jazz/blues adds april 23, 2014

jazz
charlie hunter & scott amendola.  the cars.  self.  “Hiding” might be the subtitle to this collection of covers.  Our irreverent duo–drummer scott amendola and guitarist charlie hunter –honor their  musical influences:  the cars, hank williams, duke ellington, cole porter.  witty game of “name that tune” –if you can.
dave douglas.  riverside.  greenleaf.  Amazing, understated work from trumpeter dave douglas working at his new home, greenleaf.  perhaps, they began with ideas of jimmy giuffre (1921-2008)– reed master/composer/bandleader;  but where they went was joyous, improvised, a jazz home-run.  the “they” are douglas +  elder statesman steve swallow, electric bass;  the Montreal, Canada doxas brothers, chet on clarinet, tenor and jim @ the drums.  twelve-minute grand finale is just that.

omar hakim.  we are one.  OZmosis.  Multi-talented drummer/keyboardist omar hakim  has burnished jazz and pop credentials since the 1970′s: for every madonna, david bowie, nile (CHIC) rodgers,  weather report, sting gig,  there was work with marcus miller, miles davis, mike manieri and hakim’s  trio of OZ with pianist rachel Z who appears here.  Crafted third solo album– in 14 years;  adventurous jazz fusion band includes great guitar from chieli minucci; tenor by bobby fracheschini;  jerry brooks, bass;  synths, rachel z. + scott tibbs.

joe beck.  get me joe beck.  whaling city sound.  This man, joe beck (1945-2008), said the guitar is a six piece band;  his gift, on this posthumous release, is to take the familiar and surprise you– for example, a nine-minute manha de carnaval.  actually, he’s not afraid of long or the jazz standard.  trio rounds out with peter barshay on bass;  david rokeach @ drums;  soft spot in my heart for  coastal town No. Dartmouth, MA (near New Bedford) where  whaling city sound originates

eric alexander.  chicago fire.  highnote.  Tenor eric alexander leads an energetic quartet –harold mabern (alexander’s mentor), piano;  john webber, bass;  joe farnsworth @ drums –with trumpeter jeremy pelt  guesting.  playlist and performances celebrate Chicago heros– von freeman, johnny griffin, eddie harris, charles earland, sonny stitt.
yard byard: the jaki byard project.  inch by inch.  GM.  Following the metaphor,  the jb project consists of five musicians–none of them pianists–who played with jazz legend/pianist jaki byard:  jamie baum, flute, alto;  adam kolker, tenor, clarinets;  jerome harris, guitar;  ugonna okegwo, bass;  george schuller @ drums.  all byard compostions, newly arranged by band members, the setlist numbers twelve.  project=very intellectual, and humbled before the great man– i greatly missed byard’s unpredictable playing, and melodic piano .
louis armstrong.  live in amsterdam:  1959.  solar.  Exuberant louis armstrong performing at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw hall in 1959 a few months before the heart attack that subdued his European touring;  trummy young on trombone, peanuts hucko on clarinet, billy kyle at the piano, mort herbert, bass, danny barcelona@ drums.  just enjoy;  it’s a delight.
manhattan school of music/afro-cuban jazz orchestra.  que viva harlem.  jazzheads.  Memories of the musical intersection of east (Spanish) and west (black) Harlem get a dramatic treatment from the MSM jazz orchestra, directed by timbales master bobby sanabria.  kudos to the  many soloists, especially alto patrick bartley, this virtuostic recording is a fine calling card for the  MSM afro-cuban program.
eric reed.  the adventurous monk.  savant.  Dedicated to cedar walton (1934-2013), music by thelonious.  pianist eric reed is on a monk mission,  this cd, his third compositions by monk playlist, is not about tribute by imitation but rather deep diving into the timeless core of essential monk.  sidemen shine:  seamus blake, tenor;  ben williams, bass;  gregory hutchinson @ drums.
jazzbonez.  watch it.  summit.   Founded in 2006, jazzbonez is a stellar trombone ensemble from UT @ Austin;  five  tenor trombones + one bass trombone, &  four piece rhythm section.  award-winning, polished, engaging playlist.
oran etkins.  gathering light.  motema.   In my next life, i want to come back as a music producer for motema--continuing their work, that is both elegant and hearty.  israeli clarinetist, oran etkins, frames his  globe-trotting playlist with tales of found pieces of music…Israel (his birthplace), Indonesia, China.  A-list band:  etkins on clarinets, tenor;  ben allison, bass;  curtis fowlkes, trombone;  lionel loueke, guitar, vocal;  dynamic nasheet waits @ drums.

the nels cline singers.  macroscope.  mack avenue.  I have never achieved lift-off with this group, though individually –scott amendola, trevor dunn, cyro baptista– i follow their work.  the author, guitarist /composer nels cline wanders the extra-terrestrial route, away from the known–and i am lost.  probably i need to listen more;  the faithful, of which there are many, will find this and worship.

billy brandt.  the ballad of larry’s neighbor. self.  Seattle-based, singer-songwriter brandt gets great assistance from Pacific Northwest vocalists– the duets shine;  check out josephine howard on house of grace & daddy don’t leave, + carrie wicks on an expanded route 66.   (a popular performing name this billy brandt is not to be confused with America’s #1 porn star nor a crusty Detroit-based roots/country singer.)

blues

iguanas.  juarez.  piety street.   the fortunate could have heard this mighty band on the streets of New Orleans french quarter sunday, april 13.   if you weren’t there, this rhythmic gumbo does the trick.  wit, chops & compositional skills from a seasoned  group that loves to push sonic borders.

major and the monbacks.  monback house party.  self.  Norfolk, Va-based nine member party band boasts multiple guitars, percussion, horns.  Their set list runs the gamut from pop to  r&b to soul to blues to sky’s the limit.

john mayall.  a special life.   forty below.  Turning eighty, British bluesman john mayall has produced a gorgeous, personal studio recording, his first in five years;  new band includes rocky athas, guitar;  greg rzab, bass guitar/percussion;  jay davenport @ drums;  + c.j.chenier guesting with his accordion.  mostly originals with a nod to albert king and sonny landreth.

terry hanck band.  gotta bring it on home to you.  delta groove.  Intrepid surfer in a earlier life, tenor/singer/songwriter terry hanck & his men keep the East Bay, Ca.  blues clubs dancing.  Mostly originals playlist.


