Ahmad Jamal: Autumn in New York

Ahmad Jamal utilizes so many devicesómodulations, space, vamps, intros, interludes, shout choruses, tempo shifts, musical quotes, meter and groove shifts, exotic feels, the element of surprise. These arenít devices that he introduced to jazz (you can hear modulations and interludes in Jelly Roll Mortonís music, and Ahmad took cues from his mentors, Art Tatum, Nat Cole and Erroll Garner), but Ahmad Jamal synthesized them better than most. This arrangement is so funky. He plays the intro and, as with a lot of things that Ahmad plays, he gives no hint or foreshadowing of whatís to come. Unless youíve heard the arrangement before, you have no idea what heís getting ready to do. Heís my favorite ballad player. His approach to interpreting melody is unique and individual, not like most of the recorded ballads that youíll hear on those Blue Note or Prestige recordings, where the cats play the melody, then solo, and then you take it out. Every time Ahmad Jamal plays or records a song, he takes you on a fantastic journey.

May 09, 2008 · 0 comments


Julia Dollison: Autumn in New York

Yes, there are undiscovered gems in the growing ranks of self-produced CDs. Dollison is a major talent who deserves a bigger platform than this low-profile release. She has developed her own ineffable sound, a little breathless and slightly-out-of-control style, but very, very jazzy. And she doesn't just sing the standards, she completely reinvents them. This is an autumn in New York you haven't seen before, with bright electric leaves floating up into the chiaroscuro air. The rhythm section also deserves kudos for their contribution on this inspired performance.

November 20, 2007 · 0 comments


Dexter Gordon: Autumn in New York

During the 1950s, Dexter Gordon spent most of his time behind bars, and not the kind where drinks are served. Busted for heroin possession, Gordon appeared with other actual inmates in a Hollywood prison flick, Unchained (1955). Adding insult to injury, his sax was dubbed on the soundtrack by an anonymous studio musician. Upon his release, as if in revenge, Dexter recorded one of his most relaxed, self-assured sessions. And nobody dubbed his sinewy but sensuous sax. "If I had the wings of an angel," jailbirds have forever daydreamed, "over these prison walls I would fly." Dexter had wings.

November 02, 2007 · 0 comments


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