Monthly Archives: February 2014

jazz/blues adds february 26, 2014


amy cervini.  jazz country.  anzic.  A gem, not to be missed, jazz vocalist amy cervini re-thinks country music.  her background–Toronto, music conservatory initially in alto + voice–gives her style  beauty and uniqueness.  produced by matt wilson, core band = cervini,  jesse lewis, guitar; matt aronoff, bass  plus stellar guests–anat cohen, gary versace, nellie mckay, marty erlich.

stacey kent.  the changing lights.  parlophone/wb.   Brazil, a region of the heart, gets exquisite treatment from vocalist stacey kent.  playlist surveys the well-known and lesser Brazilian composers, plus originals from kent’s collaborator husband, jim tomlinson & writer kazuo ishiguro.    kent sings like a native in many languages but her Portuguese is soft, with clear musical drifts.  always a pleasure.

jeff ballard.  time’s tales.  OKeh.  Great balance between originals and classics in this sophisticated  debut (as a leader) recording from drummer jeff ballad.  trio rounds out with miguel zenon, alto and lionel louecke, guitar as they cover Cuban troubadour silvio rodriguez, george gershwin, and bela bartok.  multiple listens required to get under complete musical umbrella.

frank wess.  magic 201.  IPO.   In 2013 flutist/tenor frank wess died at the age of 91; he had played with  count basie, ben webster,  lester young.   His two posthumous releases– magic  101 and  magic 201–are old school sessions that surrender to the unhurried, to ballads with silent lyrics.  make his acquaintance if you don’t know him.   piano, kenny barron;  guitar, russell malone;  rufus reid, bass;  winard harper, drums.

rudy royston.  303.  greenleaf.  Dynamite debut from drummer rudy royston as bandleader.  excellence began with the band selection:  tenor jon erabagon and Aussie trumpeter nadja noordhuis smoothly sounding as one;  pianist sam harris weaving melodies;  guitarist nir felder and mimi jones or yasushi nakamura defining a strong bass line.  leader/ composer royston and dave douglas’s greenleaf label create the home.

the tiptons.  tiny lower case.  sowie sound.  i played this first, and in the middle, and late at night, and never fell in love.  love, love, love this group in previous incarnations, but tiny lower case spelled no magic for me.  it’s not bad, just fussy &  rudderless.

natalie cressman.  turn the sea.  self.   Pop & jazz in trombonist/singer/composer natalie cressman’s confident second recording as a leader.  a beautiful redhead with poetry in her lyrics.

takuya kuroda.  rising son.  blue note.  In the horn playing department, it’s much harder to be a trumpet super-star than tenor or alto sax.   out on a limb as i am now,  takuya kuroda– Japanese-born, berklee-educated– adds in soul to his exceptional  trumpet glory.  originals playlist, except for 70’s roy ayers cues.  co-starring:  nate smith, drums;  solomon dorsey, bass;  kris bowers, rhodes, corey king, trombone.

sheryl bailey.  a meeting of the minds cellar live.  Mostly originals, expertly interpreted by guitarist sheryl bailey’s organ trio: ron oswanski on B-3, ian froman, drums.  whatever  guitar/organ vibe you like— the burner or the pensativo— bailey & co provides.  released by  cory weeds thoughtful cellar live label.

dave stryker.  eight track.  self.  Guitarist dave stryker celebrates the lost god that was the 8-track tape in his 70’s set list.  curtis mayfied, music from Hair, stevie wonder, witchita lineman— fun at every turn.  jared gold keeps the organ lively, stefon harris on vibes; mcclenty hunter, drums and stryker @ guitar.

alex blake+bill ware+jaime affoumado+arturo o’farrill.  the puppeteers.  puppets.  Disclosure:  contemporary vibraphone is irresistible to me, and bill ware, one of the best, displays both compositional & performance chops with this Latin-esque rhythm quartet.  blake on bass; o’farrill, piano; affoumado, drums.

ben paterson.  essential element.  maxjazz.  Chicago jazz pianist ben paterson jumped labels,  from origin to  maxjazz, on this recording.  sometimes he reminds me of an emerging bill evans, and then not.  here, he confines himself with the trio:  joshua ramos, bass; and jon deitmeyer, drums, and a playlist that never catches fire, even in a quiet way.


