Holiday Gift Guide 2011
Got live if you want it!
Miles, Hendrix, Rollins and more, caught in the act
Published: November 23, 2011
Sonny Rollins: Road Show, Vol. 2 (Doxy/Emarcy) consists entirely of material from last year. Two cuts are with a Rollins working group with guitarist Russell Malone, recorded in Japan. The rest comes from Rollins' 80th birthday concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York. There's a Rollins-less feature with guitarist Jim Hall replacing Malone in the working group, plus three cuts with Roy Haynes on drums and Christian McBride on bass. Two of those feature Roy Hargrove snappishly performing on trumpet. The third is a history-maker: the meeting of Rollins and fellow octogenarian genius Ornette Coleman.
The 21-minute take on Rollins' mid-tempo "Sonnymoon for Two" is amazing, especially for what Rollins brings forth. He blows a ripe solo replete with blue-tinted tonal twists and curlicues, often seeming to nod to Coleman's style. Next, Rollins announces that a special guest will be joining with his horn, then blows an even better solo — attenuating his phrases, after a bit, to a concise three-note phrase, adding complexity, but coming back to deceptively simple motifs (emphasis on deception). Eventually Coleman makes it onstage and enters the fray, overlaying his own language on the groove — seemingly a bit static for his comfort, but he works with it. Another Rollins solo follows, then a Coleman solo more engaged than his first, and yet another Rollins statement, each freshly inventive. This is jazz that lives up to the moniker: the sound of surprise.
Detroit jazz alive: One of this year's more interesting projects has been the beginning of former Detroiter Jefferey Plansker's series Beneath Detroit: The Creative Arts Collective Concerts at the Detroit Institute of Arts 1979-92 on his Geodesic label. The inaugural releases include two double-CD packages of previously unreleased concert tapes pairing Detroiters with the late violinist Leroy Jenkins (Leroy Jenkins with the New Chamber Jazz Quintet) and with the extremely underecorded multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart (Ewart/Barefield/Tabbal Trio). Rounding out the first releases is the reissue of the vinyl era Transdimensional Space Window by the Barefield/Holland/Tabbal Trio. All three discs hark back to a rich era of on-the-edge improvisation in this town. ... Cats came out, 14-strong, dug deep into themselves and blew their asses off earlier this year in memory of the late, great Lyman Woodard. The evening is presented for posterity as the eponymously titled Lyman Woodard Organization Orchestra (Uuquipleu). Dr. Prof. Leonard King drums and helms the ensemble with fellow Woodard Organization alum Ron English on guitar. Chris Codish and Gerard Gibbs provide the soulful organ that Woodard built his bands around. .
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