The first of three CDs featuring tenorman Clifford Jordan and his "Magic Triangle" (pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Billy Higgins) has fairly lengthy versions of "Pinocchio," "That Old Devil Moon," Walton's "The Maestro," and Jordan's "The Highest Mountain." Recorded live in Amsterdam, the musicians sound inspired by each other's presence, and there are many strong solos from Jordan and Walton. Well worth investigating.
The record includes recordings of monumental figures of cante and toque, such as Camarón de la Isla, Paco de Lucía, Bambino or Carmen Linares. It is a compilation of a variety of styles with recordings of recent years. The legend of time, the legendary Camarón record and one of the greatest landmarks in the history of flamenco, is the starting point of the album Pa saber de flamenco. It is an instrument to begin to know and to distinguish the different styles of this music.
One of the finest European jazz pianists of all time, Martial Solal (a unique stylist) has never received as much recognition in the U.S. as he deserves. Born in Algiers to French parents, Solal has been based in Paris since the late '40s. Although a modernist, he was flexible enough to record an album with Sidney Bechet in 1957 and make other records with Django Reinhardt, Don Byas, and Lucky Thompson. Solal has been primarily heard with his own trios through the years although he has recorded several notable albums with Lee Konitz.
Fifteen years before Chopin wrote his first “nocturne”, Irish pianist/composer John Field composed his Nocturne No. 1 in E-flat major, followed by at least 15 more pieces in the same style. In these short works for solo piano, Field–who was one of the most celebrated pianists in the world during the first quarter of the 19th century–put form to the idea of a contemplative, lyrical composition, specifically tailored to the piano’s expressive capabilities. These “night” pieces are primarily characterized by a dominant, gracefully flowing melody, with most of the harmonic activity in the pianist’s left hand. Although other pianists have recorded at least some of Field’s Nocturnes–most notably John O’Conor (Telarc) and Miceál O’Rourke (Chandos)–Benjamin Frith’s own uniquely inflected, poetic readings have a satisfying aura of intimacy cast in the warm colors of his well-tempered, expertly recorded piano. Although O’Conor’s playing is more lyrical, with more fluid legatos, Frith generally takes more time–and these invariably lovely pieces blossom just as fully and brilliantly.