Saturday, May 31, 2008
Rave Tesar-You Decide
How many piano trio disc are issued during any given year? Who knows. Just like the abundance of unqualified singers who get plenty of face time piano trios are a dime a dozen with nothing distinguishing them other than piano, bass and drums.
I've pointed out in past writings that with any session its not the musicians but the music - how is it arranged? How are the compositions complimented by the arrangements of the musicians?
The latest pianist to throw his hat in the Ring is a guy by the name of Rave. Rave Tesar. Having never heard of the guy I was mildly interested in what he could do pianisticly. His new trio disc, "You Decide" (Tesar Music,LLC) begs the question.
According to his web page Rave, "established himself in the New York jazz scene. He became noted for both his adept keyboard technique and the spirited musicality of his improvisations. Over the years he was a member of several successful groups. Most recently he has invested much composition and performance time in the group, Avenues, which he founded with bassist, Mark Bernstein, over a decade ago. For Rave, jazz is fundamental. It is the soul of his artistry."
That's interesting. Never heard of the group 'Avenues' either. No big deal though. Maybe I'm just not in the loop! Also curious is the statement that, jazz "is the soul of his artistry". Obviously, meaning that jazz is just not the only component of his musical identity. And that's cool too.
With accompanists in bassist Kermit Discoll and drummer Bill Tesar (perhaps a relation?), we are entreated to a mild and ambiguous play list of originals much sounding akin to Elaine Elias (whom I love!) and a light hearted Chick Corea. Yet they don't seem to break a sweat in this overall mediocre session. Rave has given us the question of whether to decide or not. Right now its a hung jury.
Jimmy McGriff Dies
We are saddened at the passing of the great organist Jimmy McGriff. It was this past January when I spoke with fellow organ giantess Trudy Pitts that we learned that McGriff's health had taken a turn for the worse. He'd been interned in a nursing home for some five years it was said.
I met "Griff" in the mid 80s on one of his yearly Chicago visits. Always congenial and with a ready smile Griff would mail out each Christmas a seasonal card. As he did with many of his friends. He will be missed as one of the organ's imminent innovators.
Thanks for the music, Griff!!!