New Jazz Adds – 12/11/2017
Angela Kelly and Greg Howard – The Holly and The Ivy: Classic Christmas Selections (Self-produced): Thirteen beautiful arrangements and performances of Christmas songs by Angela Kelly (flute, alto flute, bass flute) and Greg Howard (Chapman Stick). Ten of the songs were arranged by the duo and the remaining three were arranged by Chapman. Songs vary from traditional (“The First Noel”and the title song) to “Winter From The Four Seasons” (Vivaldi), “In The Bleak of Winter” (Holst) and “Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring” (JS Bach). The performances are spectacular! Sadly, we’ve just missed the local performances, but you can sample the songs on this disc by clicking here.
Eric Alexander – Song Of No Regrets (High Note): Tenor sax player / composer Eric Alexander has a great time playing new songs, two of which he composed and even sitting down at the organ on one track. He has a full sound and is quite fluid. He is at his best when he soars. Supporting players include David Hazeltine (piano), John Webber (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums) and Alex Diaz (percussion) with Jon Faddis adding his magnificent trumpet on two tracks with the further addition of Joshua Brunneau (trumpet) and Esther Lomas-Sampedro and Lucas Alexander on percussion on one song. Mostly the music is vibrant and energetic, but everyone reaches new heights on the tracks with Faddis and on “Mas Que Nada”. A strong session. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Rahsaan Barber – The Music In The Night (Jazz Music City): Composer/teacher/saxophonist Rahsaan Barber releases his third cd, honoring his mother’s idea and request for a set of standards. Barber arranges, performs, composes and is currently employed by Tennessee State University. The tunes on this disc range from Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” and Jobim and De Moraes’ “Girl From Ipanema” to “My Funny Valentine”, “Skylark” and “Georgia On My Mind”. Barber’s backing is provided by Matt Endahl (piano), Jack Aylor (bass) and Derek Phillips (drums) with Dara Tucker (vocal on “She’s Out Of My Life”) and James DaSilva on guitar on the last four songs. It also seems that Barber plays more adventurously as the disc progresses. His interactions with DaSilva are especially noteworthy. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Dave Bennett – Blood Moon (Mack Avenue): Multi-instrumentalist, Dave Bennett, a clarinet virtuoso who also plays guitar, piano, drums and sings, creates so many different voices on the clarinet, that a listener has to think twice about what is being played. The mellow yet supple voice he often gets when he is playing is rarely heard, but it is totally beautiful. He can and does also play the high “wailing” notes, but his beautiful, mellow tones are exquisite. That being said, the set list on this disc is quite varied: five of the eleven songs were composed by Bennett and producer Shelly Berger; the covers range from Jim Webb’s “Wichita Lineman”to a song from 1917, “(Back Home Again In) Indiana”, to more familiar covers like Lennon & McCartney’s “In My Life” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. They all work. Accompanying musicians include Dave Restivo (piano), Reg Schwager (guitar), Jim Vivian (bass), Peter Siers (drums) and Davide DiRenzo (percussion). Click here and then click “Play Album” to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Jimmy Chamberlin Complex – The Parable (MAKE): Drummer/composer Jimmy Chamberlin formerly a member of Smashing Pumpkins founded The Jimmy Chamberlin Complex with includes Billy Mohler (bass), Sean Woolstenhulme (guitar), Chris Speed (tenor sax, clarinet) and Randy Ingram (piano, Fender Rhodes). All six songs are originals and while they were roughly sketched out and briefly discussed before recording, much of the final result is improvised from the brief earlier discussion. The disc flows quite well and turns a number of fascinating corners. It is also quite accessible. Click here and scroll down to listen to two of the six songs on this release.
Carl Filipiak & The Jimi Jazz Band – What Now (Self-produced): Based in the Baltimore / DC area, guitarist Carl Filipiak offers his third disc with his group The Jimi Jazz Band. Filipiak wrote or co-wrote six of the eight songs on offer and the covers are the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” and Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny”. The Jimi Jazz Band includes Matthew Everhart (bass), Paul Hannah (sax) and Frank Young (drums, percussion). Brian Simms adds B3 on two tracks. Whether cover or original material, rock is the center of this music with lots of jazz touches. The funkier sides are especially effective. Filipiak comments in the liner notes that he especially enjoyed the songs that were co-wriiten with the other players and I would agree they add variety and a broader style to this release. Fusion fans should definitely check this out. Click here and scroll down until you see the disc cover for “What Now” to listen to the songs on this disc.
