New Jazz Adds – 1/9/2018

New Jazz Adds – 1/9/2018

Django Bates’ Beloved – The Study Of Touch (ECM): Django Bates releases his tenth disc as a leader and is considered to be one of the finest composers and musicians in the UK’s history. He has elected to perform in a trio on this disc with Petter Eldh (bass) and Peter Bruun (drums). While he plays a variety of keyboards and tenor horns, he plays exclusively on the acoustic piano on this release. The program includes nine originals and Charlie Parker’s “Passport” and Iain Ballamy’s “This World”. The performance is remarkable in terms of Bates exquisite style – flowing, beautiful, rhythmic and stylistically shifting in an intriguing and infectious manner. It certainly ranks with the finest ECM releases. The changes are often subtle, but create a flow of styles that enchant the listener. The disc ranks with the best of this monumental label’s catalogue. Click here to listen to a sample.

Anouar Brahem – Blue Maqams (ECM) – Oud player Anouar Brahem played oud with a pianist a long time ago and has often thought of doing that again, but hasn’t really felt the he had the right material until recently. He also decided that he needed to challenge himself with a new creative pianist and based upon a recommendation from Manfred Eicher, producer and founder of the ECM label, approached pianist Django Bates to play with him. Brahem states, “…I discovered several qualities in Django, not only his dazzling piano technique, but also his subtlety, his creative and inventive powers and his outstandingly strong proposals….”(liner notes) The combination is wonderful in every aspect. Dave Holland (bass) and Jack DeJohnette complete the ensemble. The disc is fabulously beautiful and hypnotic. Click here for a terrific introduction.

Anat Cohen Tentet – Happy Song (Anzic): Clarinet wizard Anat Cohen leads us on a world melange of swing, fusion and a middle eastern / jazz hybrid. The combination is fascinating and completely engaging. Talk about fusion! In addition to Cohen, the band includes Rubin Kodhell (cello), Nadje Noordhuis (trumpet, flugelhorn), Nick Finzer (trombone), Owen Broder (bari sax, bass clarinet), James Shipp (vibes, percussion), Vitor Goncalves (piano, accordion), Sheryl Bailey (guitar), Tal Mashiach (bass), Anthony Pinciotti (drums) and Oded Lev-Ari (musical director). The interactions are tight and truly offer a world tour. Highly recommended for fans of jazz and world music. Click here for an introduction by Cohen.     Click here to listen to the title song.

Chick Corea / Steve Gadd Band – Chinese Butterfly (Concord Jazz):  Pianist, keyboard player, composer Chick Corea and drummer Steve Gadd create a reunion of their collaborations in the 70’s. The band also includes Lionel Loueke (guitar, vocal), Steve Wilson (saxophone, flute), Carlitos del Puerto (bass), and Luisito Quintero (percussion) with guest vocalist Philip Bailey on “Return To Forever”. Corea composed “Wake Up Call” with Loueke and composed all of the other songs except for the opener, John McLaughlin’s “Chick’s Chums”. It’s a toss back to the electronic styles of the 70’s – melodic, electronic and flowing. The second disc offers three more extended performances, including a remake of “Return To Forever”. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this double disc.

Lisa Hilton – Escapism (Self-produced): Composer/pianist Lisa Hilton has released twenty recordings over her twenty year career. She has a fluid and often highly rhythmic style, that reflects both her classical and jazz chops. Half of the songs here are performed in a trio with Gregg August (bass) and Rudy Royster (drums), while the other half are augmented by adding JD Allen (sax), and Terell Stafford (trumpet). The variety on this disc reflects Hilton’s reach and command from beautiful ballads to jazzy swing and even a few steps toward the outside, but always fully under her command. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.

Steve Hobbs – Tribute To Bobby (Challenge): Steve Hobbs began playing vibes when he was 17. He received a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance from Berklee College of Music in 1978 and a Master of Music in Jazz Mallet Performance from the University of Miami in 1982. Since that time he has performed with Tom Harrell and Randy Johnston, among others, and has recorded both as a leader and sideman with Kenny Barron, Tom Harrell, Rufus Reid, John Patitucci, Randy Johnston, Bill O’Connell and others. He plays marimba and vibes on this disc and is accompanied by Adam Kolker (tenor and soprano sax), Bill O’Connell (piano), Peter Washington (bass) and John Riley (drums) with a guest appearance featuring Carol Ingbretsen, Maurice Myers and Marvin Thorne (vocals). All but three of the 13 songs here are Hobbs’ compositions and the covers are “Besame Mucho” (Consuelo Velasquez), “Blowing In The Wind” (Dylan) and “Where Or When” (Rodgers and Hart). The tribute is to Bobby Hutcherson, a hero on vibes and marimba who passed away as this disc was being recorded. The music floats and swings and I feel quite sure Hutcherson would have been honored. Beautiful, flowing and delightful. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc. 

