JAZZ 2K: CD Picks of the Week

November 26th, 2012, 3:00 pm by Greg

Reviews by J Hunter

Now that we’ve all survived Thanksgiving Food Coma and Black Friday zombie shoppers, here are some suggestions for your holiday gift search. (And remember: Think Global, but please Shop Local!)

Arturo O'Farrill: The Noguchi Sessions
ARTURO O’FARRILL
The Noguchi Sessions
(Zoho Music)
Why would Arturo O’Farrill – who made his name in jazz primarily through big bands – do a solo-piano date? The long answer involves O’Farrill’s affinity for Isamu Noguchi, the Japanese/American artist who built a museum in Long Island City so his wide range of works and styles could be viewed properly. The short answer? Arturo O’Farrill doesn’t play it safe, and (like Noguchi) refuses to be limited by other people’s definitions. Sessions is a series of musical portraits, all of them drenched in color and passion and recorded on one afternoon in the Noguchi Museum. Some are originals inspired by O’Farrill’s own life and views, like the romantic celebration “Mi Vida,” the reflective “In Whom” (written for O’Farrill’s son Zachary, a musician now coming into his own) and “The Delusion of the Greedy,” a volatile diatribe inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement; some are massive expansions of jazz, Latin and Americana standards ranging from Randy Weston’s “Little Niles” and Pedro Flores’ “Obsesión” to Stephen Foster’s “O Susanna.” By the time O’Farrill tiptoes through Charles Mingus’ “Jelly Roll,” you are as drained as O’Farrill must have been at the end of the four-hour session. But then, walking through the mind’s eye of an artist is not for the timid. So: You up for a walk?

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