I love lists. When I was a kid, I made lists of baseball players, professional wrestlers, girls at school I liked, TV shows, movies, cartoons, comedians, super heroes and rock stars. Now, at 64, I'm still making lists. Plus, I did get to have one sterling moment-in-time after thrilling to the music of David Crosby, and that was meeting the man and totally gushing. Here is my top 10 CD of 2015 list to go with that absolutely awesome moment of the year.
He's a painter and a prophet. This man named Ivo Perelman, compete with synesthesia, comes from Brazil to blow your mind with six CDs this year alone and 25 CDs over the last five years. Call it Saxarrhea. He goes into the studio with no rehearsal, no written music in hand and barely an idea of where the music will take him. Yet he is one of South America's most respected artists both on a canvas and on a stage. Just no sheet music, please.
With the release of 'RandyPop!' on Piloo Records, Randy Brecker, age 70, has come full circle. Back in the day, prior to and during an age when he and his Brecker Brother Michael [1949-2007] racked up hit albums on their own, Brecker was the go-to studio guy for, well, everyone. So now, as arranged by Kenny Werner, the famed trumpeter looks back by tackling some of those same songs, only this time with an impressive line-up of drummer Nate Smith, bassist John Patitucci, guitarist Adam Rogers, daughter Amanda Brecker on vocals, saxophonist David Sanchez filling the role his late brother played and arranger Werner chipping in on piano and keyboards.
'Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All' is, although idolatrous in tone, the best Frank Sinatra documentary yet. With clips of the man in his prime to politics, civil rights and friends in high places, the music is riveting, the Rat Pack comes alive again and if you think you know all there is to know about Ol' Blue-Eyes, think again.
Keyboardist Michael Gallant is 'Live Plus One" as he puts grunge in his funk and Harlem stride. Drummer Alphonse Mouzon helped pioneer fusion in the 1970s. His '77 'Virtue' with sax man Gary Bartz has been re-released. Long out-of-print ballad masterpiece 'Clark After Dark' also sees new light with the late trumpeter Clark Terry on flugelhorn throughout. And guitarist Ben Monder duets with the late drum legend Paul Motian on ECM's `Amorphae.'
The bounty of new blues CDs is making me crazy. If you feel this music...if you support it live by going to a bar to hear it being played...if you dance to it...if you romance to it...even if you just stand against the wall with a Singapore Sling in your hand and nod your head appreciatively, the artists mentioned this week in Blogarrhea will titillate, tantalize and hit your sweet spot every time.
Aah, the mysterious Mangelsdorff! He grew up in Frankfort, Germany, soon mastering guitar and violin but it was on trombone where he made his mark. Since the Nazis banned jazz, he played "patriotic" music at first. In the 1950s, he finally flowered into one of the most unique 'bone men due to his furthering and refining of multiphonics. This meant playing the equivalent of chords and/overtone effects on an instrument that heretofore could only be blown one note at a time. Ornette Coleman, of course, took it one step further and called it harmolodics. Mangelsdorff would literally sing into his trombone which created a secondary note atop or below the note he'd play. Therefore, he could harmonize with himself. The effect was almost psychedelic.
Today, bassist Stanley Clarke is known as the "Liberator Of The Electric And Acoustic Basses." Mike Greenblatt sits down with the legend for an exclusive Blogarrhea Q&A.