Jazz For The Ages (Self-Produced)
Street Date 8/01/2012
According to his official website, multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Mulidorehas spent much of his career in Las Vegas. He worked in combos with Red Norvo and Carl Fontana before becoming musical director for both the Hilton and Flamingo hotels. He conducted for the likes of Louis Armstrong, Gladys Knight and Olivia Newton-John, and played on albums by Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
But for all his work these pop icons, jazz has seemed to be his enduring passion. And when he steps out in front of a jazz combo, as he does on his newly released CD Jazz For the Ages, it is easy to see why.
Whether playing tenor, alto, or soprano sax, the clarinet or the flute (he plays them all on this album), Mulidore is a virtuoso. The disc's 15 tracks have him working with a varied cast of musicians recorded in a variety of places—some live, some in studio. The music includes a collection of jazz standards and some original Mulidore compositions. All in all it makes for some very exciting listening.
The album opens with John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," the first of five Coltrane pieces. But if you would have expected to hear Trane's music played on the sax, Mulidore has a surprise for you. Not only does he play "Giant Steps," but he plays three more of the Coltrane songs—"Satellite," "It's You Or No One," and "Countdown"—on the clarinet, and an absolutely stunning version of "A Love Supreme" on the bass clarinet. On this last, he is joined by Ron Feuer on piano, Richie Cole on alto sax and Randy Brecker on trumpet. The other four are recorded with a quartet featuring Dave Ring on piano, Arnold Jacks on bass, and drummer Santo Savino.
Album highlights include an extended live jam on Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance," where Mulidore plays soprano sax along with the tenor of Eric Alexander. The nearly 13 minute cut not only features some fine solo work from the saxes, it also has a lengthy drum solo from Savino. There is a funky blues take on "Willow Weep For Me" with Mulidore on the alto, and a swinging live performance of Sonny Rollins' "Doxie." Mulidore and Cole both play alto on this last. Anita Lea does a hauntingly sweet vocal on "A Time For Love," which has Mulidore playing a flute opening right out of The Impressionists.
Indeed when you hear him work with the flute on his own compositions "Nigalian" and "Muldoon's Mood," you have to wonder why the instrument isn't heard more often in jazz combos. "Muldoon's Mood" particularly is an elegant melody rich with possibilities. He plays tenor on the uptempo "Muldoon's Journey" and alto on "For Moody's Sake," two more originals. Billy Tragesser plays keyboards on all these originals and adds a little vocal embellishment on all but the last. Tragesser is also represented as a composer with "Interstate 15." Mulidore plays soprano sax on this track and again on "Rowena."
Those of you unfamiliar with Mulidore's work will find Jazz For the Ages a happy introduction. Not only does it show the man's versatility and technical craft, it is alive with inventive fertility. He has surrounded himself with a crew of musicians who speak the same musical language. Together they swing with the best.
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker - August 1, 2012
Jazz for the Ages (CD)
Jimmy Mulidore and his New York City Jazz Band (DVD)
Take Ayler, Rollins, Sanders, Coltrane, Braxton, and any similar mad cats, shake 'em up, spread 'em around, and you have the first cut in Jimmy Mulidore's Jazz for the Ages, a flying, skittering, sprinting take on Coltrane's Giant Steps after which, in Muldoon's Journey, Mulidore takes the gallon I.V. of caffeine out of his veins for a minute or two, blows some thoughtful lines, and then ramps back up, albeit a bit more restrainedly, Billy Tragesser tracing vocal wind sprints right beside him.
On John's Love Supreme, Mulidore picks up an instrument way underused in modern music, the bass clarinet, to set up a marrow-deep resonance as Randy Brecker and Richie Cole go to it on trumpet and alto sax respectively, pianist Ron Feuer leading them in. No matter how one approaches that song, it's always reverential while a blow fest, and its follower, J.C.'s It's You or No One, is an upbeat affair, light and breezy but intensely narrated through Mulidore's pristine clarinet work as he gambols and sprints amid complex progressions at light speed, a breathtaking performance, definitely my favorite cut on a release boasting a cornucopia of excellent takes.
It doesn't matter what the axe is—flute, bass clarinet, clarinet, any type of sax—Mulidore's mastered them all with a highly enviable celerity and intelligence. What marks him, however, is an ability to chart and arrange so that anyone can follow his work, no matter how high-flying it gets. Underneath everything is a very collected aspect gathering up all ears, melodies never lost, rhythms and beats always available. This is best shown in the Passport-ish composition by Tregresser, Interstate 15, later uplevelled inRowena, blended into a South of the border framework. From those cuts, one understands how sound the foundation of each song in the entire CD is.
A couple of cuts are taken live in San Diego, from a full concert documented in the DVD Jimmy Mulidore and his New York City Jazz Band, a cavalcade of standards (and one original). The visuals are proof that witnessing a musical event is an entirely separate experience from just hearing it. Watching Mulidore, Cole, and Brecker go to town right there in front of you is extremely gratifying and goes a long way to explain why music lovers continue to dig concerts even when owning entire catalogues of releases by any particular artist. Then, of course, in such events you get a full course of jaw-dropping improv, every time completely different from the last time out. Well, this DVD is full to the brim of such things, sits firmly in the modern tradition ca Mingus, Kirk, Miles, and etc.…but also works beautifully as a purely sonic adventure. Both CD and DVD are solid expositions of what jazz really is and had better remain even as it branches out, lest the mode itself eventually be lost.
- Giant Steps (John Coltrane)
- Muldoon's Journey (Jimmy Mulidore)
- For Moody's Sake (Jimmy Mulidore)
- Satellite (John Coltrane)
- Nigalian (Jimmy Mulidore)
- A Love Supreme (John Coltrane)
- It's You or No One (John Coltrane)
- Muldoon's Mood (Jimmy Mulidore)
- Willow Weep For Me (Jimmy Mulidore)
- Interstate 15 (Billy Tragesser)
- A Time For Love (?)
- Doxie (Sonny Rollins)
- Freedom Jazz Dance (Eddie Harris)
- Rowena (Buck Monari)
- Countdown (John Coltrane
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