Low Rent

The real possibilities open up when it doesn't cost a bundle to pursue your muse

THE VANDERMARK 5
Alchemia
Not Two

Of course this is over the top, even for an artist as exhaustively documented as Ken Vandermark: Five nights in Krakow, two sets each, plus a couple of jam sessions bring the total to 12 discs. Serious students can plot variations in the repeated songs, note how three new ones compare to the later studio versions on The Color of Memory, and hear how the band works classics by Rollins, Kirk, and others. The rest of us will just pick random discs whose surprises seem endless. A MINUS

THE VANDERMARK 5
The Color of Memory
Atavistic

Clocking in at just over 80 minutes, this could easily have been a single disc. Some pieces, such as the one that jams dedications to Ray Charles, Elvin Jones, and Steve Lacy into a single "Suitcase," feel underdeveloped. And the recent albums' spin-on-a-dime arrangements have turned loosey-goosey. Makes one wonder if an album a year for eight years doesn't add up to a rut. But the expansive stuff on the second disc will overcome your doubts, mostly by showing how the band has grown around its overworked leader. A MINUS

Dud of the Month

HERBIE HANCOCK
Possibilities
Hear Music

In the movie 'Round Midnight, Hancock played the one musician who preferred food to drink. Can't begrudge him that, nor the fame he built up with and without Miles in the '60s. But even if you credit his headhunting '70s, he's been coasting for a long time, and in this joint venture with Starbucks he finally cashes out. Ten songs, a dozen singers plus Santana, a little cocktail piano. It's not awful—not all of it, anyway—but on the whole I'd just as soon hear him read the business plan. In particular, I wonder how much these has-beens and wannabes—Christina Aguilera singing Leon Russell counts as both—had to pay to get their names on the cover. With 9,000 stores peddling a couple dozen titles to millions of caffeine-addled impulse buyers, the rent on rack space has gotta be steep. But how long can they peddle product this mediocre before some accountant figures the real estate is better invested in chocolate? C


Additional Consumer News
Honorable Mention

DIANNE REEVES
Good Night, and Good Luck
Concord

She haunts the movie, her role expanded here for an impeccably professional primer, a soundtrack that shadows the separate and unequal '50s.

DAVID HAZELTINE
Modern Standards Sharp Nine

They don't write them like they used to, but Hazeltine's fogey enough he doesn't try to push modernity past the Bee Gees' disco period.

MIKE LADD
Negrophilia [The Album]
Thirsty Ear

The book might clear a few things up, but meanwhile Ladd's words fascinate while his friends kibitz.

WILL CALHOUN
Native Lands
Half Note

Worldly beats, guests who could've stayed longer— especially Pharoah Sanders.

ENRICO RAVA
Full of Life
CAM Jazz

My fave among four or five recent records by the trumpet legend—working steadily but slower, taking time to soak it all in.

MARC COPLAND/JOHN ABERCROMBIE/KENNY WHEELER
Brand New
Challenge

No bass, no drums, nothing to hurry three masters from their luxury.

ERNEST DAWKINS'CHICAGO 12
Misconceptions of a Delusion Shades of a Charade
Dawk

As the mayor says, "We're not here to create disorder; we're here to preserve disorder."

HANK JONES
For My Father
Justin Time

The Great Jazz Trio leader in a reflective mood, settling for a real good jazz trio.

THE DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET
London Flat London Sharp
Telarc

Bobby Militello doesn't make you forget Desmond, but he helps Brubeck remember.

GERRY HEMINGWAY QUINTET
Double Blues Crossing
Between the Lines

New players, same odd mix—clarinets, trombone, cello, bass, drums—as his old avant-chamber group.

SUNNY MURRAY
Perles Noires Vol. I
Eremite

Free-ranging drums, Sabir Mateen's struggling sax, guests—Dave Burrell gives Vol. I a slight edge, but Vol. II won't disappoint.


Duds

PETER APFELBAUM & THE NEW YORK HIEROGLYPHICS
It Is Written
ACT

BILL CHARLAP SANDY STEWART
Love Is Here to Stay
Blue Note

MARIAN MCPART-LAND & FRIENDS
85 Candles—Live in New York
Concord

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Mizell: The Mizell Brothers at Blue Note [1972–77]
Blue Note

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