New Jazz Adds – 11/28/2017
Eva Cortes – Crossing Borders (Origin): Originally from Honduras, singer Eva Cortes now spends her time traveling and performing in NYC and Europe. She composed four of the eleven songs on this disc and is backed up by Roman Filiu (alto sax, alto flute), Jonathan Powell (trumpet), Doug Beavers (trombone), Marvin Sewell (guitar), Pepe Rivero (piano), Luques Curtis (bass), Robby Ameen (drums) and Luisito Quintero (percussion). Christian McBride (bass) guests on one song and Jon Cowherd takes over on piano on two. The disc is mostly mellow and flowing. Click here to listen to samples of two songs on this disc. Both were composed by Cortes.
Phil DeGreg Trio – Queen City Blues (Prevenient Music): Pianist / educator / composer Phil DeGreg offers this dazzling trio disc, which appears to be his eleventh. In addition to performing, DeGreg has been a Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music for the past 25 years. He cites Bill Evans and Bud Powell as his earliest influences and Powell’s is most clearly exhibited here. Aaron Jacobs (bass) and John Taylor (drums) are his rhythm section. Four of the dozen compositions are DeGreg originals and the covers range from George Gershwin and Jerome Kern to Ray Noble, Steve Swallow and Antonio Carlos Jobim. The performance is flowing and beautiful throughout. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Keith Karns Big Band – An Eye On The Future (Summit): This is composer / trumpet player Keith Karns’ second release. He composed five of the seven songs on this disc. He is also teamed up with tenor sax player Rich Perry and has previously been a recipient of several jazz awards. Karns describes the mission of this band as preserving the past in order to better understand the root of future jazz. This disc is more than a museum piece, however. It does honor the past with two early gems: “Like Someone In Love” (Jimmy van Heusen) and “Without A Song” (Vincent Youmans), but the remainder of the program is made up of original material by Karns. The latter are certainly connected to the older style, but have a freshness that is quite vibrant as well. A strong link to honoring the past as well as the present possibilities in big band performances. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
David Friesen – Structures (Origin): Double disc release from bassist / pianist / composer arranger Friesen offers two duo performances on this set: he plays bass and piano with Joe Manis (tenor, soprano sax) on the first disc and bass with Larry Koonse (electric guitar). All compositions were written by Friesen. The textures are notably different as you might expect, but the suppleness of the players stands out either way. The softness of the guitar tone gives that disc a mellower sound, but the variety of instrumental combinations lends greater variety to set one. An intriguing performance. Click here, scroll down and click on titles to listen to samples of the songs on this set.
Alma Micic – That Old Feeling (Whaling City Sound): Berklee College of Music graduate, jazz singer Alma Micic offers her fourth release predominantly as a showcase of popular songs ranging from “That Old Feeling” and “Cry Me A River” to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” and also includes a traditional Russian song, “Solnishko” and an original composition “Ne Zaboravi Me”. Her vocal style is highly reminiscent of some of the best torch singers of the past several decades, soft and sweet with a wonderful degree of swing. Backing musicians include Role Mimic (guitar), Corcoran Holt (bass), Johnathan Blake (drums) and Tom Beckham (vibes). Solid throughout. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Stephanie Patton – A Breath Of Spring (Summit): This appears to be singer Stephanie Patton’s first release and she offers a roster mostly from the Great American Songbook, including “My Romance” (Rodgers & Hart), “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” (George & Ira Gershwin), standards like “The Nearness Of You” and “The Very Thought Of You” augmented by covers from Antonio Carlos Jobim (“Corcovado”, “Fotographia”) and even an original, “Close To Me” co-written by Patton and Todd Hunter. Her voice has been compared to several other established singers and she most often reminded me of Norah Jones. I regret I am unable to find any samples from this disc.
