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12,399 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 118 of them this year alone and, so far, 118 this month (Jan. 25).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

CD Review: Ezra Weiss Sextet - Before You Know It.

Ezra Weiss (pno); Farnell Newton (tpt); John Nastos (alt); Devin Phillips (ten); Jon Shaw (bs); Christopher Brown (dms).
(Review by Lance.).
Recorded live in the Ivories Jazz Lounge, Portland, Oregon, late last year leader, pianist, arranger and composer Weiss has laid down his marker. Not many will surpass it. Comparisions could be made with the various Art Blakey bands and the hard hitting ensembles and solos bear this out. However, there's more subtle nuances here such as the mood swings and tempo changes that were less commonplace in Blakey's day.
All compositions are by Weiss with the exception of A Foggy Day and Coltrane's Alabama and it is easy to see why jazz scribes in the NY Times, Down Beat and Jazz Times have written so enthusiastically about him variously describing the pianist as "A confident composer in the progressive mainstream" (NYT);  "A bold, inspired figure in the contemporary jazz arranging scene" (DB); "...can keep the standard this high for many years to come" (JT). - Amen to that!
Of course the compositions and arrangements are the meat and two veg but it is the soloists who provide the gravy and never more so than in the 15 minutes long version of The Five A.M. Strut. Inspired, Weiss says, by a gig that started at two in the morning and then having to figure out how to get home.
Alabama is a scary, moving piece drenched in emotion.. Originally composed by Coltrane after the 1963 Baptist church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, Weiss dedicates his arrangement to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.
To find out more about the CD; Ezra Weiss and to hear a sample  follow the link.
Lance.

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