What 99 Cents Can Get You

As promised/threatened last week, here are details of some recent acquisitions from the 99 cent bin at the local used book and CD store, which are provided to demonstrate to you that on even the most limited budget, you can still enjoy jazz (or any other musical genre for that matter).  For me, it’s about trying out new artists I haven’t heard of, without investing the cost of dinner out on a CD I might hate.  My teenage son tells me that’s what the internet is for – but if I’ve never heard of the artist, then Google is of limited use.  Anyway, the “keepers” out of the current batch are (there was only one “send it to the thrift store” dud this trip [not reviewed here], so my return on investment was pretty good this time out).

George Brooks, “Lasting Impressions”

From the artist’s website:

Saxophonist George Brooks has performed with such notable musicians as Etta James, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Kronos Quartet, Anthony Braxton, Zakir Hussain, and Terry Riley. His original compositions combine elegant melodies with the rich harmonies of modern jazz and the driving rhythms of North India to form a unique and wholly satisfying musical experience. [snip]

Brooks also maintains a high profile in the jazz and blues worlds. He has toured with and arranged for blues diva, Etta James and has worked with such distinctive artists as Anthony Braxton, Albert Collins, Turtle Island String Quartet, Larry Coryell and Henry Kaiser. He was recently featured on the Yo Miles CD (Shanachie) with Kaiser and Leo Smith.

These diverse and demanding experiences give him a deep intuitive understanding of the world’s many musical forms. His unique melodic voice, expressed through rich tone, technical fluency and dynamic stage presence makes him a much sought-after performer.

As indicated, “Lasting Impressions” is a jazz-Indian music hybrid that I enjoyed a lot.  One of the two picks of the litter from this trip to McKay’s (Now right off Interstate 40/75, and worth a visit if you’re ever in K-town).  But you already knew I’d like this CD, as aging baby boomers are suckers for anything with a sitar…

Sal Marquez, “One for Dewey”

Marquez is a trumpet player, and on some of the cuts on this CD you’d be forgiven for thinking you were listening to Miles Davis in the early `60’s, as their styles are very similar – but Sal has just a little bit of that “West Coast sound” mixed in to his Miles; a little smoother; sounding a little less honed in the school of hard knocks.  Still a very enjoyable album; I’d consider this one the second pick of the litter this time out.  The full list of musicians on this CD are given here; if you’re familiar with current jazz artists you can see there are some well-known folks listed.

Marquez has been around for a while: he played with Frank Zappa in the early 1970’s, shortly after being featured on “Keep On Keepin’ On: 1968-70” by Woody Herman and His Thundering Herd.  So he’s covered a lot of territory, even in just those few years.  I wasn’t able to find a link to a full biography, however.  Sorry.

Mark Whitfield, “Patrice”

Mark Whitfield is a guitarist; his homepage is here.  A native of New York, he’s performed with a long list of notables.  From the website:

…Whitfield was dubbed “The Best Young Guitarist In The Business”, by The New York Times. In September of 1990, Warner Brothers Records released Whitfield’s debut solo recording, “The Marksman” to widespread critical acclaim and impressive sales. In the decade to follow Whitfield released two subsequent recordings for Warner Brothers, five for Polygram’s Verve Label, and two for Herbie Hancock’s ground breaking label, Transparent Music. Along the way, Whitfield’s musical interests began to expand, taking him out of the realm of traditional jazz [into numerous TV and movie projects].

This was a good, enjoyable album.  Not a classic for the ages, but I enjoyed it such that I think I got it for a real bargain price, and can recommend it if you happen onto it – like at his website, maybe. 🙂

Claus Ogerman, “Claus Ogerman (with Michael Brecker)”

Claus Ogerman’s name didn’t ring any bells with me, but it turns out it should have:  Ogerman is an arranger/conductor who’s been around jazz for decades (since the 1950’s), contributing his talents to such five-star albums as Wes Montgomery’s “Willow Weep For Me,” Jobim’s “Wave,”to more recent efforts such as Diana Krall’s “The Look of Love.”  This album features his own compositions, and was a pleasant surprise.  You can find out more about Ogerman at the site of a die-hard fan here; the following is a taste:

The sheer versatility of Claus simply cannot be overstated. I know of no one else who is so at home within SO MANY varied styles of music and works in them equally well, across the board.  I believe that this openness and non-prejudice toward varied musical styles is one of the greatest gifts he brings to music.  He has arranged top hits for rock and roll stars, music for soul artists & rhythm and blues musicians.  This is in addition to all the music he has arranged from the Broadway stage as well as his orchestrations for many jazz artists and bossa nova pioneers Jobim, Joao Donato & The Gilbertos.  Not to mention Claus’ many arrangements crafted for easy-listening orchestras and even a Roaring 20’s album.  It seems as though there is almost no style of music that has escaped his exquisite touch.

And if you are not familiar with any of Claus Ogerman’s own compositions, you are missing out on a whole other side to this musician.  He has composed individual pieces of pop instrumental music, music for the Broadway stage, concertos (both classical and jazz), a suite for ballet and orchestra, other substantial classical works, a suite which has a mix of classical, jazz, and modern elements within it; film scores for German films, tracks for his own German Oktoberfest album, tracks for big band albums and much more.  All of this work is listed throughout this website.

…And, LOL, that doesn’t even mention such classics as “Watusi Trumpets,” “Trumpets a Go-Go,” “It’s Charleston Time,” or “Stereo for the Swinging Season.”  Is it Martini:30 yet at the space age bachelor pad with the Danish modern furniture?

Jamaaladeen Tacuma, “Show Stopper” and “Music World”

From Wikipedia:

Jamaaladeen Tacuma (born Rudy McDaniel on June 11, 1956 in Long Island, New York [but raised in Philly – K.P.]) is a jazz bass guitarist. He came to prominence in the first version of Ornette Coleman’s electric group Prime Time, with whom he recorded “Dancing In Your Head” and “Body Meta” in 1978.

Additional biographical information is available here.  J.T.’s albums include: Show Stopper (1982), Renaissance Man (1983), So Tranquilizin’ (1984), Music World (1986), Jukebox (1988), and Boss of the Bass (1991).  “Show Stopper” is influenced by an urban soul-funk sound not untypical of many jazz albums of its time.  It’s OK, but I definitely preferred “Music World,” which is more mainstream jazz, but with pieces influenced by the music of where the pieces were composed and performed, from Tokyo to Paris to Istanbul.  

Also of Interest

Kevin Whitehead on NPR’s program Fresh Air, broadcast from WHYY in Philadelphia, this week had a story on three lesser-known sax players who have had material re-released by Blue note records; you can hear the full coverage here:

Blue Note has recently reissued recordings that feature three so-called “second-tier” saxophonists: The Complete Blue Note 45 Sessions by Ike Quebec; Tex Book Tenor by Booker Ervin; Let Me Tell You ‘Bout It  by Leo Parker…

If you didn’t get enough of the “Top Ten Jazz CDs of 2005” lists last week, you can get Kevin Whitehead’s jazz picks there as well, LOL.  But that will have to hold you until next December, unless someone adds some in the comments…

And of course if you’re not into jazz but are in this diary just because you obsessively read everything posted on Booman, you should drop by the NPR website’s music page, where other musical genres are also covered.  Sam thee dawg especially recommends the November 2005 Terry Gross interview with Bruce Springsteen which re-aired this past week.  And if you’re a big fan of the Boss, there are links to numerous other NPR stories on Bruce as well.

Your Turn

What are you listening to this week?  And where can I find good bargains on new or used books and music if I’m ever in your neck of the woods?

0 0 votes
Article Rating