• This Week in JazzSet History: Corea, Moran and Michael Brecker

    May 1, 2012. Posted by Alex Ariff.

    Alexander Ariff is a Master's Degree student in Jazz History & Research at Rutgers University . In celebration of 20 years, he digs up and shares special gems from the JazzSet archive.

    This week in JazzSet history, we'll hear clips form two of my favorite pianists and the late-great saxophonist Michael Brecker (1949-2007).

    First, we'll hear from Chick Corea. In 1995, The Jazz Series at Spoleto in Charleston, SC, welcomed Tommy Flanagan,  Karrin Allyson, Pharaoh Sanders, and the ever-astounding Chick Corea. JazzSet broadcast an exclusive Corea solo piano set from the 1995 Spoleto Festival.

    1995 Spoleto Fesival Program (cover)

    Corea took the stage on May 28, 1995, at 10pm, beginning his set with excerpts from his "Children's Songs" then shifting gears into a medley of Thelonious Monk originals. Corea cites Monk, along with Bud Powell, as one of his major influences. His medley shuffled in and out of stride and jagged jolts using a template of tunes including "Monk's Mood," "Pannonica," and "Trinkle Tinkle." Gary Erwin reported in Spoleto Today that “before a huge audience...Corea proved again how supremely technical and soulful he is, even in the naked glare of the solo concert.” Here is an excerpt of "Pannonica."

    Special thanks to producer, Shari Hutchinson and engineers Paul Jacoby and Jeanne Braun for this preserving this piece of spontaneous gold. The intimidatingly diverse Spoleto Festival USA kicks off May 25, 2012.

    Now we'll check out another modern piano master, Jason Moran, and his band The Bandwagon. I thought it appropriate to share a performance he gave at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club on October 15, 2003, given that last year, he was named Artistic Adviser of Jazz for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts . To read more on his induction, here is a report that JazzSet's Becca Pulliam posted this past December. Jason Moran, like Chick, performed a seamless medley of tunes during his set. It began with a tune called "Kinda Dunkish," then phased into an aggressive approach on Ellington's "Black and Tan Fantasy." The song-stream concluded with Moran's own take on the standard, "Body and Soul." I love his new harmonization of the tune. It takes a minimal approach, giving it a soulful gospel feel for the 21st century. The Bandwagon is Moran, piano; Tarus Mateen, bass; Nasheet Waits, drums.

    Jason Moran ©www.johnabbottphoto.com
    Jason Moran ©www.johnabbottphoto.com

    We'll close out this week's archival dig with the Michael Brecker Quartet from a hit at the Iridium in New York on November 21, 1996. This clip captures the blistering intensity  and precision Brecker brought to the saxophone. We hear a vamp to end of the "Slings and Arrows," and Brecker takes off! The quartet is Brecker, tenor; Joey Calderazzo, piano; James Genus, bass; and his Tain-ness, Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums

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