Morrie Louden CD and Performance reviews
“I just heard your CD called ‘Time Piece’. It’s a Killer !!
Man that’s some creative and inspiring music you’ve made!
And - - - - you tear the bass UP! “
All the best,
A Sideman Breaks Out
By Philip Booth | December, 2007
Morrie Louden lit up jazz radio, hogged the jazz charts for a while, and attracted high praise from jazz legend Chick Corea with the release of his album Time Piece in spring 2007. Louden stunned listeners with his technical virtuosity, melodic improvisations, and composition skills, with tunes encompassing burning post-bop, sensitive ballads, and bossa novas. The disc seemingly came from nowhere, with Louden leading first-call instrumentalists—including saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Seamus Blake, guitarist Lionel Loueke, and drummer Adam Nussbaum—and sultry young singer Gretchen Parlato on one of the year’s best-reviewed jazz CDs. A California native, Louden started creating Time Piece soon after his 2005 arrival in New York, which followed a decade-long casino stint in Las Vegas. There, he had established a successful recording studio, performed in a highly regarded duo, and toured with Barbra Streisand, Engelbert Humperdinck, and other old-school pop stars.
Why did you relocate to New York when your career was going strong in Las Vegas?
I had to go. [In New York] there’s an appreciation for jazz that’s unlike anywhere in the country, and an energy that can’t be duplicated. The environment is just electric with music. When I got there, I immediately started recording and doing what I needed to do.
What impact has New York had on your playing?
It’s more my compositions that have been affected, by hearing what the cats are playing—their original music. They’re at the forefront of progressive jazz, making sounds that are new. When I go to clubs to listen and hang with my friends, there are times when I actually run home because I can’t wait to find my piano and turn the sounds I’m hearing into a new tune.
Did you have a particular concept in mind for the sound of Time Piece?
I wanted to have ups and downs in dynamics—louds and softs—and have it be beautiful and progressive. I was more interested in putting across the compositions, because there’s plenty of time for the bass-playing stuff. It’s not really what you would call a bass solo record, where the first and last thing you hear is bass and every tune has a bass solo.
Which bassists have had the greatest impact on your playing?
Everybody has such a different voice. Charlie Haden plays extremely simple—big, round, chocolate notes that are amazing to me. I love Marc Johnson—his style, the musicality in his playing. Of course there was Stanley Clarke, during my electric days. It’s not so much technique or style that influences me; it’s more musicality and context.
What did you learn from your road work with pop superstars?
When you’re hired for a job, you have to stay within boundaries and have a certain discipline. It’s about presentation, too. A lot of times jazz guys just walk onstage, pick up their instruments, and start playing. But you want to bring in your audience and make them feel a part of what you’re playing. When you have a connection and they dig what you’re doing, it fuels your creativity.
CAN BE HEARD ON
Morrie Louden, Time Piece [MoSound, 2007] myspace.com/morrielouden
Keith Jarrett Trio, Standards, Vol. 1 and Standards, Vol. 2 [ECM, 1983] Michael Brecker, Pilgrimage [Heads Up, 2007] Charlie Haden with Michael Brecker, American Dreams [Verve, 2002] Brad Mehldau, Day Is Done [Nonesuch, 2005]
Pietro Rogeri carved upright, circa 1713 (purchased in the early ’90s from former Moby Grape bassist Gordon Stevens) with Fishman Full Circle pickup and strung with D'Addario ZYEX; ’61 Fender Jazz (with stacked pots), fretless ’64 Fender Jazz, Fodera Monarch 5-string, Fodera 6-string, Pedulla Rapture 5-string, all with GHS Super Steels medium-lights
Rig SWR Redhead combo.
It’s time to start paying attention
Morrie Louden’s arrival in L.A. is unheralded.
That should change rather quickly.
By Don Heckman, Special to The Times
SOMETIMES the best jazz moments are those that are the most unexpected. Bassist Morrie Louden arrived at Catalina Bar & Grill on Tuesday night with very little fanfare. He's based in Las Vegas, and plays occasionally in New York City, but his visibility has been minimal leading up to the recent release of his CD, "Time Piece."
All that should change if Louden's music receives the attention it deserves. His performance Tuesday, for which he was backed by pianist Mike Eckroth, saxophonist Bob Sheppard and drummer Jimmy Branly, was a startling burst of energy from an explosive jazz talent.
Louden's virtuosity was apparent from the opening piece, a melodically disjunct original titled "Verbatim." Immediately establishing an irresistibly propulsive groove, he set the stage for a probing set of choruses by Sheppard, following with his own finger-blurring solo.
Other pieces were equally inventive. On "Façade," the Cuban-born Branly established a roiling, fundamental rhythm playing the cajon (box drum), while Louden played a solo juxtaposing his characteristically rapid string lines with interspersed percussive accents on the wood panels of his instrument.
Pianist Eckroth — who combined superb backing with a series of hard-swinging choruses — brought his lyrical touch to Louden's gentlest piece, "Riccello." The final number, "624 Main St." was a tour de force for all the players.
But if Louden's impressive bass work was the unquestioned showcase item, it was the constantly appealing qualities of his compositions, combined with the creative interaction between his first-rate musical associates, that took the performance well beyond the pale. Louden has several more Southland dates before he returns to Sin City. He should be heard.
MORRIE LOUDEN COVER FEATURE
By Curtis Davenport
One of the reasons that I love writing for Jazz Improv and the Jazz Improv NY is the opportunity it affords me, to discover outstanding artists that I’ve somehow missed. I still get a charge out of it when something about an artist makes me stop and smile or raise an eyebrow in admiration. I had one of those experiences recently, when I heard Time Piece, the new CD from bassist Morrie Louden. Though Mr. Louden is in his mid forties, I wasn’t able to come up with a large amount of information about his credits prior to this disc. Though I can find nothing that corroborates it, one site lists Time Piece as Louden’s second release. He also shows up in a listing on, of all places, Penn and Teller’s website, that states that Louden’s duo “with a piano player,” was one of the notable things that Penn saw in 2003. Oh well; wherever he came from, Mr. Louden has put together a smoking CD, one that hopefully will put an end to his obscurity.
Louden was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and picked up his first electric bass at age 12. His studies on the acoustic bass started at age thirteen, and by fourteen, he was performing with several bands at Bay Area clubs. He continued his studies after high school, in the renowned jazz program at San Francisco’s De Anza College. After graduation, he made a living touring with pop artists, such as Barbra Streisand and Englebert Humperdinck. He also found work with some of the major classical orchestras of the world, among them, the New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra. He then formed his own jazz group in the nineties that featured such sax powerhouses as Rick Margitza, Ralph Moore and Eric Marienthal. Louden then relocated to New York in 2005, becoming known on the Big Apple jazz scene and composing and recording the songs that comprise this marvelous disc, which features a number of standout New York based musicians, including pianist Edward Simon, drummer Adam Nussbaum, guitarist Lionel Loueke and reedmen Seamus Blake and Bob Sheppard.
