Jung on Jazz April 1998

Jung on Jazz April 1998

Dewey Redman In London
Gloria Lynne
Ruben Gonzales
Stefan Bauer
Kevin Mahogany
Joe Lovano/Gonzalo Rubalcaba

               April 1998

Dewey Redman In London
Palmetto Records
Although his Harvard graduate son, Joshua, seems to be the golden boy of jazz, it is saxophonist Dewey Redman who has quietly been a major component of avant-garde jazz for the past three decades. Redman, who started playing the clarinet at age thirteen, played in his high school marching band with fellow avant-gardists Ornette Coleman and Charles Moffett.  With a Masters degree in Education, Redman was a teacher before moving to New York, where the mostly self-taught musician has played alongside Pharaoh Sanders, Wes Montgomery, Paul Motian, Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett, and Ornette Coleman. Redman was also part of Old and New Dreams with Charlie Haden, Don Cherry, and Ed Blackwell.

Recorded live at London’s Ronnie Scott’s In London has bassist Cameron Brown, pianist Rita Marcotulli, and drummer Matt Wilson. The soft ballad, “The Very Thought of You”, has Redman sounding surprisingly tender. Redman’s sympathetic playing is mesmerizing, as he articulates a hard, yet unforced tone. The crash of Wilson’s cymbals, his superb fills, and big pulsating solo dominates “I-Pimp”. The album closes with an explosive “Eleven”. Redman takes off the gloves and blows the roof off with the abstract and structureless piece. Redman’s utilization of space and silence creates a darker mood as Marcotulli bangs clusters of chords away at the piano. The evening winds downs with Redman wailing to a chorus of applause from the crowd.

Dewey Redman In London pulls no punches, and is a good taste of what the tenor man is capable of playing. Joshua Redman may garner more media attention and sell more records than his father, but he has a long way to go to reach the plateau his father plays on. Dewey Redman has gone largely unrecognized domestically and that is a shame, for this Redman has earned his recognition.

Personnel – Dewey Redman, tenor saxophone; Cameron Brown, bass; Rita Marcotulli, piano; Matt Wilson, drums
Tracks – I Should Care, The Very Thought of You, I-Pimp, Portrait in Black & White, Tu-Inns, Kleerwine, Stablemates, Eleven

Visit the Dewey Redman Home Page

Gloria Lynne
This One’s On Me
High Note Records
It all started at the Apollo Theater, where vocalist Gloria Lynne won the “Amateur Night” competition. The Harlem diva was soon singing with Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, and Harry “Sweets” Edison. Produced and arranged by Rodney Jones, the musical director for the Rosie O’Donnell Show, This One’s On Me includes such familiar standards as “Angel Eyes,” “What A Difference A Day Makes,” and “Let’s Fall In Love.” Lynne exhibits rich chest tones on an arousing “Angel Eyes.”

The diva’s color and relaxed cadence help bring the number to an enthusiastic crescendo. Lynne vocalizes “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” with beauty and grand style. The belle’s interpretation of the ballad is eloquent and her emissions exceptional. Lynne develops “Let’s Fall In Love” gradually. Her vocals have a remarkable consistency and This One’s On Me is another sound release from this seasoned songbird.

Personnel– Gloria Lynne, vocals; Mike Renzi, piano; Bobby Forrester, organ (tracks 5, 11); Mark Sherman, vibes (tracks 2, 5, 6, 8, 9); Rodney Jones, guitar; Benjamin Brown, bass; Akira Tana, drums (tracks 1, 3, 4, 7, 10); Jesse “Cheese” Hameen II, drums (tracks 2, 5, 6, 8, 8, 11)
Tracks– This One’s On Me, Angel Eyes, What A Difference A Day Makes, In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning, It’s Autumn, While We’re Young, Here’s That Rainy Day, Snowbound, Let’s Fall In Love, Wild Is Love, All Day Long

Ruben Gonzalez
Introducing…Ruben Gonzalez
Nonesuch Records
Ask pianist Ruben Gonzalez about the Latin jazz explosion in Southern California and the rest of the country; he probably would not know anything about it. The seventy-eight year old Gonzalez has just released his debut solo effort, which has been fifty years in the making. Gonzalez, who is considered a national treasure in Cuba, played with virtually every Cuban musician, including Mongo Santamaria, but only recorded once with Arsenio Rodriguez in the early forties. A graduate of the Cienfuegos Conservatoire, Gonzalez only had piano lessons once a month, but he managed to learn over twenty-five pieces in that month’s time. Gonzalez’s sextet includes Guajiro Mirabal on the trumpet, Carlos Gonzalez on the congas, Roberto Garcia on the bongos, Amadito Valdes on the timbales, and Orlando Lopez on bass.

The album opens with an exotic cha cha cha, “La Enganadora”, with crisp solos from trumpeter Mirabal. Gonzalez is superb throughout. “Melodia Del Rio” is a sultry bolero with relaxed brasswork from Mirabal, and ginger piano playing from Gonzalez. A moody “Siboney” is a successful treatment of the Lecuona classic. Introducing…Ruben Gonzalez is a harmonically rich and swinging debut. Gonzalez has arthritis in his arms and fingers, and does not even own a piano anymore. His last piano fell apart due to wood rot and age, yet Gonzalez continues to play his beloved piano, even if he has to wait outside a hotel to play a couple of hours at the hotel bar in the early hours of the morning. A musician’s musician that truly loves his music, Gonzalez is an inspiration not only to his native Cuba, but to musicians and pianist everywhere.

