Monthly Archives: April 2014

jazz/blues adds april 23, 2014

charlie hunter & scott amendola.  the cars.  self.  “Hiding” might be the subtitle to this collection of covers.  Our irreverent duo–drummer scott amendola and guitarist charlie hunter –honor their  musical influences:  the cars, hank williams, duke ellington, cole porter.  witty game of “name that tune” –if you can.
dave douglas.  riverside.  greenleaf.  Amazing, understated work from trumpeter dave douglas working at his new home, greenleaf.  perhaps, they began with ideas of jimmy giuffre (1921-2008)– reed master/composer/bandleader;  but where they went was joyous, improvised, a jazz home-run.  the “they” are douglas +  elder statesman steve swallow, electric bass;  the Montreal, Canada doxas brothers, chet on clarinet, tenor and jim @ the drums.  twelve-minute grand finale is just that.

omar hakim.  we are one.  OZmosis.  Multi-talented drummer/keyboardist omar hakim  has burnished jazz and pop credentials since the 1970’s: for every madonna, david bowie, nile (CHIC) rodgers,  weather report, sting gig,  there was work with marcus miller, miles davis, mike manieri and hakim’s  trio of OZ with pianist rachel Z who appears here.  Crafted third solo album– in 14 years;  adventurous jazz fusion band includes great guitar from chieli minucci; tenor by bobby fracheschini;  jerry brooks, bass;  synths, rachel z. + scott tibbs.

joe beck.  get me joe beck.  whaling city sound.  This man, joe beck (1945-2008), said the guitar is a six piece band;  his gift, on this posthumous release, is to take the familiar and surprise you– for example, a nine-minute manha de carnaval.  actually, he’s not afraid of long or the jazz standard.  trio rounds out with peter barshay on bass;  david rokeach @ drums;  soft spot in my heart for  coastal town No. Dartmouth, MA (near New Bedford) where  whaling city sound originates

eric alexander.  chicago fire.  highnote.  Tenor eric alexander leads an energetic quartet –harold mabern (alexander’s mentor), piano;  john webber, bass;  joe farnsworth @ drums –with trumpeter jeremy pelt  guesting.  playlist and performances celebrate Chicago heros– von freeman, johnny griffin, eddie harris, charles earland, sonny stitt.
yard byard: the jaki byard project.  inch by inch.  GM.  Following the metaphor,  the jb project consists of five musicians–none of them pianists–who played with jazz legend/pianist jaki byard:  jamie baum, flute, alto;  adam kolker, tenor, clarinets;  jerome harris, guitar;  ugonna okegwo, bass;  george schuller @ drums.  all byard compostions, newly arranged by band members, the setlist numbers twelve.  project=very intellectual, and humbled before the great man– i greatly missed byard’s unpredictable playing, and melodic piano .
louis armstrong.  live in amsterdam:  1959.  solar.  Exuberant louis armstrong performing at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw hall in 1959 a few months before the heart attack that subdued his European touring;  trummy young on trombone, peanuts hucko on clarinet, billy kyle at the piano, mort herbert, bass, danny barcelona@ drums.  just enjoy;  it’s a delight.
manhattan school of music/afro-cuban jazz orchestra.  que viva harlem.  jazzheads.  Memories of the musical intersection of east (Spanish) and west (black) Harlem get a dramatic treatment from the MSM jazz orchestra, directed by timbales master bobby sanabria.  kudos to the  many soloists, especially alto patrick bartley, this virtuostic recording is a fine calling card for the  MSM afro-cuban program.
eric reed.  the adventurous monk.  savant.  Dedicated to cedar walton (1934-2013), music by thelonious.  pianist eric reed is on a monk mission,  this cd, his third compositions by monk playlist, is not about tribute by imitation but rather deep diving into the timeless core of essential monk.  sidemen shine:  seamus blake, tenor;  ben williams, bass;  gregory hutchinson @ drums.
jazzbonez.  watch it.  summit.   Founded in 2006, jazzbonez is a stellar trombone ensemble from UT @ Austin;  five  tenor trombones + one bass trombone, &  four piece rhythm section.  award-winning, polished, engaging playlist.
oran etkins.  gathering light.  motema.   In my next life, i want to come back as a music producer for motema--continuing their work, that is both elegant and hearty.  israeli clarinetist, oran etkins, frames his  globe-trotting playlist with tales of found pieces of music…Israel (his birthplace), Indonesia, China.  A-list band:  etkins on clarinets, tenor;  ben allison, bass;  curtis fowlkes, trombone;  lionel loueke, guitar, vocal;  dynamic nasheet waits @ drums.

