New Jazz Adds – 10/21/2016

New Jazz Adds – 10/21/2016

Eric Alexander – Second Impression (HighNote): Veteran tenor player / composer Eric Alexander offers a “second impression” of his hard bop playing in a classic quartet that features Harold Mabern (piano, Fender Rhodes), Bob Crenshaw (bass), and Joe Farnsworth (drums). Alexander is an energetic player and the group is totally in sync. The disc includes three Alexander originals and one Farnsworth composition as well as a variety of covers. It’s a pleasant and bopping good set and a great performance by Alexander. Click here to listen to the title song.   

Michael Blanco – Spirit Forward (bju Records): This disc has flow and rhythm. Bassist / composer Michael Blanco has composed some energetically swinging tunes and his band, featuring John Ellis (sax), Kevin Hays (piano) and Clarence Penn are just the right musicians to help him bring this music to life. I certainly believe this disc would appeal to fans of post bop and swing. If you like your jazz straight up without strong rhythm but without outside tonal challenges, check this platter out immediately. Same goes for those of you who like energy! Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.   

Jakob Bro – Streams (ECM): Guitarist Jakob Bro sets a an engaging soundscape with his guitar – atmospheric and typically quite melodic, while his drummer Joey Baron creates a percussive counterpoint that often supports but at times overcomes the guitar lead. Similarly, the bass (Thomas Morgan) shifts through bowing or playing in a more percussive manner. There are few times when the percussion holds the lead for long, but it is a different sound than is typically played. Bro has significant experience and fits neatly into the ECM group. At the same time, this disc has its own voice. Unfortunately, I am not able to find a sample from this disc, but click here for a live performance of a song in a similar style.   

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque – Oddara (Linus Entertainment): Canadian flautist/soprano sax player Jane Bunnett founded her group Maqueque some three decades ago while visiting Cuba. Her web page explains “Maqueque (pronounced “Mah-Keh-Keh”) means ‘the energy of a young girl’s spirit’” and this second disc by the group certainly delivers. The current line-up also includes Yissy Garcia (drums), Dánae Olano (piano), Magdelys Savigne (batá drums, congas), Elizabeth Rodriguez (violin, vocals), and Celia Jiménez (bass). Special guests Melvis Santa and Dayme Arocena also add their voices to the performance. Bennett celebrates the collective artistry and contributions on this disc that signal increased independence and unity in creation of this music. It is quite eclectic, melodic and rhythmic as one might expect. Definitely one to check out, especially for lovers of Latin music. Click here to listen to a song on this disc.  

Ron Carter Quartet with Vitoria Maldonado – Brasil L.I.K.E. (Summit): The concept of this disc is to perform a variety of American and Brazilian standards in “Bossa” with a section in each song that gets the jazz touch. Vitoria Maldonado is the voice and Carter adds his bass with Renee Rosnes (piano), Rolando Morales-Matos (percussion) and Payton Crossley (drums) provide the jazz. Curia Duprat’s Brasilian Orchestra and bother guests add the luscious accompaniment. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.   

Andrew Cyrille Quartet – The Declaration Of Musical Independence (ECM): New release and grouping for Andrew Cyrille (drums), who is joined by Bill Frisell (guitar), Richard Teitelbaum (synthesizer, piano) and Ben Street (bass). The performance itself is impressionistic, often spacious only to break into short moments of chaos. The tone, however, is mostly withdrawn. All band members contributed compositions, each of which is a platform for improvisation. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Lou Donaldson – The Natural Soul (Blue Note): This is a 1962 session remastered and re-released in 2002. Alto sax player Lou Donaldson was the leader, supported by Tommy Turpentine (trumpet), Grant Green (guitar), John Patton (organ) and Ben Dixon (drums). The set features two Donaldson originals and one from John Patton. Generally a soul jazz release with the organ, guitar and alto sax leading the way. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Dave Douglas & Frank Woeste – Dada People (Greenleaf Music): Trumpet player Dave Douglas and co-leader and co-writer Frank Woeste (piano, Fender Rhodes) share compositions 50-50 on this disc. Their goal was to pay homage to Man Ray and the Dada Movement itself. The American trumpeter and French pianist call this project a “(Re)inventive Quartet Session”. The rhythm section includes Matt Brewer (bass) and Clarence Penn (drums). In Douglas’ words, “How do you transfer the vividness of Ray’s colors to music? When Ray switched to there was a palpable enthusiasm about the voluptuousness of the blues and reds. Our goal was to explore these connections in Ray’s work.” Click here for an introduction to the disc by Douglas and Woeste.   

Orrin Evans – #knowingishalfthebattle (Smoke Sessions): Orrin Owens composed six new songs and added a number of new players to create this eclectic soul jazz group and, while not entirely leaving his hard bop roots behind, has created a multi-faceted sound with interchanging leads and sound fabrics. In addition to Evans (piano, Fender Rhodes), the ensemble features Kurt Rosenwinkel and Kevin Eubanks (guitars), Caleb Curtis (sax, flute), M’Balia (vocals), Luques Curtis (bass), and Mark Whitfield, Jr (drums). This new release is both intriguing and highly entertaining. Evans explains, “…knowing is important but then what you do in order to get to the next step is vital. You have to forget some of that knowledge in order to play this music. Not put it in a box and never use it, but force yourself to try something new rather than the proper scale pattern over this chord. It’s like being in the car and ignoring the GPS and taking a different way home.” This trip is intriguing and quite enjoyable. Click here for an introduction to this disc.   

