GIMME 5 (5 Favorite Releases I heard in October, 2012)
I don’t hear everything (thank God) but of the 43 discs I reviewed in October 11 of them earned at least a 4 star review. Wow. That’s a lot of good music in one month. Hard to eliminate the Pharez Whitted and Houston Person discs, and honorable mentions to Pete Escovedo and the imaginative Jaiman Crunk (a great month for latin and guitarists!); Ed Cherry’s guitar trio came very close to making the final cut, as did Winard Harper’s powerful post bop Jeli Posse. Here’s my final five:
**** Rez Abassi Trio – CONTINUOUS BEAT (Enja)
One finds only slight whiffs of Abassi’s Indo-Pak influences on this disc, which is primarily a straight ahead guitar trio thing. There are some cool covers of tunes by Gary Peacock, Keith Jarrett and Thelonious Monk. Use any of those: #3 (Major Major), #6 (The Cure). My favorite Abassi composition is #4 (Rivalry). The album ends with an acoustic solo version of the Star Spangled Banner, played straight.
**** Diana Krall – GLAD RAG DOLL (Verve)
I’ve heard some call this Krall’s ‘country album’, which is inaccurate. It’s her T-Bone Burnett project (Robert Plant & Allison Krause, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Greg Allman). Steeped in the the Americana of tin pan alley, this is a change of pace for the laconic Krall. I espescially like #1 (We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye) #6 (I’m A Little Mixed Up), which is a little bit of a rocker; also #11 (Lonely Avenue).
**** LaVerne Butler – LOVE LOST AND FOUND AGAIN (High Note)
Strong offering by New Orleans vocalist Butler, under the musical direction of Bruce Barth and featuring Houston Person on several tracks. Several could work on air, the best is #8 (Be Anything, But Be Mine). Something from “Cinderella” (#9 – In My Own Little Corner) always catches my attention.
**** Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band – LIVE IN HOLLYWOOD (Concord)
A live recording by Sanchez carries with it all the excitement you’d imagine. Pick almost any track, and it’s cool. The long medley (#2) gives us a number of Poncho’s hits; #3 (Mambo Inn/On Green Dolphin Street) is another medley. #4 (Crosscut Saw) is funky, bluesy, but still picante flavored. He even does a Clare Fischer tune #5 & 6 (Morning). #8 (Afro Blue) is great, too, the full force of the horn section in full effect, a cool flute solo followed by a percussion passage. #9 (Son Son Charari) is a salsa climax.
**** Project Trio – WHEN WILL THERE BE NOW
This Brooklyn trio’s second disc isn’t quite as good as it’s first. But still, flute, cello and violin, performing Beethoven and Miles, it’s imaginative and funky. Use #3 (Raga Raja), #5 (TV Theme Show) or #6 (The Stacks).