the nels cline singers.  macroscope.  mack avenue.  I have never achieved lift-off with this group, though individually –scott amendola, trevor dunn, cyro baptista– i follow their work.  the author, guitarist /composer nels cline wanders the extra-terrestrial route, away from the known–and i am lost.  probably i need to listen more;  the faithful, of which there are many, will find this and worship.

billy brandt.  the ballad of larry’s neighbor. self.  Seattle-based, singer-songwriter brandt gets great assistance from Pacific Northwest vocalists– the duets shine;  check out josephine howard on house of grace & daddy don’t leave, + carrie wicks on an expanded route 66.   (a popular performing name this billy brandt is not to be confused with America’s #1 porn star nor a crusty Detroit-based roots/country singer.)


iguanas.  juarez.  piety street.   the fortunate could have heard this mighty band on the streets of New Orleans french quarter sunday, april 13.   if you weren’t there, this rhythmic gumbo does the trick.  wit, chops & compositional skills from a seasoned  group that loves to push sonic borders.

major and the monbacks.  monback house party.  self.  Norfolk, Va-based nine member party band boasts multiple guitars, percussion, horns.  Their set list runs the gamut from pop to  r&b to soul to blues to sky’s the limit.

john mayall.  a special life.   forty below.  Turning eighty, British bluesman john mayall has produced a gorgeous, personal studio recording, his first in five years;  new band includes rocky athas, guitar;  greg rzab, bass guitar/percussion;  jay davenport @ drums;  + c.j.chenier guesting with his accordion.  mostly originals with a nod to albert king and sonny landreth.

terry hanck band.  gotta bring it on home to you.  delta groove.  Intrepid surfer in a earlier life, tenor/singer/songwriter terry hanck & his men keep the East Bay, Ca.  blues clubs dancing.  Mostly originals playlist.

jazz /blues adds april 15, 2014


vijay iyer.  mutations.  ecm.  Gorgeous experiments from pianist/composer vijay iyer working with a string quartet and electronica.   recording is divided between 40 minute  suite-like mutations with strings, and solo piano reveries from earlier jazz trio work.  nods to philip glass;  stately elegance, categorically, perhaps crossover  “wet ink” classical music.

the bad plus.  the rite of spring.  masterworks.  More windows into classical music from jazz talent.  the bad plus trio–reid anderson, bass; ethan iverson, piano;  david king, drums–brings on igor stravinsky’s the rite of spring.  complete and with all the barn-burning intensity of the 1913 original.

regina carter.  southern comfort.  masterworks.  Bright, authentic arrangements  from the songbook of  American Creole and Appalachia;  the artist is Detroit-native, classically trained violinist regina carter looking deeply into the roots music of her ancestors.  all hits, from dennis mcgee’s blues de basile to gram parsons hickory wind.  the superb band–marvin sewell, jesse murphy, chris lightcap, will holshouser– shine modest beauty on the traditional song arrangements by a dozen different artists.

oscar peterson/ ben webster.  during this time.  NDR.  A cd/dvd combination featuring jazz giants pianist oscar peterson and tenor ben webster recorded  in Hannover, Germany at the NDR Jazz workshop, december 1972, just months before webster passed away in Amsterdam.  niels-henning orsted pedersen on bass, tony inzalaco at the drums;  seasoned quartet playing ellington classics, and webster originals.