The disc features ten selections, all Louden originals. They cover a broad spectrum of jazz from modal to Bossa to bop and many other stops along the way. Louden and company handle each genre with startling aplomb. The disc starts with the film noir-ish “Gypsy’s Journey.” (Interestingly, Louden states that he drew his inspiration for this piece from the vision of gypsy roaming the desert) A string quartet, arranged by Gil Goldstein, sets the mood. They are then joined by Sheppard’s lush tenor sax and all that’s needed to complete the picture are the curls of smoke from a cigarette. Louden follows with a cool bass solo and I kept looking over my shoulder, expecting Veronica Lake to walk in at any minute. It was not the way I expected the disc to start, but I admit, I was floored. Louden then takes us in another direction with a solid post bop quartet piece, called “Verbatim.” Simon, Nussbaum and Sheppard join him here. Sheppard’s tenor darts in and out in an exciting, nervous way, Simon’s solo smokes; showing his prodigious talent, but the star here is the leader’s bass, as Louden’s fingers fly across the bass with the dexterity of a young Ron Carter. “Verbatim” is great stuff indeed.
Just as suddenly, we are off in another direction, with the sensual sound of 2004 Monk vocal competition winner, Gretchen Parlato, singing a Louden original, “Insensatez,” in Portuguese. Louden says that he titled the piece as a tribute to Jobim. A gutsy move, so if you are going to do it, you’d better bring the goods; and they do! Loueke’s guitar provides a perfect rhythmic backdrop; Alex Sipiagin’s flugelhorn and Mike Eckroth’s piano raise the bar with their solos that were at once engaging and relaxing. Ms. Parlato returns to restate the theme, and she is even better the second time around. I had heard Ms. Parlato’s name before, in connection with the competition, but somehow I managed to miss hearing her sing before this track. She is a fascinating talent, with a unique sound. I want to hear more. Speaking of fascinating young talents, check out Russian émigré Alex Sipiagin, he really shines throughout his features, especially on “Supposition,” another striking ballad. Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt and the other young trumpet stars had better not sleep. They’ve got some competition coming on fast from Eastern Europe. “Tunamo” and “A Rosa” are two more great pieces with a Bossa influence: Tunamo, features a great horn arrangement, again from the master, Gil Goldstein and some tasty flute from Oreinte Lopez. On “A Rosa,” Ms. Parlato is back, to knock me off my feet again with another Portuguese vocal. One reviewer compared Ms. Parlato to the quirky pop singer, Bjork. All I can say is that Bjork should be honored to be mentioned in the same breath as this gifted young lady.
2007 is shaping up to be one of the finest years for jazz in quite a while. In spite of the lack of support from the major labels, outstanding, memorable jazz like Morrie Louden’s Time Piece is still getting recorded and released. It is up to us as the jazz public to make sure that we get to our other sources such as internet radio, to get hold of this music. If we don’t, it will be our loss.
I don’t usually consider Penn and Teller as a source for jazz, but they were on to something here. Morrie Louden’s Time
IN CONCERT : Eastern promises - Acclaimed bassist-composer Morrie Louden returns to the west coast
By Josef Woodard, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT
February 1, 2008 10:30 AM
Morrie Louden GROUP
When: 8 p.m. Monday
Where: SOhO Restaurant and Music Club, 1221 State St. (upstairs)
Cost: $10, all ages
There have been many cases of jazz musicians who opt to go west, to go Hollywood for a career in studio work rather than rough it in the competitive and not particularly lucrative trenches of the NYC-centric jazz scene. Bassist-composer Morrie Louden comes from a contrary camp, that of the Californian musician who becomes established out west and finally heeds his jazz-loving heart and relocates to New York.
By his account, he couldn't be happier about the continental shift. Louden, who brings his group to SOhO Restaurant and Music Club on Monday night, was 45 when he finally went eastward in 2005, and he began working on an ambitious, varied solo album, "Time Piece," for his own MoSound label. Released last year, the album has been acclaimed by critics, musicians and jazz lovers on an expanding scale.
Having led his own band for over a decade, on the east and west coasts, he says that the move into recording artist status "seemed to be the natural course of things. I've built up quite a collection of original music. And I've worked for so many people through the years as a sideman, it was just time to put my experience to use. It's quite a rewarding venture. I love every part of it."
Although he's an unusually fine and tasteful bassist and writer with a jazz direction, Louden had spent many years backing up singers and working in studios as a player and producer in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Once in New York, he worked his "night job," playing in clubs, but devoted himself to working on his album by day, and involved many of the finer players around, including pianist Edward Simon, drummer Adam Nussbaum, jazz rising star guitarist Lionel Loueke, vocalist Gretchen Parlato, and arranger Gil Goldstein.
Among many other achievements, Louden's handiwork impressed one of his heroes, keyboardist Chick Corea, who heard the album and opined "it's a killer ? creative and inspiring music ? you tear up the bass." Like Corea, Louden's music can be intricate in its designs, heartfelt at the core, and virtuosic on delivery.
"Time piece" is a satisfying blend of contrasting tracks, with arrangements, textures, moods and sub-genres within jazz nicely combined into the whole. That's all part of Louden's plan.
"To me dynamics are much more than just loud and soft. It means mixing different feelings, textures and styles -- putting something beautiful and melodic next to something exciting and progressive. For me, one is not completely effective without the other."
In a sense, Louden is a good argument for the virtues of having a bass player in charge of a band. While there are few high profile bassist-leaders on the scene at the moment -- Dave Holland and Charlie Haden come to mind -- the idea is hardly unreasonable.
"I read that Jaco (Pastorius) once said the bass player should always be the leader of the band," he laughs. "? A bassist's perspective is coming from the foundation. I think the bassist's role in the music is for the most part equally divided between rhythmic and harmonic responsibilities. Being involved in both aspects of the music may bring a well-rounded perspective to the overall picture."
Asked about his own bassist influences, Louden cites Tower of Power's Francis Rocco Prestia, Pastorius, and Stanley Clarke as early heroes -- from the electric bass world and "then everybody. Through the years my interests change of course.
When he plays at SOhO, Louden will be joined by Walter Smith lll on tenor sax, Mahesh Balasooriya on piano and Joel Taylor on drums, all strong Southern California-based players.
He has strong connections back on this coast, but Louden is committed to his new home. As Louden comments, "it seems as far back as the '80s, I've wanted to be in New York. I don't know why it took so long for me to move here, but I'm sure glad I finally did. There's a strong cultural sense and consideration here. And it's all very cutting edge.
"There is an emphasis on jazz music in its purest form with a complete absence of show biz. There are tons of great players here and the attitude is all about music. Guys still get together and play for free here wherever and whenever they can, unlike some other cities where there is more emphasis on making money. I think all this has had a positive effect on me as a player and composer."
“Don't Play Bass!”
By Morrie Louden | July, 2008 Bass Player Magazine
It was the third gig at a cool club called The Hip Kitty in Claremont, California.
While setting up my bass rig, I put my amp on a chair like I always do, and laid down my bass (still in the bag) right next to the amp. A few moments later … WHAM! I heard a loud crash. I walked over to the amp and bass in disbelief. The amp was upside down on the ground. I began to pray as I carefully opened the case. The 85-pound amp had rolled off the chair and fallen two feet, hitting the bass square on the neck—right next to the scroll. The scroll was bent forward and hanging on by a thread, there was a jagged break where the scroll meets the neck, and the strings were loose. The neck had also become dislodged from the body, and some of the wood had also broken away. I later found out that the block was also cracked and much more. My $80,000, 300-year-old Italian bass was severely damaged, and I was in shock. I put it back in its case the best I could.
