ROLAND KIRK WITH JACK MC DUFF
Concord Records is re-releasing an earlier Prestige series of some great jazz.
One of the first to hit the scene is "Kirk's Work," which matches the immense talents of the great multi-instrumentalist Roland Kirk with those of organist Jack McDuff. Also heard here are drummer Arthur Taylor and bassist Joe Benjamin.
Kirk's tenor booms out on "Kirk's Work" with a fast, furious solo. That cut follows "Funk Underneath," which he solos on flute. Kirk also is heard playing manzello, stritch and siren. It may be old – it was recorded in 1961 — but the swing is still there.
Remember Weather Report? For those who do, this double CD release will foster memories of that groundbreaking group and for those who haven't a clue, this will thrill and excite like few other bands ever have.
Recorded live at "Joe Zawinul's Birdland Vienna," it offers big band interpretations of Weather Report classics like the smooth "In a Silent Way." The title tune, "Brown Street" is a guaranteed offense against depression with its hypnotic New Orleans rhythm, which can't help but lift the spirits.
The core group features Zawinul, keyboards; Alex Acuna, percussion; Victor Bailey, bass; and Nathaniel Townsley, drums. They are enhanced by the 15-piece WDR big band.
Perhaps the most misleading title is "March of the Lost Children." One would expect a sorrowful expression of desperation. Not so, here. It is a romp as if the so-called lost children had spotted a refuge a hundred yards in the distance and were racing towards it.
This is some of the most exciting music to cross the desk in some time.
KENDRICK SCOTT ORACLE
WORLD CULTURE MUSIC
This debut album by drummer/vocalist Kendrick Scott and his band Oracle highlights the talents of a large group of musicians all under the age of 20.
Guitarist and occasional vocalist Lionel Loueke and pianist Robert Glasper make guest appearances on Scott's composition "Mantra." Loueke and Glasper bring multiple flavors to the mix, including West Coast African folk sounds, hip-hop and neo soul. They challenge what jazz should sound like. Myron Walden's bass clarinet is the star instrument on Scott's interpretation of Bjork's "107 Steps," a gorgeous piece of music.
I think we can expect more from these talented young musicians in the months and years to come.
"MONK ON MONDAYS"
MONK'S MUSIC TRIO
If I ever get to San Francisco, I'm going to make sure it's on a Monday so I can drop in at the Simple Pleasure Café in the Richmond district.
That's where the Monk Music Trio of pianist Si Perkoff, bassist Sam Bevan and drummer Chuck Bernstein work two or three Mondays every month. But, until I get to San Fran, this amazing recording of Thelonious Monk compositions will have to do.
They don't copy Monk. Who really can? They do, however, evoke his spirit to the extent you know you're listening to a Monk devotee and certainly not an imitation.
"Ruby My Dear" is here has a regal feel with Perkoff extracting the Monk essence and then adding his own glossy ideas over the excellent bass work of Bevan. Bevan gets some solo space too, which he uses wisely and lyrically. "Something Blue" is a slow flowing blues that pictures a lazy river. It's the kind of tune that could begin when a club patron, feeling a little down, toddles up to the piano and begins to play his sad heart out just before show time.
Eleven other Monk tunes are also here to be enjoyed.
Join Dick Bogle as he hosts "Classic Jazz" a weekly radio show from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays on KMHD 89.1 FM.