New Jazz Adds – 2/13/2017
Erik Applegate – Two’s Company (Artist Alliance): Bassist/composer/songwriter Erik Applegate keeps a busy and diverse schedule. “Current projects include recording and touring with Born To Wander (an indie jazz & Americana band) and the Dana Landry Trio & Quartet, composing a jazz opera based in part on events surrounding pianist Billy Tipton, crafting movements of the upcoming jazz orchestra “Romeo and Juliet” project, and writing songs.” This particular disc features a collection of duos that Applegate performs with a group of his favorite musical friends and offers two performances apiece with Dana Landry (piano), Steve Kovalcheck (guitar), Kenyan Brenner (tenor sax), Paul McKee (trombone) and Tom Amend (piano). The frequent change of instruments gives variety and also gives room for Applegate to share his reach on bass. Click here to check out two songs from this disc.
Anders Bergcrantz – Soulfully Yours (Vanguard Music Boulevard): Veteran trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz offers his ninth release as a leader. He has formerly performed with Dave Liebman, Billy Harper, Billy Hart, Richie Beirach, The Royal Stockholm Symphony Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra at Norrlandsoperan, McCoy Tyner, and Mike Brecker, among others. Bergcrantz wrote six of the seven songs on offer and also plays flugelhorn and a variety of percussion and effects. He is accompanied by Anders “Chico” Lindvall and Linus Olssen (electric guitar); Robert Tjaderkvist and Sven Erik Lundeqvist (Rhodes); Mats Ingvarsson, Lasse Lundstrom and Stefan Beelines (bass); PA Tollbom, Niclas Campagnol and Visctor Lewis (drums); Tomas Franck (tenor sax) and a variety of vocalists and percussionists. The music is reminiscent of some of Miles Davis work as he was beginning to stretch out. Bergcrantz does push to the tonal edge but not very far. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Theo Bleckmann – Elegy (ECM): Composer/vocalist Theo Bleckmann presents eleven original tunes, two with his lyrics, one which draws its text from Chiao Jan’s “Poetry of Zen”. He also performs Stephen Sondheim’s “Comedy Tonight”. Supporting musicians are Ben Monder (guitar), Shai Maestro (piano), Chris Tordini (bass) and John Hollenbeck (drums). Overall, the lyrical content focuses on the spiritual or the desire to join a higher plane, but as Sondheim’s lyrics warn, “something for everyone, it’s comedy tonight!” The music is lovely and haunting. Click here for an introduction to this disc.
Bohemian Trio – Okonkolo (innova): This disc begins with a classical association and soon we hear jazz lines through the composition. The instrumentation certainly adds to the puzzle: Orlando Alonso (piano) and Yves Dharamraj (cello) add strong classical tones, but then there’s Yosvany Terry (sax, percussion, composer of half of the pieces). The four remaining titles were composed by Argentinian bassist Pedro Giraudo (2), Cuban pianist Manuel Valera (1) and a re-working of Ravel’s “Passacaille from Piano Trio in A Minor”. The final title is a combination of world beat and jazz. One song is a combination of songs by Terry and Andre Previn. The blend of instruments is alluring and the performance is captivating. Click here to listen to the opening song on the disc.
Ensemble Novo – Look To The Sky (Frosty Cordial Music): This appears to be Ensemble Novo’s second release and their focus is on Brazilian jazz. The group features Tom Moon (tenor sax, flute), Ryan McNeely (guitar), Behn Gillece (vibes), Mark Przybylowski (bass), Jim Hamilton and special guest Tom Lowery (percussion). With the exception of an original by Tom Moon, the rest of the material was composed by the most celebrated of Brazilian musicians: Antonio Carlos Jobim, Egberto Gismonti, and Milton Nascimento. The sound is light and fluid. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Noah Haidu – Infinite Distances (Cellar Live): Born in Charlottesville, where it’s noted that pianist Noah Haidu was exposed to all kinds of music, he actually fell in love with jazz when his family moved west. He initially began his serious music learning at Rutgers, but after a year transferred to the teachers in the clubs of Brooklyn. He has since completed a pair of music degrees, but states that his experience in the clubs provided an understanding and passion that have shaped him deeply in its own way. This, his third release, is a live performance and features Jeremy Pelt (trumpet, flugelhorn); Sharel Cassity (alto sax); Jon Irabagon (soprano, tenor sax); Peter Brendler and Ariel Alejandro de la Portilla (bass); and John Davis and Mark Ferber (drums). All but one of the songs were composed by Haidu. This is a solid and swinging hard bop performance from beginning to end. Great energy from the entire ensemble! Click here for an introduction to this disc.
