New Jazz Adds – 10/14/2015

New Jazz Adds – 10/14/2015

Mose Allison – American Legend – Live In California (IBis): Mose Allison in a trio setting (Bill Douglas, bass & Pete Magadini, drums) performing a sweeping survey of his life’s work from “Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy” and “Your Mind Is On Vacation” to “Ever Since The World Ended” and “Certified Senior Citizen”, as well as revisiting a couple of Ellington songs, Percy Mayfield’s “Stranger In My Own Hometown” and reaching way back to Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go”. His voice is showing significant wear, but his style is just what you would expect. Allison is a true American treasureClick here for the original recording of “Certified Senior Citizen”.

Randy Brecker – Randy Pop! (Piloo): What is this disc all about? “These are hits I played on back in the day as de-ranged by Kenny Werner!”  Werner also plays keyboards, while Brecker hits his trumpet and does some vocals. The songs range from “Think” (credited to James Brown, who certainly recorded it and presumably gets composer credits for his re-arrangement of the 5 Royales’ song composed by Lowman Pauling) and “I Can’t Quit Her” (Blood, Sweat & Tears first LP) by Al Kooper to Paul Simon’s “Late In The Evening” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Meeting Across The River”.  Brecker played on all of the originals and now tackles Kenny Werner’s arrangements in a jazzier pop format. The rest of the band includes David Sanchez (tenor sax), Amanda Brecker (vocals), Adam Rogers (guitar), John Patitucci (bass), and Nate Smith (drums). There are some nice moments, but the title really says it all.  Click here for an introduction to this disc by Randy Brecker.

Sean Dobbins Organ Quartet – The Journey (Detroit Music Factory): Here’s one for those who like upbeat jazz quartets with unabashed swing! Drummer / session player / group leader Dobbins has been highly sought out for sessions and performances in Detroit for the past decade or so and has played in many musical settings and now presents a disc that insists that the listener will toe tap, dance, or just be lifted into a joyful state of mind. In addition to Dobbins, the group features Chris Codish (B 3), Ralph Tope (guitar) and Marcus Elliot (soprano & tenor sax) and their individual and combined performances are so “in sync” that it is hard to imagine they haven’t played together for years.  The set includes interpretations of Wes Montgomery’s “Jingles”, Irving Berlin’s “Remember”, Victor Feldman’s “Rio”, Dave Liebman’s “Day And Night”, Ann Ronell’s “Willow Weep For Me”, and Dobbins own “The Journey”, but the only standard here is wonderfully ensemble cohesion and interaction and infectious soloing from individual players.  I think many of these performances will appeal to all but the most militant atonal music fans. The individual and ensemble craft is often subtle and smooth and infectious.  Click here for a live performance of a song that appears on this disc.

Denise Donatelli – Find A Heart (Savant): Here’s another release by an excellent vocalist set upon expanding the American Songbook with more recent yet still wonderful songs that can work side by side with the older standards and other pop music selections. She does include some older but not frequently performed compositions like “Day Dream” (Strayhorn/Ellington/La Touche) and “Midnight Sun” (Burke-Hampton-Mercer), but the majority of the songs are much more recent. She opens with Donald Fagen’s “Big Noise, New York” and follows with compositions by David Crosby, Journey, Sting, and Beck and some interesting things happen. There are very interesting styles and lyrics among the collection. Donatelli’s style shifts significantly and in response to the nature of the song, but her tone stays pure throughout. Musicians include Geoffrey Keezer (piano), Leonardo Amuedo and Michael Thompson (guitar), Carlitos del Puerto (bass), Marvin “Smitty” Smith (drums), Chris Botti (trumpet), Bob Sheppard (tenor sax), and Christine Jensen (soprano sax), among others.  Click here to listen to the opening track.

Erroll Garner – The Complete Concert – By The Sea (Columbia / Legacy): The 1955 concert recording established Erroll Garner as one of the foremost jazz pianists of his time. Sixty years later, those of us who weren’t able to attend the concert finally get to hear the entire program. Garner said of the concert, “I just felt like playing.” His jazz colleagues considered him to clearly be one of the best jazz had to offer. His technique was as stunning as his musical tastes and his collaborators (Denzell DeCosta Best on drums and Eddie Calhoun on bass on this set) routinely said he had so many ideas, “You never knew what he would do next! It was so exciting!” He was  greatly respected by colleagues like Ellington, George Shearing, Ahmad Jamal and Teddy Wilson.  This concert shows why!  BTW, this set also includes the original release (half of the performances, no doubt re-arranged on record to make the times fit two sides. The full concert is definitely the total treat and it’s all here and in order!  Click here to listen to a song from this performance. You can watch it, too, as this one was filmed as well! 

Tom Harrell – First Impressions (High Note): Trumpet / flugelhorn player Harrell visits the music of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, offering his arrangements for pieces such as Revel’s “Sainte” and “Voices” and Debussy’s “Reverie” and “Sarabande” with the help of musicians from both the classical and jazz worlds. He even throws in two of his own compositions. The supporting musicians include Wayne Escoffery (soprano and tenor sax), Charles Pillow (flute, bass flute), Danny Grissett (piano), Rale Micic (guitar), Meg Okura (violin), Rubin Kodheli (cello), Ugonna Okegwo (bass), and Johnathan  Blake (drums). The result is beautifully melodic music that is swinging, jazzy, and fun. Click here to listen to a rehearsal of a song on this disc.

