The kids are alright
Just bought a couple of CD's by some new names having been inspired by earlier purchases and reading reviews on other websites.
The first disc is by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and represents his debut for Blue Note. i've been listening to this record this afternoon and would have to repeat my enthusiasm for this musician having previously really appreciated his work on the latest Walter Smith III record. Here, the favour is returned and the tenor saxophonist is featured in a quintet that also features another young player I have been very impressed by, pianist Gerald Clayton .I think ""When the heart emerges glistening" is probably one of those records which will give up it's treasures with repeated listening. The musicianship from these 20-something players is exceptional and Akinmusire and Smith seem to be joined at the hip such is their affinity with each other. This will certainly be in the running when it comes to the best CD's of 2011.This is a record that is locked very much into the jazz tradition but sounds thoroughly contemporary and uncompromising. If you heard the reent session the band did on Jazz on 3, you will know what to expect.
Even more curious is singer "Gretchen Parlato's "The lost and found" which was not at all what I expected. I was really disappointed to miss her set at Vienne this year having been soaked through to the skin at a Chick Corea gig and had to go back to the hotel to get out of my wet clothes. The intensity of the storm made it impossible to return to hear her band play and I can't imagine many people turned up because of the almost tropical storm drenching everyone who set foot outdoors within 30 seconds. Hailed at the most important jazz singer to emerge since Cassandra Wilson, I was really amazed by the intimate quality of her voice. The record was produced by pianist Robert Glasper and music has an almost pop-sensibility but is coupled with a desire to play in a contemporary jazz setting. The opening "Holding back the years" is re-worked in a fashion that is far, far more savvy than the original "Simply Red" version whereas something like Wayne Shorter's "Juju" sounds like the saxophonist's current quartet plus singer. A version of "Blue in Green" makes only passing reference to Evans' minimal theme and is almost unrecognisable in this uncompromising arrangement. This website has seen numerous arguments over who is or who isn't a jazz singer. Parlato's record offers an interesting take as the packing trio with Taylor Eigsti on piano offers an defininative, contemporary jazz sound whereas the vocals are a million miles away from the likes of Wilson, Winstone or Reeves. It is a fascinating record - obviously tipping it's hat towards pop but equally remaining in an uncompromising jazz environment. This is not cross-over as per Jamie Cullum, Madelaine Peyroux or Dianne Krall and sticks a defiant middle finger up at the retro-swing genre. I suppose it is best summed up as applying vocals to the current, fashionable trends in the more hardcore jazz performed by the likes of Glasper, Greald Clayton, JD Allen, Esperanza Spalding, Akinmusire (whose tune "Henya" features on both of these records) ,etc who are honest enough to acknowledge the influence of popular musics outside of jazz.
With a increasing number of 20/30 - something artists now appearing on the scene fully feldged, these two records seem to afford the observation that this resurgance is almost a new movement in jazz.
I never liked Cassandra Wilson. I don't like singers who growl. Eartha Kitt was another.
Cassandra Wilson is an amazing singer with an incredible range but Parlato is nothing like her who is probably more akin to someone like Shiela Jordan insofar that she has a much lighter voice. If you visit her site, you can get a better graps of what I am trying to explain:-
Almost certain not to appeal to the majority of people posting here!
I haven't heard her albums, but I heard Gretchen Parlato live at this year's Glasgow Jazz Festival. She's a proper improvising jazz musician whose instrument just happens to be her voice. I'm not sure how much I like the actual sound of her voice - there's a whispery Astrid Gilberto-like quality to it which struck me as bit affected, but she uses it very well. She was helped by having a great trio behind her - again, proper jazz musicians, not just super-competent session musician types.
A couple of reviews:
http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts-e...atre-1.1110006 (You can get round the requirement to sign in by hitting the reload and stop buttons on your browser in quick succession).
Another young American musician I've been very impressed by is trumpeter Jason Palmer. He's been here a couple of times as a member of Michael Janisch's bands.
