Monthly Archives: May 2014

jazz/blues adds may 20, 2014


seamus blake /chris cheek.  reeds ramble.  criss cross.  Yummy because it has the smoothness of two polished tenors– chris ceek and seamus blake– and then we add the extravagant unpredictability of pianist ethan iverson (the bad plus). Sometimes the excellence gap appears;  i.e.,‘ na carreira = fabulous, but 1974 blues, less pioneering.  find your way;  personal favorite =  ’til i die.   drumming from jochen rueckert and bass work of matt penman glues this finery with craft.

bill coon/jodi proznick/miles black.  trilogy.  cellar live.  Vancouver trio driven hard by bassist jodi proznick,  though i love the compositions of their pianist miles black;  bill coon on guitar.  mellow cues–coon’s guitar is soft, swingy;  morocco and ballad of the true north, delightful.    it’s old school and vibrant at the same time;  love this label.

craig wuepper.  storytelling.  cellar live.  From the archives of Vancouver-based cellar live label, drummer craig wuepper takes us to NYC, 2002 and the swoony piano music of the late harry whitaker (1942-2010).  this impromptu set also yielded tenor work from whitaker’s often collaborator,  david schnitter, +  the bass of pat o’leary. 

grrl power.  Hot tone records has 3 good ones here;  each young woman musician leads her own band, composes much of their setlist, and  plays on the other’s release.  Bassist/vocalist mimi jones produces all three;  vocalist extraordinaire  camille thurman sings  & plays her many reeds on all;  shirazette tinnin drums on all three, sharing the spotlight with brilliant rudy royston on  thurman’s origins.   guest soloists reads like Who’s Who of Young Women in Jazz– tia fuller, rachel eckroth, ingrid jensen, mala waldron, miki hayama, amanda ruzza + guys,  luis perdomo, enoch smith jr, marvin sewell, willerm delisfort, tom dicarlo.  smartly done.
mimi jones.  balance.  hot tone.
camille thurman.  origins.  hot tone.
shirazette tinnin.  humilty: purity of my soul.  hot tone. 

bria skonberg.  into your own.  random act.  More young grrl power.  dateline: a farm in Chilliwck, BC, early singing and trumpet lessons, gigs @ Vancouver Olympics, fast forward to busking in NYC, mentorship with cornet master warren vache.  high energy vocals & horn;  confident compositions.  mino cinelu, percussion;  dalton ridenhour, piano collaborator. 


kavita shah.  visions.  inner circle.  Harvard/Manhattan Music educated, downbeat award-winning vocalist 2012, kavita shah makes a grand debut with a set of Indian tabla vocals, Brazilian + Malian influences.  produced by & co-starring  guitarist lionel loueke;  with linda oh, bass;  steve wilson, reeds;  rogerio boccato, percussion.  inventive arrangements make it work.


mike pope.  cold truth,  warm heart.  walk your dogma.  Life altering medical event gave jazz bassist mike pope the will to make this all -originals release.  Sidemen include seamus blake on tenor;  joe locke, vibraphone;  geoffrey keezer & alan blackman, piano;  mauricio zottarelli@drums. 

jerry bergonzi.  intersecting lines.  savant.  Outstanding quartet  features jerry bergonzi on tenor + dick oatts, alto, with dave santoro, bass, and versatile andrea michelutti@drums.  all originals play list;  lyricism, movement, atmophere. 

jd allen.  bloom.  savant.  Rising star jd allen is a smooth as silk tenor player;  almost all original compostions that acknowledge the gentle intersection of classical/ American songbook and jazz improv;   orrin evans, piano;  alexander claffy, bass;  jonathan barber @drums. 

jouis hayes.  return of the jazz communicators.  smoke sessions.  Veteran drummer who worked with everyone–most notably horace silver, cannonball adderley, and oscar peterson– reassembles a quintet from the heydays of bop with young blood;  david bryant, piano;  dezron douglas, bass;  abraham burton, tenor,  and the  impeccable vibraphone of steve nelson. 


blues  (are really good this week)

gregg allman + various.  all my friends.  rounder.   January 14, 2014:  fox theatre, Atlanta, Ga.  Concert celebrating the music and voice of gregg allman.  the gathering included the blues mighty–martina mcbride, robert randolph, susan tedeschi, trace adkins, derek trucks, devon allman+ more. 

steve dawson.  rattlesnake cage.  black hen.  Virtuoso guitarist (and owner of Vancouver, BC black hen label) steve dawson goes “walkin blues” with all originals, acoustic cd that celebrates the power and sophistication of performance, plain and simple.  drop the needle, it’s all good.  dawson also does brilliant slide work on jim byrnes, st louis times.

jim byrnes.   st. louis times.  black hen.  Career capstone recording from US expat-now Canadian vocalist of 2014.  arc of the playlist is jazz/blues/gospel tribute to byrnes hometown, St Louis, MO.  some originals, but the fever here is byrnes’ sly delivery of these killer arrangements and the players thereon:  like tom colcough on clarinet;  darryl havers, organ;  steve dawson, slide guitar;  colin james, acoustic guitar;   john hammond, harmonica;  horn charts by jim hoke. 

