New Jazz Adds – 1/31/2017

New Jazz Adds – 1/31/2017

DK Anderson’s Cypher – 8th Window (Self-produced): DK Anderson made his first major jazz performances about 2003 and he has continued to be based in Pittsburgh. His is a unique style which he has broadened with the creation of Cypher. The group is a jamming style of band but with a soul and hard jazz base. There are very cool moments and some crazy outside moments during the set. Five of the compositions are Anderson originals which fall more into the jazz and soul jazz realm. They also perform a great spin on Jimi Hendrix’ “Manic Depression” and a totally outrageous take on “Caravan”. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Yelena Eckemoff Quintet – Blooming Tall Flox (Self-produced): Pianist / composer Yelena Eckemoff left Russia to move to the US in 1991. She began her career as a classical musician, but has changed her focus to jazz. She has performed with Peter Erskine, George Mraz, and Billy Hart among others and has composed most of the songs she’s recorded in the past decades. She composed all of the songs on this release. The theme is her associations with nature and reflections on time she spent in Finland. Accompanying musicians include Verneri Pohjola (trumpet, flugelhorn), Panu Savolainen (vibraphone), Antti Lotjonen (bass), and Olavi Louhivuori (drums, percussion). The music itself has a pastoral feeling. The sound is delicate. Click here for an introduction to the music from the band itself.   

Cynthia Hilts – Lyric Fury (Self-produced): “When I first put the band together, I didn’t know most of the musicians,” confesses Hilts. “But I got really good at cold calling—hey, how would you like to work in a band that sounds like a celestial collision of Mingus and Debussy?” (http://cynthiahilts.com/bios/) My ears say the stretch is somewhat wider than that. The span of performances here is quite wide. The rhythmic yet melodic quality that opens opens the disc does give way to numerous styles, but be prepared to listen to performances that intertwine at least two styles at once or not. This is difficult but intriguing music depending upon the listener’s preferences and openness to the unusual. In addition to Hilts (composer, piano, voice), the band includes onetime Mingusite Jack Walrath (trumpet), Lisa Parrott (bari, soprano sax), Lily White (alto, tenor sax), Deborah Weisz (trombone), Marika Hughes (cello), Ratzo Harris (bass), and  Scott Neumann (drums). Click here to listen to samples of three songs on this disc.   

Fred Hughes Trio – Matrix (Shore Thing): Veteran pianist Fred Hughes has been performing for over 35 years. This most recent disc features his most current rhythm section: Amy Shook (bass) and Frank Russo (drums). Hughes covers compositions by the Gershwins, Horace Silver, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Herbie Hancock, JS Bach, Tchaikovsky and mostly Chick Corea (5 titles). There is some excellent keyboard playing and the rhythm section is solid throughout. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

LehCats – Out Of The Bag (Self-produced): LehCats describe their musical goal to “…artistically and tastefully combine elements of Modern Jazz, Funk, R&B, Middle Eastern, Afro/Latin, and Rock into a musical potpourri of creative sound.” (webpage) All of the songs here were composed by either Norbert or Karen Stachel (excepting a few songs co-composed by Norbert Satchel and Paul Hanson). Norbert (bass clarinet, bass flute, tenor & soprano sax) has toured, recorded, and performed with Tower Of Power, Flora Purim & Airto, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Hargrove, Prince, Boz Scaggs, Roger Waters, among others. Karen Stachel (flute, piccolo) has released three jazz discs of her own. Other musicians in the group are Gary Fisher and Bob Quaranta (piano), Chris Biesterfeldt (banjo, mandolin, guitar), Mike O’Brien or Ivan Bodley (bass), Dan Gonzalez (drums, percussion) with guest musicians Melissa Rodnan (pandeiro), Siavash Haghtalab tonbak, damman), and Benny Koonyevsky and Norbert Goldberg (pandeiro, caxixi, percussion). There is some very appealing music here. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.   

Mark Lewis – The New York Session (Audio Daddio): Veteran composer / musician Mark Lewis (alto sax, flute) has been composing and performing for over 30 years. During that time he has lived and performed up and down the West Coast, British Columbia, and Amsterdam. This disc is his latest and was recorded in NYC and features Lewis with George Cables (piano), Victor Lewis (drums) and Essiet Essiet (bass) on eleven Mark Lewis originals. The music ranges from hard bop to swing to Latin influenced styles. Lewis and Cables are a fantastically fluid duo. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Al Muirhead – Northern Adventures: The Canada Sessions, Vol. 1 (Chronograph): Veteran Canadian trumpet and flugelhorn player Al Muirhead set out to record with as many top notch Canadian musicians as he could for this apparent beginning of sessions. The material is mostly drawn from the great American songbook and features Tommy Banks and Chris Andrew (piano); Guido Basso (flugelhorn); Mike Murley (tenor sax); Campbell Ryga (soprano, alto sax); Mike Rud and Reg Schwager (guitar); Don Thompson (piano, bass); Laila Biali (vocals, piano); Ben Wittman (percussion); and Kodi Hutchison (bass). The sound is more intimate as the musicians listed move in and out of the sessions. Bali’s two vocals are quite nice and really stand out. This is a very pleasant set. I regret that I am unable to find a sample from this disc.

