Monthly Archives: November 2013

jazz/blues november 25, 2013


miles davis.  the original mono recordings.  columbia legacy.  Back to the well, nine classic miles’ from 1956 ( ’round midnight) to 1961 (someday my prince will come) demonstrate the assured genius of trumpeter davis  as well as the sound purity in mono.   who knew.

herbie hancock.  rarities sampler.  columbia legacy.  Burnishing herbie hancock’s fiery jazz piano live performances circa 1974-81, many are from his Tokyo, Japan concerts.  long cues, released for the first time.

tim berne’s snakeoil.  shadow man.  ECM.  Much as i bow to the ECM musical aesthetic, sometimes it just does not happen for me;  tim berne’s most recent snakeoil is a hard sell, though the personnel are first rate–berne on alto/composition;  oscar noriega, clarinets; matt mitchell, assorted pianos; ches smith, drums, vibes, percussion.  there is a lot going on here for careful listeners.

samuel blaser consort in motion.  a mirror to machaut.  songlines.  Swiss trombonist blaser regroups his consort  in motion after the passing of drummer paul motion in 2012.  their focus –2 late medieval French composers, guillaume de machout + guillaume dufay–recognizes the  modern lines in these liturgical & troubadour pieces.  i wandered in & listened to all.  leader blaser’s jazz arrangements honor the original writing, and dive into the future.  stellar ensemble:  gerry hemingway, percussion;  russ lossing, piano; drew gress, double bass; joachim badenhorse, assorted reeds.

archie shepp/ attica blues orchestra.  i hear the sound.   archieball/harmonia mundi.  Live French recording that re-creates archie shepp’s 1972  Attica blues tribute to the 1971 rebellion at Attica prison, NY.   organized by saxophonist shepp, the American  team includes amina claudine myers, don moye, reggie washington, vocalist cecile mclorin salvant — with musicians from the Paris jazz world and Paris Conservatory.  spicing it up are band members from Marseille and the southern Var–vocalist marion rampal on quiet dawn is superb.

ricardo silveira/vinicius canatuaria.  RSVC.  adventure.  Smooth guitar duets from two of Brazil’s finest:   ricardo silveira, electric & acoustic; vinicius cantuaria, percussion & acoustic; everybody sings.   Breezy originals playlist that enjoys its fun percussion loops as well as  silveira’s polished, deep,  plugged-in electric sound;  no guitar slouches these two.  thanks to adventure music.

sergio galvao.  phantom fish.  pimenta.  Long overdue debut cd from Brazilian saxophonist sergio galvao. spotlights galvao’s original compositions & NYC/Latin-inflected jazz musicians:  claudio roditi on flugel;  leni stern + alex nolan, guitar;  amanda muzza, bass;  chris stover, trombone;  leo genovese + aruan ortiz, pianos; mauricio zottarelli, drums.  lovely Brazilian suggestions .

bela fleck w/ brooklyn rider/ nashville symphony.  the imposter.  DGG.  Two pieces of classical music here:  the impostor, 36 minute, 3 movement concerto for banjo and orchestra +  night flight over water, a 25 minute quintet for banjo and string quartet–enter: brooklyn rider, string wizards from the northeast.  Calling all crossover DJs.

brian lynch.  unsung heroes. vol. 2.  hollistic music.  Veteran horn player lynch tributes some of the best trumpet players you might not know:  iconic tunes from the song book of tommy turrentine, joe gordon, my hero howard mcghee, donald byrd and idrees sulieman.  featuring  vincent herring on alto; alex hoffman, tenor; rob schneiderman, piano; david wong, bass;  pete van nostrand, drums.

george cotsirilos.  variations.  OA2.   Mostly originals from rhythm trio led by San Francisco guitarist george cotsirilos;  robb fisher on bass;  ron marabuto drums.  bossa feel.

deric dickens.  oh lovely appearance.  self.  Homage to American folk music archivist alan lomax performed by an unusual trio:  drummer/leader deric dickens;  cornetist kirk knuffke; and guitarist jesse lewis.  nothing predictable here, but listening quality does not suffer from too much fussy;  trio of instruments sing together, then slide around the melodies.  pleasant surprise.

betty bryant.  iteration +bry-mar.  Vocalist from Kansas City who really plays the piano with her vocals.  playlist is mostly standards, many previously covered by bryant– kind of a Best of Bryant collection.  easy, fun listening;  bryant has a good time with her music.


