I've been really swamped lately, with no time to blog - but here are some "short items" that will keep things going around these parts.
-Why is Paquito D'Rivera(at left) not usually considered among the front rank of saxophonists in jazz? Even in a straight ahead context, his playing is far more rhythmically interesting than the majority of Coltrane obsessed players, and he has a great knowledge of harmony as well. And while Don Byron is an interesting player - Paquito to me is the unquestioned master of the clarinet. Jazz critics have a tendency to put latin jazz players into their own little box, and it's really all one big thing. Paquito deserves his due.
-CBS/Sony/Epic records just sent me a new Jane Monheit cd. A Christmas album. I thought Jane was very promising on her first couple of records, and that great guest spot she did with Terence Blanchard on Too Young to Go Steady - but this latest thing is just another example of a record company taking an artist in a certain direction that is quite saddening.
-Blue Note's hype machine is in full gear with the new Robert Glasper release, Canvas (which by the way is excellent). I find it interesting how the blurbs, reviews, and press releases always talk about how he brings a hip hop touch to the piano trio. They mention he's worked with Q-tip and Mos Def. Funny thing is, if you just played me the record, I would never in a million years say - oh, he sounds like a hip hop piano player, no more than Herbie Hancock sounds like a hip hop piano player. Glasper is a big talent and VERY mature for his age. He's aware of hip hop and works in that genre - but this is the real deal.