Colin Fleming

Colin’s Contributions


10/15/16    Albums

The Atlantic Years—In Mono
John Coltrane

Let’s assume there’s zero chance you’re considering the purchase of a set like this one—six monaural Coltrane albums, sans extras—unless you already own the records in another form. Which is to say, stereo form. Forking over the cash then becomes a matter...


05/13/16    Albums

Classic James P. Johnson Sessions (1921-1943)
James P. Johnson

Jazz piano masters tend to slot easily into categories. There are seemingly beyond-the-bounds-of-possibility virtuosos (Art Tatum), blues melders (Wynton Kelly) and genre purveyors (Meade Lux Lewis), but few ivory-savants leapt about like James P. Johnson...


02/13/16    Albums

One Night in Indy
Wes Montgomery

It is early 1959, which means it’s still going to take a touch of time for Wes Montgomery to ramp up the ol’ fretboard chops. But how warming this live session must have been on a cold Indianapolis night. The circumstances of the date have a charm to them...


12/05/15    Albums

10 Years Solo Live
Brad Mehldau

The solo piano box set of this or most other years is conceivably the finest product Brad Mehldau has released yet, a veritable library for jazz study unto itself. It’s also, as the kids say, ginormous: eight vinyl LPs—or four CDs—broken down into four thematic...


11/24/15    Albums

Christian McBride Trio
Live at the Village Vanguard

Cutting an album at the Village Vanguard is both a rite of passage and an attempt to take one’s own place in a particularly hallowed hall of live recordings. But it’s evident here, with the opening take of Wes Montgomery’s “Fried Pies,” that Christian McBride’s...


11/09/15    Albums

Tokyo Adagio
Charlie Haden and Gonzalo Rubalcaba

If you’re ever inclined to wonder what Bill Evans’ 1961 Village Vanguard recordings might have sounded like sans Paul Motian’s drums, this live set by bassist Charlie Haden and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, recorded at the Blue Note in Tokyo in 2005, provides...


09/05/15    Albums

The Conny Plank Session
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra

Unreleased Ellington studio sessions have a paucity to match the plentitude of his vault live releases, so this crafty little quickie—just 29 minutes—is something of a revelation. The unlikely setup: Duke in Cologne in 1970 to record for synth-maven engineer...


09/04/15    Albums

Complete Commodore and Decca Sessions
Eddie Condon & Bud Freeman

This latest Mosaic juggernaut—eight discs and a mere 199 cuts—doubles as a bulwark against easy labels, which is how one imagines banjoist/guitarist/ringleader Eddie Condon would have wished it. Teamed with tenorman Bud Freeman, and working with ensembles...


08/28/15    Albums

Blue, Vol. 1
Jeff "Tain" Watts

Modern jazz rarely gets as flat-out eclectic as it does on this latest Jeff “Tain” Watts offering. The opening “Brilliant Corners” is one of the most confident, strutting takes on Monk you’ll hear, Watts’ kit powering the track with impressive snap and pop...


08/16/15    Albums

Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4
Miles Davis

Even the most special, consistent performers can have venues where they grab a kind of inspired toehold and secure that next level. For an athlete like Michael Jordan, that venue was Madison Square Garden; for an equally dynamic jazz artist like Miles Davis...


06/20/15    Albums

Keith Jarrett

A live Keith Jarrett recording almost assuredly means instant transport to a given evening in a given city, where an orderly but still surprising program emerges from a player following the logic of his own inspiration. Gigs by Jarrett, now 70, tend to unpack...


06/15/15    Albums

Switzerland 1974
Soft Machine

You have to be an extremely confident unit—and one mother of a band—to turn up at a prestigious mega-gig like the Montreux Jazz Festival and drop a set of new material on the audience like the newly rejiggered Soft Machine did in July 1974. Turns out that...


04/12/15    Albums

Lines of Color: Live at the Jazz Standard
Gil Evans Project

The second outing from Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project presents a transition to the live medium, and if it’s possible for Evans’ arrangements to have more bonhomie than they typically do, it’s in this setting. Rarely does a big band sound so intimate...


04/10/15    Albums

So Many Things: The European Tour 1961
The John Coltrane Quintet Featuring Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy’s bolstering of the Classic Quartet into a titan-heavy quintet has long split the Coltrane camp. The naysayers cite an ensemble sound that had become too busy, with Dolphy, as master colorist, providing too many bright and distracting rays. The...


01/15/15    Albums

The Process
Jon Batiste/Chad Smith/Bill Laswell

Certain albums just radiate a lot more groove than others, and with its hoodoo rhythms, souped-up dub textures and “When the Levee Breaks”-style drum surges, The Process is, at times, that rare brand of jazz that can double as club music. Red Hot Chili Peppers...


01/13/15    Albums

In My Solitude: Live at Grace Cathedral
Branford Marsalis

It took a while to get there, but Branford Marsalis’ first unaccompanied live album, cut in the same hallowed San Franciscan church-space as Duke Elilngton’s 1960s Sacred Concerts, feels like an inevitable visitation. This is one man alone with his three...

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About Colin Fleming