CDs of '05

I've been looking at Jazzmatazz's list of upcoming CD releases. Here are the 2005 albums that look the most promising, with their release dates:

Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra - A Love Supreme (Palmetto): Jan. 11th. Strange that Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" hadn't been re-recorded by anyone for 40 years -- until November when a new version was released by Branford Marsalis and his quartet. Now, another is on its way from Wynton and his big band. Is there a little brotherly rivalry going on? I'm curious to see whether a piece originally performed so freely can be effectively played by a big band that thrives on structure.

Stefano Di Battista - Parker's Mood (Blue Note): Jan. 25th. I actually have this already. It is a tribute to Charlie Parker, on which Di Battista plays with conviction and an obvious love for Bird's music. Add to that an all-star rhythm section with Kenny Barron and you can't go wrong.

Dave Douglas & Nomad - Mountain Passages (Koch): Jan 25th. I'm unsure who is in the band, but Douglas's playing is explosive and incorporates jazz, classical, and pop. On his last record, he was able to break loose and create new music by playing in a style akin to 70's Miles Davis.

Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Collosus (Wellspring) - Jan. 25th. This is a documentary about Rollins that is being reissued. It includes "recent performances and interviews" as well as older clips.
Miguel Zenon - untitled (Marsalis Music): March 1st. Recently, Zenon has been taking the jazz world by storm. I saw him with the SFJazz Collective playing the music of Ornette Coleman. Despite his first CD on Marsalis Music, Ceremonial, being straight-ahead, he was able to attack Coleman's music with emotion and familiarity.

Albums with Unanounced Release Dates
Jacky Terrasson - Solo (Blue Note): I've been hooked on Terrason since I saw him co-lead a band with Stefon Harris a few years ago.

Dave Holland Big Band (Dare 2): The bassist's last big band album, What Goes Around, was incredibly swinging; his band members are all great performers in there own right (Chris Potter, Gary Smulyan, and Steve Nelson, oh my!). It will be exciting to see what Holland does with his first album on Dare 2, his new label.

Joe Lovano/Paul Motian/Bill Frisell (ECM): I'm not crazy about Frisell, but I just can't resist Joe Lovano's warm tone and his free-moving improvisational style.

Brian Blade (Marsalis Music): I've been waiting for Blade to record his Marsalis Music debut for a while now. I've seen everybody's favorite drummer with Wayne Shorter, the SFJazz Collective, Bill Frisell and lots of others. It's about time he takes center stage again -- Blue Note, stupidly, dropped him a couple years ago.

Sonny Rollins (Milestone): That's right, SONNY ROLLINS. The greatest saxophonist alive and perhaps the greatest one ever. It's too bad he doesn't play more of the straight-ahead music he perfected in the '50s and '60s. And it's too bad he doesn't play with a better band. But still, it's amazing the things he can do with a calypso.
Updated on December 10th.


Concerts in ‘05

It’s almost 2005, so I’ve decided to make a list of the shows I’m especially excited about in the coming year:

Joshua Redman Elastic Band with Sam Yahel and Brian Blade: Dec. 28th through Jan. 2nd at Yoshi's in Oakland. If it weren't for stupid Warner Brothers, which sat on Redman's latest disc, I’d have it by that time. As it is, the yet untitled record will come out in the spring on Nonesuch.

McCoy Tyner with Stanley Clarke and Billy Cobham: Jan. 25th through Jan. 30th, again at Yoshi's. This is Week One of Tyner's annual residency at the club.

Directions in Music (Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Michael Brecker): February 7th at the Civic Auditorium in Santa Cruz. I saw the band a couple of years ago when they were first touring. I think it was pretty good, but can’t totally remember. The record is exciting, although not quite at the level you would expect from three jazz titans. Michael Brecker’s solo sax tracks are bruising.

Kenny Garrett: March 31st through April 3rd at Yoshi's. There’s also a possibility that I will be able to attend a clinic with him around this time in San Francisco.

Dave Holland Big Band: April 6th through April 8th at Yoshi's. Maybe the band's new CD will be out by then too.

Saxophone Summit (Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Michael Brecker): June 13th at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz. I’ve seen Liebman and Brecker, but not Lovano. The
"Summit" CD is fantastic, the type of in-the-moment music that should be even better live.


Bobby Watson

Next Saturday, Bobby Watson will be giving a clinic at a local community college here in Northern California. In anticipation, I've decided to review his new CD, Horizon Reassembled (Palmetto Records), which reunites one of the great ensembles of the late '80s and '90s:

Watson's music is as joyful and uplifting as ever. His compositions draw on everything from jazz to hip-hop to soul. Turning on the first track, "Lemoncello," I couldn't help but dance and sing along.
In addition to originals by Watson and his bandmates, there is the Jimmy Heath standard "Ginger Bread Boy" (Heath sometimes jokes that the song should now be called "Ginger Bread Man," since his son, who inspired it, is an adult), as well as a beautiful ballad by Watson's wife, Pamela, titled "The Love We Had Yesterday." The CD includes Horizon's version of "The Look of Love," the old Burt Bacharach hit, and a piece by one of Watson's students.
The CD's highlights are its compositions; they are that good. Still, Watson plays with soulful elegance, and the reassembled Horizon plays tightly, as if they had never disbanded.

A Side Note: I was first turned on to Bobby Watson's compositions when I heard his "Fuller Love" on the Art Blakey album Keystone 3. It is one of the most addictive songs I have ever heard.

I'll be going to the clinic next Saturday, and will report back to you about it.