jazz adds november 2, 2015

laura karpman.  langston hughes;  ask your mama.  avie.  Backstory: 1960, late in his career, the poet langston hughes went to Newport R.I. to the jazz festival in the hopes of seeing oscar peterson, john lee hooker , muddy waters.  the event turned  violent, and hughes, confined to a hotel room, wrote ask your mama: 12 moods for jazz which he hoped charles mingus would orchestrate and perform.  both men died before this ambitious symphonic poem could be staged.   years later (2009) composer laura karpman, working with soprano jessye norman, guided ask your mama to performance.   this two cd jazz recording features the recorded voice of langston hughes,  sopranos–janai brugger, angela brown; vocalists–nnenna freelon, monet owens, medusa, taura stinson;  and george manahan conducting the San Francisco ballet orchestra.  + Questlove, The Roots, ben wendel, david loeb, m.b. gordy, bart samolis, firas hassan.   demanding and inspirational;  many cues can solidly stand alone.


st. germain.  self-titled.  warner.   French music producer ludovic navarre ( aka st. germian), an early kingpin of the electronic dance music world, releases a new hybrid after a long absense.  present is the repetition programming but the sampling is of American bluesmen–Mississippi’s r.l. burnside and lightnin’ hopkins.   the fresh add-on comes through Malian musicians  guimba kouyate, guitar + n’goni;  vocalists fanta bagayogo & nahawa doumbla;  choro player mamadou cherif soumano;  + braziliam jorge bezerra, percussion and didier davidas, keyboards.  easy listenin’ in the best sense.


lionel loueke.  gaia.  blue note.  Rock/jazz  guitarist lionel loueke’s new release reflects on the planet and the damage done.  the original tracks (excepting the gibbs’ how deep is your love) agonize musically on poor human stewardship.  produced by don was, and featuring loueke’s classmates from back in the day @ Berklee, included are  Hungarian drummer ferenc nemeth and bassist massimo biolcati.   sophisticated and political, the session was played live, with a small studio audience.


matthew shipp.  the conduct of jazz.  thirsty ear.  Jazz pianist matthew shipp, often compared to keyboard legends cecil taylor and keith jarrett,  showcases his writing and performance chops in a new work for trio.  with fellow musicians michael bisio on bass and newman taylor baker @drums, shipp works strong piano voice-ings into original compositions that get labeled “out of the box” or free jazz but have  much more  heft.


amina figarova.  blue whisper.  in+out.  Composer, arranger, pianist amina figarova grew up in Soviet-Azerbaijan, later Holland and then Berklee Music school led her to the NYC jazz world.  her new release focuses on  contemporary political turmoil, much as her earlier september suite drew from events of  9/11.  the  sextet includes (husband) bart platteau, flute; marc mommaas, tenor;  luques curtis + yasushi nakamura, bass;  jason brown@drums;  anthony wilson, guitar;  sarah elisabeth charles, vocals.


mindi abair.  live in seattle; with the boneshakers.  concord.  Bringing the house down, vocalist and dynamic altoist mindi abair and the boneshakers invade the riffs of rock, soul with the charts of junior walker in their almost all originals playlist.   it’s live @jazz alley in seattle, but the vibe, more r &b, reminds me that mindi stepped on the Beacon Theatre stage with bruce springsteen after the death of clarence clemons.    with randy jacobs, guitar;  sweet pea atkinson, vocals;  rodney lee, keys and B3;  derek frank, bass;  third richardson@drums.


doug webb.  back east.  posi-tone.  Tenor wizard with a minor in a dozen other woodwind instruments, webb  and his stellar quartet explore the classics– jobim’s  vivo sonhando,  mancini’s dreamsville— but mostly webb originals.  musicians include peter zak on piano;  ben wolfe, bass;  rudy royston@drums.


kim nalley.   blues people.  self.  With a 3 and a half octave range, kim nalley sings what she wants, and does it well.  her setlist of originals and great American songbook gets heat out of the gene mcdaniels listen here/cold duck/compared to what?, then growls through a provocative sugar in my bowl, finishing with a stately trouble of the world.  SF Bay-area musicians.


theo croker & dvrk funk.  dvrkfunk ep.  okeh.  A sample of funk richness from trumpeter theo croker–the grandson of new orleans master doc cheatham–who could not be further from the elder’s musical style.  the band is called the dvrk funk, and the cd releases on vocalist dee dee bridgewater’s ddb imprint at okeh records; bridgewater sang on croker’s debut afro-physicist.  it’s just a taste, but the group has energy to burn.


yngvil vatn guttu.  on the crosswalk.  kachemaic.  First name pronounced “ingvil”, others follow phonetically. Norwegian multi-instrumentalist  yngvil plays trumpet only on her debut recording;  she has been composing and honing her jazz technique in Alaska but recorded on the crosswalk in NYC with local musicians:  tenors zulfugar baghirov and matt di giovanna;  nick grinder, trombone;  piano wiz renato diz;  and mareike wiening@drums.


michael kocour.  spiffy.  self.  Hammond b-3 grooves in the tradition of jack mcduff–a small band sounding big– is the aspiration of veteran keyboardist michael kocour’s newest release;  with him are eric schneider, tenor +alto;  bruce forman, guitar;  dom moio@drums.  mostly originals  by kocour and forman.


dave chamberlain.  stomp!  band of bones.   Trombone choir of nine, led by dave chamberlain.  cues are greatest hits from jazz classics:  jobim’s chega de saudade;  j.j. johnson’s flat black;  jelly roll morton’s king porter stomp and strayhorns a flower is a lovesome thing.  with guests, hendrik meurkens, harmonica;  kat gang, vocals;  chembo corniel, percussion.



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