Meanwhile people in the audience started scrambling to find another bass for me to play. One guy named Ian said he had a ’65 Fender Jazz Bass at home, so he left and started speeding home to get his bass. Another nice guy said he knew a luthier in town named Jim, and gave him a call. Jim was very empathetic, and said he had an upright bass at his shop that I could use. I told Jim how I liked the bass set up, and he went to work filing the bridge.
Within a half hour, this big Indiana Jones-looking guy emerged from the parking lot. He was sweating, out of breath, and carrying an upright bass. It was Jim! He brought the bass into the club, and I pulled the Fishman pickup off my bass and was over by my amp making some kind of adjustment, because I didn’t even know if my amp had survived the fall. Meanwhile, Jim was standing in front of the stage holding his bass while talking to my agent. Then Jim finally handed me the bass. Only one problem: I was standing eight feet away! The next thing I knew, BAM! A sickening, loud crash. Jim’s bass landed on its back and exploded—it just shattered into pieces. It was like a cartoon. There were wood chips all over the place, the scroll broke clean off, and strings were dangling in the air. My mouth dropped open and I just froze. I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed, for the second time in one night! Yes, lightning had struck twice in the same place in the span of one hour.
I looked at Jim and said, “What happened?” He said, “I thought you had it!” “What? I was standing all the way over here!” Jim started to become very angry, and I couldn’t blame him a bit. We started gathering the pieces of his bass, but he was getting madder and madder by the second. He started heading for the door carrying the pieces, with strings and stuff dragging on the floor behind him. At one point he stopped and yelled to the audience, “DON’T PLAY BASS!” and then continued out and disappeared.
Ian finally showed up with his vintage Fender, and we got the show going about 40 minutes late. It took a little while to get used to his bass, but I did—at least we would get paid for the night. While playing, though, every time I turned to my left, Ian’s bass kept banging into the hanging light in back of the stage. Then the light would just keep swinging like a pendulum—a constant reminder of my fate on this cursed evening.
And so that was Thursday at The Hip Kitty.
On the way back to the hotel, the scroll on my bass broke all the way off, and when I took it out of its case in the room, I saw that my 300-year-old Rogeri was in pieces. But it was airlifted to the ICU at David Gage’s shop in New York in critical condition. I’m happy to report we’re expecting a full recovery.
Morrie Louden relocated to New York in 2005 to explore a career as a bandleader. The Morrie Louden Group’s critically acclaimed first recording, Time Piece [MoSound], came out in spring 2007. He was profiled in December ’07.
By: Edward Blanco
Allaboutjazz, Ejazznews and Jazzreview One of the best contemporary jazz albums I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing this year is without question, Morrie Louden’s Time Piece. Louden is a virtuoso bass player who penned ten original charts blending high-octane bop with beautiful mellow bossa nova colors with vocals from an angel. Louden accomplishes this gem of a recording partly by assembling a cast of jazz greats on the album. Featured artists include, high in demand West Coast reed man, Bob Sheppard(tenor), Alex Sipiagin (trumpet) Adam Nussbaum and Gary Novak (drums), Ed Simon (piano) and Lionel Leouke (guitar) just to name a few. There are in total eighteen musicians playing here although not all on each track. Also gracing the disc is jazz newcomer vocalist Gretchen Parlato who provides gorgeous vocals in Portuguese on three exquisite Jobim-influenced tunes (“Insensatez,” “A Rosa,” and “Majique”). The program begins with “Gypsy’s Journey” a nice slow tempo employing a string section of two violins, viola and cello providing a warm background to a soft solo from saxophonist Sheppard followed by Louden solo on the upright bass. “Verbatim” is the second number and one of the best scores providing fast rhythm solo choruses from Sheppard, pianist Simon and the leader in a scorcher of a tune. After doing a gig in Louisville, Kentucky at 624 Main St. Louden wrote the score “624 Main St.” a sizzling piece providing space for saxophonist Seamus Blake in his only appearance on album with this eleven minute burner. Louden’s most recent composition, “Supposition,” is a ballad style piece highlighting Simon and Sipiagin on the flugelhorn. The title cut is only other track where the strings are used with charming result in which Louden plucks the bass with effortless ease on a piece with a sprinkle of Latin jazz using Nanny Assis on a splendid percussion and Sheppard on the soprano. The other burners here are the samba-shaded “Tunamo,” and the hard bop “Mr. Fromp.” With a unique blend of hard-driving rhythms and sweet soft bossa nova melodies, Time piece delivers one exciting and compelling musical treat. Louden’s compositions provide a showcase for excellent solo performances by the bassist and band mates especially saxophonist Bob Sheppard and pianist Ed Simon through out. Vocalist Gretchen Parlato makes an impressive debut with her silky voice. An all around excellent album and must for one’s jazz collection. Year: 2007 Label: MoSound Productions Artist Web:
Morrie Louden - "Timepiece" - CD Review by Brad Walseth
From the opening strains of "Gypsy's Journey," you know that you are in for an exciting listening experience in bassist Morrie Loudens"Timepiece." Mysterious strings arranged by Gil Goldstein haunt the landscape in which Louden, and Bob Sheppard on tenor sax play intensely emotive solos. Meant to be a musical version of the life's journey of a nomad wandering the desert - the song succeeds nearly to a level of epiphonous transcendence. Yet this is only the opening salvo in what is a truly remarkable recording.
"Verbatim" kicks into high gear with a quartet setting playing some burning hard bop. While Louden walks his bass like he is in a speed walking race, Adam Nussbaum keeps the drive paced with some tasty drumming. Edward Simon's expressive piano flights are a delight as always, and Louden's solo is sheer shredding ecstasy.
Setting a pattern of moving amongst song styles, Louden's "Insensatez" follows. This lovely Brazilian flavored number is enhanced by West African guitarist Lionel Loueke, percussionist Nanny Assis, and the ubiquitous Alex Sipiagin on flugelhorn. Mike Eckroth plays a lovely piano solo, but it is vocalist Gretchen Parlato who steals the show (as she did on Francis Jacob's latest album as well). If you haven't yet heard Parlato, you will soon. This young woman may be the vocalist most poised to take the Brazilian genre into the future.
Most artists would be satisfied with what has been presented so far, but Louden continues the recording with songs featuring strong themes, thoughtful arrangements and inspired playing. "624 Main St." is an absolute burner, with Louden's Stanley Clarke-ish acoustic bass work nearly unbelievable. Gary Novak is all over his drum kit, and Seamus Blake plays some killer tenor riffs, but it is bandleader Louden whose marathon exercise in stamina shows why he is considered perhaps THE bassplayer in jazz to watch out for.
"Supposition" is a nice moody composition inspired by Mancini, with Sipiagin and Simon complementing each other nicely, before the centerpiece of the album - the title track - kicks in. "Timepiece," the song is a stunning 9:05 magnum opus that reminds me some of an early '70's Return to Forever or Stanley Clarke composition. Simon's piano provides the frameowrk, while Sheppard's soprano sax adds a new and welcome element. Louden again solos with aplomb, and again Gil Goldstein's string arrangements shine over Louden's intelligent and mature songwriting.
