Two years after the death of pianist-composer Thelonious Monk, this very unusual and quite memorable double-LP tribute was put together. Producer Hal Willner's most successful project, the 23 interpretations of Monk originals all feature a different group of all-star players and stretch beyond jazz. Some of the performances are fairly straightforward while others are quite eccentric; certainly the crazy duet on "Four in One" by altoist Gary Windo and Todd Rundgren (on synthesizers and drum machines) and the version of "Shuffle Boil" featuring John Zorn on game calls (imitating the sound of ducks) are quite unique. There are many colorful moments throughout the project and the roster of musicians is remarkable: Bobby McFerrin with Bob Dorough, Peter Frampton, Joe Jackson, Steve Lacy, Dr. John, Gil Evans, Randy Weston, Roswell Rudd, Eugene Chadbourne and Shockabilly, the Fowler Brothers, NRBQ, Steve Khan, Carla Bley, Barry Harris, Was (Not Was) and many others. There is not a slow moment or uninteresting selection on this highly recommended set.
Percussionist Airto Moreira, his wife, vocalist Flora Purim, and Joe Farrell (heard on flute, soprano and tenor) had teamed up several times through the years, most notably in the original version of Return To Forever. Farrell would pass away just eight months after this album, but is still heard in fine form on the interesting set.An atmospheric and at times haunting effort.
Each of Jade Warrior's Island albums was a revelation, both musically and thematically. Floating World's exploration of the Japanese philosophy of Ukiyo, Waves' oceanic voyage, the ninth century Buddhist monk whose story is told on the B-side of Kites (and who takes airy flight across the flip) – all were extraordinary expeditions into the Orient…
Way Back When finds Surman on baritone and soprano saxophones, joined by John Taylor on electric piano, Brian Odgers on electric bass, John Marshall on drums and, on two tracks, alto saxophonist Mike Osborne. This one-day session was, in Surman's words, "a sort of 'farewell' jam session," held before Surman moved to continental Europe to join bassist Barre Phillips and drummer Stu Martin for the groundbreaking free jazz unit known as the Trio.
German harmonica master and singer Chris Kramer fulfilled a blues dream of his. A must have for all Blues lovers.