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More Kinds of Blue

Ben Gray
Staff Writer
bengray417@gmail.com

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...

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Owen Howard - 'Drum Lore Vol. 2 - More Lore'

Ben Gray
Staff Writer
bengray417@gmail.com

Much of the attention-grabbing jazz music that is coming out in 2014 is of the boundary-pushing variety, with electronic textures and maybe some rock influence for good measure. There's nothing at all wrong with that - I'm certainly all for a Rhodes piano and solid boom-bap drums. But don't think for a moment that "traditional" jazz with an acoustic setup is dead and has nothing left to say. Look no further than drummer Owen Howard's Drum Lore Vol. 2.

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Hallucinations/Budo: A Critical Analysis of Covers

Ben Gray
Staff Writer
bengray417@gmail.com

"Hallucinations", or "Budo", is a Bud Powell composition...er, a Miles Davis composition. As "Hallucinations", the tune first appeared on Powell's The Genius of Bud Powell as a solo piano vehicle, while it first appeared as "Budo" on Miles' Birth of the Cool, with a nonet. Either way, it's a fun and catchy piece of bop that has been re-visited quite a few times since it first appeared in the early 1950s.

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Jochen Rueckert - 'We Make the Rules'

Ben Gray
Staff Writer
bengray417@gmail.com

There is nothing wrong with Jochen Rueckert's new album We Make The Rules. Rueckert is on the drums and is joined by a fantastic group of musicians - Mark Turner on sax, Matt Penman on bass, and Lage Lund on guitar - to round out his quartet. Rueckert has been based in New York City since 1995 and has played with many of the leading voices in jazz during that time (Kurt Rosenwinkel, Sam Yahel, Will Vinson, Mark Copland, and Seamus Blake, among others), but is a relatively low-profile name despite his top-notch chops on display here. This quartet has been together for several years and reconvened to record these songs in the studio after road-testing them and working out the kinks (in fact, Rueckert, Penman, and Turner also played on Rueckert's 2011 album somewhere, meeting nobody, along with guitarist Brad Shepik). All of the songs on We Make The Rules are Rueckert originals, and all of the tunes are very "contemporary jazz", if that is a reasonable term to use, giving the album a unified feel.

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Avishai Cohen's Triveni - 'Dark Nights'

Ben Gray
Staff Writer
bengray417@gmail.com

Triveni's third album, Dark Nights is (it won't surprise you, based on the album title) a nighttime album. With just a few exceptions, the tunes on here are taken at a very slow tempo, creating a moody atmosphere full of the great individual playing and interplay among Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital, and Nasheet Waits that you would expect based on their previous two albums together. That said, Dark Nights has a number of new twists that very much set this apart from Introducing Triveni and Triveni II.