From the Senate in the 1970s to the presidential campaign trail in 2020, Joe Biden has a long record of going where political pressures push him—and right now they’re pushing him aggressively leftward
Chick Corea & the Spanish Heart Band
No matter how closely you scrutinize the revisited songs, “My Spanish Heart” and “Armando’s Rhumba” (from My Spanish Heart) and “Duende” and “The Yellow Nimbus” (from Touchstone), you won’t hear any coulda, shoulda, woulda. Instead, you’ll hear development, especially in the cases of “Duende” (formerly three minutes, now 10) and “My Spanish Heart” (formerly 1½ minutes, now seven). You’ll also hear (or, more accurately, feel) flow, specifically the flamenco kind: The credits include the tap dancing of Nino de los Reyes for a reason.
Songs: The Music of Allen Toussaint
New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
Actually, Allen Toussaint only wrote six of these nine cuts, but they’re among his most famous (“Southern Nights,” “Working in the Coal Mine,” “Java,” “It’s Raining”). So one gets a pretty good idea of how Adonis Rose’s predominantly brass ensemble would’ve gone about swinging the Toussaint compositions that they’ve bypassed in order to make room for their original Toussaint-tribute tunes (two) and “Tequila” (which Toussaint, like lots of other folks, recorded). They’d have done so crisply and with verve and imagination. Maybe there’ll be a Volume 2.
Come What May
Joshua Redman Quartet
Aaron Goldberg (piano), Reuben Rogers (bass), and Gregory Hutchinson (drums) respond to the warmth suffusing Redman’s tenor sax with playing of an almost elegant restraint. The payoff: melodies whose muted incandescence sheds just enough light on the titles to make one wonder how the two go together. There really is a sense of surrender, for instance, to Redman’s articulation of the title tune—a sense so palpable that when Redman entrusts that articulation to Rogers and then to Goldberg midway through, the continuity feels spontaneous and inevitable simultaneously.
Realm of Spells
Jah Wobble & Bill Laswell
Peter Apfelbaum’s sax parts on “Off World Departure” notwithstanding, this marriage of spacey Metal Box bass throb and detached Album studio craft isn’t so much “close enough for jazz” as “farther enough away from everything else.” At times, especially in the 10-minute title track, it approaches every Public Image Ltd. fan’s fantasy jam. Eventually, though, one misses the foregrounded chaos of a Keith Levene or a John Lydon, a chaos without which titles such as “Dark Luminosity” and “Code of Echo’s” come off as a little too accurate.
On the Corner Live! The Music of Miles Davis (Ear Up) documents an exhilarating 2015 Nashville concert by the saxophonists David Liebman and Jeff Coffin, the bassist Victor Wooten, the keyboardist Chris Walters, the drummer Chester Thompson, and the guitarist James DaSilva. Its title, however, is misleading. At a combined total of 21 minutes, “On the Corner” and “Black Satin” do set the tone, but they’re the only selections drawn from Davis’ On the Corner album itself.
There are also selections from Dark Magus (with the ecstatic “Moja” for some reason renamed “Mojo”) and one apiece from In a Silent Way, Live-Evil, Big Fun, and We Want Miles. Liebman gets top billing because he’s the biggest name, because he performed alongside Davis during the gestation of these (mostly) funky jams, and because his playing shows no diminution. But it’s DaSilva’s hard, texture-thickening rhythms—like those of the late, great Reggie Lucas before him—that keep the funk roiling. —A.O.