If you’re aware of powerhouse Jazz Drummer Karl Latham and wondering why he’s on Jazz Guitar Life? Well it’s simple. On Karl’s latest CD Living Standards, the guitar player featured is none other than the inimitable Vic Juris. Need I say more? Exactly! 🙂
Similar in nature to Herbie Hancock’s The New Standard, Latham’s CD showcases iconic pop/rock tunes – standards if you will in their respective genres – re-interpreted through the Jazz lens’ of Drummer Latham, Bassist Mark Egan of Pat Metheny and Elements fame and of course, Jazz Guitarist Vic Juris. A dynamic group of players who seemingly have one foot in the Jazz World and one foot in the Rock/Pop World. It is because of this that the tunes re-invented still retain their original oomph but with a much more sophisticated harmonic palette offered to the more refined listener.
Case in point is Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”. This version finds Vic on acoustic steel string gently transforming the familiar Grace Slick melody into a hauntingly beautiful finger-picked out-pouring of notes alongside Egan’s soulful – almost crying – fretless slides. This same treatment can also be found on Pink Floyd’s “Us And Them” where Vic – cascading artificial harmonics and all – presents the melody in a most moody fashion. Egan’s fretless “skating” also helps to create a melancholy vibe along with Latham’s minimalist manoeuvres on the traps. A unique take which I was not expecting. In fact there are many such interpretations on this CD that I wasn’t expecting.
For example, the group’s frenetic take on The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” reminded me of something that Bill Frisell would do. This tune definitely showcases Vic’s inventive improvisations as he dons the electric, slaps on some overdrive, and, when the time comes, wails in a Jazz/Rock fusion approach pulling out all the stops. He also delivers the same flat-out energy and intensity to – once again – The Beatles’ “Tax Man”. Of course, Latham’s muscular drumming and Egan’s dynamic bass lines add plenty of fuel to Vic’s fire. Egan also gets plenty of room to show off his chops in a most notable manner.
The Neil Young tune “Cinnamon Girl” also brings out the best in all concerned with Vic and Egan delivering superb solos as only they can. Latham also gets to shine throughout the outro as Vic and Egan play the opening riff in an ostinato fashion. These guys can really…rock!
And speaking of which, their treatment of the Blind Faith classic “Had To Cry Today” does exactly that…it rocks! Of course they personalize it with their distinctive voices allowing Vic to channel his inner Pat Martino through some overdriven guitar sounds that would make Clapton’s guitar gently weep! A great rendition as are their versions of “Low Rider” and the funkified “It’s Your Thing”.
Contrasting the rock and funk is another Beatles’ tune “Tomorrow Never Knows” and The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” which take a bit of an interpretive left turn as they venture down exploratory paths bordering on Free playing. Definitely an interesting musical perspective and one that I think both John and Jim would appreciate…especially in their more mind altered states! 🙂
This brings me to the last cut on the CD, Cream’s “White Room”. Once again Vic takes out the acoustic steel string to re-envision the song his way. This sonic divergence and the way Vic phrases his lines, gives the tune a somewhat bluegrass feel before he delves into the improvisational passages where he bridges fleet fingered pentatonic lines with more advanced harmonic concepts. Both Egan and Latham give Vic plenty of room as they hold down the musical fort. A great tune to end the CD on!
If you’re looking to hear some iconic rock tunes re-imagined, or you’re a fan of Vic or Mark or Karl individually or as a group, then I think this CD definitely needs to be checked out. After all each of those players ARE Living Standards and should be heard as well as seen!
Just finished playing some challenging music with the great bassist Calvin Jones and truly remarkable Andy Hunter, guest trombonist
It was such an honor to appear with Howard Paul (President Benedetto Guitars), Jody Espina (President JodyJazz) , Mark Peterson and Andres Forero (guest appearance on percussion) for the recent shows supporting the CD release of “The Presidents”.
The group had the honor to perform at the Miner Family Vineyard and at the Napa Blue Note, with a special guest appearance by Dave Miner.
Very honored to be a member of the family of Yamaha Drum Artists, among so many heroes!
It was so great to see soooo many colleagues and friends in my musical family!!!
TY to all of my endorsement companies for your love and generosity
and it was a GREAT Honor to perform at the Legere Reeds/JodyJazz 2017 NAMM Jazz Jam as the “house” drummer for the jam…
28 different saxophonists from all over the world playing everything from latin to funk to LOTS of straight ahead 🙂
thanks for having me
And it is always a GREAT pleasure to hang with master musician and brother Andres Forero!
