Fred Bouchard

Fred’s Contributions


June 1999    Albums

Queen of All Ears
The Lounge Lizards

One of the more ignominious moments in jazz history occurred when George Wein decided to present rock as the wave of the future of jazz at his Newport Festival, declaring that the "anti-jazz" of the black avant garde had no audience. The sad scene was played...


May 1998    Albums

Dig Deep
Steve Davis

Hard bop lives on Criss Cross, Gerry Teekens bone-solid label from the Netherlands, and the living spirit of Curtis Fuller breathes warmly on the sextet sides of trombonist Steve Davis. Davis-student then colleague (and often bandmate) of Jackie McLean at...


April 1998    Albums

Orlando "Maraca" & Celine Valle, Richard Egues, Jane Bunnett
Havana Flute Summit

Cheery is a good word for this upbeat session from one of the emerging music capitals of the Western Hemisphere. Four flurrying flutes, three clattering congueros, two entwining hands (of pianist Hilario Duran) and one bouncing bass (of Oscar Rodriguez...


April 1998    Albums

Spirit Talk
K-Jazz All-Stars y Sus Amigos

This floating off-shore jam session finds nice grooves to surf on, with a really fine line-up and probably zero studio (what else is new?) time to pull charts together. The bad news is there are few solos of import as most of the cats just noodle (pianists...

April 1998    Books

What Jazz Is: An Insider’s Guide To Understanding and Listening To Jazz
Jonny King

Jazz seeks to proselytize beyond the converted, but seldom goes about it cannily. Pianist King is onto something in putting the callow listener on the piano stool, in the record session, choosing repertoire, and checking out solos at close range. While this...

April 1998    Books

As Though I Had Wings: The Lost Memoir
Chet Baker

This scant memoir of barely 20,000 words, evidently taped around 1978, finds the trumpeter dwelling on his halcyon (pre-heroin) youth, 1948-1960. His preoccupation with boyhood girlfriends, cars and muscle assure the autobiographical authenticity, as do...


April 1998    Albums

The Impulse Years: 1973-4
Keith Jarrett

The Jarrett group sessions re-released (with extra tracks) here are marked for excellence by the presence of top-notch sidemen (saxophonist Dewey Redman, drummer Paul Motian, bassist Charlie Haden, percussionists Guillhermo Franco and/or Danny Johnson, and...


April 1998    Albums

Passing the Torch
Swing Summit

It'd be hard to go wrong with a smooth and swinging lineup like the sextet gathered here live at Tarrytown's Town Hall in 1992. From the bottom up, they are: Ben Riley, Ray Drummond, Kenny Barron, Steve Turre, Frank Wess and Jon Faddis. Need I even add their...


April 1998    Albums

Bang On!
Billy Bang

You don't need to be blessed/cursed with perfect pitch to find out-of-tune horns grating, and that goes double for the voice-like timbres of the violin. Billy Bang-among the busiest, most independent, and flexible of violinists-has always bucked fashion...


April 1998    Albums

Joy (Within)!
William Hooker with Billy Bang Duo

Fiddle and drums are the be-all and end-all of Joy (Within!), a wacky outing of parts of two sets from the "What Is Jazz" Festival at The Knitting Factory in 1994. Energy unbridled is the game here, with high level dynamics and assaultive measures, but I...


April 1998    Albums

Not We But One
Mike Nock Trio

New Zealand accounts for but few entries as yet in the Book of Jazz, but one native of Christchurch has made his own quiet, sporadic inroads into post-modernist bop. Mike Nock always brings up much good listening from down under. He has been teaching music...


March 1998    Albums

Killer Tumbao
Hilario Duran Cuban All Stars

Havana is one big jam of all the music (pop, jazz, salsa, classical, folk) with no industrial divisiveness and labeling. Hilario Durßn is a superb pianist of many beautifully dovetailed parts: he may reign upon the stool with top-flight horns and the seasoned...


March 1998    Albums

Live in Israel
The Fringe

The terrible triumvirate from Boston has built its powerful, signature synergy by building modal collective improvisations of cohesion and grace. Bassist John Lockwood lays a red carpet (so silky you'd swear he were playing electric until he duets with his...


March 1998    Albums

Live at the Village Vanguard: Ballads & Blues
Hameit Bluiett

Veteran baritone saxophonist Bluiett takes a quartet outing at the club that launched a thousand jazzmen that logs in as quite a bit mellower than his more familiar work anchoring the World Saxophone Quartet. Could be that the presence of a senior guitarist...


March 1998    Albums

The Songs Ella & Louis Sang
Carol Sloane/Clark Terry

Continuing her set of tribute albums, to Carmen McRae and to Frank Sinatra, seasoned vocalist Carol Sloane has pulled a hat trick with the dean of trumpeters, Clark Terry, in spinning off a dozen duets a la Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. They capture...


March 1998    Albums

Form & Function
Jon Hazilla and Saxabone

Drummer Hazilla has once again come up with a tasty concept and thematic set that prominently-but never overbearingly-features his droll, understated, no-nonsense trap settings. This time he pits kit against three saxes and trombone. Saxabone is all colleagues...

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About Fred Bouchard