Monthly Archives: June 2013

jazz/blues adds june 22, 2013


bill frisell.  big sur.  okeh.   The master of chill with intelligence and a big heart is on the move again.  a residency in Monterey, CA, at their jazz festival, produced this wide skies of the West soundtrack.  frisell’s musical posse excels:  everybody’s favorite violinist jenny scheinman, cellist hank roberts, violist eyvind kang, and drummer rudy royston.  less is always more, & a good time to boot.

django festival allstars.  live at birdland, 2012.  three’s a crowd.  Limelight shared by many during this 14th year annual tribute:   father & son dorado and samson schmitt on violin, and guitar;  ludovic beier, accordion;  pierre blanchard, violin + guest anat cohen on alto.  reinhardt’s musical sensibility loves to put over a melody.

annie kozuch.  mostly jobim.  self.  A native of Mexico City, kozuch sings the jobim songbook in English and Spanish.  pleasant, quality back up trio: frank ponzio on piano; vito lesczak on drums and saadi zain, bass.

 kim richmond concert jazz orchestra. artistry: a tribute to stan kenton.  mama.  Originals by conductor kim richmond, and  kenton band standards, refreshed.  my favorite was a tender version of johnny mandel’s seascape with a solo from hubert laws on flute. bassoon soloist bob carr is a standout.

miami saxophone quartet.  four of a kind.  fortitude.   Saxophone educators and South Florida studio musicians collaborate on their fifth cd:  ed calle, mike brignola, gary keller, gary lindsay– trading places with their horns.  high energy and polish.

emrah kotan.  the new anatolian experience.  ojanu.  Superb drummer/ composer–Atlanta-based, Turkey born kotan is equally at home with folk rhythms or deconstructing miles davis.  core group = darren ginn or joe manuel garcia, piano; matt stallard, bass; + guests mustafa yasin uygunca on synth qanun.  Check out the nardis intro and cue;  also, tanya, song for yemen.  world DJ usage.

michael hackett quintet.  new point of view.  summit.  Fine interplay btw trumpeter/composer (and UNC  jazz educator) mike hackett and his tenor tom walsh.  the band  rounds out with luke gillespie on piano;  jeremy allen , bass, and jason tiemann, drums.

the rootdowns.  songs with friends.  self.  Richmond band, with a strong B-3 sound and an original playlist, feature brian mesko on guitar; brian mahne channeling a jimmy smith groove on the organ; dusty ray simmons, drums;  marcus, tenney, tenor;  susi fisher,  assorted reeds.

robert walter’s 20th congress.  get thy bearings.  royal potato family.  Recordings are like shoes & their labels give you hope; so   whenever i see something from the royal potato family, i know there is craft and whimsy at work.  Check out inversion layer –with leader/ keyboardist walter coaxing his B-3 AND piano in a gentle blues riff.    elgin park on guitar;  aaron redfield, drums;  cochemea gastelum, saxes; chuck prada, percussion; karl denson, assorted.

rodger coleman + sam byrd.  indeterminate. nuvoid jazz.  Three  extended improvisations  for piano (coleman) and drums (byrd).  live recording done in Nashville, TN, 2012;  lots of words about music.  avant garde;  hard to warm to.

quentin angus.  perception.  aurora sounds.  South Australian guitar/composer angus straddles the rock-jazz line;  he’s barely 26, and seems to like it all.  there is a string quartet to flesh out the emotional  den haag, and great piano from collaborator matthew sheens, but nothing beats his cover of nardis.  many terrific guests:  will vinson, alto; linda oh, bass; kenneth salters, drums.  a youngin’ to watch.

jamie breiwick.  spirits:  live at the jazz estate.  blujazz.  Out of Milwaukee, trumpeter breiwick teams up with tenor tony barba, bassist tim ipsen and drummer andrew green for a live recording from the local club, jazz estate.  mostly long, bop cues, but  the new-to-me duke ellington finale sunset & the mockingbird puts the horns in a shimmering limelight.


