Father and son duos are relatively rare in jazz but there's no generation gap apparent between Bucky and John Pizzarelli. The two have made a number of strong LPs and CDs together (and individually as well), although it is tough to lavish sufficient praise on this duo-guitar date, played primarily on seven-string electric guitars. Each man adapts equally well, whether in the lead, providing rhythmic support for the other, or matching his partner's lyricism while playing the head of a song. An invigorating "Three Little Words" introduces the two masterful guitarists with a flourish, followed by a lightly swinging take of "Jersey Bounce," the bluesy "Two Funky People," and the strutting acoustic duet "Test Pilot."
The Jazztet had been in existence for two years when they recorded what would be their final LPs, this date plus Another Git Together. The personnel (other than the two co-leaders flugelhornist Art Farmer and tenor-saxophonist Benny Golson) had completely changed since 1960 but the group sound was the same. The 1962 version of the Jazztet included trombonist Grachan Moncur III, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Herbie Lewis and drummer Roy McCurdy and it is remarkable to think that this talent-filled group could not find enough jobs in order to stay together…
Keiko Matsui is the Stevie Nicks of contemporary jazz. In her photos, she always appears pale, out of a mist, like a fairy goddess or angel. Her creative and long popular blend of classical piano, aggressive jazz/funk, orchestral grandeur, and sonic elements from her native Japan allows her to create both poignant ballads and more aggressive fusion statements. Over the course of her last few albums, Matsui's Lindsey Buckingham – always at her side, pushing her performance harder and higher – has been seductive saxman Paul Taylor. On this ethereal mind trip, Full Moon and the Shrine (Countdown/Unity), she doesn't let Taylor stray too far.
Producer Norman Granz occasionally got carried away with the quantity of his recording projects. In 1974 he recorded a full album teaming fellow pianists Count Basie and Oscar Peterson in a rhythm quintet; little did anyone realize that this then-unique matchup would eventually result in five albums. This first one, which finds Basie doubling on organ, is among the best. Peterson's virtuosic style somehow worked very well with Basie's sparse playing and these ten numbers really swing.
On his third solo effort, Eric Vloeimans employs a similar post-Miles Davis approach to the trumpet as Wynton Marsalis. Featuring pointillistic compositions accented by slippery diminished runs, Bitches and Fairy Tales is a nice drink of fuzzy, straight-ahead jazz with Vloeimans often adding a little avant-garde triple sec into the mix. While comparable to Marsalis in his use of operatic bent tones punctuated by the occasional growl, Vloeimans more often settles into his warm, foggy tone like another trumpeter who had an affinity for the Netherlands, Chet Baker. Backing Vloeimans on piano is the Bill Evans-influenced Brit John Taylor. Joey Baron on drums and Marc Johnson on bass round out the group.