Bird and another voice. Ted Gioia, editor of the blog Jazz.com, sent along the following note in response to my two-parter last week on the Charlie Parker and Dave Lambert Singers recording session of May 1953:
"I like jazz vocal groups, but the Lambert sides with Parker have always grated on me. Nonetheless, with Gil Evans involved, and a slightly different approach to the singing, this could have been an interesting outing. Norman Granz (for all his great contributions to the music) focused his energies on putting together interesting groups of musicians, but seemed less concerned with what they actually did when put together in the recording studio. In sports parlance, he was a great general manager (putting together the team) but a lousy coach (who needs to get them play well together). He should have hired someone like an Orrin Keepnews to complement his efforts, and get great results in the studio."
And the winner is. Last week, Blue Organ Trio's Folk Music album won the 2008 Chicago Music Award for Best Jazz CD. The trio is comprised of Chris Foreman on organ, Bobby Broom on guitar and Greg Rockingham on drums. The album artfully revives a 1970s jazz-soul sound that had been all but lost after the passing of organist Charles Earland in 1999. To read my January 10 review of this album and my analysis of the important sound Blue Organ Trio revived, go here. The album is available here or at iTunes.
Sleeping beauties. Since JazzWax is first and foremost a blog about great jazz recordings, I love when readers email me names of fine albums that are not especially well known. Jonathan Horwich sent along a list of his off-beat favorites and some notes:
Art Farmer. Sing Me Softly of the Blues (1965). "Steve Kuhn on piano. Wonderful playing. On the edge of the avant-garde at the time. One foot in traditional Blue Note sound and the other looking forward." Go here.
Chico Hamilton. Gong's East (1958). "With Eric Dolphy and guitarist Dennis Budimir. Out there without being avant-garde." Go here for the CD—or you can download the album at Amazon starting February 5.
Dizzy Gillespie. A Portrait of Duke Ellington (1960). "The arrangements are by Clare Fischer, and the CD swings." Go here.
George Adams. Old Feeling (1992). "Listen to As Time Goes By for an example of superb ballad playing by both the tenor sax and trumpet." Go here.
Lee Konitz. Live at the Half Note (1959). "Stunning improvisation by Konitz and Warne Marsh. At the height of their prowess and a great improvisational performance." Go here for the CD ($99)—or at iTunes for $19.98.
Charleston shoe. Jazz legend Hal McKusick sent along a fabulous video-clip link. I don't want to spoil the clip by spilling the beans here. But I guarantee it will make you wish you could hop a time machine back to the days when America was under the splendid influence of jazz and swing. Go here.