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Jazznet Selection

by Mike Zwerin

Paris, 10 June 2000 - KEITH JARRETT, "La Scala" (ECM): Keith Jarrett was having lunch on the sunny terrace of an Italian festival's hotel headquarters last summer. Cross-table conversation between the many musical people there was plentiful and friendly. Walking through on his way from his room to a sound check, a smiling Herbie Hancock stopped to say hello at one table after another. People stood up to chat with him. With Jarrett, who remained seated, however, he had to bow down to hear and be heard. Apart from a musical version of the same sort of insensitivity, his recording of an improvised solo concert in the La Scala Opera House in Milan is a masterpiece.

BUCKSHOT LEFONQUE, "Music Evolution" (Columbia)": Branford Marsalis, the tenor saxophone playing power behind this muscular big band named after a Cannonball Adderley nom-de-funk, takes a direction diametrically opposed to that of his oh-so-serious younger brother Wynton. Branford's joyous fusion of the pop music spectrum bounces between rap, funk, rock, rhythm and blues, jungle and jazz. The actor Laurence Fishburne and the poet Maya Angelou recite. Branford's younger-yet brother Delfeayo plays trombone.

GABOR SZABO, "The Sorcerer" (Impulse!): Szabo left his native Budapest in 1956 after the Soviet invasion. He settled in the US as a political refugee (this was recorded in 1967). He combined blues, Eastern and Gypsy influences into a style of jazz/rock guitar that remains avant garde today. Recently, he was cited by Wyclef Jean, one of a new and very hot band of (rapping) refugees called The Fugees, as a major influence.

JOE LOVANO, "Celebrating Sinatra" (Blue Note): Commerciality through universality without condescension or sentimentality. Like its inspiration. Lovano, probably the tenorman of the day, toasts The Voice with the imaginative help of the arranger Manny Albam. The spirit of Nelson Riddle hovers.

CHARLIE PARKER, "Yardbird Suite" (Rhino): Thirty eight tracks on two CDs comprising a career-spanning collection originally released on Dial, Savoy, Guild, Musicraft and Clef. From swing drummer Cozy Cole to "Laura" with strings by way of Dizzy, Miles and Bud. Listening, you suspect that it doesn't really make much sense to listen to anything else.


Any of the above CDs can be found at CDNOW by simply clicking on their titles.

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