CHRISTMAS SHOPPING IDEAS
When it comes to music-related books I can suggest Bill Crow's fun-filled Jazz Anecdotes Second Time Around (example: Benny Goodman asks his band manager who a particular trumpet player is and is told, "that's your brother Irving!"), Lullaby of Birdland a most interesting George Shearing autobiography, Skylark an insightful book about Johnny Mercer, With Billie--Ms. Holiday from numerous views. There's also Oliver Jones (in French only) by Marthe Sansregret and Doug Ramsey's Take Five is a coffeetable book about Paul Desmond, while Before Motown is a history of Detroit jazz from 1920-1960. I've just learned about a new book by England's Brian Priestley--Chasin' The Bird--The Life and Legacy of Charlie Parker. It's purported to be THE book on this master musician. Bird is also part of Paul Bley's autobiography, Stopping Time.
New to record are some beauties: "Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945" (Uptown) by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker--the "Rosetta Stone" of the bebop era; "Diva" (Gala) is made up of 1946 vintage radio programming featuring Alys Robi; "Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall" (Blue Note) is a superb 1957 concert recently uncovered at the Library of Congress by Larry Appelbaum and "One Down, One Up" (Impulse) is a powerful live 1965 set originally broadcast from NY's Half Note by the classic Coltrane quartet on the Alan Grant radio show.
In the "buy Canadian" department there's Vic Vogel leading a hand-picked big band from the EBU in an "Hommage a Oscar Peterson" (VV); "Pas a Pas," (Propella) a wonderful trio CD with bassist Daniel Lessard switching to piano with guitarist Carlos Jiminez and bassist Jonathan Braen; "Common Thread" (Ombu) is bassist Miles Perkins' debut as a leader, pianist Matt Herskowitz has "Forget Me Not" (Tout Crin), and, in the vocal department, Diana Panton's "Yesterday Perhaps" (Panton), with Reg Schwager and Don Thompson, is one of year's best. Trevor Payne's "I'll Take You There" (Justin Time) is a decidedly different outing by his Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir and guests like Fontella Bass, Dave Turner, and Frank Marino plus a big band with Alex Cote, Aron Doyle and Dave Grott among its members.
The latest release by Sheila Jordan and Cameron Brown, "Celebration," Bill Charlap's "Love Is Here To Stay" (with his mom Sandy Stewart), George Shearing's "Like Fine Wine," Gerald Wilson's "New York New Sound," Enrico Pieranunzi's "Tati," Ilona Knopfler's "Live The Life," and any of Jessica Molaskey's three CDs will make great gifts, as will reissues: "Andrew" by Andrew Hill, "Stridemonster" by the duo of Dick Hyman and Dick Wellstood, and "But Beautiful" a wonderful Shirley Horn that combines the old with some 2005 vintage material.
Among the new seasonal CDs you have a fair amount to choose from: "A Montreal Jazz Christmas" (Soundgood) includes John Labelle's wonderful "Santa's Blues"; "Jazz pour Noel / For Christmas" ( Analekta) is by the Lorraine Desmarais Trio plus Jean-Pierre Zanella, and guitarist Royce Campbell has "A Jazz Guitar Christmas" (Moon Cycle). Vocally, try "It Ain't Over 'til The Fat Man Sings" (SKM) by the group Tonic; Diana Krall has "Christmas Songs" (Verve); "The Season" (Epic) is Jane Monheit's latest; "Noel--One From The Heart" (Two Beans) is by Barbara Montgomery and "I'll Be Home For Christmas" (Big Bang) is by the David Leonhardt Jazz Group with singer Nancy Reed.
Well, as Bill Dana in his guise of "Jose Jiminez" used to say, "It's Jo Jo Time" again. Happy shopping--stay cool!
© Len Dobbin 2005
Montreal, Quebec, Canada