jazz /blues adds april 15, 2014

jazz

vijay iyer.  mutations.  ecm.  Gorgeous experiments from pianist/composer vijay iyer working with a string quartet and electronica.   recording is divided between 40 minute  suite-like mutations with strings, and solo piano reveries from earlier jazz trio work.  nods to philip glass;  stately elegance, categorically, perhaps crossover  “wet ink” classical music.

the bad plus.  the rite of spring.  masterworks.  More windows into classical music from jazz talent.  the bad plus trio–reid anderson, bass; ethan iverson, piano;  david king, drums–brings on igor stravinsky’s the rite of spring.  complete and with all the barn-burning intensity of the 1913 original.

regina carter.  southern comfort.  masterworks.  Bright, authentic arrangements  from the songbook of  American Creole and Appalachia;  the artist is Detroit-native, classically trained violinist regina carter looking deeply into the roots music of her ancestors.  all hits, from dennis mcgee’s blues de basile to gram parsons hickory wind.  the superb band–marvin sewell, jesse murphy, chris lightcap, will holshouser– shine modest beauty on the traditional song arrangements by a dozen different artists.

oscar peterson/ ben webster.  during this time.  NDR.  A cd/dvd combination featuring jazz giants pianist oscar peterson and tenor ben webster recorded  in Hannover, Germany at the NDR Jazz workshop, december 1972, just months before webster passed away in Amsterdam.  niels-henning orsted pedersen on bass, tony inzalaco at the drums;  seasoned quartet playing ellington classics, and webster originals.

marcus robertsfrom rags to rhythm.  j-master.  Twelve movement suite from New Orleans pianist marcus robert and trio:  rodney jordan, bass and jason marsalis, drums.  Ambitious, stirring, elegant, crossover music—plays better in its entirety, or as multi-segments than plucking out individual cues.

eric vloeimansnorth sea jazz legendary concerts.  bob city.   No one plays trumpet llike eric vloeimans–risky, tender, controlled, captain of the ship.  what we have here are cd + dvd.  cd includes fugimundi concert (Rotterdam)   with harmen fraanje, piano and anton goudsmit on guitar;    plus gatecrash show (Rotterdam) with jasper van hulten, drums; jeroen van vliet, fender;  gulli gudmundsson, bass.  but the dvd has many golden nuggets that deserve cd release in their own right.  rumor says vloeimans returns to Cville  fall, 2014.

mark egan.  about now.  wavetone.  Loved this;  trio led by bass guitarist mark egan with outstanding pianist mitchell forman and drummer danny gottlieb.  all originals;  often with the pat metheny group, egan has played with the many and mighty.

pete mcguinness.   strength in numbers.  summit.  Trombonist/arranger/vocalist pete mcguinness directs his jazz orchestra through a graceful playlist of mostly originals;  strong musicianship from what is primarily a woodwind & horn ensemble, and they swing.

charlie dennard.  from brazil to new orleans.  self.  Multi-keyboardist, composer, cirque de soleil musical director, charlie dennard loves his hometown new orleans, but believes that NoLa and Brazil  have musical affinities.  playlist includes luiz gonzaga’s asa branca, and many accordion-friendly  cues.  doug belote, drums;  brian seeger, guitar;  matt perrine, bass; steve masakowski, 7-string guitar.

david hazeltime.  for all we know.  smoke sessions.   Veteran jazz pianist david hazeltine tributes his influences with a stellar quartet:  seamus blake, tenor;  david williams, bass;  joe farnsworth, drums.   et cedra and my ship are dedicated to cedar walton;  eddie harris to that man;  cheryl to charie parker;

john la barbera.  caravan.  jazz compass.  Excellent arrangements from arranger/leader john la barbera for his big band.  originals and others playlist;  stand-outs include kenny barron’s voyage, jao bosco’s incompatible.

mo’fone.  ‘fonology.  self.  Bay Area funky jazz trio has invited guests to help them stir some New Orleans into their blistering sound.  the core– jeremy steinholer ( drums) + larry de la cruz (sax) + jim peterson (more sax, percussion)– adds in kirk joseph on sousaphone, marty wehner, trombone to their originals playlist.

blues

kenny “blues boss”  wayne.  rollin ‘with the blues boss.  stony plain.  Boogie woogie piano man/ vocalist kenny wayne, native of New Orleans, has taken his blues stride to Canada where he “cooks” in the clubs of Vancouver.  guests on this  recording include eric bibb and diunna  greenleaf.

josh hoyer.  and the shadowboxers.  self.  Out of the heartland, Lincoln, NE comes vocalist josh hoyer with an originals setlist, a six piece r&b/soul/funk band with a female vocals trio.  it’s a big, demanding sound;  more action from the kickstarter musical universe.

lil’ronnie & the bluebeats with claudia carawan.  unfinished business.  ellersoul.  Harmonicat ronnie owens joins with gospel vocalist claudia carawan and many other blues musicians to finish the work  of songwriting they started  back in the 1990′s.

blues mix 13.  grown folks soul.  ecko.  Soul compilations that includes ms. jody, donnie ray, sony mack, o.b. buchana.

jazz/blues adds april 1, 2014

 
jazz

monty alexander.  harlem-kingston express, vol.2:  the river rolls on.  motema.  Joyous and heartfelt  interpretations by legendary pianist monty alexander as he unveils drama, lightness and the political in Jamaican music that has shaped him.  personnel include –obed calvaire @ drums & vocalists caterina zapponi (mrs. a.) & wendel ferraro, plus veterans:  hassan shakur, bass;  courtney panton, percusssion;  andy bassford, guitar.   nothing bad here,   trust every cue;  another luscious motema production.

charlie hunter.  pucker.  sazi.  Lean, dreamy duets from WTJU favorite–the drum/7-string guitar team of scott amendola and charlie hunter, with amendola doing the writing.  an attitude of good times, keen wit, and two men doing the work of ten at this session.

jason kao kwang.  burning bridge.  innova.  Chinese-American jazz violinist  improvising with stellar octet, that mixes Western horns with Asian strings (pipa, erhu).  long, drifting cues:  joseph daley, tuba;  steve swell, trombone;   taylor ho bynum, cornet;  ken filiano, sun li, wang guowei–on strings; andrew drury, drums.

