Saturday, April 07, 2012

Jazz: Steve Horowitz, Joel Harrison 7

Steve Horowitz - New Monsters (Posi-Tone, 2012) Bassist Steve Horowitz comes from the fertile Bay Area jazz scene and unleashes a interesting sound by combining well thought out cover tunes with interesting originals. He is joined on this album by Dan Plonsey on tenor saxophone, Steve Adams - alto and soprano saxophones and flute, Scott Looney on piano and Jim Bove and drums. What they develop is a nice swinging modern mainstream session with their own sound and the characterization of the music coming through quite well. My favorite Horowitz tracks were the beautiful coupling of John Coltrane's "India/Red Planet" which makes full use of the two reed front line and the openness of the compositions and the riotous original "Herald for Zombies" which shows the bands wit and vigor. New Monsters - amazon.com

Joel Harrison 7 - Search (Sunnyside, 2012) Guitarist Joel Harrison brings together a diverse cast of musicians including: Donny McCaslin, Gary Versace, Chris Howes, Dana Leong, Stephan Crump and Clarence Penn. On this new album, Harrison stated that he wanted to bring influences from classical music into jazz writing in a more overt way. He is challenging himself to use different forms and techniques while striving to maintain a delicate balance between composition and improvisation. What results is a wide angle panoramic view of jazz with string instruments well integrated into the project. Everything is well rehearsed and works together, with the strings not schmaltzy or overly sentimental like some of the performances on Charlie Parker with Strings, but modern and vibrant, akin to Greg Osby’s Symbols of Light (A Solution). Harrison's highlights include a great cover of the Allman Brothers Band’s classic rock anthem "Whipping Post," the lengthy multi-part "A Magnificent Death" along with the chaotic fun of "All of the Pages are Gone." All of these performances make full use of the textures and hues available from the band. Search - amazon.com

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