Monday, May 26, 2008

Not the "usual suspects"......

The Duke Ellington Society has adopted the term "usual suspects" to describe the more common of Ellington songs ("Mood Indigo", "Take the 'A' Train", "Solitude", etc.) used in the various covers and tributes that have taken place over the years. Fortunately, there are those that venture beyond the obvious.
Tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton's new release is entitled Across the Tracks. His Ellingtonian connection on this disk is "Cop Out", a minor-keyed theme that featured the great Paul Gonsalves. The remainder of the program consists of Hamilton's mainstream stylings on standards like "Memories of You," "Intermission Riff," and "Blue Turning Grey Over You." Swinging stuff!

French multi-reedist Frederic Couderc is inspired by Duke and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. On his latest album, Kirkophonie, he plays "Black and Tan Fantasy" as a simultaneous reed duet. He also plays the rarely covered "Oclupaca" (from the "Latin American Suite") on the rarely used bass sax.

On a future entry, I'll go into the Kirk aspects of this recording and other Kirk related news...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The President

With Presidential politics in the air, let's talk about one of the greatest to ever hold the office - Lester Young. (OK, so he was President... of the Saxophone.)

My favorite record label, Mosaic, has released a 4 CD set of the most influential segment of his work - his days with Count Basie. Like most Mosaic sets, these are limited editions. I ordered fairly early and got set #760 out of 5000. When they're gone, they're gone! Then your only option is to pay 3 times the price (or more) on eBay.