john primer + the teardrops.  you can make it if you try!.  wolf.  Vienna, Austria label, wolf, releases a 1990’s live recording of magic slim sideman john primer–playing with magic’s band, the teardrops.  a tribute to Chicago blues, its origins and legacy, primer sings,  plays guitar, with enormous skill and unique style.

jazz/blues adds may 13, 2014


meklit.  we are alive.  six degrees.  Original, brave (politics + music) vocals from San Francisco via Ethiopia singer meklit hadero.  smitten @ first cue– even before reading the liner notes by novelist walter mosley–this cd merits un detour for those chasing down vocalists cutting a daring edge.  core band = darren johnson, trumpet;  sam bevan, many percussives;  lorca hart @ drums;  meklit on  guitar, piano, Farfisa  plus guests

sonny rollins.  road shows, volume 3okeh.   Sonny, live, in the new millenium;  six extended plays from tenor madness master on the road.  band constants are peter bernstein, guitar;  bob cranshaw, bass;  clifton anderson, trombone;  sammy figueroa, percussion;  kobie watkins + victor lewis + perry wilson + steve jordan sharing drums.   ports of call = Japan, France x 4, St.Louis.
mario pavone.  street songs.  playscape.  Compelling, avant garde bassist offers a friendly mix of  “ethnic” New England music;  the ethnics include  tonal pioneers alban berg & charles ives;  rolling accordion sounds from adam matlock, the foraging  trumpet/flugel of dave ballou (#cville w/ michael musillami), and pulsing beat from steve johns@drums  + second bass, carl testa.   as i said, friendly.

beat funktion.  voodooland.  domusic.   Funk and 70’s dance-ables  from the country that gave us abba.  polished Swedish hipsters  (led by arranger/composer/keyboardist daniel lantz) voodooland  seems less raw, spicy than previous moon town.  karl olandersson, trumpet;  olle thunstrom, tenor;  johan oijen +pal johnson, electric guitar +bass;  jon eriksson@drums.

steve kroon.  on the #1.  kroonatune.   Groove-y, gently swaying cues from congero steve kroon and his percussion-based ensemble.  kroon, a son of Harlem, has 35 years of spreading the sounds of tito puente and other NYC Latin legends.  discover.

michael fiorino.  ensemble 456.  self.  Debut cd of Chicago bassist as a leader/composer;  septet plus occasional singer (gingi lahera).  veteran musican fiorino prides himself on his crossover talents.

geof  bradfield.  melba!.  origin.  Tribute to composer/trombonist melba liston from tenor geof bradfield.  all originals form a biographical suite of liston’s musical life:  her collaboration with randy weston travels from LA’s Central Avenue to Detroit’s motown, later Kingston’s reggae.  innovation from origin.


elias haslanger.  live @ the gallery.  cherrywood.   Austin calling:    subtitled, church on monday, because tenor elias haslanger enlists dr james polk on B-3 as a co-leader.  dr. polk– in a previous life– directed the ray charles touring band.  together, haslanger + polk and rhythm section do fine damage to jazz classics.  antidote to my B-3 allergy. 


matt garrison.  patchwork.  stop time.  Grating vocalist ruins a promising collaboration, led by versatile reed musician matt garrison,.  i could not listen to this one.

wayne riker mob.  groovin with the top brass.  fretfull.    Wind/brass ensemble playing a little bit of everything;  all original compositions by leader/guitarist riker.  many horns and they all get a turn:  april west, trombone;  gilbert castellanos, trumpet;  bob campbell, tenor +troy jennings, bari.

billy porter.  billy’s back on broadway.  concord.  Tony star of kinky boots, movies, tv– full celebrity.  show tunes and porter’s multi-octave celestial voice use all concord jazz’s musical resources, i.e. harp solo in take the moment arrangement,  blues band + strings for i am changing.  maybe less production next time, but billy’s got pipes.

john a. lewis.   one trip out.  valarteri.  All originals setlist from Dallas,TX based trio led by pianist john a. lewis–no relation to john lewis of the mjq;  lincoln apeland on bass, merik gillett @ drums.   rhythmic, traditional jazz trio.


charlie patton.   the complete recordings 1929-34.  acrobat.  Three cd archival treasure of the complete works of charley patton (1891-1934) a Mississippi Delta blues legend.  dipped into all three, and though exhaustive, it paints a blues world both domestic and religious: songs with names like  pea vine blues, heart like railroad steel, when your way gets dark and mind reader blues.  charley patton  plays guitar, with henry sims on violin, bertha lee, vocals.


kim simmonds +  savoy browngoin to the delta.  ruf  Blues trio led by  experienced Welsh guitar/vocalist kim simmonds;  pat de salvo, bass;  garnet grimm@drums.  Chicago blues from the 1950-60’s;  it’s back everywhere.

bad brad & the fat cats.  take a walk with me self.   Young, energetic  bluesmen from Denver, Colorado exploring all the ways to play blues– a la funk, gospel, cajun.  led by brad stivers on guitar/vocals;  nic clark, harmonica;  alex stivers@ drums.   good guests.

