Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Christian Scott at Newport

Concord Music Group is at it again - pushing its young lion trumpeter Christian Scott, the New Orleans-born nephew of altoist Donald Harrison who has been tooting his own horn from a very young age - and with a very fine tone to boot (lately reminiscent of another Crescent City native, Terence Blanchard). This is Scott's third release for the Beverly Hills-based mega-label and his first live release. It drops Nov. 4th and is a CD + DVD. The concert footage was recorded live at the Newport Jazz Festival this past August, where I happened to be in attendance and saw part of this set (there was a rather large crowd gathered around the Waterfront Stage). (Full disclosure: the band features a current publicity client, pianist Aaron Parks, whom I've tried to keep out of my discourse on the blog for conflict-of-interest reasons).

Despite the label pumping him up as the next big thing, the trumpeter is really part of a much larger scene of Berklee and Manhattan School-educated players in New York who often playing lush anthemic melodies with sophisticated harmonies (sometimes hinting at jazzy neo-soul). The players on the record demonstrate this scene through their various associations with other key players - Parks (who has played with virtually everyone in these circles including drummer Kendrick Scott, vocalist Gretchen Parlato, guitarist Mike Moreno, drummer Eric Harland, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and guitar hero Kurt Rosenwinkel), Walter Smith III on tenor sax (who plays frequently with Scott, Parlato, Akinmusire and fellow saxophonist Mark Small), Joe Sanders on bass (who also plays with Akinmusire), Jamire Williams on drums (who has played and recorded with Kenny Garrett) and guitarist Matt Stevens (whose only tie to this scene that I know of, is through the trumpeter - but he has been with Scott since his debut for Concord, Rewind That and is a very integral part of the Scott's sound).

Enjoy a track from the new release entitled "Died in Love":

Friday, October 17, 2008

Uri Caine - The Othello Syndrome

BUY THIS ALBUM!!!!! It's just beyond words - for now. Uri Caine has once again completely outdone himself. I'll have a review later when I absorb more of this brilliant record. I wish MuxTape was still around. I'd totally fit the best songs from this into a mix and post it. I just got the new Down Beat and they gave it 5 STARS - a very rare occurrence (however, right next to it on the same page, there happened to be a 5 STAR review of a new Gunther Schuller record).

I think in 2007 there were only two 5 STAR records in Down Beat - Maria Schneider's Sky Blue and Dino Saluzzi/Anja Lechner's Ojos Negros.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

some inspiration for a new America


I don't think any politician has said it better and more succinctly than Bruce did here.

Something very basic I noticed while watching this video today (something that never really dawned on me today) is that the Democrats preach a platform of hope and compassion and integrity for the most basic tenets of the constitution (our civil liberties). But the Democrats also have clear, well thought-out plans for our country - domestically and abroad. On the other hand, when it really comes down to it, most of what I hear John McCain and the Republicans talking about in the debates are negatives - how our spending is out of control in Washington, how government is inherently flawed, how Democrats' values are flawed. The only truly inspiring speeches they give are about war - when we should never have been in Vietnam or Iraq in the first place. They talk about heroism and honor. How can you have heroism and honor when you deny your own citizens their own civil rights under the guise of liberty?

Do we want to elect a leader who is running on compassion for the American people or one who is running on economics with an inherent distaste for government and no sense of what life is like for the everyday American? I'll let you answer that for yourself.