New Jazz Adds – 11/15/2016
Aziza – Aziza (Dare2 Records): Few musicians have the vitae of Dave bassist Holland the founder and leader of Aziza. It’s amazing to realize that having had experience playing in several large and small bands by the age of 22, Holland was invited to join Miles Davis’ new group and recorded “Filles De Kilimanjaro”, “In A Silent Way”, and “Bitches Brew” before moving out on his own as a leader. Since that time, Holland has led and played in many different groups that the membership reads like a “who’s who” in jazz. In addition to Holland’s bass, Aziza includes Eric Harland (drums), Chris Potter (tenor, soprano sax) and Lionel Loueke (guitar, vocals). Each player composed two of the eight songs on offer. The music is varied and touches on a variety of styles – world music in many flavors. The players are adventurous while being quite accessible. Click here to listen to the opening track.
George Cables – The George Cables Songbook (HighNote): Composer/pianist George Cables is a stunningly dextrous and melodic player and a composer of numerous styles. On this disc, he presents eleven original compositions, six of which add the vocal and lyric artistry of Sarah Elizabeth Charles. Other accompanying musicians include Essiet Essiet (bass), Victor Lewis (drums), Craig Handy (sax, flute)and Steven Kroon (percussion). The ballads are lovely, Cables piano is is dazzling, and the other players are the icing on the cake. I was unable to find a sample with vocals, but click here to listen to an instrumental from this disc.
Michel Camilo & Tomatito – Spain Forever (Verve): This new disc is the third in a series celebrating the music of Spain. The players are master pianist Michel Camilo and guitarist Tomtit and they form a wonderful combination individually and together. Each voice shines through in a fully compatible and beautiful way. Click here to listen to the opening track on this disc.
Richie Cole – Plays Ballads & Love Songs (RCP): Making up for lost time having made fifty albums to date, alto player Richie Cole finally made his first disc of ballads. It is delightfully luscious as Cole and cohorts Eric Susoeff (guitar), Mark Perna (bass) and Vince Taglieri (drums) drift their way through such classics as “Chances Are”, “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most”, “Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered” and “Sunday Kind Of Love”. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
John Coltrane – Trane 90 (Acrobat): This British retrospective dedicates each of its four discs to one aspect of Trane’s career: Coltrane as a sideman (mostly for Miles); Coltrane as a leader fro 1957-61; Coltrane in collaboration with Sonny Rollins, Tadd Dameron, Art Blakey, and others; and Coltrane in broadcasts. Acrobat is a well established reissue label, so you may already be familiar with a number of performances, but you can also count on some rarities. I regret I am unable to find a sample performance.
Endemic Ensemble – Tangled (Opus Funkus Music): This is the Seattle quintet’s third disc. Formed by bassist Steve Messick six years ago, the group includes Travis Ranney (tenor, soprano sax), Matso Limitiaco (bari sax, bass clarinet), David Franklin (piano) and Christian Krehbiel (drums). All of the songs on the disc were composed by someone in the group and their original hard bop is groovy and contagious. Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.
Macy Gray – Stripped (Chesky): Veteran singer/songwriter/actress Macy Gray has had a long career in music and film. She wrote or co-wrote eight of the ten songs on offer here. She began her career as a songwriter because she did not like her raspy voice, some years ago when the expected longer didn’t show up, Gray was persuaded to use the recording time herself. She was an immediate success, but sadly her drug use while constantly being on the road took over her life. This disc is a new step – a new record company and backing from Russell Malone (guitar), Wallace Roney (trumpet), Ari Hoenig (drums), and Daryl Johns. Though her songs touch on different styles, Gray’s raspy and fragile voice gives her a road-worn sound reminiscent of Billie Holiday’s later recordings. There are some compelling songs and performances here. Click here for a brief introduction to this disc.
