Fred Kaplan

Fred Kaplan  |  Apr 01, 2021  |  1 comments
George Russell was a major innovator in modern jazz: a pianist-composer-theoretician who profoundly influenced Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Gil Evans, and the "modal revolution" that propelled so much music of the 1960s and beyond. But he's largely been forgotten. He was also the leader of ensembles, big and small, on more than two dozen albums. A few of those albums are acknowledged masterpieces, but they too have been overshadowed by some of his acolytes' classics.
Thomas Conrad, Fred Kaplan  |  Mar 12, 2021  |  2 comments
Michael Feinberg: From Where We Came, J. Peter Schwalm/Arve Henriksen: Neuzeit, Andrew Hill: Passing Ships and Sonny Rollins: Rollins in Holland.
Thomas Conrad, Fred Kaplan  |  Feb 05, 2021  |  10 comments
Diana Krall: This Dream of You, Ella Fitzgerald: Ella: The Lost Berlin Tapes and Charles Mingus: @ Bremen 1964 & 1975.
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.

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