2006 seems to be a significant year for jazz's elder states persons. Pianist Andrew Hill has seen a year full of recordings: new music, reissues and previously unreleased material, as well as an outstanding tribute by guitarist Nels Cline. Chick Corea, who's a few years younger than Hill, has released a new record and toured with trios focusing on his back catalog. Super Trio (Stretch, 2006) documented a tour where the pianist was clearly in control of the arrangements; however, Live in Molde is an entirely different affair.
The premiere Cuban music group Irakere has played Ronnie Scott's club in London regularly since 1985. Their Jazz House CD starts out with a throwaway salsa vocal piece, then has two impressive showcases for German Velazco (one apiece on alto and soprano). "Stella By Stalight" (which in Spanish is "Estella Va A Estallar") is swung hard and the closing, nearly 17-minute rendition of Dave Brubeck's "The Duke" has explosive yet lyrical piano playing by Chucho Valdes and some shouting choruses worthy of the Count Basie Orchestra. Overall this is one of Irakere's jazz recordings that is easily recommended.
This double-CD features consistently ferocious electric guitar from Scott Henderson. Recorded live at La Ve Lee (a small club near Los Angeles), the extended program has Henderson mostly in the spotlight with electric bassist John Humphrey offering strong support and drummer Kirk Covington sometimes contributing rockish vocals that are as much shouting as they are singing. Henderson plays some jazz on Wayne Shorter's "Fee Fi Fo Fum," digs into blues now and then, and displays some country roots on "Hillbilly in the Band" but mostly plays high-intensity fusion, tearing into the pieces and showing that he could hold his own with any rock/fusion guitarist. Invigorating playing.