New Jazz Adds – 3/3/2020
Airmen of Note – Air Power! (Self-produced): The Airmen of Note are celebrating their 70th anniversary this year and this is their most recent release. Their program covers a range of material including Freddie Hubbard’s “Take It To The Ozone”, John Coltrane’s “Lazy Bird” and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” and several original songs from members of the unit. Created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Major Glenn Miller’s Army Air Corps dance band this band includes two alto/flute players, two tenor sax/clarinet players, one bari sax/bass clarinet player, four trumpets, three trombones, a bass trombone, one guitar, one piano two alternating bass players, one drummer and a vocalist. They do swing! I regret I an unable to find a sample from this disc.
Kenny Barron / Dave Holland Trio – Without Deception (Dare 2): Kenny Barron (piano) and Dave Holland (bass) are two of the finest players in the jazz world. Add drummer Johnathan Blake on drums and you cannot miss. Barron composed four songs on this set and Holland two and the covers come from Mulgrew Miller, Sumi Tonooka, Duke Ellington and Monk. “Separated in age by only three years, the two leaders – both honored as NEA Jazz Masters – represent an impressive spectrum of jazz history between them. The Philadelphia-born pianist apprenticed with such giants as Dizzy Gillespie and Yusef Lateef before collaborating with the likes of Stan Getz, Ron Cater, Buster Williams and Regina Carter, earning nine Grammy Award nominations along the way. The British bassist came to prominence in groundbreaking groups led by such legends as Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Sam Rivers, Betty Carter, and Anthony Braxton—as well as collaborations with the likes of Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette and John McLaughlin.” (https://kennybarron.com/recordings/without-deception/) The set flows with beauty and style throughout. It is hip to the tip all around! Click here and click on the titles labelled in blue to listen to samples of three songs on this disc.
Massimo Biolcati – Incontre (Sounderscore): “In the 21st century jazz is truly a global movement, and New York bassist Massimo Biolcati embodies the music’s creative reach. A first-call accompanist, producer, composer and bandleader, he’s best known as a founding member of Gilfema, the acclaimed collective trio with Hungarian drummer Ferenc Nemeth and Beninese guitarist and vocalist Lionel Loueke that recorded two albums for Obliqsound. The group also recorded three albums for Blue Note as the Lionel Loueke Trio, including Karibu with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. Once again known as Gilfema, the trio recently recorded a third album, which Biolcati produced.” (https://www.massimobiolcati.com/biography) This group features Dayna Stephens (sax), Sam Yahel (piano, organ) and Jongkuk Kim (drums). Biolcati composed four of the nine songs on this disc and the disc offers other works such as Chaplin’s “Smile”, Charles Mingus’ “Duke Ellington’s Sound Of Love” and Monk’s “Boo Boo’s Birthday” among other covers. Groovy, fun and so fine. Click here to listen to songs from this disc.
Carla Bley – Life Goes On (ECM): Carla Bley returns with a set of originals entitled “Life Goes On” in four movements, “Beautiful Telephones” in three movements snd “Copycat” in three movements. In addition to Bley’s exquisite piano are Andy Sheppard (tenor and soprano sax) and Steve Swallow (bass). Each of these musicians has played really far out music at times but this whimsical set is inviting, playful, melodic and welcoming. Click here to listen to the opening piece of “Life Goes On”.
Nick Finzer – Cast Of Characters (Outside In Music): “…one of the most dynamic musicians of the millennial generation. An award-winning composer, arranger, producer, educator and trombonist, Finzer is bringing the joy and power of Jazz to traditional fans and the most modern 21st century audiences. He’s on a mission to be a passionate voice defining the sound of Jazz in this age while also bringing street cred to the trombone with a bold, tight sound…Famed trombonist and mentor Wycliffe Gordon called Finzer “a new voice [in] the pantheon of upcoming trombone greats in the making” and added “Nick’s CD is a glowing example of things to come.” (https://www.nickfinzermusic.com/about) He is also a member of Anat Cohen’s Tentet. The players on this disc are Lucas Pino (reeds), Alex Wintz (guitar), Glenn Zaleski (piano), Dave Baron (bass) and Jimmy MacBride (drums). Click here to catch “A Duke”, one of the songs on this disc.
