New Jazz Adds – 1/8/2019
The Count Basie Orchestra – All About That Basie (Concord Jazz): Scotty Barnhart and the Count Basie Orchestra celebrate eleven songs performed in the Basie style, spanning from “Everyday I Have The Blues” and “Honeysuckle Rose” to Thad Jones’ “From One To Another” and Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour”. Scotty Barnhart directs the orchestra, which features twenty players and special guests including Take 6, jazz singer Kurt Elling, organist Joey DeFrancesco, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, trumpeter Jon Faddis, Basie band alumni vocalists Carmen Bradford and Jamie Davis and Stevie Wonder. The performances are lively and smooth as Basie’s work typically was. It is a wonderful performance and tribute. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo – Kikoeru: Tribute To Masaya Kimura (Libra): “Critics and fans alike hail pianist and composer SATOKO FUJII as one of the most original voices in jazz today. A truly global artist, she tours internationally leading several ensembles based in Japan, Europe, and the United States. Just as her career spans international borders, her music spans many genres, blending jazz, contemporary classical, rock, and traditional Japanese music into an innovative synthesis instantly recognizable as hers alone. Her wide-ranging compositions can incorporate the simple melodies of folk song, the harmonic sophistication of jazz, the rhythmic power of rock, and the extended forms of symphonic composers. Although Fujii’s compositions are full of sudden shifts in direction and mood, the extremes are always part of a greater conceptual whole.…an innovative bandleader and soloist, a tireless seeker of new sounds, and a prolific recording artist in ensembles ranging from duos to big bands. She has showcased her astonishing range and ability on more than 80 CDs as leader or co-leader.” (http://www.satokofujii.com/bio.html) Such is the case, on this release: sometimes mellow, then creeping to the “outside” and eventually exploding into various outside sonic excursions. In edition to Fujii, performers include Sachi Hayasaka (soprano and alto sax), Kunihiro Izumi (alto sax), Kenichi Matsumoto and Daisuke Fujiwara (tenor sax), Natsuki Tamura, Yoshihito, Takao Watanabe and Yusaku Shirotani (trumpet), Haguregumo Magamatsu, Yasuyuki Takahashi and Toshihiro Koike (trombone), Toshiki Nagata (bass) and Arira Horikoshi (drums). Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Marshall Gilkes & The WDR Big Band – Always Forward (Alternate Side): Trombonist/composer/arranger Marshall Gilkes offers his second release with the WDR Big Band. He explains that he believes “strongly in the tradition..but I also believe we should push the music forward. I’ve never been a huge fan of those purists that think jazz stopped after 1960.” (Liner notes) His original focus was classical music, but he also had a love for jazz feels the WDR Big Band is the perfect connection for his work. This is, in fact, their second recording together. Gilkes composed all but two of the songs on this release. The WDR includes Johan Hörlén and Karolina Strassmayer (alto sax/flute/clarinet); Olivier Peters (tenor sax/clarinet); Paul Heller (tenor sax/clarinet/bass clarinet); Jens Neufang (bari sax/bass clarinet); Ludwig Nuss, Shannon Barnett, and Andy Hunter (trombones); Mattis Cederberg (bass trombone); Andy Haderer, Rob Bruynen, Lorenzo Ludemann, Ruud Breuls and John Marshall (trumpet/flugelhorn); Simon Seidl (piano); Paul Shigihara (guitar); John Goldsby (bass) and Hans Dekker (drums). The music is quite polished and lovely throughout. Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.
Phillip Johnston & The Coolerators – Diggin’ Bones (Asynchronous): After having performed with the Microscopic Septet for a few years, composer and soprano and alto sax player Phillip Johnston formed this new group based in Australia. Other members of the group are Alister Spence (organ), Lloyd Swanton (bass) and Nic Cecire (drums). Johnston composed nine of the ten pieces of this disc. The sound has an eastern flavor centered around the lead of Johnston’s sax and the rhythmic focus. The music is unusual but engaging, fun and infectious. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Phillip Johnston – The Adventures Of Prince Achmed (Asynchronous): There’s also a related yet different mode of music Johnston has created over the years as well. “This CD contains music that was composed as a soundtrack which is performed live with the The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) by Lotte Reiniger, a silent silhouette animation, considered by many to be the first feature length animated film, and based upon One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales often known in English as The Arabian Nights. The music, which when performed with the film comprises a continuous score of 65 minutes, is here broken into individual tracks. It is performed live by a quartet of soprano sax, trombone, and two keyboards, against a pre-recorded track of samples, loops and live drums.” (https://phillipjohnston.com/the-adventures-of-prince-achmed/) Johnston plays soprano sax, Nic Cecire (drums) and Alister Spence returns on organ, with other keys, both of which are also played by Casey Golden. James Greening also joins on trombone. The disc doesn’t sound like the accompaniment would have in 1926, but it does have aspects of older styles. Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.
