Recent Recordings by Area Jazz Artists

The late Stanley Cowell (see SEMJA Update obit) has this, his last recording Live at Keystone Korner — Baltimore (SteepleChase) and showcases what a brilliant pianist/composer/bandleader he was even at an advanced age. Famous compositions “Cal Massey,” “Equipoise,” “Banana Pudding,” and “No Illusions” are played very well by this quintet led by trumpeter Freddie Hendrix and alto saxophonist Bruce Williams. The great Max Roach piece “It’s Time” as well as a tribute to his hometown “Montage for Toledo” are timely markers for Cowell’s career. Daughter Sunny sings on “Equipoise.”

A five-star recording with no reservations.

Tidbits: Tenor saxophonist Salim Washington was born in Memphis but spent considerable time in Detroit before moving out East. He has made many appearances in Metro Detroit. Dogon Revisited (Passin’ Thru) in title alone reminds one of Dogon A.D., a famous Julius Hemphill title from the World Saxophone Quartet, of which Passin’ Thru label CEO Oliver Lake was also a member. Washington’s effort is a quartet with all originals and pieces by Hemphill, Thelonious Monk and liner notes by the late Amiri Baraka. Washington also plays a little flute and oboe.

Ex-Detroiter Rick Margitza has a new CD on the fledgling Le Coq label. Sacred Hearts comprises an all-original contemporary jazz program featuring the uncompromising tenor and soprano sax of Margitza with a hand-picked band of lesser-known musicians save percussionist Alex Acuna, an occasional vocalist, and a tandem guitarist on most selections. Since his time with the Moutin Reunion Quartet some twenty years ago and far removed from his time in Detroit with trumpeter Walter White and their Hennessy award winning quintet, Margitza has forged an identity that is all his own and bereft of cliches.

Michael G. Nastos is Vice President Emeritus of SEMJA, Board member of the Michigan Jazz Festival, writer for Hot House Magazine/NYC, and radio broadcaster for WCBN 88.3 FM.