Sunday, August 21, 2005

Playing This Weekend in the Kevmobile

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts, but my adventures yesterday took me to that wonderful and dangerous (to the wallet) place called CD of course, I had to go in, and of course, I found some cool stuff. That means I can once again talk about the interesting new stuff I've been listening to all weekend:
  • 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.)


Gary P. said...

When I was in California a few weeks ago, I made a costly trip to Tower Records. One of the CD's I got was a 2004 release, Bob Mintzer Big Band Live at MCG. Sitting in was Kurt Elling with an inspired vocalese on Herbie Hancock's Eye of the Hurricane, and I think he sings on one or two other tracks. I don't particularly like much of Mintzer's writing, but this is a nice disc.

Eric Grubbs said...

I had two more CDs to go on my CD World stamp card before I got a free CD, so I bought them (and a few more) on Friday. I picked up The Ultimate Petula Clark, the Fifth Dimension's Up, Up and Away anthology, the Smoking Popes' Destination Failure and the Blacktop Cadence's Chemistry for Changing Times. Total cost: $24.12. I like CD Source, but I like CD World a little more.

Kev said...

Gary--I actually did a post about that Mintzer CD when it came out. But wow, you don't like Bob's writing? Well, I guess we can still be friends... ;-)

And speaking of California, what was the highest gas price you saw over there?

Eric--I know a lot of people who prefer CD World over CD Source, but my reason for tipping toward the Source is plain and simple: the best jazz selection in the area. Only Recycled in Denton and Forever Young in Arlington come close.

Gary P. said...

Mintzer's writing just sounds really ....... sterile, I guess, to me. There are some charts of his I really like (Manteca, for one!) and a few off the Latin from Manhattan CD. Eye of the Hurricane too, now that I've heard it. I wouldn't change the radio station if I heard him on KNTU, but then I don't really go out of my way to hear him either.... but I'll probably still suck up to him in a big way if he comes down for camp next year! :-)

Gas prices: I was driving a rental and it was paid by the company, so I wasn't too worried about gas prices. The highest is probably the Chevron across the street from the Orange County Airport, but that's where I filled up anyway. I paid $2.779 for regular, so the higher grades were probably $2.879/$2.979... but that was on 7/30, and it has probably gone up more since then.

Where are these CD Source and CD World places you're talking about?

Kev said...

Source is at the northeast corner of Greenville and Lovers in the "Old Town" center; World has two locations--Mockingbird and Greenville, and Belt Line at Quorum in Addison.