Harpsichordist Martha Cook here records Bach's Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080 (The Art of the Fugue), with a specific interpretive framework in mind. The work, Cook believes, was devotional and intimate in intent; it is, she writes, a "musical prayer," and it embodies the parables and exhortation found in the biblical Book of Luke, 14:27-35. Interested readers are invited to consult the booklet for more details. Making the supposition work involves discarding the version of the work published after Bach's death by C.P.E. Bach and others, and it also involves some of the numerology that so often seems to crop up in connection with Bach's larger works. There's some justification in earlier German music for regarding Bach's instrumental music in this programmatic way; Bach would have known the Biblische Historien keyboard sonatas of 1700 by one of his key predecessors, Johann Kuhnau. But what's missing is any evidence of why Bach, by the end of his life a revered figure, might have wanted to embed secret messages in Die Kunst der Fuge. The unalloyed good news is that you can disregard the stated method of interpretation and listen to the performance in the abstract. It's very powerful.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. An overlooked gem from reedman Sam Rivers – and a set that's surprisingly soulful, given that most of his other work from this stretch is much more outside! The album's got a laidback groove on most numbers – with rhythm from Daryll Thompson on guitar, Rael Wesley Grant on bass, and Steve McCraven on drums – often in this midtempo mode that has the electric currents providing a subtle bounce, which opens up as Rivers solos on tenor, soprano sax, and flute! The style's a few steps down from funky fusion, but not that far away, either – and Sam proves to be an expressive soloist in the setting, in ways we really wouldn't have expected. Titles include "Swirl", "Chant", "Coral", "Lazuli", "Ripples", "Dandelions", "Devotion", "Beatrice", and "Sprung".
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. A sweet 70s set from the ultra-hip rhythm duo of bassist John Lee and drummer Gerry Brown – working here in a European setting with loads of great reed work to support the "bamboo" vibe of the title! Flute player Chris Hinze blows both bamboo and regular flute – and the feel of the set is like some of his excellent fusion dates from the same time – but the record also has lots of great work from Gary Bartz on alto and soprano sax, plus some keyboards from Hubert Eaves and Jasper Van'T Hof – two very different players who balance out the mood nicely. Some tracks are full-on fusion, but they're offset by mellower, more introspective passages – of the sort that really let the reed players come out strongly – and titles include "Jua", "Rise On", "Who Can See The Shadow Of The Moon", "Infinite Jones", and "Deliverance".
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. Finland's premier saxophonist Koivistoinen ventured to New York City for this CD and employed some of the finest jazz players, including trombonist Conrad Herwig, trumpeter Randy Brecker, pianist David Kikoski, bassist Ron McClure, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and guitarist John Scofield (on four cuts). Bugge Wesseltoft plays rather innocent, unobtrusive sythesizer on three other pieces. The horn charts are smartly arranged by the tenor and soprano saxophonist, and played to perfection. The music is contemporary, bop-based, modernistic, and well-swung by DeJohnette's personalized chatty signature rhythms.