Hits & Misses June 1997

Hits and Misses – Mini Album Reviews
June 1997

  1. Roy Hargrove’s Crisol-Habana/Verve Proof positive that traveling does incredible things for the young. Not only is the 26 year old trumpeter having a great time, but this is pretty much guitarist Russell Malone coming out party too. An all-star cast including Cuba’s legendary pianist Cucho Valdes will be touring to support this record. Walk through deserts, swim oceans, scale mountains.
  2. Dave Stryker-Blue To The Bone/Steeplechase While Omaha is hardly the Mecca of jazz and blues, this native son has done the mid-west proud with his 10th album. What, you never heard of him? Don’t feel bad, we hadn’t either, but we’re checking back catalog after this entry from the guitarist. The best mix of jazz and blues since B.B. King hooked up with the Crusaders in the 70’s.
  3. Lee Ritenour-Alive In L.A./GRP Was Lee just coasting here, fulfilling his contract while his new record company i.e. music gets rolling.? Check next month as Rit gives JazzUSA ‘Zine an exclusive. But how could he lose, playing Brazilian and Wes Montgomery tunes at home to a sell-out crowd, plus he still owes LiPuma another one. And how about this timing? He’s on the Taste Of Jobim tour and the new Fourplay album comes out (see MISSES below)
  4. McCoy Tyner-Autumn Mood/Laserlight It must be nice to be one of the best piano players in the world and record for whoever you want. Find this record before Tommy LiPuma and the GRP/Impulse boys bury it in a Jersey warehouse. Claudio Roditi’s Brazilian trumpet is the perfect augmentation to Tyner’s regular trio.

  1. Spyro-Gyra-20/20/GRP For the umpteenth summer in a row, this Buffalo bar band is releasing an album and touring. It’s one of the most amazing feats in the music business considering the watery wimpy music that they deliver year after year. Yeesh, how many variations of Shaker Song can leader Jay Beckenstien play on his sax.
  2. Fourplay-The Best of/Warner Brothers You would think for their fourth album, this super-group would slow down and try to bring back the quality of* their work when they first hooked up. Instead, they only had time to get together for two new tunes. At least they don’t sound like they phoned their parts in like on the previous album. Studio-holics Lee Ritenour and Harvey Mason supervised the new tracks, and since keyboardist Bob James is also a Warner exec, he signed off on the release and bassist Nathan East just collected the check. If you really want to hear Fourplay blow, look for the Authorized Bootleg album. Warner didn’t print very many but it’s by far better than this compilation and well worth the search.
  3. Andy LaVerne Trio-Bud’s Beautiful/Steeplechase Bud also has all of his albums on cd now. At least when Chick Corea did his recent tribute album to Bud Powell, he breathed some new life into the music. Bud Powell is decomposing better than this.
  4. Paul Taylor-Pleasure Seeker/CountdownThe only thing you may seek after hearing this sax man warble is the No-Doz. Taylor spent many nights playing in Vegas, if he was playing like this, he was just what the casinos wanted- background music nobody noticed.