New Jazz Adds – 3/23/2016

New Jazz Adds – 3/23/2016

Kenny Barron Trio – Book Of Intuition (Impulse): Kenny Barron at the piano always means terrific jazz and this disc continues that history. Barron is accompanied by Kiyoshi Kitagawa (bass) and Jonathan Blake (drums) on this set and the group glides through seven Barron originals, two from Thelonius Monk and one from Charlie Haden. Lovers of jazz piano and fans of Kenny Barron will love this disc. If you’re not familiar with this great player, this disc would be a terrific introduction. Click here to listen to songs from this disc. 

The Clayton Brothers – Soul Brothers (Artist Share): The Clayton Brothers have been recording since 1980. The quintet features brothers John (bass) and Jeff (alto sax, alto flute), with John’s son Gerald (piano) and the addition of Terrell Stafford (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Obed Calvaire (drums). All but one of the compositions on this disc are originals. The music is soulful and decidedly on the jazzy side. There is a range of moods, all presented in a melodic style. The performance is smooth and quite unified. I regret I could not find a performance from this disc. Click here to listen to a song from an earlier disc.

Dave Douglas – Riverside (Greenleaf Music): This disc is dedicated to the memory of Jimmy Guiffre (composer, bandleader, saxophonist, clarinetist), who “blazed many trails in music. He inspires us to new levels of melodic invention, rhythmic subtlety, and true freedom in the practice of improvisation.” In addition to trumpeter Douglas, the group includes Chet Doxas (clarinet, sax), Steve Swallow (electric bass) and Jim Doxas (drums). The disc is somewhat unusual, tonally and rhythmically, but it only one tune gets crazy. It’s accessible and fun and intriguing and interesting. Click here for a sample.

Cory Henry – The Revival (Ground Up Music): A child prodigy, Cory Henry made his first appearance at the Apollo when he was 6 years old. He combines jazz, gospel and R&B styles and is often described as one of the premier organists of all time. “Since 2012, Henry has been a member of the acclaimed experimental jazz and funk ensemble Snarky Puppy, with whom he won a 2014 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance and a 2015 Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.” ( This disc showcases his amazing skill both on the keyboard and as a performer. He does have occasional support from James Williams on drums and percussion and his father comes up to sing “Old Rugged Cross”, otherwise it’s all Henry and the audience. This man can definitely play and he likes to have fun. Songs include “Precious Lord”, “Old Rugged Cross”, “If You’re Happy” (and you know it, clap your hands), even “Yesterday”, among others. Click here to listen to a sample from the disc.

Invisible Guy – Knuckle Sandwich (Bag Production Records): Our timing is a bit off on this trio, who played in Charlottesville a month ago courtesy of the Charlottesville Jazz Society. This disc includes ten musical pieces: “Hocus Pocus” by Steve Lacy, Prelude To A Prelude by Duke Ellington and the remainder from either clarinet player Ben Goldberg or keyboard player Michael Coleman.  Add drummer Hamir Atwal to the preceding pair and you have the complete Invisible Guy. The music is a hybrid of various styles or influences, but the group maintains that the main point is the improvisation. Goldberg specifically says that the pursuit of happiness through musical improvisation brings the group and, hopefully the audience a great deal of joy. The music is somewhat unusual or outside but it isn’t difficult listening. Much of it has a whimsical feel. Click here to listen to a sample performance.   Note: This performance is not taken from this disc.

Willie Jones III – Groundwork (WJ3): Veteran drummer Jones has played with Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove and released several discs as a leader since 2000. This disc features a base trio of Jones on drums, Eric Reed on Piano, and Buster Williams on bass augmented by a shifting set of guests from one track to the next. The guest players are Eddie Henderson (trumpet), Stacy Dillard (tenor sax), Warren Wolf (vibes) and Steve Davis (trombone). There is a nice variety of sounds here, but the band stays in a straightforward, melodic style throughout. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Karen Marguth – Just You, Just Me (Way Fae): Feature this: swinging, hip vocals jumping into and out of scat as the song progresses accompanied only by bass!  That doesn’t happen much because it takes wonderful tone and expressiveness and confidence for any singer to take the risk. Karen Marguth has that covered. The songs include “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” (Cole Porter), “I’m Beginning To See The Light” (Ellington-George-Hodges-James), “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Give To Me” (Morgan-Swanstone-McCarron) [I’ve never heard the original, but do have a copy of the song by the Greenbriar Boys], and even Phoebe Snow’s “Harpo’s Blues”! Great singing and expression! Hip to the Tip and will pull you straight to the curb!  Click here to listen to the opening track.

