Acrossthebarline

February 27, 2010

Why not?

Filed under: Uncategorized — improviz @ 9:18 PM

I’m in a phase of having a lot to say about jazz and trying to say it in short bursts on social media sites, so I’m mutating this former Zombie Tune Crypt site to one with a strictly jazz focus.

Luckily, my good friend Tom Curry keeps me in cd’s. Tom is the former co-proprietor, along with Bob Porter, of Phoenix Records. This week he gave me “Carnegie Hall X-Mas ’49,” with Charlie Parker and the Jazz Stars and the Stars of Modern Jazz! There is much to like on this disc.

Bud is at his height, with Max and Curly on “All God’s Children…” (Max plays brushes here and this is actually cool for me, as I often find his kit pitched too high for my taste). Bud’s playing leaps off the recording.

Miles, Serge, Stitt, Benny Green join for “Four.” I never got that bullshit about Miles lacking technique. His smoking solo here presages his nonet “Birth of the Cool” solo. Serge sounds a bit fragmented in his solo-playing in short bursts. Yes, Stitt sounds like Bird, but you would not mistake the two-the tone is different, for one thing. Phrasing is similar, although Stitt doesn’t cross as many bar lines as Bird. Benny Green is fantastic-combining a balsy sound with genuine bop harmonic understanding. They also do “Hot House,” “Ornithology”…Well, you don’t want a set list. Let’s move to other highlights:

Hearing early Sassy falls in that category, as she kills on “Mean To Me.” Sarah uses a fair amount of vibrato and some repetition, which stylistically puts one of her feet in the swing camp. And, she’s got stride piano accompaniment, which could actually be her(someone let me know who it is) which also gives it a swing, rather than bop feel. But the quality of her voice is sublime and she doesn’t play fast and loose with the melody as she did later on, when she moved into the Rococo. This is completely seductive.

Getz is, well, Getzian on “You Go To My Head,” joined by the Konitzian Konitz. A full Tristano aggregation pipes in on “Sax of a Kind.”

Eventually, we get to Koko, with Bird and Red Rodney. The head is a bit sloppier than the well-known version with Diz. Then, Bird’s solo is just as fiery and assured as the Diz version. The revelation is Rodney’s solo. I always thought Red was a great player, but I put him half a step below Magee and Fats. At this point, he doesn’t have quite the upper register they did (he developed it later on), but shit-he plays a fantastically adept and creative solo. For this alone, you need to seek out this CD. Someone needs to do a bio of Rodney, prodigy, junky, con man, safe-cracker and serious contributor to jazz.

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