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  Listen Up! 10/21/02 Listen Up!

Monday, Oct. 21

James Blood Ulmer and George Adams, “Phalanx,” Moers Music. A 1985 meeting of the minds between the foremost harmolodic guitar practitioner and a major free jazz tenor saxophonist. This keeps the funk underpinnings courtesy of Amin Ali on bass and Calvin Weston on drums, and lets the leaders do what they do best. Ulmer slashes angular chords and intricate rhythm riffs while Adams lets loose flurries of notes around him. When they really get worked up together, you’ve got some major league intensity brewing.

Don Byron, “You Are #6 – More Music For Six Musicians,” Blue Note Records. It may be music for six musicians, but there are thirteen guest appearances, which means he’s cheating. Oh, that’s alright. It’s a typical enjoyable Don Byron record, with that flying clarinet jumping out of the tight ensemble textures. The tunes have kind of a Latin/klezmer/jazz crossover thing happening, which is pretty cool.

The Ventures, “Play the Greatest Instrumental Hits of All Time,”Varese Sarabande. You know the songs are great. These versions were all recorded between 1996 and 2000, and, as Papa Ray pointed out, they are pushing themselves harder this time around than they did on the originals. These versions sound incredible, with much better recording technology, and they rock harder. Dare I say it? This could be one of those rare times it’s a good idea to recreate the past.

--Steve Pick



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