Nor is Goldstein merely a string arranger - his horn arrangement on the next tune of Mo's, or "Tunamo," adds a sense of freshness and fun to what generally has been a pretty serious musical presentation. The arrangement on this Latin big band piece reminds me somewhat of Gary McFarland's work with Brookmeyer, Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz in the '60s. George Flynn's bass trombone rumbles and Oriente Lopez brings his dancing, Herbie Mann-style flute to the party. And the fun never ends, as Parlato is brought back on another South American-styled piece - "A Rosa."
"Mr. Frump" is more good fun and interesting writing, and Louden tweaks a well-known tycoon who hopefully will never get the chance to say "You're fired!" to this band. Another south of the border inspired number - "Majique" ends the recording. Here the merging of Lopez's flute with Parlato's wordless vocals creates the impression of birdsong.
As a tribute to the artists who inspired him, like Chick Corea, Henry Mancini, and Antonio Carlos Jobim, Morrie Louden succeeds brilliantly. "Timepiece" is filled
with exceptional compositions, intelligent and captivating arrangements, and flat-out playing that will knock you out!
Piece is timeless.
Bob’s Beat—By Bob Comden
MORRIE LOUDEN AT LA VE LEE
Bassist, composer Morrie Louden presented his jazz quartet at La Ve Lee in June. Louden was in town performing at such Southland clubs as Catalina’s, Holly Street and Jax.
Louden is a virtuostic bassist who combines his classical roots with jazz. He displays an abundance of technique with a great melodic sensibility. He’s toured with such artists as Barbra Streisand, Fifth Dimension, Engelbert Humperdinck and Paul Anka, to name some. This led him to perform with many major symphony orchestras. He built the Mo Sound recording studio in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1996 and now resides in New York, where he recorded his marvelous new CD, Time Piece done on Mo Sound Productions. The CD features all original compositions by Louden. 17-different musicians perform throughout the CD; Vocalist Gretchen Parlato sings on several tunes. Louden is a new name for me and what a surprise! I was very impressed with his performance and the first-rate quartet that included Louden on bass, Mike Eckroth-piano, Jimmy
Branly-drums and Katisse Buckingham on tenor and soprano sax and flute. Buckingham was the 1992 Shelly Manne New Talent winner, selected by the Los Angeles Jazz Society. The group played mostly selections from the new CD.
“Time Piece” combined a contemporary sound with jazz, embracing many moods. It was a piece that took Louden several years to write. His strong bass lines stood out, Buckingham was in superb form on his soprano sax solo, with nice, flowing lines and a light sound that was not overbearing. Branly’s driving energy on the drums was strong throughout. “Supposition” had Louden starting out in a somber mood with full toned notes. Buckingham’s tenor had a richness as he played the pretty theme. Eckroth’s light touch made for a subtle solo while Branly’s brush work added the right aura to the tune. Louden’s full toned bass added a strong bottom to the composition. The group blended cohesively on this beautiful tune. “Façade” had Louden setting a good, rhythmic groove. Branly played the box drum (cajon) as Louden played fast lines with one hand and used his fingers to play percussive rhythm on the wood part of the bass. It made for an interesting solo.
“Gypsy Journey,” a pretty ballad gave Buckingham beautiful, floating ideas and his phrasing made for one great solo. Louden’s strong bass notes added depth as he made his bass speak with heart and soul on his marvelous solo. Everyone showed a lot of sensitivity on the tune. The uptempo “624 Main Street” gave Buckingham the opportunity to tear it up on his furious solo. His command was impressive. The composition became a showcase for each musician, with great interaction between them. I enjoyed the groups’ energy, their sound and especially Louden’s bass playing. The audience seemed to enjoy them a lot. It’s always nice to come upon a new name, especially one so talented and so full of promise. I wish Louden a lot of success with his new CD.
Jazz Takes a Bow
By Josef Woodard
Thursday, February 21, 2008
AFTERGLOW: For “normal” music lovers in the pop cultural swim, the capper of last week’s Grammy shindig may have seemed anti-climactic, as this vaguely familiar character named Herbie Hancock fumbled for his notes and (deservedly) took the Best Album prize for his masterful Joni Mitchell tribute, The River. But for jazz fans everywhere, it was a remarkable, rare, and affirming moment in public. Too few people acknowledge that jazz is America’s greatest art form, with both a grit and sophistication that put jazz’s overrated and overpaid pop music peers to shame. Here, for the first time since the Getz/Gilberto coup in 1964, the top Grammy kudo went in a jazz direction. Kudos, too, go to NARAS.
WORKING UP FROM BELOW AND OUT WEST: Some of the more exciting and surprising jazz moments in Santa Barbara occur beyond the high-profile concert series at the Lobero and Campbell Hall, during what are sometimes modestly attended shows at SOhO. Memorable recent SOhO encounters, usually in the Monday night jazz slot, have included Jean Michel-Pilc (with Ari Hoenig), the Moutin Reunion, and Dafnis Prieto. To that list we need add Morrie Louden.
With a powerhouse quartet of Los Angeles-based players, bassist/composer/bandleader Louden passed through town recently, touring on the heels of his dazzling new CD, Time Piece. A late-blooming jazz artist struggling for wider recognition, Louden has spent most of his life on the West Coast, in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, before making the move to New York City a few years ago. He joins the ranks of westerners, such as renowned bassist Scott Colley, who are now establishing themselves in Gotham.
Louden’s CD, which earned an unabashed hosanna from one of his heroes, Chick Corea, features many noted East Coast players, including Edward Simon, Lionel Lueke, Seamus Blake, and arranger Gil Goldstein. But Louden is also well-connected with West Coast players who defy the stereotype of L.A. players lacking artistic integrity and intensity. Joining him on the bandstand on Monday were the bold saxophonist Walter Smith III — mostly on tenor, with a detour on soprano — and fiery-clean pianist Mahesh Balasooriya (SOhO’s piano was almost in tune). Drummer Joel Taylor has played in fusion and straighter jazz settings, and the latter persona was in the house this night.
As heard on his album, Louden embraces a diverse range of musical impulses, from heady mod-bop tunes to melodic Latin-tinged numbers, and a general spirit of having listened closely to Corea’s example, as player and writer. Framing the first set were the driving yet simmering boppish tunes “Verbatim” and “624 Main St.” The playing all around was heated and focused. This band is not about left turns or deviations from the structure at hand.
Louden’s “No Resolve” — so named because it cleverly avoids the root chord of its key — alternated between slow and fast iterations of three-quarter time. Another tune, on which drummer Taylor laid out and allowed Louden to inject percussive sounds on the bass, sported flavors of Brazilian and flamenco, again with a Corea-esque flair.
With a strong album as a calling card, Louden seems poised for upward motion in the jazz world. But, for anyone beneath the highly visible upper echelon, that’s a fickle world, especially west of
the Mississippi. Suffice to say, when Louden returns, local jazz fans would do well to update their “to do” list accordingly.
