Editor's Choice: All that Jazz Entices Improvisational Violinists
New and great recordings from Billy Bang, Christian Howes, Jeremy Cohen, and Carla Kihlstedt
The demise of the original cadenza in classical music has sent improvisational violinists scurrying to jazz.
Violinist Jeremy Cohen and Violinjazz return with The Music of Eddie South (Dorian), an earnest tribute to the late, great jazz violin pioneer, whose credits included stage and studio stints with Gypsy-jazz giants Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli. Backed by double bassist Jim Kerwin and swing guitarist extraordinaire Dix Bruce, among others, Cohen dishes up an authentic '30s flavor to these tracks.
On Out of the Blue (Resonance), violinist Christian Howes teams up with blues guitar great Robben Ford on a trick bag of jazz fusion packed with three smokin’ Howes originals and red-hot covers of tunes by everyone from Chick Corea and Ornette Coleman to Fats Domino and Horace Silver.
Chamber-jazz violinist Carla Kihlstedt returns with longtime partner and guitarist Mark Orton (along with reeds player Ben Goldberg and multi-instrumentalist Ara Anderson) on Foreign Legion (Bag Production), the latest Tin Hat CD. The disc is rife with world-music influences. No one does laid-back, slightly surreal, imaginative, chamber jazz better than Tin Hat—the perfect soundtrack for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Prayer for Peace (TUM), the first studio CD in seven years from jazz violinist Billy Bang—a true original—is a soulful celebration. The disc kicks off with a raw, rollicking spin on the Stuff Smith tune “Only Time Will Tell,” before resolving into six Bang originals, including straight-ahead piano jazz, contemplative jazz hymns, and a galactic ode to enigmatic jazz artist and ex-Bang employer Sun Ra.