Fred Kaplan

Larry Birnbaum, Thomas Conrad, Fred Kaplan  |  Dec 31, 2020  |  2 comments
Fred Hersch: Songs from Home, Horace Silver Quintet: Further Explorations, Juliet Kurtzman/Pete Malinverni: Candlelight: Love in the Time of Cholera and Matthew Shipp Trio: The Unidentifiable.
Fred Kaplan  |  Dec 15, 2020  |  3 comments
Ron Miles: Rainbow Sign
Ron Miles, cornet; Jason Moran, piano; Bill Frisell, electric guitar; Thomas Morgan, bass; Brian Blade, drums.
Blue Note (CD, 2LPs). Ron Miles, prod.; Colin Bricker, eng.
Performance *****
Sonics *****

If Ron Miles lived in New York instead of Denver, he would have become a jazz star long ago. With Rainbow Sign, his 12th album as a leader but his debut on a major label (at age 57), now's his time—or should be anyway.

Thomas Conrad, Fred Kaplan  |  Dec 04, 2020  |  0 comments
Dave Pietro: Hypersphere, Thumbscrew: The Anthony Braxton Project, Bobby Hutcherson: The Kicker and Raphael Pannier: Faune.
Thomas Conrad, Fred Kaplan  |  Oct 30, 2020  |  1 comments
Maria Schneider Orchestra: Data Lords, Keleketla, Joel Ross: Who Are You? and John Zorn and Jesse Harris: Songs for Petra.
Fred Kaplan  |  Sep 22, 2020  |  11 comments
The late pianist Bill Evans may be the most reissued jazz musician in the catalogs of audiophile record labels. There are reasons for that: He played standards, mainly ballads (many audiophiles shun the avantgarde), almost never in groups larger than trios (stereo systems often do best with small-scale ensembles). Whether by design or chance, his best recordings were miked by superb engineers. Perhaps because of that, proprietors of high-end labels have cherished Evans's music with heightened passion.
Fred Kaplan  |  Oct 31, 2019  |  12 comments
There has never been a record producer like Manfred Eicher, founder and sole proprietor of ECM records, the German-based jazz (and sometimes classical) label that celebrates its 50th anniversary this month.

Eicher doesn't quite win the all-time prize for longevity. Edward Lewis started Decca (UK) in 1929 and owned it until 1980. David Sarnoff controlled RCA from 1919–1970. William Paley did the same at Columbia from 1938-1988. But unlike those other, financially heftier titans, who deferred to department heads and studio producers, Eicher has supervised every single one of ECM's albums—more than 1600 of them.

Fred Kaplan  |  Dec 17, 2018  |  4 comments
Sorry I've been away from this space for so long. My day gig (national-security columnist for Slate) has kept me busy (as you can imagine), and I've got a tight deadline on a new book. Still, as Congreve observed, "Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast," and there's plenty of breast-beating savagery out there, so I've continued to listen, and here is my dispatch on the Best Jazz Albums (10 new and two historical discoveries) of 2018.
Fred Kaplan  |  May 23, 2018  |  5 comments
At age 62, pianist Fred Hersch is playing as rousingly and rivetingly as ever. His latest disc, Live in Europe (on the Palmetto label), may be his best trio album to date.
Fred Kaplan  |  May 02, 2018  |  6 comments
The Final Tour, Volume 6 of Columbia Legacy's Miles Davis Bootleg Series—documenting Miles' quintet, featuring John Coltrane, live in Europe in March 1960—is one of the most revelatory new-old jazz albums in recent years. Of the five concerts on the 4-CD boxed set, one of them—the March 24 date in Copenhagen—is now out on 180-gram LP, and not only is the music thrilling, the sound quality is extraordinary: as vibrant as just about any live album in the Miles catalog.
Fred Kaplan  |  Apr 07, 2018  |  3 comments
Sound Prints, the quintet co-led by trumpeter Dave Douglas and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, is one of the most exciting small jazz bands around. You wouldn't know it, necessarily, from their first, eponymously titled album, recorded live at the 2013 Monterey Jazz Festival and released on Blue Note, which has long been Lovano's label. Mediocre sound doesn't always suck the life out of a recording if the music is good, but that's what happened here. However, the group's second album, Scandal (just out on Greenleaf Music, Douglas' self-owned label), tells a different tale entirely.

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