New Jazz Adds – 1/14/2020
Bill Cunliffe Trio – Sunrise Over Molokai (Metre): “Jazz pianist, composer and Grammy Award-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe is known for his innovative and swinging recordings and compositions. Bill began his career as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band and worked with Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson and James Moody. He has since established himself as a solo artist and bandleader, with more than a dozen albums under his name.” (https://billcunliffe.com/pressbio.html) While only one of the songs is an original of his own on this release, his piano will certainly dazzle most listeners. Cunliffe covers several styles including Hawaiian, Van Heusen and Burke’s “Here’s That Rainy Day”, and Bud Powell’s “Down With It” among others. This release is quite enjoyable from beginning to end. I regret I am not able to find a sample from this set.
Erroll Garner – That’s My Kick (Mack Avenue / Octave Music): “Pittsburgh born Jazz pianist, prolific composer, concert hall artist, and recording star. Garner was one of the most well known and influential pianists in the world during his lifetime. Surrounded by a musical family, Garner was by all accounts self-taught, began playing at the age of three and was performing professionally by the age of seven. Throughout his career Garner developed a distinctive and original piano style often compared with Art Tatum, Fats Waller, as well as Claude Debussy.” (Liner notes) In this recording, Garner moved back into the recording studio. Several of his preceding releases had been live performances. Some suggest that this was his most ambitious album ever as a composer. In addition to Garner and Milt Hinton (bass, who played on all of the cuts), other players were Herbert Lovelle and George Jenkins trading off on drums, Jose Mangual and Johnny Pacheco on congas and Wally Richardson and Art Ryerson trading off guitar. Click here to listen to a brief clip of the title song.
Erroll Garner – Up In Erroll’s Room (Mack Avenue / Octave Music): This is a 1967 recording by Garner. He is accompanied by Ike Isaacs (bass), Jimmie Smith (drums) and Jose Mangual (congas) and everything is delightfully presented is Garner’s delightful style. There is also Garner’s swing groaning and the “Brass Bed”, a band including Bernie Glow (trumpet), Pepper Adams (bari sax), Marvin Stamm (trumpet, flugelhorn), Don Butterfield (tuba), Wayne J. Andre and James Cleveland (trombones), and Jerome Richardson (tenor sax, flute, piccolo). The Latin mix and vigor on this set are infectious. I regret I am not able to find a sample from this release.
Christian McBride – The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons (Mack Avenue): “Jazz Night In America’s regular host, Christian McBride, happens to be a Grammy-winning bassist and composer, but he forbade us to feature him unless it was for something special. It so happens that he’s written a special work: Teaming with choral director JD Steele, he’s composed a bluesy and soulful oratorio for big band, gospel choir with soloists, and four speakers who represent great figures of the Civil Rights Movement. It’s called The Movement Revisited, and is inspired by the written words and speeches of Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr., and President Barack Obama…. The Christian McBride Big Band: Christian McBride, leader/bass; Nabate Isles, trumpet; Brandon Lee, trumpet; Frank Greene, trumpet; Benny Benack III, trumpet; Jeffery Miller, trombone; Steve Davis, trombone; Joseph McDonough, trombone; Douglas Purviance, bass trombone; Steve Wilson, alto sax; Ron Blake, tenor sax; Todd Bashore, alto sax; Dan Pratt, tenor sax; Lauren Sevian, baritone sax; Joel Ross, vibes; Geoffrey Keezer, piano; Terreon Gully, drums.” They are also supported by The Philadelphia Heritage Chorale. This performance is an amazing work of history, philosophy and artistry. Click here to watch and listen to a performance of this powerful work.
Dan Rosenboom – Absurd In The Anthropocene (Gearbox): “In a time marked by unpredictability and absurd realities, music imbued with spontaneity and improvisation seems especially relevant. Internationally recognized trumpet player and composer-producer-entrepreneur Dan Rosenboom embraces the chaos and seeks to endow us with hope and joy along the way…. The record’s inspirations run the gamut from Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman to Frank Zappa, Soundgarden, and Squarepusher, and its title refers to the complicated and often surreal times in which we live. “This album is about responding to our modern world in a way that is reflectively critical yet frenetically joyous,” Rosenboom says. “Maelstrom and cognitive dissonance are everywhere, online and on the news. People cherry-pick what they want to believe and discount factual data. Inequity is rampant. In the face of such overwhelming chaos, turning toward our inner humanity is a powerful move. I want to take all that emotional fuel, and turn it into something creative, spontaneous, and beautiful.” (https://danrosenboom.bandcamp.com/album/absurd-in-the-anthropocene) The players include producer and keyboard master Jeff Babko, legendary drummers Vinnie Colaiuta, Gary Novak, and Zach Danziger, renowned bassists Jimmy Johnson, Tim Lefebvre and Jerry Watts Jr., Rosenboom’s longtime collaborator Gavin Templeton and jazz icon David Binney on saxophones, guitarists Tim Conley, Alexander Noice, and Jake Vossler, electronics wizard Troy Zeigler, and horn-playing colleagues Brian Walsh, Ryan Dragon, Juliane Gralle, and Javier Gonzalez. The music is somewhat on the “way out” but there are also several songs that are close to the mainstream. Click here and scroll down to listen to three songs on this disc.
Ricky Sweum – Earth Song (Ninjazz): “Ricky Sweum is an American jazz saxophonist, composer, educator, and music producer. He is known for his six solo albums, ambient sax music, dozens of sideman albums, and his over 16 years of performing with and leading US Air Force Bands. Ricky is currently the leader of the jazz big band at the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West in the Bay Area, California.” (https://rickysweum.com/about/) This is Sweum’s sixth release and it features eleven original compositions, one of which features original lyrics by Barbara Joy Weston and is sung by Julie Bradley. In addition to Sweum’s tenor and soprano sax, the players are Dennis Lambert (piano), Zak Croxall (electric bass), Britt Ciampa (drums) and Benjamin Paille (trumpet). Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Christina Watson – So This Is Love (Self-produced): “Christina Watson is a Nashville-based vocalist and educator. Since graduating with honors from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (2001), she has released 4 albums as a leader. Her most recent album of jazz standards is entitled “So This Is Love” and features Grammy winner Jeff Coffin on saxophone, Lori Mechem on piano, Roger Spencer on bass, and Duffy Jackson on drums.” (https://www.christinawatson.com/bio) Watson’s style is breathy and warm and commands attention across a variety of songs. She obviously prefers to adapt the most well known songs to her own style. The best known songs here are “Black Coffee”, “Get Out Of Town”, “My Favorite Things”, “What A Little Moonlight Can Do” and “All Of Me”, but she also adds lesser known songs as well. Click here to listen samples of the songs on this disc.
Works For Me – Reach Within (Posi-Tone): “Posi-Tone debuts their latest musical collective under the apt title of Works For Me. This carefully curated presentation by Producer Marc Free focuses on combining the individual talents of several emerging performers into a cohesive camaraderie that succeeds in providing us with a series of enjoyably emotional performances that Reach Within with clarity and sincerity. Works For Me features the talents of guitarist Tony Davis, saxophonist Alexa Tarantino, pianist Caili O Doherty, bassist Adi Meyerson and drummer Joe Strasser working together to create a series of unified musical expressions that take us along with them on an entertaining musical journey.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137762920-works-for-me-reach-within-2020.html) All of the songs on this release except two – Stevie Wonder’s “Send One Your Love” and Joe Henderson’s “Jinrikisha” were written by members of the group. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this release.