Many readers of this column wonder from time to time why almost every CD reviewed here is rated between three and five stars.
It's a good question with a simple answer. I only review a very small portion of the product I receive. My theory is: Why review inferior music at the expense of not having space to review something better. Even that way, there are many times when even excellent music goes un-reviewed because of newsprint space.
Skanner readers are fortunate that editor Bobbie Foster has continued her philosophy of exposing African-American culture, in part, through music reviews particularly when other newspapers ignore this contribution to the American cultural landscape.
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Simple and bland but easy to listen to jazz, that is an apt description of this trio release by pianist Falkner Evans along with bassist Belden Bullard and drummer Matt Wilson.
Simple and bland, in this case, are not negatives. None of us need intensity all day or all night. The musicianship is fine, and the listener is not being assaulted with fiery improvisation on a continuum. There is nothing wrong with time out to relax with a skilled piano jazz trio.
Evans includes four originals in his mix of nine cuts. He also does justice to Wayne Shorter's "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum" as well as Johnny Mercer's "Come Rain or Come Shine;" Coltrane's "Central Park West" and Kurt Weill's "Lost in the Stars."
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This is a great outing for alto saxophonist Jim Snidero, a player who gets the best out of his horn without a hint of harshness of tone which sometimes haunts even the best alto players.
His fluid work on "Lover Man" is a fabulous interpretation of a glorious standard played in its intended ballad form. The opener and title tune, "Tippin'" grips your attention with its steady hard bop groove underpinned by Mike Ledonne's Hammond B-3. Guitarist Paul Bollenback is on fire with his solo. Add the work of drummer Tony Reedus and there's no way the listener will shut down after that.
Another of my favorites is "Fried Oysters," a rollicking medium tempo soul drenched tune with excellent solos by Snidero, Bollenback and Ledonne.
"MCCOY TYNER QUARTET"
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Three master musicians come together under the leadership of legendary pianist Mc Coy Tyner and between the four, they turn out a meaningful seven track opus.
Tyner, who gained his status beginning at age 17 working with John Coltrane, takes on saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Jeff Watts for an honest to goodness musical adventure. The first track, "Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit," has a repetitive theme which Lovano states on tenor over that first class rhythm section. The tune itself and the musician's attack is quite reminiscent of Tyner's work with Coltrane.
Lovano opens "Blues in the Corner" with his husky solo followed by Tyner's effort, a heavy chording blues interlude. Perhaps the most exciting tune is the 11:20 treatment of "Passion Dance." The usual solo order is inverted with Watts going off first followed by a Lovano theme statement and re-statement and then the first of his two solos. McBride exercises his sizeable chops with an intricate and swinging effort. Tyner takes his turn seemingly all over the keyboard, at once. Lovano returns to close it out. The live audience roared its' approval.
Tyner has the final word with his unaccompanied solo on "The Man Who Knew."
Dick Bogle hosts a weekly jazz radio show 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays on KMHD 89.1 FM. He can be reached at email@example.com.