Though the holidays are coming to a close, jazz fans still have something to celebrate. There’s a bumper crop of CDs--both new releases and reissues--headed our way in the first three months of the New Year.
In January, look for new albums by McCoy Tyner, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Childs, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and debuts by Jacky Terrason and Christian McBride.
Tyner, the renowned pianist, plays live at Sweet Basil’s in New York on an Evidence release, and drummer DeJohnette’s latest Special Edition album on Blue Note explores freer realms of jazz with performances by singer Bobby McFerrin and saxman Gary Thomas. Rubalcaba’s “Diz” (Blue Note) finds the Cuban pianist lighting a torch to jazz classics such as “Hot House,” and Childs’ invigorating contemporary style enlivens “I’ve Known Rivers,” featuring saxman Bob Sheppard and singer Dianne Reeves.
Terrason, the 1993 winner of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz competition, uses his trio to investigate both standards, such as “I Love Paris,” and originals; and bassist McBride (he can be heard through Sunday with Joshua Redman at Catalina Bar & Grill) is aided by such notables as Redman, Roy Hargrove and Cyrus Chestnut on his long-awaited debut outing for Verve.
A few of the January reissues include “Charlie Parker With Strings: The Master Takes” (Verve); “Conjure: Music for the Texts of Ismael Reed” (American Clave), with Kenny Kirkland, David Murray, Carla Bley, et al.; and Clifford Brown and Max Roach, “Alone Together: Best of the Mercury Years.”
The much talked-about “Rush Hour” (Blue Note) pits saxman Joe Lovano against string and brass sections arranged by Gunther Schuller. The forward-looking session, the first in February’s release schedule, contains everything from a lush “Angel Eyes” with strings to more heady numbers.
Billy Taylor’s “Homage” (GRP) also employs strings, in this case the Turtle Island String Quartet. The group and Taylor’s trio play the title piece, which pays tribute to such legendary jazz string players as Stuff Smith and Oscar Pettiford. A more modern fusion informs bassist John Patitucci’s “Mistura Fima” (GRP), in which ethnic influences from Africa and other climes join the leader’s brisk take on contemporary jazz.
The February release roster also includes trumpeter Nicholas Payton’s debut on Verve; Ornette Coleman’s first album on Harmolodic Records; powerhouse saxman Chris Potter’s “Pure” (Concord), a tribute to his late boss, trumpeter Red Rodney, with Larry Goldings on organ; and guitarist Kevin Eubanks’ “Spirit Talk II” (Blue Note), with Dave Holland and others.
Tenorman Joe Henderson’s third Verve album spotlights the March lineup. It focuses on the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, and the maestro of melody is along on several tracks. The wonderful pianist Kenny Barron is heard with the crack team of bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Roy Haynes on “Wanton Spirit” (Verve); and Native Colors, which features drummer Billy Higgins and tenorist Ralph Moore, makes its debut on Concord.
Also out in March are albums on Columbia by pianist Harold Mabern (“The Leading Man”) and altoist Lou Donaldson (“Sentimental Journey”), and explosive reedman Kenny Garrett’s trio on Warner Bros. Here, bassist Charnett Moffett and drummer Brian Blade join Garrett for takes of tunes such as “Giant Steps” and “A Time for Love.”
Up Tempo: When Nino Tempo’s straight-ahead Atlantic album “Tenor Saxophone” came out in 1992, a lot of listeners were surprised that he could even play the horn, let alone play it so well. After all, that was Tempo singing with sister April Stevens on “Deep Purple,” which reached No. 1 on the 1963 Billboard Pop charts.
“But I was a jazz musician long before I made that record,” says Tempo, who appears tonight and Saturday at Cicada (8478 Melrose Ave., at La Cienega Boulevard).
Tempo, who turns 60 today, will be recording his third Atlantic album this weekend, playing standards and jazz classics with a bang-up band that sports trumpeter Conte Candoli, pianist Mike Lang, bassist Brian Bromberg and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington.
Information: (213) 655-5559.
Critic’s Choice: Roy Haynes makes one of his infrequent Los Angeles appearances Thursday at the Jazz Bakery, working with pianist Billy Childs.
Information: (310) 271-9039.