Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend viewing: Harold Land-Bobby Hutcherson

Harold Land-Bobby Hutcherson Quintet, with Land on tenor, Hutcherson on vibes, Stanley Cowell on piano, Reggie Johnson on bass, and Joe Chambers on drums. This footage is from their 1969 European tour.

First, in Antibes, on July 25th, they play "Herzog", a modal tune by Bobby Hutcherson, from his Blue Note album Total Eclipse. Warning: the video ends abruptly cutting the ending.

Next, from their concert in Molde (Norway) in 1969, possibly July too, they first do "Theme from Blow-Up" (Herbie Hancock's composition for Antonioni's film), and then Sonny Rollins' "Oleo".

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Benny Goodman's Carnegie Hall concert... in Croydon

Tomorrow at 20:00 Fairfield Halls in Croydon will host Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. Live. A group of musicians, led by Richard Pite and Pete Long taking Gene Krupa's and Benny Goodman's roles on drums and clarinet, will play the legendary concert.

Although I've never seen this show, I've been to an homage to Benny Goodman's Quartet (and its members) also by Pite and Long, and it was excellent. Of the two, Pite is the most compelling, with his vintage drum set and his unique commitment to old-style drumming. This is more important than it may seem: as Pite demonstrated with Guy Barker and Big Band Britannia, at Barbican in 2009, historically accurate drumming is half the flavour of a repertory band.

In these days, there's never a bad chance to see a big band live, especially if, for historical accuracy, they play acoustic.

More info on the event, here.

The most complete source of information about the original concert, and an entertaining read too, is Jon Hancock's book, an astonishing 200, A4-sized, pages devoted to the event.

The whole programme of the night can be listened to in Spotify.

PS: Some footage from the original gig...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday music: Ángel Unzu

Ángel Unzu is an astonishingly original guitarist from my homeland. He's not Flamenco, he's not Jazz, and he's not Folk (although he's been part of jazz and folk groups). If anything, he's a composer-virtuoso of his own music, a long and illustrious tradition that encompasses people like Vivaldi or Bach.

This is "Septiembre", from his latest CD Tiempo de Búsqueda ("Searching time").

You can listen to this whole album on Spotify. It's also available on iTunes.

Ángel's site is

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Random thoughts on Cedar Walton

(After two sets at Ronnie Scott's)

Cedar Walton is a good jazz composer. He plays composer piano, well-structured solos, everything in its place. He's elegant, tasteful, bluesy and ballsy, all at the same time.

He's in the tradition that comes from a certain set of values, a certain self-restraint, a solid musical foundation and plenty of church-going.

Not to be missed, if possible.

PS: David Williams on bass is truly great, but Willie Jones III is so inexplicably hot and cool at the same time that he almost makes me sick.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Musicians' quotes

Basically, I don't care what category music belongs to; I only care whether it is good or bad. As one fellow musician put it: "I like jazz, not because it's jazz, but because it's good music."

Gunther Schuller: Musings
(Da Capo, 1999; p.115)