Friday, June 24, 2011

CELEBRATING A CRITIC

"Ernie Krivda is one of the best jazz tenor sax men in the world,” the late jazz critic Harvey Pekar once stated. If you require proof Krivda deserves praise, buy Krivda’s new album Blues for Pekar. Pekar and Krivda were friends. Blues for Pekar is Krivda’s second album in two years. Last year, Cimpol released Ernie Krivda & the Detroit Connection Live at the Dirty Dog.

Save for adding Detroit bass player Marion Hayden, Krivda uses the rhythm section that played on Live at the Dirty Dog piano player Claude Black, and drummer Renell Gonsalves. There’re cameos from trumpeters Sean Jones, and Dominick Farinacci. Blues for Pekar is the kind of straightforward bop album that Krivda loves making and his admirers expect. 

The album opens with The End of a Love Affair. Wear a hardhat listening to this song. Krivda blows forcefully enough to demolish an abandon warehouse. On the ballad More Than You Know, the notes drip off Krivda’s tenor like tears off an infant’s cheeks. At the end of the ballad, Krivda plays a catchy cadenza.

Krivda is a generous bandleader. He shares the wealth with his bandmates, particularly Claude Black. Black and Krivda have been together for decades. They’re comfortable like an old married couple.

Black—a down home bebop piano player a la Duke Jordan and Walter Bishop Jr —presence resonates. On Valse Hot and Fried Bananas, Black takes the tunes on a 5k run. And Jones and Krivda trade measures like hot gossip. Farinacci, a trumpeter with  journeyman’s chops,  digs into the song like a landscaper.

Pekar was a hard-ass and he never minced words. Not many jazz musicians would dedicate an album to a jazz critic. Check around, Krivda might be the only one. Harvey Pekar and Krivda were close. Blue for Pekar is a celebration of their friendship.
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