New Jazz Adds – 5/25/2021
Keith Brown Trio – African Ripples (Space Time): “Space Time Records is proud to announce the May 20, 2021 release of African Ripples, the long-awaited new album by multi-faceted pianist, composer and arranger Keith Brown. The pianist’s third album as a leader, African Ripples introduces a new iteration of the Keith Brown trio now anchored by bassist Dezron Douglas and rotating drummers Darrell Green and Terron “Tank” Gully. Augmenting the mix is an abundance of notable special guests including trumpeter Russell Gunn, saxophonist Anthony Ware, vocalist Melanie Charles, vocalist Camille Thurman, vocalist Tamara Brown, spoken word artist Cyrus Aaron, and percussionist Nêgah Santos. After appearing on a number of universally acclaimed jazz recordings last year, including those by Jazzmeia Horn, Charles Tolliver, and Gregory Tardy, Keith Brown fulfills a long-held artistic vision on African Ripples. “The music of African Ripples was composed and collected to convey my personal experiences through Black music and how it has rippled out in so many different directions,” says Brown. “These ripples serve to bring to light our different relationships and connections and different variations of the same impactful shared experiences. This music has always been an extension of how we express ourselves within these relationships.” (https://lydialiebman.com/index.php/2021/04/13/new-release-keith-brown-trios-african-ripples-out-may-20-2021-via-space-time-records/) Brown is a dynamic pianist with wonderful range of styles. Click here for a sample from this release.
Dave Douglas – The Dream: Monash Sessions (Greenleaf): “I’m very grateful to Paul Williamson, Robert Burke, Jordan Murray, Johannes Luebbers and the SZCSoM for instigating the invitation to compose and record this music with these fine musicians. In looking for an Australian connection to inspire the work, I stumbled on the prose and poetry of Kevin Gilbert. His connection to land, to people, ancestors, and to love, moved me deeply. The imagery in his work, and as I later found out, his graphic artwork, felt keenly attuned to sound and musical expression. Each piece was inspired by one of his works and, with deep respect and feeling, we crafted a lyric and an improvisational content in collaboration. All the players here are excellent, and in each round of recording and production, these pieces became finely honed and sharp edged gems…. Composed by acclaimed American composer and jazz trumpeter, Dave Douglas, The Dream was inspired by the poetry of First Nations author, activist, artist, playwright and printmaker, Kevin Gilbert (1933–1993). It features Douglas alongside the outstanding jazz and improvisation musicians from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music (SZCSoM), Monash University (Melbourne, Australia).(https://davedouglas.bandcamp.com/album/the-dream-monash-sessions) Click here to listen to two songs from this release.
Dave Douglas – Overcome (Greenleaf): “The project began in discussions with Ryan Keberle about what more we could do to address the changes towards justice we both see as crucial to our country and our society. Racial justice. Climate justice. Voting justice. Gender justice. Scientific justice. And now the push for science to begin to push back the virus so we can all gather together again. We decided we could make music devoted to civic engagement and speaking out on these issues. And in an election year, we saw the band touring in swing states around the country. Without any touring, those plans changed. But I was determined to follow through on the creative vision for the project and began writing in earnest in April 2020. The first thing that came naturally to the project was my arrangement of We Shall Overcome. We’ve been singing that for years and felt like with two vocalists like Fay and Camila, we could make a new unique version of the piece. Camila chose the verse, “We Are Not Afraid,” from among several available. It’s so strong. Then I began writing the original pieces. The word “Overcome” started to take on new resonances through the depth of feeling and resilience during this time of isolation. We began the process of recording in July 2020, and passed files back and forth over the next few months. Once complete, it was hard for any of us to imagine we had not been in the same room when this music was made. I am so grateful to Jorge, Rudy, Ryan, Fay and Camila for helping me pull this off. I’m all grateful to Tyler McDiarmid for helping us out with engineering throughout the whole process. We are Overcome. We Shall Overcome. Enjoy.” (https://davedouglas.bandcamp.com/album/overcome) Click here to listen to “We Shall Overcome”
Ensemble Novo – This Is Ensemble Novo! (Frosty Cordial): “Ensemble Novo is a Philadelphia-based six piece band inspired by the music of Brazil. It appears to be the group’s fourth release. The players include Ryan MvNeely (guitar, cavaquinho), Behn Gillece (vibes), Tom Moon (tenor sax, flute), Mark Przybyloswski (bass) and Jim Hamilton (percussion). Three of the five songs are by Antonio Carlos Jobim and the group is a solid group. Smooth and in the groove! Click here to listen to a song from this release.
