seamus blake /chris cheek. reeds ramble. criss cross. Yummy because it has the smoothness of two polished tenors– chris ceek and seamus blake– and then we add the extravagant unpredictability of pianist ethan iverson (the bad plus). Sometimes the excellence gap appears; i.e.,‘ na carreira = fabulous, but 1974 blues, less pioneering. find your way; personal favorite = ’til i die. drumming from jochen rueckert and bass work of matt penman glues this finery with craft.
bill coon/jodi proznick/miles black. trilogy. cellar live. Vancouver trio driven hard by bassist jodi proznick, though i love the compositions of their pianist miles black; bill coon on guitar. mellow cues–coon’s guitar is soft, swingy; morocco and ballad of the true north, delightful. it’s old school and vibrant at the same time; love this label.
craig wuepper. storytelling. cellar live. From the archives of Vancouver-based cellar live label, drummer craig wuepper takes us to NYC, 2002 and the swoony piano music of the late harry whitaker (1942-2010). this impromptu set also yielded tenor work from whitaker’s often collaborator, david schnitter, + the bass of pat o’leary.
mimi jones. balance. hot tone.
bria skonberg. into your own. random act. More young grrl power. dateline: a farm in Chilliwck, BC, early singing and trumpet lessons, gigs @ Vancouver Olympics, fast forward to busking in NYC, mentorship with cornet master warren vache. high energy vocals & horn; confident compositions. mino cinelu, percussion; dalton ridenhour, piano collaborator.
kavita shah. visions. inner circle. Harvard/Manhattan Music educated, downbeat award-winning vocalist 2012, kavita shah makes a grand debut with a set of Indian tabla vocals, Brazilian + Malian influences. produced by & co-starring guitarist lionel loueke; with linda oh, bass; steve wilson, reeds; rogerio boccato, percussion. inventive arrangements make it work.
mike pope. cold truth, warm heart. walk your dogma. Life altering medical event gave jazz bassist mike pope the will to make this all -originals release. Sidemen include seamus blake on tenor; joe locke, vibraphone; geoffrey keezer & alan blackman, piano; mauricio zottarelli@drums.
jerry bergonzi. intersecting lines. savant. Outstanding quartet features jerry bergonzi on tenor + dick oatts, alto, with dave santoro, bass, and versatile andrea michelutti@drums. all originals play list; lyricism, movement, atmophere.
jd allen. bloom. savant. Rising star jd allen is a smooth as silk tenor player; almost all original compostions that acknowledge the gentle intersection of classical/ American songbook and jazz improv; orrin evans, piano; alexander claffy, bass; jonathan barber @drums.
jouis hayes. return of the jazz communicators. smoke sessions. Veteran drummer who worked with everyone–most notably horace silver, cannonball adderley, and oscar peterson– reassembles a quintet from the heydays of bop with young blood; david bryant, piano; dezron douglas, bass; abraham burton, tenor, and the impeccable vibraphone of steve nelson.
blues (are really good this week)
gregg allman + various. all my friends. rounder. January 14, 2014: fox theatre, Atlanta, Ga. Concert celebrating the music and voice of gregg allman. the gathering included the blues mighty–martina mcbride, robert randolph, susan tedeschi, trace adkins, derek trucks, devon allman+ more.
steve dawson. rattlesnake cage. black hen. Virtuoso guitarist (and owner of Vancouver, BC black hen label) steve dawson goes “walkin blues” with all originals, acoustic cd that celebrates the power and sophistication of performance, plain and simple. drop the needle, it’s all good. dawson also does brilliant slide work on jim byrnes, st louis times.
jim byrnes. st. louis times. black hen. Career capstone recording from US expat-now Canadian vocalist of 2014. arc of the playlist is jazz/blues/gospel tribute to byrnes hometown, St Louis, MO. some originals, but the fever here is byrnes’ sly delivery of these killer arrangements and the players thereon: like tom colcough on clarinet; darryl havers, organ; steve dawson, slide guitar; colin james, acoustic guitar; john hammond, harmonica; horn charts by jim hoke.
john primer + the teardrops. you can make it if you try!. wolf. Vienna, Austria label, wolf, releases a 1990’s live recording of magic slim sideman john primer–playing with magic’s band, the teardrops. a tribute to Chicago blues, its origins and legacy, primer sings, plays guitar, with enormous skill and unique style.