Artie Shaw: Sweet Lorraine

This Lorraine is too sweet for my taste. The string arrangement creates a genteel, afternoon-tea type of mood. Listening to this tepid chart, one could easily forget that the Swing Era had kicked the previous year. There is not much swing on this track. Shaw offers a melodic solo, and when he gets a two-bar break with 25 seconds left in the performance, he tiptoes across it like he is carrying grandma's precious china. Shaw could be a compelling soloist when he was so inclined. But on this date, he never worked up a sweat.

May 27, 2008 · 0 comments


Art Tatum: Sweet Lorraine

The setting for this concert was the Metropolitan Opera House, and many of the greatest jazz artists of the era (or any era, for that matter) were part of the band. But Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and other members of the all-star unit sit out this number, letting Tatum take center stage on a trio performance. In truth, you can't hear drummer Catlett during the first half of the track, and bassist Pettiford seems a bit unnerved by Tatum's well-known tendency to act as though he is performing solo even when he is in a trio setting. Tatum, for his part, is more flash than substance on this tune, and we don't get to hear the clever harmonic substitutions that he usually applies to every progression in his path. Nonetheless, the pianist has some fine moments, especially with one of his runs-to-end-all-runs at the 2-minute mark.

May 24, 2008 · 0 comments


Sal Mosca: Sweet Lorraine

A student of Lennie Tristano and a highly regarded teacher in his own right, Sal Mosca performs here shortly after his 65th birthday. This track from a live 1992 performance highlights Mosca's ability to reinvigorate jazz standards. Mosca's treatment of this 1928 Mitchell Paris composition features his stride playing, with interpolations of harmonic exploration. The improvisation never ventures too far from the melody, with frequent quotes that often evolve into highly inventive contrapuntal episodes. With quick unison passages and a strong sense of swing, Mosca demonstrates that his ability to execute at the piano continues to shine, undeterred by advancing age.

October 24, 2007 · 0 comments


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