New Jazz Adds – 3/5/2019

New Jazz Adds – 3/5/2019

Beegie Adair – Grover’s Hat Project (Self-produced): This disc is dedicated to the late Billy Adair who was a Professor of Music at Blair School at Vanderbilt University and passed away in 2004. His wife Beegie reached out to friends and other musicians to create this disc of songs that Adair and other deceased family members had enjoyed as well. Mrs. Adair also plays piano and sings a bit on this release. Players include Grover’s Hat Band – Beegie Adair, Roger Spence (bass), Chris Brown (drums) and Andy Reiss (guitar) – and guests Vince Gill (vocal, guitar), Carolyn Martin, Delbert McClinton, Connie Smith and Ray Stevens (vocals), Charlie McCoy (harmonica) and many others. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Ralph Alessi – Imaginary Friends (ECM): Composer/trumpet player Ralph Alessi’s last two releases on ECM were quartets, but he shifts back to a quintet format on this release. He is reunited with Ravi Coltrane (tenor sax, sopranino) and the reunion is wonderfully blended and fresh. Andy Milne (piano) dances around the pair and the rhythm section, Drew Gress (bass) and Mark Ferber (drums) creates a terrific foundation. Alessi is responsible for all of the compositions and the overall blend is delightfully unique. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Etienne Charles – Carnival: The Sound Of A People, Volume 1 (Culture Shock): Etienne Charles is a composer, arranger and an Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University who plays trumpet, steel drums and cuarto. Marcus Roberts adds, “..Etienne Charles exhibits both an authentic preservation of the music of his native culture of Trinidad as a composer and bandleader, while broadening our scope of understanding through the collaborative sound of American jazz as it meets new colors, new textures, and new motifs across the world.” ( This appears to be his sixth release as a leader. He plays trumpet and a variety of percussion instruments and composed all of the songs on this disc. The songs were recorded between early 2016 and mid 2017. The result is a terrific blend. Click here and scroll down, then click on “Dame Lorraine” for a short sample.   

Yelena Eckemoff – Colors (L&H): Pianist Yelena Eckemoff continues her prolific offering of piano compositions, with this collection dedicated to piano interpretations of specific colors. She begins with “White” and closes with “Black” while passing through twelve other hues along the way. Eckemoff is accompanied by Manu Katche (drums). The performances are truly beautiful throughout. Anyone who likes piano whether solo or in a larger setting would certainly enjoy this release. Click here to listen to one or more songs on this disc.   

Larry Grenadier – The Gleaners (ECM): Bassist Larry Grenadier offers a dozen solos on double  bass. Seven are originals and the remainder he selected from a medley from John Coltrane and Paul Motian, two short pieces from Wolfgang Muthspiel and George Gershwin’s “My Man’s Gone Now”. So there is variety, but this release will no doubt be of greatest interest to bass fans. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.  

Jake Leckie – The Abode (Outside In Music): Bassist/composer Jake Leckie began building a group including Kenny Warren (trumpet, flugelhorn), Nathan Ellman-Bell (drums) and Sebastien Ammann (piano) to perform on this project, but having completed it, he realized this was a group with great potential as a full-time unit. The band is augmented by guests Caroline Davis (sax), Alexis Morrast (vocal), Daniel Prim (percussion), Andrei Matorin and Tomoko Omura (violins), Ivey Paige (organ) and Brenda Trotter-Workman (tambourine) and they do indeed give a great deal of versatility to the unit. All of the compositions are Leckie’s, but the blend of musicians adds a lot of variety and is quite effective. Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.       

