Feature image photographed by Martin Phillips
July 28, 2014 by Prof. Bebop (humbly subbing for Ann Porotti)
Cyrille Aimee – It’s A Good Day (Mack Avenue) – versatile vocalist sings a mix of standards and originals in a mostly gypsy jazz setting. Aimee has won several jazz vocal awards and is also a creative arranger. Group includes Michael Valeanu (g), Adrien Moiguard (g), Rajiv Jayaweerd (drums), with additional guitar by Guilherme Monteiro. Nice scat number closes this delightful disc.
David Basse – The Hero And The Lover (Cafe Pacific) – 2013 release from veteran singer/drummer Basse focused on themes of life and resilience in the face of hard times. Most songs feature support from Richard Johnson (p), Curtis Lundy (b), and Neal Smith (d) with Stacy Dillard (tenor sax) and one appearance from Bobby Watson.
Nicola Conte – Free Souls (Schema) – Italian guitarist Conte’s latest focuses on the bossa nova sound throughout most of the disc. Lots of vocals featured in breezy tunes, eight of which he composed.
Orbit Davis Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble – Sketches of Spain, Revisited (316) – Orbit Davis arranged and added segments to this Miles Davis – Gil Evans classic. He plays trumpet and flugelhorn and conducted the ensemble. The changes make the listening interesting and the performance is excellent.
Al Jarreau – My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke (Concord) – Jarreau begins with a scat, but quickly moves to the pop-jazz styles and songs composed by George Duke. Guest celebrants include vocalists Dianne Reeves, Lalah Hathaway, Jeffrey Osborne, Kelly Price, Dr. John (v, p), Gerald Albright (sax), Patrice Rushen (keyboards), Stanley Clarke (b), Marcus Miller (b), and Boney James (programming, sax).
Tony Kadleck Big Band – Around The Horn (self-produced) – Trumpet / flugelhorn player Kadleck arranged all of the songs and leads the band (20+ players) throughout. Pete McCann (g) turns loose well on John Scofield’s Green Tea and Randy Brecker solos on brother Michael’s African Skies. Solid performances throughout.
Jean-Louis Matinier & Marco Ambrosini – Inventio (ECM) – Accordion / nyckelharpa present original and classical compositions (Bach) in this unique voice. Creative, beautiful, folksy…but beyond!
Wolfgang Muthspiel, Larry Grenadier & Brian Blade - Driftwood (ECM) – Contemplative, jazzy ensemble that cut a solid groove when the mood strikes (guitar, bass, drums). Terrific interplay! Muthspiel replaced Pat Metheny in Gary Burton’s group many years ago.
Ann Reynolds Clave Gringa- Para Cuba Con Amor (self-produced) – Clave Gringa centers on the compositions and piano of Ann Reynolds. This disc offers an aural tour of the various strands of Cuban music. It is, indeed, a joyful celebration with support from Daniel Barry (t, flugelhorn), Ben Verdier (b), Edsson Otero and Ernesto Pediango (percussion), and a host of guests. All of the infectious rhythm and melody of Cuban music comes through to lighten your step and brighten your spirit.
Ada Rovatti – Disguise (Piloo) – Ada Rovatti offers a new recording showcasing her flowing soprano and tenor sax with support from Janek Gwisdala (b), Dana Hawkins (d), Leo Genovese and Oli Rockberger (p), Zach Brock (violin), Anne Drummond (fl) and guests Randy Brecker (t), Adam Rogers and Dean Brown (g). Rovatti’s playing is terrific and the disc is inviting, warm, and engaging.
Paul Shapiro – Shofarot Verses (Tzadik) – “No one does it quite like Shapiro! Blending Soul and R&B with the Jewish tradition…. another romp in the wild and wooly world of Rhythm and Jews….” The music is inspired by the the last section of the traditional service recited on Rosh Hashanah. Shapiro plays tenor, alto, and soprano and is supported by Marc Ribot (g), Brad Jones (b), and Tony Lewis (d) and they do rock! Jim-jam jumpin’ to tell a green man something!
Toco – Memoria (Schema) – Toco Di Conto celebrates the music of his native Brazil and the musicians who influenced his musical love and development as a musician. The music flows beautifully from one track to the next: melodic voices and salsa that draw you in and keep you swaying while you listen.
Jimmy Carpenter – Walk Away (self-produced) – Former Cville resident Jimmy Carpenter’s latest disc features 13 new compositions, strong sax and good vocals from the leader and solid support from John Fohl (g), John Gros (keys), Casandra Faulconer (b), and Wayne Maureau (d). Anson Funderburgh and Mike Zito (g) guest on one cut apiece. A rockin’ good time!
Ruthie Foster – Promise of a Brand New Day (Blue Corn Music) – One of the best new voices in blue soul in several years, Foster is supported by Meshell Ndegeocello (b), Chris Bruce (g), Ivan Edwards (d), and Jebin Bruni (keys) with one guest appearance apiece by Toshi Reagon and Doyle Bramhall II on her best release to date. Stop reading now and check this out! A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”!!!
Jaye Hammer – Jaye Hammer’s Still Got It (Ecko) – Party / dance soul from Memphis is a specialty of Ecko and Hammer is solidly on the mark. This is basically that down-home soul when the home is located in town or maybe backatown! Some grins here with titles like “I’m Not Gonna Cheat on My Wife Anymore”, “Let Me Help You Get Even With Him” and “I’m A Booty Freak”. Jaye’s voice is in fine form. He’s still got it, but it may only be for adults! Good, solid soul.
Sugar Ray & The Bluetones – Living Tear To Tear (Severn) – Sugar Ray still sounds great both vocally and blowing that harp and has terrific support from Monster Mike Welch (g), Anthony Geraci (keys), Michael Mudcat Ward (b), and Neil Gouvin (d). This is totally solid electric blues of the style of the best Chicago blues of the 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s.