Ted Nash, Terence Blanchard, William Parker, William Parker & Hamid Drake, Keith Jarrettt, Charles Lloyd, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter Quartet, Danilo Perez, and Jack DeJohnette & Foday Musa Suso.
Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., May 20, 2005
When multireedist/composer Ted Nash isn't toiling away at his day job with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, he's cutting albums of stunning quality. As a follow-up to his largely overlooked 2003 gem, Still Evolved, Nash and his chamber ensemble, Odeon, infuse their new project, La Espada de la Noche (Palmetto), with the romantic, dramatic, and passionate elements of tango, klezmer, and Crescent City second line for an unusually delightful sound. Dig the fresh coat of paint they give "A Night in Tunisia." It's compositions and intriguing textures that stand out on New Orleans trumpeter Terence Blanchard's upcoming release, Flow (Blue Note). This is Blanchard's second album with his sextet, and they're fast developing a unique identity within a crowded field. Luc's Lantern (Thirsty Ear) finds prolific and ubiquitous bassist William Parker in an uncharacteristically low-key piano trio setting that still manages to generate some heat. Parker's back on more familiar terrain in tandem with compadre/drummer Hamid Drake on Sound Unity (AUM Fidelity), where his fierce, pianoless quartet featuring saxman Rob Brown burns through a live set of Parker originals. Pianist Keith Jarrett celebrates his 60th birthday (May 8) with the release of Radiance (ECM), a 2-CD set of live, mostly reflective solo performances recorded in Japan. Saxophonist Charles Lloyd's 11th disc on ECM, Jumping the Creek, is the spiritually probing, sublimely inspired type of seance we've come to expect from Lloyd's brilliant quartet. Guitarist John Scofield jumps on the Ray Charles bandwagon with That's What I Say (Verve), an uneven set of standards, some featuring guest vocalists Aaron Neville and Dr. John. The Wayne Shorter Quartet returns next month with their second live album, Beyond the Sound Barrier (Verve), adventurous, sometimes meditative explorations from arguably the best small group in jazz. The pianist in that quartet, Panamanian-born Danilo Perez, struts his percussive style with his trio on Live at the Jazz Showcase, available only at www.daniloperez.com. Those with an ear for world/jazz fusion will cherish Music From the Hearts of the Masters (Kindred Rhythm), a gorgeous set of duets from drummer Jack DeJohnette and Gambian kora master Foday Musa Suso.