New Jazz Adds – 11/7/2017
Joey Alexander – Joey.Monk.Live! (Motema): 14-year old Joey Alexander offers his second release, a live concert honoring the music of Thelonious Monk, his first hero and the beginning of his dedication to jazz. “Joey’s musicianship and grasp of jazz fundamentals developed at a remarkable pace, and at age eight UNESCO invited him to play solo piano for an elated Herbie Hancock during the piano great’s visit to Indonesia. Joey later remarked to Hancock, “You told me that you believed in me, and that was the day I decided to dedicate my childhood to jazz.” (joeyalexandermusic.com) This is his third release and it’s a live performance. Alexander is supported by Scott Conley (bass) and Willie Jones III (drums). His performance is his own interpretation of some of Monk’s most well-known compositions. Alexander honors the style, but also puts his own spin on them. The performance is stunning. Click here to listen to and watch “Evidence” from this performance.
Cheryl Bentyne – Rearrangements Of Shadows: The Music of Stephen Sondheim (Artist Share): Vocalist Cheryl Bentyne began her career with Manhattan Transfer in 1979, winning several Grammies and she has also had a very successful solo career, including an award for her arrangement of “Another Night in Tunisia” with Bobby McFerrin and recording with bassist Rob Wasserman. She is in great voice on her latest disc exploring the music of Stephen Sondheim and there are some very fresh arrangements on “Send In The Clowns” and “The Ladies Who Lunch.” Instrumental backing shifts around from small groups to percussion to the addition of strings. Click here to listen to her version of “Send In The Clowns”.
Dee Dee Bridgewater – Memphis…Yes, I’m Ready (OKeh): Jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater proves that she’s a soul singer as well as being a soulful singer who mixes jazz, gospel and soul in her own fashion. She was actually born in Memphis but her family moved north when she was three. Interestingly, she discovered Memphis station WDIA on late nights and was transformed by the amazing songs being broadcast. This disc features thirteen soul classics from the Temptations’ “I Can’t Get Next to You” to Carla Thomas’ “B.A.B.Y.”, BB King’s “The Thrill Is Gone” and Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand The Rain” among others. It’s all done in Bridgewater’s own style: soul blues with a distinctly jazzy side and some testifying as well. Musicians include Kirk Whalum (tenor, bari sax); John Stoddart (keys); Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell (percussion); Charles Hodges (Hammond organ); Jackie Clark (bass); Garry Goin (guitar); James “Bishop” Sexton (drums); Marc Franklin (trumpet); Lannie McMillan and Kirk Smothers (tenor sax); Kameron Whalum (trombone); and Kevin Whalum, Sharisse Norman, Candise Rayborn-Marshall and the Star Music Academy (backing vocals). A fine release throughout. Click here and scroll down to click the album cover to listen to samples of three songs on this disc.
Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop – REV (Anzic): Drummer Ernesto Cervini, having performed in the trio Myriad3 and a quartet, now unleashes his new sextet Turboprop. The group features Tara Davidson (alto, soprano sax); Joel Frahm (tenor sax); William Can (trombone); Adrian Farrugia (piano); and Dan Loommis (bass) on a variety of styles from their reworking of “Pennies From Heaven” and Radiohead’s “The Daily Mail” to five originals from various members of the band. While some of the music is quirky, the overall sound is quite accessible. It’s interesting and often fun. Click here for an introduction by Ernesto Cervini.
Corey Christiansen – Dusk (Origin): This release is the third in a series of performances “…exploring the grounds between jazz, blues and Americana, is focused on his original compositions – tunes written for people in his life, places been, characters imagined, landscapes seen and the captured feelings from those experiences.” (Jazz Times as listed on originarts.com). All but one song is an original and that song, “Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby” is his rendering of a traditional Southern ballad. Christiansen’s guitar playing is fluid and beautifully expressive – electric, dreamy and flowing. The setting is primarily a trio with Jeremy Allen (bass) and Matt Jorgensen (drums), who are joined by Zach Lapidus (keys) and Michael Spiro (percussion) on three songs. The music is infectious and would have wide appeal for jazz, soft rock, contemporary or even folk fans. By the way, Christiansen was the senior editor and guitar clinician for Mel Bay Publications from 2000 – 2007 and has performed with Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jim White, Christian McBride and George Duke, among others. Click here to listen to samples of the first two songs on the disc.
