jazz adds june 1, 2015

jakob bro.  gefion.  ecm.  Award-winning Danish guitarist/composer–formerly with paul motian’s electric bebop band, this summer on tour with bill frissell– collaborates in this Oslo studio release with trio mates, thomas morgan on double bass, and jon christensen@drums.  cerebral, celestial,  flawless.


eberhard weber.  encore.  ecm.   Grand elder of jazz bass players  reflects on his “special bass”, and the music they made together.  setlist is duets between weber on keyboards & bass, + ack van rooyen (who appears on weber’s seminal the colors of chloe) on fluegel.


julia hulsmann quartet + theo bleckmann.  a clear midnight.  ecm.  Imaginative  re-look at the “unsung music”  of the German composer kurt weil,  stunningly produced by ecm‘s manfred eicher.   the artists–international crossover vocalist theo bleckmann and the julia hulsmann quartet– hit all their marks seamlessly;  quartet includes hulsmann, piano;  tom arthurs, trumpet, fluegel;  marc muellbauer, double bass;  heinrich kobberling@drums. ( less fond, i confess, of the walt whitman poems set to music.)


circulation.  gary mcfarland legacy ensemble.   planet arts.  Where do  i begin on this labor of love?  gary mcfarland died @ 38 years old, after accidentally taking a methadone-spiked drink;  much information is available in a Wall Street Journal article, november 13, 2014 by marc myers.  vibraphonist mcfarland composed for the future, the moment when jazz would embrace rock + pop;  he was ahead of his time, and after death (in 1971), obscurity buried his music.  this legacy band includes heavy-hitters joe locke on vibraphone;   bruce barth, piano;  sharel cassity, saxophones;  mike lawrence, bass;  michael benedict @drums.  merit un  petit detour.


jeff “tain”  watts.  blue, vol. 1dark key.   Ambitious recording by Pittsburgh percussionist jeff “tain” watts showcases polished compositional skills with complex playing technique;  the effect is a pleasing mix of demanding and cutting loose.  recorded at the Sanctuary in Easton, PA,  the cast is  lavish and first class:   core members include  troy roberts, tenor;  david budway, piano;  gregoire maret, harmonica;   neal caine & chris  smith sharing double bass.  i liked blues for mr. charley.


gillian margot.  black butterfly.  hipnotic.  Toronto-native, and rising jazz vocalist/composer,  gillian margot dedicates her second release to American jazz;  whereas, the first, a pink filled sky, offered her classical training in a chamber (trio) setting– black butterfly, produced by trumpeter jeremy pelt  adds in the music of curtis mayfield ( the makings of you), rodgers and hart ( i wish i were in love again), joni mitchell (conversation), among others.  six piece band:  anthony wonsey, richie goods, kendrick, scott, roxy coss, freddie bryant, + pelt.


terence blanchard.  breathless.  blue note.   Legendary trumpeter blanchard bands together with E-Collective–members includes charles altura, guitar;  fabian almazan, piano and synths;  oscar seaton@drums;  pj morton, vocals.  originals and covers (gene mcdaniel’s compared to what & hank williams i ain’t got nothin’ but time), but the vibe is fusion from the zones funk, r & b, and blues.


pearl django.  time flies…  modern hot.  Gypsy jazz quintet out of Washington state, pearl django has been spreading the gospel of django, grappelli and le hot club for twenty years.  the current iteration includes michael gray, violin;  rick leppanen, bass;  double guitars with  troy chapman+ryan hoffman; david lange, accordion.  writing credits go equally to band members, though my favorite cue was original memento which segued into luis bonfa’s black orpheus.


michael carvin.  flash forward.  motema.  Drummer michael carvin started playing in 1973 with freddie hubbard and never stopped performing with the best.  in his seventh decade, his new release profiles a great young band:  jansen cinco  on bass;   the elegant yayoi ikawa  on piano, and  smokey keith loftis on tenor.   nine spectacular cues from the American Songbook including sayonara blues, you go to my head.   cd arrived back in august 2014;   maybe you missed it.


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