Jazz / Blues Adds – 8/4/2014

Jazz / Blues Adds – 8/4/2014

Laurie Antonioli – Songs of Shadow, Songs of Light: The music of Joni Mitchell (Origin):
Antonioli is a striking vocalist whose vocals on this disc often make the listener forget that Mitchell is not the vocalist.  The setting is different from that of most of the originals, many of which come from the folksier of Mitchell’s recordings and the landscape here is jazz with few electronic flourishes. Instrumental support is solid: Matt Clark (keys), Dave MacNab (g), John Shifflett (b), Sheldon Brown (reeds).  Very nice, indeed!

Bobby Broom – My Shining Hour (Origin): Broom (g) presents a set of standards from the likes of Cole Porter and Harold Arlen and tosses in “The Jitterbug Waltz” for good measure in this striking, melodic set.  Broom’s melodic and inventive guitar breathes new life into each song.  Solid support from Dennis Carroll (b) and Makaya McCraven (d).

Sydney Claire – All Ella (Frankly Scarlet): Perfect pitch and lovely stylistic presentation largely showing Ella Fitzgerald’s influence are the hallmarks of this disc.  The supporting combo provides nice support as well.  The title really tells the story.

Collier & Dean – Sleek Buick (Origin): Tom Collier and Dan Dean bring a melodic and highly appealing set of ten originals featuring Collier on primarily on vibes and Dean on bass and a variety of other instruments.  Don Grusin adds piano and composed two of the titles.  The sound varies from joyfully infectious to dreamy.

Alex Garcia’s Afromantra – This Side Of Mestizaje (Afromantra): This group really delivers great Latin jazz!   Afromantra includes Alex Garcia (d), Ole Mathisen (soprano sax), Mike Eckroth (keys), and Ariel de la Portilla (b), each of whom gives an outstanding performance.  This group is cohesive, joyful, and full of fire.  Special notice to the powerhouse performance by Mathisen on soprano!  CHECK THIS OUT!

Gordon Lee w/ the Mel Brown Septet – Tuesday Night (OA2): This is a veteran group based in Portland, OR.  Led by drummer Mel Brown, this group has been long admired and recognized as a stellar jazz group, but never recorded until now.  What a treat!  In addition to Brown (d), the group consists of Gordon Lee (p, composer/arranger of all selections here), Derek Sims (trumpet), Renato Caranto (t sax), John Nastos (alto), Stan Bock (trombone), and Andre St. James (b).  Compositions and performances are excellent throughout.  Post and hard bop is the sound. Groovy? Yes!

Benjamin Lapidus & Kari-B3 – Ochosi Blues (Tresero): Question: What would it sound like if the conga in an organ combo was front and center and the organ was playing the bass parts and the rest of the band was playing the clave, turning the usual pattern inside out?  The answer is on this disc by a group of 15 musicians under the leadership of Benjamin Lapidus in this “Latin Soul Jazz Organ Combo”.  There is tremendous musical diversity: Ochosi Blues (tradional) to The Sweeter The Lovin’, The Darker The Roux (jumpin’ bluesy soul) to The Latin Side Of Your Mama (funky soul jazz) to Stella By Starlight (Latin pop style).  The B-3 is prominent throughout and this is a complete tour!  It is interesting and FUN!

Dino Saluzzi Group – El Valle de la Infancia (ECM): Dino Saluzzi plays the traditional bandoneon, a concertina popular in his native Argentina, on this evocative disc.  The remainder of the instrumentation includes classical guitars, tenor sax and clarinet, bass, and drums.  The result is wistful and beautiful.

Mia Doi Todd – Floresta (City Zen): Vocalist Todd takes us on a sonic tour of Brazilian music that features the guitar of Fabiano do Nacimento and occasional bass and percussion to complete the soundscape.

Andreas Varady – Andreas Varady (Verve): Varady just celebrated his 17th birthday a month ago and he is clearly a terrific guitarist.  He covers many styles from pop (Don’t Stop The Music) to rock (Come Together) and a beautiful slow version of Nuages. The setting is very pop and this young man does have chops.  Keep your ears out for him to continue his development.

Blues Adds

Benjamin Booker – Benjamin Booker (ATO):  Booker hails from NOLA and brings a high energy, in-your-face rock sound featuring his guitar, supported by bass and drums with occasional keyboards.  He cites his influences as The Gun Club, Blind Willie Johnson, and T-Rex and I hear a close connection to Dan Auerbach’s (The Black Keys) more intense work.

Fathead – Fatter Than Ever (Electro-Fi): Fathead is a “good times” blues band, a party band. This release contains fifteen originals: some humorous, some positive philosophizing, and some  party songs.  Living Blues calls them a reliable source of organic, good time commentary on all the follies of human nature.”

Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson – For Pops – A Tribute to Muddy Waters (Severn): Mud Morganfield certainly sounds like a young version of his father. There’s not quite as much authority in his voice, but he is on sacred ground. So how does one do a fitting tribute when recording an entire disc covering one of the greatest and most distinctive bluesicians ever? How about having Kim Wilson (harp), Billy Flynn (g), Rusty Zinn (g), Barrelhouse Chuck (p), Steve Gomes (b), and Robb Stupka (d)?  The only way to beat this disc is to have the originals.

Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers – Wide Open (White River): Twelve new originals from Thackery with bass and drums in support of his voice and guitar.  Great variety of styles and wonderful guitar!  Jimmy’s voice shows the mileage, but this man knows the key to great blues is the space between the notes. He does still rock as well.  There is enough good stuff here to make Wednesday feel like Saturday.  Check it out.

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