New Jazz Adds – 11/11/2015

New Jazz Adds – 11/11/2015

Kenny Burrell – The Road To Love (HighNote): Jazz legend / guitarist Kenny Burrell is live and well! This performance was recorded live in concert over two night’s shows and based upon the performance he delivers, it is staggering to realize he is 84. The band, which includes Justo Almario (tenor sax, flute), Tom Ranier (piano), Tony Dumas (bass), and Clayton Cameron (drums) with Marvin “Smitty” Smith subbing in on one song, plays with energy and skill (many terrific solos) throughout. The last three songs also feature the vocals of Barbara Morrison who opens with the disc’s title tune (one of three Burrell compositions in the performance).  Click here to listen to the opening song on this disc. 

Stanley Clarke / Bireli Lagrene / Jean-Luc Ponty – D-Stringz (Impulse): This intriguing trio of virtuoso players is the real deal. Ponty was seeking to prepare for new performances and having become friends with Clarke on common projects in the past and when they decided to make this an acoustic project, they immediately thought of Lagrene with whom they had performed a brief concert several months back. What a wonderful combination it is, too! Lagrene’s solos and counterpoints are striking and Ponty seems to explode off the strings. With the energy of Clarke’s bass lines, the performances shows the mastery of the individuals as well as the energy and beauty of the ensemble. Fans of jazz or “jazz-grass” will automatically go for the performance, but it will certainly capture anyone who likes energetic and lovely acoustic ensembles. Each of the players contributed two of their own compositions and the remaining four tap standards from several genres: “Too Young To Go Steady” (Harold Adamson & Jimmy McHugh), “Nuages” (Django Reinhardt), “Blue Train” (John Coltrane), and “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” (Joe Zawinul). Click here for a sample song. 

Joey DeFrancesco – Trip Mode (HighNote): Joey DeFrancesco pulls out all the stops on this disc! In addition to his monster chops on the organ, he adds piano, other keys, trumpet and a vocal! Jason Brown plays drums throughout, Mike Boone takes the bass when Joey is off the organ, and Dan Wilson adds some might tasty guitar six of the nine tunes on offer. DeFrancesco  composed all but two of the songs on offer, Wilson one and the group covers Ray Noble’s ballad “The Touch of Your Lips” with Joey on a mellow trumpet lead and doubles on piano. This disc is a success in all aspects: the various groupings play terrifically throughout this kaleidoscopic  display of style and of DeFrancesco’s virtuosity. Click here for a live performance by DeFrancesco, Wilson, and Brown. Note: This performance is not on the above disc. 

Kirsten Edkins – Art & Soul (Self-produced): How can we best introduce saxophonist Edkins? Let’s let her! “When I was 12, I was bit by the jazz bug. Captivated by the complexities of improvisation, I began my quest to explore this new musical puzzle. By 14, I idolized Cannonball Adderley and Kenny Garrett. Evidently, I was not a typical Southern California teenage girl.” Here’s the result: nine original compositions from multi-sax player Edkins with backing by Bob Sheppard (tenor sax and bass clarinet); Mike Cattone: (trumpet); Ryan Dragon (trombone); Larry Goldings (piano, B3); Larry Koonse (guitar); Mike Valerio (bass); and Mark Ferber (drums). A swinging beginning! Click here to listen to samples from songs on this disc.

Galactic – Into The Deep (Provogue): Great New Orleans funk band who always welcome noteworthy NOLA “should-be” or already stars to add a spark of variety, Galactic features Ben Ellman (sax), Robert Mercurio (bass), Stanton Moore (drums), Jeff Raines (guitar), and Rich Vogel (keys) and this disc includes guests and this time that means Shammer Allen, Chadrick Honore, and John Culbreth (trumpet), Corey “Boe Money” Henry and Gregory Veals (trombone), Nick Ellman (alto sax), Ian Bowman (tenor sax), Adam Theis (trombone, trumpet), David Shaw (guitar), and JJ Grey, Macy Gray, David Shaw, Maggie Koerner, Ms Charm Taylor, Ryan Montbleau, Mavis Staples, and Brushy One String on vocals! There IS a PARTY goin’ ON!!! I don’t know if this is jazz, but if this groove doesn’t make you move, you are dead Fred!  This is toDAY’S Nawlins!!!  Click here for a sample and just see if your feet don’t tap!