adam kromelowkrom.  self.  Discover this!  Muscular, genre-bending, tuneful trio work led by sensational pianist adam kromelow.  he came from chicago, studied at Manhattan School for Music with jason moran, vijay iyer; uniquely confident with a playlist of originals.  bassist raviv markovitz and percussionist jason burger–no slouches–make this trio reach the musical stars.

marcus robertsfrom rags to rhythm.  j-master.  Twelve movement suite from New Orleans pianist marcus robert and trio:  rodney jordan, bass and jason marsalis, drums.  Ambitious, stirring, elegant, crossover music—plays better in its entirety, or as multi-segments than plucking out individual cues.

bill banfield.  playing with other people’s heads:  songs.  sugo.  Out of Boston’s South End comes bill banfield’s collective, jazz urbane, a gigging ensemble dedicated to breathing  roots, r&b, soul, spoken word into contemporary jazz performance.  much care taken with the vocals, guest soloists;  banfield, guitar and composition, always.

jeff hackwork.  soul to go.  big bridge.  Classic organ quartet led by NYC tenor jeff hackworth;  ed cherry on guitar, vince ector, drums, and radam schwartz at the B-3.  playlist mixes the old and the original.

steve fidyk.  heads up!. posi-tone.  Drummer/educator (Temple University) steve fidyk performs mostly originals with his quintet:  terell stafford on horns; tim warfield, tenor;  shawn purcell, guitar; regan brough, bass.

matthew kaminski.  swingin on the new hammond.  chicken coop.  He’s the Atlanta Braves organist!  new release showcases some classic B-3 gems– she by charles aznavour, and turn to stone.  justin varnes on drums, and the singular voice on dave stryker on guitar.

dave chamberlain’s band of bonescaravan.  self.  In that bag of (trom)bones there are eight including leader dave chamberlain. plus multi-octave vocalist kat gang, kenny asher @ piano; mike campenni + chembo corneil on percussions,  jerry devore, bass.  Swinging, smooth, classic playlist with rhythmic arrangements by chamberlain.

david bromberg.  forth & back.  cap.  Originally from a Tucson, AZ musical famly, drummer bromberg works in NYC, & his debut recording includes bassist, christian fabian; reed man, bill vint;  keyboardist, steve hunt.  all originals playlist.

blues

jones family singers.  the spirit speaks.  arts+labor.   Three generation gospel collective that incorporates soul, r & b into contemporary church music.

lisa mann.  move on.  self.   West Virginia native, lisa mann sings with gusto and plays bass;  having explored genres from “Metal to Memphis”, here she gathers a team of Pacific Northwest blues musicians.

wildcat o’halloran.  party up in heaven.  self.   Blues-ing in Western Massachusetts ( Northhampton), wildcat  writes, sings, and plays guitar.

core band fleshed out with many guest “angels” for the party.  ballad “crossing off” inflects a chris smithers influence, nicely.

christian collin.  american art.  c-train. Singer/songwriter/guitarist dedicated to roots music but willing to blend in many tangents–soul, country, folk.  core band of bass, drums, keys  folds in generous horn section.


jazz/blues adds march 25, 2014

jazz

mike longo.  step on it. cap.  Outstanding trio led by pianist mike longo includes bob cranshw on bass and lewis nash on drums.  playlist covers the who’s who of jazz classics:  weill’s my ship; herbie’s cantaloupe island; a trio of wayne shorter famous titles; and a deep, throaty poinciana.

tom tallitsch.  ride.  posi-tone.  This band, led by tenor ted tallitsch, throws a forceful harmonic net over each cue–whether covering led zeppelin’s ten years gone, or  exploring tallitsch’s original compositions.  stellar partners are:  rudy royston, drums;  michael dease, trombone; art hirahara, piano;  peter brendler, bass.

eddie allen.  push.  edjalen music 505.   New York trumpeter  eddie allen leads a smooth septet with double keyboards, a trio of horns, bass & drums.  nearly all originals setlist;  keith loftis, don tucker, misha tsiganov, kenny davis, ej strickland.

antonio adolfo.  rio, choro, jazz.  aam.  Tribute to Brazilian composer, ernesto nazareth (1863-1934), inventor of the choro, a musical style and dance form, unique to Rio is produced by pianist/musicologist antonio adolfo.  other musicians are claudio spiewak, guitar;  jorge helder, bass; marcelo martins, rafael barata, marcos suzano.

yossi tamim.  one movement.  self.   Jazz & string quartet merge for all originals playlist.  Israeli guitarist/composer yossi tamim draws from Jewish songs, classical  & traditional works for his meditative, crossover recording.  jim ridl, tim horner, tom dicarlo + wende namkung, hector falcon, liuh-wen ting, rubin kodheli.

belle plaine.  notes from a waitress.  13th ave.  A donation from peter jones /wtju folk department;  belle plaine, aka melanie hankewich, uber- prairie girl from Canada  has traveled widely burnishing her songwriting and vocal skills– australia, victoria, alberta, etc.  her originals (with pianist jeremy sauer) playlist nods to tom waits and peggy lee.  all emotions seem happily available to her, with confidence.

various.  the beatles jazz tribute.  highnote.  Beatles tributes from the highnote  label roster:  sheila jordan on little blackbird;  norman simmons on eleanor rigby;  larry coryell with something;  and a trio of covers by guitarist joel harrison.

jeremy wilms.  diamond people. self.   Very DTY production:  music is sturdy, but no accurate musician or compostional credits.  guitarist wilms has been toiling in the jazz fields forever– played with many–most recently on tour with the bill t. jones broadway show of fela.  playlist feels original.

terrence brewer.  mosaic: setting the standard, volume two. strong brew.  San Fran, CA. guitarist  brewer is not shy about his love for the music of wes montgomery.  Standards playlist interpretated by  jarrett cherner–piano;  gabe davis, bass;  lorca hart, drums.  FYI:  this disc would not play for me, literally.

native jazz quartet.  njq:  stories.  cap.  The hook here is native melodies representing musical communities far and wide:  drummer ed littlefield  comes from the Tlingit people of SE Alaska;  vibist jason marsalis from the rich Creole tradition of New Orleans;  pianist reuel lubag brings Filipino folk songs;  bassist christian fabian, anthemic music from the Swedish-German axis.

brian charette.  square one.  posi-tone.  Grammy-nominated, and “one of the best of the new breed of B-3 players–downbeat“,  organist brian charette works with yotam silberstein on guitar, mark ferber on drums in this high energy, mostly originals release.

marc seales.  american songs, vol.2: blues …and jazz.  origin.   Northwest pianist/educator/ composer seales revisits the elmo hope bop tradition, though with more fret members:  fred hamilton on guitar;  jeff johnson & dave captein sharing the double & electric bass duties;  and gary hobbs on drums.  polished.

rachel eckroth.  let go.  virgo sun.  Triple threat:  Brooklyn-based pianist/composer with gorgeous vocal talent.  originals, eclectic arrangements.

leslie pintchik.  in the nature of things.   pintch hard.  Fourth release from former Columbia University literature professor, now jazz pianist/composer pintchik working with regular bassist scott hardy + horn chorus– steve wilson on tenor, ron horton on trumpet, and double percussion from michael sarin and satoshi takeishi.  originals, nearly all.

blues

arthur migliazza.  laying it down.  hobemian.   Blues and boogie woogie pianist arthur migliazza plays originals, fats domino, louis prima, a.ammons + more.  many co-stars on the band–harmonicats, fiddler, percussion and drums, deep  & electric string.  on the heels of his very successful tour in Russia where they love to boogie.

johnny cox.  thin blue line.   self.   Eleven original songs from blues vocalist/guitartist johnny cox who emigrated from Scotland in 1985 to Canada so as to get closer to the blues source.  band features ansgar schroer on the lesser-known, but truly fine,  chromatic harmonica.

ray fuller & bluesrockers.  live @ buddy’s guy’s legends.  azuretone.  ” an unstoppable force of rockin blues energy”, guitarist/vocalist/now-slide-guitar  ray fuller has been around and learned from the masters.  when he’s not touring, he’s playing with the boys at buddy guy’s esteemed Chicago club legends where this cd was recorded live.

the holmes brothers.  brotherhood.   alligator.   Juke joint and the church are both praised in the dozen recordings sherman and wendall holmes have made since beginning (1979) and leaving Christchurch, Va for blues venues of New York City.  good stuff , some with catherine russell on vocals;  sherman on bass; wendell on electric guitar, popsy dixon, drums, many guests.

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jazz /blues adds march 19,2014

jazz

eric vloeiman.  oliver’s cinema.  northstar.   Our man in Holland, eric vloeiman, has gone a wandering and found himself  some new co-stars:  German cellist, jorg brunkman, and Belgian accordionist , tuur florizoone.  is there anyone who knows how to play soft, better than vloeiman? so, no surprise that he found a subtle squeezebox player.    all the while “agile & pert”–e.v.   and I am, shamelessly, persuaded that a playlist with movie themes is la creme of listening.

ambrose akinmusire.  the imagined savior is far easier to paint.  blue note. Title(s) aside, wade into young trumpeter akinmusire’s  second cd, featuring regular bandmates:  walter smith, tenor; harish raghaven, bass; justin brown, drums.  new members–pianist sam harris and vocalists– becca stevens, cold specks, theo bleckmann–jump the originals playlist out of the ordinary.

lisa hilton.  kaleidoscope.  self.  LA classically trained jazz pianist hilton with a great quartet– tenor j.d. allen;  larry grenadier, bass; marcus gilmore, drums– working  a spirited playlist, many originals.  Gorgeous playing, highly impressionistic–every instrumental voice sharing the spotlight.
da lata.  fabiola.  agogo.  Strings, kora & trombones, bound together by Bahian samba drums that would make Olodum proud,  Londoners chris franck & patrick forge first recorded da lata in 1994–as Afro-Brazilian house/dance/jam band.  10 years later, from the studio, their dedication continues.  international guest vocalists:  Cape Verdean mayra andrade; jandira silva, dennis rollins, luisa maita;  steaming arrangements.  stop, look and LISTEN.
fareed haque.  trance hypothesis.  delmark.  Chicago fusion guitarist (via Chile & Pakistan) fareed haque working with his fat earth ensemble brings the tabla (shivalik ghoshal) , oud (essam rafea) & sitar (indrajit banerjee)  into a large jazz group that also includes the B-3 (tony monaco).    Indian cues shine:  hymn of the ancients, saba, sristi, and title track.
billy hart quartet.  one is the other.  ecm.    Seventy-three year old drummer billy hart brings multi-genre-ed jazz experience to his young bloods quartet:   elegant pianist ethan iverson and resourceful tenor mark turner share the lyrical moments as ben street on bass, and leader/composer hart keep time, energy and line.
ian carey + ben stolorow.  duocracy.  kabocha.  Trumpet/piano duo take on the American songbook looking for simplicity and sophistication.  loved playlist selections, especially two for the road.
barbara martin + vince lewis.  fresh air.  vinbara.  Locals– vocalist (martin), guitar (lewis), bassist (paul langosch)–settle into an acoustic playlist of originals and freshly interpreted standards.  recorded at the packing shed, Lovingston, VA.
adam rongo.  tell your story.  d:clef.  Debut cd from Michigan-native, alto/tenor player rongo draws on favorite classics and originals;  core band includes michael dease (rongo’s mentor) on trombone;  ulysses owens jr, drums;  rodney whitaker, bass; emmet cohen, piano  + etienne charles, behn gillece, randy napoleon.
mr. confuse.  do you realize.  legere.   Hanover, Germany dj and music producer generates funk & message in 2012 release.  dance tracks, mixed with political anthems,   lots of guest vocalists– dan salem, lady emz, elaine thomas.  a curious window into the universe of European music trends where America’s groove past provides the engine.
the pepper pots.  we must fight.  double back.  Old school soul from Girona, Catalonia (near Barcelona), Spain;  8 guys, 2 women, 10 years, , 6 cds, 400 shows.  not exactly the supremes‘ vocal complexity, or motown‘s song writing chops, but positive politics for the young is a philosophical +.  please visit here.
legere samplervarious.  legere.  more to tempt you from the gang that gets out the funk.  sampler includes artists, new to us;  bridget cooper, the impellers, kerbside collection, pitch & scratch.
blues
terry quiett. taking sides.  lucky bag.  Coming out of Witchita, Kansas, TQB consists of singer/songwriter/guitarist terry quiet; bass player nathan johnson, rodney baker on drums plus guests:  Mississippi hal reed, blues harp;  brad turgeon + jordan northerns, horns;  scott williams, keyboards.
terry davidson & the gears.   sonic soul sessions.  bangshift.   The gears, out of Ohio,  have been blues-ing for almost 3 decades:  terry davidson– guitar, mandolin,vocals;  bill geist–guitar, percussion;  bob hanners–drums;  mike gilliland, harmonica, guitar.  guests, original playlist
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tess barr.  do what you want.  barbarian.  All originals playlist  from Pacific Northwest-based exuberant blues singer/songwriter;  the core band includes barr on vocals/guitar;  patrik barr, slide guitar;  paul viemeister, bass guitar;  cheo larcombe, drums.
john lyons.  sing me another song.  self.   Michigan-born, Switzerland-resident, blues man john lyons  tells a story of lost loves in his new cd;  European band includes simon britschgi–drums; matthew savnik– keys;  gabriel spahni–bass;  lyons–vocals/guitar/composition.


