Michael Moore: alto saxophone, clarinet, melodica
Ernst Reijseger: cello
Han Bennink: percussion
A trio that balances handily upon the musicianship and mischief from all three players involved. Improvisation and tunes shaped with so much spontaneity that it the distinction between the two is deliriously blurred. By the time this set gets to "Ao Velho Pedro" I'm swept up in the playful qualities of this music and marvel at the living, organic jazz history woven through this music without the slightest smell of stagnant, museum grade approach. This disc is worth spinning a few times with a focus on what each player is bringing to the sound and how each one practically bounces off the other with a conversant sense of humor. Big ears and big hearts at work in this music.
Michael Musillami Trio + 3: From Seeds. 2009. Playscape Recordings: PSR # 020109.
Michael Musillami: guitar, composer
Joe Fonda: bass
George Schuller: drums
Marty Ehrlich: alto saxophone
Matt Moran: vibes
Ralph Alessi: trumpet
Just looking at the musicians on this project is enough to set expectations sky high for a project led by a guitarist new to these ears. And does it ever deliver. Enough to put Michael Musillami on my radar for his thoughtful compositions and wicked guitar chops. The interaction between the guitar and vibraphone is fascinating here. And Marty Ehrlich is amazing as always on the alto saxophone for this session. Even the brief, programmatic linear notes by the composer are a joy. Particularly his description for "Graphite."
"Graphite" is a testament to the fact I still write everything out by hand with pencil, ruler and eraser. It's a ritual. Cats continue to shake their heads and tell me about all the great programs for music writing. I suppose it's too perfect. I need to see my past mistakes: changes from eraser marks, coffee stains, rips and tears.
That conversant humor and personality comes through in the music along with the meticulous, polished material worked out through practice and habit in an effort to tease music from imperfections and polished "mistakes." Though From Seeds is no mistake. It's rewarding listening.
Jack DeJohnette with Bill Frisell: The Elephant Sleeps But Still Remembers. 2006. Golden Beams Productions: GBP-CD-1116.
Jack DeJohnette: drums, percussion, vocals, piano
Bill Frisell: Guitar, Banjo
Two great artists with an established sound and a mutually compatible approach make a deeply enjoyable album. What is interesting here is just how well their respective sounds - which are easily perceived within these textures - fuse together so cleanly. When it doesn't sound like they've been collaborating for decades they at least sound like they would like to. Yet more continuity in Bill Frisell's recording career for playing with all the great drummers of the world.