little mike and the tornadoes.  all the right moves.  elrob.  Modeled after Chicago blues bands of the 50’s, little mike (michael markowitz) writes his own, and plays blues harp.  band rounds out with jim mckaba on piano;  brad vickers, bass;  rob piazza@drums;  tony melio, guitar.

jazz/blues adds may 7, 2014


caterina zapponi.  romantica.  motema.    Italian/French vocalist caterina zapponi keeps a cabaret mood in her polished debut cd;  husband monty alexander plays piano, melodica;  bucky pizzarelli, frank vignola + yotam silberstein trade the guitar spot;  martin pizzarelli, bass;  kristin jorgensen, violin on estate, etienne charles learns the cuartro.  lots of henri salvador, charles trenet;  loved it.

jessica williams.  with love.  origin.  Poetic piano stylist & composer jessica williams returns with her first release in two years.  solo piano, standards mostly but the most stunning is her own composition, paradise of love;  she’s been in the hospital having her spine rebuilt with rods and stainless, and she is filled with gratitude to be upright and playing again.

arturo o’farrill.  the offense of the drum.  motema.  The best arguement for the future of Afro-Cuban jazz, pianist/leader arturo o’farrilll’s orchestra and setlist embraces all musical forces;  he lets  hip hop live next to a Cuban version of French eric satie’s gnossienne #3 ;  and the New Orleans stalwart iko iko holds its place next to the oracular title track.  stellar musicians include vijay iyer, jason lindner, edmar castaneda, donald harrison, antonio lizano, dj logic.  vivid.

kristen miranda.  double time.  sbk.  Second release from  LA -based vocalist has some charming cues.  Her producer bud spangler looks for new ways with standards;  joe gilman + scott collard, keyboards;  rick lotter@ drums;  steve homan, guitar; tom peron, trumpet, john wiitala, bass;

jc styles blakey grease.  american showplace.  Keeping the flame of art blakey bright, guitarist jc styles ( aka jason campbell from North Queensland, Australia) leads his organ quintet through the greatest hits:  troy roberts, tenor;  david lee jones, alto;  kyle koehler, B-3;  lawrence leather, drums.

peter brendler.  outside the line.  posi-tone.  Debut release from NYC bassist;  great colleagues, rich perry, tenor, + peter evans, trumpet & piccolo + vinnie sperrazza@drums give chestnuts like walk on the wild side new zip.  originals rock too.

jared gold.  jg3+.  posi-tone.  NYC B-3 organist delivers an eclectic jazz playlist with his a-list ensemble:  guitar gadfly dave stryker –who has worked with gold since 2004;  sylvia cuenca@drums;  + horn stable:  patrick cornelius, alto; jason marshall, bari;  tatum greenblatt, trumpet.

mark buselli.  untold stories.  OA2.  Nuanced trumpeter leads his group thru all originals + one ellington (angelica).  Indianapolis based, educator @ Ball State University, buselli honors an earlier collaborator, the late pianist claude sifferlenin.  band rounds out with steve allee, piano; danny walsh, saxes; jeremy allen, bass; steve houghton@drums.

clayton-hamilton orchestra.  chjo.  capri.   Superb LA big band, led by troika– bassist john clayton, drummer jeff hamilton, altoist jeff clayton in a live performance @ the alvas showroom in San Pedro, CA.  extra mellow vocals from ernie andrews + barbara morrison;  remarkable solos from graham dechter, guitar #10; pianist tamir hendelman;  tenors rickey woodard & charles owens — cville’s own???

thom douvanbrother brother.  self.  Musical memories from his day (1980’s & forward) as guitarist for the funk brothers shape this Detroit-based songlist;   luther v,  under-appreciated donny hathaway, marvin gaye, bobby womack and the other brothers, isley.  much B-3 throughout– jazz flavor of the moment.

lenny marcus trio.  second set.  blackwater.  Excellent pianist driving his grand  through a playlist of  mostly originals.  Mentored by ray bryant, marcus and his  trio ( rick eckberg, bass;  larry scot@drums) adds in reed musician tom artwick and percussionist vladimir espinosa.  appearing june 14 in Roanoke, Va (where marcus resides) @ montanos.

western free quartet.  free fall.  blujazz.   The resident faculty quartet from Western Michigan University, this version includes andrew rathbun, sax; jeremy siskind, piano;  tom knific, bass;  keith hall, drums.


chicago blues all stars.  red, hot & blue.  azure.  Extensive blues revue that features killer ray allison on guitar & vocals.

rip lee pryor.  nobody but me.  electro-fi.  Son of blues artist snooky pryor,  harmonicat rip lee  plays Chicago-style blues, with bucky berger@drums; and alec fraser on bass.

mark  hummel.  the hustle is really on.  electro-fi.  Another harmonicat, mark hummel,  former leader of the blues survivors, plays here with anson funderburgh, guitar;  little charlie baty, more guitar;  wes star@drums; rw grigsby, bass;  etc.

dudley taft.  screaming in the wind.  self.   Blues nuevo from west coast hard rocker (& sweet water musician) changing musical genres;  core band = john kessler, bass guitar; jason patterson@drums; taft, vocals, guitar—-horns and B-3 join in sometimes.