Nov 11, 2011
Mort Weiss Bops With the Best of Them on Latest CD
Then, about a decade ago, Weiss returned to playing, and to the clarinet. He met the terrific guitarist Ron Eschete and the two have recorded several albums together, including one with Joey DeFrancesco on the Hammond B3 organ. His latest release, "Mort Weiss Meets Bill Cunliffe," pairs him with the pianist and a talented band on a set of jazz chestnuts.
The vibe is mostly one of a loose jam session; on Luiz Bonfa's "The Gentle Rain" the pace is sedate, with the rhythm section (Chris Conner on bass, Roy McCurdy drums) leaving Weiss and the other players plenty of space in which to chart some limpid, unhurried solo work. Things pick up on Charlie Parker's "Dewey Square;" here, the band tightens up and Weiss gets to show off his fleet-fingered skills as a bebopper. And on Gershwin's "Who Cares" the septuagenerian fires off a blazing solo that shows he's still got his chops.
The album has a few oddities. There's a track of spoken-word Kerouac, and another featuring Weiss' grandsons playing a sugary pop song. It's a sweet gesture, but sounds jarring in the middle of an album of otherwise well-executed and very swinging tunes.