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.