Jan 27, 2010
Jan 22, 2010
barabara sounds sez:
Bheki was a self-taught piano prodigy; diabetic, bipolar and missing some fingers; Mercury Music Prize nominated; recorded with Courtney Pine, Joe Henderson, Abbey Lincoln, Elvin Jones and Pharoah Sanders. An exile, a world citizen. All-time great. Much respect.
Bhekumuzi Hyacinth Mseleku, generally known as Bheki Mseleku (3 March 1955 – 9 September 2008) was a jazz musician from South Africa. He was a pianist, saxophonist, guitarist, composer and arranger who was entirely self taught.
Mseleku's father was a musician and teacher, and a Cambridge University music graduate, who had religious beliefs which prevented his children from ready access to the family's upright piano in case any of them should pursue something as "devilish" as music. His mother gave him the keys while his father was away, but the piano ended up as firewood one winters evening. During his childhood, Mseleku suffered the loss of the upper joints of two fingers in his right hand from a go-carting accident. He explained in a 1994 South Bank Show dedicated to him that this was wholly due to the restricted health care available to Black South Africans under Apartheid.
Born in Durban, South Africa, Bheki Mseleku had worked with musicians such as Don Cherry and had collaborated on the Cry Freedom soundtrack, before he gave up music for several years. The retreat did him a world of good because on his return he recorded Celebration, his debut solo album. Playing piano, tenor sax and singing, Mseleku produced a marvellous mix of African and Western jazz music. Mseleku's piano playing owes a lot to McCoy Tyner and fellow South African, Abdullah Ibrahim, and in his vocals he possesses a decent impassioned rhythm. Many of his solos are outstanding and the length of the record gives him and his fellow musicians a chance to explore the textures of South African jazz. The musicians include British sax players Courtney Pine, Jean Toussant and Steve Williamson and Americans Marvin Smith (drums) and Michael Bowie (bass). The mix of the three continents works well and results in a groove spiritual but never sombre. A celebration indeed.
Jan 18, 2010
Jan 16, 2010
Stéphan Oliva (p), Bruno Chevillon (b), Paul Motian (d)
barabara sounds sez:
Brilliant French piano trio recorded live in 2001 and issued that same year. Paul Motian shouldn't need any introduction; the other two are right up there on the same level. I don't speak/read a lot of French, but here are a couple of reviews with bits I do understand...
Oliva est un immense pianiste... Un très grand disque.
amazon.fr sez :
À la fois très abstraite, très physique et très chantante, la musique de ce trio accorde une importance au geste qui préside à l'émergence du son... Par-delà l'Atlantique et le soi-disant fossé des générations, l'empathie et l'écoute mutuelle qui unissent les deux Français et le batteur américain (qui pourrait être leur père) est en effet une source de rare ravissement.
Jan 10, 2010
Jan 6, 2010
barabara sounds sez:
I only got to know this one quite recently (yes, it's gnu to me). That's my oversight... and my pleasure to discover it. There's some great playing here (including some top work by Jarrett). HIghly recommended.
"Gnu High" was trumpeter/flugelhornist Kenny Wheeler's first for ECM, and Keith Jarrett's last session as a sideman: both deliver astonishing improvisations in a highly ineractive quartet with Holland and DeJohnette, and Wheeler's writing is captivating.
A killer ECM debut from Kenny Wheeler -- a real standout in the label's classic 70s run, and a record that's overflowing with soul and feeling! Wheeler had already made a number of key recordings by the time of this ECM set, but the label's approach seems to unlock something new in his playing -- a deeper sensitivity, yet never in the slower, too-open way of other ECM players -- almost an Art Farmer sort of approach to the flugelhorn, which he uses exclusively on this set. The tracks are all quite long, but very focused and flowing -- with key rhythmic support from the trio of Keith Jarrett on piano, Dave Holland on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums -- all of whom are happy to put their own agendas aside, and let Wheeler's magnificent lines direct the album's sound.
an amazon reviewer sez:
It seemed as if Kenny Wheeler set this record up to provide his sidemen with a chance to boost their reputations enormously. Wheeler sets up the CD with his swooping solo over the changes and then Keith Jarrett produces some of the most lyrical piano playing on record. His solo transition on the first track is one of the high points of the album. Dave Holland seems to have ears the size of a house for everything that he picks up and responds to and sometimes seems like a rock in the middle of all the swirling music around him. Jack DeJohnette has a great solo where he stays on his cymbals for so long that when he finally plays one of his toms it feels like finally stepping on firm ground after an atmoshperic ride. Wheeler's writing is consistantly original and beautiful throughout.