Saxophonist Oliver Lake is quite accomplished. The 72-year-old leader has been gaining fellowships and making inventive music for years. His latest work has been with his organ quartet (Lake's third with an organ) of Jared Gold on B3 organ, Freddie Hendrix on trumpet, and Chris Beck on drums. In part rooted from the grant awarded to them in this year's Doris Duke Performing Arts Award, they have made What I Heard. The pieces written for this album were originally intended for spoken word but they turned out quite well as instrumentals all the same, particularly with Beck keeping a crisp beat while Lake and Hendrix float around each other. These four sound great together. Check out What I Hear's opener, "6 and 3", after the jump.
Full disclosure, I unabashedly loved The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s last record, 2012’s Race Riot Suite. That release, which saw the four-piece trace the history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots over a 70-minute, carefully arranged musical time-capsule, was as bold as statement as they came in jazz that year, especially coming from a 20-year veteran band so often tagged as a jam band.
I wanted to change things up this week and play as much new music as possible. I wanted to play music that was all added to the library this day. I wanted to delve into some things I never played before. I reached out a little more than usual, variety-wise, and I think it may have paid off.
The Line-Up for 24 October 2014
The new album from Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Blue, has been getting lots of press (and this fantastic review). In case you’ve missed this album, it’s a note-for-note remake of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue with a relationship to jazz that is akin to Keith Jarrett playing Bach. Think what you will of the album, but perhaps Ethan Iverson summed it up best - "The importance of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the rest of the cast of Kind of Blue is hardly confined to jazz. To declare that they not be allowed to be part of a deconstructed or conceptual undertaking might inadvertently suggest they are not "worthy" of arty mischief. Of course they are worthy! They are Gods, nothing is going to harm them". Whatever your opinion of the MOPDtK album, there should be no question that Blue is successful in pointing out just how incredible the original album is. As such I would argue that Blue functions more as conceptual art and as a tribute to Miles, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb than as an album in itself.
It should be pointed out, though, that Kind of Blue has never been a sacred cow...
I've recently had the opportunity to watch pianist and multi-instrumentalist Jon Batiste perform live with his Stay Human band and it was a transformative experience, respectful of all the tropes of jazz's history but cognizant of its rethinking of performance. Batiste is an innovator in the genre and can easily avail himself to many different musical directions. The latest intriguing direction he's taken is alongside the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chad Smith, and legendary bassist/producer/and record label owner Bill Laswell. Together, they've made The Process on Laswell's M.O.D. Technologies label, and frankly, it's a breath of fresh air.