Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 5/25/11

As we do every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Wednesday’s album is #615:

The Amazing Bud Powell Vol. 2

A 1951 recording reissued in 1955 and digitized in the 90s. We picked this one rather than the almost identical Vol. 1 because it doesn’t have that horrid Judy Garland song that everybody knows. Here the certifiably crazy pianist leads a quintet with Fats Navarro, Sonny Rollins, Tommy Potter and Roy Haynes, along with a handful of trio and solo performances. It’s got two takes of his signature song, Un Poco Loco, on one hand absolutely creepy, on the other a welcome example of Afro-Cuban music infiltrating the jazz world. There’s also the similiarly foreboding Dance of the Infidels, the wary nocturnal bustle of Monk’s 52nd St. Theme, the expansive, surprisingly gentle It Could Happen to You and the totally amazing Parisian Thoroughfare, which has echoes of Debussy. And also the popular Bouncing with Bud, Ornithology and A Night in Tunisia (this list must have at least a half a dozen versions of that song on various albums – is 50s jazz great or what?). Here’s a random torrent; if you really want Vol. 1, here’s a random torrent for that one.

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May 25, 2011 Posted by | jazz, lists, Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Album of the Day 4/11/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Monday’s album is #659:

Dexter Gordon – Our Man in Paris

To steal a phrase out of the JD Allen fakebook, this is jukebox jazz, low-key, nocturnal and irresistible, for wee-hours glass-clinking and whatever hopefully comes afterward. The famous tenor saxophonist doesn’t waste notes, he doesn’t overdo it, and in fact there are places where you’ll probably wish he’d trade that casual staccato pulse for a long wail. But this isn’t about wailing, it’s about setting a mood, and that’s what he does from start to finish, backed very tersely by pianist Bud Powell, drummer Kenny Clarke, and French bassist Pierre Michelot. The opening seven minutes of Scrapple From the Apple sets the tone, contrasting mightily with the stern, Sixteen Tons-style version of Willow Weep for Me. The best cuts here are the gorgeous, reverb-assisted Stairway to the Stars, and Like Someone in Love, an outtake that didn’t make it onto the original 1963 album, driven by Powell’s potently Romantic ripples and crashes. There’s also the jaunty Broadway, a solid version of A Night in Tunisia and a breezy postbop cover of Gershwin’s Our Love Is Here to Stay. Here’s random torrent via the excellent latin jazz blog bosquesonoro.

April 10, 2011 Posted by | jazz, lists, Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Album of the Day 2/7/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Monday’s album is #722:

The Quintet – Jazz at Massey Hall

The evening got off to a bad start. Charlie Parker was missing his sax, as usual, and had to borrow a plastic one. Then hardly anybody showed up – it was a cold spring night in pre-global warming era Toronto, 1953, and there was a big hockey playoff game going on. So a tiny crowd got to see a hall of fame lineup – Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach – play an absolutely scorching set. And to be fair to Bird, he’d been working out a lot of material on the new Grafton plastic sax, so he knew what he was doing – which is something of an understatement. He didn’t phone this one in, and the rest of the crew rose to the occasion despite not drawing enough bodies to get paid. The original lp only contains about half of the material on the 2004 reissue, which was remastered to include the original rhythm tracks (Mingus redid his basslines in the studio on the original album because the original concert master had him too low in the mix). The songs are a mix of dark burners – Juan Tizol’s Perdido, Diz’s A Night in Tunisia – plus  jazzed-up Broadway tunes like All the Things You Are, Embraceable You and Lullaby of Birdland along with a mellower trio set and a long drum solo not included on the original record. Here’s a random torrent.

February 7, 2011 Posted by | jazz, lists, Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment