New Jazz Adds – 1/29/2019

New Jazz Adds – 1/29/2019

Pablo Aslan – Contrabajo (Soundbrush): Bassist Pablo Aslan describes this release as “at the suggestion bandoneonist, arranger and composer Raul Juarena, I set out to create a body of work for bass and string quartet, in order to feature the bass not only as foundation and a melodic instrument, but as a driver of rhythm.” (liner notes) The music he selected comes from a variety of composers including Villa-Lobos, Alexis Cuadrado, Duke Ellington and others, including Aslan. He is supported by Pablo Saravi and Hernan Briatico (violin), Adrian Feliziia (viola) and Gloria Pankaeva (violincello) with special guests Paquito D’Rivera (clarinet on 1 song) and Raul Jaurena (bandoncon on 1 song). The result is quite an engaging mixture of classical, jazz and Latin music. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.    

Benjamin Boone & Philip Levine – The Poetry Of Jazz, Volume Two (Origin): This collection is basically a melange of original poetry and narration by Philip Levine and compositions by Benjamin Boone (alto, soprano sax) on 12 of the 18 performances, with the remainder composed by various members of the players. The musicians include David Aus (piano), with the addition of Craig Von Berg on piano on six songs), Spee Kosloff or Nye Morton (bass), Brian Hamada or Gary Newmark (drums), with guests Karen Margot (vocals, 2 songs), Max Hembo or Asher Boone (trumpet), Atticus Boone (French horn on 1 song) and Stefan Poetzsch (violin). The disc is a fascinating melange of music and poetry in memory of U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize recipient Philip Levine and musician Brian Hamada. This is an engaging fusion of two terrific artists. The poetry is amazingly expressive and the music ties in wonderfully. Click here to listen to songs on this disc.    

Chuck Deardorf – Perception (Origin): Bassist Chuck Deardorf decided to focus on songs and artists who had influenced him earlier in his career. “Grain Waves” was a song he had composed with Matthew Wilson who plays drums on most of this set. Others include Kenny Barron, Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Swallow, Steve Winwood and two by Thelonious Monk. In addition to Deardorf, the main players are Dawn Clement (piano, Wurlitzer, electric piano, synthesizer) and Hans Teuber (tenor sax, flute), with Marc Seales (piano 3 songs), Gary Hobbs (drums on 3 songs), Thomas Marriott and Jay Thomas (flugelhorn on 1 songs each) and David Marriott (trombone on 1 song). The compositions and shifting performers give this release a nice span of performances. The general tone is smooth and inviting. Click here to listen to samples of two songs on this release.    

Tom Graf – Jazz Routes (Self-produced): Apparently, Tom Graf is a composer of jazz styled songs, but at least on this disc, he does not perform. In this case, the songs were written by Garf, but arranged by David K. Matthews (keyboards, organ) and Peter Horvath (piano) who also play on this disc. The other performers are Nobert Stachel (flute, tenor sax); Mike Olmos and Joel Behrman (trumpet, flugelhorn), Mike Rinta (trombone), Ray Obeido (guitar, keys), Marc van Wageningen and Dan Feiszil (bass), Phil Hawkins and Jason Lewis (drums) and Peter Michael Escovedo (percussion). The music itself is bright, upbeat and quite pleasant. I regret I am not able to find any samples of the music on this disc.

Sunna Gunnlaugs Trio with Verneri Pohjola – Ancestry (Sunny Sky): This is composer/pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs’ fourth release and the first time she has recorded with this complete line-up throughout a recording. The other players are Verneri Pohjola (trumpet), Porgrimur Jonsson (bass) and Scott McLemore (drums). The sound is reminiscent of ECM productions but somewhat warmer than many of that label’s releases. The songs draw the listener’s attention in a similar fashion. Well worth checking out! Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.  

Michael Kocour – East Of The Sun (OA2): “Michael Kocour is an Associate Professor and the Director of Jazz Studies at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “one of the most sophisticated pianists in jazz,” Kocour has performed at venues around the world and has been a guest on Marian McPartland’s internationally syndicated NPR program “Piano Jazz.” Among the many artists and ensembles with whom he has appeared with are Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Harris, James Moody, Eddie Daniels, Randy Brecker, Benny Golson, Ira Sullivan, Carl Fontana, Dewey Redman, Lew Tebackin, and the Chicago Symphony.” ( This appears to be his fifth release and it is a solo affair mostly covering selections from the Great American Songbook, including “I’ve Got A Right To Sing The Blues”, “Just One Of Those Things”, “East Of The Sun”, “Star Dust” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You” among others. Kocour’s playing is beautifully flowing and delightful. Click here to listen to samples of two songs from this disc.  

Scott McLemore –The Multiverse (Sunny/sky): Born in Norfolk, VA, drummer/composer Scott McLemore, who now lives in Iceland with his composer/pianist/partner Sunna Gunnlaugs (see above for her recent release on which they play together). McLemore attended the University of Virginia’s Writers Workshop in 1990 where he met trumpeter John D’earth and began his full-time dedication to music, studying at Old Dominion University with Professor for Excellence in Teaching John Toomey. This is McLemore’s third release. All but one piece are McLemore’s original compositions. He is joined by Hilmar Jensson (electric guitar), Pierre Perchaud (electric, acoustic and baritone guitar) and Mats Eilertsen (bass). The program is reminiscent of the beautifully electric style often associated ECM, but it has its own character. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.    

May Okita – Art Of Life (Origin): This is vocalist May Okita’s first release. She is accompanied by Josh Nelson (piano) moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to study clinical psychology and added voice studying with numerous performers, including Josh Nelson who plays piano on this disc. Larry Koonse (guitar) also plays on several songs. The songs range from Irving Berlin’s “Let’s Face The Music And Dance” and Cole Porter’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” to Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” and Randy Newman’s “When She Loved Me”. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   


Professor Bebop

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