Richie Cole – Latin Lover (RCP): Alto sax player Richie Cole hasn’t recorded any Latin styled music until now where he’s scratching that itch in a most unusual way – he’s collected or stylized a set of mostly well known songs, some Latin and some “Latinized”. The songs included are “Cielito Lindo”, “L’Eclipse de Lune” (don’t let that French fool you), and “The Lonely Bull”. Also there’s “If I Only Had A Brain”, Neil Sedaka’s “Laughter In The Rain” and “Almost Like Being In Love” among others in the Latinized category. Supporting musicians are Eric Susoeff (guitars), Kevin Moore (piano, Fender Rhodes), Mark Perna (bass) and Vince Taglieri (drums) with guests Rick Matt (bari sax), Vince Taglieri (castanets), and Nancy Kepner, Mark Perna, and Richie Cole (vocals). Click here to hear what Richie has to say about it.
Rick Davies – Thugtet (Self-produced): Composer/trombonist Rick Davies worked primarily in the fields of Latin jazz, salsa, and Afro-Caribbean music. Davies received a Ph.D. from New York University in 1999 (his dissertation was on Cuban brass performance) and was a professor of music and chaired the music department at SUNY Plattsburgh. Most recently he formed Thugtet, a band which added funk to the above styles. Sadly, he passed away in 2015. Since that time, Herm Matlock (trumpet) was selected to take Davies’ place as director of the group. This is the first release conducted by Matlock since Davies’ death. In addition to Matlock, the band includes Wayne Davison (alto sax), Corey Marsico (guitar), Bob Garrow (bass), Mike Lewandowsky (drums) and Jakeel Benjamin (conga), with guests Alex Stewart (tenor sax) and Ray Vega (trumpet, flugelhorn). Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Sinne Eeg – Dreams (Artist Share): Danish singer/songwriter Sinne Eeg may be in a class by herself – a beautiful voice, a singing style that is often laid back, but always has wonderful expression, and what seems to be perfect control. She wrote or co-wrote six of the ten songs on the disc and given her style of control and mellow singing, her treatment of standards like “What Is This Thing Called Love”, “I’ll Remember April” and “Anything Goes” makes them sound brand new. She vocalizes throughout the title song with support from guitarist Larry Koonse in such a way that this is a true duet. Other musicians include Jacob Christoffersen (piano), Joey Baron (drums) with Scott Colley and some background singing by Warny Mandrup, Lasse Nilsson and Jenny Nilsson. There are many amazing vocalists in the world of jazz and Eeg is certainly one of them with her own unique style. Click here to listen to one of her original songs.
Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet – Jersey (Motema): This is drummer Mark Guiliana’s sixth release as a leader. He composed four of the nine compositions on this disc and co-wrote another. The accompanying musicians are Jason Rigby (tenor sax), Fabian Almazan (piano) and Chris Morrissey (bass, also composed two of this sets compositions) with band members and guests adding vocals on the final song, David Bowie’s “Where Are We Now?” The band covers a lot of ground stylistically and offers a great variety. Very engaging throughout. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of this disc.
Vincent Herring – Hard Times (Smoke Sessions): This is alto and soprano sax player Vincent Herring’s third release on Smoke Sessions and twentieth as a leader. He also contributed one original composition to this disc. In addition to Herring, the main players are Cyrus Chestnut (piano, Fender Rhodes), Yasushi Nakamura (bass), Carl Allen (drums), and guest spots on a variety of numbers by Nicolas Bearde (vocals), Russell Malone (guitar), Steve Turre (trombone) Brad Mason (trumpet) and Sam Dillon (tenor sax). The session is smooth with a nice swinging style and Cyrus Chestnut really stands out. Not ground-breaking, but a fine disc with many fine moments. Click here to listen to the title song.
