Monday, September 12, 2005

CD - The Mixed Media Series Basquiat Salutes Jazz

5 /5

The Mixed Media Series Basquiat Salutes Jazz
Prestige PRCD-11031-2
running time 72:12
released August 30, 2005

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Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988) was a celebrated NY painter who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. Beginning as a graffiti artist at the age of 17, spray painting subways cars and buildings, and using that foundation as he developed his output into avante-garde paintings, Basquiat (pronounced "BAS-KEE-AH"), became internationally known before he was 25. He only pained for 8 years, but during that time, he was in the spotlight. He became friends with Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987) in 1983 until Warhol’s death. He was quite a paranoid and dated Madonna before she was famous. He was the subject of the 1996 film, Basquiat, which starred David Bowie, Benico Del Toro, Dennis Hopper, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Walken, among others.

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He found inspiration in jazz and this CD is a compilation put together, with the input of his father, of several of the bebop musicians who influenced Basquiat’s paintings.

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From the 1964 Miles Davis album Blue Haze, the first track, “I’ll Remember April,” leads off the Basquiat Salutes Jazz. Written by Gene De Paul, Patricia Johnston, and Don Raye, this is one of Miles Davis’ most instantly recognizable tracks and for a recording that’s over 40 years old, it sounds great. Don Raye was also known for his composition, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” which became a hit by the Andrew Sisters.

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Charlie Parker

The legendary The Quintet: Jazz At Massey Hall is sampled for the Gillespie-Clarke classic, “Salt Peanuts.” Recorded in May, 1953, in Toronto’s Massey Hall, this album brought together giants trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie (1917- 1993), Charlie Parker (1920 – 1955) on alto sax, Bud Powell (1924 – 1966) on piano, Charles Mingus (1922- 1979) on bass and drummer Max Roach (1924.) The sound quality is not first rate, considering it was recorded over the venue’s mediocre PA system, but it has been remastered as a 20-bit A/D digital conversion and no doubt sounds better than ever. If you’ve never heard this sparkling, playful tune, you’re in for a treat. I heard it live with Paquito D'Riverra and it’s a delight.

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Dizzy Gillespie

From the 1956 Sonny Rollins’ album Plus Four, “Kiss and Run” is an memorable example of a bebop quintet in full flight. Featuring Richie Powell (1931 – 1956) on piano, George Morrow on bass, Max Roach, once again, on drums, the brilliant trumpeter Clifford Brown (1930- 1956) and Rollins (1930) on tenor sax, this track has a common theme around which each of the players solo like nobody’s business.

Charlie’s Parker’s Billie’s Bounce is one of the most covered numbers in all of jazz and this version features Red Garland (1923 – 1984) on piano, John Coltrane (1926 – 1967) on tenor sax, Donald Byrd (1932) on trumpet, George Joyner on bass and Arthur Taylor on drums. Recorded in 1957, two years after Parker’s death, it’s from the album Red Garland Quintet with John Coltrane: Dig It!

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Max Roach

The quality of the CD’s other tracks make this a suitable introduction to bebop for the casual listener. Some of the other prominent musicians who appear include pianist Thelonious Monk (1917 – 1982), drummer Roy Haynes (1925), drummer Art Blakey (1919 – 1990), trumpeter Freddie Hubbard (1938), saxophonist Wayne Shorter (1923), saxophonist Sonny Stitt (1924 – 1982), guitarist Joe Pass (1929 – 1994), and bassist Ray Brown (1926 – 2002.)

1. MILES DAVIS—I’ll Remember April 7:57
3. SONNY ROLLINS—Kiss and Run 7:10
5. SONNY STITT—Cherokee 2:33
6. THELONIOUS MONK QUARTET—’Round Midnight 6:16
7. MAX ROACH—It’s You or No One 4:15
9. DIZZY GILLESPIE—Be Bop (Dizzy’s Fingers) 4:31
10. CHARLES MINGUS QUARTET—Haitian Fight Song 5:27
11. FATS NAVARRO featured with TADD DAMERON BAND—Anthropology (No. 1) 3:42
12. CHARLIE PARKER—Ornithology 3:30

Definitely visit to hear the album.

Also read Gregg Guestchow's review of the same CD here.

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