JON GORDON/Evolution: It’s jazz as art as a killer sax player merges Ellington’s attitude with Kenton’s vibe and covers the whole thing in loads of chops and special pals like Bill Charlap and Sara Caswell. We hate stupid words like ‘awesome’, but describing this set as ‘awesome’ is just using the word in it’s proper sense. Super tasty sitting down jazz that goes the distance and really opens the ears as it wends it’s own way like a mighty river. Hot stuff.
JOHN COLTRANE/Side Steps: The third installment in the august series originated by the great Cheryl Pawelski shows us what a waste of time we have on our hands on weekends. This set runs seven hours. I was able to listen to it in the car while running around doing family shit. Thank God I had Coltrane with me. How’s this for an amazing fact, Coltrane recorded all this stuff at a cost to the label of about $35. Those were the days huh? He we have Coltrane’s pick up work and it dazzles just like his front line stuff. When you can lay back and enjoy it, it’s just like listening to Slacker Radio classic non-vocal jazz station, which is really nice. Not educational, not work just to listen to it, this is Coltrane just showing up and blowing and he blows up a mighty storm. By all means, any jazzbo worth his stripes has to check this configuration out. First class throughout.
HAL SCHAFFER/How Do You Like This Piano Playing: Oh the jazz world just gets crazier and crazier. Schaffer recorded these grand piano sessions when he came back to NYC in the early 60s to re-establish himself locally and forgot about them, ultimately leaving them in a garden shed when he moved to Florida, where he further forgot about them until the Orkin man had to spray the shed. This is not piano bar ivory tinkling, this is some deep, solo piano that doesn’t have classical aspirations, it’s just deep. Not for the casual listener, this is for the cat that always wished he knew how to play piano. A snazzy bit of living history from one of the background piano greats.
AUDIO BOOK SUPPLEMENT
RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO
ROBERT ALTMAN-THE ORAL BIOGRAPHY by Mitchell Zuckoff: A larger than life iconoclast, an audiobiography does Altman more justice than the simple printed page. He was a visual storyteller after all, and anecdotes from those who worked with him, particularly working actors as opposed to stars, really brings his story to life. Part of a generation of film makers that won’t be coming back this way any time soon, Altman and his ilk created a contemporary language of film that made it special even if it now seems quaint and cliché. A solid listen for malcontents of any age, beware, if you are a rebel without a clue, this is sure to be over your head.
WE’LL BE HERE FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES by Paul Shaffer: Something of an everyman and unaccountably lasting in show biz for as long as he has with that outward visage, Shaffer does the loving show biz look back that seems a rarity in this spill all time. Even when he’s poking fun, he does it with gentle jabs and rolling eye balls looking back at the first time he heard applause for his playing in a Canadian shul and going from there to strip joints to SNL to the Letterman show. He’s become this hippest cat in the room with the best stories and there seems to be a bottomless well of them. For the real muso fan that doesn’t really care about the warts and wants to get back to some heart.
THE PROFESSIONAL by Robert Parker (read by Joe Mantegna): One of the best franchise duos in audio mystery is back with the latest from Spenser where he has to undermine a blackmail cum murder case. With all the Spenserian moves in the all right places, this far along into the series, it’s a comfortable listen where the only real surprises are how Parker is going to twist the next set of turns. It’s a satisfying entry in a noble series.
I AM THE NEW BLACK BY Tracy Morgan: Hey, did anybody ever think maybe it’s the diabetes that makes him so off the wall? Just because he’s not a chubby as Chris Farley….hey, just saying. Practically an improvised audiobiography, Morgan delivers just like he’s in character, which maybe he is. A dandy look at where contemporary comedy comes from through the eyes of one of the leading contemporary comedians.
SIMON & SCHUSTER AUDIO
THIS FAMILY OF MINE by Victoria Gotti: Think about it. When you peel away the big hair, big personality and big attitude, this story seems like a human tragedy on the order of “Last Emperor”--born at the wrong time and not to get the full benefits of the life that had come before the times had changed. Like a blonde Howard the Duck, Gotti is trapped in a world she did not create and has to do everything she can to make the best of it. Intriguing throughout, if you don’t see Gotti in a whole new light after making your way through this audio, you really are out of touch.
Volume 32/Number 356
October 22, 2009
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
©2009 Midwest Record
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