A fair assessment although I can't see Parlato switching to a more popularist agenda. She's also appeared on David Binney's "Graylen Epicentre" record (not heard it) earlier this year but this would suggest that she may be more likely to plunge into the more challanging aspects of jazz. Granted that someone like Jane Monheit gravitated to a more popularist approach after producing some good jazz records early on, as you state she has a small voice which doesn't seem suited to a commercial recasting. She's definatetly jazz but the jazz of the 21st Century and without connections to the standard repertoire. The "Simply Red" cover is actually pretty good - have to differ with you there. Shame that the obnoxious, fat, ginger Manc will pick up the royalties. I agree that her band are good though. Don't know were these great players keep coming from.
Will have to check out Jason Palmer.
The Gilberto comparison is a fair one to make but I think she is operating in a more demanding kind of sphere of music. The point about rhythm is a good one too as it is noticeable how the sense of swing has changed dramatically from the way drummers were sensing things even as recent as the late 90's. This is true of the Akinmusire disc as well as with the Gerald Clayton record I have and the way Glasper's trio worked when I saw them live earlier in the year. There are no hang-ups about having a vibe that is in tune with contemporary pop although the drumming demonstrates a complexity well beyond most commercial music. Even the notion is an abstract swing that you get with the likes of Brian Blade is missing. Players now seem to sense the pulse within the music differently .
Akinmusire is a fascinating player with something new to say. He reminds me a lot of somene like Kenny Dorham yet this trumpeter's name is absent from the list of influences mentioned on the liner notes.
more from gretchen parlato below. i really love the stuff she discusses within the comedy links below....shame she feels she can't re-wire her observations into her lyrics somehow ...? instead of more cliched sentiments.
at least gretchen parlato has some pertinent points to make about music, albeit via comedy ... love the comedy vid point, about celine dion especially; and aiming to 'startle the audience' is absolutely hilarious, so true of popular approaches. but since she's got a gsoh, a sense of irony .... it's unfortunately not evident in her singing persona.
> Players now seem to sense the pulse within the music differently . <
because people learn from what pc software can do with beats, rather than past reference points, and what humans played before.
astrud gilberto voice comparison is perhaps roughly true ... but only volume-wise imo.
i notice gretchen's mate, who also sings, (see woman being gretchen's singing pupil, in link above) sings with a brazillian style band, for instance, as well as doing pop. plus, parlato's duo with esparanza spalding, points to a brazillian theme. but imo, by contrast, there's none of astrud gilberto's peculiar emotional flatness, detachment? if anything, 'intimacy' is routinely delivered, usually with tinges of kermit the frog's drawl.
i don't personally care for cassandra wilson's singing either, .... but on gretchen's utube page, there are other similar contemporary singers, and vocal wise, they're all ok. it's just the personal choice of covers, and content that is possibly my main 'taste' problem. generally style/lyrics seem deeply conservative, taking absolutely no chances.
a bit 'affected'... i'll say! the 'simply red' cover is abysmal imo, and at any speed, or volume. perhaps a better choice of song from the ginger chap, was the fairground themed song... but then that's too upbeat for 2011 purveyors of the very finest fauxlove angst jazzpop. arguably, why ever choose 'simply red' songs initially? (smells a bit fishy)
glad you mentioned shiela jordan ian, as the lyrics in 'baltimore oriole' imo illustrate what a more intriguing song narrative can potentially do for any performer. 'baltimore oriole' is a unique story, full of visual imagery, sums up a time and place perfectly. shiela jordan doesn't need to do too much melodicly, over the sparse bass, other than tel the story, bend the odd straight note .... to brilliant dynamic effect. whereas comtemporary singing styles bend nearly every phrase end, so as to become thoroughly predictable. happily, we must nearly be done with this style now? nothing lasts forever stylisticly, but is cyclical. the same goes for the tinny, short snare sound, borrowed from pc-made hiphop, and which sometimes feels like song decoration, rather than being useful, functional, in keeping the band in time. still, i suppose the hollower snare beat is meant to compliment the pools of synthetic keyboard wash, and not steer too far away from mainstream sounds?
i'm wondering if parlato's gran might possibly be trying to make the same point, about song narrative ..... and might write some lyrics for gretchen to sing?
Great message, handsome
Originally Posted by handsomefortune