New Jazz Adds – 3/10/2020
Laila Biali – Out Of Dust (Chronograph): “Already highly acclaimed in North America, with Laila Biali’s mellifluous vocals, dynamic pianism and ability for penning, hook-laden songs that reputation is surely going to flourish further afield.” (Jazzwise) “Out of Dust is JUNO-award winning vocalist, pianist and composer Laila Biali’s most personal album to date – it’s a documentation of the trials and triumphs that the songstress has encountered during recent years. Co-produced by Biali and her husband Ben Wittman, this eleven-track collection is brought to fruition by an impressive line-up that includes multiple GRAMMY nominees and winners: vocalist Lisa Fischer, saxophonists John Ellis and Godwin Louis, drummer Larnell Lewis, and trombonist Alan Ferber, who composed each of the horn arrangements heard throughout the recording. Comprised of ten original tracks and a re-imagined take of Gregory Porter’s “Take Me to the Alley”, Out of Dust is a celebration of life; warm and uplifting even as it confronts Biali’s recent challenges – and the current political climate – head-on. Generally labelled as a pop/jazz singer, Biali emphasizes her pop influence as her center. She composed or co-wrote eight of the eleven songs on this release.” (https://lydialiebman.com/index.php/project/laila-biali/) Click here to listen to a song on this release.
Mike Bond – The Honorable Ones (Bounce Castle): “Bounce Castle Records, the imprint of pianist-composer Mike Bond, is proud to announce the release of The Honorable Ones on February 21st, 2020. It’s one of the more assured and inspired debut albums of recent memory. For the occasion, Bond, who composed and arranged 10 of the 12 songs, assembles a multi-generational unit of New York-based first-callers, including veteran all stars Steve Wilson (alto and soprano saxophone) and Ben Wolfe (bass), and thirty-ish up-and-comers Josh Evans (trumpet) and Anwar Marshall (drums), whose respective c.v.’s include international tours with such heavy hitters as Christian McBride, Dave Douglas and Jazzmeia Horn. Augmenting the mix at various points along the way are virtuoso beatbox vocalist Gene Shinozaki, multi-Grammy-nominee singer Claudia Acuña, and singer Maya Holiday. Throughout the proceedings, which traverse a palpable narrative arc from start to finish, Bond, 30, reveals a highly sophisticated compositional sensibility, abundant piano chops, an abiding commitment to melody, and a fearless attitude.” (https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/mikebond) The result is a strikingly new sound that is out on its own yet simultaneously strikingly familiar. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Tom Cottone – Passage (Self-produced): “Tom Cottone is a professional drummer based in Central New Jersey. His versatility makes him one of the most in demand drummers in the tri-state area. Some of the people he has performed with include Randy Brecker, Steve Swallow, Roy Hargrove, Dionne Warwick, BD Lenz, Glen Burtnik, Bobby Kimball, The Churchills, Fossil, Hyperactive, and Blowup. As well as playing live, he does numerous studio sessions in the NJ/NY/Philadelphia area, and teaches privately at his home studio. Cottone is supported by Steve Jankowski (trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone), Asen Doykin (piano) and Steve Varner (bass). This titles on this set range from Miles Davis’ “Solar”, Sonny Rollins’ “Pent Up House”, Wayne Shorter’s “ESP” and “Speak No Evil” to “Caravan” (Ellington) and “When I Fall In Love” (Young). Solid playing throughout! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Professor Adrian Cunningham & His Old School – Swings Disney (Arbors): The band includes Cunningham (vocals, woodwinds), Jon Challoner (trumpet, trombone on “Under The Sea”), Dani Alonso (trombone, trumpet on “Under The Sea”), John Merrill (guitar), Alberto Pibiri (piano), Jim Robertson (bass) and Paul Wells (drums) and the music includes “When You Wish Upon A Star” (Pinnochio), and “Everybody Wants to Be A Cat” (“The Aristocats”) to “Cruella de Vil” (“101 Dalmatians”) and “When I See An Elephant Fly” (“Dumbo”) swinging all the way! Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.