Liberation Music Collective – Siglo XXI (Ad Astrum):  The liner notes and the bracketing quotes describe this disc far better than I could: “Conceived in the blazing crucible of political awakening, and executed with a maturity way beyond its leaders’ years, Siglo XXI does more than bring the band’s contemporaries closer to this vital tributary of the jazz tradition. It also signals to lifelong listeners that (to reference rock icons The Who), “The kids are all right” – and that the music is in really good hands governed by sharp minds and open hearts.“ (Neil Tesser, Grammy Award Winner for Best Album Liner Notes and Jazz Journalists’ Association Lifetime Award Winner on the LMC). “The Liberation Music Collective is a socially-conscious big band dedicated to performing original compositions about contemporary social issues…and we bring a modern approach to the tradition of protest music in jazz. By focusing on social issues and embracing a plurality of styles within a jazz context, we hope to bring jazz backing the sound of socially provocative music in our era.” (Emphasis is mine). The players are Jess Henry, Joe Anderson, Matt Riggen (trumpets); Sean Weber, Felipe Brito, Brennan Johns (trombones); Matthew Setzler (alto); Sam Motter (tenor); Durand Jones (bari); Ben Lumsdaine (drums); Joel Tucker (guitar); Evan Main (piano); Kristin Olson (timbales); Julian Loida (Congas); and Cole Stover (chequere). They are inventive, articulate, and musically advanced and, at times, quite challenging. “For all my friends who came up listening to Rage Against the Machine, think of this as a jazz version.”  (Jeff Main, father of Evan Main (LMC pianist) on the LMC)  Click here for an introduction to the disc by the co-leaders.     Click here for some brief music samples. 

Whitney Marchelle – Dig Dis (BluJazz): Whitney Marchelle (guitar, piano, lyricist, composer, musical interpreter) covers the jazz, pop, and R&B sound scape like few others can. Her performances include covers of classics such as “In Walked Bud” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”, adds lyrics to “Charlie Parker’s Chicken”, reinterprets such tunes as “Put A Ring On It” and contributes several original songs, including “The Monk Swing”, “Home”, “Blackman Blackman (in memory of Nelson Mandela)” and “What Jazz Is”. The disc is entertaining and educational (there’s even a syllabus available for those who would want to use it for educational purposes)!  Supporting musicians are too numerous to list. Vocal jazz fans, check it out!  Click here to listen to songs on this disc. 

Michael Musillami Trio – Zephyr (Playscape Recordings): Michael Musillami (guitar), Joe Fonda (bass), and George Schuller with their 8th release in their 13-year union. It sounds like they think, as well as play, in total sync: the love of staccato melody and complimentary interaction make this trio truly stand out. Their ensemble play is the norm, rather than having the guitar lead with simple timing support from the rhythm section. All selections are Musillami compositions. If you have heard and liked them before, you will want to grab on to this one, as well. If you’re not familiar with them, this disc is a terrific place to start! Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.

John Scofield – Past Present (Impulse): This title is not only the name of the final song on this disc, but it also showcases John Scofield without pedals or other effects he can’t make with his hands and represents a reunion with three of his favorite musicians: Joe Lovano (tenor), Larry Grenadier (bass), and Bill Stewart (drums). Scofield has expressed that this style does in some ways represent his past, but in his words, “All music is from the past. And all music is in the present when you’re doing it right, if you’re not just reciting.”  Both Scofield and his colleagues are far too “with it” to be reciting the past. Lovano’s playing is, as usual, especially awe striking and the ensemble play is completely in sync. Scofield is once again in top form. The recording is from the recent past.  You’d be well advised to place it in your present. I feel quite certain it will stay with you well into your future also!  Click here to listen to the title track.

Kendrick Scott Oracle – We Are The Drum (Blue Note): Drummer Kendrick Scott has been a rising star since high school when he was awarded the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellowship and a scholarship to Berklee College of Music. He has performed with numerous jazz greats, including Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny and Terrence Blanchard. He formed his band “Oracle” and recorded his first disc in 2006. This is his fourth release as a leader and six of the songs are his own compositions. After announcing itself with the title song, a dramatic composition by the entire band, the disc takes on a mellow and swinging mood rather reminiscent of the 1970’s. As the disc progresses the music becomes more upbeat and intense until closing with a quiet and lovely second take on Scott’s dedication to Maya Angelou (“Touched By An Angel”).  The majority of the disc is somewhat airy and upbeat. In addition to Scott, Oracle includes Taylor Eigsti (piano, Fender Rhodes), Michael Moreno (guitar), John Ellis (sax, bass clarinet), and Joe Sanders (bass) with a guest appearance by vocalist Lizz Wright. Click here to listen to the title and opening cut on this disc.

Glenn Tucker – Determination (Detroit Music Factory): Glenn Tucker is a versatile and creative composer and pianist who plays stunning solos and experiments with a variety of settings to create different textures and moods. Supporting musicians include Dwight Adams (trumpet), Rafael Statin (tenor sax), Vincent Chandler (trombone), Robert Hurst (bass), and Alex White (drums).  The instrumentation ranges from solo piano to the full band, but the combination is rarely consistent and takes advantage of possibilities for shifting horn combinations, including Tucker’s shifting  from piano to organ. As the disc develops and the styles shift, it captures the listener’s attention more and more deeply until its conclusion, by which time Tucker and company have fully proven their mettle. Click here to listen to the title song.




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