Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Trying my hardest to stave off the "taper madness" this week.
Last nights club run was perhaps a "tad" too long and too quick, but nowhere near as bad as the last couple of weeks. And any other run I've done this week has been a gentle 4 mile trot.
So. Nowt to do till Sunday, but sit and wait.

I've also been self-medicating with jazz to try and sooth the old nerves a bit.
First up and very much in a modern groove is alto saxophonist Rosario Giuliani who hails from Italy. Now. I got this from one of those "previously owned" places and thought to myself "never heard of this chap - but it looks good. I'll give it a punt." Well. Shows how much I know - I've already got a few albums that he's playing on. Not "headlining" the albums admittedly but he's appeared on two Guy Barker albums that I own and, given that he's played with Enrico Rava and Michel Petrucciani there's a chance I may have some other bits and bobs by him.
Anyway. Glad I got this one. Saxophone led quartet that is pretty mainstream, but with a decided modern "edge" to it. It reminds me of Chris Potter. Really nice cover of Petrucciani's "Home". The original is really light and joyful; the rhythm section giving a nice pedestrian beat for Petrucciani to, not so much walk along with, but dance in between. Petrucciani's "home" is a place where something wonderful awaits and he is almost child-like in his eagerness to get to it.. This version is just a bit slower and ballad-like, it gives the impression that here "home" may or may not hold wonders, but it is more a journey back to sanctuary from troubles and weariness.
I like cover versions that take a piece of music and change aspects of it, while remaining recognisable. This really fits the bill. Some covers - you want to listen to again and again. Some - you want to listen to the original again and again. With this? Makes me want to listen to both.

I have also decided to plug a gap in my collection. Johnny Hodges. For years Duke Ellington's lead alto player and band leader in his own right.
I don't know if he was against the bebop trend of the 50's, or if he simply stuck to doing what he did best. But as you would expect of a contemporary of Ben Webster, Lester Young and the likes his stuff is a bit "old school" - but it swings. And there's always a place for a bit swing in this world.
Those jolly nice people at "Avid Jazz" have done it again. Not two, not, three, but a stonking four Johnny Hodges albums on two CDs for a mere three and a half pounds! All good stuff. But the first album "Castle Rock" is a real jive/jump/dance album. Of the four, favourite so far is "Creamy" where he's joined by Billy Strayhorn on piano and Clark Terry on trumpet, among others, for some really warm ballads (a few by Strayhorn) before ending it what sounds like a hot ten minute jam session called "No Good Kicking".
The other two albums are "In A Mellow Tone" and "Perdido" which are both pretty standard Ellington covers albums. But these are covers done well by guys who were deemed good enough to be hired by Ellington himself, and that should be a good enough recommendation for anybody.


Yak Hunter said...

Good luck on Sunday!

Stuart said...

Cheers Yak.
If I can manage to stay on my feet till after Seafield Road I should be OK :-)