dave keller.  soul changes.  tastee-tone.  Discovered by bluesman ronnie earl, soul singer/guitarist keller plays two sessions on his new release:   Memphis with the hi rhythm section plus bobby manual, lester snell;  and Brooklyn with the revelations — wes mingus, gintas janusonis, ben swerin, adam klipple + many horns.  good.

eric jeradi band.  everybody’s waiting.  niche.   Ohio native  guitar vocalist jeradi  leads blues trio  with gary gates, bass guitar, vocals; adam wheeler, percussions, vocals;  originals playlist.  budweiser endorsement, a little excessive-website, etc.

davis coen.  get back in.  soundview.  Charleston, SC blues singer/guitarist  coen singin’ originals with full-service arrangements;  jessie munson,  violin solo on pigtails; eric carlton, Hammond B-3 on singing in my spirit;  honky-tonk piano of robert chaffe throughout + pedal & lap steel from richard alan ford;  mandolin, johnny ciaramitaro.

bo-keys.  electraphonic singles.  self.  Memphis, TN  band compilation of upcoming 45 vinyl releases from one of the premier bands in the retro soul/ r & b-esque  universe.  dark end of the street, ‘more than one lifetime, writing on the wall–drop the needle anywhere.
— Happy Thanksgiving/Hanukkah

jazz/blues november 18, 2013


anoushka shankar.  traces of you.  DGG.   Deluxe solo recording from the other ravi shankar daughter, anoushka–sizzling sitar  performer– heard last year on rodrigo + gabriela’s Cuba cd.  all originals by anoushka and producer nitin sawhney.  vocals from sister norah jones, luscious cello by ian burdge, &  excellent Indian musicians on hang, ghatam, tanpura, tabla, & mridangam.   joyous, mesmerizing.

ralph towner.  travel guide.  ECM.  Three guitars–ralph towner on classical + 12 string;  wolfgang muthspiel, electric +  voice; slava grigoryan, classical + baritone guitar;  multiply listens, for me.  in the 60’s jazz pioneer towner worked with the paul winter consort, then started his own group, oregon, & has maintained a very individualized path on his jazz evolution.

aaron parks.  arborescence.  ECM.  Now turning 30 as his solo piano, originals playlist, & first ECM recording releases,   piano prodigy parks  moved to  NYC to study in his teens, and began working with jazz heavyweights–sideman to kurt rosenwinckel on star of jupiter, several projects with terence blanchard, soundtrack to spike lee’s when the levees broke.  delicate, confident, channeling mingus’ pianismo in some cues.

aaron germain.  chance.  origin.  you might like this.  SF bassist/composer teams up with French-Vietnamese guitarist nguyen le: flautist mary fettig;  keyboardist  frank martin; drummer deszon x. claiborne for lyrical but fusion-centric musical threads.  equality within the harmony.

jon hamar idyl wild.  origin.  Second release for Seattle bassist/composer jon hamar who jumps into play with double saxophones–tenor rich perry and alto todd delgiudice.  respect, time-sharing for all instruments:  no thugs.  drummer julian macdonough keeps everyone in the circle. check out abide with me if you need quiet.

brian gephart.  standing on two feet.  origin.   Dateline Seattle:  more good listening from origin records.  a showcase for Chicago’s finest young jazz musicians;  brian gephart  tenor/soprano sax leads tom garling on trombone;  neal alger, guitar;  karl montzka, piano; sibling eric montzka, drums;  kelly sill, bass.  all original gephart compositions.

shoshana bushlive @ catalina jazz club.  self.  Hollywood actress and sometimes girlfriend of robert “twilight” pattison,  shoshana builds her playlist from sold out show’s @ Hollywood’s Catalina jazz club.   great band: isamu mcgregor, piano;  larry koose, guitar, david robaire, bass; gene coye, drums; george young, alto.

jim holman blue skies. delmark.  Classic trio plus, featuring legends from the Pittsburgh-Chicago axis.  leader/ pianist holman presents a standards set list as drummer roger humphries (P-burg) and trumpet/tenor sax veteran ira sullivan (Chi) collaborate with the 24 year old keyboard talent.

