Among the Living

It isn't just dead guys from the '50s and '60s who made terrific jazz albums in 2005

Jazz musicians who are primarily writers—Wilson put his trumpet away years ago, ditto for Holman and his tenor, and Russell hasn't played piano in ages, which leaves only Valdés—have been a breed apart since the 1920s, when working largely behind the scenes allowed them to cross color lines undetected. It somehow figures that many of them would slip into old age just as gracefully, unobstructed by the many infirmities (arthritis, emphysema, dentures) that wreak havoc on instrumentalists. Playing the optimist for once, I'd say that the vitality of these albums by four old men demonstrates why the spark still burns for jazz. Maybe the news last year wasn't so alarming after all.


Overlooked and major: Gerald Wilson
photo: Courtesy of Mack Avenue Records
Overlooked and major: Gerald Wilson

Details

Gerald Wilson Orchestra
In My Time
Mack Avenue

Bebo Valdťs
Bebo de Cuba
Calle 54

The Bill Holman Band
The Bill Holman Band Live
Jazzed Media

George Russell and the Living Time Orchestra
The 80th Birthday Concert
Concept

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Gerald Wilson performs with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra at Rose Theater February 23 through 25.

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