Marketing executive Jeff Sodikoff recommends businesses appeal to consumers by first attempting to understand them. He explains that today’s buyers are not the same buyers that existed 10-15 years ago. Times have changed and in order for businesses to keep up, they must understand today’s consumer.
Mark Geringer is a New York resident and small business accountant. He has been a certified accountant since 1979. Not many businesses manage to survive for 33 years, yet Mark managed to keep his independent accounting firm afloat by providing customers with a kind and helpful service.
Fire! is a collective improvising group from Sweden featuring Mats Gustafsson on saxophone and electronics, Johan Berthling on bass and Andreas Werliin on drums. On this album they welcome a special guest, Oren Ambarchi on guitar and electronics. Their sound is a wild mix of free jazz swirling drones and hypnotic groove. “A Man Who Might Have Been Screaming” opens the album with rough saxophone joined by bass and drums, building a head of steam, before setting off into buzzing, screaming overdrive. The music becomes an overpowering buzzsaw of sound, tempered by abstract smears. Droning hypnotic sections of music give way to a scorching saxophone blast the heralds the end of the piece. A grinding raw opening with strong drumming and hypnotic electronics usher in “And The Stories Will Flood Your Satisfaction (With Terror).” This is an epic 23 minute improvisation with Gustafsson simply wailing above a maelstrom of sound. As the performance develops, throbbing bass bubbles up like a monster from the deep, laying the foundation for impossibly intense hair-raising improvisation. The music becomes cathartic, ecstatic and simply overpowering. “He Wants To Sleep In A Dream (He Keeps In His Head)” has a accelerating pulse of bass and electronics developing an angular groove with shards of guitar sparking off. Gustafsson’s saxophone lays out as the guitar improvises over a hypnotic bass and drum drone, pulsating and locked in as scorching electroshock electronics are added into the mix. After the glorious chaos of the first three tracks, “I Am Sucking For A Bruise” tones things down, coming to the listener like a haunted epilogue of wind blowing across an icy and forlorn landscape. This was a fascinating album with an interesting combination of free-form jazz and progressive rock that makes for a heady mixture. It shows what happens when you tear down barriers between genres and allow people to interact in a free and open manner, allowing their creativity to flow unfettered and without boundaries. In the Mouth – A Hand – amazon.com
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This is an introductory album pulling together some of the high points of tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins’ recordings from 1956-1958. Rollins is one of the true masters of jazz and the period represented here was one of his finest and whets the listeners’ appetite to delve deeper into his catalog. One of his most well known compositions leads off the album, “St. Thomas,” it is a classic joyful song that has become a jazz standard. Everything about this performance is special from the magisterial saxophone to the great drumming of Max Roach and generous and tasteful piano solo from Tommy Flanagan. The reading of Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood” comes from Rollins’ collaboration with the Modern Jazz Quartet. He plays thoughtful and patient ballad saxophone in a deeply lyrical fashion shaded by piano and vibes. “I’m An Old Cowhand” is from his great trio LP Way Out West. This is a fun performance with clip-clop drumming from Shelly Manne and an epic melodic solo from Rollins that is bursting with ideas. “His saxophone pours forth on “Someday I’ll Find You” chased by up-tempo bass and drums like a bird in flight. Saxophone and drums joust and parry in an exciting fashion. One of Sonny Rolins great strengths is the ability to take any song of any vintage and to craft a great improvisation from it. “There’s No Business Like Show Business” has a swinging quartet making the familiar show tune into something all its own. Rollins’ solo has a wealth of ideas buoyed by fast paced piano, bass and drums. “Tenor Madness” is a swinging and exciting up-tempo twin tenor saxophone duet with fellow legend John Coltrane. Not so much a saxophone battle as a conversation between two of the best musicians of the day. After a classy piano trio interlude, the saxophones take turns trading ideas with the drums before taking the song to a close. This was a solid introduction to some of Sonny Rollins finest work. While his large discography may be daunting to the jazz neophyte, this is an easily digestible collection that helps the listener make the acquaintance of one of the finest musicians in jazz. The Very Best Of Sonny Rollins – amazon.com
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In a lengthy interview in the British magazine Jazzwize and information available on his web site, it was clear that Branford Marsalis really wanted to investigate the song form of jazz on his latest album. It suits the band well, allowing them to tell stories with the originals and standards that make up the album. The group consists of Branford Marsalis on tenor and soprano saxophones, Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Justin Faulkner on drums. Marsalis splits the songs pretty evenly between his two horns, taking the first two uptempo performances on soprano, “The Mighty Sword” is an arresting opening tune and “Brews” coming next with its choppy and unpredictable Monk-like structure. They examine one of Thelonious Monk’s own compositions, “Teo,” an excellent performance for the full band, particularly Faulkner who trades exciting passages with the other musicians on this song and the following “Whiplash.” The album closes with a couple of interesting standards. First Marsalis sticks to tenor saxophone for a lengthy version of “My Ideal.” Channeling swinging ballad masters of the past like Dexter Gordon or Ben Webster, the improvisation is lengthy, thoughtful and patient from both the leader and the band. Finally there is a bonus track of “Treat It Gentle” originally by Sidney Bechet (whose autobiography is under the same title.) Back on soprano as Bechet was known for, the band takes a medium tempo jaunty swing, bring the album back full circle to the idea of exploring songs and songforms. Four Mf’s Playin’ Tunes – amazon.com
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Saxophonist and clarinetist Ken Vandermark and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love have performed together in so many different contexts that they have a near telepathic sensibility of their improvisational contexts. That fact is brought to bear on this duo album recorded in Chicago during January of 2011. Nilssen-Love remains an ever potent force on drums and percussion, while Vandermark deploys his tenor and baritone saxophones along with A and bass clarinets. The music on this album is broken up between five very brief improvisations named “Field” and them numbered sequentially and longer freely improvised performances. The title song “Letter to a Stranger” is a potent and exciting tenor saxophone and drums duet, developing into a great free-flowing conversation. Bursts of saxophone and lighting quick drum responses envelop the music. “Cat in the Water” offers abstract, flighty clarinet and jittery, exiting sounds akin to birds in flight. Squeals of air underpinned by muscular drumming bubble to the surface. Saxophone and drums build slowly on “Crippled Donkey” rolling slowly and inexorably to speed. The music throttles into a mighty and dynamic performance that is full of energy, with great guttural squalls of saxophone and drums. An angular momentum matures on “Bent Corners” with very rapid and action oriented shifts between abstract and open sections and vigorous and energetic music that pulsates with power. This was a fine example of two musicians being locked in the moment with each other and working with the acceptance and appreciation of their partners strength. The music is vigilant and free over the course of different textures and patterns, and constantly engaging to the listener. Letter to a Stranger – amazon.com
If anybody is into spotify, I made a playlist of some of my favorite tracks of this year so far. Not all of my favorites were available, but a good chunk were.
