New Jazz Adds – 1/11/2017
Cannonball Adderley – Cannonball Plays Zawinul (Capitol Jazz): This collection is a wonder! As you can see from the title, the songs are all Joe Zawinul compositions performed by the group between 1965 and 1971. The group includes Zawinul (piano, Rhodes); Cannonball Adderley (alto, soprano sax); Nat Adderley (cornet); Victor Gaskin, Richard Davis or Sam Jones (bass); and Roy McCurdy, Grady Tate or Louis Haynes (drums). The final cut features the headliners with George Duke (keys), Walter Booker (bass), and Airto Moreira (percussion). This is a solid performance from beginning to end, jumping across styles at will. Click here to listen to samples from the disc.
Michael Brecker – Nearness Of You: The Ballad Book (Verve): Michael Brecker plays some very nice tenor sax and, in the company of Pat Metheny (guitar), Herbie Hancock (piano), Charlie Haden (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums), spins a very fine performance. James Taylor joins in on vocals on two songs. The songs were taken from Herbie Hancock, James Taylor, Joe Zawinul, Hoagie Carmicheal, Pat Metheny, Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Brecker himself. This performance is one of a small group that does indeed have something for everyone. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of songs on this disc.
Candido – Beautiful (Blue Note): 95 year old percussionist Candido Camero is truly the star of this disc. His conga and bongo playing is lively and energized throughout. He is supported by Pat Russo and Bernie Glow (trumpets), Alan Raph (trombone, bass trombone), Joe Grimm (soprano, baritone sax, flute), Frank Anderson (piano, organ), David Spinozza (guitar), Gerry Jemmott and Richard Davis (alternating on bass), and Herbie Lovelle (drums). Their performance is quite smooth, ironically highlighting the vivacity of Candido’s playing, while exposing the sometimes technical but seemingly “too safe” accompaniment. Click here to listen to samples of songs on this disc.
Roberto Fonseca – Abuc (Impulse): Composer / pianist / keyboard player Roberto Fonseca’s ninth release is a whirl of styles and sounds in honor of the wealth of Cuban music from “then to now”. It is highly rhythmic and enchanting. The players include Yandy Martínez Rodríguez (bass); Ramsés “Dynamite” Rodríguez (drums); Inor Sotolongo and Zé Luis Nascimento (percussion); Eddy de Armas Camejo, Bobby Campo and Lázaro Amauri Oviedo (trumpet); Yuniet Lombida Prieto (alto sax); Emir Santa Cruz Hernández (tenor sax); Joel Enrique Sagó Bell, Mark Mullins and Yoandy Argudin Feffel (trombone); Javier Zalba Suarez (bari sax); Daymé Arocena, Carlos Calunga, Rafael Lay Bravo, Roberto Espinosa Rodríguez, Bárbara Llanes and Eliades Ochoa (vocals); Munir Hossn and Sekou Bah (electric guitar); Joe Gore (acoustic guitar); Policarpo “Polo” Tamayo (flute) and guest star Trombone Shorty (trombone). The constant shift of musicians enhances the richness of the disc to an amazing level. This is a highly worthwhile disc for those curious about Cuban music and its impact. Click here to listen to the opening cut.
Andrew Hill – Black Fire (Blue Note): This 1963 session was pianist Andrew Hill’s first as a leader. He composed all of the pieces and enlisted an amazing group of players: Joe Henderson (tenor sax); Richard Davis (bass); and Roy Haynes (drums). The chemistry was terrific and Hill opened up quite well in the session. There is little question as to the selection’s inclusion in the RvG collection – bop at its best! Everyone was in top form! Click here to listen to a sample song.
Andrew Hill – Andrew!!! (Blue Note): It’s a year after Andrew Hill’s first as a leader (see above) and the sound is quite different. Bass player Richard Davis has returned, but John Gilmore has replaced Joe Henderson (tenor sax) and Joe Chambers has replaced Roy Haynes (drums). Hill’s style has become significantly more open and the addition of Bobby Hutcherson (vibes) has changed the feel tremendously. The style is looser and more adventurous and the result is more challenging because of those shifting textures. Click here to listen to a sample song.