Danny Janklow – Elevation (Outside In Music): “Born in Los Angeles in 1989, Danny Janklow was recognized during his high school career by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra as triple instrument “Outstanding Soloist” on tenor saxophone, flute and clarinet. Quickly becoming recognized for his soulful, yet innovative voice on the alto saxophone… Danny’s music has been described as ‘Combining intellect with soul, spirit, and passion. The result for the listener is listening and feeling his heart!’” (Terell Stafford ). (http://www.spaghettini.com/player-bio.php?id=488) Janklow covers a number of styles and obviously has a good time as well. He plays alto sax and alto flute and also composed eight of the ten pieces on offer. Accompanying musicians include Jonathan Pinson (drums); Eric Reed and John Beasley (trading off on piano); Benjamin Shepherd and Ben Williams (trading off on bass); Nick Mancini (vibes on six tunes); Sam Barsh (keys on three songs); and Jesse Palter (vocals on two songs) and Michael Mayo (vocals on a third song). The disc covers a lot of ground, but it is definitely a treat to hear a new twist on jazz stylings. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Glenn Kostur – The Way Of It (Artist Alliance): Saxophonist / educator / composer Glenn Kostur has served in numerous roles over the years and has performed with the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Louie Bellson Band, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Eckstine, Al Hirt, Joe Williams, Randy Brecker, Bobby Shew, Bob Mintzer, Slide Hampton and James Moody, and popular performers including Tony Bennett, Linda Ronstadt, Donna Summer, Olivia Newton-John, Johnny Mathis, Diahann Carroll, Rosemary Clooney, Joel Gray, Wayne Newton, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé, and The Temptations. He has also served on the music faculty at the University of New Mexico as the Director of Jazz Studies since 1995. This disc appears to be his second as a leader. Over half of the songs here are originals and the others span from “America, The Beautiful” to compositions from Horace Silver and McCoy Tyner. Accompanying musicians include Steve Kovalcheck (guitar), Dana Landry (piano, Fender Rhodes), Erik Applegate (bass) and Jim White (drums). The music has it’s own sound and truly stretches out in an engaging manner. Click here to check out samples of the songs on this disc.
Elise LeGrow – Playing Chess (Advance Music): This appears to be Elise LeGrow’s second disc. This one is a collection of pop and rock and roll songs originally recorded by Chess records but redone in a softer style. LeGrow sings oldies like Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love”, Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell”, “Rescue Me” and “Sincerely” in a mostly low key manner with simple guitar, bass, drums background. It’s all very pleasant and some of the new versions are pretty nice. Click here to listen to a sample from this disc.
John McNeil & Mike Fahie – Plainsong (Destiny Records): The combination of trumpeter John McNeil and trombonist Mike Fahie is a wonderfully melodic and rhythmic treat. They intertwine and trade leads in a fashion that really sets them apart these days. Yes, they do trade leads, but they also perform blended leads. Additional musicians are Ethan Iverson (piano), Joe Martin (bass) and Billy Hart (drums). The ensemble playing is wonderful and special kudos to Billy Hart who adds such delightful flights of rhythm. The group members composed all but one of the songs: four by John McNeil; three by Mike Fahie; three composed by McNeil and Fahie together; one by Ethan Iverson. The sole cover is a bouncing version or Monk’s “Green Chimneys”. Terrific style and flow! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Gary Meek – Originals (Self-produced): Tenor sax player Gary Meek blasts right out of the box with the first notes on this disc of eight of his own compositions. Meek is mostly known as jazz or fusion player (tenor sax and keys), but it’s all sax on this disc. The core backing group includes Terri Lyne Carrington (drums), Brian Bromberg (bass) and Mitchel Forman (piano) with added special guests Randy Brecker (trumpet, flugelhorn) Bruce Forman and Michael Lent (guitar) and Airto Moreira (percusssion). The music breaks out strongly right from the beginning and doesn’t slow down until the fourth cut, a lovely ballad dedicated to Meek’s wife Iris who passed away eight years ago. The styles change beyond that, including two groove tunes that particularly show off Meek and guitarist Bruce Forman. This is a solid disc from beginning to end. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Michael Musillami & Rich Syracuse – Bird Calls (Playscape): Guitarist Michael Mussillami and Rich Syracuse continue their long term partnership with this tribute to the music of Charles Mingus. Syracuse acknowledges that he first heard Mingus’ work after purchasing an electric bass (at eight years old). At the same time, his older sister gave him her copy of a Mingus LP and said, “Here’s a real bass player.” His next purchase was a stand up bass! The communication between Syracuse and Musillami is terrific and these arrangements are fabulous! Songs included range from “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and “Duke Ellington’s Sound Of Love” to more complex blues works like “Free Cell Block F, ’Tis Nazi USA” and “Nostalgia In Times Square”. This is an amazing release. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Chuck Owen & The Jazz Surge – Whispers On The Wind (Mama): This is the sixth release by this rather unique big band that has been called “inventive, colorful, playful, provocative, and swinging”. (https://www.chuckowen.com/about/jazz-surge/) This particular release pays tribute to the old west in a most modern fashion. The players include Tamara Danielsson, Valerie Gillespie, Jack Wilkins, Rex Wertz, and Mike Vance (woodwinds); Frank Greene, Jay Coble, Mike Iapichino, and Clay Jenkins (trumpets); Keith Oshiro, Tom Brantley, Jerald Shynett (trombones); Jim Hall (bass trombone); and Per Danielsson (piano); Corey Christiansen (dobro, various guitars); LaRue Nickelson (guitar); Mark Neuenschwander (bass); Danny Gottlieb (drums); and Chuck Owen accordion, hammered dulcimer). Featured soloists are Randy Brecker (trumpet); Gregoire Maret (harmonica); and Sara Caswell (violin). With titles like “Warped Cowboy”, “All Hat, No Saddle” and “Gunslingers”, the program is old west, but new west as well. Click here to listen to samples from this disc.