marcus robertsfrom rags to rhythm.  j-master.  Twelve movement suite from New Orleans pianist marcus robert and trio:  rodney jordan, bass and jason marsalis, drums.  Ambitious, stirring, elegant, crossover music—plays better in its entirety, or as multi-segments than plucking out individual cues.

eric vloeimansnorth sea jazz legendary concerts.  bob city.   No one plays trumpet llike eric vloeimans–risky, tender, controlled, captain of the ship.  what we have here are cd + dvd.  cd includes fugimundi concert (Rotterdam)   with harmen fraanje, piano and anton goudsmit on guitar;    plus gatecrash show (Rotterdam) with jasper van hulten, drums; jeroen van vliet, fender;  gulli gudmundsson, bass.  but the dvd has many golden nuggets that deserve cd release in their own right.  rumor says vloeimans returns to Cville  fall, 2014.

mark egan.  about now.  wavetone.  Loved this;  trio led by bass guitarist mark egan with outstanding pianist mitchell forman and drummer danny gottlieb.  all originals;  often with the pat metheny group, egan has played with the many and mighty.

pete mcguinness.   strength in numbers.  summit.  Trombonist/arranger/vocalist pete mcguinness directs his jazz orchestra through a graceful playlist of mostly originals;  strong musicianship from what is primarily a woodwind & horn ensemble, and they swing.

charlie dennard.  from brazil to new orleans.  self.  Multi-keyboardist, composer, cirque de soleil musical director, charlie dennard loves his hometown new orleans, but believes that NoLa and Brazil  have musical affinities.  playlist includes luiz gonzaga’s asa branca, and many accordion-friendly  cues.  doug belote, drums;  brian seeger, guitar;  matt perrine, bass; steve masakowski, 7-string guitar.

david hazeltime.  for all we know.  smoke sessions.   Veteran jazz pianist david hazeltine tributes his influences with a stellar quartet:  seamus blake, tenor;  david williams, bass;  joe farnsworth, drums.   et cedra and my ship are dedicated to cedar walton;  eddie harris to that man;  cheryl to charie parker;

john la barbera.  caravan.  jazz compass.  Excellent arrangements from arranger/leader john la barbera for his big band.  originals and others playlist;  stand-outs include kenny barron’s voyage, jao bosco’s incompatible.

mo’fone.  ‘fonology.  self.  Bay Area funky jazz trio has invited guests to help them stir some New Orleans into their blistering sound.  the core– jeremy steinholer ( drums) + larry de la cruz (sax) + jim peterson (more sax, percussion)– adds in kirk joseph on sousaphone, marty wehner, trombone to their originals playlist.


kenny “blues boss”  wayne.  rollin ‘with the blues boss.  stony plain.  Boogie woogie piano man/ vocalist kenny wayne, native of New Orleans, has taken his blues stride to Canada where he “cooks” in the clubs of Vancouver.  guests on this  recording include eric bibb and diunna  greenleaf.

josh hoyer.  and the shadowboxers.  self.  Out of the heartland, Lincoln, NE comes vocalist josh hoyer with an originals setlist, a six piece r&b/soul/funk band with a female vocals trio.  it’s a big, demanding sound;  more action from the kickstarter musical universe.

lil’ronnie & the bluebeats with claudia carawan.  unfinished business.  ellersoul.  Harmonicat ronnie owens joins with gospel vocalist claudia carawan and many other blues musicians to finish the work  of songwriting they started  back in the 1990’s.

blues mix 13.  grown folks soul.  ecko.  Soul compilations that includes ms. jody, donnie ray, sony mack, o.b. buchana.

jazz/blues adds april 1, 2014


monty alexander.  harlem-kingston express, vol.2:  the river rolls on.  motema.  Joyous and heartfelt  interpretations by legendary pianist monty alexander as he unveils drama, lightness and the political in Jamaican music that has shaped him.  personnel include –obed calvaire @ drums & vocalists caterina zapponi (mrs. a.) & wendel ferraro, plus veterans:  hassan shakur, bass;  courtney panton, percusssion;  andy bassford, guitar.   nothing bad here,   trust every cue;  another luscious motema production.