mingo fishtrap.  in the meantime.  manor productions .   Popular Austin rock/soul/funk band  started by a bunch of college musicians at North Texas State in Denton TX in the 1990’s.    Big horn-driven band, led by guitartist/vocalist roger blevins jr — his father r. blevins sr, plays bass– mingo fishtrap mixes up smooth R & B with energetic dancin’ tunes & da funk.   live stuff,  very infectious.

mingo fishtrap. yesterday.  manor productions.  see above. both are in Music in Town Drawer for show @ Jefferson on 6/23/13.

too slim and the taildraggers.  blue heart.  underworld.   Lots of guitars in this blues band from Spokane WA, including lead vocalist &  slide player tim ‘too slim” langford.  all good  originals, dynamic band that features a B-3, reese wyans,  tom hambridge on drums,

omar dykes.  runnin with the wolf. provogue.  Howlin wolf tribute by growling vocalist/ guitarist omar dykes — done up in the stylish, but gritty roadhouse vibe that Dutch label provogue loves.  back-up guys include wes starr on drums;  ronnie james, acoustic bass; +

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jazz /blues adds june 10, 2013


marc cary.  for the love of abbey.  motema.  Brilliant, soulful solo piano from marc cary–formerly pianist to betty carter, shirley horn, and ms. lincoln.   clearly, his heart belongs to abbey–whose music and lyrics taught, inspired, shaped him.  but, he does a brave thing:  he takes away her vocal lyrics, and surrenders to the deep, spiritual lyricism– unique in cary’s performance and lincoln’s compositions.  very good.

roger kellaway + eddie daniels.  duke at the roadhouse ipo.  Live performance from two jazz masters–kellaway @ the piano, and daniels on clarinet & tenor;   they add in cellist james holland  and launch themselves into an elegant but daring ellington setlist. recorded at Lensic theatre in Santa Fe, NM;   kellaway has been near and far–once the music director for bobby darrin, & later the movie beyond the sea:   here, he enlists the improviser daniels, and the straight man holland to revitalize duke @ the roadhouse.

dayna kurtz.  secret canon. vol. 2.  kismet.  Gorgeous, throaty but multi-octave voice,  from New Jersey/ New Orleans vocalist.   so why isn’t this woman a bigger star?  her strength is ballads, with a blues-y,  r & b/gospel temperament.;  kurtz has too much melancholy in her voice to be doing romping/stomping cues.  is there a music producer up to this challenge, because the raw material is A+.

steve tyrell.  it’s magic. concord.  Twangy baritone steve tyrell tackles the songbook of American lyricist sammy cahn.  title track is pretty fabulous, owing to the arrangement & pianismo of allan broadbent.  familiar melodies, polished delivery.

george benson.  inspiration:  tribute to nat king coleconcord.   Benson’s amazing voice  and the nelson riddle arrangements take you back to the smooth, velvet sounds of mr. cole.  turns out my favorites were benson’s duets with female vocalists:  judith hill on cole’s signature too young, and idina menzell on  the young/heyman when i fall in love.

freddy cole.  this and that.  highnote.  International  playlist spotlights the mesmerizing voice and energies of vocalist/pianist freddy cole–new to me, but been around a long time.  Born in 1931, brother of nat king cole, this cole sinks his teeth into the isley brothers for the love of you, paul williams you and me against the world, charles aznavour’s who will take my place + more;  bootsie barnes on tenor; john di martino, piano; elias bailey bass; curtis boyd, drums.

bob mover.  my heart tells me.  motema.  Xtravagant 2 CD playlist by bob mover, maybe the ” best unknown tenor player of our time.”  #1 allows bob to channel his old boss chet baker’ vocals, as well as finding a soft ben webster tone on porter’s so near and yet so far ;  mal waldron’s dee’s dilemma announces and dominates #2, though mover’s own muggawump and carmen’s calypso cook very nicely.  the band is aces: kenny barron on piano; bob cranshaw on bass; steve williams and victor lewis on drums; xtra horns from josh evans on trumpet; steve hall on tenor.

