KZSU playlist for my usual timeslot, Friday 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
….. Homecoming is a 1985 album by Eddie Harris and Ellis Marsalis, recently re-released on CD. It consists of mostly full-band tracks with Harris (sax) and Marsalis (piano) taking the lead. Lots of sunny, bop-oriented tunes… and then there’s “Ethereal Moments 1 & 2,” which is a good 7-minute slab of free improvisation. They don’t go to John Zorn/Evan Parker kinds of extremities, but they color outside the lines quite a bit, with Harris taking advantage of reverb on his sax to paint some interesting scribbles and runs. I can appreciate why cats like this don’t prefer to just improvise all the time, but at the same time, it’s rewarding to hear what they can do in this milieu. I’m so glad they included this on the record — and it’s the third track, which implies it was on Side 1 of the original vinyl!
….. Every now and again, I like to rock out, or prog out, on the show. The new Chick Corea/John McLaughlin Five Peace Band gave me a chance to “fusion” out, with a good 20-minute track called “Señor CS.” Five Peace is an all-star band that includes Kenny Garrett on sax, Christian McBride on bass, and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and they really got cooking on their 2008 tour, as you can hear here. “Señor CS” ends with n awesome, fast segment that has Garrett, Corea, and McLaughlin trading very short (two-bar?) solos. Fusion isn’t always my bag, but you can’t deny some of the excellent playing it offers.
….. The Ryan Meagher album, Atroefy (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2009), reminds me a lot of Jim Black’s Alas No Axis. It’s a guitar-and-woodwind band that’s doing what could be considered instrumental indie rock. More on Black’s newest here.
….. Matt Wilson Quartet — “Shooshabuster” — That’s Gonna Leave a Mark (Palmetto, 2009) ….. Wilson has Andrew D’Angelo in his band, which truly will leave a mark. D’Angelo’s rough, slashing approach on sax sounds like a great complement to Wilson’s band.
….. University Of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble — “Infernal Ride” — Out of Nowhere (Innova, 2008) ….. Traditional classical music, like metal and most hip-hop, is too distinctive to work well in a blended, everything-goes show. It stands up and screams, “Look at me! I’m the classical one! Oooooh!!” So it’s been weeks since my first inkling to play “Infernal Ride” by composer Ken Hesketh, a rollicking roller-coaster of a piece that’s got a big, cinematic, high-drama classical sound. I just couldn’t get it to fit. I finally found a spot after the frog-croaking fadeout of a Francesco Giannico piece. It sort of worked. After “Infernal Ride’s” big conclusion, the happy-go-lucky piano tapping of “Backtrackin'” (by Ralph Carney’s Serious Jass Project) slid into place nicely.