Sunday, October 28, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Charlie Must Be Understandably Proud of Petra

Charlie Hunter: Charlie Hunter. 2000. Blue Note Records: 7243 5 25450 2 5.

Charlie Hunter: 8-string guitar
Peter Apfelbaum: tenor saxophone
Josh Roseman: trombone
Leon Parker: drums, percussion
Stephen Chopek: percussion
Robert Perkins: percussion

Charlie Hunter has all the characteristics one looks for in a Blue Note release with the heavy helping of chops combined with a distinctive sound. But there's also a lot of raw fun lurking in this groove-heavy disc. The Latin treatment of Monk's "Epistrophy" being one of the highlights along with the driving infectiousness of "Two for Bleu." Hunter proves - yet again - that one can fall squarely within the jazz tradition without sounding dated or derivative.

Andrew Hill: Point of Departure. 1964. Re-released in 1999. Blue Note Records: 7243 4 99007 2 1.

Andrew Hill: compositions, piano
Kenny Dorham: trumpet
Eric Dolphy: alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet
Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone
Richard Davis: bass
Tony Williams: drums

A disc dripping with musicality that continues to reveal fresh surprises with each spinning. Dorham, Dolphy and Henderson all turn in outstanding solos that deliver exactly what one expects from such a stacked roster. But it's the Andrew Hill compositions that make this session so enduring as he shapes many different textures and sounds out of the sonic verve these players bring to the table.

Petra Haden/Bill Frisell: Petra Haden and Bill Frisell. 2003. Songlines/Tonefield: TND 312.

Petra Haden: vocals, violin
Bill Frisell: electric guitar, acoustic guitar

I can't believe this has been sitting on my shelf for over six months waiting for this listening. A combination of trepidation of a vocal heavy recording and a wealth of new music to listen to kept this one in the back of the cue. Faith in Bill Frisell's taste and musicality pulled it forward today and I was reminded that while vocals and poetry often fail, they can also capture truth and expression with painful immediacy. And in the case of Petra Haden, with her exquisite sense of intonation and grasp of song, this is a collaboration that wins these doubting ears completely over. Even the cover of Coldplay's "Yellow" - a completely over-exposed song that has never held my attention prior to this cover - takes on a human vulnerability and confidence that is startling. "Moon River" breathes with a vitality that conveys a sense of why that song has such longevity. And the wordless interpretation of Frisell's "Throughout" is pure joy.


the improvising guitarist said...

Regarding the Haden/Frisell, it took a recommendation from a friend (and a fine musician) for me to finally bite. I’m also won over: one of the best things I’ve heard in recent times.


Devin Hurd said...

Bill Frisell continues to take some interesting turns with his various projects and collaborations. He's usually well worth a listen no matter how far along the Naked City/Americana continuum he's working within.

He's playing here in Baltimore these next two nights. I'll have to file a report on the current live incarnation of Frisell.

Thanks for reading.