Blue Note Records will soon begin releasing heretofore unreleased videos of world-acclaimed jazz stars.
Slated for release are nine performances by famous musicians either in studio or concert settings. Included are Quincy Jones, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Chet Baker, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk and Count Basie. The release date is September.
Also, Blue Note has begun releasing ring tones featuring riffs from some classic recordings by legendary artists including Monk, Herbie Hancock, Blakey and Baker. It's part of a new program called "The Best of Blue Tones," and will give fans an opportunity to personalize their mobile lives with classic jazz tracks.
Two of the recordings reviewed in this week's column were recorded live at the Cellar Restaurant/Jazz Club in Vancouver, B.C.
The club is listed, as is Jimmy Mak's in Portland, as one of the top 100 places in the world to hear jazz by Downbeat magazine. In addition to the fine young musicians in the following reviews, such players as Mulgrew Miller, Kenny Garrett and Monty Alexander have appeared at the Cellar.
THE CHAD MAKELA QUARTET
Recorded live, "Flicker" has some bright moments, especially the baritone saxophone of leader Chad Makela.
He has a tone different from most of the great players of his instrument. It's not quite as resonant as others, but his compositions are marvelous. "Seventh Day Run" is a somber piece articulating rain and its accompanying sogginess.
"Underdog" is a winning tune and a real exercise for Makela, who blows long and hard with an interesting creative flow of ideas. Bassist Paul Ruska and drummer Jean Cahill are the driving force. Trumpeter Brad Turner excels each time he picks up his horn, especially on "My Ideal."
"LIVE AT THE CELLAR"
This band doesn't keep you waiting. Right off the top, with Wayne Shorter's "Backstage Sally," you know you're in for a hard bop ride.
Aside from that tune, plus "That Old Feeling" and "Caribbean Fire Dance" by Joe Henderson, all the others are written by band members. "King for a Day," by trumpeter Brad Turner, is an up-tempo romp featuring his horn artistry.
Fine unison horn work by Rod Murray's trombone, Turner and tenorist Jon Bentley mark the open to "Back at the Sugar Shack." Bentley's tenor is at the forefront of his tune, "Chowder," a fitting close to a CD by a group of young musicians with bright futures.
"MEAN WHAT YOU SAY"
THE EDDIE DANIELS QUARTET
Too many notes! That is my impression in general of Eddie Daniels' work on both tenor and clarinet on this release.
That's too bad, because his supporting cast is first-rate with greats Hank Jones on piano, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Kenny Washington — all of whom are consistently five-star players.
Daniels' take on Billy Strayhorn's "Passion Flower" removed all the subtleties of the tune, replacing them with a torrent of notes. "Nagasaki" was so old-fashioned-sounding, one could imagine it having been recorded in the 1930s.
Multi-talented Miles Donahue sticks to saxophone and flugelhorn on the 10 tracks on "Bounce," his latest release.
His sense of swing is pervasive and he gets excellent backing from pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist John Patitucci and drummers Jim Lattini and Adam Nussbaum. Track three, "Alone By Myself," is a very rhythmic piece with Donahue soloing on alto and tenor. "Close to You" is a bit more complicated, with Donahue's arrangement transforming a Burt Bacharach pop tune into a fine jazz work.
Calderazzo, one of my favorites, truly shines on "Rhap," a tune based on "I Hear a Rhapsody." It is difficult to think of a pianist who plays with more fire than Calderazzo.