keefe jackson.  a round goal.  delmark.  More from Chicago players– this time a varied register reed septet, imprinting the avant-garde with their collaborative harmonics.   let’s welcome [ @ jazzwerkstatt festival, Berne switzerland, feb 2013]  keefe jackson’s group  likely so–with mars williams, alto, soprano, sopranino; waclaw zimpel, clarinets; jackson, composition/tenor/bass clarinet; marc stucki, tenor, harmonium; dave rempis, alto/ bari;  peter schmid, bari/bass;  thomas meyer-contrabass.  endless reeds, for the adventurous.  thank you delmark.

mike longo.  NewYork state of the art. CAP.  Big, big  band;  live performance @ Gillespie auditorium, NY, led by pianist and arranger mike longo;  there’s a johnny hartman style singer, ira hawkins for over the rainbow, i’m old fashioned—but cue #2, afro desia is great–a mike longo original/arrangement that transcends the stodgy playlist.

phill fest. projeto b.f.c.  self.   Strong Brazil-Florida connection from guitar/vocalist phill fest working with an experienced Latin band:  robert prester on piano; ronie martinez, drums;  henrick meurkens on chromatic harmonica;  russ howard, bass.  Brazilian vibe runs true, fueled by leader phill fest’s earlier bossa nova work with his father, manfredo fest’s concord/picante recordings.

mark arthur miller.  soul searching.  self.  White soul singer from Chicago who loves his work, miller’s roots include a  composer father who wrote for motown.  setlist is familiar, but miller delivers the essence in this pop material;  smokey’s tracks of my tears, jackson’s the way you make me feel=genuine.


tom principato + fred chapellier.  guitars on fire.  powerhouse.  Veteran guitarist/vocalist principato led the  D.C-based blues band powerhouse;  new release is with french guitarist/ blues singer songwriter fred chapellier.   jazz club chez paulette in parisian montparnasse hosted this blues summit with abder benachour, bass;  pat machenaud, drums;  rody lahsinat, percussion.

harrison kennedy.  soulscape.  electro-fi.  Multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter harrison kennedy does some fine singing here;  check out back alley moan with kennedy’s  deep growl vs.  pianist  keith ‘nappy’ lindsay’s thunderous chords.  though raised in Hamilton, Ontario, kennedy’s early career found him as the voice of Detroit’s chairman of the board.

harmonica shah.  havin’ nothin dont’ bother me.  electro-fi.  Another release from Toronto’s chic electro-fi , featuring my favorite blues pianist julian fauth  with lead artist harmonica shah on vocals & blues harp; jack de keyzer, guitars; bucky berger, drums; alex fraser, percussion.

david keyes.  right here right now.  self.  All originals from keyboardist/singer keyes.  big band including popa chubby on guitar;  numerous  xtra guitars,  a forthright horn chorus–trumpet, trombone, sax–helping drummer frank pagano drive all this home.  lots of juicy blues energy.

jazz/blues adds november 11, 2013


pink martini.  get happy.  heinz.  Fun from the international songbook of musical cheese.  who, what & where?  hard to know because the booklet with the answers is missing from the envelope.  Far and wide, they came to this collection– including #3 which sounds like an old Taiwanese pop song that i sighed over  in the 80’s without shame.

george colligan.  the endless mysteries.  origin.  Multi-instrumentalist but primarily piano, colligan leads a trio with mentor/legendary drummer jack dejohnette and bassist larry grenadier through a playlist of all original compositions.  he likes the minor chords, and shows off with a herbie nichols inspired cue called  song for the tarahumera.

carla bley.  trios.  ECM.  Regal & mysterious under a shock of blonde/white hair, carla bley defines jazz pioneer;  from her 1970’s free jazz with ex-husband paul bley into the collaborations with gary burton, george russell, –pretty much everyone–to now with partner/bassist steve swallow and tenor/soprano sax andy sheppard, she understands the soft and strong of jazz composition within performance.

john abercrombie39 steps.  ECM.   Ballads and lyricism from a quartet of trusted jazz ensemblists—john abercrombie, guitar and  majority compositions;  marc copland  @ the piano; drew gress, double bass;  and joey baron on the drums.  song titles=hitchcock movies, but impresssions not covers.

ralph alessi.  baida.  ECM.  A great quartet led by trumpeter alessi explore the gentler edges of  avant-garde jazz.  jason moran duets nicely with alessi in the many horn/piano exchanges, and brings along his regular drummer, nasheet waits who fits right in.  ECM utility infielder drew gress mans the double bass.  try it, maybe more than once.

