Sunday, February 21, 2016

jazz record mart - deer wan

Well, the Jazz Record Mart is no more. It felt like ti had been coming for some time now, a classic shop but they hadn't moved with the times and downtown Chicago rent didn't help them at all. The doors closed on the February 15th. I managed to get in one last time a couple of days before they closed. I took a list to save me from getting carried away. I left with only one album, Kenny Wheeler's Deer Wan, which wasn't on my list (in fact, they had nothing on my list!). There was one Mal Waldron I forgot to look for and by the time I was able to return they had closed. I picked up plenty of albums there going back to 2009 on my first trip to Chicago (back then the staff were a lot more surly than the more recent crew) and I'll will miss being able to pop in there (it was handy to home). The stock was purchased by Wolfgang's Vault in Reno.

I couldn't find my pics of the store so I flogged this one off Yelp

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Konitz/Haden - Sweet and Lovely

Not long after discovering the music Lee Konitz, I picked up Alone Together (Blue Note) featuring Konitz alongside Charlie Haden and Brad Mehldau. It was placed on heavy rotation and quickly became one of my favourite albums and by the end of the year (1999) the follow up - Another Shade of Blue - also was getting plenty of airtime.
Saxophone Bass duoIn the liner notes of Alone Together Konitz mentions that the gig was originally intended to be a sax/bass duo recording for King Records. A couple of years later I found the duo recording listed in an online discography but I was unable to track it down. Over the years it would pop into my mind and I would have a search, hoping it would eventually show up on eBay, and then forget about it again.

In December, while browsing Dusty Groove for Charlie Haden recordings, there it was - Lee Konitz & Charlie Haden Sweet and Lovely - the missing piece of the December 1996 recordings at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. Although I placed my order immediately, someone bet me to it and it was out of stock. It came back in stock while I was somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, and by the time I found out, the elusive duo had sold out once again. The new year rolled around and the album appeared on eBay and this time around it didn't escape.

The first spin reminded me of catching up with old friends you haven't seen for many years and things just slot right back in place. That's not to say there weren't surprises - there were, and as I continue to listen, the album keeps delivering the goods. The sparseness of the sax and bass on the trio albums always appealed to me and it really comes to the fore in these seven duo performances. Sweet and Lovely has been getting regular airtime over the past month and I feel it's the kind of album that will keep on giving. I had been waiting a long time to hear this and it didn't disappoint. Konitz and Haden have added a little weight to the decision that if push came to shove, duos would be placed at the top of my favourite line-ups. Highly recommended for fans of Konitz, Haden, bass accompaniment, duos and melodic playing.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saturday Afternoon Listening

These three albums keep my wife and I company as we attempted to get some work done this afternoon. All-in-all they made for a nice mix.

Marilyn Crispell - Storyteller (ECM)
I've listened to this album a few times this week. The trio (with Mark Helias (b) Paul Motian (d)) have very unified sound. It may seem mellow and sleepy but there is a nice energy that underpins the album (and occasionally bursting through). I particularly like Motian and Crispell combination.

Miles Davis - In A Silent Way (Columbia)
I had been a while since I had given this a spin. I can't really work out why but it worked surprisingly well bridging the first and third albums here.

New York Jazz Collective - Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven (Naxos)
The second album from this sextet has some very nice writing for three horns (trumpet, trombone, sax/clarinet) and rhythm section. By the time this one over, my attention for school work had begun to falter (hence this blog post).