Saturday, September 29, 2012

Joe Alterman - Give Me The Simple Life

 Curiosity hipped the cat. Joe has a great sense of what is most meaningful in the history and tradition of our music, and a real solid musical vision of where he wants to take it. (Houston Person) 
Hans Koert

Jazz music can be played in all kinds of combinations.  It can be played solo -  the piano was in the early 1900s used as a solo instrument at home or in bars; as a quartet: a solo instrument or a vocalist accompanied by a rhythm session or as a (hard bop) quintet with a leading trumpet and sax in front and a backing rhythm section, like the former Jazz Messengers, which seems now a days  still very popular; At the other hand a massive big band brings an indelible impression, but it has been said that the piano trio from the 1950s is the most balanced jazz format of all times – almost classical in jazz ….. ……… It’s not so difficult to list a few of the great piano trios from the past: Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Al Haig, Hank Jones, George Shearing and of course, Oscar Peterson should be listed.  These giants of the second half of the century are all almost gone now, but  we still have great piano trios led by pianists as Ahmad Jamal, Barry Harris and more contemporary musicians like Brad Mehldau, Monty Alexander,  Jacky Terrasson or Fred Hersch …………

 Joe Alterman ( photo courtesy: Willie T. Jacobs)

The young promising piano player Joe Alterman recently released his second album, entitled Give Me The Simple Life with a piano trio enlarged with a tenor saxophone player at four tracks. Joe Alterman says about his group ….  It’s a dream; honestly, if you were to ask me who I most wanted to play within the whole world, these are the guys. The band is my favorite pianist’s (= Ahmad Jamal) rhythm section  and my special guest and mentor from the past few years , one of the greatest tenor saxophonists  of all-time, Houston Person.

 Joe Alterman - Give Me The Simple Life ( Miles High Records MHR-8619)

Joe Alterman was born in Atlanta, Georgia and moved to New York in 2007 to study at the New York University where he graduated earlier this year. His debut album Piano Tracks, volume 1 was released in 2009 and its critics spoke highly of this debut as a joyous throwback to the keyboard stylists of the 1950s.
The album Give Me The Simple Life contains a dozen tracks, most seldom played compositions, like Oscar Peterson’s Kelly Blues, Cy Coleman’s Why Try To Change Me Now, but also standards like Georgia On My Mind, the title tune Give Me The Simple Life and Oscar Hammerstein’s Why Do I Love You?  The rhythm section on the album features James Cammack on double bass and Herlin Riley on drums. Guest player and Joe's mentor Houston OPerson can be heard on four tracks: Georgia on my Mind - The First Night Home - I Guess I'll Have To Dream The Rest and Kelly's Blues. 

Enjoy part of the record release concert at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, hosted by Brian Pace:

Joe Alterman is not one of those young, starting musicians that plays jazz without studying the “classics”, the jazz music as played by the great veterans of the past – he most importantly bridges the gap for more jazz pianists to study and play stride piano. Can you imagine that some contemporary musicians, labeled as Jazz musicians, don’t have even heard from musicians like Charlie Parker or Thelonious Monk, to list some? Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal, and Red Garland are Joe's favorites and main influences, he has said, but Joe isn’t a copyist of their styles ………. Both piano player Les McCann and saxophonist Houston Person are his mentors and the latter can be heard at this great album at four tracks …………

 Houston Person ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

This album surprised me – such a young talented promising piano player, that links up perfectly with the 1950s jazz scene …….. whow - be surprised

Houston Person will tour The Netherlands with the Rein De Graaff Trio ( due to Rein's 70th birthday) from the 1st up to the 10th of November 2012.

Other photo's made by Nit Levy and Fran Kaufman. The album can be ordered at the Miles High Records or Joe's website

Hans Koert
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Curiosity hipped the cat ....... The cat in question is Joe Alterman, a pianist with a swinging touch - with these words the liner notes of Joe Alterman's second album start. Newly minted from New York University he surprises with his second abum (featuring the great tenor saxophone player Houston Person), which learns that he has listened very well to the 1950s piano trios by Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal, whose rhythm section was backing him in his second album; Give Me The Simple Life
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