Ken Fowser – Morning Light (Posi-Tone): “Saxophonist Ken Fowser reflects upon the ephemeral aspects of nature to uncover a series of inspirations hidden in the broken fragments of our cultural existence on his latest release Morning Light. Prepare to be intrigued and delighted, as Fowser unveils a captivating program of new compositions featuring the suitably swinging assistance of his working band featuring Tadataka Unno on piano, Vince Dupont on bass, Joe Strasser on drums and Josh Bruneau on trumpet. Fowser continues to demonstrate a strong and well refined vision for his own music as a leader and composer that is both emotionally engaging and entertaining. With a delicate balance of modernity and classic aesthetics, Morning Light is insightfully straight forward, refreshingly melodic and full of bright moments for the ears of jazz fans everywhere.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137770483-ken-fowser-morning-light-2020.html) Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Guitar Elation – Double Live at Green Lady Lounge (Jazz Daddy): Brian Baggett and Danny Embrey merge their guitars and compositions with organist Ken Lovern (who added two songs of his own) and drummer Todd Strait to put down some wonderful grooves in this live set. “While Guitar Elation is a relatively new band, the members are all music veterans who have worked with each other and a variety of headliners for decades. Danny Embrey’s vast experience includes stints with Sergio Mendes, Clare Fischer, Karrin Allyson, and many other top jazz artists. Todd Strait has toured with Marian McPartland, Eldar, Kevin Mahogany, and Karrin Allyson. Todd has recorded over 100 records including 4 Grammy nominated albums. Todd and Danny have worked together in numerous bands including the highly regarded Interstring. Brian Baggett and Ken Lovern have been working together for over 16 years in the band OJT. Their latest release, New Originals for the Green Lady, spent several weeks in the top 50 Jazz Week charts in early 2019. Todd Strait was the drummer in the formative days of that group, and he is on the first OJT record that was issued in 2005.” (https://guitarelation.com/about-the-band) Though these guys can and often do play at the speed of light, they slow down to a medium swing at times, too. Truly hot! Click here to listen samples of the songs on this release.
Lisa Hilton – Chalkboard Destiny (Self-produced): “Laced with a pulsating West Coast cool energy, the award-winning composer and acclaimed pianist Lisa K. Hiltons’, recordings are imbued with subtle historical references from a wide variety of genres and eras, sounding distinctly twenty-first century and uniquely of her own style. Her compositional inspirations do spring from jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, Horace Silver and Duke Ellington, but they also include her favorite bluesmen, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, touches of minimalism from the likes Steve Reich, rhythmic swatches from modernists such as Prokofiev and Bartok or chords from rockers like The Black Keys or Green Day – they all hold sway in Hilton’s imagination when she composes.” (https://lisahiltonmusic.com/about/) All of the songs are original compositions with styles shifting into different feelings and additional coloring from J.D. Allen (tenor sax), Rudy Royston (drums) and Luques Curtis (bass). This is Hilton’s twenty-fourth release since 1997. Beautiful technique and style throughout. She even covers Joni Mitchell’s “Blue Boy” as an instrumental. Click here to to listen to the songs on this disc.
Lisa Mezzacappa Six – Cosmicomics (Queen Bee): “My latest suite of music for jazz sextet is inspired by Italo Calvino’s nerdy, hilarious, lewd, poignant collection of short stories, the Cosmicomics. I’ve written nine or so pieces inspired by Calvino’s stories that humanize and personify far-out and beautiful phenomena that defy human perception—the expansion of the universe, the origins of the planet, the mysterious relationsihp of the earth to its moon, the evolution of humans and creatures.” (https://www.lisamezzacappa.com/projects_cosmicomics.html) The players are Aaron Bennett (tenor sax), John Finkbeiner (guitar), Mark Clifford (vibes), Tim Perkis (electronics), Lisa Mezzacappa (bass) and Jordan Glenn (drums). Here is a live video of a piece based on “Solar Storms”, a love story about a solar flare who comes to earth to be with her beloved—only to be driven away by an angry mob of villagers, who turn on her because her powerful electromagnetic presence disrupts their TV and radio reception. Click here for a live version of “Solar Storms”, a song on this disc.