Charlie Haden & Liberation Music Orchestra – Time/Life (Song For The Whales And Other Beings): Composer/ bassist Charlie Haden passed away two years ago and this disc, suggested, requested, and co-directed by Haden’s widow releases his final performance and other songs suggested by her. Carla Bley created or updated three of her compositions and served as the leader of the group for the remaining numbers. The opening song is a live version (with Haden) of Miles Davis’ “Blues In Green” Similarly, “Blue in Green,” given a lush, enveloping treatment by Bley, is anchored by trumpeter Michael Rodriguez,followed by the Bley compositions. Steve Swallow was tagged to replace Haden. The closer is “Song For The Whales” with saxophonist Tony Malaby adding his startling improvisation. Click here to listen to samples of songs on this disc.
Takuya Kuroda – Zigzagger (Concord): Composer/trumpeter Takuya Kuroda offers his first American disc after several made in his native Japan. He refers to himself as the “Zigzagger” because he enjoys shifting musical styles and does so with enthusiasm throughout this release. He composed or co-wrote all but one selection on this disc and he shifts styles between electric and acoustic, hot grooves and sweet and mellow vibes, and punchy brass and synths. His supporting musicians include Corey King (trombone, voice), Takeshi Ohbayashi (Rhodes, synth), Rashaana Carter (bass, bass synth), Adam Jackson (drums), Keita Ogawa (percussion) and “Antibalas” (Timothy Allen – guitar, Amayo – congas, vocals; Miles Arntzen – drums; Marcus Farrar – percussion, vocals; Martin Perna – bari sax; Will Rast – keys; Jas Walton – tenor sax; and Nikhil P. Yerawadekar – bass, guitar). Click here to listen to the opening song on this disc.
Mike LeDonne & The Groover Quartet – That Feeling (Savant): Veteran organist Mike LeDonne leads his quartet in his tenth release on Savant, having recorded nearly that number on other labels earlier. The group featuring Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Vincent Herring (alto sax guest – 3 tracks), Peter Bernstein (guitar) and Joe Farnsworth (drums) is a tight combination and, like their leader, have a deep love and talent for hard bop. LeDonne spent eleven years in Milt Jackson’s Quartet. HIs organ is so solid you couldn’t dent it with a cannon and the trade-offs with Alexander and Herring are truly wonderful, too. Hard and post-bop lovers snatch this immediately! Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Reut Regev’s R*Time – Exploring The Vibe (Enja): Trombone player Reut Regev began her career as a child prodigy playing at music festivals in her native Israel. As she grew musically, she moved to New York and joined drummer and now husband Igal Foni in various musical undertakings. She became a highly sought after musician in New York, playing with Anthony Braxton, Frank London, Butch Morris, Joe Bataan, Firewater, Elliott Sharp, Dave Douglas, Metropolitan Klezmer, and Hazmat Modine among others. After a decade, she created her own group “R*Time” joining forces with Igal Foni (drums, piano, cajon,toy megaphone, short wave radio), Jean Paul Bourelly (guitar, percussion), and Mark Peterson (bass, didgeridoo). Kevin “K Dog” Johnson (drums) and Jon Sass (tuba) also make guest appearances one on track each. The result is an experimental jazz set that is experimental and yet very accessible as they, indeed, explore the vibes in each song. Click here to check out a video done by the band while creating this disc.
Richard Sussman – The Evolution Suite (Zoho): “By combining jazz improvisation and diverse rhythms and instrumental textures from throughout the world with contemporary classical music, we can more strongly connect with a wider cross-section of the multi-cultural society in which we live.” (Richard Sussman) The players include Richard Sussman (piano, electronics), Scott Wendholt (trumpet, flugelhorn), Rich Perry (tenor sax), Mike Richmond (acoustic, electric bass), Anthony Pinciotti (drums), and the Sirius Quartet: Gregor Huebner and Fung Chern Hwei (violins), Ron Lawrence (viola), Jeremy Harman (cello) with Zach Brock (electric violin). This substantial work strives to meet the goal stated above. It both honors jazz and classical while forcing both into broader musical territory. Click here to listen to short samples of each movement.