Odds and Ends
Thanks to Brian for drawing my attention to the article Swinging Back Onto the Scene - New York Times: "Around 1997, the young jazz bassist Omer Avital seemed ready to be taken very seriously. Given a chance to play regularly at Smalls in the West Village, he had organized an ironclad band, a sextet with four saxophones and no piano. Its music was rugged swing and harmony and texture and sweeping, singable tunes, acoustic jazz full of a reason for being. Mr. Avital is a physical, knockabout player, and the same feeling spread out through his band; the vamps and long solos were worth waiting for, but even the written lines had integrity. He knew how to pare down a melody to the notes that stick. Anyone could understand it."
Also in the news, the Village Voice reviews the new Davis Murray CD, Waltz Again "Waltz Again, featuring Murray's own compositions and arrangements, with Roman Filiu O'Reilly (a saxophonist with Murray's big band) conducting a 10-piece Cuban orchestra, is more conventional than those impromptu sound sculptures with Morris, but almost as electrifying. Murray favors concerto grosso: On the seven-part "Pushkin Suite," the strings have as many discrete passages as Murray's quartet. These juxtapositions are tense and lovely, but it's when Murray, his rhythm section, and the strings rub against one another on the uptempo portions of the suite and the surging "Dark Secrets" that sparks fly."