The complaint with modern jazz is that it’s more fun to play than to listen to. “It sounds like a bunch of guys practicing”, said a friend one time—and who could disagree? Scales being run, chops being shown off just because, too few stories being told. The good stuff isn’t like that. Miles Smiles was abstract but as fiery and interesting as a Kandinsky canvas.
James Farm is a relatively new quartet whose players have worked together in various groupings and contexts over the course of the last half-decade or so. Best known, of course, is veteran saxophonist Joshua Redman, who has been a fellow member of the SF Jazz Collective with drummer Eric Harland and bassist Matt Penman. That rhythm section also appeared on pianist Aaron Parks' stellar Invisible Cinema in 2008.
The two-year-old co-operative James Farm – saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland – have the look of a postbop supergroup. Improvisationally, they sound like that, too, particularly with Redman's slow-burn subtlety and purity on ballads, and agility and punch on fast pieces. The faster stuff reflects a similar expressive breadth from rising star Parks.
COLD CAVE “Cherish the Light Years” (Matador) On “Underworld USA,” from the second Cold Cave album, “Cherish the Light Years,” synths churn along at an industrial clip; drums arrive in precise digital explosions; a soft female voice whispers in the background; and then a dry guitar kicks in. All this — heavily echoing 1980s British new wave — sets the stage for the frontman, Wesley Eisold, who lands with a sigh: “They said the meek shall inherit the earth/Oh God, that seems like so much work. ” He’s kidding, right? It’s tough to know where the homage stops and the wink begins with Cold Cave — in essence the one-man vision of Mr.