Fred Bouchard

Fred’s Contributions


January/February 1998    Books

The Bear Comes Home
Rafi Zabor

Is the creative musician really a different manner of beast? The alto-playing, talking grizzly bear anti-hero of this dark, grudgingly appealing novel stands as a perfectly imperfect metaphor for the artist as outsider: curmudgeonly, aloof, self-absorbed...


January/February 1998    Albums

Cuba: I Am Time
Various Artists

This little cigar box of four CDs of Cuban music is filled with more fire than smoke, and makes an intriguing, if only vaguely organized, introduction to the incredibly rich musical panoply for Americans rediscovering that fascinating isle's cultural goldmine...


January/February 1998    Albums

The Bass And I
Ron Carter

Forget the name, the title, the aura of legend. This is a decent little trio album by a primo rhythm section, with extra added percussion, without bass-clef sturm und drang. Carter doesn't even give himself a boffo feature, just a low-key extra chorus on...


January/February 1998    Albums

The Riverside Records Story
Various Artists

As a listener new to jazz and college in 1959, I gravitated to the brainy, saucy, all-blue Riverside label for my East Coast sounds, rather than the brawny, established blue-and-white Blue Notes. (I was getting my West Coast hits largely from Lester Koenig...


January/February 1998    Albums

Sunrise In The Tone World
William Parker with The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra

This 20-piece ensemble develops a powerful synergy out of strong if inchoate ideas of a humanistic and creative revolution welling from the heart and bowels of Brooklyn. Parker's own virtuosic bass is buried deep in roiling textures of caterwauling reeds...


January/February 1998    Albums

Phillip Johnston

Microscopic Septet leader/founder Johnston recreates the saxophone quartet cum rhythm section of that historic (1981-'92) if under-appreciated ensemble. Charter (and almost charter) members aboard tip the balance toward the original MS: bassist David Hofstra...


December 1997    Albums

The Complete Landmark Sessions: Music of Monk And Evans
Kronos Quartet

How well jazz translates to string quartet has been demonstrated by Kronos, and precious few other such ensembles, since its inception in 1978. Kronos has exposed wide audiences to not only 20th-century serious (i.e., neither wallpaper-thin nor decibel-proud...


December 1997    Albums

Afro Blue
Dr. Lonnie Smith

Whole chapters in The Book of Coltrane have been revisited of late to good effect, e.g., Harold Danko's Quartet springboarding the momentous Ellington encounter. Dr. Lonnie Smith takes four Trane tunes for a spin on his power organ with John Abercrombie...


November 1997    Books

They’re Playing Our Song: Conversations with America’s Classic Songwriters
Max Wilk

The breezy, amusing dialogues in this slim tome give insight into the character and personalities of 26 great writers of the American songbook. The machers of New York musical comedy and Hollywood film are puffed and polished: Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen...


October 1997    Albums

The Debut Records Story
Various Artists

Charles Mingus and Max Roach ignited many a churning, probing rhythm section-for Diz & Bird, for Duke-but who'd have reckoned on them burning, brief but bright, in the realm of the record biz? In fact, Mingus and Roach fired up (OK, their ladies Celia Zaentz...


October 1997    Albums

Fina Estampa: En Vivo
Caetano Veloso

Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso is a master of mood, of poetry, of music, of all he surveys. In the instance of this brilliant concert, Veloso takes in the huge mural (1940) by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera-named for and celebrating Pan American unity...


October 1997    Albums

Endgame Brilliance
Sonny Stitt

Sonny Stitt was one of many great players who bounced back from '60s disillusion and disenfranchisement to hit second career peaks in the '70s, and this two-fer-one CD reissue marks a double parabola of his rubberized progress. Before and after Stitt's revivifying...


September 1997    Label Watch

Label Watch: Songlines

Vancouver (British Columbia) as a cultural enclave is North America’s final frontier: with its avid, freewheeling arts scene, ethnic crazyquilt, and open-minded sensibilities, you can feel those Pacific breezes whisper, “anything goes.” That newer, keener...


May 1997    Albums

Goodbye Mr. Evans
Kirk Lightsey

Goodbye Mr. Evans, a trio date, has several features to recommend it: the lead piano of Lightsey, a typically elegant musical godson of Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan; an introduction to the excellent bass work of a young Hungarian named Tibor Elekes; a chance...

May 1997    Albums

Flight of the Eagle
Nick Brignola

Hearing Nick Brignola soar on his baritone does bring to mind watching eagles and albatrosses and vultures and magnificent frigatebirds: how do they keep those big engines in the air? And make it seem so effortless? The birds have their thermal air currents...

May 1997    Albums

Thomas Chapin Trio Plus Wings

Tom Chapin is developing a real persona as a musician and composer, no matter which of his horns he picks up or what setting he devises for them. He writes from within, tells stories, and takes us along. On Live at the Knitting Factory, with his well-established...

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About Fred Bouchard