Ah, autumn begins in earnest. Which means even sunnier days and hotter weather here on California’s Central Coast. Penning these little updates for you, the listener, every month or so provides a tick-tock reminder of the passing of the seasons and the inexorable march of time. The Monterey Jazz Festival, moreover, has come and gone, and with it one of KUSP’s most joyous annual rituals. We’re on our way to winter now.
But not before the Fall Membership Drive! Beat the rush – if you love vibrant, community-engaged, culturally literate public radio on the Central Coast – join or renew your membership now by clicking the tasteful red donate button at the bottom of this post. It’s safe, easy and the right thing to do!
This month we’ll be listening to Lathe of Heaven (ECM), the first new album led by tenor saxophonist Mark Turner since Dharma Days (2001). Some will tell you that Turner is the latest in the line of truly significant jazz saxophonists that starts with Coleman Hawkins and extends through John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. In part that’s because his inventive style, his distinctive tone have been widely imitated and admired in the insular world of jazz musicians. Little by little, he’s getting the audience recognition that his talent merits. His group on the new album includes Avishai Cohen on trumpet, Joe Martin on bass, and Marcus Gilmore on drums. Join the Mark Turner Movement by listening with me to his new record all this month. And check out this review of the album by All About Jazz‘s John Kelman.
A couple months back we listened to the new record by the Seattle hip hop duo Shabazz Palaces. This month we’ll focus on a record by Chimurenga Renaissance, which is essentially one half of SP, Tendai “Baba” Maraire. Maraire is joined here and there by his Shabazz Palaces partner Ishmael “Palaceer Lazaro” Butler, as well as by other participants in the Seattle hip hop scene aptly described by the title of a recent compilation: “Black Weirdos.” Maraire draws upon the Shona beats and instrumentation he mastered at the feet of his father, Zimbabwean musician Dumisani Maraire. The rapping decries social ills at home and in Africa, the melange of African and American rhythms is exhilarating. And it’s a vinyl release!
Finally, still mourning the passing of another Monterey Jazz Festival, I’ve selected Live at the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival Records) as our Miles Davis record for the month. It’s a strong set from that period when Miles was putting together his great Second Quintet, including Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams (drums). George Coleman occupies the saxophone chair; he tends to be underappreciated, overshadowed by the mighty Wayne Shorter, who would replace him. But Coleman was a fine tenor and this is a great group in a good Monterey performance. Check out Samuel Chell‘s fine piece on this record in All About Jazz.