Magazine article The New Yorker

Jazz Notes

Magazine article The New Yorker

Jazz Notes

Article excerpt

In jazz, the leaders are the ones who get marquee billing and the ones whose names sell records. But, occasionally, a sideman elevates a release to an unexpectedly high plateau. On three recent albums, the supporting musicians give the headliners a run for their money.

David S. Ware's "Freedom Suite" (AUM Fidelity) revisits Sonny Rollins's brilliant 1958 LP of the same name. But where Rollins's project found the saxophone colossus supported by just bass and drums, Ware, himself an explosive tenor, adds a pianist, his frequent collaborator Matthew Shipp. Employing the dark chords and skittering improvisations that have made him one of the most distinct young keyboard stylists of our time, Shipp brings a fresh palette of tonal coloring to Rollins's piece, helping Ware's roaring ensemble make the suite their own.

It would be hard to steal the thunder from either Tony Bennett or k. d. lang, particularly when the two vocal titans are paired together, as they are on "A Wonderful World" (Columbia), a tribute to Louis Armstrong. …

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