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Lathe Of Heaven
Lathe Of Heaven
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful album by the Mark Turner quartet, January 25, 2015
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This review is from: Lathe Of Heaven (Audio CD)
As soon as I heard about this album, I got pretty excited - an album of Turner compositions, performed a piano-less quartet including trumpeter Avishai Cohen and the great drummer Marcus Gilmore. It doesn't disappoint. The inevitable point of departure is the 2nd Miles Davis quintet's studio albums - that sleek, dry, abstract, cerebral sound - though Turner's group goes in a different direction. One of the other reviews describes this as "chamber music" with "ballad tempos", but respectfully, I definitely don't hear that - aside from the slower bluesy compositions toward the end, the first four tunes are taken at a fairly brisk pace. And while this studio album certainly is more restrained than this group's live performances/recordings (just like the 60s Davis quintet), there's a subtlety on Lathe of Heaven that wouldn't necessarily show up on stage. Glad to have this one!


One Is The Other
One Is The Other
Offered by MEGA Media
Price: $14.84
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff by Hart & company, January 25, 2015
This review is from: One Is The Other (Audio CD)
Of this group's two ECM albums (there's also an earlier album on Highnote), I'd narrowly give this one the gold medal. In particular, there are two outstanding Mark Turner compositions here which are given excellent performances - the tongue-twisting "Lennie Groove" and the deeply soulful "Sonnet for Stevie" (you can hear a very different version of this one on Turner's own album, LATHE OF HEAVEN). Aside from Turner's tunes, you also have three tunes by Hart and two by pianist Ethan Iverson, all of which are excellent - and the standard "One Enchanted Evening", given a lovely reading here. As with the earlier ALL OUR REASONS, this album is fairly "straight-ahead" by ECM standards, though less gritty than Hart's earlier recordings. Highly recommended!


All Our Reasons
All Our Reasons
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent post-bop by an all-star group, January 25, 2015
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This review is from: All Our Reasons (Audio CD)
Of the two Billy Hart quartet albums on ECM (there's also an earlier album on Highnote), I'd give this one a narrow 2nd place. It opens up with the absolutely stunning "Song for Balkis", which justifies the purchase of the album by itself. The rest of the music is also worthwhile, if not quite at the same level, with compositions by Hart, pianist Ethan Iverson, and saxophonist Mark Turner. Though more ethereal than some of Hart's earlier work on other labels, it's positively earthy by ECM standards. Check this one out, then its sequel One Is the Other.


Sky & Country
Sky & Country
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3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag; some parts are great, others are boring, January 19, 2015
This review is from: Sky & Country (Audio CD)
Out of the two FLY albums on ECM, this is easily the weaker one. There's some excellent music here - "Dharma Days", "Elena Berenjena", and "Super Sister" - but also some fairly dull (at least to me) slow-tempo music. The group's follow-up, Year of the Snake, is significantly better.


Lift Every Voice
Lift Every Voice
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A motherlode of outstanding music, January 19, 2015
This review is from: Lift Every Voice (MP3 Music)
I got this back when it came out, over a decade ago, and have gone through a few phases with it - playing it to death, getting a little bored with it, and then rediscovering it. In retrospect it's one of Lloyd's stronger albums on ECM, though because of sheer length it's hard to listen to the whole way through in one sitting. Given the fairly large amount of musical terrain covered, it's almost a summary of Lloyd's ECM career - the group covers pop songs, Ellington/Strayhorn, some public-domain stuff, and plenty of Coltraneish jazz. A lot of these tunes show up on other Lloyd albums; sometimes the versions are better elsewhere, sometimes here, but they're never disappointing. My personal favorites are "Amazing Grace", "East Virginia West Memphis" (some nice raw blues playing on this one), "Blood Count" (maybe my favorite version of this tune - with all due respect to the original as well as Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, and Art Farmer), "Deep River", and "Rabo de Nube". I can't imagine any Lloyd fan - and really, any appreciator of high quality modern jazz - being disappointed here.


One Time Out
One Time Out
Price: $9.90

3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite, March 1, 2014
This review is from: One Time Out (Audio CD)
This was Motian's last album as a leader for Soul Note, and the 2nd one with just the trio (they'd also recorded four albums within the context of a quintet). After this one, Motian would move onto the JMT and Winter&Winter labels, where he'd make the lion's share of his best recordings.

One of the other reviewers comments that this is the trio's most "ferocious" album, and I think it's right. "Morpion", "One Time Out", "The Storyteller" contain plenty of thrash and skronk. I don't think the sound of the recording, which is one-dimensional and harsh, really brings out the best in these performances - compare them to "Abacus" on Live at the Village Vanguard or "Cosmology" on Trioism, and you may agree. You do have some quieter moments on the album - "Monk's Mood" and Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now", as well as the ballad "Portrait of T" - but I wouldn't count them as the trio's best work in this style.

If you like the trio's other work, this one is worth checking out, though I'd get about a dozen of their albums before this one.


