I'm now in full preperation mode for my return to Cruise Ship X- fly to Miami Sunday, join up Monday. (Actually, it's not exactly the same ship, but it's close enough. And Cruise Ship X sounds so much better than say, ship R.) While I don't think anyone much enjoys packing, one pleasant chore has been to transfer a lot of my CDs to a hard drive I just bought. I doubt I'll actually get to all this music in the next few months, but at least it's there, and not sitting back in Boston. The pleasant part has been hearing music I haven't heard in many, many moons- I started with a pile of CDs that represent my first three years or so of playing and buying music, so some have fallen by the way. So there's an unintentional mini-autobiography in there. Some highlights (I'll spare the obvious, like anything by Bird or Miles, which is obviously killin')
Andrew Hill- Point of Departure
I bought this in college because it was one of those records you "should" own, and Joe Henderson is on it. I get a lot more out of it now- Hill was so far ahead of his time, in merging form and free esthetics, in comprehending Monk (without copping him), and in how he wrote (writes, really) rhythm. Once again, Dolphy makes my head spin like a top every time he takes a solo. One caveat- I don't dig Freddie Hubbard on this record. Or on any freer stuff, actually- Free Jazz, Om, Out to Lunch. It seems like as brilliant as the trumpet playing is in spots, he's struggling to figure out how he fits. By contrast, I listened to a bit of Blakey's "Three Blind Mice Live" record, with Wayne, Fuller, etc, and he tears the roof off. On the flip side, there's Tony, God, Tony Williams...
Kronos Quartet- Black Angels (current listening)
One of the first "modern classical" records I ever bought. Scares me to this day... I've read in the past that they're kind of bored with the way they've been pigeonholed, and want to go back and record some Beethoven or something. I'm sure they'd be amazing there too. Also reminded of their recording of the complete Schnitke String Quartets, which are brilliant, brilliant pieces.
Nguyen Le- Miracles
Nguyen is a Vietnemese guitar player who I believe lives in France now. I wish we heard more of him stateside- he is a fantastic player and composer. Here he has a great American band- Art Lande, Marc Johnson and Peter Erskine- playing all his tunes. I used to play the title track with a band in NYC.
Charlie Haden- Ballad of the Fallen
Myra Melford- Above Blue
I remember loving both these records, and highly recommend them, but they're a little scratched, and the damn computer won't read them! AAARGH. Sorry, had to get that out. I could go with many more records, but but uno mas...
Clifford Brown and Max Roach- At Basin Street East
I'm not much of a bop trumpet-head- they are a particular breed- so I don't know if this is true or just my perception, but I have no idea why this record isn't talked about more when discussing Clifford. Gets lost behind the Memorial Album and Study in Brown, for some reason. Why it deserves your ears- you have Brown and Roach at a peak of their playing, and a fast-developing Sonny Rollins tearing it up as well. It's mostly standards, and a few Richie Powell tunes; the energy is ferocious from top to bottom- sometimes I think something in my stereo is going to explode from Max's playing. A lesser known gem.