Martial Solal: Here's That Rainy Day

Here's one version of "Rainy Day" where you can actually hear the storm. Martial Solal may have been almost 80 years old when he recorded this track, but he plays with the restless, probing energy of a much younger artist. This music is full of angular phrases and acerbic chords. Even his statement of the familiar Jimmy Van Heusen melody is indirect and attenuated. You may think that European pianism is mostly lyrical stylings, but Solal, the granddaddy of them all (he was gigging with Bechet and Django before the stars of the ECM roster were born) will quickly dispel that notion. This performance is like a ship on choppy waters -- you reach out and try to grab hold of something, and it quickly slides away. Many artists become rigid traditionalists as the decades advance, but Solal takes the opposite course, moving farther and farther out on a limb.

June 05, 2008 · 0 comments


Freddie Hubbard: Here's That Rainy Day

Freddie Hubbard is famous for his fiery trumpet solos, but he was also a standout ballad player. This is my favorite of his ballad performances, and it has all the ingredients of greatness -- marvelous tone control, fresh improvised lines, a gloriously languorous rhythmic pulse -- even a perfectly wrought coda. Guitarist George Benson offers a sensitive accompaniment from the rubato opening to the final chord. But Hubbard is the star here, putting his stamp on on song that many have tackled, but few have claimed with such authority.

May 03, 2008 · 3 comments


Stan Kenton: Here's That Rainy Day

Dee Barton began his career with Kenton as a trombonist and drummer, and contributed his first composition to the band in 1961. An entire album of his music was recorded in 1967 that Capitol Records didn't promote. Barton was at the start of a successful career as a composer for motion pictures when he wrote this beautiful arrangement of one of the great standards in American song. Despite the fact that Kenton's band was known as an ensemble that featured screaming brass, Stan liked to open his concerts with something soft and meditative. This was a popular opener for years, remains in the book of the Kenton alumni band, and has been played by thousands of student ensembles all over the world.

February 03, 2008 · 0 comments


Bud Shank: Here's That Rainy Day

In 1957, West Coast alto star Art Pepper recorded Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section, one of his most successful albums, using Miles Davis’s New York rhythm section. Nearly four decades later, altoist Bud Shank, a 1950s Los Angeles contemporary of Pepper, issued his own By Request: Bud Shank Meets The Rhythm Section, also with a New York-based trio. As its namesake did, Shank’s CD demonstrates that home base is irrelevant when superior musicians get together. The quartet’s bracing up-tempo rendition of “Here’s That Rainy Day” is just one case in point.

November 06, 2007 · 0 comments


Stan Getz: Here's That Rainy Day

This album was a sequel to the first Getz/Gilberto record, which received nine Grammy nominations as well as great commercial success. But it’s not really #2, since there’s no Jobim or Astrud, and Getz and Gilberto never play together. In fact, this seems like two entirely separate albums -- one strictly jazz, and the other Brazilian; even the liners barely mention Gilberto’s trio. Nestled in this confusion is arguably the most beautiful version of “Rainy Day” that Getz ever recorded: his playing is exceptionally tender, while Burton’s shining vibes are the perfect complement to his velvety tone.

October 30, 2007 · 0 comments


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