Misterioso
Misterioso
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Motian's best of the 80s, March 1, 2014
This review is from: Misterioso (Audio CD)
This was Paul Motian's final, and best, album with this quintet. It was also a bit of a turning point in terms of material; Motian's earlier albums consisted almost entirely of Motian originals, but here he adds two compositions by Thelonious Monk, resuming a kind of "musical love affair" with the pianist's music. (Motian had briefly played with Monk in the early 60s.) The title track is taken pretty respectfully - you don't get the wholesale deconstruction that would appear on the 90s album Sound of Love - and you also get a charming version of "Pannonica".

That said, the strength of this album is not only in the Monk tunes, but in a very strong set of 7 Motian originals. "Byablue", recorded previously on the Keith Jarrett album of the same title, gets a lovely solo rendition by Frisell. (To my knowledge, this is the only other time Motian recorded this tune - too bad, it's a great one.) You also get memorable versions of "Abacus", "Once Around the Park", and the beautiful ballad "Folk Song for Rosie". The piece de resistance is a romp through "Dance" - more aggressive and exciting than the original recording with Charles Brackeen and David Izenzon. It's worth hearing the album for this tune alone.


Mode For Joe
Mode For Joe
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a letdown, February 23, 2014
This review is from: Mode For Joe (Audio CD)
Compared to Inner Urge, Mode for Joe was a bit of a letdown (though it was a lot better than the next album Joe recorded, The Kicker). Around this period, Blue Note got into recording some of its star saxophonists in medium sized groups - Stanley Turrentine, Hank Mobley, and Wayne Shorter all did it. Stylistically, this sits about halfway between the hard-boppish Mobleys and the more avant-garde Shorter (The All Seeing Eye).

The lineup has a bit of a "fish nor fowl?" character to it: I'm not sure I would have picked Curtis Fuller for this date, and can't help wonder what it would have sounded like with Woody Shaw and Andrew Hill (or Freddie Hubbard and Herbie Hancock) replacing Lee Morgan and Cedar Walton. Still, the music is generally on a high level and if you let go of expectations a little, you'll find plenty to enjoy here.


Paul Motian [6 CD]
Paul Motian [6 CD]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first 5, plus 1, February 23, 2014
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This review is from: Paul Motian [6 CD] (Audio CD)
With this package and the one released around the same time that covers his Soul Note album, all of Motian's early work as a leader has gotten the box set treatment. With a few exceptions I don't think either box covers his best work, but the music is generally at a very high level. Besides the leader's excellent work as a composer and drummer, you get a wide swath of extremely interesting sidemen.

The ECM box contains Motian's first 5 albums as a leader, plus 1 album recorded a few years later once he had moved onto the Soul Note label. Stylistically and lineup-wise, they can be split into 3 pairs:

1) Conception Vessel and Tribute. These parallel, to me, Tony Williams's first two albums on Blue Note (Life Time and Spring). CV is a mix of different lineups with include (on different tracks) Charlie Haden, Keith Jarrett, Sam Brown and Leroy Jenkins. Tribute is, of the six albums in this box, the one outright classic - Brown and Haden return to the lineup, and are joined by alto saxophonist Carlos Ward and a second guitarist.

2) Dance and Le Voyage. This was Motian's first working group, a trio with the Ornette-influenced saxophonist Charles Brackeen and a bassist (David Izenzon on Dance, Jean-Francois Jenny-Clark on Le Voyage). Dance is in my opinion the weakest album in this box; given the firepower this band could offer, it's incredibly restrained (you get a sense of what they were capable of on "Prelude" and "Dance". Le Voyage is stronger and harder-hitting. An underrated album in Motian's catalogue.

3) Psalm and It Should've Happened a Long Time Ago. Psalm was Motian's first recording with Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell (as part of a quintet), and ISHaLTA was his first TRIO recording with them. The albums in the Soul Note box feature similar lineups and round out this period. While I wouldn't call either album the best thing Motian did with Frisell and Lovano (either as a trio or within a quintet), they are both very good and worth hearing.

With the exception of Tribute, I wouldn't put any of these albums in the very top tier of Motian's work as a leader. But people who like the later albums on JMT, Winter & Winter and ECM will probably find a lot to like here (and should also consider picking up the Soul Note box).


It Should've Happened a Long Time Ago
It Should've Happened a Long Time Ago
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Band within a Band, February 23, 2014
The choice to pick out this trio from Motian's quintet of the time was complete genius - while he recorded one more album with the quintet (the superb Misterioso), the collaboration with Frisell and Lovano would become his band of choice over the next decade. This album has a lusher, denser feel than the trio's later work; the band (and especially Frisell) would gradually pare back their sound on subsequent recordings.

The title track is probably the most memorable thing here; it's one of Motian's best compositions, though I think the version on Trioism is better. But there's nothing weak on here. This trio would make even stronger albums on JMT, Winter & Winter and ECM over the next few decades, this one is worth hearing.


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