jazz/blues adds march 11, 2014

jazz

snarky puppy.  we like it here.  ropeadope.  New–  from the “puppy”– comes with advance praise from dj tim schwarz across the Asian pond in Singapore.  though recorded @ kytopia studios in Utrecht, NL, bassist michael league’s liner notes tell a story of 7 years American toil followed by a blazing european tour.  no two cues are alike, and it’s a big puppy: 20-40 musicians in the collective.  the puppy got its start @ UT in Denton TX, now based in Brooklyn.

revolutionary snake ensemble.  live snakes. accurate.  Boston-based musicians, led by reed master ken field, the snakes do well with their mardi gras inspired tribute to filmmaker karen aqua  (who was field’s wife).  the center piece is the free jazz for karen which flows into i’ll fly away, classic NoLa funeral stuff.  lots and lots of horns;  rest are rhythm.

bahama soul club.   the cuban tapes.  buy-u.  Club music inspired by classic film, I am Cuba (mikhail kalatozov, 1964), produced by the German studio of olivier belz & andre neundorf.  new Cuban voices–telmary, arema arega, danay suarwez plus tracks of bessie smith, ruthie foster.  eddie filipp, drums;  horns:  york, kervin barreto.  infectious.

gene ludwig-pat martino trio.  young guns.  highnote.  Rich organ-guitar-drums trio from 1968-69.  pat martino on guitar;  Pittsburgh pretender to the throne of jimmy smith, gene ludwig at the organ and Ohio drummer randy gillespie have at it.  long,  mellow and fiery, cues set a very high barre;  the trio would be around for only 2 years.  if you like the B-3, & jazz guitar–martino and ludwig together, can’ t stop the fever.
bruce barth.  daybreak.  savant.  Vibes and piano, trumpet, bass & drums-that’s the lineup:  barth, piano & leader;  steve nelson,vibes;  terell stafford, horns;  vicente archer and montez coleman keep the rhythm.  classically trained, on his 13th recording, barth explores the bop /post-bop piano of his teacher jaki byard.
organic trio.  home remembered.  uno.  More from New Orleans.  jazz guitarist brian seeger, hammond B-3, organist jean-yves jung, and drummer paul wiltgen celebrate their European tour’s conclusion with this all originals cd.  produced by the music department @ university of new orleans.
cindy scott.  historia.  catahoula.  New Orleans vocalist cindy scott with jazz chops and a soft bluesy purr.  eclectic, never boring, playlist;  solid band–randy porter, piano;  dan loomis, bass;  jamison ross, drums + guest vocalistt karrin allyson, & local hero brian seeger (see above).
david “fathead” newman.  cellar groove with tilden webb trio.  cellar live.  Precious cargo from the archives of the late Cellar Jazz club;   2004, music legend newman (1933-2009) played this Vancouver gig with verve and maturity– duke pearson’ cristo redentor, pure poetry.
with tilden webb @ the piano;  jodi proznick, bass;  jesse cahill drums.
mike allen quartet with hugh fraser.  panorama.  cellar live.  West-coast classic jazz ensemble with all originals playlist:  leader/tenor/soprano mike allen added in hugh fraser’s trombone to his Vancouver-based group:  miles black, piano;  adam thomas, bass;  julian macdonough, drums.  finely-tuned jazz  from cory weeds’ cellar live catalog.
fat thumbs ronnie time to shine.  legere.  Unity Sextet piano wizard fat thumbs ronnie celebrates all things keyboard-esque and synthesized.  playlist is cast on a slight frame, perhaps a film narrative, or a novel;  think mood not details, but always those sound effects telling you to sit back relax and enjoy the drive.
new mastersounds.  therapy.  legere.  Funky-ambient with tangents of soul, and a hypnotic-house beat that creeps into retro styling.  band came out of Leeds, England, now multi-national; eddie roberts, simon allen, joe tatton, peter shand=instrumentalists, kim dawson, vocals.
the funky mamas.  funky mama.  goodfellas.  the funky mamas are not only guys but they are originally from southern Italy;  funk, with a big badass horn section is what they play.  long nighttime cues.
blues

smokewagon blues band.  live in hamilton.  indie pool/canada.   Smokewagon– led by vocalist/harmonicat corey lueck– spotlights the blues scene in Hamilton, Ontario with their live recording.  though most cues really roll and move, nothing is as good as their # 1, a cover of bill withers’ ain’t no sunshine.  great  sax– gordon aeichele;  bass, jason colvecchia;  drums, tibor lukacs;  piano, nick succi;  and guitar, mike stubbs.
nick moss  band.  time ain’t free.  blue bella.  Blues guitarist/harmonicat from Chicago takes on 70′s rock & rock with an R&B twist;  lots of good in this batch;  excellent keys from bryan rogers;  drums, patrick seals;  michael ledbetter, guitar, composition;  matthew wilson, bass.
johnny drummer.  bad attitude.  earwig.  Original, slightly goofy tunes, from Chicago blues man self-named because at the time he played the drums;  now, he sings, plays organ, harmonica, writes.  Good band, excellent arrangements.
patti parks.  cheat ‘n man.  self.  Seasoned blues band from Buffalo, NY, parks writes her own stuff,, sings with gusto and takes her blues invasion into soul, R&B, and even a little gospel.  stellar horn section led by gerry youngman, nick salamone, paul vanacore.


