Author Archives: Mel

Monk Unearthed

Thelonious Monk Quintet
Les liaisons dangereuses 1960 (Sam Records and Saga)
A review

In 1958, iconic jazz pianist/composer Thelonious Monk, whose centenary we are celebrating this year (and no one more happily than I), was approached to provide music for Roger Vadim’s film Les liaisons dangereuses 1960. For a variety of personal and professional reasons, Monk resisted scoring new music for the project, but in July 1959, he did go into the studio in New York to record his current repertoire with a short-lived but very effective quintet that included Charlie Rouse (alto), Barney Wilen (tenor), Sam Jones (bass), and Art Taylor (drums). The use of this music in the film stirred critical controversy, but there was little doubt as to its quality. Unfortunately, the only way to hear the music since 1960 has been to watch the 101-minute film, which includes 33 minutes of Monk’s music under the film’s dialogue. Until now. That music—and much more— is now available on this two-LP or two-CD set (and as a download). Continue reading

A Dog-Loving Trio at the Outpost

The Dogbone Trio: Micah Hood, Jefferson Voorhees, Maren Hatch

Serendipity, thy name is the Dogbone Trio. Comprising Micah Hood (trombone), Maren Hatch, (acoustic bass), and Jefferson Voorhees (drums), this improvisational trio with a wide-ranging repertoire was formed and then discovered by chance. Nevertheless, their booking this week at the Outpost to kick off the 22nd Annual Summer Thursday Jazz Nights series, in tandem with the Jackie Zamora Brazilian Quintet, was a purely intentional move by Outpost Executive Director Tom Guralnick, who knows a good thing when he hears it. Continue reading

Four Jazz Reviews

Just about every jazz fan should be able to find something they like among these four very different recordings from the Ted Brown Quartet, Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan, the Anyaa Arts Quartet, and Fabian Almazan and Rhizome. Continue reading

Lisa Fischer in Concert: Do Not Miss It

Lisa Fischer. Photo by Djeneba Aduayom.

Early on in 20 Feet from Stardom (2013), Morgan Neville’s Oscar-winning and highly recommended documentary about backup singers, Bruce Springsteen notes that while the physical distance between the star and the backup singers is only a few feet, it is a long, hard journey to get across that distance. Lisa Fischer, a longtime member of the supporting cast for the Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross, Sting, and other pop/rock/soul royalty, has seemingly been catapulted into a solo career by the film, but the journey from back to front actually took nearly 40 years—and that despite winning a GRAMMY in 1992. The trip required intense personal honesty and growth, and it has at last placed her otherworldly talents front and center where they rightfully belong.

With a 4+-octave instrument and a musicality that match those of the divas—from Aretha Franklin to Patti LaBelle to Mariah Carey to Whitney Houston—Fischer has been mesmerizing audiences around the world, backed by her band, Grand Baton, featuring JC Maillard on guitar and keys, Aidan Carroll on bass, and Thierry Arpino on drums. This coming weekend, she will lift Albuquerque’s spirits at the fifth annual gala fundraiser for Outpost Performance Space at the Albuquerque Museum’s amphitheater. It is a concert that is not to be missed. Continue reading

Masters at Play

Two new releases spotlight masters of different territories in the musical universe, pianist Marc Copland and flutist Nicole Mitchell. Continue reading