Thursday, March 25, 2010

Duke Jordan Trio - Flight to Denmark (1973)

Upon Duke Jordan's initial visit to Copenhagen, Denmark, followed by his decision to make the move as an expatriate permanent, he was tempted to stay by playing with some extraordinary Scandinavian rhythm sections. Bassist Mads Vinding, one of many skilled Danish jazz bassists, is here on the date performing in fine style. Drummer Ed Thigpen, who left the U.S. to take up permanent residence in Europe, was an even bigger influence in making Jordan's decision a good one, and is an equally skillful musical partner on this date. This is an expanded edition from the previous original issue on the Steeplechase label; a Japanese import with several alternate takes. It's an understated session for the most part, equal parts melancholy and hopeful, as one might expect with the trepidation of leaving home for new, unknown horizons to be discovered in a foreign land. The upbeat songs, as the modal, popping, tom-tom driven "No Problem" (from the movie soundtrack Les Liason Dangereuses) and the famous bop flag-waver "Jordu," bookend the CD. The bulk of the recording showcases the softer side of Jordan, with takes of the somber ballad "Here's That Rainy Day," the slightly brighter "Everything Happens to Me," and two versions of the polite waltz "Glad I Met Pat," dedicated to a nine-year-old girl Jordan knew in New York City prior to her being kidnapped. The pianist employs chiming piano chords for "How Deep Is the Ocean?," is lighthearted in his slight interpretation of the well worn "On Green Dolphin Street," does two takes on the light, bluesy swinger "If I Did, Would You?," and ramps up to midtempo the bluesy original "Flight to Denmark," reflective of the insecurity and consequential optimism that followed his leaving the States. This is Duke Jordan at his most magnificent, with the ever-able Vinding and expert Thigpen playing their professional roles perfectly, producing perhaps the second best effort (next to Flight to Jordan from 13 years hence) from the famed bop pianist. [Originally released in 1973, Flight to Denmark was reissued as an import-only Japanese CD in 2002.] ~ Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

track listing

No Problem (6:46)
Here's That Rainy Day (7:27)
Everything Happens to Me (5:44)
Glad I Met Pat [Take 3] (5:45)
Glad I Met Pat [Take 4] (5:29)
How Deep Is the Ocean? (7:25)
On Green Dolphin Street (8:24)
If I Did - Would You? [Take 1] (3:43)
If I Did - Would You? [Take 2] (3:52)
Flight to Denmark (5:48)
No Problem [Take 2] (7:14)
Jordu [Take 1] (4:54)


Duke Jordan
Mads Vinding
Ed Thigpen

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jazz on a Summer's Day (1960)

Hailed by critics to be the best jazz film ever, famous photographer's Bert Stern's Jazz On A Summer's Day lives up to its reputation today.

Shot in Newport, RI during the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival and the America's Cup trials of the same year, initially intended as a full length motion picture, it was downsized to a concert documentary due to lack of funds. We have to thank our good luck for this, as this film broke new ground on how a live music performance should be captured. It literally wrote the book.

Shot in lush color instead of the grim black and white used until then, including scenes in broad daylight, interleaving performances with the sailing races going on simultaneously, it made people look at jazz from an entirely different perspective.

This was half a century ago and it really shows. People hit it off very differently back then, as the amazing crowd scenes attest to. With rock 'n roll just around the corner ready to take the popular music scene by storm, these were merrier, more innocent times.

Cast (in credits order)

Jimmy Giuffre ... Himself
Thelonious Monk ... Himself
Henry Grimes ... Himself
Sonny Stitt ... Himself
Sal Salvador ... Himself
Anita O'Day ... Herself
George Shearing ... Himself
Dinah Washington ... Herself
Gerry Mulligan ... Himself
Big Maybelle ... Herself
Chuck Berry ... Himself
Chico Hamilton ... Himself

Louis Armstrong ... Himself
Jack Teagarden ... Himself
Mahalia Jackson ... Herself

rest of cast (listed alphabetically):

David Baily ... Himself
Danny Barcelona ... Himself
Bob Brookmeyer ... Himself
Buck Clayton ... Himself
Willis Conover ... Interviewer
Gergory Corso ... Himself
Bill Crow ... Himself
Eric Dolphy ... Himself
Eli's Chosen Six ... Themselves
Art Farmer ... Himself
Harold Gaylon ... Himself
Nathan Gershman ... Himself
Terry Gibbs ... Himself
Urbie Green ... Himself
Jim Hall ... Himself
Peanuts Hucko ... Himself
Jo Jones ... Himself
Ray Mosca ... Himself
Armando Peraza ... Himself
Max Roach ... Himself
Rudy Rutherford ... Himself
Martin Williams ... Jazz Critic in Audience
Patricia Bosworth... Disgruntled redhead in audience (uncredited)