Fred Kaplan

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Fred Kaplan  |  Jul 30, 2017  |  3 comments
William Parker, Bronx-born bassist-composer extraordinaire, is one of the few jazz musicians who came up through the avant-garde (making his first big marks as a sideman to Cecil Taylor and David S. Ware) yet manages to fuse its techniques and innovations with standard rhythms, a sense of blues that might have wafted up from the Delta, a dash of wit, and a seemingly effortless swing.

His new two-CD album, Meditation / Resurrection (on the AUM Fidelity label), was recorded in the course of a single day last October, at Brooklyn's System Two Studio by Michael Marciano, who also mixed it live, to give it the feel of a spontaneous set at a club.

Fred Kaplan  |  Jul 28, 2017  |  3 comments
Et tu, Thelonious? We've come to expect new discoveries from the vaults, annually or more often, by Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, and Sonny Rollins. But who knew there were hidden gems by the gnomic Monk—and from a professionally recorded studio session, no less!
Fred Kaplan  |  Jul 14, 2017  |  1 comments
Steve Coleman, 61, is one of the most creative alto saxophonists, conceptualists, composers, and bandleaders—and certainly the most influential of all those identities—in jazz today. His latest album, Morphogenesis (on the Pi Recordings label), doesn't quite equal his last two—his breakthrough, Functional Arrhythmia (2013), or his masterpiece, Synovial Joints (2015)—but it's a rouser by any measure: on close listening, a heady sweat-drencher.
Fred Kaplan  |  Jun 28, 2017  |  3 comments
Geri Allen, one of the great jazz pianists, died on Tuesday, of cancer, at the terribly young age of 60. She made wondrous, rousing, deeply felt music from all eras and styles, with collaborators of all stripes or solo. She could be raucous or elegant, bluesy or lyrical, sometimes all four at once.
Fred Kaplan  |  Jun 17, 2017  |  4 comments
In 2014, Chad Kassem, proprietor of Acoustic Sounds and Analogue Productions, released a 200-gram QRP vinyl pressing of Masterpieces by Ellington, one of the Duke's least-known but possibly finest and finest-sounding albums, to wild acclaim and (by audiophile standards) brisk sales. Now he's put it out at 45rpm, and while the 33 was a startler, the new version—spread out on two LPs, to accommodate the wider grooves—will leave you breathless.
Fred Kaplan  |  May 22, 2017  |  8 comments
E.S.P., recorded over three sessions in January 1965, marked a major turning point in the music of Miles Davis...Mobile Fidelity's 45rpm two-disc vinyl reissue—mastered from the original ¼-inch, 15ips, two-track tapes by Krieg Wunderlich—captures the sound's bloom and detail with more warmth and detail than any previous pressing, including Columbia's original.
Fred Kaplan  |  May 04, 2017  |  0 comments
When David Murray decamped to Paris 20 years ago, the New York jazz scene lost its most distinctive voice: a tenor saxophonist who fused the hefty romance of Ben Webster, the improvisational zest of Sonny Rollins, and the avant skybursts of Albert Ayler. Now he's back, living in Harlem, playing at Manhattan's Village Vanguard (this week, through Sunday) with new and old bandmates, and sounding as lush, adventurous, and shiversome as ever.
Fred Kaplan  |  Apr 17, 2017  |  1 comments
The pianist John Lewis, who died in 2001 at the age of 79, is best known as the leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet, but throughout that group's long life (1952–1992), he also composed, conducted, and played music for many other ensembles, large and small, tinged with influences from swing and the blues to Baroque, Renaissance, and Third Stream avant-garde. The Wonderful World of Jazz, recorded in 1960 on the Atlantic label, is one of his more obscure albums, but it's also one of his freshest.

I'd never heard it, until I received this new 180gm stereo LP, reissued by Pure Pleasure Recordings...

Fred Kaplan  |  Mar 06, 2017  |  1 comments
Labor of Love is one of the most pleasurable albums you're likely to hear all year—and it sounds amazing, too...what we have here is magic: classic blues tunes—"Stagger Lee," "My Creole Bell," Mistreated Blues," "Zanzibar," "John Henry," and more—treated with such love and wit and heartache and (to use a tired term that's appropriate here) authenticity.
Fred Kaplan  |  Feb 08, 2017  |  4 comments
The critic Gary Giddins once wrote that Kenny Dorham is "practically synonymous with underrated," so don't feel ashamed if you've never heard of this golden-toned trumpeter, who came up in the 1940s alongside the bebop giants, toiling for a decade as a sideman. Quiet Kenny, a 1960 album on the New Jazz label, is the only Dorham album that features no other horn player. It's just his quartet, and what a quartet—Dorham is accompanied by Tommy Flanagan on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, Art Taylor on drums.
Fred Kaplan  |  Dec 23, 2016  |  3 comments
I took another look at the blog I posted on December 21 ("The Best Jazz Albums of 2016"), a few more thoughts came to mind. With one exception (#5, Brad Mehldau Trio, Blues and Ballads, on Nonesuch), the big labels (or even labels big by jazz standards) are absent from the list. . .
Fred Kaplan  |  Dec 21, 2016  |  7 comments
It's that time of the year again. Here are my picks for the 10 best new jazz albums of 2016—and the four best historical releases...
Fred Kaplan  |  Dec 16, 2016  |  3 comments
Last year, Sony released The Complete Concert by the Sea, not just a remaster of Erroll Garner's classic 1955 live album but two extra discs containing the entire, unexpurgated concert, from start to finish casting new light on the pianist's sparkling wonders. It turns out that Garner's agent, Martha Glaser, who died a few years ago, had socked away thousands of tape reels of music—live concerts, studio sessions, rehearsals—and now her niece, Susan Rosenberg, who inherited the estate, is going through the cache, with the aid of a professional archivist. The first bounty of their labor is Ready Take One—previously unknown studio recordings of Garner and his trio from 1967–71.
Fred Kaplan  |  Nov 22, 2016  |  0 comments
It's Thanksgiving week, which means that if you're in New York City, you can (and should) go see two of the best jazz bands at two of the best jazz clubs. Maria Schneider's Jazz Orchestra is playing at the Jazz Standard through Sunday (except for Thanksgiving Day). Jason Moran's Bandwagon trio is playing at the Village Vanguard through Sunday (including Thanksgiving Day).
Fred Kaplan  |  Nov 08, 2016  |  1 comments
Tonight (Tuesday, November 8), at the Jazz Standard in New York City (116 East 27th Street), the 7:30 set, along with Brooke Gladstone (co-host & managing editor of public radio's On the Media and, as it happens, my wife), I'll be announcing election updates and analyzing results between tunes (by Ted Nash's Presidential Suite big band).

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