They called trumpeter Floyd Standifer the granddaddy of Seattle jazz. Standifer, who was a Portland area resident during his youth, passed away recently in Seattle due to cancer and other complications.
He moved to Portland from North Carolina in 1936, and attended Gresham Union High School where he led a jazz band. His father was an African Methodist Episcopal Zion preacher.
The family moved to Seattle in 1946 and Standifer attended the University of Washington. Not long after, he met a group of young musicians at the Madison Street YMCA, which included Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and Ernestine Anderson. He became a member of the Quincy Jones Big Band and traveled the world with the famed orchestra. That band recently had a DVD recording released as part of the Jazz Icon series. It featured the band in concert in Europe in the 1950's with Standifer in the trumpet section.
"LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY-THIRD SET"
Exuberance! There is plenty of that in this performance by pianist Hod O'Brien accompanied by bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Kenny Washington.
O'Brien sets a figurative fire to Tadd Dameron's "Our Delight" with a facile right hand and powerful chording by both right and left. Four of the eight tunes are Dameron compositions. He slows the pace somewhat for "On a Misty Night" but the swinging never stops over the Drummond-Washington groove.
"If You Could See Me Now," "Dameronia," and "The Squirrel," all by Dameron join "It Could Happen to You," "Easy Living" and "Double Take" to make this an excellent trio treasure.
"LAST FIRST KISS"
Here is talent worth tracking. Everything about balladeer Tony De Sare is smooth; his voice, delivery and phrasing.
Smartly, he mixes chestnuts like "Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You," "How Deep Is The Ocean" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me" with more obscure tunes which include "Last First Kiss," "I Feel The Earth Move," and Prince's "Kiss."
Supported by an excellent group of sidemen and terrific arrangements, De Sare could become a major heartthrob.
"PERECT PETERSON: THE BEST OF THE PABLO AND TELARC RECORDINGS"
Probably the best jazz pianist of all time, Oscar Peterson has packaged 22 especially selected tunes for this two CD set.
Disc one is made up of songs recorded on the Pablo label named after the famed painter Pablo Picasso by label owner Norman Granz. The second disc contains material recorded from the 1990s and the year 2000 on Telarc.
There is one solo track, two duos, four trios, nine quartets, three quintets, two sextets and one cut with a 24 member string section conducted by Michel Legrand.
His first trio had bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis. Later, drummer Ed Thigpen replaced Ellis. One the duo tracks is "Caravan" with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. "If I Were A Bell" lists Gillespie, Clark Terry, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, bassist Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen and drummer Bobby Durham. He even carves space for Count Basie for a novel approach to "I'm Confessin'."
Only seven of the tunes were recorded after his 1993 stroke, which took him away from performing for two years, and left him with a weakened left hand.
And, yes, he still performs with a limited schedule these days.
"En el aire" (on the air)
Cuban born bassist Alain Perez raises the profile of his chosen instrument in Cuban music with this fine release.
At the same time, it's not overloaded with a lot bass thump, thump. Perez manages to maintain a solid lyrical approach to his bass work. This is especially noted on the ballad "Deconsa El Sol"(the sun rests) where he shares the solo spotlight with soprano saxophonist Inoidel Gonzales.
"Donna Lee" begins with a full ensemble, congas, trumpet, two saxes, sound with force but quickly diminishes to a long bass solo before regaining its jazz feel with a Ramon Filiu alto solo.
Perez has considerable vocal chops as well. On "Convergencia," accompanied by only piano and soprano sax, he convinces me and I don't even speak his language.