Monthly Archives: February 2011

CD Recommendations

Bobby Wellins: Time Gentlemen, Please (Trio Records)

Some players just get better with age – and, judging by this new CD, Bobby Wellins is one of them. Featuring a wonderfully eclectic and imaginative selection of tunes from his working repertoire, it finds the great Scots tenor player in terrific form whether he’s powering through such uptempo tunes as the title track, balladeering wistfully on a standard or giving I’m Wishing (the love song from Snow White) a stylish, funky going-over. Of course, it helps that he’s surrounded by an ace trio – notably his long-term pianist John Critichinson.

Jump Presents Private Treasures from Allegheny Jazz Concerts 1950s-2000 

For lovers of classic jazz, the Allegheny Jazz Society is a familiar name as it has issued many great recordings on the Jump label. It has also played host to some great live performances, as this superb two-disc compilation demonstrates. Comprising numbers recorded across a 50-year period, it features groups including the likes of Marty Grosz, Ken Peplowski, Bob Wilber, Dick Hyman, John Sheridan and Scott Hamilton – all of whom have been regular visitors to British jazz festivals – as well as by the late, great Ruby Braff and Lee Wiley.

Howard Alden: I Remember Django (Arbors Records)

Two of US guitarist Howard Alden’s earliest influences were the gypsy jazz pioneer Django Reinhardt and the American great Barney Kessel – and he pays tribute to both on this new CD which also recalls the fact that, back in 1999, he was responsible for coaching Sean Penn in his role as a Django-obsessed guitarist in Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown. Featuring a Django-style line-up (two guitars and bass), this is a joyful album which showcases Alden’s lyricism and dexterity on 13 sublime numbers. Cornettist Warren Vache and clarinettist Anat Cohen’s elegant contributions are the icing on the cake.

Vince Guaraldi Trio: Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus (OJC Remasters) 

Italian-American pianist Vince Guaraldi – AKA Dr Funk – is best known for his catchy music for the Charlie Brown/Peanuts TV specials. However, before that association, he had already scored a hit with this 1961 album – which has at its core trio versions of the music from the influential 1959 film Black Orpheus (the movie that brought Brazilian music to worldwide attention) – and had topped the charts with his own complementary composition number Cast Your Fate to the Wind. Lovely, atmospheric stuff.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under CD reviews

Classic Jazz Orchestra, Glasgow Art Club

The spirit of the old Glasgow Society of Musicians – where this jazz fan first heard many of her favourite jazz players – is alive and well and may have finally found a new home, thanks to the Bridge Music series of concerts at the Glasgow Art Club. Warm and welcoming, cosy yet spacious, the art club has the same relaxed ambience of the Society’s Berkeley Street building and, based on Thursday night’s concert by the Classic Jazz Orchestra, it would certainly be a worthy successor as a venue for classic and mainstream jazz whose fans have generally not been well served in Glasgow for years.

That fact was underlined by the various mini-reunions going on between punters who used to frequent the GSOM. As the evening progressed, the audience swelled to include many younger concert-goers, undoubtedly lured by the deal that Bridge Music is offering to RSAMD students and their chums.

Of course, it helped enormously that the band appearing on the bill was the CJO, an outfit which never fails to draw a crowd, thanks to the fact that it varies its programme regularly and offers a rare chance to hear tunes from the 1920s onwards played as if they were brand new. Thursday night’s programme veered more to the 1950s and 1960s end of the repertoire, with stand-outs including a masterful version of The Waters of March in which the melody seemed to snake its way fluidly around the front line, Oliver Nelson’s airily cool Stolen Moments and Duke Ellington’s Happy Go Lucky Loco, a train-inspired piece which built up a terrific head of steam.

Leave a comment

Filed under Concert reviews