Art Hirahara – Central Line (Positone): Originally from the West Coast, composer/pianist Hirahara has been a fixture in NYC since 2003. His touch is often exquisitely delicate, almost as if he were painting the most delicate portions of a landscape. At the same time, his range of expression is remarkable. He composed all but three of the cuts on this disc. Supporting musicians include Linda Oh (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) with the occasional addition of Donny McCaslin (sax). The performance is contemplative in nature, yet still swings with delight. Piano fans must check this out! Click here to listen to the opening song on the disc.
Frank Kimbrough – Solstice (Pirouet): Veteran pianist Frank Kimbrough has been an active jazz performer for 35 years, both as a sideman and as a leader. He has released numerous recordings in a wide span of styles over that time. This disc finds him in a trio with Jay Anderson (bass) and Jeff Hirshfield (drums). Kimbrough selected songs by composers he particularly admires, including Carla Bley, George Gershwin, Paul Motion, Annette Peacock, Andrew Hill and Maria Schneider and even offers a new composition of his own. The overall sound is quite mellow, somewhat reminiscent of an acoustic ECM release. Kimbrough’s piano is quite lovely and the solos by Jay Anderson are often terrific counterpoints. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Brad Mehldau – Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau (Nonesuch): Here’s a surprising, interesting and delightful collection from Chris Thile (mandolin, vocals) and Brad Mehldau (piano, vocals). Of course, both jazz and Americana have been expanding their borders, but this release steps off in its own direction. Both players are adventurous and thoughtful musicians and they admire each other’s individual playing. The set includes two compositions by Thile, two by Meldau and one collaboration with the remainder covers of songs by Dylan, Joni Mitchell, David Rawlings and Gillian Welch, as well as performing “I Cover The Waterfront” among others. This collaboration is an unqualified success! Click here and scroll down to listen to a live performance of the opening song on this disc.
Jeremy Pelt – Make Noise! (HighNote): Trumpet player / composer Jeremy Pelt has been performing and recording for over 15 years, both as a leader and as a sideman for such greats as Johnny Griffith, Cedar Walton, Wayne Shorter, and James Moody among others. He composed seven of the ten selections on offer. His sound is often reminiscent of Miles Davis in the pre-funk years. Pelt is accompanied by Victor Gould (piano), Vicente Archer (bass), Jonathan Barber (drums) and Jacquelene Acevedo (percussion). A cool sound and a solid performance. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Maya Rae – Sapphire Birds (Cellar Live): Singer / songwriter Maya Rae is an amazing singer and stylist! I began listening to this disc without knowing or reading anything about her and was “wowed” by her performance. Then I discovered she is 14. She can certainly hold her own with the best singers around. This disc features two originals and several standards, including “Lullabye Of Birdland”, “I Got Rhythm”, “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” and “Summertime”. The supporting musicians are Miles Black (piano), Andre LaChance (bass), Joel Fountain (drums) with frequent contributions by Cory Weeds (tenor sax) and Vince Mai (trumpet). The performance and backing are terrific. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Charlie Sepulveda & The Turnaround – Mr. EP: A Tribute to Eddie Palmieri (HighNote): Some 30+ years ago, trumpeter Charlie Sepulveda earned the first trumpet chair in fellow Puerto Rican Eddie Palmieri’s band. This disc is a tribute to the spirit and art that Palmieri instilled in Sepulveda and many others over the years. Sepulveda’s trumpet playing reflects the power and the joy he drew from that experience. His trumpet is absolutely celebratory. Palmieri also makes contributions at the beginning and end of the program. The other players are Noberto Ortiz (tenor sax), Gabriel Rodriguez (bass), Raul Maldonado (drums), and Gadwin Vargas (congas), with guest appearances by Bienvenido Dinzey and Eduardo Zayas swapping piano duties, Felipe Fournier (vibes) and Yarimar Denisse and Sietenueve singing on one track each. The music is buoyant and infectious throughout. Anyone interested or curious about Puerto Rican Latin jazz should absolutely check this out! Click here to listen to a live performance of a song on this disc.
Daniel Szabo – A Song From There (Self-produced): This is pianist Daniel Szabo’s third US release and it features his energetic originals, thoughtful ballads and even a tribute to Bela Bartok. Szabo is accompanied by Peter Erskine (drums) and Edwin Livingston (bass). The interplay and flow are solid throughout. Piano or piano trio fans grab onto this disc! Click here to listen to the opening track.