Myra Melford and Ben Goldberg in Riveting ‘Dialogue’

BAG009-SLEEVE-J100-FNLDialogue, Myra Melford and Ben Goldberg (BAG Production Records)
A Review

Pianist/composer Myra Melford and
clarinetist/composer Ben Goldberg engage in serious play on their first-ever duo release, Dialogue (BAG Production Records). Serious, but never solemn, and always with a playful disregard for the orthodox.

The two share several characteristics that have allowed them to contribute as a
sideman in each other’s projects and that also make for an electric pairing. First, there is the absolute command of their instruments that
supports a fearless confidence, a willingness to take corners on two wheels and to see just how far they can tip this thing over without crashing. Continue reading

Peter Guralnick Finds the Myth in the Man and Vice Versa in His Biography of Sam Phillips

Peter Guralnick. Photo by David Ghar.

Peter Guralnick. Photo by David Ghar.

Peter Guralnick, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll (Little, Brown; 661 pages)
Sam Phillips: The Man Who
Invented Rock ’n’ Roll
(YepRoc Records)
A Review

That descriptive identifier, “The Man Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll,” says biographer Peter Guralnick in his author’s note at the front of the book, is one that Sam Phillips “would have both claimed and
disclaimed . . . , as he frequently did, more often than not in the same elongated sentence.”

If we unpack Guralnick’s sentence, we begin to get a picture of the complex, charming, exasperating, visionary, and profoundly human being whose ear caught something new and different—“different” being the Sam Phillips’ standard of excellence—in the air as various strands of American music were entwining themselves into rock ’n’ roll. His
Memphis Recording Services studio and Sun Records label provided a laboratory where he and a host of artists, black and white, explored the possibilities of that new music in the 1950s and ’60s. Continue reading

Chris Buckholz Bucks Accepted Wisdom on ‘Versatility’

cover photo 2Chris Buckholz, Versatility (indie)
A Review

Trombonist Chris Buckholz christened his double album Versatility because it showcases his indisputable ability to live comfortably in both the jazz and classical worlds—something widely and apparently incorrectly considered impossible by musical pundits. He might just as well have named it Virtuosity, because that quality is on display in every track—and
always in the service of the music, not his ego. Add Buckholz’s scholarship, curiosity, humor, and respect for the material, and you have the ingredients for a satisfying and diverse collection of music that stretches from the 17th to the 21st century. Continue reading

Bert Dalton’s Brazil Project Presents a ‘Manfredo Fest’-ival

Brazil Project (left to right): John Bartlit, Patty Stephens, Rob “Milo” Jaramillo, Frank Leto, and Bert Dalton

Brazil Project (left to right): John Bartlit, Patty Stephens, Rob “Milo” Jaramillo, Frank Leto, and Bert Dalton

Pianist Bert Dalton’s Brazil Project is on a mission: to make the music of Brazilian composer/
pianist Manfredo Fest more widely known and appreciated. Dalton first crossed paths with the late Fest (1936–1999), one of the innovators of the bossa nova movement in the late 1950s, more than 30 years ago. He was immediately and permanently smitten with Fest’s energetic music. He’s played it ever since, wanting to expose a wider audience to its seamless blending of bop influences and Brazilian pulse.

For this special mission, Dalton is augmenting his Brazil Project personnel—Patty Stephens
(vocals), Rob “Milo” Jaramillo (bass), John Bartlit (drums), and Frank Leto (percussion)—with Ali Ryerson, one of the world’s top jazz flutists, and Phill Fest, son of Manfredo and a guitarist whose albums place high on the jazz charts. The septet will present three concerts titled “Dig This Samba!” this week—in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and El Paso—with the El Paso concert being recorded live for an upcoming album. Continue reading