Alan Pasqua, Dave Carpenter & Peter Erskine: Con Alma

(Editor's Note: This recent trio release, a reunion of the group previously heard on Badlands and Live at Rocco, was released on Fuzzy Music, Peter’s independent record label. According to, “many artists find themselves dipping into rich cultural pools of musical styles, beliefs and realities that do not fit into the large, corporate/record company way of thought or aesthetics. The only way to make some of this music available was to start our own company. Fuzzy Music® has been created and is offered to you in a spirit of creativity and conscience, with our promise to strive earnestly to find and produce the best quality music we know how.” E.N.)

Hey, you never know when you might run into a jazz critic on a desert island… “Here’s some fresh water, HEY have you heard my latest CD?” Alan Pasqua and Dave Carpenter are 2 of my favorite musicians to play with; Alan’s arrangement of this Dizzy Gillespie classic is ingenious, and I actually like what I played on this. The sound of the recording is really good, too. Pardon my immodesty for including it.

March 27, 2008 · 0 comments


Toshiko Akiyoshi: Con Alma

Con alma, meaning "with soul," was written by Dizzy Gillespie, born in Cheraw, South Carolina. Yet, as shown by Toshiko Akiyoshi, the soul in question need not derive from collard greens and black-eyed peas. Born in China, Toshiko moved at 17 to Japan following World War II, so it's unclear whether Peking duck or Ginza sushi accounts for her deep-dish piano flavoring. A composer herself, she obviously delights in Dizzy's recipe, which she not only prepares to perfection but delivers with the skill of a Zen waitress carrying steaming takeout on a Honda Super Sprint motorcycle through rush-hour Tokyo streets. Pedestrians fend for yourselves. This lady hauls alma.

November 23, 2007 · 0 comments


Karrin Allyson: Something Worth Waiting For (Con Alma)

I've always admired Dizzy Gillespie's composition "Con Alma" for its clever chord progression - a good transposing assignment for students -- but its melody bores me with its simple half notes and held whole notes. But Allyson's reconfiguration of this piece into "Something Worth Waiting For," with lyrics by Chris Caswell, was a revelation. I never envisioned that this quirky harmonic exercise was capable of such emotional depths. Some singers are storytellers, others are entertainers, many are just poseurs; but Allyson is a psychologist, probing inside the lyric for the song inside the song. Highly recommended.

November 07, 2007 · 0 comments


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