Alberto Pibiri – Jazz Legacy (Self-produced): Pianist Alberto Pibiri is an Italian jazz musician currently based in New York. He studied classical and jazz music in both Italy and France and during his study he became attracted by the music of Oscar Peterson. After moving to France, he played with Sheila Jordan. Once he moved to New York, Pibiri worked with many important jazz musicians including Dave Stryker, Sheila Jordan, Essiet Essiet, and Dave Stryker with whom he made his first record. This appears to be his second release as a leader. All of the ten songs on this release are Pibiri’s compositions. Miriam Waks wrote the lyrics on one song and Pibiri co-composed lyrics and music with Sheila Jordan on one others song. Contributing musicians on this disc include Paul Gill (bass), Paul Wells (drums), Adrian Cunningham (tenor sax, clarinet), with special guests Dave Stryker (guitar), and Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton and Miriam Waks add vocals on a few tracks. This is a solid set throughout. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Debbie Poryes Trio – Loving Hank (OA2): Pianist / composer / teacher Debbie Poryes offers her fourth release dedicated to jazz pianist Hank Jones. In fact, “Loving Hank” is one of six original compositions by Porves and it opens the disc. The remaining compositions include Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”, Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation” and Cole Porter’s “All Of You”. All but one song is performed by Porves in a trio setting with Peter Barshay (bass) and David Rokeach (drums). Erik Jekabson adds his flugelhorn on the title song. The performances are straightforward and wonderfully melodic. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Prime Time Big Band – Live At The Ironwood (Chronograph): Dave Jones formed this big band in 1994 after retiring from the Canadian Forces Music Branch as a trumpet player and conductor for 27 years. The band plays once a week from September to June at the Ironwood Stage and Grill in Calgary, AB among numerous performances elsewhere. The band plays a wide variety of styles from big band chestnuts like “Georgia On My Mind”, “It Don’t Mean A Thing”, “When I Fall In Love” and “Sing, Sing, Sing” plus compositions arranged by Fred Stride and composer Allan Gilliland’s “Alberta Suite”. Band members include Richard Harding, Eric Friedenberg, Pat Belliveau, Keith O’Rouke and Shane Statz (saxes); Brian Walley, Dave Reid, Paul Toutant and Mark Harding (trombones); Jim Murray, Andre Wickenheiser, Beth Lane, Al Muirhead and Dave Jones (trumpets); Derek Still (piano); kai Poscente (bass); John deWall (drums); Bob Fenske (percussion); and Deanna Matley (vocals). This is a vibrant performance sure to please any fan of big band performances. I regret I am unable to find a sample from this disc, but click here to listen to an earlier live performance of a song they play on the disc.
Duke Robillard & His Dames Of Rhythm – Duke Robillard & His Dames Of Rhythm (MC): Duke Robillard came up with a great idea for this disc – gather up a distinguished group of singing ladies to sing an old time set of songs from Clarence Williams and Fats Waller (“Squeeze Me”), Irving Berlin (“Walking Stick”) and Cole Porter (“My Heart Belongs To Daddy”) among others and build a large band that swings like the late 20’s and 30’s but is NOT a blues band and have a great time. The “Dames” are Sunny Crownover, Kelley Hunt, Elizabeth McGovern, Maria Muldaur, Madeleine Peyroux and Catherine Russell. The band includes Duke Robillard (acoustic guitar, vocals), Bruce Bears and Kelley Hunt (sharing piano duties), Brad Hallen (bass), Mark Teixeira (drums), Jon Erik Kellso (trumpet), Billy Novick (clarinet, alto sax), Rich Lataille (alto, tenor sax, clarinet), Carl Querfurth (trombone) and special guests Mark Earley (tenor sax on one track) and Andy Stein (violin) and Simon Nelson (guitar) on one tune apiece and the result is amazingly right. Everyone is clearly having a good time and sounding great. Click here to listen to one or all of the tunes on this disc.
John Stowell / Ulf Bandgren Quartet – Night Visitor (Origin): Guitarists John Sowell and Ulf Bandgren last recorded together five years ago, but they renew their wonderful interplay and compatibility as if there has been no time gap. Larry Coryell further amplifies, “John Stowell plays jazz, but he doesn’t use any of the cliches; he has an incredible originality. John is a master creator.” (https://originarts.com/recordings/recording.php?TitleID=82746) The performance is enhanced even more by the rhythm section: Bruno Raberg (bass, composed four songs on this disc) and Austin McMahon (drums). Stowell and Bandgren each composed three songs. The writing and performances are technically outstanding throughout. The music is often delicate and the interplay flows nimbly. A wonderful set. Click here to listen to samples of the first two songs on this disc.
Two O’Clock Lab Band – Airstream Artistry: Jim Riggs’ Best Of The Two (UNT): This collection is a tribute to the teaching and leadership of Jim Riggs, Regents Professor Emeritus at University of North Texas and professor of saxophone for 35 years. The collection surveys the best performances between 1991 and 2008. While mostly performed by the full “Two O’Clock Lab Band”, the group size varies, including a quintet. This set is a terrific survey of the super program at UNT during Riggs’ tenure. Big band fans should most definitely check this out. Click here to listen to the songs on this set.