Reviews that mention Jimmy Giuffre

February 11, 2016

Paul Bley

A Modern Jazz Piano Master
By Ken Waxman

Paul Bley who died at 83 in early January was probably never bothered that he was usually described as Canada’s second best-known jazz pianist; Oscar Peterson was the first. But Bley, who shared a Montreal birth with Peterson, and who similarly was honored with induction into the Order of Canada in 2008 – albeit 30 plus years after Peterson – was for all intents and purposes a much more radical pianist than O.P. Peterson, seven years Bley’s senior, was a flamboyant stylist who adapted Art Tatum’s all-encompassing swing era techniques to the structure of modern jazz during an almost incalculable number of performances from the late 1940s until his death in 2007. However Bley, represented on more than 100 discs during his career, cycled through a variety of keyboard strategies from the outgoing to the cerebral, eventually matching the atonality of off-centre techniques with straightforward, melodically measured motion. He was also one of the first serious improvisers to deal with the sonic possibilities that could be extracted from the then brand-new portable Moog synthesizer. Later, such better-known pianists as Keith Jarrett, The Bad Plus’ Ethan Iverson and Satoko Fujii developed their playing following the examples of Bley’s breakthroughs. MORE

December 21, 2014

NPR 9th Annual Jazz Critics Poll: 2014

Ken Waxman’s ballot


1. Yoni Kretzmer-Pascal Niggenkemper-Weasel Walter, Protest Music (OutNow)

2. Paul Giallorenzo, Force Majeure (Delmark)

3. Kyle Bruckmann, . . . Awaits Silent Tristero's Empire (SingleSpeed Music)

4. Sakata/Lonberg-Holm/Gutvik/Nilssen-Love, The Cliff of Time (PNL)

5. Alexander Hawkins, Step Wide, Step Deep (Babel)

6. François Carrier-Michel Lambert-Alexey Lapin, The Russia Concerts Volume 1/The Russia Concerts Volume 2 (FMR)

7. Rodrigo Amado & Jeb Bishop, The Flame Alphabet (NotTwo) MORE

August 21, 2014

The Jimmy Giuffre 3&4

New York Concerts
Elemental Music 5990425

Consisting of a dozen never-before-released tracks by master reedist Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008), these 1965 trio and quartet selection fill a gap in his discography that lasted from the demise of his piano/bass/clarinet trio in the early 1960s to his reemergence with a fusion-styled band 10 years later. More than a historical curiosity though, the virile and committed soloing exhibited here by Giuffre on tenor saxophone and clarinet, seconded by the drumming of Joe Chambers on all selections, suggests that the reedman’s subsequent detour into full-time teaching robbed Jazz of additional examples of his constantly evolving style. What’s more New York Concerts shows that Giuffre’s flirtation with cerebral chamber-jazz was also over at the time. Seconded by Chamber and bassist Richard Davis on six tracks and the drummer along with pianist Don Friedman and bassist Barre Phillips on the other selections, Giuffre was in the processes of perfecting a new, hitherto unknown synthesis. MORE

April 26, 2004


Wobbly Rail 013

Fly Away Little Bird
Sunnyside/Owl SSC 3504

Named for the LP that presented the fullest realization of clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre’s chamber-avant garde in 1962, the band Free Fall shows how the structured freedom of the trio can be adapted to the 21st Century.

Yet FURNACE succeeds on its own terms because the musicians involved -- American reedist Ken Vandermark and Norwegians, pianist Håvard Wiik and bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten -- haven’t gone the neo-con route of recreation. Instead nine new compositions have been recorded, with the performance of the three as influenced by the subsequent 40 years plus of improv experimentation as the original Giuffre trio’s sound. MORE