At age eighty, tenor saxophonist, composer and band leader Benny Golson is still going strong, and although he experienced a few lean years, is very much a force on the modern mainstream jazz scene in the years of the 2000s. He has revived the spirit of his original Jazztet, co-founded with the late trumpeter Art Farmer, on several occasions since the ensemble was originally founded in 1959. This edition features a strong front line of Golson, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, and trombonist Steve Davis, players from different generations who completely understand the hard and post-bop language. The rhythm section is even more delicious, with pianist Mike LeDonne, peerless bassist Buster Williams, and younger drummer Carl Allen working together in the best sense of that ideal.
One of Don Cherry's most spiritual, far-reaching projects – a wonderful record that builds both on his key avant work of the 60s, and some of the globally-inspired sounds he was cutting overseas! This date was done in close collaboration with the New York underground of the time – and the large group features work from a rich array of great musicians – including Charles Brackeen on soprano and alto sax, Carlos Ward on alto, Frank Lowe and Dewey Redman on tenors, Charlie Haden on bass, Carla Bley on piano, and Ed Blackwell on drums – working with additional string and percussion players in a sound that's completely sublime! There's a great ear here for unusual sonic twists and turns, yet these are mixed with some deeper organic tones, and some freer jazz passages – all to really ignite a great fire as the set rolls on.
Shawn Colvin has landed a few tunes on the pop charts over the course of her career, and Steve Earle was briefly a legitimate country star. But in 2016, as the two team up for their first album as a duo, Colvin & Earle are folkies – hip folkies, to be sure, but at heart two singer/songwriters on the far side of 50 who like swapping harmonies and strumming their acoustic guitars. Colvin & Earle sound like good friends who enjoy singing together, and this album has a lively and spontaneous atmosphere, especially when the two are singing old covers.
The second Concord album was recorded the day after the first with the same lineup: guitarists Herb Ellis and Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jake Hanna. Pass would sign with Pablo but Ellis would be a fixture on the Concord label throughout the 1970s. If anything, the guitarists' rematch was a bit stronger than their first due to material better suited for jamming including "In a Mellotone," a speedy "Seven Come Eleven," "Perdido" and "Concord Blues." Although Pass would soon be recognized as a giant, Ellis battles him to a draw on this frequently exciting bop-oriented date, which has been reissued on CD.
The very first release by the Concord label was a quartet set featuring guitarists Herb Ellis and Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Jake Hanna. Ellis and Pass (the latter was just beginning to be discovered) always made for a perfectly complementary team, constantly challenging each other. The boppish music (which mixes together standards with "originals" based on the blues and a standard) is quite enjoyable with the more memorable tunes including "Look for the Silver Lining," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Georgia," "Good News Blues," and "Bad News Blues." This was a strong start for what would become the definitive mainstream jazz label.
Live at Newport finds trumpeter Christian Scott leading his ensemble through a performance at the JVC Jazz Festival in Newport, RI on August 9, 2008. Showcasing the same group that recorded Scott's critically lauded 2007 sophomore album, Anthem, Live at Newport does feature Scott branching out on some new material. Just coming into his own as jazz musician, Scott is nonetheless a talented and deft improviser and his knack for creating brooding, emotionally engaged music brings to mind a mix of '60s Miles Davis and the heady art rock of Radiohead.
Widespread Panic haven't released a studio record since 2010's Dirty Side Down. On their Vanguard debut, they pull off a first in their nearly 30-year career. These ten songs were cut with WP playing live from the floor of Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, North Carolina (an old church). Most were first takes, though there are a few minimal overdubs, and the band worked with longtime producer John Keane and featured temporary drummer Duane Trucks (Derek's younger brother) – founding kitman Todd Nance went on sabbatical in 2014. The mix here is vibrant and warm; the live presentation creates a spacious dynamic that leaves WP's spiky grit intact. Opener "Sell Sell" is a cover of Alan Price's Brit R&B nugget, from his film score for Lindsay Anderson's 1973 film O Lucky Man!, which starred Malcolm McDowell.