New Jazz Adds – 10/22/2019
Chase Baird – A Life Between (Self-released): “Part experimental rocker, part classical romantic and part hard-bop devotee, saxophonist and composer CHASE BAIRD has been described as “… the future of jazz music and the saxophone” by Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Randy Brecker. His latest album, A Life Between, covers a vast emotional terrain with a band comprised of modern jazz’s most revered innovators. Grammy-winning drummer Antonio Sanchez and 5-time Grammy-nominated pianist Brad Mehldau are veteran companions alongside new-generation talents Nir Felder, guitar, and Dan Chmielinski, bass.” (https://www.soundsaboundrecords.com/chase-baird) All but one selection were composed by Baird and that selection is Robert Schumann’s “Im wunderschonen Monat Mai”. The performances are dazzling and fresh. This release is a terrific release from end to end. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of two songs on this disc.
Bill Frisell – Harmony (Blue Note): Bill Frisell’s newest release takes bit of a twist: he is working with accompanying players as he has for a while, but the vocals and the instrumental performances seem to be on more equal terms. In this case, Frisell’s guitar is still the main instrument, but it is not as dominant as in the past and the vocals are at center on a number of songs. The musicians include Petra Haden (vocal), Hank Roberts (cello, vocal), and Luke Bergman (baritone guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, vocal). The performances are still beautiful and haunting. Click here for an introduction by Bill Frisell.
Erroll Garner – Close Up In Swing (Octive): This is the second remastered edition of Erroll Garner and his trio in 1961. Garner was roughly 38 when his style was well established. As was often the case in his performances, there were numerous standards on hand. In this case, he offered “All Of Me”, “St. Louis Blues”, “Some Of These Days”, “I’m In The Mood For Love” and “The Best Things In Life Are Free” among others. His rhythm section was filled by Eddie Calhoun (bass) and Kelly Martin (drums). All but one song were released 1961, but this release has added “Octave 103” which was recorded but not released at the time. Click here to listen to “Octave 103”.
Hiromi – Spectrum (Telarc): This is pianist Hiromi’s eleventh release and dazzling comes to mind immediately! Her technique is stunning – beautiful yet fiery. “The concept of this album is ‘color’ and the idea of the title track ‘Spectrum’ is the following: various colors connect and expand, just like the musical notes.” She also mentioned that it was her first piano teacher who taught her to understand the instrument via colors.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectrum_(Hiromi_album). The performances are varied and fascinatingly fabulous. Hiromi has terrific technique and flair. Half of the pieces are original or wonderfully transformed. She also plays Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” transformed into “Rhapsody in Various Shades of Blue”. You simply have to experience it! Click here to listen to samples of the performances on this disc.
Dick Hyman & Ken Peplowski – Counterpoint (Arbors): “Pianist Dick Hyman and clarinetist/saxophonist Ken Peplowski both possess virtuosity beyond imagination. In a partnership that spans over 25 years, they’ve been producing work as technically flawless as it is wildly creative, born of a magical compatibility. Like the marriage of other iconic duos, such as Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt and Ruby Braff and Ellis Larkins, Hyman and Peplowski stimulate each other to exceed the sum of their two parts. This latest collaboration…takes many of the familiar tunes of another splendidly creative duo, Broadway lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe, and steers them into new territory beyond stock interpretations. There is a legend about the 92-year old Hyman that he’s never missed a note. Throughout Counterpoint: Lerner & Loewe his technical prowess is purely stunning as is his mastery of just about every piano genre there is. ”Thank Heaven for Little Girls” (Gigi) sounds almost vaudevillian, with a stride foundation underlying the upbeat elation of Peplowski’s melodic appreciation of the fairer sex. It falls to Peplowski on most of the tracks to handle the melody while Hyman provides a wealth of contrast in investigating his musical ideas. He does take a piano solo on one of two versions of the title song to Gigi, his playing emulating an entire orchestra.” (https://www.amazon.com/Counterpoint-Lerner-Loewe-Dick-Hyman/dp/B07WGJJK19) Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Pat LaBarbera / Kirk MacDonald Quintet – Trane Of Thought: Live At The Rex (Cellar Live): As a student in the Berklee School of Music in the mid sixties, Pat LaBarbera took advantage of the one dollar student rate “Jazz Workshop” and was fortunate enough to enjoy John Coltrane. LaBarbera was completely sold on the tenor and Trane’s command. Fast-forward to 2019 and LaBarbera has teamed up with Kirk MacDonald (also on tenor sax) and a rhythm section of Brian Dickinson (piano), Neil Swainson (bass) and brother Joe LaBarbera on drums. All of the songs are Coltrane compositions except the opener, Tad Dameron’s “On A Misty Night”. The double sax approach is a wonderful idea and this show was fantastic! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this performance.