john stowell + dave liebman.  blue rose.  origin.  Standards setlist for unclassifiable duets from saxophone legend dave liebman and guitar master john stowell;  kenny wheeler’s everybody’s song but my own stands next to richard whiting’s my ideal. surprises abound.

dan bankhurst.  at first sight.  self.  Solo acoustic guitar & vocals from new guy dan bankhurst, native of northeast Ohio.  bankhurst plays fingerstyle guitar, references django reinhardt, chet atkins, frank vignola as his influences;  smooth, crisp, beautiful string sound.  sorry, david e.  this ain’t blues.

craig yaremko.  organ trio: CYO3.  OA2.  Reed musician/ educator craig yaremko uses the organ trio format to showcase classic jazz (hubbard, monk, waller) as well as his talented B-3 player matt king.  with jonathan peretz, drums + vic juris, guitar.

pedrito martinez.  the pedrito martinez group.  motema.  Fiery, hard-working, the PMG play & sing, all of them:  the  2 cubans, ariacne trujillo, former child prodigy pianist & pedrito, leader. percusssionist– then add the venezuelan bassist, alvaro benavides and jhair sala the peruvian xtra percusssion.  songs range from motown’s i’ll be there--sung los zaffiros-style— to depues de todo, signature of juan formell & los van vans.   best latin in a long time.

 jake hertzog.  throwback.  zoho.  Twenty-something electric guitarist herzog enlists veteran jazz trumpeter randy brecker —brilliant on sending home-–  into his  fusion-inspired quartet.  with harvie s. @ the bass;  and victor jones on acoustic and electric drums.

mary ann redmond.  compared to what.  self.  CD does not really command attention;  redmond plays guitar, sings but the playlist is tired, and the cover features a very large bass– that perhaps belonged to someone else???

pete rodriguez.  caminando con papi.  destiny.  High, latin horn sound from Austin, TX based trumpeter rodriguez;  many originals. band includes luis perdomo on piano; daniel dufour, drums; sam pankey, bass; robert quintero, percussion.

gary smulyan.  bella napoli.  capri.  Hmm–gary smulyan, a fabulous bari-sax player, & gary versace-terrific on the accordion, piano & matt wilson, excellent at the drum kit, but dominic chianese ( from The Sopranos) singing Neapolitan songs with an a-list jazz band.  it does not gel.  so if you want to play from it, do the instrumentals–tre veglia & saracino are good;  if you want uncle  junior, select his unaccompanied santa lucia.


dan bubien.  empty roads.  self.  Pittsburgh-native bubien plays many guitars, sings through his originals playlist.  abundant vocals, horns, keyboards, and a stable of bass guitars.

trudy lynn.  royal oaks blues cafe.  connor ray.  Honky tonk blues from Houston-based vocalist, lynn shows complete comfort with r&b, soul, and electric blues.  great supports from randy wall, piano;  steve krase, harmonica;  john richardson, guitar.

savoy brown.  songs from the road.  ruf.  Part of the late 1960’s blues movement, British, originally known as the savoy brown blues band, group now records on the energetic German label, ruf.  lead singer kim simmonds (guitar, vocals) hails from the old days;   jim whiting, sax; pat de salvo, bass; garnet grimm, drums.

jazz/blues adds november 4, 2013


dayna kurtz.  secret canon, vol. 1.  kismet.   Obscure slow songs– really like that– gathered from blues + r&b archives of the 1940-60’s, kurtz has a voluptuous voice, a celebrity’s following in Europe, and crossover playlist –jazz, pop, soul.  kurtz–guitar, vocals;  randy crafton-drums; dave richards- bass;  peter vitalone-keys.  take me in your arms= irresistible.

john clayton with gerald clayton.  parlor series.  artistshare.  Duets from famous musical family;  father,  john clayton, award-winning double bassist, plays with his son, pianist gerald.    a drop the needle cd that covers the who’s who of mellow, elegant jazz standards.  lots to like.

robert glasper experiment.  black radio 2.  blue note.  Composer/producer/keyboardist glasper mixes hip-hop, neo-soul, r & b, gospel, spoken word in his ambitious plan to “stir up”  jazz music. with jill scott; lalah hathaway; dwele;  norah jones, +more.

