Jazz / Blues Adds – 9/4/2014
Jazz / Blues Adds – 9/4/2014
Afro Bop Alliance – Angel Eyes (Zoho): This DC – based band has a tight interplay between the rhythm section, led by steel pan ace Victor Provost and leader-drummer Joe McCarthy and horn players Luis Hernandez (tenor), Vince Norman (alto), and Tim Stanley (trumpet). On top of that, there is a wonderful guest appearance by Paquito D’Rivera (clarinet) on one cut. Half of these tunes were composed by members of the group and the other selections come from Horace Silver, Joe Henderson, and Wayne Shorter. There is one jump off the exotic path toward exotica with “Nature Boy”, but the group returns to its infectious sound right after that. A solid blend and performance. Click here for an introduction to the group.
Chick Corea Trio – Trilogy (Concord Jazz): Three discs of live trio music. Won’t that get old? The quick answer is not when the pianist is Chick Corea who, by the way, happens to have been in terrific form during these tours. Corea is supported most ably by Christian Mc Bride (b) and Brian Blade (d) and there are two guest appearances by Jorge Pardo (flute) and Nino Josele (guitar) and one vocal by Gayle Moran Corea. Chick explores compositions across the spectrum drawing from Monk, Irving Berlin, Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill, even Alexander Scriabin and features his own arrangements and compositions. His hands simply float across the keys and weave dazzling sounds. The result is beautiful, entrancing, exploratory, groovy and delightful. Click here for a live sample of this group.
Tom Lagana Group – Vol. 1 (HarvestTime): Guitarist Lagana has an affinity for Brazilian music and begins this disc with a composition by Jobim. The connection is intensified by his partnership on this recording with saxophonist George Garzone. The blend, supported by such a warm rhythm section (Tom Baldwin (b) and Dominic (d)), is reminiscent of the smooth and sensuous Getz – Gilberto sound. Lagana’s style and skill have been praised by Charlie Byrd among others and he clearly deserves a listen. The music is mellow but never schmaltzy Lagana and Garzone forge a lovely and infectious blend Just as a low flame can bring water to a boil, so can the Tom Lagana group light your fire. Click here for a sample of this group.
Rod McGaha – The Black Flower Project (self-produced): Clark Terry (jazz legend): “When I first heard Trees (Rod), I got that same feeling I got when I first heard Wynton . Some musicians just have that thing!” This new release from composer trumpeter McGaha covers several styles across the dozen offerings. Be ready for soul jazz, post bop, a soul ballad, and even a foray into rap. McGaha composed all but one of the songs and picked a Jimmy Van Heusen standard to round out his aural palette. In addition to his own very accomplished trumpet, the main group includes terrific performances from Don Aliquo (tenor), Nioshi Jackson (drums), Jerry Navarro (bass), and Jody Nardone (piano) and some stellar guest shots, most notably by Roland Barber (trombone) and James DaSilva (guitar). This disc succeeds mightily not only from McGaha’s writing and playing but also because he has given his guests and bandmates plenty of room to show their stuff. The group cohesion and individual contributions really make this a rich offering. Click here for a sample of this disc.
Raul Midon – Don’t Hesitate (Mack Avenue): Singer-songwriter, guitarist Midon has a pleasant voice and accompanies himself throughout. His sound is strongly pop, though he does tackle occasional Latin-flavored songs which are more distinctive than the straight pop sound.
Dawan Muhammad – Preachin To The Choir (LifeForce Jazz): Saxophonist Muhammad has dedicated this release as an attempt to revitalize interest in the Hammond B3 organ. There are two live-in-the-studio sessions included: the first from 1991 included Bobby Pierce (organ), Calvin Keys (guitar), and Billy Higgins (drums) while the second from 2006 featured Tom Tonyan (organ) and Harold Acey (drums). Muhammad played on both. The first set features mostly original material: two songs each composed by Dawan Muhammad and Bobby Pierce and a cover of Chick Corea’s “Tones For Joan’s Bones”. The second set is mostly Coltrane and two other covers. The sound is fine and the playing competent, but as Muhammad acknowledges in his notes the overall impression is that these were practice sessions that didn’t exactly catch fire.
Ritmos Unidos – Ritmos Unidos (Patois): Group leader Michael Spiro (congas, percusion) is an internationally recognized educator, recording artist, and producer, known specifically for his work in the Latin music field. He has performed with such artists as Eddie Palmieri, Bobby McFerrin, Bobby Hutcherson, Mcoy Tyner, and Carlos Santana among others. He was hired as Professor of Percussion at Indiana University in 2011 and formed Ritmos Unidos as a side project shortly after his move to Bloomington. This is the group’s second release. The band blends a variety of traditional and popular Afro-Cuban styles and even stylize Wes Montgomery’s “Road Song” and Wayne Shorter’s “Water Babies”. The band includes Jeremy Allen (b), Jamaal Baptiste (keys), Joe Galvin (steelpans, percussion), Pat Harbison (trumpet), Nate Johnson (tenor), Mike Mixtacki (percussion, voc), and Joel Tucker (g). A joyful celebration! Click here for a sample.
