Tune in to the Jazz Show with Gavin Walker every Monday night,
We begin the Merry Month of May with a recently departed Jazz giant: alto saxophone master Phil Woods. This album was done in 1974 when Mr. Woods returned from a sojourn in Europe. To me it is one of his best and a favourite of mine but when I chatted with Mr. Woods some years ago, he said he wasn’t impressed with this date. This remains a mystery to me. As you’ll hear, Mr. Woods is at his very best here with this amazing rhythm section with Jaki Byard on piano, Richard Davis on bass and Alan Dawson on drums. Woods had never played with these men before and perhaps this added to his apparent unease. To me it adds to the edge of this date. Decide for yourself as we feature “Musique Du Bois”.
“Oracle” is tonight’s Jazz Feature and only two performers are involved. Classical and 12-string guitar virtuoso Ralph Towner and bass master Gary Peacock. A selection of 9 duets with six compositions by Peacock and two by Towner and one co-composed. This is introspective and lyrical music but with a high internal energy. Evocative and thought provoking sounds by these two masters.
Music by living masters tonight. All have appeared in Vancouver and these men represent the true swinging blues based Jazz tradition. Organist Mike LeDonne leads the band with Eric Alexander on tenor saxophone, Vincent Herring on alto saxophone, Peter Bernstein on guitar and Joe Farnsworth on drums. This is the real deal. 9 great tunes with a variety of moods. Original compositions by LeDonne and some well selected but not overplayed standards. “That Feelin’” will be a turn on.
A rare date by a band led by trombonist/composer/arranger Slide Hampton. This well organized group is full of major players like trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and tenor saxophonist George Coleman and master drummer Pete LaRoca. The band is tight but also has a small group ambience. Just the right combination of discipline and spontaneity. Three tunes composed and arranged by Slide and one each by Duke Ellington, Randy Weston and Gigi Gryce fill the bill. “Sister Salvation” is a blast and a swingin’ affair!
Another great band filled with still living Jazz Masters. “The Cookers” represent a musical pinnacle today. Eddie Henderson and David Weiss on trumpets, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, Donald Harrison on alto saxophone, George Cables on piano, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart. Need I say more? No just listen and marvel at the energy and mastery. “Time and Time Again”.