Reviews that mention Karen Borca

September 26, 2016

Jimmy Lyons

Push Pull
Corbett vs. Dempsey CVsD CD022

Alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons in Jazz history is usually viewed mostly as Cecil Taylor’s closest collaborator and confidant from the early 1960s until his own death in 1986. His association is like Paul Shaffer’s with David Letterman, or more appropriately Paul Desmond’s with Dave Brubeck. But Lyons (1931-1986), while never as absolutely free in his playing as Taylor was in his, was also a notable soloist on his own, and intermittently led his own bands. Like Desmond none of them featured a pianist. MORE

December 8, 2008

Bill Dixon

17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur
AUM Fidelity AUM 046

Bill Dixon

With Exploding Star Orchestra

Thrill Jockey Thrill 192

More than an elderly lion in winter, 83-year-old trumpeter Bill Dixon seems to have reasserted his place in the jazz firmament during the dozen years since he retired from academe after nearly three decades of teaching at Vermont’s Bennington College.

Both of these big band CDs resulted from a purple patch of creativity in the summer of 2007, when Dixon was able to lead different orchestras in New York and Chicago through some of his extended compositions. Both the 56½-minute “Darfur” suite in New York and the two 18-minute versions of “Entrances” in the mid-West are shaped around a combination of composed work and spontaneously cued solos. The tonal colors emphasized on both are orchestral rather than standard big band arrangements, with woodwinds, strings and miscellaneous percussion prominent. MORE

December 8, 2008

Bill Dixon

With Exploding Star Orchestra
Thrill Jockey Thrill 192

Bill Dixon

17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur

AUM Fidelity AUM 046

More than an elderly lion in winter, 83-year-old trumpeter Bill Dixon seems to have reasserted his place in the jazz firmament during the dozen years since he retired from academe after nearly three decades of teaching at Vermont’s Bennington College.

Both of these big band CDs resulted from a purple patch of creativity in the summer of 2007, when Dixon was able to lead different orchestras in New York and Chicago through some of his extended compositions. Both the 56½-minute “Darfur” suite in New York and the two 18-minute versions of “Entrances” in the mid-West are shaped around a combination of composed work and spontaneously cued solos. The tonal colors emphasized on both are orchestral rather than standard big band arrangements, with woodwinds, strings and miscellaneous percussion prominent. MORE

May 31, 2004

PAUL MURPHY

Red Snapper
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1167

Of paramount historical, rather than musical, interest RED SNAPPER is a CD of never-commercially-available short improvisations by combinations of musicians under the leadership of veteran drummer Paul Murphy.

Washington, D.C-based Murphy’s highest profile came during the 12 years in the 1970s and 1980s when he anchored different bands led by alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons. Lyons is all over these 19 tracks, professionally recorded at Columbia Records’ former studio in 1982. Also present is trumpeter Dewey Johnson, who played on John Coltrane’s ASCENSION and Paul Bley’s BARRAGE in the mid-1960s. Additional sounds come from pianist/vocalist Mary Anne Driscoll, as well as bassoonist Karen Borca, Lyons’ wife, who made up a trio with Lyons and Murphy at that time. MORE

January 5, 2004

JIMMY LYONS

The Box Set
Ayler aylcd 036-040

Charlie Rouse with Thelonious Monk, Paul Desmond with Dave Brubeck and Harry Carney with Duke Ellington are three saxophone players who signed on for such long stays with the aggregations of well-known pianists, that their individual achievements were subsumed in the composer/keyboardists’ visions.

Unfortunately, alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons (1931-1986) is another example of this. Aide-de-camp to pianist Cecil Taylor from 1961 until shortly before his death from lung cancer, he like Rouse, Carney, and possibly Desmond, was so much part of the Taylor sound that he was consistently undervalued on his own. Worse, or better, depending on how the person viewed Taylor’s music, Lyons was also often described as merely a misplaced bopper whose steadying presence helped amplify some of the pianist’s more outside ideas. MORE