By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
ONE MORE: MUSIC OF THAD JONES
A bebopper who never got over his first love, big bands, Jones is remembered mostly for his compositions and arrangements, less so for his quirkily unpolished trumpet. After his death, his famous brothers, Hank and Elvin, recorded a loving tribute called Upon Reflection (Verve). With a dream band listed alphabetically from Bob Brookmeyer to Frank Wess, this one deserves a place on the same shelf. A MINUS
In 15 years on a major label, Osby has pursued all sorts of big ideas, especially about how today's jazz fits in history and might fit into popular culture, but his albums raised more problems than they resolved. This one delivers, largely because its ambitions are constrained within jazz itself. In a trio with bass and drums, Osby wants more than to show off his chops. He wants to make music that precludes any felt need for harmony. That would be old hat in the free world but demands uncommon discipline in the post-bop mainstream. A MINUS
To Etta With Love
That's Etta Jones, not James. While the songbooks overlap, and both did Billie Holiday tributes, Jones never played with dynamite. Nor does Person, who produced Jones's records from 1975 until her death in 2001, often adding his own soulful sax. On his own, he delivers the most poignant ballad album of a long career's worth of sax balladryperhaps because he's got an excuse for picking sure-shot songs. A MINUS
Dud of the Month
Have You Heard
With his degree from Art Blakey's Hard Bop U. and a master's thesis on Joe Henderson, Jackson cut a series of mainstream tenor sax albums for Blue Note that started out impressive and wound down redundant. Since then he's tried to refashion himself as a soul jazzer with a dash of fun but fails at both. He doesn't have the grit to suggest he staggered into a bar straight from church, and sidekicks Dr. Lonnie Smith and Mark Whitfield don't have enough gravity to land on dirt. Lisa Fischer moans and hectors about it being "funky in here," but nobody in the band notices. C PLUS
Additional Consumer News Honorable Mention
TRIOT WITH JOHN TCHICAI
As when Johnny Dyani's township jive bursts out of the dominant gray and ominous matrix.
THE NELS CLINE SINGERS
The Giant Pin
No vocals, but the power trio plays heavy-metal jazz, replete with free drumming.
BENOIT DELBECQ UNIT
Congo drums and piano dance polyrhythms with sax and viola textures.
FRED LONBERG-HOLM TRIO
Cello-bass-drums, the leader solid and surprisingly mellow.
The Spirits Up Above
A robust mainstreaming of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, but Kirk went further out than anyone here.
JAMES FINN TRIO
Plaza de Toros
Living by his wits, with momentary flashes of Spanish bravado.
The Hills Have Jazz
Skewed guitar swings on Basie, hops on Coltrane, doodles on Sun Ra.
Faith, hope, charity, a fight for life that isn't a knee-jerk slogan.
DUO NUEVA FINLANDIA
Piano-bass improvs by Eero Ojanen and Teppo Hauta-aho, who've played together 40 yearstight, but never sweet.
Louis Prima's straight lady steals his best songs, cops his best lines.
New Folk, New Blues
Don't forget new new thing.
TORD GUSTAVSEN TRIO
Quiet, almost sedentary piano trio, but remarkably patient and precise.