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Speakin' Out

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Album Review

For their second album, the New Stories trio pretty much follows the same blueprint it used for its first album for setting its program, mostly originals with a few pop and jazz standards added on. The major difference from the initial outing is the addition of hard blowing tenor sax man Ernie Watts on some of the tracks. When he's there, he forces a change in the group's playing modus operandi. With hard bopper Watts on board, there's little time for the kind of introspection heard on their first release. Watts clearly challenges the group to loosen up and let it all hang out, which it does on such cuts as "The Jordy Strut." But this is not entirely a hard blowing session. The one pop standard, "My One and Only Love" gets a melodic working over, led by Marc Seales' gently foraging piano. This cut is one of several where Doug Miller shows he is a true virtuoso on bass. His role is in no way limited to the traditional four to the beat rhythm, but is melodically expansive. Watts sits this cut out. He also sits out a finely chiseled interpretation of a song not recorded nearly enough, "So Near, So Far." The same can't be said of Pat Metheny's "In Her Family," which, despite the efforts of the trio, rambles. Watts returns on a strong, compelling performance of Miller's "Speakin' Out." This piece recalls some of the dissonance work of the Thelonious Monk Quartet when Charlie Rouse was the horn player. Somewhat more adventurous than their first outing, this album solidifies New Stories as a leading member of the modern piano jazz trio fraternity.

Customer Reviews

hehe i have a song named after me!!!!

my name is jordan but ppl call me jordy and theres a song called the jordy strut!! i have a strut, i have a strut... anyway, ill give it four stars cause they were nice enough to name a song after me. and because the song highway blues is a sample song that came on my computer!!! is it on anybody else's?

Great song, but doesn't it belong to Coltrane?

I first heard "Highway Blues" on Windows XP Pro (forgive me Apple) as a Windows Media sampler tune and when I heard it, I knew I'd heard this song somewhere else before. I then promptly checked my music library on my Powerbook G4 (that should exonerate me) and I perused through my jazz collection to find one of Coltrane's songs called "Cousin Mary" off of one of his many "The Very Best of Coltrane" albums. I realized that both Coltrane's "Cousin Mary" and New Stories' "Highway Blues" were essentially the same song aside from the latter being played at a much slower tempo. Other than that, the two songs are almost identical in sound: a punchy walking bass, a steady percussive beat, a piano providing rhythm, and a busty saxaphone leading the tune. I give 4 stars for packing a nice rendition of Coltrane's "Cousin Mary". I would've give then 5 stars, but they decided to rename the song "Highway Blues", failing to acknowledge Coltrane at all.


fantastic album i would recomend it to any jazz listener. and just because highway blues is similar to cousin mary doesn't mean its necessary to credit trane. Jazz musicians do this all the time with tunes. Writing new melodies over similar chords is inundated throughout jazz history.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

New Stories, a Seattle-based jazz trio specializing in post-bop, was formed in 1988. The members are pianist Marc Seales, bassist Doug Miller, and drummer John Bishop. New Stories is quite possibly the premiere jazz trio in the Pacific Northwest (winning Earshot Jazz awards for Best Acoustic Group three times), and the group divides their time roughly equally between trio performances and solo projects. Pianist Seales has won the Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award for Best Instrumentalist in 1999 and...
Full Bio
Speakin' Out, New Stories
View in iTunes
  • $7.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 20, 1999

Customer Ratings