Sinne Eeg & The Danish Radio Big Band – We’ve Just Begun (BFM Jazz): “Danish jazz vocalist Sinne Eeg (sée-neh/ée) is known throughout the world, but it all started in a small town called Lemvig in September 1977. Sinne grew up in a jazzy home, where her father played double bass, her mother the clarinet and her brother the saxophone. Naturally, Sinne started singing. She graduated in 2003 from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Esbjerg and then moved to Copenhagen to create her career.” (http://sinnemusic.com/about/) She has roughly a dozen recordings to her credit at this time. She sings beautifully and with technique that is is dazzling as well. The songs on this release range from “My Favorite Things” and “Comes Love” to “Samba Em Comum” and “To A New Day” that she cowrote with a variety of others. The performances swing and are quite lovely. Click here to listen to the opening song.
Brent Jensen – The Sound Of A Dry Martini (Origin): “Brent Jensen studied in New York City with jazz legend Lee Konitz on a grant in 1987 from the Idaho Commission on the Arts. He was a featured winner of the Woodwinds on Fire international talent search conducted in 1996 by Jazziz magazine and has performed with a variety of jazz artists. His debut CD for the Origin label, “The Sound of a Dry Martini: Remembering Paul Desmond”, charted on JazzWeek’s Top 50 for thirteen weeks in the spring of 2002.” (https://musicians.allaboutjazz.com/brentjensen) Jensen seems to have been destined to follow a course different from most younger players at the time. He felt there were enough Charlie Parker clones already. Then he heard and became dazzled by the style of Paul Desmond. The result is uncanny as if Jensen is the reincarnation of the cool jazz king. Some felt this style was too quiet and Jensen borrowed Desmond’s description of the style as the sound of a dry martini. Laid back in many ways and oh so cool. Jensen offers ten wonderful examples of the style and each is as “mello-roonie” as can be. Jensen is accompanied by Jamie Findlay (guitar), Zac Matthews (bass) and Dean Koba (drums). They even offer to “Take Five” right in the middle of it all! Soooo smooth! Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Maci Miller – Round Midnight (Self-produced): This is singer Maci Miller’s fourth release and it is an intimate set from the great American songbook mixed with some gems of jazz. She is accompanied by guitarist David O’Rourke and their pairing fits wonderfully. Song selections include “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To”, “Always”, “Round Midnight”, and “Lullabye Of Broadway” among others. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
New Stories – Speakin’ Out (Origin): “Origin Records celebrates the 20th Anniversary of an album that ended up as a centerpiece of the catalog over these decades. The members of New Stories each played a significant role in the sound of the label through their early contributions to multiple recordings, but it was their 2000 release with saxophonist Ernie Watts that added an international presence for the label, through the inclusion of “Highway Blues” as an embedded sound file in Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system.” (http://originarts.com/recordings/recording.php?TitleID=82372) This disc presents Marc Seales (piano), Doug Miller (bass) and John Bishop (drums) with special guest Ernie Watts (saxophones). The trio is solid as a rock and Watts blends in beautifully. Marc Seales contributed two songs, Doug Miller contributed three and the remainder are compositions by Tony Crombie and Benny Green, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny and Mellin and Wood on the closer. The trio is terrific and Watts pushes to an even nicer plane on the other half of the disc. Click here to listen to samples from two songs on this disc.
Virginia Schenck – Battle Cry (Airborne Ecstasy): “As in life, throughout everything I strive to incorporate improvisation. Everything is new and fresh, just as no minute is the same as the one before it. I like to employ a variety of music styles: jazz, classical, spirituals, folk, world music, or anything that inspires me. Everyone needs music. The voice, our first instrument, is always with us, and we have access to it at every moment. As primitive cultures remind us, music is and should be a part of our every day lives—from routines and rituals to celebrations. And we should always be celebrating life! The Hopi, Aboriginal, and Egyptian cultures hold in their mythologies that sound generated life. Sound is certainly in our bones as it resonates and we “feel” the music. Hearing-impaired people often convey that they “hear” the music through bone conduction. Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, persona of both book and movie The Soloist, bravely makes a personal choice not to medicate his mental illness because when he does he cannot “hear the music”. When voices are silenced, cultures are in trouble. We have seen this in the Holocaust, slavery, and perhaps personal muffling. Civil rights leaders have often used songs and chants to empower themselves and others to bring about change. Singing can also become a dialogue between warring parties to bring conflict resolution and social change, or simply to build community. Telling our stories is imperative.” (https://virginiaschenck.com/statement) Virginia Schenck is a potent singer who expresses both beauty and ugliness in our society through her expression. She performs musically and theatrically to express her message. She presents “Bali Hai”, the Gettysburg Address, a medley of “America The Beautiful” and “Abraham, Martin & John”, “Strange Fruit” and others. Backing players are Kevin Bales (piano), Rodney Jordan (bass), Marlon Patton (drums, percussion, synth) and special guests Kebbi Williams (alto sax), Rick Lollar (guitar) and James Benson (vocals). Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Derrick Shezbie – The Ghost Of Buddy Bolden (Clubhouse): “GRAMMY® Award-winning trumpeter Derrick (Kabuki) Shezbie partnered with historian Charles Tolman in an effort to capture the spirit of Buddy Bolden and his revolutionary music within Derrick Shezbie and The Ghost of Buddy Bolden. The album is the culmination of heavy research and a reincarnation of the circumstances that Bolden would have created music in. Together, Shezbie and Tolman began the project by assembling a band in the manner similar to that of Bolden and released an album featuring an array of accomplished African American New Orleans musicians. “We wanted the process to closely mirror the experience that Buddy Bolden would have had in the recording process,” said Tolman. “We literally walked around the city looking for musicians at their hangouts and told them that we had a recording gig in three days. Bolden would have put a band together in this manner and they might have practiced a few times before a gig. It was important for the integrity of the project to keep the structure loose and as close to spontaneous as we could.” The band for Derrick Shezbie and The Ghost of Buddy Bolden, consists of Louis Ford on clarinet, Carl Leblanc on guitar, Chris Severin on bass, Revert Andrews on trombone and Jerry Anderson (from the Barbarin family) on drums. The structure of the album reflects the tone and feelings of a Buddy Bolden concert from the 18th century. The fastest songs start the album before slowing down the tempo progressively as the album unfolds. Tunes such as “Careless Love,” “Make Me a Pallet,” “Hot Time in the Old Town” and “Ride on King Jesus” are all highlighted in the tribute. (http://dlmediamusic.com/artist/derrick-shezbie/) Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
John Stein – Watershed (Whaling City Sound): “Internationally renowned jazz guitarist John Stein was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri USA where he took up his instrument at an early age. His talent for and love of music ultimately earned him a faculty position at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he is a Professor in the Harmony Department. John Stein is an experienced teacher, clinician, recording artist, and author. John has performed as a leader or a sideman with some of the world’s finest jazz acts, and his compositions and performances cover the spectrum of jazz styles.” (https://johnstein.com/about-john/) This is Stein’s fifteenth release as a leader. He wrote seven of the twelve songs on the disc and the covers include “Taste Of Honey”, “The Kicker” (Joe Henderson), “Waltz New” (Jim Hall), “Cisco” (Pat Martino) and “Dreamsville” (Henry Mancini, et.al.). Supporting players are Daniel Garjew (piano), Frank Herzberg (bass), Teco Cardoso (alto flute, alto sax, soprano sax) and Ze Eduardo Nazario (drums). Beautiful swing and flow throughout. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Oded Tzur – Here Be Dragons (ECM): “Here Be Dragons is Oded Tzur’s debut on the legendary record label ECM….‘Here Be Dragons’ (HIC SVNT DRACONES in the original Latin) was an inscription indicating unexplored territories on old maps. Tzur composed the album for a new quartet, featuring Nitai Hershkovits on piano, Petros Klampanis on bass (also appearing on Tzur’s previous albums) and Johnathan Blake on drums.” (https://www.odedtzur.com/music/) The interplay and cohesion is fabulous throughout this performance. Their performance insists that the group must have had scripts, but sometimes the best jazz discovers beauty and delight that hasn’t been shared before. This is a wonderful disc. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Scott Wilkie – Brasil (BeachMusic): “Featuring Jimmy Haslip, Kleber Jorge, Gibi Dos Santos, Jeff OIson, Ronnie Foster and others… the latest release from keyboardist Scott Wilkie features exciting arrangements of Brazilian favorites from Jobim, Gil, Monte, Jorge and more! On the multi-faceted masterwork Brasil, Wilkie and his core quartet of Jimmy Haslip, Kleber Jorge and Jeff Olson have a blast with a variety of special guests who add grand touches of authenticity to the mix including Floria Purim’s daughter Diana, Josie James (vocalist from the original 1980 version of Joe Sample’s Burning Up The Carnival) and Sergio Mendes’ Brazilian-born percussionist Gibi dos Santos. One of the most incredible aspects of Brasil is the fact that these four had never played together before joining forces on this album… yet the explosive chemistry they create makes it seem like they’ve been jamming for years!” (Jonathan Widran) Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.