Petra Haden is the daughter of the late, great jazz bass player, Charlie Haden, and her most recent release is “Petra Goes To The Movies” (Anti Records). It’s a multi-tracked solo vocal collection of some of her favorite themes from the silver screen, though not exactly what you’d expect.
Among the songs she includes are the Goldfinger and Psycho main titles as well as those from Cool Hand Luke, Superman and Rebel Without A Cause. In her hands the songs are a kind of sonic sculpture with, often minimal musical backing by the likes of her dad, guitarist Bill Frisell and pianist Bard Mehldau.
Speaking of Frisell, one of his many recent releases is “Big Sur” (OKeh Records).
This set of pieces was commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival. Like Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac, in the novel of the same name, Frisell was captivated by the iconic and lonely beauty of the Big Sur coastline.
It’s a kind of mellow rock in the same re-invented Americana vein that Frisell has been mining for years. Along for the ride on this outing are Jenny Scheinman (violin), Hank Roberts (cello), Eyvind Kang on viola and Rudy Royston on drums.
“The Man In The Long Black Coat” (Linn Records) by Barb Jungr is the latest in her series of albums that re-interpret and revision the musics of Leonard Cohen and, in this case, Bob Dylan. She is a powerful and pretty unique vocalist, very much in the cabaret tradition of literate revisions of material you thought you knew.
Included are some well-known Dylan tunes such as “It Ain’t Me Babe” and “Like A Rolling Stone” as well as lesser known songs like “Sara” and “High Water.” On all the cuts she gives the compositions a justly deserved sense of high drama.
Then there’s “Brooklyn Babylon” (New Amsterdam) by Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society which is the composers more than successful attempt to reinvent the concept of a big band for a new century and generation.
The 18-member ensemble includes woodwinds, trumpet, saxophones, trombones, tuba, guitar, piano, bass and percussion, and collectively they are equal parts John Phillips Sousa, Balkan brass band, and some off-kilter, but right on target, rock-jazz meld that really swings in several diverse directions at the same time.
Tickets are now on sale for the performance by Lynne Arriale (piano), Grace Kelly (saxophone) and Carla Cook (vocals) who will perform a musical tribute to Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Abby Lincoln at the Art Center on Jan. 31. You can pick yours up at Jeff’s Copy Express, ITT @ NAS Fallon or by calling Churchill Arts at 775-423-1440.
Kirk Robertson covers the arts. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org