No, I didn’t stop buying music. I’ve actually been buying a ton. My amazing wife bought me a turntable and I’ve been bitten by the vinyl bug. Unfortunately I have not yet been bitten by the bug that teaches me how to transfer my vinyl to digital, but I hope to conquer that this weekend. (How strange is it that the technology of vinyl is stumping me?) In the meantime, here are some CD/digital purchases that have been in heavy rotation.
Lovano continues further down the path he started on the last US Five record, this time mining Parker’s own compositions for inspiration instead of writing tunes inspired by Bird. There are some high points, mostly in the arranging department. The slowed down take on “Donna Lee” below teases with the first few bars of the head before Lovano strays from the written melody, though never so far that you lose it altogether. He re-states those first few bars at the top of every chorus to re-establish and perhaps keep the tune grounded in itself.
This super-hyped young band has built a lot of buzz through their live shows and garnered some mainstream notoriety for their homage album covers. The album covers, takes on Ornette, Blakey and Roy Haynes covers , could be seen as an attempt to grab some coverage in the jazz press, but after a few minutes with this record it is clear these musicians have more respect for their forefathers than as marketing gimmicks. They draw from everything that has come before them and force it together, mostly successfully. The song below is reminiscent of Trad New Orleans, Old & New Dreams and Young Lions-era blowers. If this is the future, there is much to be hopeful for.
There are a few artists I follow pretty religiously, checking out just about everything I can find that they’re on. James Singleton is one of those artists, and I’m very glad I followed him to this record. While Plunge may be named like a band, this is clearly Mark McGrain’s project. Their website labels them “chamber jazz”, but I don’t really hear it (Where are the classical influences?). I think it’s just drummer-less jazz. Whatever you call it, it’s interesting, especially the tracks that feature Kirk Joseph’s tuba battling it out in the low end with Singleton’s bass and McGrain’s trombone. The best tunes, however, are performed by the core trio of McGrain, Singleton and sax man Tim Green, like below.