Friday, December 26, 2008

This is not Jazz

This is Trinidad, CA, on Christmas day (yesterday). High surf advisory, highest in years.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

RJA's Top Picks of the Year

Read all about it at our blog. As ever, Brother Michael Eldridge delivers the good with fab style.

Dr. Dave’s Top Ten Jazz Albums of 2008

Joe Locke. Force of Four.

Who's afraid of Vibes!? We gotta get this guy here! Very advanced hot bop-tradition music, like Woody Shaw's fierce playing transferred to vibes.

Dafnis Prieto. Taking the Soul for a Walk. Dafnison Music.
Prieto's RJA appearance (sans Avishai Cohen's trumpet) was like Zenon's, brilliantly evocative of the Caribbean roots of jazz. Live, the drumming is noisy and parade-like; the second horn makes the record more like a "concert" than the actual show.

Donny McCaslin. Recommended Tools. Greenleaf.

Donny's explores the trio as the "most intimate" configuration, and reveals a huge personality behind his sound. Terrific technique never suffered less for expression of emotion.

Bill Dixon with the Exploding Star Orchestra. Thrill Jockey.

I've heard several people, one a big swell who should know whereof he speaks, that Bill Dixon is coasting on his achievements of thirty years ago. Being one who coasts on the 70s—when you and I were young, Billy--I should be able to see it, but I don't. He's amazing. 83 is the new 40. I've been listening to small group and solo Dixon over the years, so hearing Dixon's round black tone inside this big band thing is an especial treat. It's cantankerous and fiddly and loud without being muddy, or fey, and I love it. And Mazurek is doing now what he'll "coast on" thirty years hence ….

Paolo Fresu. Mare Nostrum. ACT.

Richard Galliano on accordion and bandoneon is the real reason for this choice, though Paolo's muted horn, even more Miles-like than usual, is always perfect. This is the soundtrack to the European holiday in my head.

Bennie Maupin. Early Reflections. Cryptogramophone.

Sheer unadulterated pure scary beauty.

Miguel Zenon. Awake. Marsalis Music.

Zenon is the most driven of any contemporary artist working to extend the main stream of the music. He brings extraordinary energy to the original African-Caribbean-North American fusion. Using the past to find the future with compelling, vigorous resolution. And as a "genius" grantee, he now has the bucks to help him to it!

Ben Allison. Little Things Rule the World. Palmetto.

Program music for everyday life in the year of 2008. Program music for everyday life in the year of 2008.World. Palmetto.

Adam Kolker. Flag Day. Sunny Side

Nicholas Payton, Into the Blue. Nonesuch.

Extremely Honorable Mention

Mary Halvorson — Dragon's Head (Firehouse 12)

John Ellis. Dance Like There's No Tomorrow. HYENA.

David Sanchez. Cultural Survival. Concord Picante.

Harris Eisenstadt — Guewel (Clean Feed)

Conrad Herwig. Latin Side of John Coltrane. Reissue of My Year.

McCoy Tyner, Guitars. Half Note.

Don Cherry — Live at Cafe Montmartre 1966, Vol. 2 (ESP)

Things tipping over into next year (I haven't heard but want to):

Wadada Leo Smith's Golden Quartet — Tabligh (Cuneiform)

Chico Hamilton, Andrew Hill, Dreams Come True, Joyous Shout, 2008

Taylor Ho Bynum — Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (Hatology)

Ari Hoenig, Bert's Playground (Dreyfus)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On the Radio

RJA Radio, this week:

Manuel Valera: FORMA NUEVA “nebulism” 5:32
Manuel Valera (piano), Seamus Blake (saxophone), John Patitucci (bass),
Bill Stewart (drums)

- Michael Moore & Fred Hersch: THIS WE KNOW “spirit of 76” 3:28
Michael Moore (clarinet), Fred Hersch (piano)

- San Francisco Jazz Collective: LIVE 2008 TOUR “the year 2008” 12:04
Stefon Harris (vibraphone), Miguel Zenon (alto sax), Joe Lovano (tenor sax),
Robin Eubanks (trombone), Dave Douglas (trumpet), Renee Rosnes (piano),
Matt Penman (bass), Eric Harland (drums)

- Jason Llindner: PREMONITION “mr. demargary” 6:12
Jason Lindner (piano), Myron Walden (alto sax), Alex Norris (trumpet),
Omer Avital (bass), Daniel Freedman (drums)

- Quest: OF ONE MIND “of one mind” 6:12
David LIebman (soprano sax), Richie Beirach (piano), Ron McLure (bass),
Billy Hart (drums)

