Alex Bugnon stretches out in jazzy '107 in the Shade'

RECORDS

January 10, 1992|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Sun Pop Music Critic

107 IN THE SHADE

Alex Bugnon (Orpheus 47979)

Upon first hearing keyboardist Alex Bugnon, it's hard not to think of Bob James. After all, Bugnon, like James, is a jazzman who likes his arrangements funky and atmospheric, and who keeps his solos lean and melodic. But it only takes a few listens to "107 in the Shade" to realize that Bugnon is his own man stylistically. Sure, his music skews pop, but unlike James, who writes and plays more like an arranger than an improviser, Bugnon definitely likes to stretch out. And whether his context is as tightly structured as on the airy "Fly, Spirit, Fly" or as loose-limbed as on the title tune, the music which results is invariably light, jazzy and soulful.

LOVE TANGUEDIA

Astor Piazzolla (Tropical Storm 74919)

If your only knowledge of the tango is derived from old "Addams Family" episodes, the music of Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla may come as something of a shock. Piazzolla's tango is worlds away from the cliched "one-two-three-four-AND" dance routines you saw on television; instead, as "Love Tanguedia" makes plain, it's closer to a cross between jazz and chamber music, with most of the melody carried by violin or his own bandoleon (a type of accordion) while a combination of bass, piano and guitar carry the rhythm. These compositions are astonishingly dramatic, and between the impassioned interplay of "Love Duet" to the poignant longing of "Sadness, Separation," it's surprisingly easy to become a Piazzolla addict.

SONGS FROM THE VICTORIOUS CITY

Anne Dudley and Jaz Coleman (TVT 3310)

Cnsidering that Anne Dudley was a member of the art of noise, and that Jaz Coleman's musical roots are in the rhythmic ferocity of Killing Joke, it would be easy to assume that any collaboration between the two would be a strictly dance music affair. Well, guess again, for the haunting "Songs From the Victorious City" turns out to be an impressionistic tour through the music of Cairo. It does have its moments of rhythmic abandon, of course -- "Endless Festival," which sounds like a cross between Ofra Haza and Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" is but one example -- but the album's general feel is more contemplative and exotic. All told, it's a wonderful piece of work, offering music that is true to its sources without being slavishly imitative.

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MISSISSIPPI LAD

Teddy Edwards (Antilles 314-511 411)

"Mississippi Lad" is not a typical jazz album, but then again, Teddy Edwards is not a typical jazz saxophonist. A veteran of the Los Angeles be-bop scene, Edwards' tenor work is marked by its light, breathy tone and wonderfully lyric sense of line, characteristics that serve him well under most circumstances but make him an especially memorable ballad player. And naturally, although there are all sorts of tunes on "Mississippi Lad," from the Latin-flavored "The Call of Love" to the bluesy title tune, Edwards shines brightest on the slow songs, particularly when blowing obbligatos around guest vocalist Tom Waits on "Little Man" and "I'm Not Your Fool Anymore."

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