Alfredo Rodriguez – Tocororo (Mack Avenue): Apparently, each of Rodriguez’ discs tells a story and this one focuses on the Tocororo – the national bird of Cuba. The Tocororo is a bird that if caged dies of sadness, reflecting not only the desire for liberty, but the necessity of it. Beyond that, though, is the story of everything else the bird represents: freedom, travel, and cross-pollination. Rodriguez moved to the US because he was unable to make the music that allowed him to explore and express the values he so deeply loved, including musical cross-pollination. In addition to Rodriguez’ vocals and keyboards, the contributors are: Rainier Elizarde and Richard Bona (bass); Michael Olivera (drums); Ibrahim Maalouf (trumpet); Ariel Bringer (sax, clarinet, flute); and Ibeyl, Richard Bona, Ganavya Doraiswamy and Antonio Lizana (vocals). The sound is folk and modern alternative pop, certainly based on Cuban roots. The range is fascinating. Click here to listen to a few samples from this disc.

Marcos Varela – San Ygnacio (Origin): Bassist Varela’s career took off from a very early stage in his educational career at Houston’s highly acclaimed High School for the Performing & Visual Arts. He has since performed with numerous stars of the popular and jazz worlds, and for movie scoring, including director Domenica Cameron-Scorsese’s film “Roots in Water”. This appears to be his first release as a leader. The players on the disc include George Cables (piano) and Billy Hart (drums), with revolving guests Logan Richardson, and Arnold Lee (alto sax), Clifton Anderson (trombone), Dayna Stephens (tenor sax), Eden Ladin (piano), and Kush Abadey (drums).  Ron Carter wrote the liner notes for the performances on the disc and has described Varela thusly: “… his tone, choice of notes and compositions will place his playing and name on the list of bassists to be heard….” Here’s your chance!  Click here and scroll down to listen to samples from this disc.

Carlos Vega – Bird’s Ticket (Origin): Saxophonist Vega grew up in Miami and became very involved in the Latin-influenced music there. He has played in numerous bands, including those of Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, Arturo Sandoval, Ira Sullivan, Tito Puente, and Tito Puente Jr., Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble (CALJE). He then pursued a music degree at the University of Chicago. This is his first release as a leader and the music, all Vega’s compositions, is as vibrant and rich as the best of his influences. Vega’s group includes Victor Garcia (trumpet), Stu Mindeman (piano, rhodes), Josh Ramos (bass) and Juan Pastor drums) and the collective reflects the vibrance of the compositions and their leader. The sound is a combination of Latin and straight ahead ensemble jazz and everyone plays plays with enthusiasm. Both individual and ensemble work shine. It’s infectious! Click here and look to the right to listen to sound clips.

Larry Young – The ORTF Recordings (Resonance): Two full discs of recordings made in the ORTF studio in Paris late 1964 and early 1965 by 24-year old organ/piano player Larry Young and 20-year old trumpeter Woody Shaw with trumpeter Sonny Grey and tenor sax Nathan Davis bringing a new wave in jazz.  Billy Brooks joined in on drums for several songs and the remaining musicians, including Jack Dieval (piano), were French. The “American” line-up shifts somewhat across the discs, with Young being the sole performer on every selection. The music is hard bop with an attitude but also offers some softer moments. It is often fiery, but fully avoids the atonal zone. It is also quite dazzling at ties. Click here for an introduction with some samples and solid commentary.

Chris Ziemba – Manhattan Lullabye (Outside in Music): Though Ziemba has been performing and recording in other group settings, this is his first disc as the leader and his first acoustic project. It features seven original compositions and terrific quartet interplay. Ziemba is joined by Hans Glawischnig (bass), Jimmy MacBride (drums) and Michael Thomas (alto sax, bass clarinet) and the group sounds like they have played together for years. The notes on Ziemba’s website touch on the wonderful areas and aspects of NYC that are opposite the usual thoughts about the hustle and bustle of the big city – the places that offer quiet, beauty, serenity. This disc represents that view beautifully.  Click here to listen to a sample and introduction to the disc by Ziemba. 


Professor Bebop


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