Steig had already performed "So What" on his Flute Fever session with Zeitlin [see jazz.com review], and of course Evans had played it on the album that introduced the now jazz standard, Miles Davis' revered Kind of Blue. Evans and Steig essay a diverting free-form intro and play the theme together alongside Eddie Gomez's bass vamp. Steig's breathy tone and swirling, tenacious attack is encapsulated in his first brief solo, which gives way to Evans' lengthier improv. Evans' pronounced McCoy Tyner-like left-hand figures, two-handed unison exclamations, and unyielding momentum are all a far cry from the pianist's contemplative, subdued side. Steig's second solo seems to be propelled to greater and greater heights by Gomez's driving, variegated bass lines. The flutist's tonal inventiveness is boundless, including the use of overblowing, humming, and vocalized overtones. Even at his most possessed, however, Steig's phrasing retains logic and relevance. Gomez's feature prior to the theme restatement is an excellent early example of his deliberate yet elaborate modus operandi.
August 13, 2009 · 0 commentsTags: so what
Flute Fever is an inspired ”blowing session” with a repertoire of standards and 1950s jazz classics. Steig’s personal spin on the Roland Kirk/Yusef Lateef school of jazz flute probably will not appeal to those who relish a pristine “classical” approach to the instrument, but on his own terms Steig is a more-than-convincing player. Zeitlin does ear-catching things on every selection, but his most forward-looking solo is on “So What”. The highlight of this track is a piano/drums duet perhaps inspired by John Coltrane and Elvin Jones—Coltrane was already one of Zeitlin’s varied influences.
Though briefly reissued on CD, Flute Fever is hard-to-find and a collector’s item. Here’s hoping that some label will make it available once again.
June 14, 2009 · 0 commentsTags: so what
I don't know about you, but I love the unexpected. The more surprising a jazz standard's treatment, the better. Taking a musical masterpiece to places previously unknown is the sign of someone, or a group, unsatisfied with playing by rote. Copland and his New York Trio take this music out for a long and rewarding walk. I suggest you tag along.
February 06, 2009 · 0 commentsTags: so what
Evans, Gomez and drummer Marty Morell do Miles Davis proud with this aggressive rendition. The trio plays a swinging version full of creative improvising from Evans and Gomez. The best musicians play with a flowing ease that makes it all seem so simple. You don't think until afterward what great skill was required to pull off what you just heard. You too get caught in the flow. The finest music happens when you are bowled over without realizing it. The greatest musicians understand that and exploit it.
As this performance ends, the audience finally erupts. I guess they just needed to be warmed up a bit.
January 05, 2009 · 0 commentsTags: so what
November 03, 2007 · 0 commentsTags: so what
Miles Davis, artwork by Michael Symonds
In 1963, Miles Davis reinvigorated himself by forming a new quintet with younger, energetic, progressive-minded musicians. They stretched the boundaries of hard bop with harmonic and rhythmic adventures, yet maintained a ferocious sense of swing. With his new rhythm section—especially drummer Tony Williams—lighting a fire beneath him, Davis responds with fierce and blazing intensity of his own. His solo on this live version of “So What” is filled with sudden screams into the high register, snaking lines and deceptive starts and stops. Davis confronts and conquers his own limitations, and his playing is volatile and thrilling.
October 24, 2007 · 0 commentsTags: so what
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