jazz/blues adds march 4, 2014

jazz

norma winstone.  dance without answerecm.  Art-song goddess winstone takes her time and her method with a song;   her fourth collaboration with German clarinetist/soprano sax klaus gesing and  Italian pianist glauco venier is as pristinely harmonic as 2008′s distances.  in this batch of tunes, vocalist winstone applies her  spare lyrics to originals and covers some beauties.

kate mcgarry and keith ganz.  genevieve & ferdinand.  sunnyside.  Duets between husband and wife: vocalist mcgarry  & guitarist ganz deliver the best of past and forward singer-songwriter expessions.  songs not-so-known gleam from their playlist, among them devon sproule’s plea for a good night’s rest, and her partner, paul curreri’s beneath a crozet trestle bridge.  exquisite seems correct.

the unity sextet.  eponymous.  legere.  Good to the very last cue.  Analysis: dedicated to the power of the instrumental, looking to Horace Silver bop-riffs as well as Parisian jazz, circa 1960′s, but don’t forget the Now.  Racing, dancing;  everybody in, everybody out.  Fun and joy.the boys from SW England ( Exeter) include buddy franco, junior oliver; fat thumbs ronnie, cassius farqhuar, chuck wadron, fats young jr.

caroline lacaze en route.  legere.  Remembering the sounds of French chanteuse, francoise hardy and music of serge gainsbourg,  vocalist lacaze debuts with a message of originals and vivd retro style.  bandmates are the superb mocambo sound electric orchestra.  compositions by bjorn wagner.
nick pride and the pimp tones.  rejuiced phat shake.  legere.  Three for three from the Hamburg, Germany legere label, nick pride+ hails from Newcastle, drives a similar musical bus to  sharon jones & co.–vocalist featured–but drops easily into funky/deep jazz instrumental edges.  pride on guitar; oscar cassidy, drums;  ian paterson, bass;  keith nicholson, trumpet; tom quilliam, saxophone.

kris bowers.  heroes + misfits.  concord.  Classically trained jazz pianist, winner of the 2011 monk competition, kris bowers’  thoughtful, high energy cd celebrates what shaped him:   music conservatory, hip-hop; LA;  the deep past of jazz, blues and soul.  young, brave, and connected-up to other risk-taking musicians;  bowers on piano, the fender, synthies;  casey benjamin, alto; kenneth whalum II, tenor; adam agate, guitar; jamire williams, drums.

brad mehldau & mark guiliana.  mehliana: taming the dragon.  nonesuch.  Nothing familiar in these duets from brad mehldau, formerly of  art of the trio format and  mark guiliana, drummer with beat music.   welcome to the universe of electronics, lots of swirl, buzz;  Mr. Fender is front and center, Mr. Steinway, tucked in the closet.  the dragon to be tamed, his name is electricity.

jacques schwarz-bart.  jazz racine haiti.  motema.   Modern jazz and Haitian ritual music find each other in tenor sax/composer jacques schwarz-bart’s revelatory cd.   raised by writers–Guadeloupan novelist simone schwarz-bart and french journalist andre schwarz-bart, jacques was destined for the halls of Parisian politics when he made an abrupt turn into the arms of Berklee School of Music.  his strong path led to this daunting, but gorgeous, exploration of voodoo music.  with etienne charles, trumpet;  obed calvaire, drums;  reggie washington, bass,, gregory privat, piano + guests.

adam smale.  out of the blue.  self.  US  debut from Toronto 7-string finger-style guitar master adam smale who plays with authority and technique:  mostly originals playlist, quartet setting.

pete robbins.  pyramind.  self.  Alto player peter robbins fronts a classic trio with extraordinary musicians:  the deliberate vijay iyer on piano, eivind opsvik on bass, tyshawn sorey on drums.  originals and covers that range from witchita lineman– that’s a popular cover these days– to pop gold in nirvana’s  lithium and guns ‘n roses’ pyramid.

javon jackson.  expressions.  smoke sessions.  Polished, elegant playlist from tenor javon jackson who has played with everyone –as a youngster, one of art blakey’s messengers; then with the incomparable elvin jones, later with freddie hubbard.  all that schoolin’ shows:  orrin evans, piano; corcoran hold, bass;  mcclenty hunter, drums.

shawn maxwellalliance.  chicago sessions.  Chicago multi-insstrumentalist shawn maxwell shows off his compositional skills in this “suite for ten:   2 french horns,  2 basses, guitar, soprano sax, drums , vibes, voice, + all the reeds maxwell plays.  shorties, tone poems–aiming for a mood on the free jazz side.

blues

markiss blowfish.  come along with me.  self.   Neighboring bluesman from Richmond, mark branch–aka, markiss blowfish;   singer, songwriter branch plays with bassist chuck kerwath, and winston gravely on percussion.

bernie pearl.  take your time bee bump.  Fantastic trip to the old days with guitarist (sometimes lap steel) vocalist bernie pearl, his versatile band, and duet partner, vocalist barbara morrison.  so many tunes to love:  the bible and blues set;  a Mississippi raga, and irreverence from my new compositional hero,  mance lipscomb.

lisa biales.  belle of the blues.  big song.  Strong sultry voice, gorgeously produced blues from the “belle of the blues.”  band shines– includes paul hornsby, piano;  bill stewart, drums;  tommy talton, dobro & e.g. kight, guitar;  randall bramblett, B-3., johnny fountain, bass .

john nemeth.  memphis grease blue corn.  One of the best contemporary blues/soul revivalists showcases his excellent songwriting talents & blues award winning band the bo-keys.  nemeth, plays blues harp, sings, runs his 8-man band as one finely tuned instrument.


jazz/blues adds february 26, 2014

jazz

amy cervini.  jazz country.  anzic.  A gem, not to be missed, jazz vocalist amy cervini re-thinks country music.  her background–Toronto, music conservatory initially in alto + voice–gives her style  beauty and uniqueness.  produced by matt wilson, core band = cervini,  jesse lewis, guitar; matt aronoff, bass  plus stellar guests–anat cohen, gary versace, nellie mckay, marty erlich.