Steve Gadd Band – Way Back Home – Live From Rochester, NY (BFM Jazz): Studio drummer who has made a career working with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Al Jarreau, Joe Cocker, Stuff, Bob James, Chick Corea, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Jim Croce, The Manhattan Transfer, Michal Urbaniak, Jon Bon Jovi, Chet Baker, Paul Desmond, The Bee Gees, Michael McDonald, Michel Petrucciani and David Sanborn, among others. He has released several discs as well. This disc is a recording of a 2015 performance featuring Walt Fowler (trumpet, flugelhorn), larry Goldings (keys), Jimmy Johnons (bass), and Michael Landau (guitar). The performance is pleasant and straight ahead. Click here to listen to a live version of a song on this disc. This performance took place within days of the performance on this disc.   

Dexter Gordon – Gettin’ Around (Blue Note): This session was recorded in 1965 and remastered in 2005. In addition to tenor man Dexter Gordon, this session included Bobby Hutcherson (vibes), Barry Harris (piano), Bob Crenshaw (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums). One song is a Gordon composition and the rest came from a variety of sources. Everything here is smooth and  in a nice flow. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Grant Green – Live At Club Mozambique (Blue Note): Initially unreleased live performance from 1971 which was eventually issued in 2006. The multi-track recording has not survived but this mono version sounds just fine. In addition to Green’s guitar, the group features Clarence Thomas (soprano, tenor sax), Houston Person (tenor sax), Ronnie Foster (organ) and Idris Muhammad (drums). A very nice gig with very nice grooves. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.   

Herbie Hancock – Inventions & Dimensions (Blue Note): This is an early session from 1963 with Herbie Hancock as leader (his third). He composed all of the songs as well. In addition to his  piano, the group included Paul Chambers (bass), Willie Bobo (drums, timbales) and Osvaldo “Chihuahua” Martinez (percussion). The Latin influence is quite evident, but the sound was really fresh at the time of this release. This is a remastered version of the disc. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Tom Harrell – Something Gold, Something Blue (HighNote): Tom Harrell (trumpet, flugelhorn) releases a new disc with a resemblance to the sound of Miles Davis’ “Kind Of Blue” or slightly beyond. The disc features many of the subdued tones that recall Davis’ style though there is somewhat different instrumentation and a distinctive direction of its own. In addition to Harrell, the disc features Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet), Charles Altura (guitar), Ugonna Okegwo (bass) and Jonathan Blake (drums, tambourine) with a guest appearance by Omer Avital (oud). Click here and look to the upper right to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Brian Lynch – Presents Madera Latino: A Latin Jazz Perspective On The Music Of Woody Shaw (Hollistic MusicWorks): The title says it all: Trumpet player Brian Lynch leads his players on performances of Woody Shaw’s compositions filtered through a Latin jazz perspective. Lynch composed two songs and all but one of the others were composed by Shaw. The band includes Dave Douglas, Diego Urcola, Etienne Charles, Michael Rodriguez, Sean Jones, Phillip Dizack, and Josh Evans shifting in and out on trumpet; Zaccai Curtis (piano); Luques Curtis (bass), Obed Calvaire (drums); and Pedrito, Anthony Carrillo, and Little Johnny Rivero (various percussion). The latin style takes the foreground, making for an interesting set throughout. Click here for an introduction to this disc.   

Donny McCaslin – Beyond Now (Motema): Veteran Donny McCaslin (tenor, sax, flute, alto flute, clarinet) has played in jazz and rock settings, the latter most recently with David Bowie). He has been a leader with several groups as well. He composed half of the songs on this disc. Accompanying McCaslin are Jason Lindner (keys), Tim Lefebvre (bass), and Mark Guiliana (drums) with guest spots Jeff Taylor (vocal), David Binney (synth, vocal) and Nate Wood (guitar). The group musicians all recorded with David Bowie on “Blackstar” and the disc is dedicated to Bowie. The songs vary from electronic jazz funk to covers of songs by MUTEMOUTH, Deadmau5 and, the Chainsmokers, with the funk being the more successful to my ears. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Jimmy Smith – A New Sound…A New Star: Jimmy Smith At The Organ, Vols 1-3 (Blue Note): Three LP releases from Jimmy Smith in 1956, 1957 and 1958. All feature Jimmy Smith on organ and Thornel Scwartz (guitar) with drummers Bay Perry (1956) and Donald Bailey (1957-58). If you enjoy jazz organ and Jimmy Smith, in particular (wouldn’t they both match up?), check this collection out for sure!!! Click here to listen to samples from this set.     


Prof. Bebop


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