The concept of a super-group in this day and age might be overplayed so let us just say that the fifth CD by The Cookers, 'The Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart' (Smoke Sessions Records) is one of the top jazz CDs of 2016. How could it not be with this lineup?
As One For All, this most prestigious of all-star sextets, enters into 'The Third Decade' (Smoke Sessions Records) of its illustrious career, all the while remaining viable leaders in their own right, their mission, on this, their 16th album, first in five years, and first to feature compositions by all six members, stays the same: preserving swing.
Tenor sax man George Coleman, 80, doesn't like the studio. He's made that perfectly clear. The last time he was even in a studio was 14 years ago in 2002 for the all-star tribute CD 'Four Generations of Miles.' His last album as a leader was 19 years ago in 1997 ('I Could Write A Book: The Music of Richard Rodgers'). This is why the release of 'A Master Speaks' is such big jazz news.
It's a Philly thing, man. It's also a family thing. For his 26th album, pianist Orrin Evans has formed his dream trio.
J.J. Johnson died in 2001 at 77. One of the first trombonists to embrace bebop--if not thee first--he is to every generation since the standard-bearer of what Dinah Washington once called "that big, long, sliding thing." No one, but no one, played the 'bone like Johnson. Traversing the bridge between swing and bop, he straddled both worlds yet made his mark in each. As Steve Davis notes: "He's our Bird."