Jazz Sensibilities

Since 2008, a place to discover new jazz and beyond releases on the rise. New WEBSITE and New Contributors Adding. Stay Tuned. Until then, enjoy the blog, but check back often.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jimmy Giuffre, Free Fall

A Historical Recording From An Under Celebrated Artist
by  Jeff Becker

The years between the release of Jimmy Giuffre's ground-breaking 1962 album Free Fall and his return to the studio in 1971 with Night Dance have become known as the legendary clarinetist and saxophonist's "lost decade," a key period in his and jazz musical evolution which sadly went undocumented. That is until now with a two-disc set that will be available June 10th, 2014 on Elemental Music, distributed in the U.S. by INgrooves/Universal Music Distribution.

The release documents two 1965 performances in New York City, unheard for nearly 50 years, documenting a rare and revealing glimpse into that disco-graphical dark period. This captivating two-disc set, would be valuable solely for the brilliant music, which finds Giuffre leading trio and quartet line-ups and demonstrates his experiments in counterpoint and abstraction, creating a chamber-like setting and even ventures into avant-garde territory. The CD offers a much-needed insight into one of jazz's most innovative thinkers at a key moment in his development.

These recordings are the latest treasures to be unearthed from the seemingly inexhaustible troves of producer/engineer George Klabin, who in the last few years has also released essential "lost" recordings on his Resonance Records imprint by Bill Evans (Live at Art D'Lugoff's Top of the Village Gate) and the forthcoming Charles Lloyd (Manhattan Stories). Additionally Zev Feldman ushered Wes Montgomery’s newly acclaimed Echoes of Indiana Avenue through Resonance’s auspices.

The Jimmy Giuffre 3 & 4's New York Concerts was brought to light through the passion and dedication of Klabin's partner in these releases, producer Zev Feldman, who brought the tapes to Barcelona-based Distrijazz founder Jordi Soley. Sharing a similar enthusiasm for the music, Feldman and Soley co-founded Elemental Music label as a home for Feldman to release more catalog discoveries, unreleased tapes or reissues of out of print records from bygone labels.

The first disc was recorded in September 1965 at Judson Hall during Charlotte Moorman's New York Festival of The Avant Garde, produced by saxophonist and jazz critic Don Heckman, on a triple bill with bands led by Heckman and Charles Lloyd. The concert marks the only performance by this particular trio with bassist Richard Davis and drummer Joe Chambers, who when interviewed for the CD booklet, had no recollection of the date even happening.

Disc two travels slightly back in time to May 1965, with a performance in an empty Wollman Auditorium on the campus of Columbia University, then 19-year-old Columbia student Klabin had recently been appointed head of the jazz department at WKCR-FM, the university's radio station, and wanted to present original recordings as part of his show. He invited Giuffre with that goal in mind, and recorded his quartet - with Chambers, pianist Don Friedman, and bassist Barre Phillips. The pristine sound quality reveals Klabin's prodigious talents at an early age, close-miking each musician and mixing live to a Crown 2-track tape recorder. "It's George Klabin's world of sound," says Feldman with audible admiration. The release was mixed, mastered, and restored by Klabin and Fran Gala at the Resonance Records Studios in Beverly Hills.

The New York Concerts represent a few milestones beyond the staggeringly inventive sounds being made: they mark Giuffre's first bands with a drummer in many years and a return to showcasing the tenor saxophone after a long period of focusing solely on the clarinet.  This release provides context for the genius of Jimmy Giuffre, which Feldman hopes will spur increased attention for the oft-overlooked innovator. "I hope that this serves as the ignition for dialogue about who he was and why he should be remembered. I hope that people enjoy the music. I hope that we can learn from it. And I hope we keep the candle burning for Jimmy Giuffre and that he would be proud of what we're doing here."

Be sure to add this set to your collection, no serious jazz listener should be without this!

Dorothy Doring and Phil Mattson, Compositions by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

A Fine Offering of Ellington and Strayhorn, That Will Stand The Test of Time
by Jeff Becker

The veteran vocalist Dorothy Doring is a crossover artist who is equally at home with contemporary pop to classic standards having experience in everything from country to rock, to blues and jazz.  Her debut CD, About Time, earned a nomination for the Minnesota Music Awards “Jazz CD of the Year.” In 2005, she traveled south to New Orleans to record Southern Exposure with renowned producer and arranger David Torkanowsky and some of the finest Crescent City musicians.  A founding member of the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network, today she balances performance and teaching, currently as a full-time music educator for the St. Paul Public Schools and on stage at music venues throughout the Twin Cities.
Doring takes her time between albums, only release one every six or seven years and each effort is always developed and well thought out. For her new CD, Doring places herself in a duet setting with pianist Phil Mattson with a program simply called, Compositions by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn
Their duo gives tribute to the great Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Their arrangements and musical interpretations are imaginative, innovative and highly musical.  The music should be well within the pallet of the serious listener of jazz and those found of cabaret.

 Phil Mattson is a two-time Grammy nominee that helped establish The School for Music Vocations at Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa.   Mattson’s resume as an arranger includes commissions for: Manhattan Transfer, Chanticleer, The Dale Warland Singers, The Four Freshmen, and more. As an accompanist, Phil’s resume includes: Mark Murphy, Bobby McFerrin, Sunny Wilkinson, Barbara Morrison, Richie Cole, Ernestine Anderson, Carmen Lundy, and more. He has led the vocal jazz groups pm singers, VoicesIowa, and Vocalogy, and served as Vocal Jazz Director for The Stan Kenton Clinics; he annually conducts the Carnegie Hall Vocal Jazz Festival and leads the Phil Mattson Vocal Jazz/Choral Workshops on campuses throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe and directs the Phil Mattson Singers.

The disc is full of highlights, “Day Dream” is a wonderful lesser known selection, but is a wonderful opener and establishes Doring's command and rich vocal style from the start.  Mattson is a very sensitive accompanist and keeps the music moving and breathing, while supporting Doring.  “Love You Madly” is a stride cabaret styled arrangement that is fun and finds both performers in top form.  Doring finds a way to breathe new life in the vocal anthem, “Lush Life.” Her delivery is passionate and controlled, while embellishing the melody in just the right way and in all the right places.  “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” is given a nice slow tempo that lets the two squeeze the emotions out of the storyline and is right on the mark.
This is a light enjoyable duet date led by vocalist Dorothy Doring that celebrates the music of the Duke and Strayhorn. Arranger/pianist Mattson creates wonderful textures on the piano with an emphasis on the emotional and sulkier side of Ellington's music, which works beautifully. The colors and textures the duet yield an intimate hue to the music, putting additional pressure on the individual players, but Doring and Mattson are more than up to the challenge. This is a fine duet session and beautiful all around.