TO-DOINGS: The deliciously hard-to-pigeonhole Portland band Three Legged Torso was one of the highlights of last June’s Live Oak Festival and also one of its most genre-tweaking. Built around the rapport between founder-leaders and former buskers Bela Balogh (violin, trumpet) and Courtney Von Drehle (accordion), the group freely mixes up Eastern European street music, traces of Gypsy and classical music, and other exotica delivered with a unique and dizzy flair. There’s no doubt that the act’s gig in the intimate quarters of Muddy Waters on Saturday is one of this weekend’s hottest tickets for listeners with both party hats and thinking caps on.
(Got e? firstname.lastname@example.org.)
With the best bass player on the planet
February 6th, 2008 | Friends, Music, Photoshop Jams
With the great Morrie Louden in October of 2007 at what looks to be the first of many intimate jazz hangs in down here in San Pedro, California. It’s always a pleasure to hear Morrie play, along with the select cats he happens to have along with him for the gig. They’re, um, how do we say it? Oh yeah: KINDA BAD-ASS.
Jammed into Friends, Music, Photoshop Jams |
Saturday Night Live Jazz
February 3rd, 2008 | Friends, Music
Enjoyed another underground jazz rager here in town last night. Morrie Louden played with a few cats at our little secret studio here in San Pedro. It’s a perfect place to hear live music. Acoustics are killin, great vibe. It’s kinda like Inside the Actor’s Studio, but with bad-ass musicians.
Last night’s quartet consisted once again of Joel Taylor on drums, and featured saxophonist Walter Smith III from Houston TX. A real treat. After the gig, our entourage walked back over to Dain’s for food, drink, jokes, and more live music in the living room.
CD Review/Morrie Louden/Time Piece MSP33366 This new CD project is truly a study in artistic beauty. ………Truly a modern, contemporary, & haunting expression of one man’s
heart & soul!! Morrie’s compositions are ‘’2007 & beyond.’’ And, like a Thad Jones, his visionary approach to music will always feel & be ‘’fresh.’’ Louden demands clarity, logic & aesthethics in his music………Never straying from the romantic tradition…………..Never inserting chaos or disorderliness in his art…………..On the contrary, there is structure & logic & subjectivity in his craft. His powerful original ‘’Time Piece’’ reflects all that I suggest above without any morbid exploration of musical ideas, melody, harmony, etc. This is a composer-player with a ‘signature’ that will have to be reckoned with now & in the future. George W. Carroll/The Musicians’ Ombudsman
A Fantastic Blend of Hard-Driving Jazz with Beautiful Bossa Sounds , May 3, 2007
Edward Blanco -
This is one of those albums that sparkles all over. With Bob Sheppard's torrid sax solos and Louden's masterfull play on the upright bass, the music moves from quick boisterous melodies to sweet bossa nova music voiced by an angel. Could not put this one away until I heard it several times over and over again. One of the best new albums of 2007, a Grammy contender for sure. Edward Blanco (Allaboutjazz, Ejazznews and Jazzreview)
ALL About JAZZ
Morrie Louden -- Time Piece -- MoSound Productions
by George Harris
Bassist Morrie Louden has put together an extremely well arranged and diversified collection of originals on Time Piece. Boosted by the arranging prowess of Gil Goldstein and executed to perfection by some of the best improvisers - including pianist Edward Simon, guitarist Lionel Loueke, saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Seamus Blake, and a string quartet - Time Piece has
all the parts. Featuring Blake and Sheppard on saxes and Loueke on guitar, the title track displays both Louden's substantial writing and playing talents. The string quartet's lovely intro gives way to Louden's awe-inspiring bass lines. When the strings return, the mood shifts Latin without a sonic misstep. On both the bop-like "Verbatim" and frenetic "624 Main St.," Louden's intricate bass lines drive Simon's fluid piano work, setting the stage for some razor sharp tenor action from Sheppard ("Verbatim") and Blake ("624 Main St."). Again both pieces speak to Louden's versatility as a composer and virtuosity as a bassist. On "Insensatez," Gretchen Parlato's hauntingly whispy voice is supported by a delicate combination of Loueke's acoustic guitar and Louden's bass. Arranger Goldstein provides some intriguing brassy arrangements on the Latin "Tunamo." Both the opening "Gypsy's Journey" and "Time Piece" are augmented with Goldstein's superlative string touches that provide a well crafted foundation for Sheppard's embracing soprano saxophone ("Time Piece") and Blake's tenor ("Gypsy's Journey"). Louden's Time Piece has scores of creative ideas - so many I was left wishing for a sequel. Morrie Louden has put together the pieces to this puzzle to create a marvelous picture. I just hope he paints another soon.
Portland Jazz Scene
by George Fendel
Time Piece, Morrie Louden, bass. Wow, this guy could be the next bass virtuoso in our midst. His playing is sometimes furiously fast, and his up tempo (and I MEAN up tempo) runs by you at near “sheets of sound” velocity. And yet he turns the table around and writes haunting, expressive ballads. It’s not every cat on every track, but some of his colleagues here include Bob Sheppard, Seamus Blake, Alex Sipigian, and some unbelievable piano from Edward Simon and Mike Eckroth. This music is not for everyone who purports to be a jazz fan, but I sure found it fascinating. MOSound Productions, 2007, Play Time 67:00.
MORRIE LOUDEN/Time Piece: Muscular bass player that just his teeth in jive
show bands by acts any true jazzbo would revile (with the exception of Fifth Dimension who are fun) turns in a solo date that reflects who he is and what he feels and lets you know he is the real deal. Probably making the acts he backed more palatable, Louden simply knows his stuff and has it going on. This non-stop set has the ear marks of a classic. Killer playing, smart leading and taste beyond belief, Loudon is on his own and well on his way. A contemporary jazzbo must. 33366 (MoSound) -Chris Spector Midwest Report
Chris Spector www.midwestrecord.com.
By Mel Minter
Morrie Louden Time Piece (MoSound)
There’s something for nearly everyone on Time Piece , bassist Morrie Louden’s collection of 10 originals—including a lush nonet romance (“Gypsy’s Journey”), a modern quintet burner (“624 Main St.”—the CD’s high point), a sensuous septet bossa (“A Rosa”), and an 11-piece faux movie soundtrack (“Majique”). The title track offers a petite, almost programmatic chamber jazz suite. The diversity of styles doesn’t jangle, though, because it’s all grounded in Louden’s sophisticated (if sometimes soft) compositional style. Standout contributions come from Louden on bass, vocalist Gretchen Parlato, saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Seamus Blake, pianist Edward Simon, and arranger Gil Goldstein.
The presence of so many talented musicians contributes to the full-bodied orchestral ambience created by Louden and arranger Gil Goldstein
By Joe Montague - Riveting Riffs Ltd -Also posted on Jazz Review.com
Album: Time Piece / Morrie Louden / 1:06:23 / MoSound Productions
My first response when I looked at the CD cover for Morrie Louden’s Time Piece is, ‘There sure are a lot of musicians on this album.’ Counting Louden seventeen different musicians appear on Time Piece and that is not counting vocalist Gretchen Parlato. The presence of so many talented musicians contributes to the full-bodied orchestral ambience created by Louden and arranger Gil Goldstein
Inspired by the compositions of Antonio Carlos Jobin, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Michel Lagrand, Louden worked his magic on the charts for “Insensatez,” a distinctly Brazilian tune blessed by the emotive and ethereal high soprano vocals of Gretchen Parlato. In addition to Louden’s bass other highlights to listen for on “Insensatez,” include Alex Sipiagin’s flugelhorn and Mike Eckroth’s piano solo. The Portuguese lyrics were written by Nanny Assis. I do not understand a word of Portuguese but I do understand sensibility and both the musicians and Parlato bring a lot of that to this great song.
