After many years in the music business, saxophonist-bandleader-composer John Lurie has created a musical identity all his own. Best known for his mercurial work with the Lounge Lizards, Lurie has found a pleasant niche recording soundtracks for films like Get Shorty and Stranger Than Paradise. Accompanied by a number of talented musicians, including Marc Ribot, John Medeski, Calvin Weston, and other assorted Lounge Lizards, Lurie displays an impressive ability to create lively and evocative film music. While Lurie only performs on half of these compositions, his sonic vision is both distinctive and eclectic. Bouncing stylistically from downtown funk and progressive soul to chamber jazz, rock, and tribal percussion workouts, Lurie's mood-inducing orchestrations are witty, passionate, and consistently engaging.
In Memoriam: Hugh Masekela (1939–2018). South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela died on January 23, 2018, at the age of 78 after a long battle with cancer. I was briefly introduced to South African Jazz by watching the HBO series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Some of the scenes took place inside local jazz clubs in Botswana. So when I saw this album, I decided to give it a try. What a wonderful surprise! The music is unique and distinct, but a close listen will give hints of American Jazz artists, such as George Benson or Herbie Hancock. This album is my new favorite.