***I hope our countless fans around the globe will forgive the delay of this Playlist…a winter storm took out our internet and the company formerly known as Qwest took four days to repair it. Hope this isn’t the norm in Santa Fe.
SOULTRANE, John Coltrane; Prestige, recorded February, 1958. I was preparing to see a Coltrane tribute band with Jimmy Cobb—no, he’s not on this recording— and wanted no Kind Of Blue clichés. Pulling Soultrane out was genius, not just for its foreshadow of Coltrane’s later, denser play but for the amazing bass work of Paul Chambers, the grace of Red Garland and the shing-a-ling of drummer Art Taylor. I have a feeling that saxophonist Javon Jackson of the We Four Coltrane tribute band did the same thing before touring with his Cobb-included quartet. And yes, I pulled out Giant Steps to hear Cobb on “Naima,” the only track from that landmark recording on which the drummer appears.
KIND OF BLUE, Miles Davis Septet, Columbia, recorded March and April 1959. You move into a new home, set up your well-traveled sound system and what do you want to hear? Something you know (and love) well. Yeah, I know it’s a cliché. But it’s a classic cliché. And besides, I was feeling all “Blue In Green.” Not to mention that fact that I was looking forward to seeing Jimmy Cobb, now a spry 82, perform with the next generation. Final report: yes, my speakers were in phase.
GARDEN OF EDEN, Paul Motian Band; ECM, recorded November 2004. Paul Motian plays drums like Bill Evans played piano. Here’s it’s in support of a larger group; the tangle of guitars (Steve Cardenas, Ben Monder, Jakob Bro), brother saxophones of Chris Cheek, Tony Malaby, the try-this-on-for size bass of Jerome Harris. Some Mingus, some originals from the band. But it’s Motian’s “Mesmer” that has a mesmerized. It’s like an Ornette tune at half-speed; inviting, entrancing and ultimately about the human condition.
SCHUBERT IMPROMPTUS, OP. 90 & op.142, Mitsuko Uchida; Philips, recorded 1996. Serious music for serious times performed with respect and sensitivity. With the possibility of dark moments on the horizon, I want to be prepared. And Schubert’s an expert at resolution.