david murray + infinity quartet.  be my monster. motema.    Legendary tenor player david murray leads his infinity quartet– marc cary on piano, nasheet waits on drums, jaribu shahid on bass;  with vocal cameos from macy  gray on the title cue, and gregory porter, and cornetist bobby bradford.  (if another dj would like to re-review this CD, i would gladly publish; this was just not for me.)

diane marino.  loads  of love.  m&m.  Torchy styling from vocalist/pianist marino makes the most of lesser knows from the American standards –i.e. too late now, with houston person’s tenor voice, + early  ellington duo it shouldn’t happen to a dream & take love easy.  core group includes chris brown, drums;  husband frank marino on bass and pat bergeson, guitar.

peter madsen with alfred vogel.  soul of the underground.  playscape.  Improvisational jazz on the intersection of abstract art and avant-garde jazz from  pianist madsen and  Austrian drummer alfred vogel.  less intimidating than it sounds;  pick your favorite mid 20th century painter and see what they sound like. i liked mark rothko and andy warhol.

larry corban.  the circle starts here.  nabroc.  Belgian-born, NYC-based guitarist corban unites with bassist harvie s. and drummer steve williams in a setlist of calm daring.  corban experiments with various guitars and strings, all the while giving each trio-mate a starring role.  almost all originals, django would be proud of this re-energized Gypsy guitar.

jerry bergonzi.  by any other name.  savant.  A crazy playlist in which jazz standards are turned inside out by changing their changes:  giant steps becomes PG2013; star eyes becomes 114 w.28th street. I don’t actually understand musical changes–but bergonzi ‘s tenor tone is sensitive and powerful, and the band equal to him:  phil grenadier, trumpet; karen kocharyan, drums; will slater, bass.


nikki hill.  here’s nikki hill.  deep fryed.  Retro soul singer nikki hill and her guitarist husband/partner matt hill use the mostly original playlist to showcase nikki’s force of nature roaring voice.  North Carolina girl gone to St. Louis to sing her blues.

frank bang & secret stash.  double dare. blue hoss.  Title track spins your head;  loud, fast and grunge-y but there are some tender melodies like my own country way and mattie’s girl.  frank bang, aka blinkal, hails from Chicago, but his heart is in the Texas hills.  many guitars (+ a dobro) were  (well) used in the production of this CD.  noisey and fun.

ruff kutt blues band.  that’s when the blues begins.  vizztone.    Seasoned bluesmen –vocals, finis tasby;  guitar, anson funderburgh;  james goode, bass+ composition;  zac husdon, guitar +vocals– join up with keyboardist gentleman john street and drummer wes starr.
all originals.

al miller.  in between time.  ahm/self.  Chicago blues from blues harpist al miller, backed up by billy flynn on guitar;  john primer  on vocals + guitar;  barrelhouse chuck or ken saydak on piano;  harlan terson on bass.

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jazz/blues adds june 4, 2013


dave brubeck.  bennett/brubeck: the while house sessions/live 1962.   columbia/legacy.   Treat yourself to the dave brubeck quartet’s wild ride on take five— it’s a rumble in double time, light firm melodic line from the “other” great alto player– paul desmond, with brilliant rhythms from joe morello, drums and eugene wright, bass.  the occasion was a 3-part concert @  Sylvan theater on the  grounds of Washington Monument;  first the quartet–enlivened by a tour of Eurasia– glittered;  then tony bennett murmured smooth and sweet; & on a whim, bennett and brubeck improvised.  musical moment.

frank wess. magic 101.  IPO.  Melodic tenor lines that meander in the best possible way thru standards you thought you knew.  excellent old school, stablemates wess and pianist kenny barron, knit these pearls into a jazz history tapestry.  with winard harper on drums, kenny davis,  bass.  finale in playlist features pre-bop master wess inhabiting ellington’s  all too soon–as a tenor solo.

keith jarrett.  somewhere. ecm.  Title track says it all;  accumulation with majesty and repetition that knows where it’s going.   twenty minute center piece is somewhere -everywhere, standard and original, blended.  long musical arc settles in with double bassist gary peacock,  and the prince of drums, jack dejohnette.  live recording- Luzern concert hall, 2009.  wise men in their prime.

