jazz adds march 30, 2016

ken peplowski.  enrapture.  capri.  “America’s greatest living clarenetist”, credits growing up in Cleveland, OH &  playing in a Polish polka band as preparation for  all musical challenges.   gorgeous playlist that nods to an ecclectic jazz/pop who’s who: lennon/ono’s tender oh, my love as a clarinet/bass duet; herbie nichols’ title track; bernard hermann’s sensational vertigo film score;  manilow/mercer’s wistful when october goes.  quartet includes matt wilson on drums, Israeli pianist ehud asherie, and martin wind on bass.  wonderful.


danny green.  altered narratives. OA2.  Sophomore release on OA2  for SoCal pianist danny green and his trio: justin grinnell, bass and julien cantelm@drums.  playing classical piano since five years old, and studying both jazz and classical at USCSD, green’s 2014  recording after the calm hit all his compositional benchmarks– Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, bop and their evolution.  altered narratives grows from that musicianship, adding in a string quartet.   the merge, october ballad, katabasis are standouts.


jane monheit.  the songbook sessions: ella fitzgerald.  emerald city.  Ella’s songs, but jane’s everything else.  polished, elegantly recorded with stellar band led by arranger/producer nicholas payton on trumpet;  michael kanan, piano;  rick montalbano@drums;  neal miner, bass.  very slow, languid, less a tribute to ella than a modern re-interpretation with the payton-monheit dialogues really the meat of the matter.  where ella was cool,  jane is emotional, devastating–see:   i’ve got you under my skin. last cue swings, the way ella knew how.


esperanza spalding.  emily’s d+evolutionconcord.  Emily is her middle name.  different from previous recordings by jazz bassist/cellist/vocalist esperanza spalding.  a rock and roll suite, played mostly by composer spalding;  matthew steven on guitar;  justin tyson and karriem riggins sharing @drums;  xtra vocals abound as every song features spalding singing–her voice a haunting mixture of joni mitchell timing and minnie riperton octaves.  experimental, but strangely accessible if you imagine a companion video component.


matt hopper.  first love.  jazz daddy.  Debut recording from Kansas City jazz guitarist matt hooper with his trio that features ken lovern on organ, kevin frazee @drums.  nearly 100% original playlist.


richard howell.  burkina.  audio emissary.  Bay Area, CA. saxophonist richard howell  celebrates the music of ancestors– specifically generations of Malians, salif keita, babatunde lea, omar sosa, and carlos santana.  a rich multi generational local band includes:  frederick harris  on piano;  heshima mark williams on bass;  charles mcneal, alto;  ele’salif howell@drums  plus sako on kora, and christian scott  atunde adjuah on trumpet.


darren english.  imagine nation.  hot shoe.  Capetown, South Africa native trumpeter darren english dedicates his debut recording to nelson mandela while celebrating  with Atlanta (new home) musicians.   greg tardy, saxophone;  kenny banks jr, piano;  billy thornton, bass;  mentor russell gunn and joe gransden guesting on trumpet.


patrick butler.  symmetrical oscillations.  jahworks.  Mid-western beginnings gave him bluegrass and Celtic exposure, but a move East sent him to jazz, and its guitar.  current release has an r&b vibe with several basses, tenor, an organ, drums and extra percussion.  extensive, all originals playlist.


scott reeves. portraits and places.  origin.  Twenty musicians  –including steve wilson on various reeds;  seneca black on trumpet;  tim sessions on trombone; jim ridl, piano;  todd coolman, bass;  andy watson@drums—master the meticulous harmonics of multi- instrumentalist and leader scott reeves’ original set list.


brian bromberg. full circle.  mack avenue.  He fooled me, brian bromberg that is.  listened without  any liner notes and thought, what kind of guitar is this, that it has so many different voices.  turns out, no guitar was used in the making of this cd;  just bromberg’s versatile acoustic bass.  all originals playlist;  good to play are title track, havana nights, michael jackson’s don’t stop til you get enough . everything swings whether it’s arranged for a sextet or the small big band.


keith brown.  the journey.  space time.  Keyboardist keith brown divides his new release into piano and other–organ, fender rhodes.  the Knoxville, TN native  shapes his band to fuse r &b, hip hop, funk onto the jazz  bones of his mostly original playlist.   saxophone, piano and guitar forward–kenneth whallum lll, greg tardy, jamel mitchell, mike seal– with terreon gully @drums and clint mullican, bass.  many cues are good, but favorite is the narrow road (also on previous cd).


raul agraz.  between brothers.  OA2.  A very Latin party with all the brothers working hard  to  keep the swing fresh;  trumpet/flugel player raul agraz began his career with the Venezuelan Symphony but his debut recording combines agraz’s originals  with Latin standards.  guests include paquito d’rivera on title cue;  luis perdomo at the  piano for one day at a time; plus a string quartet that colors  in a sentimental day.


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