“624 Main St.,” is a straight ahead jazz tune that places a lot of emphasis on Seamus Blake’s tenor saxophone, led by Edward Simon’s piano chops by the midpoint, with Louden’s extended bass solo ushering in the close, when he is once again joined by Blake. With so many talented musicians featured on Time Piece it would be easy to lose sight of the superb drumming and percussion playing that is so evident on this CD. Drummer Gary Novak and percussionist Nanny Assis bring wonderful texture and depth to “624 Main St.”
The title track “Time Piece,” was apparently written by Louden over the course of several years during the composer’s life. The movement of the music from somber, to contemplative and then lively suggests the moods of those years. Louden’s bassline is stronger and thrust more into the forefront on “Time Piece.” Three time Grammy Award winner and cellist Gil Goldstein arranged the strings for “Time Piece.” The violins of Joyce Hamann and Lois Martin compliment violist Belinda Whitney and cellist Richard Locker beautifully.
Those with an affinity for brass and woodwind instruments will fall in love with the sprightly Tunamo. Flautist Oriente Lopez is remarkable with his solo piece and Goldstein has come up with some great arrangements for tenor sax men Bob Sheppard and Seamus Blake, who are joined by Larry Ferrall (trombone) and bass trombonist George Flynn.
Parlato the 2004 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocalist Competition reappears with her awe inspiring reading of “A Rosa” and ethereal vocalese on “Majique.”
If you are looking to purchase a new jazz CD Time Piece would be an excellent addition to any collection.
Reviewed April 2007
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
By Michael P. Gladstone
Bassist and composer Morrie Louden makes his album debut with Time Piece, a most impressive collection of all originals. Louden's musical colleagues are a much admired ensemble, including saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Seamus Blake, trumpeter Alex Sipigian, pianist Edward Simon, drummer Adam Nussbaum, guitarist Lionel Leouke and vocalist Gretchen Parlato.
Louden is a Californian who played two other instruments before changing to bass at age eleven. After graduation from DeAnza College, he began to work with well-known pop entertainers including Barbra Streisand and Engelbert Humperdinck. Later, with his own group, he got to work with such jazzmen as saxophonists Ralph Moore, Rick Margitza and Eric Marienthal.
Time Piece turns out be a delightful mix of material, showing his writing skills as well as his chops on the acoustic bass. Three most diverting and enjoyable bossa nova tracks are inserted strategically at about one-third and two-thirds through the album, with the delicious vocal musings of Parlato, the Thelonious Monk Award-jazz singer—surprisingly not a Rio de Janeiro native, but a resident of Southern California. Ironically, Louden was able to secure Loueke, one of New York’s most in-demand guitarists and an artist who worked with Parlato previously. Her presence on this album not only changes the mood but establishes a new one.
The album begins with “Gypsy's Journey” a balladic composition that actually begins
with a classical overlay of violins, viola and cello. The piece features tenor sax solos from Sheppard and Louden. In contrast, “Verbatim” is taken way up-tempo with more solo opportunities for Sheppard, Louden and Simon. “Insensatez,” the first of Parlato's appearances, offers not only a change of pace but some outstanding solo work from Sheppard on soprano sax and pianist Mike Eckroth with samba simpatico. “624 Main Street,” an up-tempo bop tune, marks the only appearance of tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake and the twelve-minute track allows him a five minute solo. Trumpeter Alex Sipiagin provides several well-delivered solos and is featured on “Supposition.” Latin percussionist Nanny Assis (who also has a new solo album) is used to maximum effect on the album. Morrie Louden | Self Produced (2007)
Interview with Morrie Louden
Written by Joe Montaque - Jazz Police
Sunday, 08 July 2007
“To me the most amazing thing as a writer is to get a concept in your mind, have it come out through your fingers, find it on the piano, write it down, play it, have someone else hear the melody and get that same thought and same feeling that I had originally. That is the ultimate reward as a writer,” says the personable upright bassist and composer Morrie Louden.
Louden who is the proud owner of an almost three hundred year old Pietro Rogeri upright acoustic bass describes how songs often come to him, “Sometimes I will grab a piece of paper and write down notes, or I will create a manuscript piece of paper and write out the notes so I won’t forget what is in my mind. It is amazing, I don’t know where they come from, it must be God because I can be doing just about anything, and a melody will come to me. I will run to a piano to try and find it. When I do (find the melody), oh man that is just the most wonderful thing in the world, to take a sound that is in my mind, find it musically and then put it across.”
It was with this same enthusiasm and flair for the creative that Louden approached his current CD Time Piece. Reflecting upon the title track he says, “That piece got its name because it literally represents pieces of time. I was very careful in writing that piece. I wrote sections in different periods of time because I did not want to rush it or force it. I had a vision of how I wanted this whole song to lay. It tells a story and there are many stories within that piece. The whole thing is an odyssey. It wasn’t the type of piece that I sat down and wrote in a day or week. It has definitive directions and sounds. If I knew it wasn’t a good direction, or it wasn’t everything that I wanted out of the sound, I would stop, and let it sit until the right sound came to me. I just wanted it to flow.”
“I had a vision when I started Time Piece (the album) and I decided to play out that vision from start to finish, exactly 100 % the way that I wanted to do it, without outside influence. I had the music that I wanted to record, and I had a vision of how I wanted the record to sound. It took a couple of months to put together the right musicians for the record. I was very careful in selecting the right players for the right songs. It was a long process and very expensive, but I did it the way that I wanted to do it,” says Louden.
One of the people that Louden selected to help him create this beautiful CD was renowned vocalist Gretchen Parlato, whose gorgeous ethereal vocals grace the songs “Insensatez,” “A Rosa,” and “Majique.” Louden talks about Parlato’s contribution to the project, “She is a very special, I will say musician, she’s a singer, but she is also a musician. She is very well studied and knows music very well. A lot of singers don’t know much about the theoretical part of music, they just sing, which is a great thing too, but Gretchen is also a musician. She understands everything that she is singing. Beyond that, she has the most amazing angelic voice. She sang everything straight down on the recording. There are no overdubs.”
Although it is often necessary for a composer or arranger to communicate to a vocalist how he wants a particular piece to be sung Louden says, “With a singer like Gretchen you don’t have to tell her too much. I gave her the instrumental music first, and she learned the music from the (perspective) of an instrumentalist playing the melody. She owned it from that point on, and I didn’t have to tell her a thing.”
“The nuances in her (Parlato’s) voice are always a pleasant surprise. You will hear things in her voice that you didn’t expect, such as the way that she will sing certain notes, the way she attacks key notes, what we refer to as the money notes or critical notes in the tune. Sometimes those are the high notes. (For example) I might have expected when I wrote the music that a singer might leave out certain notes but she would attack those in a whole different way. It is beautiful and amazing when a singer interprets a melody and those are the things that you didn’t know were going to come out of the song,” says Louden.