2016 Drums: 1. Zé Eduardo Nazario (“Uma Lenda Ao Vivo” w/ Grupo Um – Selo Sesc); 2. Steve Gadd (“Way Back Home – Live From Rochester, NY” – BFM Jazz); 3. Billy Hart (“The Broader Picture” – Enja); 4. Mauricio Zottarelli (“Chromatic Dialogues” w/ Gustavo Assis-Brasil – Anamria Records); 5. Drori Mondlak (“Of Mystery And Beauty” w/ Karolina Strassmayer – Lilypad Music); 6. Bobby Previte (“Early Americans” w/ Jane Ira Bloom – Outline); 7. Karl Latham (“Living Standards” – Dropzone Jazz Records); 8. Brian Andres (“This Could Be That” – Bacalo Records); 9. Joey Baron (“At This Time” w/Steve Kuhn – Sunnyside); 10. Jack DeJohnette (“In Movement” – ECM); 11. Peter Erskine (“All L.A. Band” w/ Bob Mintzer – Fuzzy Music); 12. Reggie Quinerly (“Avid Admirer – The Jimmy Knepper Project” w/ Reggie Watkins – Bynk Records); 13. Nate Smith (“Randy Pop!” w/ Randy Brecker – Piloo Records); 14. Jerome Jennings (“The Beast” – Iola Records); 15. Eric Harland (“1954” w/ Ricardo Grilli – Tone Rogue Records); 16. Bill Stewart (“Country For Old Men” w/ John Scofield – Impulse!)
The Best 25 Instrumental Jazz CDs
Randy Brecker: “Randy Pop!” (Piloo Records)
Dave Liebman & Richie Beirach: “Balladscapes” (Intuition)
Shunzo Ohno: “ReNew” (Pulsebeats Records)
Karolina Strassmayer & Drori Mondlak – Klaro: “Of Mystery And Beauty” (Lilypad Music)
Francisco Fattoruso: “Khronos” (Agadu/Cíclope)
Karl Latham w/ Mark Egan & Vic Juris: “Living Standards” (Dropzone Jazz Records)
Grupo Um: “Uma Lenda Ao Vivo” (Selo Sesc)
Wadada Leo Smith: “America’s National Parks” (Cuneiform Records)
Jane Ira Bloom: “Early Americans” (Outline)
Reggie Watkins: “Avid Admirer – The Jimmy Knepper Project” (Bynk Records)
Lupa Dantiago 4teto + Ed Neumeister: “Ubuntu” (Soundfinger)
Carlos Franzetti: “Argentum” (Sunnyside)
The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion: “The Heavy Metal Bebop Tour ’14 In Japan” – Ward Records)
Brian Andres And The Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel: “This Could Be That” (Bacalo Records)
Peggy Stern: “Z Octet” (Estrellas)
Andrea Brachfeld: “Lotus Blossom” (Jazzheads)
Gustavo Assis-Brasil: “Chromatic Dialogues” (Anamaria Records)
Russ Nolan: “Sanctuary From The Ordinary – Live at Firehouse 12” (Rhinoceruss Music)
Roberta Piket: “One For Marian – Celebrating Marian McPartland” (Thirteenth Note Records)
Mark Little & Joe Caploe: “The Shed” (Windmill Valley Recording)
Alphawellenreiter: “Evolution” (Phonector)
Richie Cole: “Plays Ballads & Love Songs” (RCP)
Jerome Jennings: “The Beast” (Iola Records)
Ricardo Grilli: “1954” (Tone Rogue Records)
Jarrett Cherner Trio: “Expanding Heart” (Bald Hill Records)
2016 Electric Bass: 1. Mark Egan (“Living Standards” w/ Karl Latham – Dropzone Jazz Records); 2. Neil Jason (“The Heavy Metal Bebop Tour ’14 In Japan” w/ The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion – Ward Records); 3. Steve Swallow (“Andando El Tiempo” w/ Carla Bley – ECM); 4. Francisco Fattoruso (“Khronos” – Agadu/Cíclope); 5. John Patitucci (“Randy Pop!” w/ Randy Brecker – Pillo Records); 6. Aaron Germain (“This Could Be That” w/ Brian Anders And The Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel – Bacalo Records); 7. Anthony Jackson (“Spark” w/ Hiromi – Telarc); 8. Matthew Garrison (“In Movement” w/ Jack DeJohnette – ECM); 9. Jimmy Johnson (“Way Back Home – Live From Rochester, NY” w/ Steve Gadd Band – BFM Jazz); 10. Dezron Douglas (“Wax & Wane” w/ Brandee Younger – Revive Music); 11. Tony Grey (“Chromatic Dialogues” w/ Gustavo Assis-Brasil – Anamaria Records)
2016 Electric Guitar: 1. Barry Finnerty (“The Heavy Metal Bebop Tour ’14 In Japan” w/ The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion – Ward Records); 2. Vic Juris (“Living Standards” w/ Karl Latham – Dropzone Jazz Records); 3. Pat Metheny (“The Unity Sessions” – Nonesuch); 4. Ricardo Grilli (“1954” – Tone Rogue Records); 5. Lupa Santiago (“Ubuntu” – Soundfinger); 6. Gustavo Assis-Brasil (“Chromatic Dialogues” – Anamaria Records); 7. Dirk Bell (“Evolution” w/ Alphawellenreiter – Phonector); 8. Peter Bernstein (“Let Loose” – Smoke Sessions); 9. John Scofield (“Country For Old Men” – Impulse!); 10. Eric Susoeff (“Plays Ballads & Love Songs” w/ Richie Cole – RCP); 11. Fabrizio Sotti (“Forty” – Sotti Entertainment)
Karl Latham Living Standards “Low Rider”
Karl Latham Living Standards “Day Tripper”
Karl Latham Living Standards “Tomorrow Never Knows”