Carey Frank – Something To Remember Him By (Self-produced): Organist /pianist / teacher / composer / arranger Carey Frank has worked with such artists as Tedeschi Trucks Band, Hot Tuna, The Marshall Tucker Band, Jane Monheit, and Dr. Lonnie Smith among others. He now lives on the West Coast. This disc features Frank on B3 and Bruce Forman on guitar. The set list features one original by Frank and ten classic standards from composers including Cole Porter and others. The titles include “”Love Is A Very Splendored Thing”, “For All We Know”, “All Of You” and “September Song” among others. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Caesar Frazier – Instinct (Doodlin’) : Organist/pianist/singer/songwriter Caesar Frazier has had a long career, including a long stint with Lou Donaldson, followed by touring with Marvin Gaye and eventually turning to session work for such artists as Kanye West and Common, among others who also recorded songs Frazier had composed. He has now begun to record again as a leader on organ. His group includes Lyle Link (tenor, soprano sax), Jacques Lesure (guitar) and Leon Joyce, Jr (drums). The disc includes one composition by Frazier, “Purposeful”, while the remaining songs cover a span from “Night In Tunisia” and Gene Ammons’ “Red Top” to standards like “I’m An Old Coehand” and “Street Of Dreams”. Everyone in the group takes some great solos on various songs and there are some fine moments. Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.
Paul Giallorenzo Trio – Flow (Delmark): The liner notes for this disc describe Paul Giallorenzo as “…a wizard on piano, synthesizer, and electronics, but he tends toward doing more with less: stripping a chord to the core of what makes it interesting in context….” Giallorenzo is supported by Joshua Abrams (bass) and Mikel Patrick Avery (drums) and the style and interplay are wonderful. The music edges over to the quirky side but leaves enough room for listening and comprehending while digging the groove. This disc is the connecting point between straight ahead and way out. “…creating music that’s embedded in the jazz tradition with a sound that’s both singular and forward-thinking.” As cool as whatever hipster you want to name! Click here to listen to the opening cut.
Joshua Gerowitz – Solano Canyon (pfMENTUM): Guitarist/educator Joshua Gerowitz is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and California Institute of the Arts and takes his music to the outside stylistically and sonically. He composed five of the compositions on this disc and co-wrote three, “Hamburger Island” #1, #3, #4 with the other musicians on the disc: Louis Lopez (trumpet); Colin Woodford (drums); Carmina Escobar (vocals); Jake Rosenzweig (bass); and Daniel Eaton. Other musicians include Joe Santa Maria (sax) and David Trancina (bass). This music is composed and often challenging melodically. While none of the songs offered are on this disc, you can listen to “Hamburger #2” to get an idea of the content by clicking here.
Gordon Grdina Quartet – Inroads (Songlines): Gordon Grdina (guitar, oud) presents a selection of original compositions of his own and two co-written with Oscar Noriega (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet). The remaining musicians are Russ Lossing (piano, Rhodes) and Satoshi Takeishi (drums). The music is a combination of world music styles merging his interests in mainstream jazz, free-form improvisation and Arabic classical music. Over the course of the disc, the quartet takes some significant melodic and stylistic steps outside the mainstream as well as offering some beautiful moments. Click here to listen to songs on this disc.
Tom Guarna – The Wishing Stones (Destiny): Guitarist Tom Guarna began his journey as a rock guitarist enthralled with Hendrix and Jimmy Page, but eventually became interested in Charlie Christian and John Scofield solidifying his passion for jazz. By the turn of the century, Guarna was a bonafide jazz player. He now has seven discs as a composer and leader. He composed all of the songs on this disc and is supported by drummer Brian Blade, bassist John Patitucci and pianist/keyboard player Jon Cowherd. It’s a disc Scofield and others would certainly appreciate. Interesting compositions and a great vibe throughout! Highly recommended for Scofield fans or anyone else who appreciates this aspect of electric jazz. Click here for an introduction to the sound and the cd.