Julian Lage – Modern Lore (Mack Avenue): Guitarist extraordinaire Julian Lage offers his ninth release as a leader, having previously recorded with Gary Burton, Nels Cline, David Grisman and John Zorn, among others. He presents eleven original compositions with Scott Colley (bass) and Kenny Wollesen (drums, vibes). Lage plays both electric and acoustic guitar on this warm and wonderful program. This release would certainly please fans of Bill Frisell or other like guitarists and also fans of jazz rock styles. Click here to listen to cut from this disc.

David K. Matthews – The Fantasy Vocal Sessions, Vol. 1 Standards (Effendi): Some years ago, having backed up Etta James for on several recordings, pianist David K. Matthews proposed cutting a disc of standards. James had had some strong success with standards like “Al Last” and “Wait! Stop The Wedding” in the early 60’s and later in her career and she was excited to sing another set. Sadly, she became quite ill and eventually passed away before recording was possible. Recently, Matthews began to approach other singers to create this collection. There is a quite a range from stars like Steve Miller and Maria Muldaur to lesser known but quite wonderful singers like Nicolas Bearde, Amikaeyla Gaston, Kenny Washington and even a non-professional, John Laslo. In addition to Matthews, backing musicians include Wayne de Silva (tenor sax), Jim Nichols (guitar), Peter Barshay (bass) and Akira Tana (drums) and they are smooth and sultry. Mellow, groovy and smooth. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

New York Electric Piano – State Of The Art (Buffalo Puppy): New York Electric Piano is a trio featuring Pat Daugherty (acoustic and electric pianos, Hammond organ), Aaron Comess (drums) and Richard Hammond (bass) on eight original compositions by Daugherty that share elements of jazz and jams that flow with a touch of funk. Daugherty formed the group about 15 years ago and during that time it has shifted back and forth from a trio to a sextet or octet and back again. He also toured with Gil Scott Heron and has recorded with Snoop Dogg among others. Comess was a founder and still current member of Spin Doctors and various other aggregations and Hammond has toured with Joan Osbourne and Patti Austin, and has performed with Bono & the Edge, Carlos Santana, Brian Blade, and Levon Helm among others. The music here shifts from ballads to funky grooves, but is always centered on a jazz foundation. I regret I am unable to locate a sample from this disc.

Guillermo Nojechowicz / El Eco – Puerto de Buenos Aires 1933 (Zoho): “Argentinean drummer, composer, vocalist and educator Guillermo Nojechowicz grew up in Buenos Aires, surrounded by the tango of Astor Piazzolla, the rock songs of Luis Alberto Spinetta, and the jazz of Oscar Peterson. After moving to the US, he completed a degree in Film Scoring at Berklee College of Music….” ( The inspiration for this disc occurred when Nojechowicz found his grandmother’s passport that was issued in 1933 as she and his father were fleeing Germany as Adolph Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. They landed in Buenos Aires, which became their new home. Nojechowicz grew up in Argentina absorbing its music. Eventually, he moved to the US to attend Berklee College of Music, broadening his musical depth. This performance features his ensemble El Eco: Fernando Huergo (bass), Helio Alves (piano), Kim Nazarian (vocals, percussion), Marco Pignataro (tenor, soprano sax) and Bryan Lynch (trumpet) and guests Franco Pinna (bombo legüero, percussion), Roberto Cassan  (accordion), Megumi Lewis and Ethan Wood (violin), Sarah Darling (viola) and Leo Eguchi (cello). Eight of the selections are Nojechwicz’s compositions. The music is exotic and beautifully appealing. Click here to listen to the opening song on this disc.

Wadada Leo Smith – America’s National Parks (Cuneiform): Wadada Leo Smith is recognized as a masterful composer and trumpet player in the avant garde. He was an early member of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), joining in 1967. Inspired by Ken Burns’ series “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” and his own love of the parks themselves, Smith composed this set, specifically honoring the National Culture Park USA (New Orleans); Eileen Jackson Southern, 1920-2002: A Literary National Park; Yellowstone, the first national park; the Mississippi River; Sequoia / Kings Canyonn National Park; and Yosemite. This is a lofty performance and I confess I wished for a visual companion to the performance. In addition to Smith, performers include Anthony Davis (piano), Ashley Walters (cello), John Lindberg (bass), and Pheeroan akLaff (drums). Click here to listen to the selections on this disc.

Michael Jefry Stevens / Eastern Boundary Quartet – Live at De Werf (ARC): The Eastern Boundary Quartet is “a collaborative quartet featuring the Hungarian master musicians. drummer Balazs Bagyi and saxophonist Mihaly Borbely, and the long-standing bass/piano partnership of New York City bassist Joe Fonda and pianist Michael Jefry Stevens (co-leaders of the Fonda/Stevens Group).” ( Borbely also plays the tarogato, a single-reed wind instrument, widely played in the folk music of Romania and Hungary. The result of this combination is a strong connecting point between the folk music of the latter countries and jazz. The disc would certainly fit in beautifully in either genre. Click here to listen to the performances on this disc.


Professor Bebop

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