Take Ayler, Rollins, Sanders, Coltrane, Braxton, and any similar mad cats, shake 'em up, spread 'em around, and you have the first cut in Jimmy Mulidore's Jazz for the Ages, a flying, skittering, sprinting take on Coltrane's Giant Steps after which, in Muldoon's Journey, Mulidore takes the gallon I.V. of caffeine out of his veins for a minute or two, blows some thoughtful lines, and then ramps back up, albeit a bit more restrainedly, Billy Tragesser tracing vocal wind sprints right beside him.
On John's Love Supreme, Mulidore picks up an instrument way underused in modern music, the bass clarinet, to set up a marrow-deep resonance as Randy Brecker and Richie Cole go to it on trumpet and alto sax respectively, pianist Ron Feuer leading them in. No matter how one approaches that song, it's always reverential while a blow fest, and its follower, J.C.'s It's You or No One, is an upbeat affair, light and breezy but intensely narrated through Mulidore's pristine clarinet work as he gambols and sprints amid complex progressions at light speed, a breathtaking performance, definitely my favorite cut on a release boasting a cornucopia of excellent takes.
It doesn't matter what the axe is—flute, bass clarinet, clarinet, any type of sax—Mulidore's mastered them all with a highly enviable celerity and intelligence. What marks him, however, is an ability to chart and arrange so that anyone can follow his work, no matter how high-flying it gets. Underneath everything is a very collected aspect gathering up all ears, melodies never lost, rhythms and beats always available. This is best shown in the Passport-ish composition by Tregresser, Interstate 15, later uplevelled in Rowena, blended into a South of the border framework. From those cuts, one understands how sound the foundation of each song in the entire CD is.
A couple of cuts are taken live in San Diego, from a full concert documented in the DVD Jimmy Mulidore and his New York City Jazz Band, a cavalcade of standards (and one original). The visuals are proof that witnessing a musical event is an entirely separate experience from just hearing it. Watching Mulidore, Cole, and Brecker go to town right there in front of you is extremely gratifying and goes a long way to explain why music lovers continue to dig concerts even when owning entire catalogues of releases by any particular artist. Then, of course, in such events you get a full course of jaw-dropping improv, every time completely different from the last time out. Well, this DVD is full to the brim of such things, sits firmly in the modern tradition ca Mingus, Kirk, Miles, and etc.…but also works beautifully as a purely sonic adventure. Both CD and DVD are solid expositions of what jazz really is and had better remain even as it branches out, lest the mode itself eventually be lost.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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