You can often judge musicians by the company they keep. Float the Edge, the latest album from pianist-composer Angelica Sanchez, features her alongside two of the most sought-after rhythm-section musicians on the scene: veteran bassist Michael Formanek and rising-star Tyshawn Sorey, both acclaimed leader-composers in their own right. To be released via Clean Feed Records on March 25, 2017, Float the Edge sees this earthy, expansive trio perform Sanchez’s compositions, as well as several free improvisations. “A lot of what we do as a trio and what each of us does living a life in this music is take things to the edge, taking the risk to jump off without really knowing where you’re going to land,” the pianist says. “When it works, you feel like you’re floating it’s beautiful.”
This long-awaited third CD by the legendary New Klezmer Trio is pure pleasure. Their first two CDs, released in 1990 and 1995 respectively have long been Tzadik favorites, combining elements of jazz and improvisation with the Jewish tradition in ways both thoughtful and surprising. This is a masterful new recording by one of the classic bands in the New Jewish Renaissance. Naftule Brandwein via Jimmy Giuffre.
Why aren't there more recordings like Fly Away Little Bird? Perhaps it's because there aren't more musicians of this stature. The studio reunion of the legendarily experimental Jimmy Giuffre 3 in 1992 was reissued in 2002 on the French Sunnyside label and is a radical departure from anything the trio had done in the past. These studio apparitions of the band are their most seamlessly accessible while being wildly exploratory. In addition to the consummate improvisations and compositions by Giuffre (title track, a redone "Tumbleweed"), the tender meditations by Steve Swallow ("Fits" and "Starts"), and the bottom-register contrapuntal improves by Paul Bley ("Qualude"), this is a trio recording that uses standards such as "Lover Man," a radically and gorgeously reworked "I Can't Get Started," "Sweet and Lovely," and "All the Things You Are" to state hidden textural possibilities inside chromatic harmony. There is never the notion of restraint in the slow, easy, and proactive way these compositions are approached.
This album is quite unusual. Recorded shortly after Nat King Cole's death, pianist Oscar Peterson takes vocals on all but one of the dozen selections, sounding almost exactly like Cole. Peterson, who rarely ever sang, is very effective on the well-rounded program, whether being backed by a big band (arranged by Manny Albam) on half of the selections or re-creating both the spirit of the Nat King Cole Trio and his own group of the late '50s during a reunion with guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Paul Smith is well-known to jazz fans for his sterling accompaniment on a number of Ella Fitzgerald's best albums, particularly Ella in Berlin. But the veteran pianist has recorded quite a bit on his own, though few of his LPs (like this Warner Bros. album from the 1960s) have been reissued on CD. Joining him on this trio date are bassist Wilfred Middlebrooks (who worked alongside Smith with Ella) and drummer Frank Capp.
A pleasant compilation of Oscar Peterson tracks with Ed Thigpen, Louis Hayes, Bobby Durham, and others sitting in, all anchored by Peterson's classic version of "Fly Me to the Moon," originally written by Bart Howard in 1954.