10 June 2000 - KEITH JARRETT, "La
Scala" (ECM): Keith Jarrett was having lunch on the sunny terrace
of an Italian festival's hotel headquarters last summer. Cross-table conversation
between the many musical people there was plentiful and friendly. Walking
through on his way from his room to a sound check, a smiling Herbie Hancock
stopped to say hello at one table after another. People stood up to chat
with him. With Jarrett, who remained seated, however, he had to bow down
to hear and be heard. Apart from a musical version of the same sort of
insensitivity, his recording of an improvised solo concert in the La Scala
Opera House in Milan is a masterpiece.
BUCKSHOT LEFONQUE, "Music
Evolution" (Columbia)": Branford Marsalis, the tenor saxophone
playing power behind this muscular big band named after a Cannonball Adderley
nom-de-funk, takes a direction diametrically opposed to that of his oh-so-serious
younger brother Wynton. Branford's joyous fusion of the pop music spectrum
bounces between rap, funk, rock, rhythm and blues, jungle and jazz. The
actor Laurence Fishburne and the poet Maya Angelou recite. Branford's
younger-yet brother Delfeayo plays trombone.
GABOR SZABO, "The
Sorcerer" (Impulse!): Szabo left his native Budapest in 1956
after the Soviet invasion. He settled in the US as a political refugee
(this was recorded in 1967). He combined blues, Eastern and Gypsy influences
into a style of jazz/rock guitar that remains avant garde today. Recently,
he was cited by Wyclef Jean, one of a new and very hot band of (rapping)
refugees called The Fugees, as a major influence.
JOE LOVANO, "Celebrating
Sinatra" (Blue Note): Commerciality through universality without
condescension or sentimentality. Like its inspiration. Lovano, probably
the tenorman of the day, toasts The Voice with the imaginative help of
the arranger Manny Albam. The spirit of Nelson Riddle hovers.
CHARLIE PARKER, "Yardbird
Suite" (Rhino): Thirty eight tracks on two CDs comprising a career-spanning
collection originally released on Dial, Savoy, Guild, Musicraft and Clef.
From swing drummer Cozy Cole to "Laura" with strings by way
of Dizzy, Miles and Bud. Listening, you suspect that it doesn't really
make much sense to listen to anything else.
Any of the above CDs can be found at CDNOW by simply clicking on their