Cary Kilner's Picks: Volume 16
Mica Bethea Big Band live - Jonesin' for Thad
I just heard this on MC Choice (Xfinity TV) and it blew my mind. Super tight, each player is a great player, and it’s an interesting tune. It is also nice being able to see them playing it. Greg Hopkins says this eponymously-titled tune sounds like the Thad & Mel BB 50 years ago (Week 6). So be it, but it still sounds wicked fresh. There is more from this session on YouTube, so check them out and see what you think.
Wynton Marsalis – The Song is You
This is Wynton Marsalis’ early quartet playing a very interesting arrangement of a standard session tune. It has his beautiful sound and technique in full bloom without any unnecessary pyrotechnics. Dig how the pianist’s introduction pervades the tune. This rhythm section with his New Orleans friends kills, and it’s a great medium-fast swinging groove. Note that his treatment does not involve the traditional bass solo and fours with the drums; it doesn’t need them. Sometimes using that forma slows down the overall effect of a nice arrangement..
Rufus Reid Quintet – Nice (live at the Kennedy Center)
We needed a ballad as well as a quintet this week, and we have also needed a 3/4 (or 6/8 tune, i.e. triple meter), so see how you like THIS puppy. I don’t know who the players are but they are tasty. As is typical of the 6/8 meter, it began as a ballad then moved smoothly into a medium swing groove.
David Hazeltine – For Cedar
I have been meaning to bring you some of this wonderful pianist. From his playing you’ll hear how he reveres Cedar Walton, just as have I since a kid listening to jazz and wanting to play piano like him. You’ll get to hear how he accompanies the players, providing clean support without getting in their way -- the key to tasty comping. This quintet kills and you will love the sidemen, particularly the vibes player, Steve Nelson and the tenor sax, Eric Alexander.
Art Farmer/Benny Golson Sextet – The Cool One, Blues on Down, and Con Alma
Speaking of Cedar, you must listen to this entire wonderful album, Big City Sounds. These guys are so tasty and Cedar sounds SO good. You’ll see why I love his playing. As a sextet it provides for more complex and interesting arrangements, with Curtis Fuller on trombone to provide a third and lower voice to trumpet and tenor. We also haven’t had a blues yet as I recall. You may recall that Benny Gilson came to the Trad-Jazz Series at UNH a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, he spent more time recounting anecdotes than playing, although these were eminently interesting, he subsumed prime playing time we all came out to hear. The third tune, Con Alma, a well-known Dizzy Gillespie composition, is given a very mellow treatment. You will particularly like this arrangement in the way the arrangement uses the three horns and also the subtle way they begin the tune.
Jimmy Greene – Ana’s Way (a sad tune)
We heard this marvelous tenor player last week and loved him. So here is a beautiful but sad ballad as you will read about in the link. It has Kurt Elling on vocals and a tastefully- used high-school choir. This is an exceptional group and I don’t know why I am only now learning about Mr. Greene. I cannot praise him and his band-mates enough, and I’m pleased to bring them to you.
Wallace Roney – Don’t Stop Me Now
Damn, I just found this killer cut and I must include it as well. Wallace sounds a lot like Miles Davis, the only trumpet player I’ve heard with any semblance to Miles. Obviously Miles was a prime inspiration, and when I first heard Wallace with the Miles Davis Tribute Band he hadn’t seemed to yet get his own voice. But here you will hear it emerge. This performance resembles the Miles Nefertiti band back in 1968 – the way the pianist plays like Herbie, the drummer like Tony, and the bass player like Ron, but with the addition of the guitarist. However, I don’t hear him playing other than at the beginning and end? Note the various tempo changes that make the tune even more interesting and exciting toward the end. I’m certain the tenor player is Wayne Shorter from that band in 1968.