Contemporary Jazz on Twitter in July

I’ve posted over 500 tweets of contemporary jazz news, release dates, and site information on Twitter in the last few months. It’s how I communicate quick contemporary jazz items of interest. In today’s quick-moving world, this is how I get most of my information – through brief, one-sentence notifications. Later, I can go back and read more about something or compose a blog post. Follow my tomorrowjazz tweets on Twitter!

I keep a list of my most recent tweets here on the site, but here are some items you might have missed.

  • Smooth jazz takes another blow as The Weather Channel replaces it with classic rock for Weather on the 8’s.
  • Miroslav Vitous’ new CD honors Weather Report http://is.gd/1oYMf
  • New release from jazz pianist Eldar coming August 25. Called Virtue, it has guests Nicholas Payton and Joshua Redman.
  • Pandora and three others might be ok but that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing Internet radio. http://is.gd/1sYhv
  • Mike Stern’s Big Neighborhood out 8/11 w/ Dave Weckl, MMW, Steve Vai, Esperanza Spalding, Eric Johnson, Terri Lyne Carrington, and more.
  • B.B. King calls George Benson “the best guitarist in the world in all kinds of music.” http://is.gd/1yQhp
  • One of today’s greatest jazz composers, Terence Blanchard, releases Choices on August 18th. Recorded in New Orleans. http://is.gd/1zHt7
  • Chuck Owen & The Jazz Surge release The Comet’s Tail: Playing The Compositions of Michael Brecker on 8/11 w/guest stars. http://is.gd/1AYmC
  • Pat Metheny writes about his upcoming “orchestrionics” recording. It’s going to be interesting. http://is.gd/1L7tI
  • Far Out Recordings-Brazilian Music Sampler Free at Amazon MP3 Store. With Marcos Valle, Joyce, Azymuth, Sabrina Malheiros. http://bacn.me/9ja
  • Didn’t know Larry Carlton was joining Steely Dan on six dates during their current tour.

Review: Jaco Pastorius Big Band – Word of Mouth Revisited

A scenario I’d like to see at the 2004 Grammy Awards ceremony: The Grammy returns to honoring jazz during its primetime special. Some of modern jazz’s best known bassists are playing a tribute to Jaco Pastorius. After thunderous applause, the award for Best Large Ensemble Album is announced. The winner: The Jaco Pastorius Big Band – Word of Mouth Revisited.

Word of Mouth Revisited covers Jaco’s compositions from his early days with conductor/arranger Peter Graves’ orchestra to his work with Weather Report and Word of Mouth. There’s an unreleased bass recording of Jaco himself on one of his favorite Herbie Hancock compositions “Wiggle Waggle.” It was recorded in the late 70s and the current Jaco Big Band plays the rest of the parts. This fourteen-piece big band is tight. I can’t say enough about the crispness of their sound. It’s easily the best big band I’ve heard in some time. The thirteen arrangements – by Graves (who hired Jaco in 1971 for his orchestra), Larry Warrilow (Jaco?s longtime friend and collaborator), and Jaco are excellent.

Then there is the who’s who of bass players: Marcus Miller, Christian McBride, Jimmy Haslip, Victor Wooten, Victor Bailey, Gerald Veasley, Richard Bona, and Jaco’s nephew, David Pastorius all contribute to this recording. It goes without saying that the rhythm on this CD is unbelievable. The bassists obviously seem inspired and actually seem to exceed their already formidable skills. Drummer Mark Griffith deserves special recognition for his excellent work on driving the tempo. Griffith is a standout on a CD where every single musician is worthy of note.

Whether you know everything Jaco or not, Word of Mouth Revisited is a release any modern jazz fan will want in his or her collection. It’s this year’s most welcome surprise.

Sunny Skies Ahead

Weather Report Live and UnreleasedLooked outside the window lately? The forecast for Weather Report fans has been sunny this month. On October 1, the two-CD set Live and Unreleased hit stores. Performances from 1975 to 1983 are captured in the collection and you’ll find all of the group’s signature songs. The release was produced with the full cooperation of Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, making this the first official Weather Report album in over 15 years.

Joe’s new solo release, Faces and Places made its U.S. debut in mid-September. The CD is the perfect blending of world music and jazz. You won’t believe that Joe is 70 years of age when you hear how this music moves. Joe’s plugged-in sound, combined with the world influences, makes for one of the best jazz listening experiences this year.

Victor BaileyFaces and Places is out on ESC Records, which is also releasing Victor Bailey’s new solo effort in the U.S. this week. Victor was Weather Report’s bassist when the group dissolved in the mid-80s but continued his relationship with Joe in the Zawinul Syndicate and beyond. That’s Right has a top-notch band – Omar Hakim, Bill Evans, Jim Beard, Dean Brown, Lenny White, and Bennie Maupin. I haven’t heard the CD, but I’ve very interested in one of the tracks that ESC’s web site describes. On “Black on the Bach,” Bailey overdubs four tracks of interlocking bass parts – arpeggios, solos, counterpoint, call-and-response -to merge J.S. Bach and the blues. That, in addition to Bailey’s established playing ability and the calibre of other musicians on this CD, will make me consider buying this CD without even a sample listen.