stacey kent.  the changing lights.  parlophone/wb.   Brazil, a region of the heart, gets exquisite treatment from vocalist stacey kent.  playlist surveys the well-known and lesser Brazilian composers, plus originals from kent’s collaborator husband, jim tomlinson & writer kazuo ishiguro.    kent sings like a native in many languages but her Portuguese is soft, with clear musical drifts.  always a pleasure.

jeff ballard.  time’s tales.  OKeh.  Great balance between originals and classics in this sophisticated  debut (as a leader) recording from drummer jeff ballad.  trio rounds out with miguel zenon, alto and lionel louecke, guitar as they cover Cuban troubadour silvio rodriguez, george gershwin, and bela bartok.  multiple listens required to get under complete musical umbrella.

frank wess.  magic 201.  IPO.   In 2013 flutist/tenor frank wess died at the age of 91; he had played with  count basie, ben webster,  lester young.   His two posthumous releases– magic  101 and  magic 201–are old school sessions that surrender to the unhurried, to ballads with silent lyrics.  make his acquaintance if you don’t know him.   piano, kenny barron;  guitar, russell malone;  rufus reid, bass;  winard harper, drums.

rudy royston.  303.  greenleaf.  Dynamite debut from drummer rudy royston as bandleader.  excellence began with the band selection:  tenor jon erabagon and Aussie trumpeter nadja noordhuis smoothly sounding as one;  pianist sam harris weaving melodies;  guitarist nir felder and mimi jones or yasushi nakamura defining a strong bass line.  leader/ composer royston and dave douglas’s greenleaf label create the home.

the tiptons.  tiny lower case.  sowie sound.  i played this first, and in the middle, and late at night, and never fell in love.  love, love, love this group in previous incarnations, but tiny lower case spelled no magic for me.  it’s not bad, just fussy &  rudderless.

natalie cressman.  turn the sea.  self.   Pop & jazz in trombonist/singer/composer natalie cressman’s confident second recording as a leader.  a beautiful redhead with poetry in her lyrics.

takuya kuroda.  rising son.  blue note.  In the horn playing department, it’s much harder to be a trumpet super-star than tenor or alto sax.   out on a limb as i am now,  takuya kuroda– Japanese-born, berklee-educated– adds in soul to his exceptional  trumpet glory.  originals playlist, except for 70′s roy ayers cues.  co-starring:  nate smith, drums;  solomon dorsey, bass;  kris bowers, rhodes, corey king, trombone.

sheryl bailey.  a meeting of the minds cellar live.  Mostly originals, expertly interpreted by guitarist sheryl bailey’s organ trio: ron oswanski on B-3, ian froman, drums.  whatever  guitar/organ vibe you like— the burner or the pensativo– bailey & co provides.  released by  cory weeds thoughtful cellar live label.

dave stryker.  eight track.  self.  Guitarist dave stryker celebrates the lost god that was the 8-track tape in his 70′s set list.  curtis mayfied, music from Hair, stevie wonder, witchita lineman– fun at every turn.  jared gold keeps the organ lively, stefon harris on vibes; mcclenty hunter, drums and stryker @ guitar.

alex blake+bill ware+jaime affoumado+arturo o’farrill.  the puppeteers.  puppets.  Disclosure:  contemporary vibraphone is irresistible to me, and bill ware, one of the best, displays both compositional & performance chops with this Latin-esque rhythm quartet.  blake on bass; o’farrill, piano; affoumado, drums.

ben paterson.  essential element.  maxjazz.  Chicago jazz pianist ben paterson jumped labels,  from origin to  maxjazz, on this recording.  sometimes he reminds me of an emerging bill evans, and then not.  here, he confines himself with the trio:  joshua ramos, bass; and jon deitmeyer, drums, and a playlist that never catches fire, even in a quiet way.

blues

jim suhler.  panther burn.  underworld.  Dallas vocalist/guitarist with his new recording.

laith al-saadi.  real.  weber works.  Dozen + musicans for live session of mostly originals, fronted by Detroit/Ann Arbor blues man laith al-saadi.  Band–rhythm/horns/vocals–thrives with the lack of technical interference.

daunielle.  eponymous.  cat food.   Debut recording for Memphis blues/soul singer on the El Paso catfood label;  killer voice– range, growl, energy– daunielle (dawn-yell) worked the twenty feet from stardom path with solomon burke, huey & the news,– now giving other soul divas a run for their audience.  loved it.

blue lunch.  30th anniversary special.  rip cat.  Blues/ swing band, Cleveland-based, many original compositions by their de facto leader, guitarist bob frank.  older, experienced bluesmen who can really jump.


jazz/blues adds february 19, 2014

jazz

catherine russell.  bring it back.  jazz village.  Brilliant.  russell searched all musical archives and found the good, the hidden and the melodic.  play everything!  the band, the arranging, the cast of musicians support all moods.

ulysses owens jronward & upward.  D-clef.  Fantastic (young, i think)  band: leader, drummer owens gathers the best and the rest is pleasure.  anat cohen, tenor & clarinet;  jason palmer, trumpet;  michael dease, wailing trombone;  christian sands, piano; reuben rogers, bass;  gilad hekselman, guitar;  plus guests.  i left my marks all over this.

pat metheny unity group.  kin. nonesuch.  Never predictable, icon metheny refreshes his ideas on many guitars, and electronica;  the incomparable chris potter carrying that melodic line with a variety of reeds;  antonio sanchez, drums; ben willaims, basses; and multi-instrumentalist giulio carmassi on everything blown or bowed.

rufus reid.  quiet pride.  motema.  Two-year labor of love for bassist rufus reid;  he composed a suite for large ensemble (20 musicians) to celebrate the career of African-American sculptor elizabeth catlett (1915-2012).  headliners includes herlin riley, steve allee, vic juris, michael dease, ryan keberle, ingrid jensen, vincent chancey, + more.

george cables.  icons & influences.  highnote.  Leader or sideman, piano jazz or hard-bop, pianist george cables continues his xtraordinary musician’s life with a playlist of originals, tributes and classics.  victor lewis; drums;  dezron douglass, bass.

