marc cary. rhodes ahead. vol. 2. motema. One of my favorites of the young (cary is 48) jazz pianist crowd, marc cary started in DC and went to work with betty carter, then 12 years with abbey lincoln, and jumped in with the wu tang clan when needed. he likes to visit all the foreign lands; especially if they have keyboards. volume 2 of the “rhodes project ” enjoys the exoticism of the tabla (sameer gupta), the djembe ( jabari exum) as well as the violin ( arum ramamurthy). mostly original compositions, except the jewel beehive by harold mabern. with burniss travis on bass; aurelian budynek, guitar; daniel moreno, percussion; igmar thomas, trumpet; terreon gully@drums; and the exceptional tarus mateen on bass. marc cary on fender rhodes and hammond b3.
ben wolfe. the whisperer. posi-tone. Beautiful mellow original compositions by bassist ben wolfe and his combo: orrin evans on piano; donald edwards@drums; stacy dillard, excellent on tenor & soprano. quiet, sophisticated–everybody solos, all the time.
twin danger. eponymous. decca. The British songwriter/sax player to sade , stuart matthewman (as in diamond life) teams up with vanessa bley NYC singer/songwriter & daughter of jazz icon paul bley. their format is atmospheric, noirish, jazzy–because of the instrumentation, as if, they recorded the same song in twelve variations–so maybe the subtext is j.s. bach inspiration. familiar faces: gil goldstein, piano; michael leonhart, trumpet; larry grenadier, bass; joe bonadio@drums. investigate this.
steve turre. spiritman. smoke sessions. Master of trombone and shells–not sure which is the more challenging musical instrument– steve turre has developed a “buttery” sound not unlike his hero jj johnson. new recording with great support; bruce williams, alto; xavier davis, piano; gerald cannon, bass; willie jones@drums; chembo corniel, congas.
the mighty mocambos. showdown. legere. Once again, fun musical swag from our label pals @ legere in Hamburg, Germany. premier funk instrumental outfit, the mocambos add in German film composer peter thomas, and international artists– afrika bambaataa, charlie funk, hektek, and deejay snoop. when funk is your platform, every cue sets the mood.
ernestine anderson. swings the penthouse. high note. Recorded 1962, @ The Penthouse jazz club , Seattle ,WA. ernestine anderson (b. 1928) sang ballads, soul, swing in the early days with lionel hampton, then multiple appearances at Monterey Jazz Fests, then a time in Europe, then back in the USA for the jazz-friendly 1970’s. here, in her hometown, she claims her beautiful deep voice and works over a playlist from the American songbook. raw arrangements and serviceable back-up band, but the voice is mesmerizing.
lara downes. a billie holiday songbook. steinway & sons. NoCal pianist lara downes has authored several projects to promote the accessibility of romantic and classical music; previous success stories include exile’s cafe and ten ways of looking at the goldberg ( as in bach variations). her current solo piano interpretations of billie holiday classics enlist the arrangements of american composer jed distler. complex and shimmery performance.
russell malone. love looks good on you. high note. Polished recording by (self-taught) guitar master russell malone (originally back up band to harry connick jr, diana krall), the “good song” playlist sets the tone: a love theme by isaac hayes; freddie hub bard’s suite sioux; thad jones’ the elder. 4-et at it’s most discreet: rick germanson, piano; gerald cannon, bass; willie jones @drums.
michael wolff. wolff & clark expedition. random act. Jazz-funk ensemble led by pianist michael wolff and drummer mike clark with the stellar christian mcbride on bass. guests include the young sax sensation hailey niswanger, and trumpet sideman wallace roney. playlist revisits songs of the elders–monk, j. heath, dizzy, ornette, and prince.
john petrucelli. the way. self. Two cd release from UVA grad, student of John D’earth, tenor saxophonist john petrucelli. mostly originals, with a few classics: quintet includes peter park, guitar; victor gould on piano; alex claffy, bass; and gusten rudolf and victor lewis sharing the drumming duties.
george garzone. crescent. jazz hang. Tenor player/ Berkelee-educator ( teacher to joshua redman, mark turner) george garzone sounding a tad coltrane-esque with his fine collaborators– esperanza spalding on bass + vocalise, and leo genovese at the piano. originals and songbook get extended play from an elegant trio.
russ johnson. still out to lunch. enja. Revisiting the ground-breaking blue note recording out to lunch (1964) trumpeter russ johnson gathers his samurais from modern avant guard jazz, and plays the classic + some rarities. the sensibility changes: george schuller take the drummer’s chair then occupied by 17 year old anthony (tony) williams; bobby hutcherson’s anti-lyricism vibraphone become the chords of minimalist pianist myra melford; the super-human bowing of bassist richard davis looks for his robust duet partner, bass clarinetist eric dolphy–but the new recording offers altoist/soprano sax roy nathanson to current bassist brad jones. things to like about this 2008 recording, but exhilaration of the original prevails.