New Jazz Adds – 9/11/2017
Tony Allen – The Source (Blue Note): 76 year old Nigerian drummer/composer/arranger Tony Allen offers his first release on Blue Note. His earlier career began some 50 years ago. He was immediately taken with the drums and taught himself to play by listening to recordings by Art Blakey, Max Roach and Kenny Clarke. He played in Fela Kuti’s band for 15 years. Allen composed and arranged all of the songs on this disc along with his long term colleague Yann Jankielewicz (alto, tenor, bari sax) and their interaction is the highlight of the set. Other musicians are Matias Allamane (bass), Indy Dibongue (guitar), Jean Phi Dary (piano, organ, clarinet), Nicolas Giraud (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jean Jacques Elangue (tenor, soprano sax), Remi Scout (bari, bass sax, flute), Daniel Zimmerman (trombone, tuba), Vincent Taurelle (organ), and Damon Albarn (guest piano). Expect the connection to Nigerian style, though this is mellower than many of Kuti’s performances. It’s sweetly seductive. Click here and click on the starred titles to hear some samples.
Matt Capps – Church And State (ropeadope): Trumpeter/composer Matt Capps has recorded with Michael Jackson and Earth, Wind and Fire, among others and has toured or performed with The Roots, Kirk Franklin, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Bilal, Mos Def, Common, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, Wallace Roney, and Stanley Clarke. The disc appears to be his first as a leader. He composed seven of the ten songs on this disc and covers a wide span of styles from funk to pop to “Amazing Grace” and Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma”. He performs with a constantly shifting span of musicians as the musical styles change. Three vocalists guesting on separate songs are Chill Moody (rap), Marsha Ambrosius (“Amazing Grace”), and Stephen Costello (“Nessun Dorma”). The range is terrific. Click here to listen to one of the straight up jazz songs on this disc.
Adrian Cunningham – Jazz Speak (Arbors): Composer/teacher/multi-instrumentalist Adrian Cunningham (tenor sax, clarinet, flute) offers five originals and covers ranging from compositions from Sidney Bechet, Duke Ellington, and even Bud Powell on this multi-faceted disc. Cunningham is supported by Ted Rosenthal (piano), John Clayton (bass) and Jeff Hamilton (drums). The ensemble is in wonderful form and Cunningham’s versatility is terrific. He is a native Australian and moved to the US about ten years ago to live in the home of jazz. He has several discs to his credit. Click here to listen to the title song from this disc.
Bill Goodwin Quartet – At The Lafayette Bar (Vectordisc): This is a compilation of live performances by Bill Goodwin (drums) with Adam Niewood (sax), Bill Washer (guitar) and Joe Michaels (bass) with Richard Burton sitting in on keys on two songs. They cover compositions by George Shearing (“Conception”), Bob Dorough & Ben Tucker (“Comin’ Home Baby”), Ornette Coleman (“The Blessing”), Charles Mingus (“Duke’s Sound Of Love”), Thelonius Monk (“Work”) and Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein (“All The Things You Are”). While the group covers the main theme of the songs, they certainly interpret each into their own vision for the songs. This is a solid collection throughout. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Brian Hudson – Next Level (Self-produced): Drummer/composer/session player Brian Hudson has been active in the studio and in live settings since 2000. He has recorded and toured as a member of Memory Dean, a funky roots band based in Atlanta and he currently leads his jazz/fusion band Next Level, among other projects. Next Level is a jazz/fusion band and features Randy Hoexter (keys, piano), Adam Nitti and Joe Reda (bass), Sam Skelton (saxophones), Melvin Jones (trumpet), and Trey Wright (guitar). The music is rather straight forward fusion with a few numbers that groove very well. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Vijay Iyer Sextet – Far From Over (ECM): Vijay Iyer (composer, piano, fender rhodes) offers another challenging and engaging release of music that is challenging but truly rewarding, perhaps even restorative. He is accompanied by Graham Haynes (cornet, flugelhorn, electronics), Steve Lehman (alto sax), Mark Shim (tenor sax), Tyshawn Sorey (drums) and Stephan Crump (bass). In Iyer’s words, “As the arc of history lurches forward and backward, the fact remains: local and global struggles for equality, justice, and basic human rights are far from over. We hope that our music both reflects this truth and offers a useful residuum that might outlast it.” So, the music is groovy at times (“Nope”), challenging and tense at times (“Poles”, Down To The Wire”), respectful (“For Amiri Baraka”) and a lament (“Threnody”). It expresses the many emotions of our times. Iyer composed all of the music, but he forces us to realize that we can’t simply wish our troubles away or ignore them as the turmoil still lingers. Click here to listen to the title track.
Jesse Lewis – Endless Field (Biopholio): Jesse Lewis is a remarkable guitarist (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, baritone guitar, vocal), who has performed with jazz, world music, pop, and electronica musicians. He has a dazzling command of the guitar and the interaction between his own playing and that of Ike Sturm (acoustic bass and bass guitar, electric bass, vocals) is phenomenal. There are also guest musicians throughout the disc: Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Fabian Almazon (piano), Donny McCaslin (tenor sax), Chris Dingman (vibes), Nadje Noordhuis (flugelhorn, glockenspiel, bowed vibraphone), Rich Stein (percussion) and Misty Ann Sturm (vocals). Anyone interested in acoustic jazz or progressive folk should absolutely check this disc out. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of four songs on this disc.
