Mark Elf: Tea Cup

"We are living on a conducting globe surrounded by a thin layer of insulating air, above which is a rarefied and conducting atmosphere…"

A storm is brewing in this tea cup: Mark Elf is one of the essential guitarists in the electromagnetic field of jazz, and he proves his amplitude on this fulfilling bop-infused invention. Mark and Jimmy spark the vertex; next Elf flows with his characteristic balance of precise picking and fluid phrasing—a closer listen will reveal him singing with his lodestone solos. As Jimmy generates his infinite bebop power and the reliably extra- ordinary Hank Jones gives each ion a soul, Drummond sympathetically vibrates the ELFs (Extremely Low Frequencies). Riley rightly oscillates throughout; his rhythmic lyricism glows especially bright on the fiery fours he trades with Mark. Each of these phenomenal players is scientific in his subtlety of swing, and an incontrovertible conductor of universal acoustic resonance. Zap!

"...the current energy, on the other hand, is preserved and can be recovered, theoretically at least, in its entirety." – Nikola Tesla

February 01, 2008 · 0 comments

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Dave Liebman & Franco D'Andrea: Autumn Leaves

These two know their standards so well that they can choose to approach them from as many angles as they want. After Liebman tiptoes into the melody while D'Andrea comps a delicate, softly bouncing intro, this cat and mouse playing around the familiar chords carries on for more than seven minutes with no letup in inspiration. The soprano soars wildly while the piano builds rock-steady foundations in the low register, then hushes while its companion improvises in a dreamy yet earthy way. Liebman and D'Andrea know a lot about standards—and obviously about empathy and team playing, too.

January 27, 2008 · 0 comments

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Keith Jarrett: All The Things You Are

It's difficult, after the magnificent 2½-minute piano solo intro, not to be conscious of the fact that "All the Things…" is built on the same type of harmonic cadenzas as many compositions of the Baroque period. Still, the audience is so mesmerized by Jarrett's contrapuntal virtuosity and fantastic phrasing that it only seems to recognize the tune when Peacock and DeJohnette join in, and then breaks into raving applause. That's the "Jarrett magic" at it's best and, though some may call it too conscious, it works so well on this track that one would have to be really picky to bargain one's pleasure. All the more since the trio part that follows shows great interaction and empathy, DeJohnette's drumming being particularly dynamic and inventive. This is obviously one of the highlights of a standard trio that hadn't yet become "standardized."

January 27, 2008 · 0 comments

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