Posts Tagged ‘The Cookers’

BEST OF 2014: Albert Brooks’ Top 11 Albums

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

By Albert Brooks

Nippertown contributing photographer Albert Brooks weighs in with his Top 11 albums (plus a few honorable mentions) of the past 12 months:

Jimmy Greene: Beautiful Life1. JIMMY GREENE: A Beautiful Life (Mack Avenue Records)
This album is a special gift that Greene is graciously sharing with the world. It is an album of simply beautiful music that honors the beautiful life that was his daughter, Ana Grace. The album has a stellar line-up of world-class musicians offering their musical support to Greene in this moving tribute: Renee Rosnes, Christian McBride, Lewis Nash, Pat Metheny, Kenny Barron and others. This is a must-have album!

2. ANTHONY BRANKER & WORD PLAY: The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite (Origin Records)
This is one of the more thought-provoking albums I heard this year. With The Forward, Branker has composed a suite of music inspired by personal reflections on what America means to him as a first-generation American. One highlight among many here is the powerful recitation of Claude McKay’s poem “If We Must Die.” The impressive line-up here includes saxophonists David Binney and Ralph Bowen, trombonist Conrad Herwig, pianist Jim Ridl, bassist Kenny Davis, drummer Donald Edwards, conguero Renato Thoms and vocalist Alison Crockett, as well as 16 fifth grade students from Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary in Piscataway, NJ providing spoken word contributions.

3. AZAR LAWRENCE: The Seeker (Sunnyside Records)
The Seeker is a powerful album recorded live at the Jazz Standard in New York. Lawrence is a ferocious and lyrical saxophonist who may come out of the Coltrane lineage, but is his own man both as a composer and improviser. This album features a powerful line-up – Nicholas Payton on trumpet, Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums, Essiet Okon Essiet on bass and the fine young pianist Benito Gonzalez – and all the excitement of a live performance.

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Jazz 2K: CD Picks of the Week

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Reviews by J Hunter

Welcome to the Greater Nippertown jazz scene’s version of the Bermuda Triangle: That amazon nine-day stretch that gives us the Port of Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival, Lake George Jazz Weekend and the start of another season for A Place For Jazz… which means, of course, that we need some music to talk about between sets:

Ahmad Jamal: Blue MoonAHMAD JAMAL
Blue Moon
(ACM/JazzBook)
Not all 80-plus guys mumble incoherently to empty chairs. Some, like 81-year old piano icon Ahmad Jamal, take that chair and smash it over the heads of any stereotypes that stand in their way. Jamal still paints beautiful, pastoral pictures on his original “I Remember Italy” and Johnny Mercer’s “Laura”, but he also hits his lines on the reboot of “Autumn Rain” with a haymaker punch that’ll rock you back, and his reboot of the title track to his latest release Blue Moon takes one of the Great American Songbook’s more treacly woe-is-me tunes and flips it soundly on its head. Jamal’s muscular, veteran back-up band gives no quarter, either: Reginald Veal prefaces Jamal’s pulsing attack on “Morning Mist” with an in-the-clear bass solo that will give your sub-woofers some extra work; drummer Herlin Riley’s backbeat on “This Is the Life” lets Jamal dance the way he wants to – floating lightly on some sections, stomping hard on others – while Manolo Badrena’s percussion adds driving, industrial urgency to Bronislau Kaper’s “Invitation” and the Dizzy classic “Woody’n You.” Some things may get meaner as they get older, but when it comes to Ahmad Jamal, they also get better – way better!

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Jazz-2K: America’s Classical Music in the 21st Century

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

If many long-term, old school jazz fans are to be believed, the only thing we can – or should – do is celebrate what has come before from masters like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and (the pre-electric) Miles Davis. After all, that was when “the really great jazz” was made, and nothing new could ever measure up to those legendary recordings. If you’re of that opinion, then this ain’t your column! If you’d like to see what vibrant, exciting things are happening in the music that spawned the Freihofer Jazz Festival, then strap in and let’s light this candle!

Shane Endsley and the Music BandSHANE ENDSLEY AND THE MUSIC BAND: “Then the Other” (Low Electrical Records, 2011)
Endsley is one-fifth of the miraculous neo-fusion band Kneebody, which is one of the reasons I have hope for this genre’s future. But Endsley’s also made great acoustic music with Ben Allison and Jenny Scheinmann, and “Then the Other” is Endsley’s chance to step out on the acoustic side as a leader. Fronting a tight quartet featuring keyboardist Craig Taborn, drummer Ted Poor and bassist Matt Brewer, Endsley’s music runs parallel to Kneebody’s catalog, in that it’s chock-full of intriguing twists and turns, and takes its cues from nobody else. Endsley’s trumpet is wide open, but he never tries to blow the house down, preferring to stick and move rather than throw haymakers. Taborn’s electric fans may be unhappy he left his Fender Rhodes in the garage, but his electrifying solos on “House” and “King’s County Ramble” should please anyone. That future I mentioned? “Then the Other” makes it even brighter.

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Jim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysHolly & EvanThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantCaffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!The LindaBerkshire On StageArtist Charles HaymesHudson SoundsAlbany PoetsLeave Regular Radio BehindG.C. Haymes