The song “Insensatez” was also heavily influenced by one of Louden’s favorite composers Carlos Antonio Jobim. “I have had people tell me that “Insensatez” sounds like Chopin meets Jobim. I love the way that the song came out because it tells a story that starts in a dark sort of way, but ends up happy. It goes to a real happy place musically,” says the bassist.
In a contrast of styles the CD Time Piece also boasts “624 Main Street” a piece that Louden describes as a progressive, fusion, Latin type song. “It was extremely challenging physically. That piece is more of an improvisational vehicle and lets the musicians shine more. It is not the kind of tune that you would be humming while you are walking down the street,” he says.
The lyrics to “Insensatez” and “A Rosa” were composed in Portuguese and like the language; the songs are filled with romantic colors. Not being a fluent in Portuguese Louden had to trust that the lyricists Nanny Assis (“Insensatez”), who also plays percussion on the record, and Magali (“A Rosa”) would capture the essence of his music. Like the weight and texture of a brush stroke from a painter upon a canvass, Louden’s approach to lyrics is precise and detailed. “I am particular about the vowel sounds in the melody. There are times when you have an open vowel
sound and a closed vowel sound. They have to work right with the melodies and a good lyricist can do that. If you are holding one note (it must reflect correctly) in the vowel sound of the word. That is very important,” he says.
Most of Louden’s music however comes to us without lyrics and novices to jazz or those less skilled in the nuances of musical composition might ask how a song’s message is to be interpreted without the aid of words. For a musical connoisseur like Louden that is never an issue, “Music is like a fine wine. If you don’t know anything about wine, you might not know the difference between a ten-dollar bottle and a one hundred dollar bottle. The more you know about music, the more you don’t need lyrics to carry you through the song; the melody and the harmony pull you through the song.”
The romance of Louden’s music is further enhanced as the notes resonate throughout his three hundred year old bass. “It was made by Rogeri who went to school with Stradivarius. This bass was built in 1713. Back then, they would go find a spruce tree in Italy, cut it down and drag it home using a horse. They would then age the wood for one hundred years before even building the instrument. They would keep the wood in the family. We are talking four hundred years ago that the tree was cut down. That is pretty amazing. It (the bass) has a sound that you just can’t get out of the newer instruments,” he says as he goes on to describe the wide grain of the wood, the thin wood that forms the ribs of the instrument and the thicker spruce that shapes the back and top of his prized bass.
Morrie Louden is just a down to earth guy when you talk to him but his music is heavenly and romantic.
C D Reviews: Eclectic Louden disc is consistently good
Sunday, August 5, 2007
'TIME PIECE' Morrie Louden (MoSound)
Bassist Morrie Louden has put together an album that is so full of varied elements it is hard to describe briefly. "Time Piece" features 18 musicians who perform in groups of four to 11 players. They vary in personnel as much as in type in presenting 10 Louden originals. The
mainstream "Verbatim," for instance, is made up of a quartet featuring Bob Sheppard on tenor saxophone. The quartet on a more moody "Supposition" is built around Alex Sipiagin's flugelhorn. The title track features a quartet again dominated by Sheppard backed by a string quintet arranged by keyboard ace Gil Goldstein. In a different direction, "Tunamo" and "Majique" feature 10 and a 11 players, respectively, but that includes horns and a rhythm section. The horn arrangements are by Goldstein, too. Besides the players mentioned, the album features players such as drummer Gary Novak, pianist Edward Simon, saxophonist Seamus Blake and guitarist Lionel Loueke, all players who are forging spots in jazz these days. The music moves from brisk, up-tempo jazz to semi-languid Brazilian tunes.
-- Bob Karlovits
Featured Artist: Morrie Louden
CD Title: Time Piece Year: 2007 Record Label: MoSound Productions Style: Straight-Ahead / Classic Reviewed by: Edward Blanco
I’m already on record through another source as stating that Time Piece is “One of the best contemporary jazz albums…of…this year,” and have no problems confirming that here. While it would not be correct to label this album as an exclusively Brazilian style recording, you cannot discount the heavy bossa nova and samba colors contained on the disc. As bassist/composer Morrie Louden writes in the liner notes “Along with other Brazilian composers, (Antonio Carlos) Jobim has had a profound influence on my writing.”
This is clearly evident as he provides an original composition using the same title as Jobim’s classic “Insensatez,” another love ballad that differs from Jobim’s three minute instrumental. Louden’s music is nearly nine minutes with gorgeous vocals provided by new comer Gretchen Parlato singing in Portuguese with lyrics from percussionist Nanny Assis. The lady gives another sensuous performance on the sweet and lushes bossa of “A Rosa,” containing a passionate tenor solo from West Coast great Bob Sheppard.
Louden rounds out his Brazilian-influenced charts with the samba-shaded “Tunamo” featuring Oriente Lopez on the flute and the light finale “Majique.” The non-Brazilian style pieces provide a completely different side to the bassist music. Beginning with the opening number “Gypsy’s Journey,” the music takes on new colors as this tune employs a string section backing up soft saxophone phrasings from Sheppard.
Foe this listener one of the best charts here has to be “Verbatim,” containing fast paced solo performances from Sheppard, pianist Edward Simon and the leader. “624 Main St.” is a
burner of a tune with Seamus Blake on a blazing tenor. Other notable scores include the ballad style “Supposition,” and the fiery hard bop of “Mr. Frump.”
Time Piece is one album that you will enjoy from beginning to end. Not only does the album contain excellent charts, Louden assembled a first-class cadre of musicians among them reed man Bob Sheppard, pianist Edward Simon, Adam Nussbaum and Gary Novak on the drums and Alex Sipiagen on the trumpet just to name a few.
REVIEW by Ken Dryden, All Music Guide
Bassist Morrie Louden's second CD is a diverse affair, utilizing a constantly shifting group of musicians which includes pianist Edward Simon, saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Seamus Blake, guitarist ionel Loueke and a host of others. The tense post-bop vehicle "Verbatim" showcases Simon, Sheppard (on tenor sax) and the leader to good effect. "Supposition" is a lovely melancholy ballad featuring flugelhornist Alex Sipiagin. Several large ensemble tracks feature Gil Goldstein's horn charts, including the brisk samba "Tunamo" and the driving Latin-flavored cooker "Mr. Frump" (which Louden dedicates to a grumpy rich man who used to lose lots of money gambling while expressing his displeasure to the band). Louden's multi-faceted mini-suite "Time Piece" is an intricate Latin composition that grows on the listener with each hearing. Thelonious Monk Vocal Jazz Competition winner Gretchen Parlato adds background colors to several numbers and adds effective Portuguese vocals to "Insenzatez" and "A Rosa."
Highly Recommended !!
Sher Music Co.
