Harvey Pekar

Harvey’s Contributions


April 2001    Albums

The Floating World
Dave Ballou

On The Floating World, Ballou works with pianist George Colligan, bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Darren Beckett. The disc contains some pretty familiar material: three standards, Bill Evans' "Time Remembered" and Monk's "Pannonica." The album's not that...


April 2001    Albums

The Complete Pacific Jazz Recordings of Gerald Wilson and His Orchestra
Gerald Wilson

These are among the finest of all large ensemble jazz recordings of the past 50 years, and Gerald Wilson is a great big-band composer/arranger/leader, although he has not received enough credit for a couple of major reasons. He came to the fore after the...


April 2001    Albums

The Original Ellington Suite
Chico Hamilton with Eric Dolphy

In August 1958, a Chico Hamilton quintet group with Eric Dolphy on alto sax, flute and clarinet, recorded a group of Duke Ellington compositions for Pacific, which for some reason did not get issued together on an album, although three were edited and released...


April 2001    Albums

Willi the Pig
John Tchicai/Irene Schweizer

Cut at the Swiss Willisau Jazz Festival in 1975, the material here was original issued on a limited edition (500 copy) LP. This reissue is certainly welcome. The group includes John Tchicai on soprano and alto saxes, pianist Irene Schweizer, bassist Buschi...


March 2001    Books

The Oxford Companion to Jazz
Bill Kirchner

One reason for the general public’s hostility or confusion regarding avant-garde art is that it receives so little attention in schools and in the media. There’s a time gap during which the public has to catch up with the innovations of great avant-garde...


March 2001    Books

Chet Baker: His Life and Music
Jeroen de Valk

In this solidly researched biography of Chet Baker, Jeroen de Valk has attempted to dispel myths about Baker, pointing out that he was not a has-been, but quite popular in Europe during his last dozen years, and that he was not pushed out of a window, but...


March 2001    Albums

I've Grown Accustomed to the Bass
Sheila Jordan and Cameron Brown

There are female singers that have broader ranges, sing more loudly, have sweeter timbres and are more acrobatic than Sheila Jordan, but few have ap-proached her vocal accomplishments. That’s because she’s a superb all-around musician and improviser. And...


March 2001    Albums

Bob Nieske Trio and Lydian String Quartet

Nieske wrote all of the compositions on Simplicity, which are performed by two groups: a trio including Nieske, Grenadier and drummer Nat Mugavero; and that trio plus the Lydian String Quartet. The charts are fresh and spare: Nieske's written the themes...


March 2001    Albums

Sweet Transients
Phil Grenadier

On Sweet Transients Grenadier plays with tenorman Seamus Blake, pianist Ethan Iverson, his bassist brother Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart. The group plays the standard "Alone Together" plus compositions by Nieske, Jobim, Kenny Wheeler, Horace Silver...


March 2001    Albums

My Backyard
Mike Lee

Mike Lee's music contains strong traditional elements: it swings and the improvisation in it is based on preset foundations. But it's also fresh in that some of Lee's compositions have distinctive forms and unique, sometimes very difficult, chord progressions...


January/February 2001    Albums

The Last Waltz
Bill Evans

This eight-CD set was cut at San Francisco's Keystone Korner from August 31 to September 8, 1980, by Evans, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe LaBarbera. Evans died on September 15, a week later. There is no indication on these recordings, however, that...


January/February 2001    Albums

Just the Way It Was
Sonny Stitt

Though lauded throughout his career as a great technician who could swing his tail off, Sonny Stitt has not gotten the recognition he deserves as an innovator. People have always scoffed at his claim that he evolved his style independently of Charlie Parker...


January/February 2001    Albums

My Foolish Heart
Stan Getz

My Foolish Heart, recorded in 1975, features the Stan Getz quartet, with pianist Richie Beirach, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette. Though not Getz's best recording, it's plenty good. The tunes, "Invitation," "My Foolish Heart," "Spring Is...


January/February 2001    Overdue Ovation

Von Freeman

Since the 1960s I’ve been hearing stories about what a great tenor sax player Von Freeman is; how he influenced guys like Johnny Griffin, John Gilmore and Clifford Jordan; how his stature equaled that of Gene Ammons. But there weren’t any records around...


January/February 2001    Albums

The Complete Blue Note Horace Parlan Sessions
Horace Parlan

Parlan cut the selections on the five-CD set The Complete Blue Note Horace Parlan Sessions between 1960 and 1963. The sessions include three with him and rhythm sections (one includes Latin percussionist Ray Barretto), two quintets with Pittsburgh’s Turrentine...


December 2000    Albums

Broad Strokes
Roswell Rudd

Trombonist/composer Roswell Rudd has performed in both Dixieland and free-jazz groups. He's taught ethnomusicology and has more than a passing knowledge of classical music. And he puts what he knows to work, so that you have to be ready for anything when...

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About Harvey Pekar