jim suhler.  panther burn.  underworld.  Dallas vocalist/guitarist with his new recording.

laith al-saadi.  real.  weber works.  Dozen + musicans for live session of mostly originals, fronted by Detroit/Ann Arbor blues man laith al-saadi.  Band–rhythm/horns/vocals–thrives with the lack of technical interference.

daunielle.  eponymous.  cat food.   Debut recording for Memphis blues/soul singer on the El Paso catfood label;  killer voice– range, growl, energy– daunielle (dawn-yell) worked the twenty feet from stardom path with solomon burke, huey & the news,– now giving other soul divas a run for their audience.  loved it.

blue lunch.  30th anniversary special.  rip cat.  Blues/ swing band, Cleveland-based, many original compositions by their de facto leader, guitarist bob frank.  older, experienced bluesmen who can really jump.

jazz/blues adds february 19, 2014


catherine russell.  bring it back.  jazz village.  Brilliant.  russell searched all musical archives and found the good, the hidden and the melodic.  play everything!  the band, the arranging, the cast of musicians support all moods.

ulysses owens jronward & upward.  D-clef.  Fantastic (young, i think)  band: leader, drummer owens gathers the best and the rest is pleasure.  anat cohen, tenor & clarinet;  jason palmer, trumpet;  michael dease, wailing trombone;  christian sands, piano; reuben rogers, bass;  gilad hekselman, guitar;  plus guests.  i left my marks all over this.

pat metheny unity group.  kin. nonesuch.  Never predictable, icon metheny refreshes his ideas on many guitars, and electronica;  the incomparable chris potter carrying that melodic line with a variety of reeds;  antonio sanchez, drums; ben willaims, basses; and multi-instrumentalist giulio carmassi on everything blown or bowed.

rufus reid.  quiet pride.  motema.  Two-year labor of love for bassist rufus reid;  he composed a suite for large ensemble (20 musicians) to celebrate the career of African-American sculptor elizabeth catlett (1915-2012).  headliners includes herlin riley, steve allee, vic juris, michael dease, ryan keberle, ingrid jensen, vincent chancey, + more.

george cables.  icons & influences.  highnote.  Leader or sideman, piano jazz or hard-bop, pianist george cables continues his xtraordinary musician’s life with a playlist of originals, tributes and classics.  victor lewis; drums;  dezron douglass, bass.

james brandon lewis.  divine travels.  OKeh.  Free jazz, friendly avant-garde, tenor player lewis is deterined to be accessible;  his trio includes the venerable william parker on bass, and young Turk, gerald cleaver on drums.  gospel meets sonic explorations.

jeremy pelt.  face forward.  jazzdepot.  Electric via the fender rhodes and funk from all corners is the m.o. in trumpet master jeremy pelt’s jazz/fusion release.  core band includes roxy cross, david bryant, chris smith, dana hawkins + friends.

nir felder.  golden age.  OKeh.  Buzz on guitarist/composer nir felder is that he’s the next “big one.”  the all originals set list impressed me less than his quartet– aaron parks, piano;  matt penman, bass;  and nate smith, drums–and their dynamic explorations.

arild andersen.  mira.  ecm.  Legendary Norwegian double bassist andersen with trio mates–Scot tommy smith on tenor and Italian drummer paolo vinaccia–follow up their live in Belleville ( 2008)  debut with a studio session, more pensive.  there’s ideas to find here.

bob dorough.  eulalia.  merry lane.  Vocalese singer/composer  bob dorough worked with blossom dearie and influenced mose allison.   now he’s 90, still taking big risks, and very quirky.

josh deutsch + pannonia.  another time, another place.   alternate side.  Seattle-trumpeter josh deutsch leads the klezmer-esque/jazz group pannonia through a geography without borders.  zach brock, violin;  brian drye, trombone; gary wang, bass;  ronen itzik, percussion.

jeff presslaff.  the complete rebirth of the cool.  cellar live.  Winnipeg-based  trombonist/composer  jeff presslaff  assembles a nonet of horns/rhythm section to tribute the miles davis rebirth of the cool.  all canadians, all originals, happily released on cory weeds Vancouver-based cellar live label.


kent burnside.  my world is so cold.  lucky 13

joe louis walker.  hornet’s nest.  alligator.
damon fowler.  sounds of home.  blind pig.

