Banner photo by John Rogers
“The New York saxophonist has amassed a solid reputation outside of his last name...With such a strong lineage, he must feel great pressure to create like his parents. Yet Ravi sounds natural, even if his fluid horn play recalls his father’s approach.
The New York saxophonist has amassed a solid reputation outside of his last name...With such a strong lineage, he must feel great pressure to create like his parents. Yet Ravi sounds natural, even if his fluid horn play recalls his father’s approach.
“Pianist Aaron Parks’ trio with Ben Street and Billy Hart create a deep and rich mosaic of intricate sounds on his collection of originals. Parks has a rich and classical feel to his delivery, and is able to create rich dynamics with Hart’s pulsating high hat and dancing cymbals.
“Barry always had a nice dynamic attack and approach to the piano. He was quick to get hip to Bud Powell, devoted more time to that style than anyone else on the scene then. He took it another step. He had a lot of confidence, too. He was one of the few guys who would just wait for Charlie Parker to come to town and go up and sit in with him.
“Tenor saxophone with bass and drums is a jazz format with a wild and woolly tradition. For tenor virtuosos like sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson, trios have been opportunities to risk everything, to dance on a tightrope with no net. The tenor trio that calls itself Fly breaks with this tradition explicitly. Fly plays cerebral, rapt, interactive chamber jazz, deriving a wide range of textures and colors from three instruments. […] The music of Fly is sophisticated and sincere and enormously competent.
Photo by Loren Wohl
“For more than two decades, protean saxist and composer Donny McCaslin has relentlessly expanded his musical purview in a variety of ensemble settings: as a sideman, as the pilot of his own diverse groups and, more recently, as a collaborator on the late Bowie's final album, Blackstar. That investment in genres outside of jazz is visible on the tenorist’s recent work.
“One of the leading drummers of his generation, Billy Hart continues to make jazz history with his quartet. Working with the phenomenally creative and talented pianist Ethan Iverson, saxophonist Mark Turner, and bassist Ben Street, Hart constantly seeks new territory, pushing the boundaries of post-bop and straight-ahead, of free jazz and composition, all the while embracing beauty and soulful communication. Turner’s rich, gorgeous tenor and Iverson’s exquisite technique combine to create a nearly infinite variety of textures and colors. Street and Hart have an uncanny connection that enables them to move effortlessly between swinging, tight grooves and sonic landscapes.
Hart made an indelible mark on the jazz world in the ’60s and ’70s with his work with such jazz legends as Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Eddie Harris, Marian McPartland, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, and Miles Davis. Less known is his earlier work with soul artists Otis Redding and Sam and Dave.
“Composer and saxophonist John Zorn is the creator and curator of a specific yet far-reaching strain of the musical avant-garde...He transcended comparisons to other improvising musicians long ago: Far better to draw lines from the quintessential Downtowner to, say, filmmakers Robert Altman and John Cassavetes, in his repeated use of a trusted, versatile troupe of his design. Or to Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann, for his laughably prolific output. Or to any number of artists who’ve expanded the parameters and function of ethnic tradition.