Jonathan Saraga – Journey To A New World (FreshSoundNewTalent): Composer / trumpet player Jonathan Saraga is based in NYC and has performed in many settings around the world. He was invited to audition at Julliard and has performed in numerous off-Broadway musicals. This is his fourth release as a leader. Five of the eight compositions on this disc are originals by Saraga. In addition to his trumpet, the performers include Remy Le Boeuf (alto sax), Aki Ishiguro (guitar), Chris Pattishall (piano, Fender Rhodes), Rick Rosato (bass) and Kenneth Salters (drums). There are several texture changes as you listen through the disc, and while Saraga is clearly the leader and focal point, there are some very nice solos by other group musicians as well. Click here to listen to an overview of Saraga’s style in performance.
Idit Shner – 9 Short Stories (OA2): This is the fourth release by Idit Shner (alto & soprano sax), currently assistant professor of saxophone at the University of Oregon. She has maintained contact with her earlier bandmates, Josh Hanlon (piano, Hammond B3), James Driscoll (bass) and Stockton Helbing (drums), all of whom still live in Dallas-Fort Worth. The chemistry among these four is truly dynamic. Shner’s conception: “Think Kafka or Salinger or or Etgar Keret…They create a complete universe and immerse you in it, you jump in wholeheartedly and then it’s gone in a flash. Same here: each tune has its internal grammar, its own comping that matches the melody and solos. I told the guys how much I detest generic comping and how each tune follows its own logic. They really listened and I hope that’s apparent.” (Liner notes) They obviously did! All but one song here was written by Shner. The outlier is Billy Strayhorn’s “Passion Flower”. The program is engaging and beautifully intense. There is a lot of beautiful energy on this disc. Click here to listen to the song “Arrival” and others from this disc.
Charles Thomas – The Colors Of A Dream (SeaTea Music): West Coast bassist / composer Charles Thomas has performed in many styles over the years: first with Sierra Leone guitarist and singer, Sooliman Rogie and then in Esther Phillips for four years. Since then he has performed with Les McCann, Billy Paul, Julian Priester, John Handy, and the Fifth Dimension among others. This would appear to be his third release as a group leader. His current style is mostly focused on straight ahead samba, Latin and Afro Beat music which is a good summation of this release. Thomas composed all songs on this disc except for the standard “My Foolish Heart”. Basically, there are three different backup players working with him on this release: Joe Cohn (sax), Mike Olmos (trumpet), Matt Clark (piano), and Dezon Claiborn (drums); Marcia Midget (sax), Joel Ryan (trumpet), Danny Armstrong (trombone), Glenn Pearson (piano), Sly Randolph (drums), Oscar Myers (percussion); and Leon Williams (sax), George Spencer (trumpet), Fred Harris (piano), and Michael Spencer (drums). Thomas covers bass and sings one song. It’s all a very pleasant set. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Deanna Witkowski – Makes The Heart To Sing: Jazz Hymns (Tilapia): This disc features pianist Deanna Witkowski, accompanied by Daniel Foose (bass) and Scott Latsky (drums) performing 14 interpretations of religious hymns representing to foundations of numerous hymns from around the world and across many years (1623 to as recently as 1942). The performance is quite lovely and the theme and foundation are about timelessness and hope even in the face of despair. Sources span from Europe and the US to folk and more formalized religious sources. The performances are all instrumental, often quite jazzy, but the message is more about spiritually and hope. Click here for an introduction by Deanna Witkowski herself.