root doctor.  new attitude.  self.

jazz/blues adds february 10, 2014

craig handy.  & the 2nd line smith.  okeh.  New York tenor craig handy collaborates with 2nd line smith, a performance band dedicated to music of organist jimmy smith, and spirit of New Orleans.  playlist ranges from wes montgomery to ivory joe hunter to jimmy smith.  jason marsalis + herlin riley, drums;  matt chertkoff, guitar;  kyle koehler, B3; clark gayton, sousaphone.
tin men.  avocado woo woo.  threadhead.   A trio of New Orleans rowdys;  washboard chaz leary on percussion, vocals, and the washboard;  matt perrinie on sousaphone, trombone, vocals;  alex mcmurray, guitar and vocals.    Mostly endearing originals ( by mcmurray) that shower love on the Crescent City.   an avocado woo woo is what…?? recipe, please.
tord gustavsen.  extended circleecm.   Another fine quartet from the ecm library, but the tenor/piano core of this recording from saxophonist tore brunborg, and pianist/ composer tord gustavsen is sublime.  leader gustavsen mixes Norwegian hymns with quartet improvs; the playlist hums, featuring mats eilertsen, double bass, jarle vespestad, drums.
danilo perez.  panama 500.  mack avenue.  Original suite by pianist danilo perez celebrates his homeland, Panama with a  vision both trans-cultural and musically diverse.  john patitucci + ben street on bass;  brian blade + adam cruz, drums; alex hargreaves, violin; sachi patitucci, cello;  extensive group of Guna musicians, Latin instruments.
ben wolfe.  from here i see.  maxjazz.  Julliard educator/ bassist/composer  ben wolfe inaugurates  his debut maxjazz recording with a cast of great friends:  russell malone, wynton marsalis, jd allen, orrin evans, marcus strickland.  all originals, spectacular elegant arrangements.
emanuele cisi.  where or whenmaxjazz.  Italian (Torino)  tenor/soprano saxophone musician, cisi (sounds like cheese-y)
exhibits his pure, strong tone in a trio setting;  with luca santaniello, drums and joseph lepore, bass– and serious nods to john coltrane.
vincent herring.  the uptown shuffle.  smoke sessions.  Multi-instrumental reed player (flute, alto, soprano) herring strikes up a band that recorded live @ smoke jazz club, NYC;  cyrus chestnut on piano;  joe farnsworth, drums, brandi disterheft on bass.  elite classics, and originals performed in tribute to jazz legends.
alfredo rodriguez.  the invasion parade.  mack avenue.  Not to be confused with Cuban pianist alfredo rodriguez (1936-2005), young alfredo ( b.1985), also a Cuban pianist, is NYC based, and produced by quincy jones.  excellent Latin playlist, classics + wild new compositions by rodriguez;  stellar band roundup–esperanza spalding, peter slavov, henry cole, roman filiu, billy carrion, javier porta, +  the exceptional  pedrito matinez.
dianne reeves.  beautiful life.  concord.  Vocalist reeves teams up with producer terri lyne carrinton, and invites the who’s who of soul/ r&b/ jazz to guest star on this sumptuous recording.  covered include bob marley, ani defranoc, stevie nicks, harold arlen and originals.  accessible and irresistible.
tim hegarty.  tribute.  mile high. Youngster saxophone player tim hegarty shows off with a quintet of great elders:  kenny barron on piano;  rufus reid, bass;  carl allen, drums;  and mark sherman on vibes.  his tribute  honors coltrane, monk, rollins, frank foster, and dexter gordon.
anton schwartz.  flash mob self.  San Francisco, Ca.  tenor musician anton schwartz
incorporates monk and kenny dorham covers into his dynamic originals recording:  band mates include taylor eigsti @ piano; dominick farinacci, horns; lorca hart, drums and john schifflett, bass.
scott jeppesen.  el guapo.  creative bottle.  Debut recording from West Coast tenor/bass clarinet player scott jeppeson is a source of gorgeous guitar/saxophone interplay–check out his cover of richie beirach’s elm with larry koonse on guitar.   featuring john daversa, trumpet.


john hammond.  timeless.  palmetto.

sharon jones & dap-kings.  give the people what they want.  daptone.

james armstrong.  guitar angels.  catfood.

billy branch.  blues shock.  blind pig.