Lisa Hilton – Day & Night (Self-produced): Pianist Lisa Hilton offers a solo performance of nine original pieces and Cole Porter’s “Begin The Beguine”. Her playing is quite lovely and she offers her love for “lush melodies and gentle Latin rhythms” in dedication to creating new melodies for today. She comments further: “When I finish my tour every year, I normally sit and play other composers for about a month: I’ll always play Bach for example after touring jazz. This year I spent some time on Cole Porter and was really intrigued by what a master of melody and nuance he was – two qualities that I admire. He can alter a single note, and it will have impact! And he just has the greatest melodies….” Click here to for a sample song from this disc.
Matthew Kaminski Quartet – Live At Churchill Grounds (Chicken Coop): Organist Kaminski has an interesting bio: after beginning his organ study at age 5, he eventually switched to studying piano (classical and jazz) and eventually returned to organ. Among other gigs, he is the organist for the Atlanta Braves! On this live disc, Kaminsky is supported by Chris Burroughs (drums), Will Scruggs (tenor sax), and Rod Harris Jr (guitar) with guest singer Kimberly Gordon on several vocals. The group draws songs from Ellington to Jimmy Smith to Antonio Carlos Jobim to Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks et.al. Most of the performances are fine, but there are times when this group really cooks. The latter times seemed to be the result of one or another player igniting the rest. Over all, a good performance. Click here to listen to samples of this recording.
Steve Slagle – Alto Manhattan (Panorama): To date, veteran player Steve Slagle (alto sax, flute) has released fifteen discs as a leader. He plays with speed and grace with equal skill, literally dazzling listeners with his flawless soaring. His solos on songs like “Body & Soul” are equally wonderful. His group includes Lawrence Fields (piano), Gerald Cannon (bass), and Bill Stewart (drums) with Joe Lovano (tenor sax, G mezzo soprano) and Roman Diaz (congas) guesting on three cuts each. Slagle also composed six of the nine songs on the disc. This a terrific performance throughout. Click here to listen to the title song.
Terell Stafford – Forgive And Forget (Herb Harris Music): Trumpeter Terell Stafford has quite a vitae. He has played with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, played in Bobby Watson’s group Horizon, Benny Golson’s Sextet, McCoy Tyner’s Sextet, and Kenny Barron’s Quintet, among many others. He has also released seven discs as a leader prior to this one. The quintet includes Tim Warfield (tenor sax), Kevin Hays (piano), Greg Williams (bass) and Rodney Green (drums) and all are terrific soloists and ensemble players. The music swings and each soloist seems to bring a stronger life to the performance. The music is both beautifully structured, cool, and infectious. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Mark Whitfield – Grace (Marksman Productions): Guitarist extraordinaire Mark Whitfield brings out the family for this gift of fire, melody and spirited technique and it truly is a family affair. In addition to dad, the group also includes sons Davis (piano, keys) and Mark, Jr (drums). “Honorary” family member Yasushi Nakamura (bass) is also on hand and there is a guest vocalist, Sy Smith, who both added lyrics and sings the title song. Each performer here is stunning. Whitfield has long been recognized as a terrific player and to my ears this is one of his best performances ever. Truly electric and virtuosic with a style all his own. The group is as tight as could be and everyone is in top form. Unreservedly recommended! I am unable to find a sample from the disc, but click here to listen to a performance of the song “Undiscovered” from 2015.
Various Artists – The Blue Note Swingtets (Blue Note): This set reaches farther back than most Blue Note reissues to celebrate the swing groups that were recorded by the label, in this case between 1944 and 1946. One could most definitely “cut a rug” to several of these issues. The groups highlighted are the Tiny Grimes Swingtet, John Hardee Swingtet, Ike Quebec’s Quintet, Swingtet, and Swing Seven, Benny Morton’s All Stars, and Jimmy Hamilton and The Duke’s Men. Though there are others on guitar, Tiny Grimes is the main man across groups and that automatically means things will be f-i-n-e. Other major players who make appearances include Trummy Young (trombone), Sid Catlett and JC Heard (drums), Gene Ramey, Milt Hinton, Grachan Moncur and Oscar Pettiford (bass), Jonah Jones, Ray Nance and Buck Clayton (trumpet), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Otto Harwick (alto sax, clarinet), and Harry Carney (bari sax, clarinet), among others. Blues are prominent when the joint’s not jumping and it is all so fine. A MUST for fans of mid-forties jazz, jump and blues. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.