Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lee Konitz, now 85-years-old, began his career in the wake of Charlie Parker but after mentoring by Lennie Tristano and recording with Warne Marsh, he became arguably the only saxophonist to offer an alternative to Bird’s overwhelming influence at the time. The 1949 recording, “Intuition,” found the three men defining ‘free jazz’ a full decade before the term was coined. It’s not surprising then that Konitz would gravitate to the post-modern sensibilities of Ethan Iverson, best known as the pianist in the Bad Plus and a composer of extremely wide range and versatility. Together with Larry Grenadier and Jorge Rossy, they offer a wildly creative set list on their new disc, “Costumes Are Mandatory.”

In 1976, the Detroit-born guitarist Earl Klugh—a self-taught virtuoso whose broad influences included Bill Evans, Burt Bacharach, Laurindo Almeda and Chet Atkins—burst on the scene with his self-titled debut CD which easily crossed beyond the categories of jazz, country, classical, pop, R&B and world music. Four decades and over thirty recordings later, the Grammy Award-winner and 12-time nominee has recorded with a number of master musicians—from George Benson, Al Jarreau and Bob James to Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis and Chick Corea—in a myriad of settings. His newest CD, “Hand Picked,” is a soulful sixteen-track solo/duet recording featuring special guest guitarists Bill Frisell and Vince Gill on a program of standards and Klugh originals.

Also this week, legendary guitarist Kenny Burrell is captured live at the West Coast jazz Mecca, Catalina’s on “Special Requests (And Other Favorites)”; singer and lyricist Lorraine Feather works with her longtime co-writers Russell Ferrante, Shelly Berg and Eddie Arkin, and new collaborator Dave Grusin for “Attachments”; and the new disc from Brian Andres & the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel, “San Francisco,” makes a persuasive case for that city having it own distinctive Latin jazz sound.

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