Veteran drummer/composer George Schuller’s Like Before, Somewhat After (Playscape Recordings), and the Yoon Sun Choi/Jacob Sacks Duo’s Imagination: The Music of Joe Raposo (Yeah Yeah Records), have each been named one of Jazz.com’s 50 Best Jazz CDs of 2008.
Schuller’s disc, his second with his longstanding group Circle Wide, pays tribute to the music of Keith Jarrett’s so-called American Quartet of the 1970’s, reinventing such notable tracks as “Common Mama” and “The Survivors’ Suite”, which was a Jazz.com Song of the Day this past June.
Jazz.com’s editor, Ted Gioia, discussed the record and its relationship to the legacy of Jarrett’s group on the site’s blog, writing that Schuller and his bandmates “get past the notes on the page, and into something deeper, an elusive transcendence that defies even this glib critic.”
Imagination is the second release from the New York-based duo of vocalist Yoon Sun Choi and pianist Jacob Sacks, and an innovative tribute to the music of prolific theater, film and television composer, Joe Raposo (1937-1989), whose timeless and instantly familiar songs such as “Bein’ Green” and “Sing” are used here as launching pads for experiments in texture, form and improvisation.
In his original review of the track, “Somebody Come and Play”, Gioia wrote, “I wish more singers would take chances like this, or bring along a pianist who, like Sacks, is such a daring accompanist. These two really go at it. I can’t recall the last time I heard a vocal recording in which the pianist challenged the singer so aggressively — and with such felicitous results. This is one of the best jazz vocal CDs of the year.”