Cary Kilner's Picks: Volume 38
Each issue, we invite area pianist, composer, and jazz aficionado Cary Kilner to share some of his favorite jazz recordings and share his insights about each of them.
About this month's picks:
Last month I opened with a great piano trio playing that nice medium swing groove that I particularly relish. I discovered these two cuts on another day, and they must begin this month’s column, after which we shall explore a few more trios.
Bill Charlap – Godchild (two versions) and All Through the Night
Notice how the drummer stays on brushes for the whole performance. This contributes to a very relaxed feeling. The first link is a studio setting in 2004. The second is a live performance in 2007 at the Village Vanguard, and very nicely recorded. Notice the differences in their treatments. I think the live version has a bit more energy. Followed by his absolutely beautiful solo treatment of the standard. Enough said!
Click Here for Godchild version 1
Click Here for Godchild version 2
Click Here for All Through the Night
Eric Reed – I Should Care
This is a very interesting re harmonization of a popular standard tune. Note how relaxed it is, even when the drummer moves effortlessly to sticks. Also note Eric’s bright punchy style of playing the keyboard, which enhances the nature of this medium swing.
David Hazeltine – Clockwise
We heard him way back when I discussed his semblance to Cedar Walton, and this whole trio album is dedicated to him. Nice 6/8 tune off that same CD.
Jackie Terrason – The Dolphin and Smile
I’ve been meaning to bring you some of Jackie, another of the truly new advanced modern pianists. I put him in a category with Gonsalves Rubacala and Danilo Perez. Here is a classic Brazilian bossa-nova by a prominent musician, Luiz Eca. Note how Jackie begins solos with the bass player, building anticipation for how might build his own. Then he restates and slightly reworks the melody, introducing the drummer, then takes it out without soloing. We follow it with a reworked standard that shows more of him. You may like to find the whole 2020 CD, as well as hear him playing in other groups. You’ll notice he never gets too busy or overwhelms.
Click Here for The Dolphin
Click Here for Smile
I shall now present three pianists who I feel represent the current Cubano-Latin jazz perspective from a very high aesthetic standard, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Danilo Perez and Clare Fischer. Instead of the rhythm being the focal point, it serves as a springboard for some highly sophisticated melody, harmony, and improvisation.
Charlie Haden – Sandino (2 versions)
This is a marvelous trio with Jack DeJohnette and Gonzalo Rubalcaba on piano.
Here is Sandino in a duo with Gonzalo in a performance that is stunning. The trio treatment is not bad at all, but this is superb. See how he carefully and delicately develops the tune while Charlie holds the proverbial fort.
Note that before he passed, Charlie made several excellent duo CDs with Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, Brad Meldhau, his longtime trio-mate Keith Jarrett, and many others you can (and should) find at this link
Gonzalo Rubalcaba in a rehearsal of Volcan for a concert
He is a marvelous pianist who presents a unique way of constructing his lines. This example is somewhat abstract but also accessible. Note how his very fast runs are not technical showoff but extremely well developed within his improvisation He has strong Latin roots, often using congas in his groups. Don’t let the beginning of this link throw you off, because shortly you will be astounded. Just dig his rhythmic approach.
Here it is in concert so you can hear and see more of him at work.
Wayne Shorter with Danilo Perez, Brian Blade and John Patitucci – Sanctuary & Masqualero
Note how they carefully explore the opening of this very advanced tune. Danilo has this same abstract, complex and advanced approach that functions well with Wayne’s very sophisticated compositions. Hear how he develops the background for Wayne with rhythmically complex lines, and Patitucci provides an interesting bottom to it throughout. You can hear how Danilo develops these fast, angular lines in a similar manner to Gonzalo. This is very advanced music, the cutting edge of modern jazz, IMHO. Note how the two tunes run together as I suspect occurred in this live performance.
Click Here for Sanctuary
Click Here for Masqualero
Miles – Masqualero
This is the original treatment of Wayne’s composition way back in 1968. And as you will hear, this group was THE cutting edge of modern jazz at the time, represented by the whole series of Miles’ albums with that quintet: ESP, Miles Smiles, Sorceror and Nefertiti from 1965 to 1968. By the time of these albums, the quintet had ceased recording Miles’ warhorse standard tunes and was playing Wayne’s complex compositions as well as occasional contributions from the others. This wonderful acoustic period preceded the beginning of Miles’ electric period starting with Miles in the Sky. Any serious jazz listener and musician needs to be familiar with these four albums. Many Miles aficionados get stuck at Kind of Blue and his earlier albums, and need to be brought forward to hear when this group was really THE cutting edge of modern jazz, along with John Coltrane’s quartet, IMHO. There is some astounding Herbie on this tune, both note and chord placement but also his touch and the way he responds to Miles at the beginning. Note how Herbie lays out during Wayne’s solo and you can clearly hear the astounding interaction with Ron and Tony.
Here is Wayne in another setting with Danilo Perez and some other players – Alegria
I just found this interesting and complex performance… All I can say is: “Damn!”
Clare Fischer – Morning
Now for my third Latin pianist and in that same idiom I give you this classic tune and performance. Note how he permutes the vamp ending called a tag, then fades out into a rubato ending.
Al Daniels – Con Pasion
I don’t know this artist, but this is a very pleasant Brazilian bossa nova groove with a nice melody.
Billy Childs – Leicart Park
This interesting link has a 5/4 intro and interlude, but grooves on a nice electric piano solo, followed by a percussion solo.
Ken Navarro – The Stars. The Snow, The Fire
Some nice smooth jazz and mellow way to end this month’s column. This has a beautiful melody and a very engaging arrangement and production. It also has some interesting rhythmic changes as you will hear throughout. The initial 4/4 groove soon goes into an implied 12/8 section. This is created by dividing each quarter note of the 4/4 into threes to create the 12/8 with triplet eighth notes.