james brandon lewis.  divine travels.  OKeh.  Free jazz, friendly avant-garde, tenor player lewis is deterined to be accessible;  his trio includes the venerable william parker on bass, and young Turk, gerald cleaver on drums.  gospel meets sonic explorations.

jeremy pelt.  face forward.  jazzdepot.  Electric via the fender rhodes and funk from all corners is the m.o. in trumpet master jeremy pelt’s jazz/fusion release.  core band includes roxy cross, david bryant, chris smith, dana hawkins + friends.

nir felder.  golden age.  OKeh.  Buzz on guitarist/composer nir felder is that he’s the next “big one.”  the all originals set list impressed me less than his quartet– aaron parks, piano;  matt penman, bass;  and nate smith, drums–and their dynamic explorations.

arild andersen.  mira.  ecm.  Legendary Norwegian double bassist andersen with trio mates–Scot tommy smith on tenor and Italian drummer paolo vinaccia–follow up their live in Belleville ( 2008)  debut with a studio session, more pensive.  there’s ideas to find here.

bob dorough.  eulalia.  merry lane.  Vocalese singer/composer  bob dorough worked with blossom dearie and influenced mose allison.   now he’s 90, still taking big risks, and very quirky.

josh deutsch + pannonia.  another time, another place.   alternate side.  Seattle-trumpeter josh deutsch leads the klezmer-esque/jazz group pannonia through a geography without borders.  zach brock, violin;  brian drye, trombone; gary wang, bass;  ronen itzik, percussion.

jeff presslaff.  the complete rebirth of the cool.  cellar live.  Winnipeg-based  trombonist/composer  jeff presslaff  assembles a nonet of horns/rhythm section to tribute the miles davis rebirth of the cool.  all canadians, all originals, happily released on cory weeds Vancouver-based cellar live label.

blues

kent burnside.  my world is so cold.  lucky 13

joe louis walker.  hornet’s nest.  alligator.
damon fowler.  sounds of home.  blind pig.

root doctor.  new attitude.  self.


jazz/blues adds february 10, 2014

jazz
craig handy.  & the 2nd line smith.  okeh.  New York tenor craig handy collaborates with 2nd line smith, a performance band dedicated to music of organist jimmy smith, and spirit of New Orleans.  playlist ranges from wes montgomery to ivory joe hunter to jimmy smith.  jason marsalis + herlin riley, drums;  matt chertkoff, guitar;  kyle koehler, B3; clark gayton, sousaphone.
tin men.  avocado woo woo.  threadhead.   A trio of New Orleans rowdys;  washboard chaz leary on percussion, vocals, and the washboard;  matt perrinie on sousaphone, trombone, vocals;  alex mcmurray, guitar and vocals.    Mostly endearing originals ( by mcmurray) that shower love on the Crescent City.   an avocado woo woo is what…?? recipe, please.
tord gustavsen.  extended circleecm.   Another fine quartet from the ecm library, but the tenor/piano core of this recording from saxophonist tore brunborg, and pianist/ composer tord gustavsen is sublime.  leader gustavsen mixes Norwegian hymns with quartet improvs; the playlist hums, featuring mats eilertsen, double bass, jarle vespestad, drums.
danilo perez.  panama 500.  mack avenue.  Original suite by pianist danilo perez celebrates his homeland, Panama with a  vision both trans-cultural and musically diverse.  john patitucci + ben street on bass;  brian blade + adam cruz, drums; alex hargreaves, violin; sachi patitucci, cello;  extensive group of Guna musicians, Latin instruments.
ben wolfe.  from here i see.  maxjazz.  Julliard educator/ bassist/composer  ben wolfe inaugurates  his debut maxjazz recording with a cast of great friends:  russell malone, wynton marsalis, jd allen, orrin evans, marcus strickland.  all originals, spectacular elegant arrangements.
emanuele cisi.  where or whenmaxjazz.  Italian (Torino)  tenor/soprano saxophone musician, cisi (sounds like cheese-y)
exhibits his pure, strong tone in a trio setting;  with luca santaniello, drums and joseph lepore, bass– and serious nods to john coltrane.
vincent herring.  the uptown shuffle.  smoke sessions.  Multi-instrumental reed player (flute, alto, soprano) herring strikes up a band that recorded live @ smoke jazz club, NYC;  cyrus chestnut on piano;  joe farnsworth, drums, brandi disterheft on bass.  elite classics, and originals performed in tribute to jazz legends.
alfredo rodriguez.  the invasion parade.  mack avenue.  Not to be confused with Cuban pianist alfredo rodriguez (1936-2005), young alfredo ( b.1985), also a Cuban pianist, is NYC based, and produced by quincy jones.  excellent Latin playlist, classics + wild new compositions by rodriguez;  stellar band roundup–esperanza spalding, peter slavov, henry cole, roman filiu, billy carrion, javier porta, +  the exceptional  pedrito matinez.
dianne reeves.  beautiful life.  concord.  Vocalist reeves teams up with producer terri lyne carrinton, and invites the who’s who of soul/ r&b/ jazz to guest star on this sumptuous recording.  covered include bob marley, ani defranoc, stevie nicks, harold arlen and originals.  accessible and irresistible.
tim hegarty.  tribute.  mile high. Youngster saxophone player tim hegarty shows off with a quintet of great elders:  kenny barron on piano;  rufus reid, bass;  carl allen, drums;  and mark sherman on vibes.  his tribute  honors coltrane, monk, rollins, frank foster, and dexter gordon.
anton schwartz.  flash mob self.  San Francisco, Ca.  tenor musician anton schwartz
incorporates monk and kenny dorham covers into his dynamic originals recording:  band mates include taylor eigsti @ piano; dominick farinacci, horns; lorca hart, drums and john schifflett, bass.
scott jeppesen.  el guapo.  creative bottle.  Debut recording from West Coast tenor/bass clarinet player scott jeppeson is a source of gorgeous guitar/saxophone interplay–check out his cover of richie beirach’s elm with larry koonse on guitar.   featuring john daversa, trumpet.

blues

john hammond.  timeless.  palmetto.

sharon jones & dap-kings.  give the people what they want.  daptone.

james armstrong.  guitar angels.  catfood.

billy branch.  blues shock.  blind pig.


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