Nate Smith – Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere (ropeadope): Born and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia, and a graduate of James Madison and Virginia Commonwealth Universities, percussion and keyboard player Nate Smith is a multi-talented composer and player. While still in college, he was recruited by jazz singer Betty Carter to participate in her esteemed Jazz Ahead program. In graduate school he performed with legendary jazz bassist and composer Dave Holland. Since that time, Smith has been a member of the Chris Potter Underground and has performed with Ravi Coltrane, Nicholas Payton, John Pattituci, and Lionel Loueke, among others. This appears to be his second release as a leader and he composed or co-wrote all but one song. “In conceiving this project, I wanted to focus on creating the material with very few ingredients; just improvising at the drums or piano or singing ideas into a voice recorder, focusing primarily on rhythm and melody. I want to see what other ingredients the players or singers would bring to the material. I’m interested in a true band sound: I want to know how the musicians will color, shape, and season the raw ingredients, and how to pull all of those pieces together to a whole.” (Nate Smith webpage) The players include Smith (drums, Fender Rhodes, synths, various effects); Kris Bowers (piano, Fender Rhodes); Fima Ephron (bass); Jeremy Most (guitars); and Jaleel Shaw (alto, soprano sax) a and special guests Dave Holland (bass), Lionel Loueke (guitar), and Chris Potter (tenor sax), among others. Click here to listen to songs on this disc.      

Norbert Stachel – Shades Of The Bay (Cheeseburger): Sax and multi-reed player Norbert Stachel (alto, tenor, bari, soprano sax, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, bass, keys) has a long and varying playing resume including Tower of Power, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Prince, Tito Puente, Quincy Jones, D’Angelo, Roy Hargrove, Andrew Hill, Charlie Haden, Benny Green, Russell Malone, Woody Herman, Kenny Burrell, and many more, as well as fronting his own bands (see LehCats above). He also composed all of the offerings on this disc. Other players on this release include Ray Obiedo and Dave Shul (guitar), Peter Horvath (keys), Daniel Gonzalez,   Jay Lane, Brian Collier or Lynn Farmer (drums), Dave Mathews (organ), Marc van Wageningen and Victor Little (bass), and Louis Fasman (trumpet). The sound is often funky and everyone is on the spot. It’s hard to listen and not dance or at least tap your toes. Joyful! Click here and scroll down to listen to two songs on this disc.   

Mads Tolling & The Mads Men – Playing The 60’s (Self-produced): Mads Tolling (violin, viola, baritone violin) began music playing classical and was then bitten by the jazz bug. Once he moved to the US from his native Denmark, he was captured by the popular music of the sixties and he believes the decade was the most musically influential of all. The disc is a jazz interpretation of a wide variety of songs of the era, spanning from “Georgia On My Mind” to “The Look Of Love” to “My Girl” and numerous movie and TV themes like “Meet The Flintstones” and “Mission: Impossible”. Backing musicians include Colin Hogan (piano, B-3, accordion), Sam Bevan (bass) and Eric Garland (drums) with guest appearances by Stanley Clarke and Dan Feiszli (bass), Ricardo Peixoto (guitar), Joe Hebert and Susanna Porte (cello), Kenny Washington, Spencer Day and Kalil Wilson (vocals). Solid playing and some very clever performances. BTW, Tolling was a member of the Turtle Island Quartet for several years. Click here for an introduction.   

Baron Tymas – Montreal (Self-produced): Guitarist Baron Tymas composed or rewrote all of the selections on this disc based upon his experiences in Montreal while a Fulbright Fellow at Concordia University. He is accompanied by Joshua Rager (piano), Sage Reynolds (bass), Jim Doxas (drums) and special guests Jeri Brown (vocal on “And Oui”) and Charles Ellison (trumpet on “The Laval Syndicate”). The music is melodic and joyfully rhythmic throughout and the interplay between Tymas and Rager is truly noteworthy. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

U.S. Army Band – The U.S. Army Blues Swamp Romp – Voodoo Boogaloo (Self-produced): How funky can the Army get? Well, judging on the basis of this outfit, getting the chance to take leave from Washington, D.C. to spend some time in New Orleans certainly does bring out the “bon temps”! The “Swamp Romp” is an annual event to gather money and help for the less fortunate in the area. The music on this disc ranges from original tunes like “Voodoo Boogaloo” to oldies like “Tiger Rag” and “Jelly Roll Morton’s “Milenburg Joys” to standards (“Jambalaya”) and even Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish”. I can’t find a sample from the disc, but click here to catch a performance!  

Kopasetically,

Professor Bebop

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