Walter Smith III, Live in Paris

Well, we should probably include some details here, so I look like a diligent reviewer; not simply jumping straight in, like a pixie-sticked-to-the-eyeballs 8 year old, but like someone contemplative… mature… you know: a critic.


I dunno, well…

It’s just that…

You know what? Screw it…! Fuck. That. Noise.

Let’s get all pixie-sticked up in this bitch!

Good jazz (good music) is a conjuring, a willing of forces to be in one place at one time, usually using your body (or more importantly your fingers and lungs) to speak of Another Dimension, whether in ecstasy or rage… or both…

Here’s where the good juice, the blood, the cum is, in Live in Paris* :

Track 1, Blues: up until 2:30, solo sax, then agile drums with little overt beat, rubato, and not too much snare (so obvious where the beat is– especially of late jazz, nice to see that Marcus Gilmore is so much more subtle here); interplay (particularly around 4:30) between all instruments, especially Ambrose Akinmusire’s trumpet and Aaron Goldberg’s piano; 6:16 descends (ascends?) to nearly free jazz… piano solo at 6:35; around 11:30 flaming runs by tenor sax

Track 2, Bass Solo, is well, a bass solo… this is obviously for you or it isn’t….

Track 3, Aroco, is more towards (the sins of) modern jazz: etheric, but annoyingly non-threatening… bland… background music– take me somewhere I’m scared to go, but really wanna see…! (Though the simple exhalation at 27:30 is very cool, signalling the end of the piece. It almost sounds like the hissing of a predator in withdrawal.)

Overall, until the piano solo at around 36:00, Live in Paris could be a well-recorded older piece, ca. late 1960s; it’s only until Goldberg’s piano, with its sitting squat on the beat, and whimsical runs that scream “whimsical,” fucks that mood up. Goldberg is wonderful to listen to otherwise, though.

Track 4, Himorme, starts like something out of Maiden Voyage (or Miles’ later quartets), especially opening with the trumpet solo…

Track 5, a cover of Benny Golson’s Stablemates,  (44:05 sounds like Trane entering, slightly sharp and all– the solo goes on to sound like Dex or Don Byas, i.e., Trane if he were slightly more reigned in… what is it Amiri Baraka said? “Like he’s willing so hard he’s bending the metal out of shape.” “Trane was getting outer and outer…”) Here we get the conjuring….

Track 6, Shed (as in a place to practice or a leaving something behind that lets you grow?) starts with whimsical piano that actually works….

Final track Cyclic Episode (a Sam Rivers cover) starts with a whimsical (there’s that word again) Bb run that almost sounds like a children’s game, jump rope maybe, in jazz form.

I usually hate modern jazz. But you’re alright, III.

(times are given as part of the album as a whole)

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