- Kenny Garrett: African Exchange Student (Atlantic 7-82156-2). Though Garrett is a bigtime personal favorite of mine, my collection has been sorely lacking in anything before his (IMHO) definitive album, Songbook. This 1990 release features Ron Carter and Elvin Jones on several tracks, which is worth the purchase price alone. Garrett hadn't become the prolific writer he is today, but the covers (including Trane's "Straight Street," Herbie's "One Finger Snap" and even "Mack the Knife") all bear his distinctive stamp. A great addition to the library.
- Bobby Watson and Horizon: Horizon Reassembled (Palmetto Records). I've been a big fan of Watson (both as an alto player and a composer) since my college radio days. He's been keeping a somewhat lower profile lately, but he's recently taken a teaching gig in Missouri and put his band Horizon back together (thus the title of this CD). On first listening, none of the tunes scream "instant classic" a la "In Case You Missed It" or "Dreams So Real" (from the group's Blue Note days), but the cool interplay between Watson and trumpeter Terell Stafford is featured extensively just like before, and Edward Simon's piano playing and the drumming of Victor Lewis never fail to please. I've almost worn out their old recordings, so it's cool to have this new offering. Watson's teaching gig will obviously limit their touring, but this is one group I'd really like to see in concert.
- Bob Mintzer Big Band: Departure (DMP CD-493). (This is not from the CD Source "haul," but it was a late birthday present from Matt this weekend, so I'll review it here too.) As longtime readers know, I'm a huge Mintzer fan, but I haven't gotten around to collecting the entire output of his great New York-based big band. This 1993 release is a good mixture of originals and covers. My personal favorites are the opening "Dialogue," a friendly battle between Mintzer's tenor and the rest of the band minus piano and bass; "Freedomland," the Yellowjackets tune that one of my college combos played last fall; Victor Feldman's "Joshua" (made famous by Miles); and "Horns Alone," a rhythm section-less sequel of sorts to the earlier "Beyond the Limit." Sure, Mintzer has a formula to his writing, but it's a great formula, and I love to hear him play--'nuff said.
- Kenny Garrett: Triology (Atlantic 45731). I haven't gotten to listen to this yet, but it has Charnett Moffett and Brian Blade, so I'm expecting greatness. I'll update later.
Multi-purpose and then some: I had a gig last night for a corporate function at one of those big multi-purpose convention/banquet facilities. I had no idea exactly what it was that I was playing for, knowing only the names of the banquet hall and the contact person. When I got there, I encountered two extremely diverse events going on simultaneously: a wedding and one of those "ultimate fighting" competitions. I was pretty sure that I wasn't playing for either of those, and I was correct, eventually finding the right room. Still, that was quite a cross-section of clientele for one location at the same time.
Bizarro world: My friend who got married last week has returned from his honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas, and reports an odd thing: in that portion of Mexico, at least, the housekeeping employees speak English!
Jumpin' jack flash is a gas, gas, gas: I can't believe I'm celebrating this, but I found regular unleaded for $2.54 a gallon today. (It's at the Chevron at Belt Line and N. Garland Ave. if you're in the area, and I hope it doesn't go up before morning. Needless to say, they were quite crowded.)