Phill Fest – Cafe Fon Fon – (self-produced): “While there is no sure cure for the blues, a large dose of Brazilian music often comes about as close to driving the dark clouds away as any remedy a physician is likely to prescribe. It is hard to listen to an album such as guitarist-composer Phill Fest’s sunny Café Fon Fon without smiling and tapping your toes as misery and sadness bid their goodbyes. Who could resist the urge to grin while listening, for example, to his rhythmic salute to an “Avocado”? Fest sings on that tune, as he does on several others, and is quite good at that too, as is Beatriz Mainic who makes it a twosome on “Each and Every Week,” “O Barquinho” and “Ele e Carioca.” The carioca is delightful, but no more so than the samba or bossa, each of which is used to good effect on various songs. Whatever the rhythm, Fest and his ensemble (basically a sextet plus Mainic) are bright and able, even blending in some North American-style jazz from time to time, as exemplified by saxophonist Pablo Gil and (on “Bossa no Choro”) by guest pianist Antonio Adolfo. “Choro” was written by Phill Fest’s late father, the renowned Brazilian-born pianist and composer Manfredo Fest. Phill wrote the jazz samba “Isabel” for his wife, also “Avocado,” the carefree “Smile on Your Face” and the irrepressible “Each and Every Week.” Betty Krieger, proprietress of the Café Fon Fon (yes, it really is a jazz club) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, composed the gently swinging “Para Lili Fest” for Phill’s mother, giving Phill a chance to solo spaciously on guitar, as do Gil on flute and pianist Robert Prester. Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote the easy-going “Ele e Carioca,” another of Fest and Mainic’s charming duets. The rhythm section, which sparkles throughout, consists of Prester, bassist Paul Shewchuk, drummer Michael Brothers and percussionist Tuti Rodrigues.” (https://www.allaboutjazz.com/cafe-fon-fon-phill-fest-self-produced) Click here to listen to samples from the songs on this disc.
Ray Gallon – Make Your Move (Cellar Live): “A NYC-native, pianist Ray Gallon has been a mainstay on the jazz scene for over thirty years. Rooted in bebop and blues, his expressive, swingin’ playing melds old and new into a fresh, original style. As a young player, Ray was taken under the wing of piano giants John Lewis, Hank Jones, and Jaki Byard. He has performed at major jazz festivals and venues around the world with such luminaries as Ron Carter, Lionel Hampton, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, George Adams, Les Paul, and Wycliffe Gordon. Ray has appeared at the White House and the Kennedy Center, sharing the stage with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Sweets Edison, and Joe Williams. An in-demand accompanist, he has worked with many vocal greats, including Jon Hendricks, Sheila Jordan, Dakota Staton, Gloria Lynne, Jane Monheit and Chaka Khan. Ray’s inventive compositions have been recorded by acclaimed artists T.S. Monk and George Adams. His upcoming trio album, Make Your Move, features the stellar rhythm section of David Wong and Kenny Washington. Ray is a full-time faculty member of the jazz program at The City College of NY in Harlem and the Vermont Jazz Center’s summer workshops and has taught at Juilliard and The New School.” (https://raygallon.com/bio-short) Click here to listen to samples of this very hip set.
Hustle Souls – Daydream Hotel (Self-produced): “Hustle Souls is an Asheville, NC based 4-piece who blend dust-covered-vinyl soul nostalgia with modern sensibility.; recently named one of “Music Connections” Hot 100 Live Unsigned Artists & Bands. Driven by a lust for songwriting, the band’s fervid live performance is heightened by undeniable instrumental prowess and 3 part vocal harmony. With relentless touring, sold out shows and major festival appearances the band has earned a reputation as one of the East Coast’s most promising acts.” (http://www.hustlesouls.com/epk.html) Their vocal and musical blend is immediately unique but with strands of music marching New Orleans and Blood, Sweat and Tears blended with jive and rock and soul. They’ll also be performing in Constitution Park on June 10. Click here to listen to songs from this disc.
Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints – Other Worlds (Greenleaf): “The third full length album by Sound Prints, co-led by Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas, includes ten new compositions by the co-leaders and features Lawrence Fields, Linda May Han Oh and Joey Baron. “Saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas debuted their extraordinary Sound Prints quintet on Blue Note Records in 2013, the year of Wayne Shorter’s 80th birthday, and from the outset the group had a joyful but somewhat imposing mandate: to lift up Shorter’s legacy through the writing and performance of new music conceived in his risk-taking, fearlessly inventive spirit. Supported by a powerful multi-generational lineup of pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Joey Baron, the group debuted with Sound Prints: Live at Monterey Jazz Festival, which included world-premiere performances of two brand-new Shorter pieces. Scandal, the group’s 2018 follow-up on Greenleaf Music, featured the same personnel on a new book of Lovano and Douglas originals as well as fresh arrangements of “JuJu” and “Fee Fi Fo Fum,” two Blue Note-era Shorter classics. With Other Worlds, recorded just days after a triumphant weeklong run at the Village Vanguard in January 2020, the Sound Prints quintet achieves another first, a full album of original compositions. But while no Shorter tunes appear, Shorter’s far-sighted philosophic vision of modern jazz animates these great players in every measure. “Wayne inspires us to think about our place in the universe,” Douglas maintains. “You can’t divorce that from the music.” Almost every track on Other Worlds is a first take, thanks in no small part to the bandstand chemistry that Sound Prints achieved in set after set at the Vanguard. “Everybody brought their own self but also their Sound Prints self,” Douglas says. “We played a different set list every night, every set, because the order you play things in has a big influence on how they develop. So each night, different tunes would bump up against different tunes. We really figured out the dynamics of the whole thing, and by the time we got to the studio, we knew.” “The way Dave and I set up together,” adds Lovano, “the way we’d play the themes and improvise together and trade, we were right there next to each other, so we were feeling what each other was playing. Dave and Joey and I have a deep history playing together: I go back to the ’70s with Joey, and the ’80s with Dave.” Douglas adds: “Joey was on all my sextet records, and then of course he and I were in John Zorn’s Masada for many years together.” Oh, who came onto Douglas’ radar as a student at Banff, has logged many hours in Douglas ’ quintet (not to mention Pat Metheny, Kenny Barron, Fabian Almazan and Vijay Iyer, among many others). Lovano encountered Fields as a student at Berklee; he’s since done high-profile work with Nicholas Payton, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Jeff “Tain” Watts and more. “The whole concept of the band is dialogue and interaction,” Douglas notes. “And when you play that way, nobody can retreat into the role of their instrument. Everybody’s playing everything, all the time. Some pieces don’t have any chords, others have a lot of chords, and so you look for the piano to provide a balance so it’s not all one thing or the other. Both the free context and the chordal context have the same level of dialogue and conversation. Something new with this book is that we’re writing specifically for that chemistry, whereas in the beginning we were sort of imagining it, letting it unfold.” (https://soundprints.bandcamp.com/album/other-worlds) Click here to listen to samples of some of the performances on this disc.
Jeremy Monteiro – Jay Anderson – Lewis Nash – Live At No Black Tie / Kuala Lumpur (Jazznote): “Forty-five albums in as many years represents remarkable consistency from pianist Jeremy Monteiro—Singapore’s King of Swing. It is worth recounting that Monteiro has played with the likes of Charlie Haden, Benny Golson, Toots Thielemans, Cassandra Wilson, both Michael Brecker and Randy Brecker, James Moody, Eldee Young and, for over thirty years, with Ernie Watts. Oh yes, Monteiro can swing alright, as this live recording in the stellar company of Jay Anderson and Lewis Nash amply demonstrates…. The full line-up includes Jeremy Monteiro (piano); Jay Anderson (bass); Lewis Nash (drums); Jeremy Monteiro (piano); Jay Anderson (bass);and Lewis Nash (drums). This is a dazzling performance from that will keep your smiles and ears loving every note. Click here to listen to segments of the songs on this release.
Nicki Parrott – If You Could Read My Mind (Arbors): “Celebrated as an instrumentalist and a vocalist, Australian artist Nicki Parrott has earned acclaim as one of the most engaging talents to emerge on the jazz scene in the 21st century. Born in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia in 1970, Parrott had a precocious talent for music, first learning to play the piano when she was four years old. She would become proficient on piano and flute, but when her sister Lisa, who plays saxophone, was looking for a bassist for her jazz combo, Nicki took up the double bass, and fell in love with the instrument…. In 2000, Parrott landed an especially prestigious gig — she became bassist with Les Paul’s combo for the legendary guitarist’s weekly performances at the Manhattan jazz spot Iridium. Paul became her mentor, and encouraged her as a vocalist as well as a bassist. At this point, Parrott has recorded roughly 30 releases and continues to balance her love for bass and vocals. This release offers songs ranging from “I Can See Clearly Now” to “Jolene” and across pop and standards with Parrott’s slant and style. Click here to listen to the title song.
John Pizzarelli – Better Days Ahead: Solo Takes On Pat Metheny (Ghostlight): “World-renowned jazz guitarist, singer and recent Grammy Award-winning producer John Pizzarelli takes on the songs of Pat Metheny in his new album “Better Days Ahead”. Having loved the recordings of the Pat Metheny Group since his teenage years, Pizzarelli welcomed the challenge of diving deep into Metheny’s cannon of dense, moving material and deconstructing Pat Metheny’s group arrangements on his seven-string guitar. “To say it was flattering to have John address these tunes is an understatement. I had no idea that it was all leading to this excellent solo guitar recording of my tunes” says Methany.” (https://www.ghostlightrecords.com/john-pizzarelli-better-days-ahead.html) Beautiful throughout! Click here to listen to the opening song on this disc.
Mareike Wiening – Live At Bird’s Eye Basel (Greeley): “This live set was recorded in Switzerland during a European tour supporting the release of Mareike Wiening’s debut album, ‘Metropolis Paradise.’ All of the pieces are Mareike’s original compositions, and they are performed by her great band, which has logged some considerable time on the road.” All compositions and arrangements by Mareike Wiening, who is the drummer. The other players are Rich Perry (tenor sax), Glenn Zaleski (piano), Alex Goodman (guitar) and Johannes Felscher (bass). Solid performances that will keep you in the groove. Click here to catch “Metropolis Paradise” from this release.