|Liam, settle down, I'm trying to blog!|
Donald Malloy is a strong trumpeter, reminiscent of early Terence Blanchard. Benjamin Drazen is a fine alto player; I'm certain he's checked out Jackie McClean and Antonio Hart, but I wondered if he had ever listened to Arthur Blythe or Joe Ford? Pianist Evgeny Lebedev plays a great solo on the tune "Galactus", a 7/4 vibe (which seems to me "borrowed" from a Jeff Watts tune from the Charles Fambrough album "Thunder and Rainbows", if I'm not mistaken. Hey, like they say, good composers borrow, great composers steal. I don't know where I would fall in that. I rent....). "Vibranium" is a great debut from Massey and his quintet. http://www.chrismasseyjazz.com/
Her self titled CD, "Esperanza" is full of music that draws on many influences, yet feels highly personal. Honestly, it's the kind of CD I wish I could make:it's got a little bit of everything mixed in a visionary way. It's a boiling melting pot of influences;samba, latin, fusion,jazz,funk,blues, R&B. In terms of pushing jazz, or music, in a new direction, this is an example of a project which transcends style. Even the jazziest cut on the CD," If That's True", is at least half hip-hop, or neo-soul, or whatever you want to call it. " I Know You Know" is part funk, part samba, but the vocals have a kind of hip-hop/pop rhythm to them, almost R. Kelly-ish. All in all, this is what music is supposed to; EVOLVE. (Just like humanity. I have more hope in the evolution of music, personally.)I really enjoy this CD, but I would like to see what Spalding is doing in 10 years. With all of her precociousness, she still has room to develop as a musician and composer. Which is a good thing. http://www.esperanzaspalding.com/
And finally, you need to check this out: a video from a blog called "Brilliant Corners";this is Woody Shaw, the late master trumpeter, playing in a courtyard in Boston in the late 80's with a band of pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist David Williams, and a very young Terri-Lynne Carrington on drums. It's a little weird to see world class musicians playing in what seems to be some kind of hotel gig for passing pedestrians. But Woody, although ailing, is clearly killin'. Shaw is arguably one of the last important innovators of jazz trumpet. Enjoy!