Back to the downloading game again... The sun has been shining and everyone is finally in summer mode so it has been difficult to concentrate on music...
Gil Evans recorded the John Lewis tune 'Concorde' for his album 'The Individualism of Gil Evans.' A boppish line led in by the bass that develops into a fugue that slowly spreads out to bring in the ensemble, this interpretation a long way from the intimacies of the Modern Jazz Quartet - an intriguing take on a theme that combines the crisp clarity of Lewis's love for Bach with the bounce and swing of the blues (that role taken by Milt Jackson's vibes in the original). A busy piece, the contrapuntal feel kept up throughout, featuring a snatch of violin to add a different timbre before a trumpet, presumably Thad Jones, soars over the ensemble. Dissolving into a quieter section beginning with an odd figure being tossed across that has a familiarity to the first few bars of Benny Golson's 'Blues March.' A nifty bass solo from Paul Chambers with staccato chordal chips from guitar and the drums keep it moving steadily along until the orchestra returns and a brief alto solo from Phil Woods. A somewhat rambling piece, but fascinating in the way Evans seems to carry on the 'European' and the 'jazz' mix of Lewis's intention – the deployment of violins, french horn and tuba against the powerhouse drums and timbres of the trumpet and saxophone. And quintessential Evans in the sonorities both deep and wide – always plenty of colour. And space: one can travel far in this Concorde...
Ahmad Jamal in Paris, playing live a track called 'Acorn.' Opening in rhapsodic flourish before settling down into a fast groove underpinned by bass and sharp drums. Some nice stomping descending left hand and long rolling single lines contrasted with thumping chords and hammered figures then moving into quieter, slowed-down passages – a lot of light and shade here. The occasional two-fisted attack gives an interesting flavour of earlier styles. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, judging by the occasional exultant shouts...
Thomas Chapin playing the Monk tune 'Ask me now.' The melody of which always reminds me of Noel Coward's 'Someday I'll find you.' Solo alto introduces the track before Chapin is joined by his long-standing trio members Mario Pavane and Michael Sarin for a slow swing through. Some nice smeary figures that recall Johnny Hodges, giving a slightly world-weary feeling in places, although this is quite a joyful piece overall. Chapin was a very appealing player who seemed to hit the mark with his emotional content as much as his considerable technique – evidenced on the coda here especially. Recorded in 1996 for the album 'Sky Piece.' There is a good review by George Lane here...
'Black Monday.' Slow and knotty tune played by John Gilmore shadowed by the piano of the composer Andrew Hill and Bobby Hutcherson's vibes. Hutcherson takes the first solo, closely followed by Richard Davis's bass and the jabbing piano of the leader. Chambers fires off some interesting eruptions from below – the cymbal sound here is very clear. Then Gilmore enters in garrulous form to die off suddenly and let Hill through, prodded along by Davis's bass especially – continual counter-melodies that suddenly rush up the register. One notes that this really is a group performance – the drums and bass are up front throughout. Fire and intelligence...
In the Videodrome...
That Blues March
Ahmad Jamal darning that dream in 1959
Thomas Chapin discusses sound
Andrew Hill in concert
Thad Jones, Louis Mucci, Bernie Glow (tp), Jimmy Cleveland, Jimmy Knepper (tb), Ray Alonge, Julius Watkins (fh), Bill Barber (tu), Andy Fitzgerald, George Marge, Bob Tricarico (ww), Steve Lacy (ss), Phil Woods (as), Harry Lookofsky (tv), Kenny Burrell (g), Paul Chambers (b), Elvin Jones (dm), unknown (celesta), Gil Evans (p, arr, cond).
Ahmad Jamal (p) James Cammack (b) David Bowler (d)
Thomas Chapin (as) Mario Pavone (b) Michael Sarin (d)
Ask me now
John Gilmore ts, Bobby Hutcherson vib, Richard Davis b, Joe Chambers ds