donna lewis. brand new day. palmetto. Guess who is the band? the bad plus. and they play softer, and yet with more articulation than any back-up group in recent memory. because. they don’t accompany so much as improvise and detail around the hushed, minimalist voice of welsh vocalist donna lewis. she, gently, finds the songs and the boys in the band, using texture and discretion, lift this musical creation into sweet bliss. a-plus playlist: david bowie’s bring me the disco king; a re-working of lewis’ sensation i love you always forever; many more, originals too.
marcus miller. afrodeezia. blue note. Exciting personal collection of African diaspora music from bass guitarist also, keyboards, bass clarinet) marcus miller. the stylistic net casts wide and far: papa was a rolling stone precedes georges’ bizet cue je crois entendre encore. large supporting cast includes etienne charles -trumpet, robert greenidge–steel pans, cherif soumano–kora; robert glasper–fender; ben hong–cello; alex han–alto/soprano; louis cato@drums; brett williams–piano; lalah hathaway–vocals; adam agati–guitar. much to like here.
royce campbell. romancing the tone. moon cycle. It’s a good week for guitars, and local guitarist royce campbell showcases his melodic style in a smooth Brazilian setlist. gorgeous guitar interplay with other members of the quartet—tom baldwin, bass; tony martucci@drums; tony nalker, piano–homages campbell’s longtime membership wih the henry mancini orchestra.
chris lightcap. epicenter. clean feed. The bigmouth band: craig taborn, all the keyboards; tony malaby & chris cheek, tenors together; gerald cleaver@drums and chris nightcap, bass; guitar, more organ. pretty special stuff, with nods to ornette coleman and philip glass, mostly originals playlist could stand alone as a modern suite. such comfort in multiple copies: two tenors, two organs, plush piano and bass lines. last cue honors lou reed.
kevin eubanks + stanley jordan. duets. mack avenue. A remarkable collaboration betweeen two jazz guitar icons: eubanks from his Phillie beginnings to blue note work to fifteen years music directing the tonight show; and jordan, Chicago, then that magic guitar touch, many recordings. as the duet idea gathered momentum, principals mixed thad jones with adele with miles with gershwin with originals. they also play bass, piano, keys: quiet, arresting joy.
dave stryker. messin’ with mister t. strikezone. Guitar wizard dave stryker likes the thematic; remember last year’s eight track, his tribute to curtis mayfield & stevie wonder? of course, mr t refers to tenor stanley turrentine, stryker’s musical boss back in the 1990s. the format here is ten tenors tribute ten timeless turrentine tunes. all good but my favorites are chris potter on impressions; bob mintzer on gibraltar; eric alexander on salt song; steve slagle on side steppin. the embarrassment of riches continues with the band: dynamo jared gold who plays organ not just B3; mayra casales, percussionist xtraordinaire; mcclenty hunter@drums.
reggie quinerly. invictus. redefinition. Drummer reggie quinerly grew up in Houston’s historic Freedomtown neighborhood, attending Houston’s performing arts high school with jason moran, robert glassper, mike moreno. his second cd spotlights great young performers: warren wolf, vibes; yotam silberstein, guitar; christian sands, piano; alan hampton@drums— just like quinerly’s hero, art blakey, used to do.
curtis nowosad. dialectics. cellar live. Hard bop quintet led by Winnipegger drummer curtis nowosad feels very archival as his compositions reference horace silver on reconciliation, duke pearson on empirically speaking, and monk on bye-a. if nowosad’s writing embraces the past, the band is positively now: jimmy greene, tenor; derrick gardner, trumpet; steve kirby, bass; will bonness, piano.
unhinged sextet. clarity. OA2. Band camp for the big guys. six musicians, twelve original big band compositions, and a weekend in Phoenix, AZ were all it took to generate large amounts of polished swing. excellent band that includes pianist michael kocour; jon hamar, bass; dom moio@drums; and the silkiest horn section: will campbell, alto; matt olson, tenor; vern sielert, trumpet.
yelena eckemoff. lions. L&H. Double cd from Russian emigre pianist yelena eckemoff with Norwegian double bassist arild anderssen and venerable drummer billy hart. all original compositions that dramatize lives of big cats on the savanna. trained as a classical pianist in Soviet Union, eckemoff writes the piano part but encourages hart and andersen to improvise their charts. fascinating example of jazz/classical collaboration.
bernard scavella. a taste of scavella. self. Post bop playlist from Chicago-area tenor/soprano saxophonist . mostly originals, scavella plays with charlie johnson, piano; chuck webb, bass; and robert shy@drums.
kyle reid. alright here we go…. horton. Geographically the band, the low swinging chariots, and smokey vocalist/guitarist kyle reid hail from Oklahoma (is OK), but the vibe from the fiery horn section–david leach, trombone; kevin stringfellow, trumpet– plus zealous bassist johnny carlton is very much New Orleans. high energy, original compositions, bluesy with touches of old style django in those guitar strums.