Leslie Pintchik Trio – Same Day Delivery (Pintch Hard): “Before embarking on a career in jazz, Leslie Pintchik was a teaching assistant in English literature at Columbia University, where she also received her Master of Philosophy degree in seventeenth-century English literature. She first surfaced on the Manhattan scene in a trio with legendary bassist Red Mitchell at Bradley’s, and in the ensuing years Pintchik formed her own trio….” (http://www.lesliepintchik.com/bio.html) This is Pintchik’s seventh release, a live set also featuring Scott Hardy (bass) and Michael Sarin (drums). Pintchik opens with two standards, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” then follows with the original “There You Go” and after “Falling In Love Again” the remainder of the set is all originals. This is a joyful and rocking set! Click here to catch a performance of “There You Go” from this set.
Ben Sidran – ben there, done that – Commemorative Extract! Vol.2 – (Sunset Blvd): This collection is a three disc collection of Ben Sidran’s favorites. This particular disc has a mix of original compositions and a mix of his favorites from others like Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge A Book”, Billy Joel’s “NY State Of Mind”, Nat King Cole’s “Straighten Up And Fly Right” and Billie Holiday’s “That’s Life I Guess” and his own originals “Ballin’ On The Reservation”, “Song For A Sucker Like You” and “Let’s Make A Deal / Absent Soul”. Backing musicians include Bobby Martinez, Bob Rockwell, Bob Malachi and Alphonso Deida (trading off on sax), Billy Peterson (bass), Gordy Knudtson and Ben’s son Leo Sidran on drums. Click here to listen to an earlier version of “Song For A Sucker Like You”.
Bria Skonberg – Nothing Never Happens (Self-produced): This is Canadian trumpet player / singer / composer with her third release. Her notion is certainly novel. She is a straight ahead trumpet player who has a full sound and adds her own leads on some songs as well. She is also an accomplished singer who handles accents and leads with assurance and flair. She has been described as a trumpet player who uses techniques from Louis Armstrong (particularly on “So Is The Day”) and she can purr like a kitten and sing with a strong passion with enough soul to turns heads. Magnetic and unique in all aspects! I regret that I am unable to find a sample from this release, but click here for a live version of a song from this disc.
Mike Stern – Jeff Lorber Fusion – Eleven (Concord Jazz): “Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber have long been icons of fusion since starting out in the late seventies and neither has ever really slowed down. But Stern’s brand of fusion has a big, arena rock sound while Lorber’s music has always been tight ‘n’ funky. Both find common ground by being firmly rooted in bop. But make no mistake, Stern can get funky and Lorber can rock out when the situation arises.” (http://somethingelsereviews.com/2019/09/17/mike-stern-and-jeff-lorber-eleven-2019/) Both Lorber and Stern brought five originals and they are obviously at ease with each other. Their rhythm section is mostly provided by Jimmy Haslip on bass and Gary Novak or Dave Weckl on drums. Other players who appear briefly are Dave Mann (horn arrangement), Bob Francesschini (sax) and Chelsea Maull (vocal). Click here to listen to “Ha Ha Hotel” from this disc.
Tune Town – There From Here (Factor/Canada): “Tracing the historic path of this particular trio type saxophone, bass and drums, no chordal instrument leads back to saxophonist Sonny Rollins’ A Night At The Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 1958). The sound on that seminal recording is raw, rough around the edges, with the trio bumping through a bunch of familiar tunes, enjoying the freedom from chords. There From Here, the debut of the Toronto-based trio Tune Town, employs a smoother approach, with tenor saxophonist Kelly Jefferson sounding more like Coleman Hawkins than Rollins. The compositions are mostly band member originals, with a couple of brief-but-invigorating collective improvisations thrown in, along with a gorgeous, slow-as-molasses take on Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady” and a relaxed, cool-flowing rendition of Cole Porter’s “All Of You.”” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137742125-tunetown-there-from-here-2019.html) As offbeat as it is, it does entice the listener to pay attention. Enticing and unique! Click here to listen to “All Of Me”.
Rodney Whitaker – All Too Soon (Origin): Bassist Rodney Whitaker leads a solid sextet celebrating a dozen of Duke Ellington’s most wonderful and popular songs. The sextet includes Bryan Lynch (trumpet), Diego Rivera (tenor sax), Michael Dease (trombone), Richard Roe (piano), Karriem Riggins and Kavon Gordon (drums) with the glowing vocals handled by Rockelle Whitaker. The songs span from “Cotton Tail”, “Take The A Train” and “Harlem Air Shaft” to “All Too Soon”, “Perdido” and “Come Sunday”. Great playing and vocals. Click here to listen to samples of two songs from this set.