monty alexander. uplift higher. jazz legacy productions. More monty live– follows Uplift, 2011, with a mix of jazz/american songbook classics, culled from monty’s many international concerts. I miss the jamaican styling of last year’s Harlem-Kingston Express, and earlier Goin’ Yard–but he’s a brilliant, strong, tuneful pianist working with john clayton, bass and jeff hamilton, drums.
grupo los santos. clave heart. OA2 records. This recording– dedicated to the rhumba clave, an irregular beat played by two wooden sticks–was inspired by a trip to the emergency room. The patient/bassist david ambrosio recovered, and with grupo dos santos incorporated folkloric west African music into this tribute to Afro-cubism. Again, something exciting from Seattle-based OA2 records; paul carlon, tenor/soprano; pete smith, guitar/vocals; william bausch, drums; kaori fuji, flute, and max pollack.
nilson matta. black orpheus. motema records. Brazilian bassist matta recreates the iconic jobin/de moraes soundtrack to Black Orpheus with a stellar cast:
anne drummond, flute; anat cohen, clarinet; kenny barron, piano; randy brecker, trumpet; guilherme monteiro, guitar; alex kautz, drums. A dreamy sequence of classics and a few matta originals.
hiromi. move. telarc. Drama and energy in every recording since 2003, Japanese pianist hiromi combines prodigious technique with a musical sophistication that lets many genres share the stage. She likes it all—bop, pop, free, covers; this recording with all originals, features anthony jackson, contrabass guitar and simon phillips, drums.
espen eriksen trio. what took you so long. rune grammofon. Piano-forward (espen eriksen) trio from Oslo, Norway makes you yearn for more. Who are these talented musicians, and their mostly original compositions? ECM-inspired but not copy-cat; cover of barry manilow “could it be magic” resists giving the melody away nicely.
ehud asherie with harry allen. lower east side. posi-tone records. Duets from polished jazz masters: ehud asherie at the piano, and harry allen, tenor. Some familiar tunes from the broadway rep, from the “parlor music” songbook, some beautiful oddities– like jobin’s “portrait in black and white, bernstein’s “some other time.”
“killer” ray appleton. naptown legacy. hollistic music works. Naptown is Indianapolis, Indiana, home of many jazz greats –freddie hubbard, the montgomery brothers, j.j. johnson, slide hampton, etc. And ” killer “ray, a drummer who started early in 1950 has worked with many of them. He tributes generously on this playlist which swings, cooks, and sounds fresh. with brian lynch, trumpet; todd hebert, tenor; peter bernstein, guitar.
nicole henry. so good, so right: live. banister records. Yummy 1970’s tunes from new-to-me vocalist nicole henry; great pipes but not afraid to be understated– check out the bob marley, ” waiting in vain, and bill withers’ “use me”. Band includes the requisite electric piano with kevin hays; adam rogers, guitar; vicente archer, bass; clarence penn, drums.
los mas valientes. live @ makor: 10th anniversary celebration. 706 music. Soft spot in my heart for this band; the trombonist/ composer is local Rick Faulkner, his wife Jessica Valiente is flutist/composer/musical director and they celebrated the NYC-based band’s 10th anniversary in 2005. The high-energy music, and Jessica’s CD notes speak to the pleasures and hard work of keeping a band together for a decade
steve owen. stand up eight. OA2 records. Large jazz band–18 players + composer ( steve owen), conductor (dan gailey). Very polished sound from educator/composer owen, working with a diverse national band; mostly originals, hitting this and that jazz genres–a miles tribute, a radiohead, a cole porter riff.
john moulder quintet. the eleventh hour. origin records. Recorded live at the green mill (cocktail lounge, as the neon invites)–the famous Chicago jazz club home of patricia barber and graznya auguscik. Original compositions, strong saxophone works from geog bradfield, guitarist and leader john moulder; with jim trompeter, piano; larry gray, bass; paul wertico, drums.
buford powers. too good to be true. baby bath records. Smooth and lounge-y, powers has a deep, warm voice like johnny hartman. Songs are mostly ballads; i wasn’t crazy about his delivery–lyrics often got mumbled, scrunched.
otis redding. lonely & blue. volt record. This is pretty magnificent. Volt/Concord 2013 release of Otis Redding’s torchy ballads from his brief mid-60’s recording period on Stax records. Period styling with liner notes for marty hackman of WDHG, Detroit. All of it is fine; there is nothing i can tell you except play it, and please leave it in the studio for all to enjoy.
big bill morganfield. blues with a mood. black shuck records. Great voice and guitar styling, original compositions from the son of muddy waters, truly–but you knew that. core band is augie meyers on piano; more guitar from eddie taylor and colin linden; jim horn on sax; chuck cotton, drums, plus guests.
mike eldred trio. 61/49. rip cat records. Re-release of guitarist eldred and his trio’s collection of rockabilly, bar band blues, and roots performances. Trio members include john baez, fender bass; jerry angel, drums plus cameos from riley osborn and his B-3, jeff turnes on bari-sax; ike turner on piano. 61 and 49 is a highway crossway.
4 jacks. deal with it. EllerSoul records. This is good too. 4jacks are: anson funderburgh, guitar; big joe maher, vocals, drums; kevin mckendree, piano, B-3; steve mackey. house party a startin’ with this one; very danceable, all originals.