Kenny Drew was a brilliant pianist who worked with the likes of Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Buddy DeFranco, Dinah Washington, and Art Blakey. By 1960 when he recorded Undercurrent for Blue Note, Drew had already recorded ten albums of his own, mostly with duos and trios. Oddly enough he only had the opportunity to only record two albums in his life for Blue Note, an early effort from 1953 and the classic Undercurrent. Matched in a quintet with the young firebrand trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and the always-stimulating tenor-saxophonist Hank Mobley, the 32-year old pianist was ready to truly make his mark.
All six songs on this album are his, and in his accompaniment of the passionate horn men and in his soulful solos, Drew shows that he was one of the major hard bop stylists. Kenny Drew’s playing on Undercurrent, a superb and very well-recorded Blue Note album that is arguably his finest work, is timeless. The definitive versions of Blue Note are on XRCD24 – the optimization of CD mastering and manufacturing. Plays on all standard CD players. ~Editorial Reviews | Amazon
Spin this classic, “UNDERCURRENTS” by Kenny Drew
As jazz enthusiasts, we are generally overly critical of this beloved music and anyone who doesn’t partake in it. True enough, classic jazz recordings encompass a unique and rare montage of original recordings by one-of-a-kind and exceptional artists. Let’s face it, no one can or should for that matter “compare” or attempt to “overshadow” what’s already been played and recorded. That’s why I say, “COMPARED TO WHAT?” because this generation’s voice was authentically supreme. Let’s cherish and savor each spin with gratitude as if was the last time we listened to it.
Although they were both seminal figures in the development of modern and cool jazz (and although both played together a lot at Birdland in the early fifties), Miles Davis and Milt Jackson only recorded together on a few occasions. As to be expected, their conjunct recordings produced splendid music. Their studio works originally appeared divided into three different albums. While their 1955 session (included here) was issued in its complete form on the LP Miles Davis All-Star Sextet/Quintet, the results from the famous Miles/Milt/Monk encounter were divided onto two different albums, one titled Bags’ Groove (containing only the two takes of the title track plus a quintet session with Sonny Rollins recorded on June 29, 1954) and Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants (which had the rest of the music from that session plus a version of “Round Midnight” recorded at the same sessions as the music from the celebrated Cookin’, Relaxin’, Workin’… series with John Coltrane).
The only other preserved encounter by Miles and Milt took place in Germany, during a tour that featured the members of the Modern Jazz Quartet (Milt included, of course) with Miles and a weak, sick Lester Young. ~Editorial Review | Amazon
At your leisure, spin this “SELF-TITLED” masterpiece by Miles & Milt.
- IRMA and LEO | “back to who” feat. Esperanza Spalding and Leo Genovese | 4:41
- Christian McBride | “Brother Malcolm” | 4:47
- Cécile McLorin Salvant | “Easy Come, Easy Go Blues” | 2:32
- Kenny Garrett | “Joe Hen’s Waltz” | 8:07
- Jon Batiste | “Sweet Lorraine” | 3:52
- Hiromi | “Green Tea Farm” [2020 version] | 7:52
- Joshua Redman | “Facts” feat. Ron Miles, Scott Colley, Brian Blade | 3:39
- Charles Lloyd & Kindred Spirits | “Lift Every Voice and Sing” [live] | 8:26
- Herbie Hancock, Wallace Roney, Jimmy Heath, Buster Williams, Albert “Tootie” Heath | “Gingerbread Boy” [live] | 6:54
When I think about great piano players, it is appropriate to say not just because of familiarity McCoy Tyner’s name rises among the top as significant, vibrant, and soulful players on the jazz scene regardless of era. Perhaps, it is easy to come to this conclusion because of his musical virtuosity undoubtedly speaks volumes. Case in point, in front of me is his brilliant 1995 recording “INFINITY” qualifies as a defining moment and a supreme choice for jazz collectors to embrace and listen to repeatedly.
Tyner paired his voice with some of the best to record INFINITY, bassist Avery Sharpe, drummer Aaron Scott, and saxophonist Michael Brecker appeared to combine their formidable gifts and presence to amplify originals such as “FLYING HIGH” to Monk’s bouncy “I MEAN YOU” featuring Brecker’s solo places firm exclamation point on it! Penned by Tyner, the palpable funk meets jazz sound is underscored on “HAPPY DAYS” and a pellucid rendition of Coltrane’s “IMPRESSIONS” features Brecker’s recognizable tone to this delectable palette of music.
As a player and composer, it is Tyner’s complex, bold, and soul-stirring vocabulary that integrates naturally. “MELLOW MINOR” an original yet vigorous piece at the number eight spot title does not match the tempo and far removed from being remotely relaxed (jamming). Moreover, this gem is solidified by saxophonist Michael Brecker’s rich vibrato and stimulating voice is undeniably icing on the cake. Tyner closes the session with his muscularly fluent touch (solo) and distinct stride is utterly amazing on the classic “GOOD MORNING HEARTACHE.” When an artist approaches timeless pieces like this is an opportunity to excel and make it your own or not and he met this challenge without breaking a sweat. ~Reviewed by Rob Young
At your leisure, listen to “INFINITY” a timeless classic by the legendary McCoy Tyner.
With four projects behind him, it was Shorter’s Blue Note debut “NIGHT DREAMER,” he came armed with a decisive strategy, poised and determined spirit with not only strands of wisdom from prior records but maximum smoke to six original compositions as a statement, footprint, and artistic voice to emerge as a beacon of light with a bright future in jazz waiting to envelop him. Influenced by Trane, he not only mirrored his style but it’s Shorter’s approach, and his writing skills showed unexpected maturity earned him a spot among the best. Therefore, to make this project manifest with unprecedented glory he called on the finest talent in the game, Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman, and Art Blakey to record this impressive head bopper titled “NIGHT DREAMER.”
As I listened intently, I’ve discovered Shorter’s voice and talent were sharpened and developed during his tenure with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. The opening selection “NIGHT DREAMER,” and title track set the tone of what was yet to be unveiled throughout this thoughtful and mesmerizing collection of tunes. Even today, “ORIENTAL FOLK SONG” a favorite is a boss jam with each spin it draws me to the core of his stimulating tonality and solace that comes with his smoldering timbre. By now, any serious jazz aficionado is aware that Mr. Shorter has ascended beyond the shadows of expectation, great players and composers alike to become one of the most revered, and accomplished musicians and composers in jazz today.
At a glance, on “VIRGO” Shorter’s moaning bravado shimmers quietly yet he convincingly engages in harmonic nuances with a softly spoken zeal, thirst, and hunger. Next up, Shorter‘s bop-infectious “BLACK NILE” erupts with unmatched interplay provided by the stellar cast of musicians also shines a light on his unmatched valor as a seasoned player. On the hip-swaying “CHARCOAL BLUES,” Shorter makes his mark as a contender, one to reckon with as a certified bluesologist. He closes the session with the ambitious “ARMAGEDDON,” once more he demonstrates why he’s the new player in town with serious skills. As a student of jazz, Shorter showed critics right or wrong he met the challenge he learned to adapt these tools of the trade and mastered these gifts as an emerging voice landed with perfect-timing on Blue Note Records to give jazz enthusiast worldwide an earth-shaking masterpiece called “NIGHT DREAMER.”
Listen and discover why music lovers deem “NIGHT DREAMER” one of the best by Wayne Shorter.