A cool European set from Lee Konitz – quite different than some of his other material recorded overseas at the time, with a swinging, upbeat feel that's totally great! The group's a nonet – a large ensemble that features Lee on alto and soprano sax, with Ronnie Cuber on baritone, Kimmy Kneper on trombone, Red Rodney on trumpet, and Sam Burtis on bass trombone. The arrangements for the horns are really wonderful – kind of echoing an older west coast mode, but with lots of the new modernisms that Konitz picked up during the late 60s and 70s – forged into some beautiful tunes that sparkle with fresh changes, great solos, and a compelling dynamic energy. Rhythm is from Ben Aronov on electric and acoustic piano, Ray Drummond on bass, and Billy Hart on drums – and titles include "Moon Dreams", "April", "Who You", "Without A Song", "Times Lie", and "Matrix". CD
The last of Van Dyke Parks' classic early trio of albums for Warner Brothers – and possibly the straightest of the bunch! Parks continues the exploration of ersatz Americana explored on his previous two records – but his approach here is sometimes a bit gentler, almost sentimental at times – as if he's been pulled more strongly into the matrix of history and geography that's always informed his work. Production is still great – although not handled by Van Dyke this time around – and instrumentation includes a fair bit of steel drums, showing Parks' continuing love of the form. (He was one of the instrument's biggest mainstream champions in the early 70s.) Titles include "Soul Train", "Cannon In D", "You're A Real Sweetheart", "Another Dream", "Pass That Stage", "City On The Hill", "Iron Man", and "Love Is The Answer". CD
(Out of print UK pressing.)
Bugge Wesseltoft —
IM ... CD Jazzland (Norway), 2007. Used ...
A wealth of great keyboard work from Bugge Wessltoft – a beautiful little record with a tremendous amount of sensitivity – hardly what we might have expected from his work of a few years before! The album shows Bugge's full evolution from a dancefloor-oriented artist to a more serious one – and it's got a richly compositional feel throughout – sounds that flow with a real sense of grace and presence, almost organic at points. Bugge plays a fair bit of Steinway, but also Fender Rhodes, Prophet, Electrix, and added percussion as well. Mari Boine sings on "Yoyk" – one of the most tuneful tracks in the set – and other titles include "Hit", "Min", "Fot", "Im", "Black Pearl Makes Dream", and "Wy". CD