Saturday, July 07, 2007

new apartment; recent listening

I moved into a new place on July 1. Still settling in. It's only for 2 months as I figure out my next move. Maybe staying in Philly. Maybe making the virtually inevitable move to New York. For now, watching lots of movies and listening to lots of new music. I will have to do a movie post at some point. Probably on Robert Altman or Steven Soderbergh, though I have to say my latest favorite director is Steven Shainberg (who directed the vastly underappreciate indie, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus with Nicole Kidman and a rather furry Robert Downey, Jr., as well as a slightly older cult classic from 2002, Secretary, starring a younger, lesser-known Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Recent Listening:

Various Tortoise albums (esp. Millions Now Living Will Never Die and Standards)

Ben Monder/Theo Bleckmann - At Night (Songlines). A logical continuation on past efforts such as Origami, No Boat, At Night is a dreamy mix of Bleckmann's wordless vocalisations and Monder's densely brewing improvisations - with no recognizable harmonic center. It's music for your head, not so much for feet. Unless you're into interpretive dance, I suppose. (Note: I seriously regret not seeing Monder with Guillermo Klein during a recent run at the Vanguard.

Niño Josele - Paz (Calle 54/Sony BMG). Josele, heard previously on Jerry González y Los Piratas del Flamenco and Diego El Cigala's smash hit with Bebo Valdès Lágrimas Negras, Paz is hands-down one of the best recordings of 2007 (to be released in the US, at least). A seamless project combining spectacular flamenco guitar with the music of Bill Evans or tunes Evans recorded at one time or another. "Peace Piece" and "Waltz for Debby" are my favorites. Close second is the "My Foolish Heart" collaboration with Tom Harrell. There is a surprisingly good track with Freddie Cole singing "I Do it For Your Love," a tune written and performed originally by Paul Simon, later recorded by Evans in 1975.

Apparently, El Niño is taking this music on tour with Horácio 'El Negro' Hernández (drums) and Esperanza Spalding (bass/vocals). Following Ben Ratliff's live review of this band with the above cast, I made a point of going up to New York to see it. The performance did not live up to the disc however it was magnificent to see Josele play solo - not so much for the Evans material but for Josele's remarkable fusion of flamenco technique and inflections with harmonies that one associates most with jazz.

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - my new roommate Ross of Love, played me their entire discography yesterday. I was all spooned out last night but find myself wanting more this afternoon. The new album is quite good - worth the hype - echoes of Motown, a-ha, Brian Eno, MC Hammer, Ry Cooder, Richard Johnston, The Beatles, Wilco.

Bobby Sanabria - Big Band Urban Folktales (Jazzheads). This record is booty-shaking goodness. The most authentic Nuyorican big band that I know of. Soloists are top-rate. The trombone section is particularly tight. The one trite number is a poor vocal version of Besame Mucho. Sanabria waxes eloquent about the project on this excellent episode of The Jazz Session with Jason Crane. Subscribe to Jason's podcast in iTunes by clicking here.

No comments: