HOT jazz CD of the week (2/10/2013) (Yusef Lateef – The Centaur and the Phoenix)

Yusef is one of the absolute COOLEST players I’ve heard on the planet… his flute work is beyond compare; consider yourself honored to be able to listen to his music (NOTE:  u better GRAB this one while it’s still up)!!!

There wasn’t a lot of narrative on this one – here’s what I found at WIKIPEDIA:  The Allmusic site awarded the album 4 stars with the review by Stacia Proefrock stating it “takes the risks and the innovations that Lateef was known for, and expands them in a number of different directions all at once, leading to an album that bursts with new ideas and textures, while remaining accessible, and above all, beautiful. Lateef seems eager here to take the next step musically by breaking the mold of his previous albums”.[2]

HOT rock CD of the week (2/2/2013) (Cosmic Farm – Cosmic Farm)

Ev’ry once in a while, I discover a “sleeper” in the world of rock/funk/fusion… this CD is absolutely KILLER… surprised I never heard them before… if you like HIGH-ENERGY music, you WILL dig down deep on this one!

Here’s a bit more information from ALLMUSIC:  This ad hoc instrumental quartet is a supergroup of sorts. Comprised of immensely talented jazz and jazz fusion veterans (bassist Rob Wasserman, drummer Jeff Sipe, and T Lavitz on keyboards) it is spearheaded by guitarist Craig Erickson. He writes all the material, takes the most solos, acts as producer, and put the project together. Although released in 2005, it’s a knowing throwback to the jazz-rock fusion of ’70s acts such as Jeff Beck, John Scofield, Return to Forever, Allan Holdsworth, Dixie Dregs (of which Lavitz was a member), and any number of similar acts that generally favored instrumental dexterity over the compositional and melodic. It’s a solid, incredibly well played album that suffers mostly from a lack of identity; basically, this could be music from any of the above artists or dozens of others. That’s not a terrible thing, and surely any fan of the genre would be thrilled with adding this tasty, always professional outing to their collection. These guys have amazing chops, yet the songs lack a strong melodic presence. It’s more than just a bunch of jamming, but not much, and there remains a sense that the foursome is simply working a groove without creating something unique. Guest Paul Hanson on bassoon twists the formula slightly on a few selections but his contributions are too subtle to make an impact. The driving funk of “Forecast” gives bassist Wasserman a chance to showboat — one of the few — on a song with a bit of a recurring motif. Erickson shreds with the best of them yet there is little distinguishable about his guitar playing and he takes the spotlight too often, leaving the others as talented backup to his fret dancing. There is something rather charming in the retro-ness of the concept since there aren’t many jazz fusion albums being released in the mid-’00s. Still, with musicians of this world-class caliber, the final product is run of the mill for the genre.

HOT jazz CD of the week (2/3/2013) (Miles Davis – ESP)

Miles is definitely a “hot ticket” for those who want to wrap their ears in “real jazz”… there’s nothing “phony” about his playing… this particular CD is the first recording by the “second great M.D. Quintet”.  EnJOY!

Here are the words from WIKIPEDIA:

Recorded in January 1965, E.S.P. is the first album by what is often referred to as Miles Davis‘s second great quintet. The quintet comprising Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams would be the most long-lived of all Davis’s groups, and this was their first studio recording together.

Unlike the majority of previous Davis albums, E.S.P. consisted entirely of new compositions written by members of the group. Despite the profusion of new material, only one tune (“Agitation”) is known to have appeared in the group’s live performances. Two versions of this tune appear on the Plugged Nickel recordings from December 1965; it was played live as late as the fall of 1969.

“Little One” might be best known for being revisited on Hancock’s landmark album, Maiden Voyage, recorded a few weeks later. This version is somewhat more embryonic; Carter’s bass is halting, and Davis and Shorter state the theme with winding, interlocking contrapuntal lines that evoke Davis and Coltrane‘s version of “Round Midnight”. Hancock’s solo on Carter’s composition, “Eighty-One”, also presages his work on that LP – particularly its title track. This is reflected in the liner notes of the 1999 reissue.

Shortly thereafter, Shorter’s compositions would begin to dominate the Quintet’s recordings, though here he contributes only two of the seven songs. The title track is reminiscent of Jackie McLean‘s “Little Melonae”, which Davis had recorded with John Coltrane in 1956. “Iris”, by contrast, is another Coltrane-like ballad, not too dissimilar to “Infant Eyes” on Shorter’s Speak No Evil album.

At over forty-eight minutes, E.S.P. is one of the longest jazz albums of its period. Subsequent Davis recordings would be even longer.