Brandi Disterheft, "Gratitude" (Justin Time). What is it that Bette Midler always used to sing - "You've Got to Have Friends"? This 27-year-old bassist from Vancouver has them. Oscar Peterson, of all people, had this to say about her for the world's publicists: "She has the same lope or rhythmical pulse as my late bass player Ray Brown. She is what we call serious." Which, of course, is a little bit like a young trumpet player being compared to Dizzy Gillespie or Miles Davis. Then there are the musicians on this disc - trumpet player Sean Jones, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Gregory Hutchinson and flutist Anne Drummond. As Peterson might have said, those are "serious" friends for a 27-year old jazz bass player. The title composition of her disc is short (only three minutes) and altogether beautiful. But then she does indeed swing with a "lope" Ray Brown might have liked behind Herring and Jones on "Mizmahta." And what she does to Les McCann and Eddie Harris' incomparably rude truth-telling "Compared to What" is, no doubt about it, cool any way you look at it. Don't ask how jazz suddenly got so many creative and formidable female jazz bass players who also like to sing. Just enjoy it - here, for instance. OOO (Jeff Simon)

Beka Gochiashvili, "Self-Titled" (Exitus). When Chick Corea came to perform on the Buffalo waterfront for one of the most awaited jazz events of recent years, he couldn't wait to tell his preconcert interviewer (me) all about this 16-year-old pianist from Tblisi, Georgia. When Corea's band played a European tour, the then-15 year-old blew their minds quite nicely. Corea's great bass player Stanley Clarke is currently telling everybody he can that this recording debut by the teenage pianist from Europe is the most exciting debut by a young musician since a teenage Tony Williams started playing with Miles Davis (back then, special permission needed to be granted to have Williams play his drums at clubs where he couldn't himself drink). Corea's former drummer Lenny White produced Gochiashvili's debut here and plays on it. The young pianist is every bit as exciting as his elders have been saying. And White did him justice by the myriad players he surrounded him with besides himself and Clarke: bassists John Pattitucci, Victor Bailey and Ben Williams, trumpet player Wallace Roney, alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw and guitarist Tom Guarna. It would have been a terrific jazz debut if Gochiashvili had been 28. That he's a teenage prodigy makes it all the sweeter news. OOO½ (J.S.)

Ron Miles with Bill Frisell and Brian Blade, "Quiver" (Enja-Yellow Bird). That's right. No bass player here, which tells you only part of how unconventional this trio of players is prepared to be. In the notes, the great jazz guitar force Frisell has this to say about trumpet player Miles "I don't think I've ever met anyone quite so stoic, no matter what is going on around him. He has some sort of internal power. . some sort of incredible center he just will not budge from. . Whatever the path he is on at the moment, when it comes to conceiving music, he'll take it as far as he can go." The result is chamber jazz with lavish wit, surprise and no small beauty. Wait until you hear "Just Married" here with its ultra-spare trio playing folk jazz as incongruous as the music of the Jimmy Giuffre once was. New Orleans drummer Brian Blade was born for this. OOO½ (J.S.)


Howard Shore, Music for "Cosmopolis" performed by Metric (Howe). Whether or not the movie by David Cronenberg ever plays in Buffalo is an interesting question. Even with Cronenberg's history of making cinematic near-successes out of books that should have been impossible to adapt (William S. Burroughs' "Naked Lunch," J.G. Ballard's "Crash"), Don DeLillo's "Cosmopolis" was about as tough to adapt into a movie as they come. (OK, maybe not as hard as "Cloud Atlas" but that's another story.) Nor was Cronenberg's cause aided much by his star Robert Pattinson. But soundtrack composer Howard Shore, bless him, was right there front and center doing his bit for Cronenberg's film, just the way he once did for "Naked Lunch" (with Ornette Coleman, no less, as guest soloist). It's a long, pounding electronic throb, somewhat reminiscent of Tangerine Dream's score for Michael Mann's "Thief." It's so good that it works as a completely separate entity from the film. OOO (J.S.)


Carl Nielsen, Symphony No.3 "Sinfonia Espansiva," and Symphony No.2 "The Four Temperaments" performed by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert (Da Capo). It was, let's remember, Leonard Bernstein's New York Philharmonic recording of Carl Nielsen's great fifth symphony - with its angry war-era snare drums making war on its string ostinatos - that almost instantly vaulted the piece into a common orchestral showpiece in America from what had previously been the Danish composer's modest reputation on this side of the Atlantic. When great orchestras and conductors began en masse exploring Nielsen's other symphonies they discovered music that, if it didn't quite have the dramatic sturm and drang of his Fifth, had more than its share of power and sturdy authority. Few anywhere question that he was Denmark's greatest composer. Here is the beginning of a new complete Nielsen symphonies cycle - in this case taken from live performance in Avery Fisher Hall in 2011 and this year. Fine performances of fine music but needless to say they don't have the same vividness of New York Philharmonic Nielsen performances when the music was new to American ears. OOO (J.S.)

Montsalvatge, Piano Music, Vol. 3, Jordi Maso and Miquel Villalba, Pianos, Pia Freund, soprano (Naxos). Catalan composer Xavier Montsalvatge (1912-2002) is known mostly for a beautiful, mournful Moorish lullaby, included in a lot of lullaby compilations. He had a gift, though, for writing for the piano, incorporating jazz and blues and the classical and religious traditions of his native land. This disc, part of an ongoing survey of his piano music for Naxos, is a fascinating grab bag. In 1998, Alicia de Larrocha asked Montsalvatge in 1998 for an encore piece - the result was "Homage," not show-offy as you might expect, but wistful and poetic. "The Three Divertimentos on Themes of Forgotten Composers" and "Barcelona Blues" are lovely, jazzy pieces, a refreshing change for when you are on Gershwin overload and want something different. The disc is tougher going as it goes on, but it would reward repeated listening. It ends with "Five Invocations to the Crucified Christ," a stark composition that Montsalvatge regarded as one of his favorite pieces. Rarely performed because of its instrumental demands (including complex percussion) it puts you in the time and place of the composer's childhood, when Holy Week processions filled him with fear and wonder. OOO½ (Mary Kunz Goldman)
Paul Lewis, Schubert, Works for Piano, Vol. 2 (Harmonia Mundi). Lewis, frequently heard playing piano in recordings of Schubert songs, is an uninhibited player with a natural sound. He doesn't fuss over this music. Instead you get the sense he is following it to see where it goes, a good approach, especially in the long and winding roads of the "Wanderer" Fantasy. Lewis' way is his own. You sense something different right at the start of the "Wanderer" Fantasy, when he lavishly pedals the big chords. I love him for including the Sonata No. 16, D. 845. Someone was pointing out on the radio recently that most of Schubert's sonatas are underperformed - they're long, and they don't fit neatly into a recital program. Like all of Schubert's music, they are so beautiful you can't stand it. This is music to treasure and go through life with. By the way I love Lewis' look, like a weathered British rocker. OOOO (M.K.G.)