Monday, August 22, 2011

Giacomo's Ode to Gil, Cedar's New Project - Bob Stewart

Gil Scott-Heron, who died in May, was an American poet, musician, and author known primarily for his work as a spoken word performer. He made music that reflected the turbulence, uncertainty and increasing pessimism of the early '70s, merging soul and jazz and drawing on an oral poetry tradition that reached back to the blues and forward to hip-hop. Giacomo Gates is an extraordinary vocal stylist, often credited as a contemporary Eddie Jefferson with a full-bodied baritone and blazing inventiveness. As bracing an innovator as he is an interpreter, Gates delivers the satirical and insightful lyrics of this true American original on "The Revolution Will Be Jazz: the Songs of Gil Scott-Heron."

NEA Jazz Master Cedar Walton has enjoyed an up-tempo career, which never seems to slow down. Maintaining a non-stop itinerary, Walton has accompanied a litany of jazz greats while also fronting his own successful groups since 1966. As a pianist, Walton doesn't rely on pet licks or pyrotechnical display, although he has an excellent technique. Rather he invents all the time, and makes his always imaginative work fit into the context of whatever he's playing. As a composer, Cedar is one of the finest in jazz whose works have been widely recorded with many now being recognized as jazz standards. For his latest CD -- The Bouncer -- Walton returns to his favored quintet format with poll-winning trombonist Steve Turre adding his luxurious, velvet tone to Vincent Herring's saxophone sound.

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