A tenor of some note, Brecker started out as a studio musician before teaming with his brother Randy to form a popular funk group in the mid-70s. This is a terrific post-bop quintet date featuring guitarist Pat Metheny and the Charlie Haden/Jack DeJohnette rhythm section in support. Brecker is sometimes classified as a crossover artist.
1992 [Knitting Factory]
The details of avant-garde tenor Charles Gayle's life are somewhat hazy, but he chose to be homeless for 20 years, playing as a street performer in New York City. This live effort consists of two extended tracks, one of them lasting over 50 minutes. Their titles, 'Repent' and 'Jesus Christ and Scripture' indicate where he is coming from.
Subtitled "The Music of Billy Strayhorn", this Grammy Award winning album was both a commercial and critical hit for veteran tenor Joe Henderson. The record moves with the times without ever straying from the course. With a solid lineup in support, including trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the album is a true gem of modern jazz music.
From the Soul
1992 [Blue Note]
Saxophonist Joe Lovano masterfully tackles tenor, alto and soprano on this definitive 90s jazz record. In what was probably the best rhythm section going around at the time, the album features the late Ed Blackwell on typically thunderous drums and topnotch bassist Dave Holland. Pianist Michel Petrucciani’s accompaniment is a real treat.
So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles)
The follow-up to 1992's Lush Life, here tenor Joe Henderson nine songs that Miles Davis composed or co-composed, and another associated with him. The support unit of guitarist John Scofield bassist Dave Holland and drummer Al Foster are all ex-Davis cohorts, although Henderson himself only played with the maestro for a short time.
Too Much Sugar for a Dime
This explosive avant-garde extravaganza from altoist Henry Threadgill features a typically eclectic lineup of instruments and musicians, including tubas, French horn, oud, puya, culo and fulia. Electric and acoustic guitars, and some violin top off the mix, the result being an album that is certainly different, but never dull.
Conversin' With the Elders
Saxophonist James Carter bops and swings his way through nine tracks featuring a host of guest appearances from the likes of trumpeters Lester Bowie, Harry 'Sweets' Edison and several other notables. One listen and it is easy to see where the album gets its title from, as Carter exhuberently lets his elders to the talking while he plays along.
Wayne Shorter takes on soprano and tenor sax on this set of live material recorded at dates in France, Spain and Italy in 2001. While Shorter hasn't lost the sense of adventure he showed on the classic Speak No Evil (1965), it is probably fair to say that he is mellowing a bit in his later years. Brian Blade stands out in support on drums.
2006 [Sound Grammar]
Not surprisingly, the emperor of free-jazz is showing absolutely no sign of mellowing in his old age. Recorded live in Germany, Coleman was 75 at the time and his alto was still smokin'. Perhaps more importantly, six of the tracks here are all-new material, with the two Coleman classics featured being somewhat adventurous reinventions.
American saxophonist Kamasi Washington's 172 minute major-label debut certainly lives up to it's title. Allmusic's Thom Jurek states "Holistic in breadth and deep in vision, it provides a way into this music for many, and challenges the cultural conversation about jazz without compromising or pandering." Deeply spiritual and highly accessible.
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