New Jazz Adds – 07/17/2023

Doug Beavers

I found this week’s arrivals to be a bit thin, but even in this crop there are some brightly shining gems.  I totally love trombonist Doug Beavers’ new Latin large ensemble release with a first rate long-form suite Luna.  And Bebop alto master Greg Abate has a powerful live disc out.

Doug Beavers – Luna (Circle 9 Music, released 06/30/2023).  Manuel “Maneco” Ruiz – trumpet / flugelhorn, Max Seigel – bass trombone / tuba, Doug Beavers – trombone, Conrad Herwig – trombone, Francisco Torres – trombone, Eric C. Davis – french horns, Dave Riekenburg – clarinets / bass clarinets, Jeremy Bosch – flute / vocals, Ivan Renta, tenor saxophone / soprano saxophone, Gabriel Chakarji – piano / fender rhodes, Joe Locke – vibraphone, Paul Bollenback – guitars, Jerry Madera – bass, Luques Curtis – acoustic bass, Robby Ameen – drums, Luisito Quintero – congas / timbales / percussion, Camilo Molina – drums / bongos, George Delgado – itótele / shekere, Camilo Molina – okónkolo / iyá, Carlos Cascante – vocal, Jeremy Bosch – vocals, Ada Dyer – vocals, Anthony Almonte – coros.

Composer / trombonist Doug Beavers has graced many a Latin trombone section over the past twenty years (famously Eddie Palmieri, recently Gonzalo Grau & La Clave Secret).  Now with a commission from Chamber Music America New Jazz Works, Beavers has composed and recorded a stunning suite – Luna, which makes up half of the new release.  Beavers is a formidable composer with a talent for catchy hooks celebrating a range of Latin rhythms from the mid-tempo salsa of Multicolores to the bolero Luna.  Further to the range of the endeavor, Las Piedras even brings in a reggae vibe and Rnb horn arrangements. Beavers composed all the tunes with the exception of Brazilian classic Flor de Lis, rendered deeply with a four trombone front line of Beavers plus Conrad Herwig, Francisco Torres and Max Seigel.  The suite is the highlight but the whole record captured my ears.  Maybe yours, too.

The Headhunters – Live At The Brooklyn Bowl (Ropeadope, releases 08/11/2023).  Donald Harrison, Jr. – alto saxophone, Kyle Roussel – piano, Chris Severin – bass, Mike Clark – drums, Bill Summers – percussion.

Drummer Mike Clark and percussionist Bill Summers keep with funk going with this fiftieth anniversary edition of The Headhunters, originally a Herbie Hancock cross-over band after the Miles and Mwandishi years.  Donald Harrison, Jr. is always a treat on alto and here his muse is funky.

Doug MacDonald Trio – Edwin Alley (DMAC Music, releases 08/01/2023).  Doug MacDonald – guitar / coimbra, Mike Flick – bass, Kendall Kay – drums.

A fine example of the jazz guitar trio genre with everything you’d expect: ballads, soul jazz, latin, blues.  The set, which swings effortlessly, consists of eight originals plus Cole Porter’s You’d Be So Nice To Come Home Too.

Bill O’Connell – Live In Montauk (Savant Records, releases 07/21/2023).  Randy Brecker – trumpet, Craig Handy – tenor saxophone, Bill O’Connell – piano, Santi DeBriano – bass, Billy Hart – drums.

Pianist Bill O’Connell is best known for his contributions to the New York Latin Jazz scene (his 2019 Wind Off The Hudson release was with the ten-piece Afro Caribbean Ensemble.)  This is an all-star band of leaders in their own right.  Five of the seven tunes are performed by the quartet with altoist Craig Handy alone in the front line and on two he is joined by trumpeter Randy Brecker, who always enlivens the music.  O’Connell brings a sophisticated latin rhythmic approach to the head on Bobby Timmons’ Moanin’.  With bassist Santi DeBriani and drummer Billy Hart, O’Connell makes up a formidable rhythm section.

Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington – Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Six(OA2 Records, releases 07/21/2023).  Paul Tynan – trumpet / flugelhorn, Aaron Lington – baritone saxophone, Trifon Dimitrov – bass, Joe Abba – drums / cymbals / percussion.

Both trumpeter Paul Tynan (Nova Scotia) and baritone player Aaron Lingston (San Jose) have serious classical music chops and both are master jazz players.  For this, their sixth collaboration, they have chosen a chord-less trumpet – baritone – bass – drums quartet and it has nothing to do with the famous Gerry Mulligan / Chet Baker or Art Farmer sound.  This is much more about harmonies than counter-points.  The leaders split the writing credits and tunes like Traveler From An Antique Land are resonant with mystery, beautifully so.  Arbitrary Rules is more in a funky soulful vein with spacey horns over an insistent beat.

Greg Abate / Paul Del Nero Quartet – Reunion, Live at WICN(Summit Records, released 06/23/2023).  Greg Abate – alto saxophone / tenor saxophone / soprano saxophone, Matt DeChamplain – piano, Paul Del Nero – bass, Gary Johnson – drums.

Bandmates (in jazz fusion band Channel One) 45 years ago and friends since, touring saxophonist Greg Abate and Berklee-faculty bassist Paul Del Nero got together to write and perform this new set in a co-lead quartet with Matt DeChamplain on piano and drummer Gary Johnson.  Recorded live at WICN in Worcester, MA, this is a solid swinging set by a couple of old pros.  With primary influences like Phil Woods and Richie Cole, it is no surprise that Abate is a fleet fingered monster bebop player.  The program of three tunes by Del Nero, eight by Abate and Charlie Parker’s Quasimodo is a master class in quartet bebop as exemplified by Abate’s Positive Energy.

George Freeman – The Good Life (HighNote,  released 06/23/2023).  Joey DeFrancesco – organ, George Freeman – guitar, Christian McBride – bass, Lewis Nash – drums, Carl Allen – drums.

Guitarist George Freeman of the legendary Chicago Freemans (brothers Von and Bruz, nephew Chico) features not just one, but two world class trios, both recorded live.  While the trio with Christian McBride on bass and his Inside Straight-mate Carl Allen on drums is excellent, I am drawn to the trio with the late Joey DeFrancesco on organ and Lewis Nash on drums.  Freeman’s Mr. D (his tribute to the organist) gives the players a chance to show what an organ trio can be.

Steve Yeager – Collective Vibe (Self Produced, released 06/12/2023).  Adam Rossmiller – trumpet / flugelhorn, John Baumgartner – trombone, Scott Agster – euphonium / bass trombone, Brian Powers – saxophones, Andy Nelson – alto saxophone, Irv Williams – tenor sax, Steve Yeager – vibes, Adi Yeshaya – piano / string arrangements / conductor, Bobby Peterson – piano, Kevin Gastonguay – Fender Rhodes / Hammond B3 organ, David Singley – guitars, Cory Wong – nylon string guitar, Andrea Stern – concert harp, Jill Olsen Moser – violin, Elise Parker – violin, Allison Ostrander – violin, Susan Janda – viola, Rebecca Arons – cello, Chris Bates – bass, Gordon Johnson – bass, Tom Lewis – bass, Andrew Foreman – electric bass, Reid Kennedy – drums, Phil Hey – drums, Marc Anderson – congas / bongos / percussion.

With selections dating back to 1998, vibraphonist Steve Yaeger’s new collection includes contemporary editing and remastering on selections from throughout his career.

Jason Mingeldorf – Start It! (Self Produced, released 05/12/2023).  Jason Mingledorff – tenor saxophone, Brian Seeger – guitar, Joe Ashlar – piano, Ed Wise – bass, Doug Garrison – drums. 

This is the leader debut for tenorist Jason Mingeldorff of the Grammy-winning New Orleans Nightcrawlers.  It is music like this that reminds us how intertwined are the roots of jazz and RnB and funk, especially in New Orleans – check out the funky Round Down to see how its done.  The set also includes some fine ballads in a smooth jazz vein (Closer Than You Think).

I hope you find something you love.

Russell Perry, Jazz at 100 Now!


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