In the concert DVD Quiet Stream Breaks the Rocks, the Branco Stoysin Trio exhibits Stoysin’s artistry as a composer and arranger. Throughout the set, the entire trio demonstrates their ability to achieve a very particular contemplative mood and feel with a fluid blend of jazz and Eastern European folk music. It’s the first DVD release from Stoysin, and it utilizes much of his music from previous record releases Inexhaustible (2009), Quiet Stream Breaks the Rocks (2007) and Heart is the Bridge (2003), along with some new material thrown in for good measure.
Bill Frisell’s unique guitar work and musical excursions in his installment of Solos: The Jazz Sessions are nothing short of awe-inspiring and unconventional. As with much of Frisell’s output, he has demonstrated again and again how he has become a master of his own guitar idiom.
Legendary bassist Dave Holland is now in his fifth decade as a jazz performer. His solo work and his ensemble leadership are equally extraordinary. Holland first became a familiar name as a member of Miles Davis’ group.
My Very Life is a collection of original compositions by Brazilian native Paulinho Garcia which reflect the wide-range of musical styles found in Brazil.
The Hot Club of Detroit’s album Night Town is a tour de force that is full of hard-swinging, toe-tapping arrangements of gypsy jazz standards and original compositions penned by members of the ensemble.
Bill Frisell ranks in the top tier of guitarists from his generation, alongside such luminaries as John Scofield and Pat Metheny. His recorded output is arguably as eclectic as any living artist. Previous projects have ranged from trio records with jazz greats Dave Holland and Elvin Jones, contemporary collaborations with producers Hal Wilner and Lee Townsend, as well as a collection of Americana and folk-tinged albums for the Nonesuch record label.
Les Paul was a giant in the music industry long before rock and roll was even a glimmer in the eye of record company executives or a restless youth culture.
In the music performance world some artists actually get better over time. The energy and the passion for their craft only increase as they mature. For several decades George Benson has distinguished himself as one of the finest jazz guitarists of his time. Add to that his expressive vocals and scat singing and the musical package is totally complete.
Pat Martino Unstrung documents the physical and psychological struggles faced by the legendary jazz guitarist before and after undergoing brain surgery in 1980 that resulted in the removal of more than half of his left temporal lobe. The film focuses mainly on the neurological aspects of Martino’s condition, both before and after surgery, with added snippets of music and concert footage spread throughout the documentary.
When I first became interested in solo jazz guitar in the early ’80s there was one name that stood out above the rest: Joe Pass. Joe had recorded more solo jazz guitar albums than anyone and with his special talent he kept the music inventive and engaging. With Norman Granz promoting him and issuing his Virtuoso series on Pablo records beginning in 1973, Pass raised the bar for all jazz guitarists that followed.