December-6th-2012, 09:26 AM
MIKE LONGO PIANO TRIO FLYING IN THE NIGHT WITH LIVE IMPROV
Under-rated jazz pianist Mike Longo, who has been making great music for well over half a century, found a new twist for his latest CD, a live recording called A Celebration of Diz and Miles, which serves as tribute to these two great horn players (Gillespie and Davis) that Mike played with, but also as a platform for some excellent post-bop piano trio improvisation.
Longo cracks me up sometimes. Not his music, but what he says. I have been reading his bios for the past half-dozen years or so, and I love what he has to say about his music and jazz and other players. For example, in talking about this recording, and the Miles Davis tunes “All Blues” and “Freddie Freeloader,” Longo says about the first: “Playing multi-part Bach fugues in college helped prepare me to do this,” and about the second: “a simple melody with a deep, deep groove like Picasso drawing a masterpiece with just a few lines.” I have to give you two more examples. Regarding Gillespie’s classic “A Night in Tunisia,” Mike states: “I played it so many times with Dizzy that it was challenging to come up with a different approach here, so I embraced a sort of call-and-response with myself in the solo followed by an atonal cadenza.” Talking about Miles’ “So What” Longo quips: “A Great, great tune from Kind of Blue that was a turning point for Miles as he moved from diatonic to modal music.” I love that stuff. I’ll bet you could ask Longo about any jazz musician or tune in the book and he would come up with some pithy saying like that. What a cat.
Turning our attention to the disc at hand, it is so cool to hear a trio like this (Paul West, bass, and Ray Mosca, drums) walk on stage and tackle fairly well-known tunes with no rehearsal or charts, just a free-flowing, swinging, trade-the-solos-back-and-forth style that represents what I love in jazz, especially live jazz. You can usually identify the melody briefly at the beginning of each tune, and sometimes somewhere within the meat of it, but most of the time the trio is just out there flying in the night, winging their way over the treetops, pushing the improve to the edge of the cliff and then abruptly turning away from the edge of disaster at the last second. It makes me realize how difficult it is to write about this type of music that encompasses just three instruments, a basic song theme and then six, seven or eight minutes of free improv. But the music is a pleasure to behold.
December-14th-2012, 06:23 AM
m the music and playing of this Gypsy genius lives on and is taken good care of by great, authentic musicians like Lollo Meier, who continues the tradition from Django in his ow
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