Jazz/Blues Adds: March 4, 2014

Feature image photographed by Martin Phillips

Author: Ann Porotti, host of All That Jazz (Thursday, 10-noon) and co-host of Melodiya (Friday, 6-8pm), has fallen in love with all kinds of music as a result of writing the Jazz + Blues Adds blog.


Norma Winstone.  Dance without Answer.  ecm.  Art-song goddess Winstone takes her time and her method with a song;   her fourth collaboration with German clarinetist/soprano sax Klaus Gesing and  Italian pianist Glauco Venier is as pristinely harmonic as 2008′s distances.  in this batch of tunes, vocalist Winstone applies her  spare lyrics to originals and covers some beauties.

Kate Mcgarry and Keith Ganz.  Genevieve & Ferdinand.  sunnyside.  Duets between husband and wife: vocalist Mcgarry  & guitarist Ganz deliver the best of past and forward singer-songwriter expessions.  songs not-so-known gleam from their playlist, among them Devon Sproule’s Plea for a Good Night’s Rest, and her partner, Paul Curreri’s Beneath a Crozet Trestle Bridge.  exquisite seems correct.

the Unity Sextet.  Eponymous.  legere.  Good to the very last cue.  Analysis: dedicated to the power of the instrumental, looking to Horace Silver bop-riffs as well as Parisian jazz, circa 1960′s, but don’t forget the Now.  Racing, dancing;  everybody in, everybody out.  Fun and joy.the boys from SW England (Exeter) include Buddy Franco, Junior Oliver; fat thumbs Ronnie, Cassius Farqhuar, Chuck Wadron, Fats Young Jr.

Caroline Lacaze En Route.  legere.  Remembering the sounds of French chanteuse, Francoise hardy and music of Serge Gainsbourg,  vocalist Lacaze debuts with a message of originals and vivd retro style.  bandmates are the superb Mocambo Sound Electric orchestra.  compositions by Bjorn Wagner.

Nick Pride and the Pimp Tones.  Rejuiced Phat Shake.  legere.  Three for three from the Hamburg, Germany legere label, Nick Pride+ hails from Newcastle, drives a similar musical bus to  Sharon Jones & co.–vocalist featured–but drops easily into funky/deep jazz instrumental edges.  pride on guitar; Oscar Cassidy, drums;  Ian Paterson, bass;  Keith Nicholson, trumpet; Tom Quilliam, saxophone.

Kris Bowers.  Heroes + Misfits.  concord.  Classically trained jazz pianist, winner of the 2011 monk competition, Kris Bowers’  thoughtful, high energy cd celebrates what shaped him:   music conservatory, hip-hop; LA;  the deep past of jazz, blues and soul.  young, brave, and connected-up to other risk-taking musicians;  Bowers on piano, the fender, synthies;  Casey Benjamin, alto; Kenneth Whalum II, tenor; Adam Agate, guitar; Jamire Williams, drums.

Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana.  Mehliana: Taming the Dragon. nonesuch.  Nothing familiar in these duets from Brad Mehldau, formerly of  Art of the Trio format and  Mark Guiliana, drummer with beat music.   welcome to the universe of electronics, lots of swirl, buzz;  Mr. Fender is front and center, Mr. Steinway, tucked in the closet.  the dragon to be tamed, his name is electricity.

Jacques Schwarz-Bart.  Jazz Racine Haiti.  motema.   Modern jazz and Haitian ritual music find each other in tenor sax/composer jacques schwarz-bart’s revelatory cd.   raised by writers–Guadeloupan novelist Simone Schwarz-Bart and french journalist Andre Schwarz-Bart, Jacques was destined for the halls of Parisian politics when he made an abrupt turn into the arms of Berklee School of Music.  his strong path led to this daunting, but gorgeous, exploration of voodoo music.  with Etienne Charles, trumpet;  Obed Calvaire, drums;  Reggie Washington, bass, Gregory Privat, piano + guests.

Adam Smale.  Out of the Blue.  self.  US  debut from Toronto 7-string finger-style guitar master Adam Smale who plays with authority and technique:  mostly originals playlist, quartet setting.

Pete Robbins.  Pyramind.  self.  Alto player Peter Robbins fronts a classic trio with extraordinary musicians:  the deliberate Vijay Iyer on piano, Eivind Opsvik on bass, Tyshawn Sorey on drums.  originals and covers that range from Witchita Lineman– that’s a popular cover these days– to pop gold in Nirvana’s Lithium and Guns ‘n Roses’ Pyramid.

Javon Jackson.  Expressions.  smoke sessions.  Polished, elegant playlist from tenor Javon Jackson who has played with everyone –as a youngster, one of Art Blakey’s messengers; then with the incomparable Elvin Jones, later with Freddie Hubbard.  all that schoolin’ shows:  Orrin Evans, piano; Corcoran Hold, bass;  Mcclenty Hunter, drums.

Shawn Maxwell.  Alliance.  chicago sessions.  Chicago multi-insstrumentalist Shawn Maxwell shows off his compositional skills in this “suite for ten:   2 french horns,  2 basses, guitar, soprano sax, drums , vibes, voice, + all the reeds Maxwell plays.  shorties, tone poems–aiming for a mood on the free jazz side.


Markiss Blowfish.  Come Along with Me.  self.   Neighboring bluesman from Richmond, mark branch–aka, markiss blowfish;   singer, songwriter branch plays with bassist Chuck Kerwath, and Winston gravely on percussion.

Bernie Pearl.  Take your Time.  bee bump.  Fantastic trip to the old days with guitarist (sometimes lap steel) vocalist Bernie Pearl, his versatile band, and duet partner, vocalist Barbara Morrison.  so many tunes to love:  the bible and blues set;  a Mississippi raga, and irreverence from my new compositional hero,  Mance Lipscomb.

Lisa Biales.  Belle of the Blues.  big song.  Strong sultry voice, gorgeously produced blues from the “Belle of the Blues.”  band shines– includes Paul Hornsby, piano;  Bill Stewart, drums;  Tommy Talton, dobro & e.g. kight, guitar;  Randall Bramblett, B-3., johnny fountain, bass .

John Nemeth.  Memphis Grease.  blue corn.  One of the best contemporary blues/soul revivalists showcases his excellent songwriting talents & blues award winning band the Bo-keys.  Nemeth, plays blues harp, sings, runs his 8-man band as one finely tuned instrument.



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