Matthew Shipp – I’ve Been To Many Places (Thirsty Ear): Solo piano from free jazz composer musician Shipp who explains this disc “is meant to be a reflection on where I have been in the music….” Having recorded in a wide array of settings for labels that support the avant-garde, Shipp is not just recollecting old memories, but is reinterpreting these selections based upon how he hears and intends them now. There are a few standards such as “Summertime” and “Tenderly” and new takes on “Naima” and “Where Is The Love”, but Shipp originals make up most of the disc. This is soundscape music. It will require your attention and though Shipp is revisiting, it may take the listener to some new places. Click here for a sample of a solo performance.
Ricardo Silveira – Organ Trio (Adventure Music): Trio leader Silveira is a guitarist supported by Vanessa Rodrigues (organ – B3) and Rafael Barata (drums) on a two disc set that includes one studio and one live session. Each set is different. Silveira is a mellow and melodic player who has played with Herbie Mann and most notably with Milton Nascimento with whom he has frequently recorded. The organ is the essential body of this set, but make no mistake – Ricardo Silveira is the lead voice. His guitar will talk to the top of your brain, make your feet pat the floor, and make you swoon. An organ trio, but a guitar center. Get cool and cozy – so nice! Click here for a sample performance.
Christian Tamburr – Voyage (self-produced): Vibraphone-led jazz interpretations of mostly pop-rock and a few standards – would you hear this at your favorite grocery store? You wish! Tamburr was named Florida Institute of Technology Artist in Residence last spring. This disc is one result of that event. The one truly recognized standard “Summertime” gives way to many compositions from Sting, Genesis, Oasis, Kenny Baron, and Jason Mraz, all given the Tamburr touch. Tamburr is supported by Kevin Bales (p), Billy Thornton (b), and Quentin Baxter (d), with occasional trumpet by Dominick Farinacci. Melodic is the primary descriptor that comes to mind. The vibes almost automatically suggest cool. Click here for a sample live performance.
Roseanna Vitro – Clarity: Music Of Clare Fischer (Random Act): Jazz singer and educator Vitro presents her tribute to the late composer-arranger-pianist-bandleader Clare Fischer, who made his first impact as the arranger for the Hi-Lo’s in the late 50’s. Widely recognized for his harmonic arrangements, Fischer arranged for jazz, Latin, and pop stars, including Prince, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Dizzy Gillespie, Donald Byrd, and Herbie Hancock who credits Fischer for having a profound impact upon his own understanding of harmonic structure. Vitro’s disc features her solo voice with support from Mark Soskin (p), Sara Caswell (violin), Dean Johnson (b), Tim Horner (d) and Mino Cinelu (percussion). Fischer’s son Brent adds vibes on one track. Vitro has a clear, meticulous vocal style and blends with the musicians quite well. Jazz vocal and vocalese fans should check this out. Click here to hear a sample live performance.
The Frank Walton / Yoron Israel Sextet – Live In Chicago (Han-Wal): Long time jazz fixture in the Chicago scene, trumpeter Frank Walton and his younger partner Yoron Israel (drums) celebrate some of the great sounds in jazz by revisiting compositions of Hank Mobley, Jackie McLean, and Lee Morgan among others. The band, like their leaders, are a mixture of longterm veterans Avery Sharpe (b), Lance Bryant (tenor), Allen Chase (alto), Tony “Toca” Carpenter (percussion) and another young lion Kevin Harris (p). Everyone gets the chance to show his stuff on various solos and the ensemble play is reminiscent of the Blue Note heyday. Among the several styles, the groove always brings it home.
Vanessa Collier – Heart Soul & Saxophone (self-produced): Vocalist, saxophonist Collier has an alluring voice and style that covers a lot of territory: blues rock, funk and soul blues, and soft soul jazz. Her sax playing is solid as well. She composed half of the songs on this disc and offers some convincing covers particularly “I Can’t Stand The Rain” and “God Bless The Child”. Collier is a promising newcomer. Check her out on this debut and keep an ear out. Click here for a sample.
Johnny B and The Goodes – Have Mercy (Big Mo): This disc is a throwback to those roadhouse blues bands that sprang up all over the map in the 70’s – hard workin’, solid, no frills blues that will vibrate every nerve ending in your being. The Charlottesville Allstars minus Lucille come to mind. Johnny B(ishop) blows a full out, mean harp and gets solid support from Ed Eastridge (g), Bobby Gagnier (d), and Brian Kennell (b) with a couple of guest guitarists (Ted Mortimer and Wally Wysk).
Stacy Mitchhart – Live My Life (Dr. Sam): Eclectic and sometimes hectic set from Mitchhart who plays in multiple styles on electric, lap steel and cigar box guitars. Most of the songs are originals with titles like “I Drink Whiskey”, “She Knows Just What To Do” and “I’m The Reason (She Walks That Way)” to let you get the idea of the general direction of things. Mitchhart has a few surprises to throw in as well like a swamp version of “Come Together” that Lennon would surely have appreciated and Gil Scott-Heron’s “Legend In His Own Mind”. The disc has a full-bodied sound throughout and is bound to grab onto your body and ears whether it’s the rockin’ blues or the Mississippi Hill Country style. BTW, that “hectic” comment is a compliment. Click here for a live sample.
Billy Pierce & Friends – Take Me Back To The Delta (self-produced): This is a tribute to the sound of the delta, but most especially to Sonny Landreth, whose style Pierce has adopted as closely as he can. He does some great slide work. It seems the more famous friends, like Landreth,Waylon Thibodeaux, the Bonerama Horns, Charlie Wooton, and Jimmy Carpenter, were recorded separately and mixed in with Pierce, but the results are still OK.