charlie hunter.  pucker.  sazi.  Lean, dreamy duets from WTJU favorite–the drum/7-string guitar team of scott amendola and charlie hunter, with amendola doing the writing.  an attitude of good times, keen wit, and two men doing the work of ten at this session.

jason kao kwang.  burning bridge.  innova.  Chinese-American jazz violinist  improvising with stellar octet, that mixes Western horns with Asian strings (pipa, erhu).  long, drifting cues:  joseph daley, tuba;  steve swell, trombone;   taylor ho bynum, cornet;  ken filiano, sun li, wang guowei–on strings; andrew drury, drums.

adam kromelowkrom.  self.  Discover this!  Muscular, genre-bending, tuneful trio work led by sensational pianist adam kromelow.  he came from chicago, studied at Manhattan School for Music with jason moran, vijay iyer; uniquely confident with a playlist of originals.  bassist raviv markovitz and percussionist jason burger–no slouches–make this trio reach the musical stars.

marcus robertsfrom rags to rhythm.  j-master.  Twelve movement suite from New Orleans pianist marcus robert and trio:  rodney jordan, bass and jason marsalis, drums.  Ambitious, stirring, elegant, crossover music—plays better in its entirety, or as multi-segments than plucking out individual cues.

bill banfield.  playing with other people’s heads:  songs.  sugo.  Out of Boston’s South End comes bill banfield’s collective, jazz urbane, a gigging ensemble dedicated to breathing  roots, r&b, soul, spoken word into contemporary jazz performance.  much care taken with the vocals, guest soloists;  banfield, guitar and composition, always.

jeff hackwork.  soul to go.  big bridge.  Classic organ quartet led by NYC tenor jeff hackworth;  ed cherry on guitar, vince ector, drums, and radam schwartz at the B-3.  playlist mixes the old and the original.

steve fidyk.  heads up!. posi-tone.  Drummer/educator (Temple University) steve fidyk performs mostly originals with his quintet:  terell stafford on horns; tim warfield, tenor;  shawn purcell, guitar; regan brough, bass.

matthew kaminski.  swingin on the new hammond.  chicken coop.  He’s the Atlanta Braves organist!  new release showcases some classic B-3 gems– she by charles aznavour, and turn to stone.  justin varnes on drums, and the singular voice on dave stryker on guitar.

dave chamberlain’s band of bonescaravan.  self.  In that bag of (trom)bones there are eight including leader dave chamberlain. plus multi-octave vocalist kat gang, kenny asher @ piano; mike campenni + chembo corneil on percussions,  jerry devore, bass.  Swinging, smooth, classic playlist with rhythmic arrangements by chamberlain.

david bromberg.  forth & back.  cap.  Originally from a Tucson, AZ musical famly, drummer bromberg works in NYC, & his debut recording includes bassist, christian fabian; reed man, bill vint;  keyboardist, steve hunt.  all originals playlist.


jones family singers.  the spirit speaks.  arts+labor.   Three generation gospel collective that incorporates soul, r & b into contemporary church music.

lisa mann.  move on.  self.   West Virginia native, lisa mann sings with gusto and plays bass;  having explored genres from “Metal to Memphis”, here she gathers a team of Pacific Northwest blues musicians.

wildcat o’halloran.  party up in heaven.  self.   Blues-ing in Western Massachusetts ( Northhampton), wildcat  writes, sings, and plays guitar.

core band fleshed out with many guest “angels” for the party.  ballad “crossing off” inflects a chris smithers influence, nicely.

christian collin.  american art.  c-train. Singer/songwriter/guitarist dedicated to roots music but willing to blend in many tangents–soul, country, folk.  core band of bass, drums, keys  folds in generous horn section.