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Bebop Spoken There

Avishai Cohen (trumpet): "This is my main thing right now: Live in the here and now, take things one day at a time. I'm stopping everything I can, and stripping everything to the bone. I'm spending a lot of time listening to music, playing, going for walks, enjoying my kids." - (DownBeat June 2020).

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

CD Review: Tomoko Omura - Post Bop Gypsies

Tomoko Omura (5 string violin); Alex Goodman (guitar); George Delancey (bass).
(Review by Lance).
I've always had an affinity with jazz violin, perhaps it was because my first efforts at making music were on a cut price Strad or, more likely, it was when I first heard Stephane Grappelli (or Grappelly as he called himself then). To this day I love the gypsy jazz sound as personified by local exponent Emma Fisk. However, I also love more modern sounds and, somehow, Jean-Luc Ponty never quite cut it for me.
Enter Tomoko Omura, Berklee graduate, the first violinist to receive the prestigious Roy Haynes Award and, now, with two previous albums to her name, this latest release.
Using a 5 stringed instrument, the additional C string enables the instrument to drop down into viola territory making it a very versatile instrument indeed.
The album's an attempt (successful) to combine gypsy jazz and bebop.
Parker's Relaxin' at Camarillo and Monk's Four in One take us down 52nd St. and it's more than a nostalgia trip - the flattened fifth lives!
Smile, written by no less a person than Charlie Chaplin, is given a fairly straight interpretation.
JR - nothing to do with Dallas - inspired by the lively sounds you hear in Japanese railway stations. This one is even boppier than the earlier bop anthems and makes me wish the Metro, or even the Orient Express had a branch line to Tokyo! An Omura original.
Another original by the violinist is The Boy From Boylston, dedicated to her husband Glenn Zaleski.
The music of Warne Marsh doesn't, regrettably, turn up very often these days which is a shame. Marsh was very much underrated both as a player and as an individual influence. Post-bop but not hard bop; cool but neither east coast nor west coast cool.
He was, simply, Warne Marsh.
That Omura should choose Marsh’s Background Music for her album says much for her perception and much for his music’s longevity.
We move into heavier waters for Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 Aria. Still compelling music. Maybe even more so as, much as we enjoyed the previous, here we were into a more intense area, a different land. That additional C string came well into play at the end.
Arabesque by Debussy kept us in a classical vein. Goodman, playing one of his many fine solos, may have given the late composer a twitch as he reposed in Paris’ Cimetiere de Montrouge but not enough for him to turn over. Claude may have even mouthed tres bon.
From Debussy to a jazz romantic – Lionel Hampton. Hampton may not have always been a balladeer but when he was there were few better. Midnight Sun enables Omura to build on those qualities.
Back to bebop for the final track – Wee by Denzil Best (was it also known as Allen’s Alley?)
And a great finale. Omura is a fine player and, in Goodman and Delancey, she couldn’t have had better support.
Lance
Available July 7 via usual outlets.

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