- Brad Mehldau Trio: HOUSE ON HILL “backyard” 5:44
Brad Mehldau (piano), Larry Grenadier (bass), Jorge Rossy (drums)

- Dave Holland Sextet: PASS IT ON “sum of all parts” 8:11
Dave Holland (bass), Antonio Hart (alto sax), Robin Eubanks (trombone),
Alex Sipiagin (trumpet), Mulgrew Miller (piano), Eric Harland (drums)

- William Parker Quartet: PETIT OISEAU “the golden bell” 6:26
William Parker (bass), Rob Brown (alto sax), Lewis Barnes (trumpet),
Hamid Drake (drums)

- Joe Locke: FORCE OF FOUR “like Joe” 6:12
Joe Locke (vibes), Robert Rodriguez (piano), Ricardo Rodriguez (bass),
Jonathan Blake (drums)

- Francisco Mela: CIRIO “benes” 8:21
Francisco Mela (drums), Jason Moran (piano), Mark Turner (tenor sax),
Lionel Loueke (guitar), Larry Grenadier (bass)

- Frank Kimbrough: LONELY WOMAN “20 bars” 6:41
Frank Kimbrough (piano), Ben Wolfe (bass), Jeff Williams (drums)

- Harry Beckett: WARM SMILES “tender is the sky” 7:34
Harry Beckett (trumpet), Mike Osborne (alto sax), Frank Ricotti (vibes),
John Taylor (piano), Chris Laurence (bass), John Webb (drums)

- Antonio Sanchez: MIGRATION “one for antonio” 9:01
Antonio Sanchez (drums), Chick Corea, (piano), Scott Colley (bass)

- Ron Horton: EVERYTHING IN A DREAM “saint ita’s vision” 8:10
Ron Horton (trumpet), John O’Gallagher (alto sax), Tony Malaby (tenor sax),
Frank Kimbrouigh (piano), Masa Kamaguchi (bass), Mike Sarin (drums)

- Carla Bley Big Band: APPEARING NIGHTLY “greasy gravy” 8:50
Carla Bley (piano, conducting), & featuring: Gary Valente (trombone),
Lew Soloff (trumpet), Andy Sheppard (tenor sax), Wolfgang Puschnig (alto)

- Manuel Valera: VIENTOS “a la interperie” 8:53
Manuel Valera (piano), Joel Frahm (saxophone), James Genus (bass),
Ernesto SImpson (drums)

Anat Cohen with Several Members of the RJA

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Top Ten Jazz Recordings for 2008

This little jeu d'esprit of jazz enthusiasts is coming up fast, parlor-game-wise.

Here's a whole bunch of them from The Jazzhouse.

Stay tuned for the RJA members' contributions.....

This one is gonna be great

Our last show of 2008 is a great one! We're proud to present the Anat
Cohen Quartet on Tuesday, December 9 at 8 pm in the Kate Buchanan Room on
the HSU campus.

Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students and seniors and are
on sale now online at and
at Peoples Records and the Works in Arcata and Eureka.

The Israeli-born clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen is one of the most
heralded young jazz musicians today. The Jazz Journalists Association
named Anat Cohen its "Up and Coming Musician of the Year" for 2007, and
since then her profile has only grown: more awards from DownBeat and the
JJA; headlining gigs at the Village Vanguard; feature stories in Jazz
Times, DownBeat and on NPR; and a star turn at this year's Monterey Jazz
Festival. Live performances by her quartet have reviewers gushing. "Sheer
musicality is their guiding force," says Jazz Times; "they just see no
reason not to have a hell of a grand time playing." Here's a sampling of
her other recent press:

"Yes, she is the real deal."—The New York Times

"Cohen makes it seem easy, mixing a gift for melody and an improvisational
fluidity that has few peers today."—DownBeat Magazine

"Cohen has emerged as one of the brightest, most original young
instrumentalists in jazz...[she] has expanded the vocabulary of jazz with
a distinctive accent of her own."—The Washington Post

"She alludes to the mystical in a merry way."—The Village Voice

An accomplished bandleader and prolific composer, conversant in modern and
traditional jazz, classical music, Brazilian choro, Argentine tango, and a
wide range of Afro-Cuban styles, Anat Cohen has established herself as one
of the primary voices of her generation on clarinet and soprano and tenor

Her quartet includes another Israeli-born musician, Gilad Hekselman on
guitar, along with the Americans Joe Martin on bass (here last year with
David Berkman) and Daniel Freedman on drums.

For more about Cohen and to hear streaming audio of her music, go to

Become a member of the RJA and help us continue to bring world-class jazz
artists to Humboldt County.

The Redwood Jazz Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to jazz
performance and education by visiting artists in Humboldt County. For more
information about us, please visit our web site at