The Finest in Jazz & Latin Music Publications
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Chuck's Cool CDs List - 2/1/08
My wonderful web expert, Bob Afifi, talked me into starting a blog, so I hope all you Sher Music fans out there find it useful. If you have any thoughts on what shows up in this blog, please comment. One of my jobs as a jazz publisher (not to mention as a musician myself) is to keep my ears open to the latest developments in jazz, or at least those
aspects of jazz that I find personally appealing. So below please find a list of some of the coolest music I've heard lately. I'll probably be doing this monthly to correspond with my monthly jazz show on KRCB. You can hear many of these songs on the show by going to and hitting the "Listen" button the first Saturday of each month from 8 pm to 12 am, Pacific time. Or check out rhapsody.com, where I found most of these CDs and where, for a relatively low monthly fee, you can listen to the entire track (not just 30 seconds) of songs on many thousands of jazz CDs, and other kinds of music too, of course. Enjoy! - Chuck 1. Chris Minh Doky's "Cinematic", featuring Joey Calderazzo, Tain Watts, and other great players. The first tune, "James Bond" is contemporary jazz at its finest. 2. New York Voices' "A Day Like This". I haven't hear the whole CD but Heads Up put out a promotional sampler with tracks from various CDs including a very beautiful tune from this CD entitled, "The World Keeps You Waiting" - very cool lyric for these stressed-out times. 3. George Colligan's "Desire", and "Como La Vida Puede Ser", featuring alto player Perico Sambeat, has some world-class playing and writing on it. Check out the title tune of the 2nd CD. Perico is one of the most mature saxophone voices on the planet. 4. Julian Arguelles' "Scapes". Not all of this CD is to my personal taste, but some of it is just gorgeous to my ears, and one has to commend Julian for being completely creative in following his musical vision. 5. Marcus Tardelli's "Interpreta Guinga". My man Barry Finnerty hipped me to this great musician, playing state-of-the-art acoustic guitar versions of the great Brazilian composer Guinga's compositions. Uncle Chuck says check it out. 6. Perico Sambeat's "Jindungo". See #3 above for comments on Perico. 7. Ali Akbar Khan's "Raga Chandranandan", from the '60s. To my ears, one of the greatest solos on any instrument, from any country, anytime. 8. Kenny Werner/Roseanna Vitro's: "Serve Or Suffer: The Delirium Blues Project". All I have heard is their very interesting version of Tower of Power's classic, "What Is Hip?", which they totally re-invigorate. CD won't be released until next month, evidently. 9. Kenny Wheeler's "It Takes Two", featuring guitarists John Abercrombie and John Parricelli, and bassist Anders Jormin. Great music from everybody on this CD. 10. Morrie Louden's "Time Piece". One of the best bassists and composers I have heard in many a year, including some of the best Bob Sheppard sax playing on record, which is saying a lot. Very highly recommended. 11. Kasper Villaume's "Hands" - Along with Michael Brecker's "Pilgrimage", this CD is the best overall record I've heard in the last year
or so. The rhythm section of pianist Kasper Villaume, bassist Chris Minh Doky and drummer Ali Jackson is simply superb, and they create the perfect setting for some of the greatest Chris Potter solos ever recorded. Don't miss it!
Posted by Chuck Sher at 2:54 PM 1 comments
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Ken Franckling Ken Franckling is a contributing writer-protographer for JAZZIZ, JazzTimes, Hot House, Jazz Improv, All About Jazz-New York and AllAboutJazz.com
The 10 best new jazz releases, listed alphabetically:
Michael Brecker, "Pilgrimage" (Head's Up)
Till Bronner, "Oceana" (EmArcy)
Morrie Louden, "Time Piece" (MoSound Productions)
Brad Mehldau and Pat Metheny, "Quartet" (Nonesuch)
Ed Reed, "Ed Reed Sings Love Stories" (Blue Shorts)
Bobby Sanabria, "Big Band Urban Folktales" (Jazzheads)
Maria Schneider, "Sky Blue" (artistShare)
Tierney Sutton Band, "On the Other Side" (Telarc)
Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts, "Scenic Route" (Palmetto)
Joe Zawinul, "Brown Street" (Heads Up International)
The 10 best new songs of the year, listed alphabetically:
Michael Brecker, "Tumbleweed" from "Pilgrimage" (Heads Up)
Michael Brecker, "When Will I Kiss You Again?" from "Pilgrimage" (Heads Up)
Roy Cumming, "Tears Outside" (from "Edgeless" (Up & Cumming)
Joe Fiedler, "The Crab" from Bobby Sanabria's "Big Band Urban Folktales" (Jazzheads)
Tom Harrell, "Architect of Time" from "Light On" (HighNote)
Marilyn Harris, "They're Gonna Love Me" from "Road Trip" (Wrightwood)
Joel Harrison, "Blue Ghosts of Bourbon Street" from "Harbor" (HighNote)
Morrie Louden, "Gypsy's Journey" from "Time Piece" (MoSound Productions)
Maria Schneider, "Cerulean Blue" from "Sky Blue" (artistShare)
Matt Wilson, "Feel The Sway" from "Scenic Route" (Palmetto)
The best jazz boxed set or historic recordings, listed alphabetically:
Miles Davis, "The Complete On The Corner Sessions" (Columia/Legacy)
Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy, "Cornell 1964" (Blue Note)
Musings on writing, books, music, movies and pop culture by a guy who spent far too many of his childhood family vacations with his face buried in novels and his ears glued to headphones
Top 10 Jazz Discs Michael Brecker, Pilgrimage (Heads Up) Sonny Rollins, Sonny Please (Doxy) Terence Blanchard, A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) (Blue Note) Joshua Redman, Back East (Nonesuch) Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau, Metheny Mehldau Quartet (Nonesuch) Joe Lovano and Hank Jones, Kids: Live at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola (Blue Note) Joe Zawinul, Brown Street (Heads Up) Jean-Michel Pilc, New Dreams (Dreyfus) Eddie Daniels, Homecoming: Live at the Iridium (IPO) Morrie Louden, Time Piece (MoSound) + 3: John Abercrombie: The Third Quartet (ECM) McCoy Tyner: Quartet (Half Note) Joel Harrison: Harbor (HighNote)
basement tapes concert reviews cd reviews interviews ticket swap music news
#11 - Dino Saluzzi/ Anja Lechner - Ojos Negros #12 - Exploding Star Orchestra - We Are All From Somewhere Else #13 - Herbie Hancock - River: The Joni Letters #14 - Ron Carter - Dear Miles #15 - Chris Potter - Song For Anyone #16 - Joan Stiles - Hurly Burly #17 - Abbey Lincoln - Abbey Sings Abbey #18 - Miles Okazaki - Mirror #19 - Morrie Louden - Time Piece #20 - Tain Watts - Folks Songs #21 - Marty Ehrlich & Myra Melford - Spark #22 - Anat Fort - A Long Time
Here are the top 10 Jazz albums of 2007 as compiled by Brad Walseth.
#23 - Frank Vignola - Vignola Plays Gershwin #24 - Michele Rosewoman - The In Side Out #25 - Manu Katche - Playground
Edward Blanco Contact Me CD/DVD Reviewer Contributor Since: 2005
What I'm Listening To Now Last Updated: 2007-08-30
1. Boulevard Big Band - Live at Harlings Upstairs
2. Eugene Maslov - Where The Lights Come From
3. Joe Coughlin - Things Turn Out That Way
4. Gene Cipriano - First Time Out
5. Rob Fried - Wind Song
6. Jeff Darrohn - T-Bird '60 7. Morrie Louden - Time Piece
8. Frank Macchia - Emotions
9. Les DeMerle - Cookin' At The Corner
10. Jack Cortner Big Band - Fast Track