Monthly Archives: December 2013

jazz /blues december 15, 2013


ben allison.  the stars look very different today.  sonic camera.  The A-team:  composer/bassist ben allison with fiery drummer allison miller: string masters  steve cardenas and  brandon seabrook on various guitars and banjo.  by turns bold, experimental, mesmerizing, melancholy, atmospheric, allison on this–his eleventh recording as leader–takes inspiration from the wit in science and movie themes.
all good, though the ballad of joe buck grabs you.


doug webb.  another scene.  posi-tone. Outstanding tenor sound from LA sax player webb, now relocated to NYC and playing with  peter zak, piano;  dwayne burno, bass, and a superb rudy royston, drums.  50/50 split between originals and standards:  my favs, brubeck’s southern scene; jobim’s double rainbow.


reginald  cyntje.  love.  self.  DC jazz trombonist & St. Thomas native sets to music  themes of social justice —faith, hope, determination, love–with Caribbean motifs in his second release.  amin gumbs, drums;  allyn johnson, piano;  herman burney, bass + guests.


trio subtonic.  night runners.  self.  From Portland, OR, and the groove universe of fellow citizens, blue cranes, comes this classic jazz trio making unclassifiable, beautiful music.  leader/composer/pianist  galen clark joins with bassist bill athens and drummer jesse brooke.  find your way to this one.


bernie mora + tangent.  dandelion.  rhombus.  So, on first cut, twilight tango, bernie mora’s guitar channels carlos santana; other cues, the horns claim R & B stripes.  featuring doug webb on multiple reeds; lee thornburg, horns; corey allen, keys; robert vance, bass; doc anthony, drums.  funk, fusion, very LA


enrico granafei.  alone (and) together.  CAP.  Hands-free chromatic harmonica;   it’s a different sound, moving closer towards an accordion.   trained  # Rome, # Germany in classical guitar, granafei eventually settled in NYC.  some cues are unaccompanied, others with trio, quartet, quintet.  guests include:  dave stryker, amina figarova, billy hart, wallace roney.  quality overrides any prejudice vs. the harmonica.


bobby watson.  check cashing day.  self.   Alto player/ former jazz messenger watson’s new release includes curtis lundy on bass; herman mehari, trumpet; richard johnson, piano;  glenn north, spoken word;  horace washington , flute.  origins are the 50th anniversary of MLK’s I Have a Dream speech, & watson’ s memories of Kansas, City.


ralphe armstrong home bass.  detroit music factory.  Strong band led by bassist armstrong, recorded live @ Detroit jazz festival 1996.  henry gibson on piano, rayse biggs, trumpet;  toty viola, guitar;  gayelynn mckinney, drums. ****version of eddie harris’ freedom jazz dance.


maud hixson.   don’t let a good thing get away.  self.   Debut cd from Minnesota-based vocalist took me quietly by storm;  songs, by Broadway composer michael leonard, march with sharp lyrics.  hixson has a sweet, soft voice, but her crisp delivery &  tender emotions give great complexity to words. i was hearing a  young stacey kent as i listened.  band includes gene bertoncini, warren vache, ted arnold, steve laspina.


michael tinholme.  the house of jazz.  blue planet.  A dozen standards sung by a unique vocalist–arrangements by  producer tom fowler;   tinholme endured an adolescence of homelessness along the coast of California, but his found style is old school polish with pain below the surface.


christine ebersole.  strings attached.  motema.  Elegant, accessible collaboration between  violinist/arranger aaron weinstein and actress/singer ebersole—career spans a role in 1984 film amadeus to tony in 2007 for grey gardens, the musical.  it’s all lovely;  trio rounds out with tedd firth, piano and tom hubbard, bass.


michelle zangarasongs of blue.  self.  A  deep, sultry voice and production by trumpeter jeremy pelt allow vocalist zangara to  explore a setlist of unusual suspects– among them bobby troup’s composition the gentleman is a dope.  core group= bruce barth piano, ari roland, bass.


charlie musselwhite.  juke joint chapel.  henrietta.  Energetic mostly original playlist from  vocalist/ blues harp legend musselwhite, with june core on drums; matt stubbs on guitar, and mike phillips on bass.

city boys allstars.  when you needed me.  self.  Multiple horns thru out, eclectic playlist–billie holiday, robbie robertson, freddie king—, great version of  last night the bottle let me down.  group crosses over everything:  soul, blues, r & b, funk, 80’s musical archives.

blues mix 12:  classic soul blues.  ecko.  some excellent make out music in this classic soul/blues compilation:  i was seaching by o.b. buchana, lovin’ you by big poppa g; let a real woman try by barbara carr.

roy buchanan.  american axe–live in 1974.  powerhouse.  Brilliant guitar technique on the telecaster by Ozark-born buchanan who lived  a somewhat obscure life as a  virtuoso blues sideman ( 1950-60’s).   “discovered”- then died at age 48;  playlist curated by  blues master tom principato  spotlights early 70’s live performances.  great work.