Today I want to start presenting CD’s that have been released this year.
We all enjoy the recordings from the great masters, like John Coltrane and Miles Davis but some of these records are already 50 years old.
I think we should also be able to see what is currently going on and so I started to look around for new CD releases. There are records from major labels like Concord, ECM and there are also records from well-known names like Diana Krall or Gregory Porter.
But there is also a lot of new stuff from artists in the second row and I would like to start today with a CD from Dave Stryker called “Messin’ with Mr T”. The CD is a reminiscence to Stanley Turrentine, who died 15 years ago. Dave Stryker was playing with Stanley Turrentine for many years and recorded two albums with him.
The CD contains 10 songs and features 10 different saxophone players including Chris Potter, Bob Mintzer, Eric Alexander and Steve Slagle.
The rhythm section includes the finest musicians from the New York Jazz scene with Jared Gold on hammond B3 organ and McClenty Hunter on drums.
It’s an excellent CD with very good music, including all-time classics like “In a Sentimental Mood” or “Impressions” and also some very groovy played tunes like “Side Steppin’” or “Don’t Mess With Mr.T”.
If you like hammond trios plus excellent saxophone playing then this CD is the right choice. Never boring, great artists and great soloing. Definitely one of my personal favorites of this year.
The CD made #1 on JazzWeek Radio chart and has been on the chart for more than 20 weeks.
Lucky me a got a signed CD from Dave Stryker when I saw him playing this spring at Marian’s Jazzroom in Bern.
Here is again the iTunes playlist if you want to hear yourself:
This time I want to talk about an extraordinary guitar player, who died in 2005: Ted Greene. I have to admit, that I was introduced to him accidentally when searching online stores for recordings of Gershwin tunes. I bought the only album that he ever recorded and still is one of the most beautiful solo guitar albums I ever heard. The album is called “Solo Guitar” and was recorded in 1976, around the same time when Joe Pass recorded his “Virtuoso” albums. Joe Pass became famous and Ted Greene is forgotten, it seems.
Ted played usually a Fender Telecaster and experimented with different tunings, that is how he created his specific sound of deep bass notes. Ted spent most of his time as a teacher. “I didn’t mean to be a guitar teacher,” he said, “but I just fell in love with it.”
He wrote four books: Chord Chemistry, Modern Chord Progressions, and Jazz Guitar Single Note Soloing Volume 1 and Volume 2. These books became quite successful and are still available.
The album “Solo Guitar” was recorded at a time where Ted was having a Sunday night gig. The recording was made over 10 hours on two days where Ted was just playing what came into his mind. Out of this material 8 songs were put into this album. The list contains versions of Gershwin tunes ( A medley with “Summertime” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”) and cover versions of other famous songs like “Ol’ Man River”, “Send in the Clowns” or “Just Friends”.
Ted Greene experiments on all this songs with different styles of playing (walking bass in “Just Friends” , classical almost baroque chord progressions and flageolet melodies in “Danny Boy” or just changing the key in “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”). The whole album shows the commitment of Ted’s playing to melody and harmony and results in perfectly balanced chord progressions and voicings. This is really one of the greatest solo guitar albums I know.
Since Ted was having so many students there is still an active Ted Greene community on the internet. You can find transcriptions from the album and many other student’s material compiled on the website www.tedgreene.com.
You will also find a lot of interesting videos on Youtube. I selected one video from 1993 where he plays “Autumn Leaves”. Ted speaks briefly also about changing keys “since it starts to loose it’s charm” when you stay on the same key for too long.
Finally I have also created a little playlist to allow you to listen to the album: