Lawrence Peryer

Music & Tech Executive - Producer - Writer - Speaker - Commentator

Pat Metheny: Pulling It All Together

As the 1970s came to a close, guitarist Pat Metheny was riding high on a wave of well-received albums, from his self-named Group and Trio and as a contributor to works by vibraphonist Gary Burton, bassist Jaco Pastorius and others. In 1980, he went somewhere else entirely and recorded what has come to be regarded as a landmark album, 80/81 (ECM, 1980). Featuring Metheny, tenor saxophonists Dewey Redman and Michael Brecker, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Jack DeJohnette, this double-album of tracks, predominantly composed by the guitarist, signaled Metheny’s arrival at a whole new plane, capable of truly leading some of the best in the business, eliciting transcendent performances of captivating repertoire.

Metheny is now the elder statesmen, albeit one who continues to explore and innovate, ignoring labels like “jazz,” never mind the sub-genres and splinter groups, be they avant-garde, fusion, or any other. Pat Metheny has been there, done that, often first—and, more often, better.

A generation after 80/81, 32 years to be exact, Metheny finally revisits a tenor saxophone-driven group with Unity Band (Nonesuch, 2012). Benefiting from his ongoing willingness to showcase the best young players, Unity Band is anything but traditional. There are more than enough sonic twists and turns to satisfy longtime Metheny-watchers, but plenty of entry points for newcomers, too.

Read my full interview at All About Jazz.

Matt Wilson: Have Drums, Will Travel

Drummer Matt Wilson must surely be in the running for the title of hardest-working man in jazz. Wilson is a composer, bandleader, producer and teacher. As a leader, his projects include the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts & Crafts, Christmas Tree-O and the Carl Sandburg Project. He has been in bands with luminaries such as Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Charlie Haden, Lee Konitz, Ted Nash and many, many others. As for legends, he’s played with Herbie Hancock, Dewey Redman, Andrew Hill, Bobby Hutcherson, Elvis Costello, Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron, John Zorn, Wynton Marsalis, Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and Hank Jones. With appearances on over 250 albums as a leader, co-leader or sideman, this list barely scratches the surface.

While all of these credits illustrate what life can be like for a working jazz musician in the 21st Century, a striking aspect of Wilson’s resume is his ability to move between scenes. He is comfortable (and, more importantly, welcome) with cats like Wynton Marsalis, often gracing the stage for Jazz at Lincoln Center, and more often than not he can be found downtown in a small club with the likes of Myra Melford, Joan Stiles or Noah Preminger. Regardless of the venue or situation, Wilson brings his knowledge, sensitivity and enthusiasm to the proceedings.

Read my full interview at All About Jazz.

New episode of my podcast at burningdervish.com.

January 2012 was a good month for jazz shows in New York City, with more shows than I could sneak out for. Of the four I did catch, I was lucky to score recordings of each.

The sound quality might not be up to the standard you’re used to here, but the performances are well worth it.

For more about this episode, including a list of the artists and tracks appearing, visit www.burningdervish.com, click on “Podcast" and look for the episode, "Tales from the Concert Crypt"

If you like what you hear, support the artists; buy their music and go see them live. Until next time, peace.
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The Majesty of King Tubby

New episode of my podcast at burningdervish.com.

If King Tubby did not invent dub, it hardly matters who did. With hundreds, or even thousands, of sides standing witness to his wizardry, he elevated the form to an exalted level.

Jamaican dub of the roots reggae era is the direct antecedent of modern remix culture, which spans music, the visual arts, and even high technology. For the purposes here, it is dub’s immediate effect on the brain that is most impressive…

For a setlist and details about the music in this episode, visit www.burningdervish.com. Click on “Podcast" and look for the episode, "The Majesty of King Tubby".

As always, if you dig the music in this podcast, please support the artists by buying their music and where possible, going to see them live. Thanks.

Enjoy. And let me know what you think. And until next time…Peace.

McCoy Tyner Trio - Inception

McCoy Tyner Trio - Inception

Though two tracks from October 1960 were previously issued under McCoy Tyner’s name, they were outtakes from John Coltrane dates where the saxophonist sat out. Inception marks the pianist’s first proper release as bandleader, with the sessions for Impulse! taking place at Rudy Van Gelder's studio on January 10 and 11, 1962. Of the set's six tracks, four are Tyner compositions, with “Effendi” becoming something of a modern jazz standard and embraced, most notably, by pianist Ahmad Jamal.

Read my full review on All About Jazz.

Rez Abbasi: Thoroughly Modern Marvel

Rez Abbasi: Thoroughly Modern Marvel

Guitarist Rez Abbasi is part of a generation of jazz musicians who came of age after the conservative backlash of the 1980s. He and his peers are making their mark on America’s art form by contributing their rich and varied cultural backgrounds and with an embrace of popular culture that was heresy in some quarters for far too long.

Rez Abbasi personifies several of the attributes on display in his music. He puts forth a quiet confidence, with a clear point of view on a variety of topics. He is capable of and open to ideas, surprises, and wonder. Though he has a singular vision for his various musical projects and approaches his art with a sense of purpose and seriousness, he is quick to laugh and clearly comfortable in his own skin. In the most striking parallel between the music and the man, conversation with him visits many themes while veering off for varied explorations.

Rez Abbasi is living, breathing proof that jazz music can be as vital and boundary-pushing as ever.


Read my full in-depth interview with Rez at All About Jazz.

Nheap: Clouds Under The Table

Nheap: Clouds Under The Table

"Nheap is the nom de guerre of Italian drummer/composer Massimo Discepoli. The projects he puts out as Nheap are ethereal, mostly mellow electronic excursions accompanied by his own live acoustic drum work. Clouds Under The Table marks his third collection as Nheap.

"Ambient" might begin to describe this music, but the presence of Discepoli’s relatively straightforward drumming gives the compositions more of a rootedness and energy than that to which most typical electronic ambient music lays claim. Certainly "atmospheric" goes a long way as a descriptor. This does not fall into the dance music realm, either. Though slightly beefier, most cuts from this album would not be out of place on a Windham Hill sampler…"

Read my full review on All About Jazz.

Alejandro Florez & Tibagui: Malandanza

Alejandro Florez & Tibagui: MalandanzaAlejandro Florez’s Tibagui exists to explore and expand upon the Andean music of the guitarist’s native Columbia. Neither cumbia nor chichi, Florez’s quartet use traditional folk melodies as starting points for very modern, sophisticated and engaging improvisations.

The musical tradition Tibagui springs from is primarily string-based, typically a trio including the Latin bandola and tiple, as well as guitar. Here, Florez has expanded the instrumentation to include wind instruments and percussion, each of which has long had its own place in Andean music and is, therefore, not at all out of context here.

Read my full review on All About Jazz.