June 23rd, 2011, 12:00 pm by Greg
April 24th, 2009, 12:45 pm by Greg
In honor of one of Sunday’s anchor acts at this weekend’s Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, here are five “instant classics” from The City that Care Forgot:
CHRISTIAN SCOTT: “Yesterday You Said Tomorrow” (Concord, 2010)A Skidmore Jazz Institute alum and the nephew of saxman/“Night in Treme” leader Donald Harrison Jr., Scott was anointed as NOLA’s “next big thing” some time ago. But while his ability as a trumpet player has never been questioned, and all his previous discs were solid, Scott takes it through a whole new door on “Yesterday.” Balancing biting social consciousness with heart-stopping talents as a player and composer, Scott takes on his hometown police department (“K.K.P.D.”), Louisiana’s medieval prison system (“Angola, LA & the 13th Amendment”), and the foes of marriage equality (“The Last Broken Heart (Prop 8)”). Throw in a dead-solid-perfect re-boot of Radiohead’s “The Eraser,” and “Yesterday” is more than just a “breakthrough release” for someone who’s already broken through. As Richard Dreyfuss said in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “This means something! This is important!”
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After his high-profile collaboration with Elvis Costello on 2006’s “The River in Reverse,” New Orleans music godfather Toussaint serves up a curve ball. Eschewing R&B, Crescent City soul and pop, the pianist jumps into the jazz world with both feet, tackling time-honored nuggets from Jellyroll Morton, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet, Django Reinhardt, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and more. He is surrounded by some great players – including Albany’s Don Byron on clarinet, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and guitarist Marc Ribot – but producer Joe Henry makes sure that the spotlight is focused squarely on Toussaint’s talented fingers. There’s nothing virtuosic here, but that seems to be the whole point. Everything is right in the pocket. Classic stuff.
Allen Toussaint: The Bright Mississippi