He reaches for the heavens with his bow, perhaps overreaching on occasion, but never without conviction; and in the process, generates an edgy energy that compels the listener to reach with him. In an age when so many jazz violinists strive to emulate the suave, measured phrasing of Stéphane Grappelli or the near- mystical lines of Jean-Luc Ponty, Christian Howes paddles his own canoe. On this track he shoots the modal rapids over Bill Evans's lively romp without fearing the ever-present risk of capsizing or hitting any tonal rocks. As in all Resonance releases, there is plenty of virtuosity to be found here in biting solos from Howe and pianist Roger Kellaway, with volatile, intuitive support from Bob Magnusson and Nathan Wood. "Walkin' Up" should be the jazz violinist's wakeup call to wider recognition.
Following his Birth of the Cool
obstetric triumph, Miles Davis ceased to be a factor in jazz's development. The sharp-as-a-tack hipster became a sprawled-in-the-gutter junkie who disgusted even his own father. In 1954, having kicked heroin, Miles returned, determined "to take the music forward into a more funky kind of blues." Soundman Rudy Van Gelder's reverb adds to the back-alley ambiance of this leisurely 13½-minute stroll, which had a twofold importance. Funky blues gave East Coasters a visceral alternative to cerebral West Coast jazz, and "Walkin'" heralded the resurrection of a charismatic figurehead. Our hero was back in the game!
, photo by Herb Snitzer
Along with Brown/Roach and Coltrane/Jones, the musical pairing of Miles Davis and Tony Williams marks one of the great leader/drummer partnerships in jazz history. Joining Miles’s group when he was just seventeen, Tony Williams changed the realm of possibilities for the bebop drummer with his unique four-way independence (especially the freeing of his left foot to play more complex patterns) and his “quiet burn” – the ability to play independent, polyrhythmic patterns while comping at a soft volume. These drumming elements are all evident in this live example, made all the more effective through his interaction with rhythm-section mates Hancock and Carter.
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