Wednesday, May 12, 2010

THREE OF A KIND

Before we comment on the three albums we’ve listened to for the past three hours, I want to thank you all for attending the first I Dig Jazz Listening Party. The turnout exceeded my expectations. I hope each of you enjoyed listening to “Focus Trio Live 2009” by Marc Cary, “Push” by Jackie Terrason and “Flying Toward the Sound” by Geri Allen. They’re amazing jazz pianists. Those recordings will be on my list of the best jazz albums of 2010. Compiling a list this early in the year might seem premature. Usually, I get an early start. Now we can talk about these albums. Who wants to go first? I will moderate, and say your name before speaking up. The man in the Thelonius Monk t-shirt you can go first.

“My name is Daniel Wolfe. I’m a big fan of I Dig Jazz. Charles you’re doing a great job”.

“Thanks Daniel. It’s rare that I get a chance to me my readers. Thanks for coming out.”

“The Geri Allen album was my favorite. I never heard her play solo. I first heard her some years ago on a pair of live recordings by bassist Charlie Haden. To me her style is as addictive as crystal meth.

“She always leaves you wanting more,” says the slim fellow seated to Daniel’s right.

“I felt like I was apart of “Flying Toward the Sound”. It was like I was there listening to her rehearse some of favorite tunes,” Daniel says.

“I like that Geri dedicated this recording to Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner, and Herbie Hancock. On tunes like “Dancing Mystic Poets at Midnight” and “Your Pure Self,” I could hear how those pianists influenced her.”

“Allen is deep. I have to admit this album intimidated me a little,” says a man working on his fifth beer. My name is Franklin by the way. Her music was a little too complicated for my taste. It was like she was lecturing to me.”

“Would you give it another shot?” Daniel asked.

“Probably not. My first impression nine times out of ten is correct. This isn’t my favorite Geri Allen record.

“Which of the three albums stuck to your ribs,” Rose says. a petite lady wearing a red beret.

“For my money, the Marc Cary album,” Franklin says.

“Cary is an imaginative dude. He reminds me of Jason Moran. They can turn almost anything into music. I loved how Marc took an excerpt from a speech my Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and improvised on them. That was genius.

“I wanted more. I thought those selections were too short,” Rose says. “Overall Cary album is more eclectic, but “Push” wowed me. “

"I followed Jacky’s career for awhile. Then I lost track of him. I was thrilled when I found out about this album. It represents everything Jacky is. He's full or novel ideas and his music energizes,” Charles says.

“Marc, Jacky and Geri aren’t afraid to take risk,” Otis says. “You never know what to expect from them. I like the fact that they don’t release an album every half-hour.”

“I agree with you,” Daniel says. “It's obvious they really put a lot of thought into their projects.”

“Most of their peers think it is okay to reinvent the wheel.”

“My name is Calvin. I want to go back to Marc’s album. He’s a solid piano player, but I thought including bits of speeches of Malcolm and Martin made the album feel a little dated. I’ve heard rappers do a better job.”

“It sounds like you really didn’t like the album”

“It just seemed unfocused. Like Marc didn’t have a game plan. He was just winging it,” Calvin continues.

“You can’t deny he’s a brilliant pianist,” Daniel says.

“Even brilliant musicians have an off night. To me, he had an off night.

“Charles, What are your feelings about these albums? Do you have favorite,” Daniel asks.

“I liked them all, but my favorite is “Push”. Jacky is a special dude. Jacky, Marc, and Geri are incredible pianists.

“But you like Jacky the best,” Otis says.

“Absolutely. How many musicians would have the nerve to mix Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” with “Body and Soul”? It doesn’t get more risky than that.”

“Jacky did push the envelope on that one. It could’ve been a disaster, but he pulled it off,” says Franklin.

“And he modernized the Thelonious Monk staple “Ruby My Dear,” Charles says.

“He had me crying on that one,” Daniel says.

“Do you think Monk would’ve liked Jacky’s version,” Charles says.

“Yes.”

“I picture Monk snuggled up with Nellie listening to it.”

“Jacky and Marc played ‘Round Midnight, whose version did you like most, Daniel,” Charles says.

“Marc, definitely. Marc captured the spirit of the tune.”

“I agree with you,” Rose says.

“Again, I have to go with Jacky. I loved the three tempo changes. Charles says.

“On “Beat Bop,” Jacky was zipping across the piano like he had an extra set of hands, “Rose says.

“We all agreed these albums are worthwhile. I would recommend each,” Charles says.

“Me too,” Rose agrees.

“It’s has been a good evening. I want to personally thank each of you for coming to this listening party. I promise I will have more listening parties in the future.
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