Q Morrow – There Are Stars In Brooklyn (Self-produced): “The music on my albums is an organic amalgamation of the diverse influences that have become rooted in me along the way.” (http://qmorrow.net/bio.html#bio) Morrow’s description of his playing and the many styles represented in his music is singular and a terrific treat. This is his second release and it features all original material. He records in a trio, featuring Sam Bevan (bass) and Raj Jayaweera (drums), augmented by Will Vinson playing alto sax on three songs and Evan Francis playing flute and alto sax on two others. The blend is fantastic, but Morrow’s guitar is absolutely the gem in the center. The frequent stylistic shifts and instrumental blends are subtle and infectious. Click here and open iTunes to listen to the songs on this disc.
John Moulder – Decade: Memoirs (Origin): This appears to be the fifth release by composer/guitarist John Moulder, who offers seven of his own compositions. The music is both beautiful and sonically unique. Moulder’s guitar playing style, whether electric, acoustic or nylon stringed is both haunting and inspiring. He is supported by Gwilym Simcock (piano), Tim Garland (soprano sax, bass clarinet), and percussionist Ernie Adams and his longtime rhythm section Steve Rodby (acoustic bass) and Paul Wertico (drums). This harmonic gathering is truly beautiful. All About Jazz describes Moulder’s work as “a distinct and exciting approach that ensures that his albums sound like nothing else out there.” Click here to listen to samples of two of the songs on this disc.
OJT – New Originals For The Green Lady (Self-produced): Eight original numbers by this Kansas City jazz group featuring Ken Lovern (organ), Brian Baggett (guitar) and Kevin Frazee (drums). They present a “mixture of old school Kansas City jazz with blues and a modern funky groove” (http://www.kenlovern.com/). The trio does, indeed, offer some lively and funky numbers that keep your ears on the funky upbeat. The interaction is solid and encourages some dancing. Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc. It’s the first.
Ralph Peterson’s GenNext Big Band – I Remember Bu (Onyx): Ralph Peterson’s GenNext Big Band has just released their first recording following about a year of professional performances. They are playing with former Art Blakey comrade Donald Harrison who also performs on five of the songs. The group performs songs by Wayne Shorter, Joanne Brackeen and the title song by band leader Peterson. The performers are Julian Pardo, Karol Zabka and Jas Kayser (drums); Youngchae Jeong (bass); Antoni Vaquer and dabbing Ryu (piano); Elliot Aleander Brown, Brandon Lin, Alan Hsiao and Ethan Santos (trombones); Jon Weidly, Robert Vega Dowda, Milena Casado Fauquet, and Will Mallard (trumpets); Eric Nakanishi and Devin Daniels (alto sax); Tim Murphy and Jake Hirsch (tenor sax); Gabe Nekrutman (bari sax) and Tomoki Sanders (tenor sax solo) and Ryan Easter (rapper). It is a big band, but very modern. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Mike Steinel Quintet – Song And Dance (OA2): Composer/trumpeter/Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas Mike Steinel offers the notion that “all music is either song or dance” and based on this release, sometimes it’s both. The song in this case is provided by Rosana Eckert, a delightful scat singer and vocalist who matches up with Steinel’s composing wonderfully. She added lyrics for one song written by Steinel and he composed music and lyrics for everything else. In addition to Steinel’s trumpet and flugelhorn, the band includes Pat Coil (piano, B3), Carl Hillman (bass) and Steve Barnes (drums). This performance is a gem of many facets! Click here to listen to samples of the opening two songs on this disc.
Various Artists – A Day In The Life: Impressions of Pepper (Impulse): The multi-artist release presents a wonderfully different presentation of “Sgt. Pepper”! The songs are recognizable but are terrifically expanded from the originals. This program is hip in its own style, a central feature of the best re-imagined songs jazz has to offer. The performers are Antonio Sanchez, Mary Halvorson, Makaya McCraven, Wildflower, Cameron Graves, Keyon Harrold, Brandee Younger, Onyx Collective, Sullivan Fortner, Miles Mosley, Shabaka & The Ancesters and The JuJu Exchange and they have created the coolest takes on this great work that have ever jumped into my vibration grabbers! Find it, listen and groove!!!! Click here to listen to samples of the performances on this disc.