Monday, March 21, 2011

Cross-Post: Jazz and Food

One of my colleagues is an avid foodie, with an excellent blog called Oh! You Cook! She recently uncovered a cookbook called Jazz Cooks and asked me if I would like to cross-post with her about jazz and food. The recipes she picked from the cookbook belong to jazz legends Joe Henderson, Stanley Turrentine and Rashied Ali. Since I can’t seem to cook anything without the fire department becoming involved, I’ll leave the cooking to her, and concentrate on the music, namely my favorite recordings from the three selected musicians.

Joe Henderson – Tenor Saxophonist Joe Henderson recorded some excellent albums as a leader and a sideman during his early tenure with Blue Note Records during their heyday of the mid to late 1960’s. In addition to appearing as a accompanist on legendary records like Larry Young's Unity and Andrew Hill’s Point of Departure he led a series of excellent small group dates with like minded modernists such as McCoy Tyner and Kenny Dorham. Henderson made hard-hitting modern jazz that simultaneously looked backward to bop and forward to free. Switching to the Milestone label in the 1970’s, he would begin to experiment and look at the different ways jazz could evolve in the post-Coltrane era. There is a boxed set of his run for the label that can be found inexpensively, and it finds him searching for ways to update his sound without compromising his core musical values. The Kicker, Power to the People and the live Joe Henderson In Japan are the picks of this period, equal to his Blue Note records. After a journeyman period (that did include an excellent live album for the revived Blue Note) Henderson began a heroic second act as an elder statesman with a series of Grammy winning concept albums for the Verve label in the 1990’s. Tributes to Billy Strayhorn, Miles Davis and Antonio Carlos Jobim were widely praised as he performed and recorded with contemporary colleagues and rising stars. Update #2 Joe Henderson's Joe Fu Yung Recipe

Stanley Turrentine – Much like his colleague Joe Henderson, tenor saxophonist also got his start at Blue Note in the early sixties recording prodigiously for Blue Note as a leader and as a sideman and co-leader with his then wife, organist Shirley Scott. Turrentine eschewed the more progressive jazz of the era, developing a big bluesy sound that was steeped in R&B and swing, and proved very popular. He made a clutch of records for Blue Note that are available as a large Mosaic boxed set and as individual titles on CD and digital download. After leaving Blue Note in the late 1960’s Turrentine added more aspects of popular music to his portfolio, resulting in the popular Sugar album on the CTI label. He too took on a journeyman role, recording several albums of R&B laced jazz for a number of labels in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Update #1 Stanley Turrentine's Baked Chicken Recipe.

Rashied Ali – Drummer Rashied Ali came up in the competitive Philadelphia jazz scene before moving to New York to take part in the free-jazz avant garde revolution. Replacing Elvin Jones in John Coltrane’s legendary band was bound to make him a controversial figure, but Ali let his music do the talking, resulting in Interstellar Space, possibly the finest and certainly most accessible late period Coltrane LP. After the master’s death, Ali took matters into his own hands, recording for his own label and opening his own club, Ali’s Alley, that was one of the most important settings of the “loft jazz” movement of the 1970’s. Although being under the radar, Ali never stopped performing, collaborating with bassist William Parker on saxophonist Charles Gayle on the extraordinary Touchin' on Trane album from the early 90’s. Taking on the role as an elder statesman in the avant-garde scene, Ali mentored young musicians in his quintet which made several albums in the late 90’s in addition to duo recordings that Ali would make with contemporaries like Leroy Jenkins and Henry Grimes. Update #3 Rashied Ali's Chicken Anise

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