Irreversible Entanglements – Irreversible Entanglements (Don Giovanni): Irreversible Entanglements describe themselves as a “liberation-oriented free jazz collective” and whose performance art is reminiscent of other topical spoken word creations in jazz by groups like Conjure or the World Saxophone Quartet. The intensity, however, is significantly higher on this disc, however. The performers are Camae Ayewa (voice, author of the spoken word passages); Keir Neuringer (alto sax); Aquiles Navarro (trumpet); Luke Stewart (bass) and Tcheser Holmes (drums). Topics include life in the projects, racism, and the overwhelming stress faced by African Americans. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Alphonso Johnson – Metaphors (Self-produced): Composer/bassist Alphonso Johnson has a storied past: he replaced Miroslav Vitous when Vitous left that pivotal group in 1974; Johnson stayed with Weather for 3 years and then became a leader in his own right; he has recorded with Flora Purim, the George Duke / Billy Cobham Band, and Phil Collins; he joined Bob Weir’s Midnites for a couple of years and followed by six years with Carlos Santana. This disc features Johnson on acoustic and electric bass and Chapman Stick (one of that instrument’s early players) and several original compositions. Other performers include Bernie Dressell, Matt Starr, Michael Shapiro, David Contreas and Leon Chancler (drums); Billy Valentine, Bridgette Bryant; (vocals); Doc Giggs (congas); Michael O’Neil (guitar); Michael Paulo (alto sax); Andrea Hammond (violin); Gary Fukushima, Mitchell Foran (keys); Greg Roiie (organ); Jeff Richman and Steve Postel (acoustic guitar); Airto Moreria and Scott Frankfurt (percussion, vocals); Randy Gloss (tabla); Yukiko Matsuyama (hoto); Adrian Areas (percussion); Divinity Roxx (poetry); Otmaro Ruis and Patrice Rushen (piano); and Paul Tanner (bass clarinet). There is a wide range of styles on the disc. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Roberto Magris Sextet – Live In Miami @ The WDNA Jazz Gallery (Jmood): Pianist / composer Roberto Magris has released numerous recordings over the years and this one has a special significance for him: he had never performed in Miami and being inspired by the Latin flavor of the city itself, he wished to emphasize the impact of Latin musicians and the relevance of Latin styles on jazz itself. As he enlisted musicians for this performance, he started with Grammy Award winner Brian Lynch (trumpet) and Chuck Bergeron (bass). Other players include Jonathan Gomez (tenor sax), Murph Aucamp (congas), and John Yarling (drums). While he cites his own influences as Wynton Kelly, Tommy Flanagan, Bill Evans, Kenny Drew, Jaki Byard, Randy Weston, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Paul Bley, and Steve Kuhn, Magris has his own distinct style. This disc is buoyant and full of passion. The horn players work well as a unit and also shine on solos. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Delfeayo Marsalis – Kalamazoo (Troubador Jass): Having created a strong commentary on the state of American politics a year ago, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis offers a light-hearted live concert held in Kalamazoo this time out. Supporting him on this set are father Ellis Marsalis (piano), Reginald Veal (bass) and Ralph Peterson (drums). He introduces the program with with “Tin Whistle Blues” and proceeds to share a series of songs that are blues or bluesy. Everyone on stage and in the audience clearly had a good time. Delfeayo plays some wonderful trombone and Ellis’ piano is delightful and outstanding as well. Click here and then on the button that says “Preview All Songs” to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Van Morrison – Versatile (Exile / Legacy): Van Morrison explores the great American songbook and adds a half dozen of his own compositions and the result is truly fine. Morrison is in fine voice, staying comfortably within his range, sounding like the swinging releases from the 70’s, giving a shout just when a song needs it and swinging well vocally and on alto sax. Accompanying musicians are Paul Moran (keys, trumpet), Dave Keary (guitar), Paul Moore (bass), Alistair White (trombone), Christopher White (tenor sax, flute), Jay Berliner (acoustic guitar), Jeff Lardner and Mez Clough (drums) and Rod Quinn and Robbie Ruggiero (percussion). The blend of the old greats and Morrison’s originals is fantastic. Click here to listen to the title song.
Takaaki Otomo – The New Kid In Town (Albany): Pianist Takaaki Otomo’s first release and it is a dazzling program including five originals (two by Otomo, one by bassist Noriko Ueda and two by arranger Bernard Hoffer who also arranged several others spanning from John Lewis’ “Django” to “Mars” and “Venus” by Holst). The trio is completed by Jared Schonig (drums). While the focus is mostly on Otomo, Ueda and Schonig support and interact with the piano wonderfully. I regret that I am unable to find a sample from this disc, but click here to listen to two solo performances by Otomo.