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Guitarist John Abercrombie’s latest album sees him paying homage to fellow guitarist Jim Hall who was a great influence, and some of the great music of the 1950’s and 1960’s that was a revelation to him as a young musician. Abercrombie is joined by Joe Lovano on tenor saxophone, Drew Gress on bass, Joey Baron on drums. “Where are You” has mellow and feathery saxophone and light brushes sounding gentle but not sleepy. A lot of subtle and quiet detail in the texture of texture of Abercrombie’s delicate guitar framed by soft cymbals. Soft guitar and tapped cymbals also set the tone on “Easy Reader” leading into a probing saxophone solo. A soft pillow like guitar sound billows out over discrete bass and drums. “Within a Song/Without a Song” sees the pace of the music pick up to a medium-up swing with nicely intertwined guitar and saxophone. Gress is particularly excellent on this song playing a deep, throbbing bass that really pushes the saxophone forward, and Lovano really responds with a strong yet well controlled solo. Abercrombie’s guitar develops a cascade of music over fast bass and drums, leaving room for a confident bass solo. The cover of Miles Davis and Bill Evans’ classic “Flamenco Sketches” begins with slowly probing guitar and drums adding an element of mystery to the proceedings. Saxophone drifts in, touching the melody briefly before lifting off in a light and dreamy feel. Ornette Coleman’s “Blues Connotation” has a fine uptempo melody and a nicely hewn guitar led trio section. Lovano takes off on a very inventive solo, making use of the open ended structure of the composition, interacting well with some empathetic drumming. John Coltrane’s “Wise One” is led off with Abercrombie stating the haunting melody. Lovano’s saxophone is stoic and elegiac, and the mood seeks the wise mind where logic and emotion balance. “Interplay,” written by Bill Evans, has a medium tempo full band improvisation, with gentle nimble guitar improvising over bass and drums, giving way to a strong cutting saxophone solo. This was a well done a beautifully played album, with the focus being on melody and slower tempos. The musicians are very patient allowing the music to come to them and very respectful of the songs and the textures they develop. Within a Song – amazon.com
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Mole is a multi-national jazz band with an open minded aesthetic that includes aspects of fusion and progressive rock into their own unique amalgamation. Consisting of Mark Aanderud on piano and keyboards, Hernan Hecht on drums, David Gilmore on guitar and Jorge “Luri” Molina on upright bass, the group achieves a well integrated and cohesive sound. Standout tracks included “Stones” with Aanderud playing acoustic piano along with some nice aggressive drumming. Gilmore begins his solo in a probing fashion before ramping up the energy to a stinging interlude. Hecht’s drumming is impressive throughout, strong and supple with a profound sense of pulse that moves the music forward. “Four Tortilla Variation” has fast strong piano opening as drums kick hard and guitar spirals out leading the group to a dynamic sensibility as they ramp up the sound and then back off building tension through a piano, bass and drums feature and guitar solo spotlight. The music of Mole is well detailed and works on multiple levels of subtlety to bring the bands vision forward. What’s The Meaning? – amazon.com
I cast a vote in Downbeat’s 77th annual Readers Poll and these were my selections:
Hall of Fame: Sam Rivers
Jazz Artist: William Parker
Jazz Group: Vandermark 5
Big Band: Charles Tolliver
Jazz Album: Matthew Shipp – Elastic Aspects
Jazz Historical Album: Miles Davis: Live in Europe 1967
Trumpeter: Nate Wooley
Trombone: Steve Swell
Soprano Saxophone: Evan Parker
Alto Saxophone: Rudresh Mahanthappa
Tenor Saxophone: David S. Ware
Baritone Saxophone: Ken Vandermark
Clarinet: Anat Cohen
Flute: Henry Threadgill
Piano: Vijay Iyer
Electric Keyboard: John Medeski
Organ: Greg Lewis
Guitar: Mary Halvorson
Bass: Linda Oh
Electric Bass: Jamaaladeen Tacuma
Violin: Jeff Gauthier
Drums: Paal Nilssen-Love
Vibes: Jason Adasiewicz
Percussion: Hamid Drake
Misc. Instrument: David Murray- bass clarinet
Male vocalist: Mose Allison
Female Vocalist: Jen Shyu
Composer: John Zorn
Arranger: William Parker
Record Label: AUM Fidelity
Blues Artist: Joe Louis Walker
Blues Album: Dr. John – Locked Down
Beyond Artist/Group: The Black Keys
Beyond Album: The Black Keys – The Black Keys – El Camino
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