[Dixielandjazz] Ben Ratliff (NY Times) Waxes Nostalgic

Charles Suhor csuhor at zebra.net
Sun Dec 26 14:42:45 PST 2004

One interesting thing about this is the implicit maybe explicit 
recognition here that fine modern jazz doesn't have to be reaching for 
something entirely new. I think we're hard-wired to respond to 
improvisation that's firmly anchored in song structure. We get that 
with early jazz, swing and modern jazz, up to but not including 
free-form jazz, where dependably recurring underlying patterns are 
gone. Ratliff isn't asking "Where's the next Coltrane?" or bemoaning 
the fact that no new trails are being blazed in the best two CDs of the 
year. Too bad that so many in the wide-excritics don't take another 
step and acknowledge today's OKOM players by bringing this appreciation 
of good-jazz-now to premodern jazz players.

Charlie Suhor

On Dec 26, 2004, at 9:10 AM, Steve barbone wrote:

> Below are, according to Ben Ratliff, NY Times Jazz Critic, the TOP 2 
> Jazz
> Albums released in 2004. Maybe not quite OKOM, however they are both 
> very
> interesting picks.
> Why? Because they reach back in time to a gentler, more understandable 
> jazz,
> rather than ahead to avant garde, and modernism, the usual jazz critic
> choices, which most of us berate.
> They are both very musical CDs.
> Could this be a trend? Read on:
> December 26, 2004 - MY Times
> THE BEST - By Ben Ratliff
> The Deepest Jazz Grooves
> "1. JOE LOVANO: 'I'M ALL FOR YOU' (Blue Note). On paper, the quartet 
> of Mr.
> Lovano on saxophone, Hank Jones on piano, George Mraz on bass and Paul
> Motian on drums neatly entwines the classicist and experimentalist 
> streams
> in postwar jazz. But I doubt they gave that a second's thought. Here 
> they
> play only ballads, knocking them out of the park with a grace that 
> seems
> effortless. The rhythm is wickedly self-edited and deeply behind the 
> beat;
> the saxophone playing is billowing, smeared and full of Ben 
> Websteresque
> caresses; Mr. Jones's clarion bebop piano runs through it all."
> -----
> MY NOTES: This could have been titled "Lovano For Lovers" It is a 
> beautiful
> CD with 9 tunes including: Don't Blame Me, Stella By Starlight, Like 
> Someone
> in Love, Early Autumn and Monk's Dream. Recognizable melody, 
> beautifully
> tender renditions from a jazz master of his instrument.
> ------
> (Eighty-Eights/Columbia). It's the last session Hank Jones recorded 
> with his
> brother Elvin, the incomparable improvising drummer of modern music. 
> (Elvin
> Jones died on May 18.) The program is all standards, and the star is 
> Elvin,
> playing superbly, with the great depth of his sound accurately 
> recorded."
> ------
> MY NOTES: A wonderful recording, especially for drummers because Elvin 
> is in
> top form. His drums are tuned exquisitely, played tastefully and 
> recorded
> clearly. Another album of standards including Caravan, Softly in a 
> Morning
> Sunrise, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Satin Doll (listen to the piano on 
> this
> one for some new ideas on an old stanby), Moose The Mooche and Someday 
> My
> Prince Will Come.
> These picks absolutely blew me away because IMO, they demonstrate a 
> desire
> on the part of jazz critics as well as the growing jazz audience for a
> simpler, more melodic form, yet one still filled with expert 
> improvisation.
> Catch The Wave.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
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