revisited.

Enrico Rava - The Words And The Days

Enrico Rava is the typical European trumpet player/musician/composer. The mood, the romantic expression is more essential than the swing and he is an absolute master at this. So, this all-Italian band brings melancholy to its absolute essence. Absolutely excellent album if you're in a sad mood, and if you're not, it's guaranteed to lead you there. And yet, absolutely excellent album.

David Binney - Cities and Desires

Alto saxophonist David Binney brings one of his best albums so far, accompanied by a great band : Craig Taborn on piano, Mark Turner on tenor, Dan Weiss on drums and Thomas Morgan on bass. The album travels around the world, indeed from one city to the next. Modern jazz at its best. No big surprises, but great music, a pleasure to listen to.