Phil Parisot – Creekside (OA2): Drummer/composer Phil Parisot offers his second release of this year. He composed all of the songs here and is accompanied by Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet), Steve Treseler (tenor sax), Dan Kramlich (piano), and Michael Glynn (bass). Greeenblatt is the only new player in the group from Parisot’s last release. The ensemble sound is wonderful and they flow together so smoothly and precisely. Individual solo play by Greenblatt, Treseler and Kramlich shines as well. Click here to listen to samples of two songs on this disc.
Houston Person – Rain Or Shine (High Note): Melodic, sweet, swinging jazz with just enough blues to lull you into a beautiful mood. Tenor sax veteran Houston Person casts a spell that is timeless and right now. He is accompanied by Warren Vache (cornet), Lafayette Harris (piano), Rodney Jones (guitar), Matthew Parrish (bass) and Vincent Ector (drums). The combination is fantastic. Smooth as silk. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Mikkel Ploug – Alleviation (Songlines): Composer/guitarist Mikkel Ploug has become increasingly popular in Europe for his compositions in a variety of settings from solo performances to leading jazz or progressive music ensembles. This disc finds him solo, playing songs he was inspired to make on his discovery and purchase of a 1945 Gibson bannerhead acoustic guitar. Most of the songs are ballads or medium tempo. It’s all quite pleasant and well performed. It will appeal to fans of acoustic guitar, mellow jazz and folk style music. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Jodi Proznick – Sun Songs (Cellar Live): Vancouver bassist / composer / educator Jodu Proznick is recognized as one of the best bassists in Canada. The genesis of this new disc is two-fold: she was expecting her first child and, on the other extreme, she learned that her mother was diagnosed with early onset dementia. This gave rise to her focusing on the “metaphor of life as sunrise and sunset.” (liner notes) Proznick’s band includes Laila Biali (vocals), Tilden Webb (piano), Steve Kaldestad (tenor, soprano sax), and Jess Cahill (drums) and the combination of the original songs with their beautifully blended instrumentation makes this a beautiful and moving experience. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Eric Reed – A Light In Darkness (WJ3): Composer / pianist Eric Reed had a magical beginning to his career, having met Wynton Marsalis while he was still in high school and briefly touring with him during his first year of college. By the time he was 20, Reed joined Marsalis’ septet and stayed with him for about two years. He then worked with This was followed by two years with Joe Henderson and Freddie Hubbard before once again joining Marsalis from 1992 – 1995 before moving to the Lincoln Jazz Center. Reed has played with many other jazz titans and has released numerous discs as a leader. On this disc, Reed plays piano and is accompanied by McClenty Hunter (drums), Tim Green (sax), Ben Williams (bass) and Jamison Ross (vocals). The content is contemplative and expresses hope for a better day. The band is quite tight and both the messages and singing by Ross are terrific. The set includes an updated spiritual “Calvary”, beautiful instrumentals, the beautiful gospel blues vocal “Hope In View”, the jivey jazzy “Shine” and closes with a medley “Yesterday – Yesterdays” (Lennon-McCartney – Jerome Kern-Otto Harboch). Great jazz and soulful blues and gospel. I regret I am unable to locate a sample of this disc.
Jay Saunders – Nice! (UNT): The University of North Texas has been issuing quite a lot of music lately and it is obvious that over the years the director and the bands have been absolutely amazing. These performances are drawn from performances between 2009 and 2014. These are big bands and they take on songs composed by Lennon & McCartney, Peter Erskine, a Thad Jones arrangement of Jimmy Smith’s “Portuguese Soul”, Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes” and even a big band arrangement of Booker T. Jones’ “Green Onions”. This music department is clearly one of the best anywhere and if you like big band music, check this out! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Steve Slagle – Dedication (Panorama): Veteran Steve Slagle (flute, alto and soprano sax) offers seven original compositions and Wayne Shorter’s “Charcoal Blues” and Dave Stryker’s “Corozon”. Each song has a dedication to with a musical connection such as “SWING”, the “Great Spirit of Music from Brazil”, one to Slagel’s daughter, and the remainder to musicians, including Sonny Rollins, Steve Swallow, Jackie McLean, Marc Chagall, Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter. The players are Lawrence Fields (piano), Scott Colley (bass), Bill Stewart (drums) Roman Diaz (conga, percussion) and Dave Stryker (guitars). Slagle has stunning command of many styles and there is great interaction on this set, most notably between Slagle and Stryker with Fields adding wonderful piano fills along the way. Lots of variety and strong playing throughout. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.