Covering 50 Cent, Cat Stevens, Faith Evans, and more on steelpan drums should not sound this gimmick-less. It helps that the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is, first and foremost, a strong funk ensemble. The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is a pet project of the German instrumental group the Mighty Mocambos, a practiced collective that makes versatile deep funk. Bacao is a vehicle for bandleader and guitarist Björn Wagner's dedicated enchantment with the steelpan drum, which he and three other band members play on a new debut full-length called 55.
Stan Getz, one of the most gifted and influential of American jazzmen of his time and a consistent favorite of the U.S. public, was living since July 1958 in a small town outside Copenhagen, where he had started a new life. Like many American expatriate jazzmen, he found the relaxed European lifestyle more conducive to his creativity; there was more time to develop and try out new ideas. It was to prove an artistically flourishing and assertive time for him.
The two albums included here, New Groove, and Barefoot Adventure, present Bud Shank not only on alto sax, but also on baritone, an instrument he had played in clubs and as a sideman in sporadic studio sessions since the early 50s, but never before on his own recording dates. And while his alto has his customary command and fluency, his work on the less familiar baritone is equally impressive, the sound hard and driving, with expressive use of dynamics.
At age 74 Lee Konitz remains one of the most original and engaging improvisers in jazz. On Parallels, recorded at St. Peter's Church in New York City in December of 2000, the altoist brings his pure sound, obliquely swinging articulation and cliche-free melodic imagination to a set of standards and originals by himself and his former mentor, Lennie Tristano.
Composer-pianist David Chesky has written seven new pieces that draw their inspiration from the Fantasia form. The Fantasia has evolved from its Renaissance roots and has become a vehicle for a composer's freedom of expression, utilizing rhythm, harmony, and improvisatory skill. And David Chesky brilliantly succeeds, not only in remaining faithful to the original concept of Fantasia, but also in creating a new genre of music with these works.
Pianist and composer David Chesky has assembled a group of first-rate collaborators for this unique jazz project. Bob Mintzer (bass clarinet), Giovanni Hildago (congas), Andy Gonzalez (bass) and Randy Brecker (trumpet) rank among the finest instrumental voices in jazz and Latin music. Each member of the Body Acoustic Band brings his distinct style to this polyrhythmic tour de force, making this an exciting experimental journey into the deep organic space of audiophile jazz.