Personnel– Ruben Gonzalez, piano; Orlando Lopez, bass; Manuel Mirabal, trumpet; Amadito Valdes, timbales; Roberto Garcia, bongos, guiro, cowbell; Carlos Gonzalez, congas; Alberto Valdes, maracas; Carlos Puisseaux, guiro; Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, Manuel Licea, Antonio Rodriguez, chorus vocals; Richard Egues, flute; Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, arranger and conductor
Tracks– La Enganadora, Cumbanchero, Tres Lindas Cubanas, Melodia Del Rio, Mandinga, Siboney, Almendra, Tumbao, Como Siento Yo

Stefan Bauer
Best of Two Worlds
Jazz Line
Vibraphonist Stefan Bauer learned to play both the trombone and piano, before he decided on the vibraphone. The Berklee graduate has hints of David Friedmann and has worked with Peter Erskine. Bauer’s quintet includes drummer Adam Nussbaum, guitarist Mick Goodrick, bassist Jim Vivan, and trumpeter Tim Hagans. Bauer asserts himself on a light-hearted “Look Up.” Bauer’s calculating brisk runs and prolific multi-mallet chording accentuate his capabilities as a stylist on vibes. Nussbaum pounds out dazzling fills and his solo seems to gain strength as it progresses. Hagan’s intimate lyricism on “Cafe Orchidee” echoes of Kenny Dorham. Goodrick constructs his riffs with an easy touch and hearty rhythmic verve. Best of Two Worlds is advanced post-bop with implications of ethnic world music. The absence of a piano is augmented by the harmonics of Bauer’s vibraphone fusing with Goodrick’s melodic guitar. Bauer procures a first rate quintet and the result is an exceptionally vivid and swinging album.

Personnel– Stefan Bauer, vibraphone; Adam Nussbaum, drums; Mick Goodrick, guitar; Tim Hagans, trumpet, flugelhorn; Jim Vivian, bass
Tracks– Kayak, Don’t Take The A-Train, Askale Tulem, Look Up, Cafe Orchidee, My Favorite Things, Piere, Kino, Zwiegesprach, Don’t Take The A-Train Again

Kevin Mahogany
Another Time Another Place
Warner Brothers
Kevin Mahogany is a smart singer. Mahogany understands the nature of advanced vocal technique. Mahogany ahs tremendous power and his large voice has particular ease in the higher register. The vocalist is accompanied by saxophonist Joe Lovano, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, guitarist Dave Stryker, bassist Ben Wolfe, and drummer Clarence Penn. The romantic baritone paces “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” comfortably, with slight pauses to give Lovano a sultry solo or two. Mahogany avoids overly embellishing his singing, but rather allows the music to unravel by itself. Mahogany gently caresses “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” His verve, accuracy, and tasteful phrasing is irresistible. Chestnut’s logical improvisations linger in the background as Mahogany’s poetic treatment of the words generates a natural musical flow. There is a huge void of male jazz singers. Mahogany stands out because of his confident projection, clear enunciation, and tonal warmth. This robust baritone has a soft timbre all through Another Time Another Place that project dignity, authority, and eloquence.

Personnel– Kevin Mahogany, vocals; Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone; Randy Travis, vocals; Cyrus Chestnut, piano; Dave Stryker, guitar; Ben Wolfe, bass; Clarence Penn, drums
Tracks– Big Rub, Free, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Cloudburst, I Believe She Was Talkin’ Bout Me, Nature Boy, In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning, Another Time, Another Place, Fix It In the Mix, Parker’s Mood/Kansas City

Joe Lovano & Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Flying Colors
Blue Note Records
Joe Lovano remains one of the busiest saxophonists on the scene today. Lovano, who first gained critical recognition with his contributions to Paul Motian’s quintet and trio, has become an intelligent technician, and one of the most individualistic voices in jazz. The Grammy-nominated Lovano, most recently nominated for his Quartet: Live at the Village Vanguard and Celebrating Sinatra releases, teams up with Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba in a rare duo collaboration. Lovano alternates between a soprano saxophone, an alto clarinet, and a straight tenor saxophone, custom-made for him by L. A. Sax, which he showcased in his performance at the Orange County Performing Arts Center last year.

On “Boss Town”, a reference to his Cleveland roots, Lovano allows himself plenty of space, and in turn, displays a marvelously fluent and detailed approach. Rubalcaba’s trance-like pounding of chords is a perfect compliment to Lovano’s blistering phrases. Lovano’s tone is rich throughout a lovely reading of Thelonious Monk’s “Ugly Beauty”. Dameron’s “Hot House” is articulated by Lovano’s growling tenor. Rubalcaba plays impressively at the far right of the keys, and constructs one of his most technically proficient solos. Flying Colors is an unpredictable and brilliant recording from two veteran Blue Note artists. Lovano and Rubalcaba play with moving intensity, and provide inspiring dialogue. Flying Colors is another gem by one of jazz’s most tirelessly consistent saxophonists.

Personnel– Gonzalo Rubalcaba, piano; Joe Lovano, straight tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Tracks– Flying Colors, How Deep Is the Ocean, boss Town, bird Food, Spontaneous Color, Phantasm, Ugly Beauty, Hot House, Gloria’s Step, Mr. Hyde, I Love Music, Along Came Betty