July kicked off the second half of the year very nicely with a handful of albums I throughly enjoyed. The quantity for July was not high, but the quality sure was. There were a couple of other albums that were very close to making this list, but in the end I kept this list short and sweet.
Joe Lovano : Classic! Live At Newport
Joe Lovano’s latest album was created back in 2005 from his performance at the Newport Jazz festival. In my opinion Joe Lovano is one of the most underrated saxophonists of our time. His virtuosity and lyricism on the saxophone have given him prestige, but I believe 20 years from now he will be revered as one of the all time greats. This album happens to be one of his best. The energy his combo exemplifies here is contagious. Some of my favorite tunes from this set include “Six and Four ” and Bird’s Eye View.
Kenny Garrett: Do Your Dance
Kenny Garrett continues to amaze me. This album has an amazing range of tunes. There are tunes that are fast paced, Latin, and some hip hop. I really enjoyed the inclusion of the hip hop centric tunes like “Wheatgrass Shot (Straight to the Head)”. This has been a trend in jazz for quiet some time now, but it’s still nice to hear when it’s executed well. I don’t really have any complaints bout this album and if it wasn’t for Mr. Lovano this would’ve been the album of the month.
Miroslav Vitous: Music of Weather Report
Miroslav Vitous is a world renowned bassists and a member of one of the most important fusion bands of all time, Weather Report. On this album Vitous and his sextet play variations and reinterpretations of music from Weather Report. I can recommend this to any Weather Report fans, but if you are not very familiar with the band, proceed with caution. Since the music is obviously very fusion based and “out there”, as well as the fact the music is reinterpretations of Weather Report music, I think it would be hard to enjoy this without having a strong background in Weather Report’s repertoire. “Pinocchio” and “Birdland Variations” are a couple of my favorites.