I’m continuing with my (sort of) ongoing posts about the music I’ve been listening to during my many driving hours. As I’ve mentioned previously, I listen to actual CDs in the car. My own music tends to dominate my home-bound listening, primarily when I practice, compose, record or arrange.
Tricycles – Larry Coryell – this is a live-in-the-studio trio date with Mark Egan on bass guitar and Paul Wertico on drums. It’s one of Larry’s finest recordings, without a doubt. The band had been touring and pulled that energy and focus into the studio for this wonderful work. All three players are in top form and interact beautifully. I had the opportunity to witness this trio play live in Nashville before they headed out on tour and they practically took the ceiling off the room. The whole CD is superb – Dragon Gate, my favorite Coryell tune, is magnificent.
Wired – Jeff Beck – many years ago, when I got my very first transistor radio and stuck it up against my ear, I heard what I thought was an electric violin/fiddle in a rock band. That was Over Under Sideways Down with Jeff Beck playing way ahead of most of the guitar crowd at that time. He’s only gotten better and better, building a sound/approach that is entirely his own. This is an early release that followed his epic Blow By Blow — it has its shortcomings in terms of production. It’s more like a sampler of Jeff Beck, but it’s still a satisfying, if not enduring, listen.
The Absence – Melody Gardot – I am not an instant fan of vocal artists. I’ve had the opportunity to work with several outstanding vocalists, with whom I’ve created great music and learned a great deal about my approach to the music. Melody has all the qualities of a first-rate vocal artist. The tunes, arrangements and performances on this release are superb. Melody proves herself a consummate vocalist and composer here and most definitely belongs in a category that contains the title jazz, even if it’s hyphenated. I know she’s living in the UK now, having left our humble Philadelphia hometown, and ideally keeping listeners throughout the world enthralled.
Abracadabra – Soft Works – This is the continuing lineup that hearkens back to the seminal progressive jazz-infused music of Soft Machine. The original band is part of my early foundation in creative music and spawned the sub-genre of Canterbury music in the UK. This group was composed of original members Hugh Hopper and Elton Dean along with the later-generation members Allan Holdsworth and John Marshall. It’s a jazz-infused group, based on interactive improvisation, with musicians who are at the top of their artistic game, playing together magnificently. Without intending any slights to the other musicians, Holdsworth’s playing is absolutely stunning in its lyricism and focus. Working with these players obviously inspired him.
I’ve kept myself in check, avoiding paragraphs and pages of editorializing about this week’s listening pleasures. I’ll have more to come.
Thanks very much!