Any blues fan dedicated to live music will testify that when musicians play with their peers, the energy rises a few notches. That's the concept behind this meeting of the minds hosted by guitarist Debbie Davies. Fellow string-benders Tab Benoit and Coco Montoya (both have worked with her previously) join harmonica veteran Charlie Musselwhite and let the resulting fireworks naturally explode. Typically, these projects wind up being overdubbed affairs, a process that dilutes and often negates the concept. But except for a few instances, largely with Benoit, Davies and her musical friends assembled in the studio, resulting in the titular explosion. Both Montoya and Davies apprenticed under Albert Collins, and the opening "A.C. Strut" captures the Texas blues legend's loose shuffle style as the guitarists trade sizzling licks.
This disc of Philip Glass' Tirol Concerto for piano and orchestra is among the first wave of releases from Orange Mountain Music, a label started by Kurt Munkacsi and Don Christensen out of their attempt to archive the master tapes of Glass' music. Most of the releases slated to appear are of older recordings, including many that have not been heard before. But the Tirol Concerto for piano and orchestra dates only from 2000 and was recorded in 2002.
Here is another LP helping from the Keith Jarrett "American" Quartet's last recording session – one that is almost as consistent in quality as its predecessor. The happy-go-lucky groove of the title track perfectly expresses its name, with Jarrett blithely singing along; both Dewey Redman and Charlie Haden get plenty of solo space on Redman's "Gotta Get Some Sleep" and Haden's "Pocket Full of Cherry" (a pun referring to Haden cohort Don Cherry); and Paul Motian remains a marvelously flexible drummer. Moreover, there is another fascinating swatch of Middle Eastern experimentation on "Pyramids Moving."
There's a nicely warming vibe on this album from Keith Jarrett – a sound that's sometimes a bit more laidback and personal, but which is still carried off with familiar associates Dewey Redman on tenor, Charlie Haden on bass, and Paul Motian on drums! Most of the tunes are shorter compositions built around gently lyrical lines – somewhat introspective, and a bit less organic than in years past – but in a way that more than makes up for that difference with their own inner beauty. Titles include "Konya", "Rainbow", "Trieste", "Fantasm", "Yahllah", and "Byablue".
A lost gem from Keith's "with horns" period – a quintet session from the mid 70s, recorded with a group that features Dewey Redman on tenor, plus Charlie Haden on bass, Paul Motian on drums and percussion, and Guilherme Franco on additional percussion. The feel is a bit straighter than Jarrett's excellent Death & The Flower set – as the tunes have a highly rhythmic component, and make good use of the extra percussion to create a flowing, organic groove. There's still a nice loose feel overall, though – almost a take on the loft jazz sound, especially at the moments when Jarrett goes a bit outside on piano. Titles include "Shades Of Jazz", "Southern Smiles", "Rose Petals", and "Diatribe".
Dark and moody work from Keith Jarrett – a record that builds strongly off his ensemble feeling of the Impulse years, but which also seems to carry a bit more of the introspective vibe he was building up in some of his more stripped down solo recordings! The group's still a great one here – with Dewey Redman on reeds, Charlie Haden on bass, Paul Motian on drums, and Guilhermo Franco on percussion – and the tunes, although long and somewhat free, still show Jarrett's great ear for a lyrical melody – carried off wonderfully without cliche, and still with more sharp edges than you might expect. Titles include "Rotation", "Everything That Lives Laments", "Flame", and "Mysteries".
Prime Keith Jarrett on Impulse Records – and a still-wonderful session that features work by Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, and Paul Motian! The sound here is a bit more focused than on some of Jarrett's earlier Impulse sides – but still has that rich and organic sound overall – blending instruments from all players with a sound that's spontaneous and flowing. Jarrett himself plays a bit of percussion and wood flute – and Redman also plays maracas and musette! Tracks are long, and include "Kuum", "Inflight", "Vapallia", and "Backhand".
In his timeless solo concerts, Jarrett displays the uncanny ability to drop himself into a piece of improvised music as if it has been playing invisibly in the ether all along, requiring him only to pick up from whichever measure he encounters and leave the music to continue on after he has left the stage. This album predates Jarrett’s Köln concert by just two years and was the one that really put him on the map before that legendary successor. Yet we cannot simply say that Jarrett is channeling the cosmos and leave it at that, for he inhabits a melodic space that is tangible, his own. Though filed under jazz, this music is something far more than any generic summary could express. Still, I persist in trying.