New Jazz Adds – 10/10/2017
Blue Note All-Stars – Our Point Of View (Blue Note): The Blue Note All-Stars originally got together to celebrate the Blue Note label’s 75th anniversary. The group features Robert Glasper (keys), Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet), Lionel Loueke (guitar, vocals), Marcus Strickland (tenor sax), Derrick Hodge (bass) and Kendrick Scott (drums) and includes a special guest appearance by Herbie Hancock (piano) and Wayne Shorter (soprano sax). All but two of the songs were composed by a band member and those two are Shorter compositions. The sound reflects both Blue Note’s and African influences on jazz as while presenting the All-Stars’ own sound. It’s electric and eclectic, cool and grooving. Click here to listen to this set.
Eve Cornelious – Live At Smoke (Pooky Looky): Veteran jazz vocalist Eve Cornelious has a unique voice and singing style that is solidly in the jazz mode, but purely her own. This live performance features Cornelious singing a range of songs from Goffin & King’s “Hey Boy, Hey Girl”, the Beatles’ “And I Love Her” and Paul McCartney’s “Let ‘Em In” to Radiohead’s “Knives Out”, Beyonce Knowles et.al.’s “Irreplaceable” and Kanye West et.al.’s “You Don’t Know My Name”. She also performs her own “I’m Goin’ Back Home”. Regardless of the source, every song is remolded and is entirely hers. Cornelious’ voice is quite expressive in it’s blend of talking and singing. Her backing musicians include Chip Crawford (keys), Greg Bandy (drums), Ed Cherry (guitar), Aaron James (bass) and Jason Curry (alto sax) with the exception of “Crossroads” which features Emanuel Harrold (drums) and “Why Not” featuring Pheonix Rivera (drums) and Chip Crawford (piano, organ). Her performance is unique and infectious. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Free Radicals – Outside The Comfort Zone (Self-produced): The Free Radicals are based in Houston and are directly related to the funk/hip hop/jazz/avant garde/ska hybrid bands that began in New Orleans and have spread to many areas of the country. The band includes Jason Jackson (alto sax), Aaron Varnell (tenor sax), Pete Sullivan (bari sax), Matt Serice (trumpet, keys), Tom VandenBoom (trombone), Jacob Breier (bass), Al Bear (guitar), Nick Cooper (drums, percussion, clavinet), and Nick Gonzalez (sousaphone) and guests Bob Chadwick (flutes), Subhendu (tablas), Harry Sheppard (vibes), Al Pagliuso and Charlie Perez (percussion), Damon Choice (vibes), Lynn Bechtold (violin), Doug Falk (trumpet), Palayo Parlade (piano), Will Van Horn (pedal steel), Nelson Mills III (trumpet), Muhammad Jafari (doumbec), Theo Bijarro and Paul Winstanley (bass). All but one song is a band original and the outlier, “A Call For All Demons” is a Sun Ra composition. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Steve Heckman & Matt Clark – Some Other Time / Slow Cafe (World City): Steve Heckman (sax, flute, clarinet) and pianist Matt Clark pair up for their fourth duo recording presenting a combination of jazz favorites, such as “Ugly Beauty” (Monk), “Jeannine” (Duke Pearson) and “The Peacocks” (Jimmy Rowles); standards such as Arlen and Koehler’s “Get Happy” and Cahn-Sordahl-Weston’s “I Should Care”; and three originals from Heckman and one from Clark. The performance is melodic and flowing. The duo is delightful on the uptempo numbers and quite smooth on the ballads. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Roscoe Mitchell – Discussions (Wide Hive): Jazz legend Roscoe Mitchell, a co-founder of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, is mostly known for his groundbreaking leadership establishing avant garde jazz. This new disc is being released in his 77th year and it is still avant garde by any standard. The disc itself is “comprised of four pieces from Roscoe Mitchell’s “Conversations for Orchestra” series (conducted by Steed Cowart of Mills College), interspersed with free improvisations.” (CD Liner Notes) It is sonically outside of the general musical boundaries and consequently difficult listening for many listeners. At the same time, those willing to take the journey will be listening to one of the foremost composers and performers of avant garde jazz. In addition to Mitchell, the players are Wilfredo Terrazas and Stacey Perlinka (flutes), James Fei (electronics), Jesse Barrett (oboe), Rachel Condry )clarinet, bass clarinet), Erin Irvine (bassoon), William Harvey (trumpet), Andrew Strain (trombone), Tiffany Bailey (tuba), William Winant and Scott Silver (percussion), Jordan Glenn (drums), Brett Carso (piano), Roy T. Malin and Mia Bella D’Augeli (violins), Cilo Tilton (viola), Crystal Pascucci (cello), Richard Worn (bass) and Roscoe Mitchell (soprano sax). Click here to listen to samples of four titles on this disc.
