MICHAEL DOHERTY’S MUSIC LOG
by Michael Doherty
Brief Notes On New Jazz Releases
As more people become vaccinated and we continue our journey back to normalcy (whatever that might mean), there is a renewed optimism. Bands and artists are beginning to book tours for the late summer and autumn. Yes, live music is right around the corner. In the meantime, artists continue to release albums to help us get there. Here are some brief notes on a few new jazz releases you might be interested in checking out.
David Larsen: “The Mulligan Chronicles” – On The Mulligan Chronicles, David Larsen explores the compositions of fellow saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. Larsen is joined by Dave Glenn on trombone, Bill Mays on piano, Dean Johnson on bass, and Ron Vincent on drums. The album opens with a totally enjoyable rendition of “Walkin’ Shoes,” a tune from early in Mulligan’s career, appearing on a 1952 LP. There is something uplifting and joyful about this track, in the way it moves, in that delightfully light quality that each of the musicians is able to bring to it. Even the lead on bass seems to dance several feet above the ground. That’s followed by “Curtains,” which was included on an album from close to the end of Mulligan’s career, 1989’s Lonesome Boulevard. There is a different tone to this track, a more introspective sound at times, but there is still a light vibe at its heart. David Larsen pulls a lot from Lonesome Boulevard, covering a total of six tracks from that album here. In addition to “Curtains,” he tackles “Good Neighbor Thelonius,” “Rico Apollo,” “The Flying Scotsman,” “Ring Around A Bright Star” and its title track. “Good Neighbor Thelonius” is particularly cool, the way it kind of struts. I love that lead on piano. “Rico Apollo” is a delight. And check out that great bass lead on “The Flying Scotsman.” By the way, Dean Johnson, the bass player on this album, plays bass on Lonesome Boulevard. And actually all the musicians David Larsen gathered for this release played with Gerry Mulligan at one point or another. Another highlight of this disc is “Festive Minor,” a song that was included on the 1959 LP What Is There To Say? and the 1963 LP Night Lights. This version seems more inspired by the former. “Open Country” features an excellent lead on saxophone, and “Etude For Franca” features some beautiful work. This album was released on March 1, 2021.