Joe Lovano – Trio Tapestry (ECM): Jazz icon Joe Lovano (tenor sax) continues his amazing career having begun as a bebop player who attended Berklee in 1970 with the goal of learning how to incorporate the jazz excursions played by Coltrane into his own work. Following his time there, he joined Jack McDuff for a few months and then began his outward journey with Dr. Lonnie Smith. Following that, he joined Woody Herman, followed by the Mel Lewis Orchestra with Bob Brookmeyer and also played in other large ensembles with Carla Bley, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra and with Gunther Schuller. By the 80’s, he was playing with Paul Motian which also included Bill Frisell. He joined John Scofield’s quartet in 1989. ( Since that time, he has continued to broaden his own reach. This disc features Lovano in a trio with Marilyn Crispell (piano) and Carmen Castaldi (drums, percussion). The disc is beautifully enticing throughout. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.  

John Medeski – John Medeski’s Mad Skillet (Indirecto): John Medeski (piano, keys) is stirring up something new in his mad skillet with help from Will Bernard (guitar), Kirk Joseph (sousaphone) and Terence Higgins (drums). Medeski wrote three songs, Bernard two, Johnson one and they added two jams from the entire group and their take on Sun Ra’s “The Golden Lady”. It’s a little bit farther out and less funky than many of the earlier sounds we’ve heard  from Medeski, but it is also quite intriguing. Click here to listen to the group’s first release from this disc.  

Jordan Pettay – First Fruit (Outside In Music): Alto and soprano saxophonist Jordan Pettay offers her first release, featuring three original compositions and spanning from John Coltrane’s “Straight Street” and Thom Bell and Linda Creed’s “You Make Me Feel Brand New” to several religious songs which are offered with similar intent. Pettay is a terrific player and she is supported by Christian Sands (piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3), Luke Sellick (bass) and Jimmy MacBride (drums) with the addition of May Jodrell (trumpet) and Joe McDonough (trombone) on two songs. The music swings with delight throughout this release. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.  

Bobby Read – Our Brief Span Of Time (Small World Records): Bobby Read sings! He also plays keys, horns, strings, bass, electric guitar and drums! He does have some guitar support along the way: Brian Mesko (acoustic and electric guitar), Tim Tanner, Randy Johnston, Aaron Evans and Bill Kotapish (electric guitar on various songs), Rusty Speidel (acoustic guitar), and Stuart Gunter drums, (1 song). Read describes this disc as “inspired by the great rock/artrock/pop recordings of the 60’s-90’s, 11 new vocal songs produced in classic style.” Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc. 

Vanessa Rubin – The Dream Is You: Vanessa Rubin Sings Tadd Dameron (Nibur): “Revered as both a torchbearer and a storyteller, jazz vocalist Vanessa Rubin possesses a voice hailed for crystalline clarity, hearth-like warmth and playful lioness sass. The Cleveland native brings a wealth of diverse influences to her vocal performance from both the Trinidadian/Caribbean roots of her mother and traditional jazz by way of her Louisiana-born father.” ( This release celebrates the compositions of Tadd Dameron often with lyrics provided by a variety of writers. The band includes John Cowherd (piano), Kenny Davis (bass), Carl Allen (drums), Eddie Allen (trumpet), Patience Higgins (tenor sax), Bruce Williams (alto sax), Clifton Anderson (trombone) and Alex Harding (bari sax). Rubin is a wonderful vocalist and wherever Dameron is, I’m sure he has a huge smile on his face. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Catherine Russell – Alone Together (Dot Time): Catherine Russell, sassy and sweet singer, has dedicated this release largely to the blues and jazz of the late thirties and forties. She has the class, the sass and the style to handle this era just wonderfully. The songs include Louis Jordan’s “Early In The Morning” and “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby”, makes Cecil Gant’s “I Wonder” a solid blues ballad, tackles several of Tin Pan Alley’s finest and makes “You’re Not The Only Oyster In The Stew” completely her own. Russell is backed by Matt Munisteri (guitar), Mark Shane (piano), Tal Ronen (bass), and Mark McLean (drums) with Jon-Erik Kellso (trumpet), John Allred (trombone), and Evan Arntzen (tenor sax) adding the horns on seven songs and Dana Lyn (violin), Eddy Malave (viola) and Marika Hughes (cello) pulling strings on one song. Just enough blues and sass! Click here to check out the title song.    


Professor Bebop

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