Jeremy Pelt – The Art Of Intimacy, Volume 1 (HighNote): “A firebrand trumpeter with a warm tone and deft improvisational style, Jeremy Pelt rose to prominence in the early 2000s playing a sophisticated brand of post-bop jazz. He initially drew praise, and well-earned comparisons to icons like Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan, by issuing a handful of straight-ahead acoustic dates (2002’s Profile and 2008’s November). Over the years, he has matured into a richly nuanced performer with an aesthetic that draws liberally from ’70s fusion, funk, and Latin traditions (as on 2013’s Water and Earth), as well as his own refined modern jazz sensibilities….” (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/jeremy-pelt-mn0000324449/biography) This release is more intimate than most of his earlier releases. Having collaborated with Ron Carter, Pelt has broadened his style and this release is an extension of his growth. Pelt is joined by George Cables (piano) on all but one cut and Peter Washington (bass) on all but two. The result is a beautiful performance across the board. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Win Ponsakorn – Yes, it is! (Cellar Music): “This recording presents a high level performance by a first class group of young and promising musicians. Trumpeter Win Pongsakorn has put together a varied selection of originals and a fresh arrangement of a well-known jazz standard – all performed with elegance, excellent taste and musicality. These four musicians possess not only a great command of their instrument, but also a deep knowledge and respect of the jazz tradition. As a group, they have a keen sense of creativity and interplay. Pianist Matyas Gayer, bassist Milan Nikolic and drummer Oleg Markov form a tight yet flexible rhythm section team, providing comfortable support for the soloist, good dynamics and a great time feel. Master trumpeter Jim Rotondi (who has been Win’s teacher for the last few years) joins the band on a couple of tunes for an added treat. Mr. Win Pongsakorn, with his glowing, dark, yet well-defined tone on trumpet and flugelhorn, is both the leader and the group’s main soloist.” (https://www.importcds.com/yes-it-is-introducing-win-pongsakorn/875531017007) Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
John Sneider – The Scrapper (Cellar Music): “’The Scrapper’, John Sneider’s first album released under his own name in 20 years, finds him re-united with his original band. He’s among friends, doing what he loves: swinging. A lot can change in 20 years, but some things remain constant. For John Sneider, that includes the rhythm section of Larry Goldings on organ, Andy Watson on drums and John Hart on guitar, all of whom appeared on his first record.” (https://www.discovery-records.com/product-ST101087/john-sneider/the-scrapper.htm) He also rounded things out by adding Joel Frahm (tenor sax) and guests Andy Bey (special guest on vocal on Miles Davis “Solar”) and David Sneider (John Sneider’s 20 year old son who composed the closing number “Dinosaur Eggs” and Goldings, Watson and Hart were on Sneider’s first record. This set is tight, delightful, hip and a terrific reunion! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this release.
Jim Snidero – Project-K (Savant): “Over the past thirty-five years, Jim Snidero has come to be known as one of the finest jazz musicians of his generation. As an alto saxophonist, composer, arranger, author and educator, Snidero has been called both a “master musician” and “alto saxophone virtuoso….” He also studied with Dave Liebman and performed with the Mingus Big Band, saxophone icon Frank Wess, and the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra.” (https://www.jimsnidero.com/jim-snidero-bio/) He has released several releases. This release is dedicated to his wife. Snidero is accompanied on the disc by Dave Douglas (trumpet), Orrin Evans (piano), Linda May Han Oh (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums). Do Yeon Kim guests on the song “Jenga” on a traditional Korean zither-like string instrument with 12 strings. This is a solid set from end to end. Click here to listen to “Jenga”, a song on this disc.