At first glance, the Trap-EZ: Acrobatic Exercise Swing may look like a normal piece of cage wire - but actually - there’s a LOT of science that went into designing this awesome I-Home attachment toy!
Luc Houtkamp has built a small, but nonetheless important, reputation as an adventurous saxophonist who carves a unique style sprouting from the genre of free improvisation. His many independently produced albums on his own X-OR label have consistently impressed with their ability to shed clichés and their daring, sometimes almost appealingly reckless, in-your-face audaciousness. The instant album is a new direction for Houtkamp, who relies here entirely on what he calls "digital pulse conglomeration." For most listeners, the static, alternating with occasional digital pulses, is not going to inspire or hold attention. For those familiar with Houtkamp's discography, this album is likely to come as a bit of a shock and a disappointment. For one, Houtkamp does not perform at all on saxophone (or, if he does, it is not identifiable.) The opening piece, "Exercise in Swing," does not swing at all; it is unrelenting minimalist radio-like static that sounds as though a two year old has latched onto a radio frequency that just is not there. None of the other pieces "swing" either, and the only discernible melody comes on Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye," which has to be one of the most bizarre versions of the song on disc. There are some people who view a blank white canvas and see beautiful art. For listeners of a like mind, this recording might make sense. For the rest of us, Mr. Houtkamp's impressive output as a saxophonist will suffice.
While Giants of Jazz might not be considered a very prestigious or comprehensive label, there's no denying that some of their reissue compilations serve jazz lovers as mini-surveys illuminating great moments in swing and bop. One of the best entries in the entire Giants of Jazz catalog is probably the magnificent 's . Similarly wonderful and highly recommended for those who are forever in love with the spirit and sounds of , is a sublime if chronologically obfuscated sampler of 's best recorded performances dating from a slice of time running between the summer of 1942 and the spring of 1946. The album opens with most of the master takes from a trio session produced by in either March or April of 1946; here collaborated with pianist and drummer . Without any exaggeration whatsoever let it be said that these tracks (one through six) constitute some of 's most inspired work and indeed some of the best intimate small group swing ever played in a recording studio. After the famous January 1946 Aladdin recording of "It's Only a Paper Moon" the rest of this compilation dwells mainly upon 's adventures as a Keynote recording artist. "Sometimes I'm Happy" and "Afternoon of a Basie-ite" come from 's first-ever recording date as a leader (not counting a relatively obscure series of sessions co-led with his brother ). Four other vintage Keynote selections feature the , which was essentially a scaled down band with billed as "Prince Charming." "Three Little Words" was performed by the , a Commodore jam band that included trumpeter , trombonist and pianist . This outstanding sampler closes with a marvelous 1942 rendering of "Body and Soul" (another daydream for trio involving and bassist ) and the stimulating "Exercise in Swing," an aerobic romp recorded for the Savoy label on April 18, 1944. Without piling on superlatives let's just say this is a knockout disc that you probably need more than you even realize at this moment; ideally it would incite you to obtain this man's complete Keynote, Aladdin, Commodore, Savoy and Verve recordings.