ben goldberg.  ordinary mind.  njamin.  West coast horn group with nels cline on guitar;  a-list notables include ellery eskelin, tenor;  rob sudduth, tenor; ches smith, drums;  + leader/composer goldberg on alto & Bb clarinet.   me, not as smitten with this sound as with Portland’s blue cranes--but david e.  gave this group *****.  though i like how goldberg takes where he came from–klezmer, tin hat trio, Bay area jazz–and breaks new ground.

ben goldberg.  subatomic particle homesick blues.  njamin.  there’s more ben goldberg;  recorded 2008, just getting released.  the different band with joshua redman, tenor;  ron miles, trumpet;  ches smith & scott amendola, sharing the drums; devin hoff, bass.  here, prominent trumpet–rather than two tenors in later release– strongly changes horn subtleties.

rene marie.  i wanna be evil.  motema.  Disclosure:  musically in the past,  rene marie  often goes too far into obviousness.  that said, what we have here is a smooth, concept-driven cd dedicated to the music of eartha kitt.  with nine songs from the kitt portfolio, the new  interpretation is completely driven by rene marie’s powerful self-love;  she and  the band, starting with wycliffe gordon’s trombone, breathe new life into most cues;  supports from etienne charles, trumpet;  kevin bales, piano;  elias bailey, bass; adrian cunningham, reeds.  good on its own terms.

nicholas payton.  sketches of spain.  BMF.  Prestige production of miles davis/gil evans legend gets the full monty  (strong chops & daring improvisations)  from trumpeter nicholas payton performing with the sinfonieorchester of Basel, Switzerland, conducted by dennis russell davies.  classic horn/wind ensemble is fleshed out with marcus gilmore, drums; daniel sadownick, percussion;  vincente archer, bass.  long cues (concierto, solea)= most successful.

dewa budjana.  joged kahyangan (dancing heaven).  moonjune.  Indonesian guitar master dewa budjana (sounds like bu’ dzana) greatly influenced by  jazz masters john abercrombie, chick corea, weather report –plays with peter erskine, drums;  larry goldings, keys;  bob mintzer, reeds, jimmy johnson, bass guitar.

stranahan+zaleski+rosato.  limitless.  capri.   Classic trio, all original compositions from 20-something talents.  pianist glenn zaleski comes from Boston;  bassist rick rosato from Montreal; and drummer colin stranahan from Denver;  their new stage is Brooklyn and everywhere they tour and collaborate.

steve treseler group.  center song. CMA.  Engaging cultural portrait of jazz lights in the Pacific Northwest led by reed player steve treseler, and BC trumpeter ingrid jensen.  mostly originals, group has cello, guitar, double & electric bass; piano, drums, trumpet, and leader treseler is reed-versatile.

jeff lederer.  swing n’ dix. little(i) music.  Excellent playlist in reed master/leader lederer’s tribute to dixieland, swing, and fellow clarnetist, jeff walker.  drums from matt wilson, but all the rest is horns–kirk knuffke, cornet; lederer on multi;  but dominant is the dancing tuba voice of bob stewart.

houston person nice ‘n’ easy.  highnote.  Standards playlist from the indomitable horn of houston person.  with drummer lewis nash; bassist ray drummond, vibist chuck redd; pianist john di martino.  old school with a beautiful tenor tone.

tom harrell.  colors of a dream.  highnote.  Old guy harrell (67) playing with the kids!   hardly, but the band is young lions/esses–2 basses, 3 horns.  First cue, tango, with esperanza spalding dueting her self–voice then bass.  it goes from there;  find your way.  jonathan blake- stellar drumming; wayne escoffery-tenor; xtra bass player, ugonna okegwo; jaleel shaw-brilliant alto. *
*(Note to admin: perhaps we need to rescue jaleel shaw’s recent cd (the soundtrack of things to come) that was purged.)


sheba.  butter on my rolls.  self.  The Mississippi queen, sheba, came from the cotton fields, escaped to  South Florida, then escaped  back to Mississippi;  her voice is good, her luck with men is bad, but she thanks them for giving her the “blues.”

travis haddix.  ring on her finger, rope around my neck.  benevolent blues.  Mississippi born blues man singing an all originals playlist.

samantha fish.  black wind howlin’.  ruf.    Play it loud, it sounds better.  Kansas City native, spirited guitarist and singer fish can belt a song with the best of them.  produced by guitarist mike zito whose blues cd gone to texas contains similar burning amp-age.