Friday, September 23, 2005

Music Notes for August 2005

Here are some of the things I've been listening to in the month of August:

Live at Budokan by Dream Theater (2004). This is a fine recording of their set during the Train of Thought tour. Three discs, impeccably produced, once again demonstrating the band's massive storehouse of energy and musicianship. "Instrumedley" is a fun tune, and it was great to hear the house come down with "Pull Me Under."
Unspeakable by Bill Frisell (2004). Mr. Frisell's Grammy winner should delight people who like contemporary jazz and even a few who would not normally taste a soundbyte of America's music. I've long admired Frisell's playing and ability to weave elements of other genre's in his music. Samples and turntables are used tastefully, never overpowering the skillful playing or delicate compositions. It is hard to pick standout cuts, but my personal favorites are "1968" and "Alias." Of course if you ask me next month, I'll likely have different songs at the top.

Fly By Night by John Adams (1999). I have had the privilege of watching John perform several times with either his group or with Mike Drake. He is fun for me to watch because without drawing attention to himself, a listener gets the sense that all is right in the musical world, that a group, or even an audience, would be very different without him. This 1999 collection shows his fluid and sensitive style. He has a fine group with him as well: Dennis Dotson on trumpet, Joe LoCascio at the piano and Ed Soph on drums. Here is a nice mix of standards and original tunes. If you are ever in the Dallas area looking for some fine jazz, you have to check this man out.

Up All Night by The John Scofield Band (2003). I love Scofield's fuzzy and funky guitar. And even when he plays something that goes away from the elements of his signature sound, Like Quiet, Works For Me, or Enroute, I find the music feels right on the first hearing and grows better every play. But for some reason, I'm having trouble getting into this.

Sorry the thoughts are so short this month, but its been busy...not too much work to listen to music, but certainly too much to give hard working musicians their due by listening well. Hopefully I can do better next month. I'm hoping to rave about Kurt Rosenwinkel, an old Weather Report disc I finally got, a compilation of Charlie Hunter tunes, and an interesting treasure from Alex Acuna.