Christian McBride Big Band – Bringin’ It (Mack Avenue): Trumpeter/composer/band leader Christian McBride presents a wide ranging program with his big band, including songs by Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Wes Montgomery, Johnny Mercer and Jimmy Van Heusen, Jerry Jeff Walker, and three McBride compositions among other songs. The band includes Frank Greene, Freddie Hendrix, Brandon Lee and Nabate Isles (trumpets), Michael Deese, Steve Davis, and Joe McDonough (trombone); James Burton and Douglas Purviance (bass trombone), Steve Wilson, Todd Bashore, Ron Blake, Dan Pratt and Carl Marachi (reeds), Xavier Davis (piano), Rodney Jones (guitar), Quincy Phillips (drums), and vocals by Melissa Walker. This big band covers a lot of ground and swings well. Click here, then click the button labelled “Play Album” to listen to samples of the songs on this release.
Adam Niewood – Paradigm Shift (Vectordisc): Drummer Adam Niewood presents his latest disc as evidence of his own paradigm shift from reeds, especially sax, to drums, his first love. He composed three of the songs performed and two were composed by his father Gerry, best known for playing sax and flute with the Chuck Mangione Quartet. It was, in fact, Gerry who bought a drum kit for the family and Adam, most specifically. There is a lot of variety on this disc, which starts in a swinging style that also allows various players to take their own excursions and continues to build through bop to more outside music as the the set progresses. That being said, this is a totally solid performance throughout by the group in general and the individual players: Vic Juris (guitar), Dick Oates (alto sax) and Gene Perla (bass) and, of course, Adam Niewood. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Vanessa Racci – Italiana Fresca (Self-produced): Vocalist Vanessa Racci offers a reworking of famous Italian American pop songs while endeavoring to keep the essentials but modernizing some of the lyrics to make them better suited to the present, while maintaining many of the elements that made these songs classics within the Italian American community or the general public. The program includes hit songs such as the Dean Martin hit “Return To Me” and Louis Prima’s “Buona Sera”, but mostly songs that were likely heard in Italian households. Racci’s voice is supple and beautiful. She is joined by vocalist Paul Marinaro on a few songs as well. Instrumental accompaniment is varied as suits the songs and includes Glafkos Kontemeniotis and Aaron Gershovsky (piano, arrangements), David Finck (bass), Cliff Almond (drums), Aaron Heick (alto, soprano sax, clarinet), Andrew Snitzer (tenor sax), Brian Pareschi (trumpet), John Fedchock (trombone), Ronald Caswell (tuba) and occasional strings provided by Suzanne Ornstein, Abraham Appelman, Jonathan Dinklage and Kate Light (violins), Debra Shuflet Dine (viola), Stephanie Cummins and Richard Locker (cello) and Kevin Wizard (percussion). A first class production. Click here for an introduction to this disc.
Cecile McLorin Salvant – Dreams And Daggers (Mack Avenue): Award winning vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant offers her fourth solo release, a live performance that covers songs by Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, Ida Cox, Noel Coward, Bob Dorough, Kurt Weil and Langston Hughes and adds a few of her own. Obviously, Salvant is a rising star, having won numerous awards, including the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition (2010), Jazz Album of the Year, Down Beat Critics Poll WomanChild (2014), Best Vocal Jazz Album, Grammy Award nomination, WomanChild (2014), and Best Jazz Vocal Album, Grammy Award winner For One to Love (2016). This release is a double disc of a live performance. She is accompanied by Aaron Diehl (piano), Paul Sikivie (bass), and Lawrence Leathers (drums), except on a few numbers when she is backed by the Catalyst Quartet, featuring Karla Dunehew and Suliman Tekalli (violins), Paul Laraia (viola), and Carlos Rodriguez (cello). She is a compelling and highly versatile performer. Click here and then click the button labelled “Play Album” to listen to the songs on this performance.
Mike Stern – Trip (Heads Up / Concord): Guitarist Mike Stern’s first recording since an accident that broke both of his arms and permanently damaged his right hand (he has to glue his pick to his fingers to be able to play). If he hadn’t shared this information, it would likely go unnoticed by most listeners. He still plays with speed and fluidity. He composed all of the songs on this disc and is accompanied by Bob Franceschini and Bill Evans (tenor sax), Jim Beard (piano, keys), Dennis Chambers, Will Calhoun, Dave Weckl and Lenny White (drums), Victor Wooten, Edmund Gilmore, Tom Kennedy and Teymur Phell (bass), Randy Brecker and Wallace Roney (trumpet), Leni Stern (ghoni), Gio Moretti (vocals) and Arto Tuncboyaciyan and Elhadji Alioune Faye (percussion). It’s electric, flowing and jamming! Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.