Mike Holober – Balancing Act (Palmetto): Pianist/composer Mike Holober wrote five of the eight songs on this disc and is supported by Kate McGarry (vox), Marvin Stamm (trumpet, flugelhorn), Dick Oatts (alto, soprano sax, flute), Jason Rigby (tenor sax, clarinet, bass clarinet; and who composed one song for the disc), Mike Patterson (trombone), John Herbert (bass), and Brian Blade (drums). There is some nice jazz, even some jazz pushing at the borders, on this disc. There is also a very jazzy and uptown version of “Piece of My Heart” that compares quite favorably, if not explosively, with Janis Joplin’s classic rendering. While some of this disc is a bit out, it also contains one of the best titles of the year: “Sighs Matter”, truly a cool jazz triumph!   Click here for a sample performance. Note: This is not from the above disc, but it does represent the general musical quality and sound of this disc.

Hot Jazz Jumpers – The Very Next Thing (On The Bol): The Hot Jazz Jumpers are largely a family affair husband and wife Nick Russo (guitar, tenor banjo, resonator, baritone resonator guitar) and Betina Hershey (vox, guitar) dedicated this disc to Nick’s uncle Mike Russo and his deceased father. They are also joined by long-term associates Miles Griffith (vox) and Essiet Essiet and Mamadou Ba (bass), and even uncle Mike on guitar on one cut. Other performers include David Pleasant (drums, vox), Gordon Au (trumpet), Josh Holcomb (trombone) and Dennis Lichtman (clarinet). What of the music? The group mainly performs like ragtime group reminiscent of early 60’s group like Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band or the like. They cover or create new blues songs, Latin interpretations of some standards like “Caravan”, or standards like “You Are My Sunshine”.  My recommendation is to rest drive this model before buying. The style and presentation may not be everyone’s “cup o’ tea”.  Click here for an introduction to the band and disc.  

Houston Person – Something Personal (HighNote): Ten gorgeous offerings from tenor sax player Houston Person backed up by Steve Nelson (vibes), John di Martino (piano), Ray Drummond (bass), and Lewis Nash (drums) with additional support on half of the songs by James Chirillo (guitar). Both Houston’s and the group’s sound is as rich, mellow, and flowing as it gets. Think of the most beautiful and relaxing spot where you can kick back and let your mind just float. Click here for clarification.

Adam Rudolph Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra – Turning Towards The Light (Cuneiform): Percussionist / composer Adam Rudolph has written for and “conducted” three different musical ensembles in an ongoing search for the mystical sounds and truths often not discovered by casual listeners. The current group, Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra, features a wealth of players including Rez Abbasi, Nels Cline, Liberty Ellman, David Gilmore, Miles Okazaki, and Marvin Sewell (electric guitars and effects); Damon Banks (bass guitar); Marco Capelli (acoustic guitar and effects); Jerome Harris (electric bass and lap steel guitars); Joel Harrison (electric and National steel guitars); and Kenny Wessel (electric guitar and banjo). The performances are soundscapes, some of which are rather demanding at times, but all of which are a wonder of combined guitar interactions, whether exotic, harmonious, groovy, or cacophonic. Click here for a sample song.

Sylvan Street – Feedback Loop (Summit): This octet covers a lot of ground from loping and lazy medium tempo soul jazz, to some fairly electronic, yet melodic tunes to one rather straight up rocker, complete with a fuzzed electric guitar solo.  The band includes Jay Rees (bass), Frank Browne (guitar), Andrew Hix (drums), Evan Rees (piano & other keys), Kelland Thomas (sax), Kenny Smukal and Chad Shoopman (trumpets) and Michael Faltin (percussion). There is a lot of variety on the disc as everyone gets the chance to step out front. This is a tight group and there is some really nice interplay between the sax and keys on the opener,  “Feedback Loop”. In fact, you can listen to that tune by clicking here.

Manuel Valera & Groove Square – Urban Landscape (Destiny): Multi-keyboard player Valera (Rhodes, Minimoog, organ, piano, other electronic keys) leads Groove Square through ten of his original compositions.  The group includes John Ellis (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Nir Felder (guitar), John Benitez (bass), and EJ Strickland or Jeff “Tain” Watts (alternating on drums), with guests Gregoire Maret (harmonica) and Paulo Stagnaro and Maurico Herrera (percussion). The blend between electronic and acoustic winds or keys really enforces the notion that neither is intended to be the dominant force. Interaction between Valera and Ellis is especially nice. There is a lot of uptempo and joyful music to be heard here. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.




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