Arturo O’Farrell & Chucho Valdes – Familia: Tribute To Bebe + Chico (Motema): “Pianists Arturo O’Farrill and Chucho Valdes celebrate their rich musical family legacies on this ambitious, gloriously realized project. Although they grew up on separate shores, O’Farrill in New York (via Mexico) and Valdes in Cuba, they both came of age in musical households as the sons of legendary Cuban bandleaders Chico O’Farrill and Bebo Valdes.” (AllMusic) This two disc release pays homage to their fathers and their mentors on the first disc, while the second disc exposes the new generation’s own stylistic interpretation of the style from the past generation. The differences are substantial, but like all great jazz focus on the malleability and originality that is a core characteristic of this great form of music. Disc 1 features Arturo O’Farrill (piano), Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (tenor sax, clarinet, flute), Larry Bustamante (bari sax, bass clarinet), David DeJesus and Robert Porcelli (alto sax, flute), Ivan Renta (tenor sax), Bryan Davis, Seneca Black and Jonathan Powell (trumpet), Jim Seeley (trumpet, flugelhorn), Frank Cohen and Tokunori Kajiwara (trombone), Rafi Malkiel (trombone, euphonium), Earl McIntyre bass trombone, tuba), Gregg August (bass), Vincent Cherico (drums), Carlos Maldonado (percussion, bongo) and Tony Rosa (percussion, congas). Disc 2 features Arturo O’Farrell (trumpet), Zack O’Farrell and Jesse Valdes (drums), Leyonis Valdez (piano), Jesus Ricardo Anduz and Kali Rodriguez-Pena (trumpet), Bam Bam Rodriguez (bass), Ernesto C. Vega (clarinet), Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (Tenor sax), Larry Bustamante (bass clarinet), Frank Cohen (trombone), and Carlos Maldonado (percussion). There are some great moments on this set! Click here to listen to samples of songs on this set.
Chris Parker – Moving Forward Now (Self-produced): Chris Parker, drummer/composer/arranger who also plays sax on one track, leads his group through five originals and five covers. The latter include “Battle Hymn Of The Republic”, Rachmaninoff’s “Adagio Sostenuto”, and Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” among others. The players come and go depending upon the song itself, but include Luke Gillespie (piano), Steve Snyder (organ), Jeremy Allen and Jesse Wittman (alternating on bass), Dave Stryker and Craig Wagner (guitar), Jamey Aebersold (alto sax), Rob Dixon (various saxes), Tom Clark (tenor sax), Frank Glover (clarinet), Pat Harrison (trumpet), Jay Tibbitts (drums on one cut) and Rachel Caswell (vocals on “Don’t Think Twice…”). Despite the range of musical styles, the group keeps things in a melodic, swinging or flowing style. It isn’t groundbreaking, but it is a pleasant swing. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Rob Schneiderman – Tone Twister (Hollistic musicWorks): Mathematician/composer/pianist Rob Schneiderman offers his first disc in ten years. The disc contains eight of his original compositions and “Unforgettable” composed by Irving Gordon. In addition to Schneiderman, the musicians on the disc are Brian Lynch (trumpet), Ralph Moore (tenor sax), Gerald Cannon (bass), and Pete Van Nostrand (drums). The group flows wonderfully in sync, even doing the songs that have more syncopated or unusually timed numbers. Even though it’s a bit outside, the sound is inviting and swinging. The disc should appeal to many jazz fans based on it’s accessibility, flow and cross rhythms. Click here to listen to one song on the disc.
Jason Stein Quartet – Lucille! (Delmark): This is bass clarinetist Jason Stein’s second release as a leader and it follows the lead of the first. His rhythm section includes Joshua Abrams (bass) and Tom Rainey (drums), but the addition of Keefe Jackson (tenor sax, contrabass clarinet) clearly looks to offer a new double lead and extend the reach of the group itself. The sound is clearly rooted in bop with a taste for extending harmonies and, at times, pushes both the harmonic and rhythmic borders of traditional groups. Three songs are Stein compositions and the other six are covers and extensions of songs by Monk, Charlie Parker, and Lennie Tristano, among others, but they all sound like the vision of this quartet. Click here to listen to the opening song on this disc.
Michael Wolff – Zenith (Indianola): Pianist/composer Michael Wolff began his career in Cal Tjader’s band and later joined Cannonball Adderley. In 1977, he formed the band Answering Service with saxophonist Alex Foster and subsequently worked with other famous artists including the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, Tony Williams and Christian McBride among others. In 1978, singerNancy Wilson chose Wolff as her musical director and he later became the bandleader and musical director of the Arsenio Wilson Show. (Wikipedia). This disc features Wolff in solo performance on piano on fourteen songs, including seven original compositions and seven others ranging from Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” and Charlie Parker’s Billie’s Bounce” to selections from the great American Songbook, “Makin’ Whoopee” and “All The Things You Are” to more recent compositions like Sufjan Stevens’ “Flint”. He handles everything with style and terrific facility. It’s a lively and enthusiastic set. Click here to listen to the opening track, the original “The Doc”.