michel camilo.  what’s up? okeh.   Dominican pianist on his own- solo and many originals.  generous, sometimes overbearing technique- a player diving into his power rather than melodies.  that said, cover of chan chan is well-deep, strong rhythms, his best– followed by take 5, love for sale.

bob james & david sanborn. quartette humaine.  okeh.   Polished  duets btw sax/reed player sanborn and pianist james –  although, there is a drummer (steve gadd) and bassist (james genus), not musically integrated.  i confess to a soprano saxophone allergy.  recording PR  claims that sanborn was going for a paul desmond groove in this setlist.

steve heckman.  born to be blue.  jazzed media.   Interplay btw tenor heckman and howard alden’s guitar is the meat and potatoes of this one.  mostly  standards from Bay Area  quartet/ quintet– heckman is fancier than oldster tenor frank wess but less effective.  the band is good, though half the time akira tana on drums, matt clark on piano, and marcus shelby on bass lay out.

wayne wallace quintet.  latin jazz.  patois.  San Fran. trombone player leading a combo dedicated to Afro-Cuban compositions.  originals mixed with monk, ellington, hawkins, coltrane.  i am still waiting for the next wave of afro-cuban-latin music;  this is very diligent  but not much spark:   murray low, piano, david belove, bass; colin douglas, trap drums, michael spiro, percussion.

terence blanchard.  magnetic.  blue note.  Heavy hitter trumpeter blanchard has become the mentor, the innovator, & there’s lots to enjoy here.  compositions and performance from  pianist fabian almazan;  cameo from lionel loueke on guitar; + youngsters kendrick  scott on drums, joshua  crumbly on bass;  and brice winston, tenor and composition.  twentieth release for blanchard.

pat metheny/ tap.   john zoen’s book of angels/ vol. 20nonesuch.    Give this a quiet, unhurried moment.  metheny looks to challenges, to musical history, to playing all the instruments himself— though antonio sanchez is credited with drums.  john zorn is an avant-garde compositional legend, metheny a guitar legend— they never met, but they wrote over the years, and connected  text to execution in this recording.

nicolas bearde.  visions.  right groove.  Nice voice, enormous guest list fleshes out the dozen songs –including decent cover of gene mcdaniels compared to what., and morgana king’s hit , everything must change.  based in San Fran, CA area,  bearde is a founding member of bobby mcferrin’s vocal group.

darryl harper.  the edenfred files.  hypnotic.  VCU music chair & clarinetist harper continues his ensemble work blending classical and jazz idioms.  mixed originals + covers,  cd grew out of a residency program in Madison, WI; with kevin harris @ the piano; matthew parrish, bass;  harry butch reed on drums.  thoughtful listening within the quartet; melodic voice is thru the clarinet/piano duo.

richard pinhas.  desolation row.  cuneiform.  French guitaritst/ electronics pioneer pinhas has been at it since the 1970’s working both solo and with his group heldon.  his latest expresses avant-rock outrage at the 21st century’s economic collapse;   plugged-in European group includes oren ambarchi, lasse marhaug, duncan nilsson, etienne jaumet, noel akchote, eric borelva.


luther kent.  luther.  atoula/self.    New orleans project with lots of energy from deep-voiced blues man, luther kent.  excellent cover of you are my sunshine and many traditional.  huge back up band from NoLa who’s who.

walter trout & his band.  luther’s blues: tribute to luther allison.  provogue.  Another tribute to a blues legend:  luther allison(1939-1997).  blues singer/guitartist walter trout remembers his time with luther, and tries to breathe new life into the music.  slick production from the Dutch label provogue.

various.  remembering little walter blind pig.  Uneven tribute recording of blues harp wizard little walter’s style and composition.  play the charlie musselwhite cues and you won’t go wrong;  sugar ray norcia comes in second.

steve freund.  come on in this house.  9below.  Originally a classical pianist, freund works in the San Fran. CA area as a blues guitarist/composer.  his new playlist is contemporary covers.