Listen up

By JIM MACNIE  |  December 18, 2007

Anat Fort | A Long Story
The pretty side of rumination, and a disc that accounts for the power of a strong melody. The Israeli pianist with the Brooklyn address plops some luscious barbs into her pastoralism — the same way life does. Between Perry Robinson’s occasional clarinet and Paul Motian’s tap-tap pulse, it’s both earthy and heavenly.

Miles Davis | Live At The 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival
It’s not exactly revelatory — we all knew Davis’s second classic quintet was one of the music’s most exploratory outfits. But it’s a sweet reminder of just how pliable music can be. This stuff, created with saxophonist George Coleman just before Wayne Shorter signed on, is in constant flux, yet manages to give each of its many episodes all the blood it needs. And Miles’s playing is to die for.
 
Bill Mchenry | Roses
The hard-working New York saxophonist is refining a small group sound that relies on simple themes and dreamy playing — even when there’s an aggressive edge to the music. His relationships with guitarist Ben Monder and drummer Paul Motian help him design pieces that float and jab simultaneously. Utterly individualistic.
 
Eric Friedlander | Block Ice & Propane
A solo cello recital that has parallels in Bill Frisell’s hazy heartland tone poems, Friedlander’s program is novel because it stresses melody over chops. That means there’s not all that much extrapolation here, but the enchanting mood and vivid dynamics make up for it.
 
Joe Fiedler | The Crab
The New York trombonist has played with lots of Latin ensembles, and the subtle sense of groove that he brings to bear on these trio pieces is exciting. Drummer Michael Sarin and bassist John Hebert constantly nudge their mate with pulse-driven scenarios that find Fiedler using an array of extended techniques to keep their forays engaging and his listeners on their toes. Freebop heaven.
 
REISSUES
Miles Davis | The Complete On The Corner Sessions
John Coltrane | Interplay
Dewey Redman | The Struggle Continues
Fred Katz | Folk Songs For Far Out Folk

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