Category Archives: Blip
Some days back, after I blipped Grant Green’s classic “Idle Moments,” Jason Parker (@1WorkinMusician) let me know his Seattle-based quartet had recorded its own version of this timeless masterpiece on their second full-length CD No More, No Less.
Parker is a busy player on Seattle’s thriving jazz scene, and his blog posts and tweets about making a living as a full-time musician and bandleader have a healthy following. I was definitely curious: would The Jason Parker Quartet’s version of “Idle Moments” stand up to a comparison of the original?
Oh, yeah. The quartet — Parker on trumpet, Josh Rawlings on piano, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass, D’Vonne Lewis on drums, and special guest Cynthia Mullis on tenor sax — keeps the original’s languidly slow,
no- need-to-be-in-a-hurry pace, and Parker, Mullis, and Rawlings solo beautifully over those classic changes. Everyone’s ears are open and I especially enjoyed listening to Mullis jump off the riffs Rawlings served up during her solo. Nice, very nice. The Jason Parker Quartet gives a respectful nod to the past while making “Idle Moments” its very own.
Check out The Jason Parker Quartet’s “Idle Moments”:
And here’s Grant Green’s original, full-length version:
The Jason Parker Quartet as recorded on No More, No Less:
Bill Frisell, this gentle, genre-bending guitarist who can capture the world’s essence in a song or speak in a voice that is clearly American, extends himself towards us and in the process touches something basic, something existential. His music is full of the joy of life yet there’s always a hint of sorrow there, too, some echo of our knowledge that nothing lasts forever.
So it is with “Good Old People,” from Bill Frisell’s 2003 album The Intercontinentals. We have melody and pulse, soaring guitars and African rhythm. Violin and pedal steel are driven by drum and cymbal, calabash and triangle, all played by a truly intercontinental collection of Frisell’s best friends.
“Good Old People” stands on its own just fine as music but like many Frisell creations it’s more than a world-class cut from a world-class album. “Good Old People” is a vessel for emotions both joyful and melancholy, a soaring, cascading celebration of life that gets to the essence of what makes Bill Frisell special — his talent for touching the common humanity in all of us.
Listen to this. No matter where you are, it sounds like home.
Bill Frisell – guitars, bass
Sidiki Camara – calabash, djembe, congas, percussion
Jenny Scheinman – violin
Greg Leisz – pedal steel guitar
Vinicius Cantuaria – guitars, drums, percussion
Christos Govetas – oud, bouzouki
Give Jeremy Pelt credit for calling his cadre of super-talented young jazz men exactly what they are — men of honor. As young as he is, Pelt’s been known for a decade as one of the best we have on trumpet, and he keeps great company. Just last week his quintet made themselves at home at Duc des Lombards in Paris. We’re fortunate to have a brief glimpse of that evening, the club’s video mashup of “From a Life of the Same Name” and “Us/Them,” both from Pelt’s latest album Men of Honor.
Pelt’s new-traditional vision is supported by drummer Gerald Cleaver, bassist Dwayne Burno, tenor man JD Allen, and pianist Xavier Davis (in place of the album’s Danny Grissett). This is clearly a seasoned, together band. It’s a pleasure to listen to the quintet move gently through the opening of “From a Life of the Same Name” with Pelt and Allen harmonizing over Davis’ quiet explorations.
For the neo-bop burner “Us/Them” Pelt replaces his flugelhorn with his trumpet. Listen as Davis dialogues with Allen and Pelt before they launch fully into their respective solos, and Davis steps up to ride Burno and Cleaver’s pulse all the way out.
It’s a genuine privilege to hear and view these men of honor putting their stamp on some of the best of jazz tradition.
Jeremy Pelt Quintet
Duc des Lombards, Paris
5 April 2010
“From a Life of the Same Name” & “Us/Them” 9:35
Back in February Christian Scott and his quintet were on tour in support of his groundbreaking new jazz album, Yesterday You Said Tomorrow. This video catches the band in Berlin performing “Isadora.”
It’s a mesmerizing performance. “Isadora” is a slow sensual waltz held rhythmically together by Kristopher Funn’s bass and Jamire Wilson’s cymbals. His brushed snare swirls, an extension of Scott’s warm, muted, breathy tone. Pianist Milton Fletcher and guitarist Matt Stevens repeat a descending figure that keeps “Isadora” from drifting away completely, as Scott breathes the melody directly into our hearts.
I found myself drawn into this piece the way one might be lean in closer to someone when they lower their voice to tell you something special. Christian Scott has important stories to tell on Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, and this performance of “Isadora” is a wonderful invitation to listen closely.
I really like this video, which was shot from one rock-solid stable position. I’m able to look at the entire band from an audience member’s vantage point. Sometimes simplicity is a beautiful thing.
Christian Scott Quintet live in Berlin
18 February 2010
This is tenor sax jazz juggernaut Chris Potter’s thing, this live version of “The Wheel,” a funky turn from Potter’s 2006 release Underground.
But last July he was on stage in some mighty fine company — the rest of his current Underground lineup: guitarist Adam Rogers; ultra-versatile Craig Taborn on Fender Rhodes; and mighty mighty Nate Smith behind the drums — and yeah, it seems there are times when Chris Potter just likes to stand back and be thrilled along with the rest of us.
Craig Taborn on the Fender Rhodes, his crunchy left hand part of the reason nobody misses the missing bass. Prowling low with that left, burning with his right, trading breaks with Rogers whose supple lines goose things along with a quiet intensity. The guitar and Rhodes on top of and inside that solid truncated funk Nate Smith is ringing out.
Smith’s right foot is the engine. Taborn’s locked in with Smith, eye to eye and beat for beat. It’s all the more tight, all the more funky because it only takes two. When Smith steps out for his own muscular break he heats things up even more, and when Potter finally returns, ready to break loose, the stage is set for a truly fine finish.
Chris Potter’s Underground
Jazz Open Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
24 July 2009
“The Wheel” 10:55