Cary Kilner's Picks: Volume 12
John Patiticci – Imprint
As in the cuts from this CD over the last two weeks, Chris Potter is very impressive on alto, and Danilo Perez is truly remarkable – playing with such beauty and economy. Note the very musical drum solo toward the end, accompanied by John and Danilo. I’m sorry but I don’t know why it ends abruptly at 10:00, although that is very near the end of the tune.
Tony Williams trio – On Green Dolphin Street
This is another jam-session war-horse, played in a very interesting and musical way. Note the modulations (a change in key) back and forth to the original key during the piano solo. See how tasty Tony’s brush playing is and how smoothly he moves to sticks during the piano solo. The bass player, Ira Coleman who I did not know, is very clean and precise as you would expect Tony to use after years of playing with Ron Carter.
Joe Lovano/Hank Jones – Lady Luck
This performance is beauty incarnate. Listen for Hank’s exquisite gentle touch you heard on the introduction to the first Mel Lewis/Thad Jones Big Band from a couple of weeks ago. It blends wonderfully with Joe’s quirky but lovely tenor sound. And he displays the roots of jazz piano.
I shall continue to plumb some jewels from the smooth jazz genre. Folks like Kenny G have given it a bad rap, but I hope you will find some of the items I present to your liking. In later posts I shall also offer up some fusion plays worthy of your consideration. Remember, as per jazz, it’s all about improvisation. And from whatever fringe genre it’s like the Duke said, to paraphrase, Skip the categories, there’s only good music and bad music. And smooth jazz is not so much about improvisation as it is the groove. This is very clean music.
Fourplay – 101 Eastbound
Check out this wonderful group with Bob James, Nathan East, Lee Ritenhour and Harvey Mason, a group of mainstream LA jazz veterans. Harvey played with Herbie Hancock, and Bob was originally a straight jazz pianist until he began writing for Hollywood as did another smooth-jazz pianist, Dave Grusin. Back in Week #8 we heard Nathan on electric bass. Note his very precise, clean and tasty sound that holds it all together. He also contributes some quiet vocal musical background. Harvey shows us how to maintain the groove and still put in little surprise kicks. Bob plays mainly acoustic piano but also uses synthesizers for very subtle and discreet orchestration. Be sure to check out their many later CDs. When Lee left the group, he was followed by Larry Carlton, then by Chuck Loeb (who we heard in Week #7), both outstanding jazz guitarists in their own rights.
Pat Metheny – Cantelope Island
Damn, this one really kills! You can go back to the Blue Note album with Freddie Hubbard we played in Week #10 and hear the original. It killed, too, but this live one has its own energy. Jack DeJohnette kills, Herbie kills, Dave Holland holds the fort, and Pat really shines without using all the computer orchestration he has on his own albums. At the end, Herbie moves to clavinet, a keyboard instrument I love and have used as a quasi-guitar comping sound in past funk and disco bands. The real master of this keyboard instrument is Stevie Wonder, who I believe brought this sound and use of the instrument to popularity. Herbie originally wrote this tune around the time of Watermelon Man, when jazzers were trying to break into the pop/rock music sound. Jack shows clearly how to take this beat to the next level, as did Tony Williams on the original.
Mike Clark Interviews Tony Williams
Speaking of Tony Williams, if you love him as I do, and you liked Mike Clark (Week #7), who was in the Herbie Hancock Headhunters band, you might enjoy this very interesting remembrance of Tony, who passed way too young.