New Jazz News – 6/15/2021
Dave Bass – The Trio, Vol. 1 (Self-produced): “This Cincinnati Kid attended Berklee, studied with the legendary Madame Chaloff gleaning an exquisite touch on piano and an appreciation for the spirituality of music. He also opened for Captain Beefheart, studied composition with George Russell, and toured the world with Brenda Lee—all before he was 26! A wrist injury took him out of music and put him in the world of law where he became a Deputy Attorney General working for Kamala Harris…. Pianist Dave Bass says, “On my first three CD’s I was lucky to have jazz greats like Phil Woods, Ted Nash, Ernie Watts and Ignacio Berroa record my instrumental compositions and stunning stylists like Mary Stallings and Karrin Allyson record my lyrics. Now, however, it’s time to enter the demanding and revealing world of the piano trio. In addition to five new originals (which include my love affair with the Afro-Cuban tradition), I’ve chosen music associated with, or composed by, Bud Powell, Paul Bley, Andrew Hill, and Thelonious Monk. Inspired by Bud Powell’s tribute, I’ve also composed my own tribute to perhaps the greatest musician I’ve encountered: J.S. Bach. I’m lucky to have found kindred spirits in Kerry Kashiwagi and Scott Gordon who not only enjoy exploring this wide variety of music with me but excel at three-way communication within that variety. We three travel from Bach to Be-Bop to Free Jazz!” (https://news.allaboutjazz.com/the-trio-vol-1-is-the-unique-and-captivating-new-release-by-pianist-composer-dave-bass) Bass is absolutely dazzling whether playing his original material or covers like Bud Powell’s Un Poco Loco, Andrew Hill’s The Griots or Carla Bley’s “Vashkar”. Kerry Kashiwagi (bass) and Scott Gordon (drums) are a terrific rhythm section. I regret I am unable to find a sample from this release.
Matt Booth & Palindromes – Mythomania (earsandeyes): ““Mythomania” is the second release from New Orleans-based quartet Matt Booth & Palindromes. A premier ensemble in the city’s fruitful scene of creative improvised music, the band presents original music and a unique ensemble sound that pushes at the boundaries of what is generally accepted as “New Orleans music”. Helmed by bassist Matt Booth, Palindromes also features top sidemen from the city: saxophonist Brad Walker, guitarist Chris Alford, and drummer Doug Garrison. “Mythomania” features four of Booth’s own compositions and three unlikely covers (Egberto Gismonti, Melvin Gibbs, Dirty Projectors), offering an alternative take on contemporary jazz in the 21st century. Recorded in late 2019 in the state-of-the-art concert hall at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, “Mythomania” finds the ensemble assured and interconnected, with three years of growth following their debut self-titled recording (Breakfast for Dinner Records, 2016). The music on “Mythomania” conveys a desire of Booth’s to cover a wide scope of ground, both emotionally and stylistically. There are pockets of brooding, intense free improvisation, spacious and expansive aural meditations, earnest ballad lyricism, and an overall embrace of feels familiar to jazz and rock at large.” (https://mattboothmusic.bandcamp.com/album/mythomania) Click here to listen to samples of two songs on this release.
George Cables – Too Close For Comfort (HighNote): “Whether leading his own solid recordings or working for more illustrious jazz performers, the seventy-six-year-old pianist George Cables has spent the past six decades perfecting a forthright, unpretentious style that seems to swing of its own accord. His new trio album, “Too Close for Comfort,” holds few surprises, but you don’t go to a trusted craftsman like him for novelty or innovation. Cables traffics in the pleasures of musical security: the knowledge that he’ll pull off every gambit that he aims for. His second-sight connection with the bassist Essiet Essiet and the veteran drummer Victor Lewis allows Cables to exhibit his polished mainstream chops cocooned in an assured unity of purpose. The standards gleam; the dexterous originals invite repeated listenings. Experience—the gift that keeps on giving—wins out again.” (Steve Futterman) Click here to listen to “Too Close for Comfort”.
Joe Finn – As Luck Would Have It (Self-produced): “Born in Hartford Connecticut, the son of an amateur pianist and composer, guitarist Joe Finn was surrounded by music from the very first. By age ten he was playing his first guitar and giving lessons to kids in the neighborhood. After high school he got a Bachelor’s Degree in Music at Plattsburgh State and had the good fortune to play and study with Roy Burns, James Spaulding, Jim Miller, Billy Hawkins and Kirk Nurock. After college he spent ten years traveling the United States and Canada playing the guitar in a wide variety of situations. Finn has now settled in upstate New York where he concentrates on local performances and teaching. He has been featured in various festival and concert settings for several years since the release of his initial CD as a leader in 1991. The album entitled Straight Ahead received critical acclaim as well as extensive national airplay. His quartet’s subsequent appearance on the BET network’s Jazz Discovery Showcase won their 1998 award in the jazz instrumental category. Five more independent CD releases Guitar Signatures and Duets , Blue Tomorrow,Destiny Blue, String Theory and 2019’s Generational Dynamics have helped to establish Joe’s reputation as a one of today’s top players.” (https://joefinn.net/) Click here to listen to samples of all of the songs on this disc.
Behn Gillece – Still Doing Our Thing (Posi-Tone): “While to many eyes and ears the pandemic-era jazz scene appears to be darkened or shut down, Posi-Tone is here to assure listeners that we are “Still Doing Our Thing.” Breaking the sound barrier with an inspired sense of purpose, rising star vibraphonist Behn Gillece leads his worthy constituents on an exciting quartet date of brilliant performances. The band features veterans pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Rudy Royston. From the opening salvo to the last hurrah, the musical program remains melodically straight forward, elegantly lyrical and clearly suggestive of a modern jazz sensibility with hard-swinging highlights. Featuring an amazing combination of talents and an evocative collection of original compositions, “Still Doing Our Thing” is engagingly entertaining throughout and certain to deliver bright moments of intense delight to jazz fans everywhere.” Nicole Glover adds knockout tenor sax on “Event Horizon”. Click here to listen to the songs on this release.
Bruce Harris – Soundview (Cellar 20 Music): “Bronx-born trumpeter and composer Bruce Harris’ love for music began in his home where the sounds of his grandfather’s alto saxophone and New York’s storied musical traditions of bebop and hip-hop consumed him. Inspired by acclaimed director Spike Lee’s “Mo Better Blues,” Harris became enamored with the trumpet and kicked off a lifelong musical journey. Heavily influenced by Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown and Dizzy Gillespie, Harris performed in the “Essentially Ellington” jazz band competition as a high school junior, earning the opportunity to play alongside Wynton Marsalis. Harris went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree and Masters Degree in Jazz Performance at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, where he was mentored by trumpet virtuoso, Jon Faddis. Bruce Harris’s professional career as a performer has been defined by his infectious joy, undeniable passion and youthful energy. His chops were honed in many of New York’s premier music venues and jazz clubs such as Smalls, Smoke Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Ginny’s Supper Club, Minton’s, Rockwood Music Hall, among others. Harris has made appearances on CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. In addition, he has appeared alongside a long list of legendary performers, including Wynton Marsalis & the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Dave Brubeck, Billy Taylor, The Count Basie Orchestra, Michael Feinstein, Barry Harris, Roy Hargrove, and Tony Bennett. In 2013, for Ebony Magazine, Wynton Marsalis highlighted Bruce as one of the five important young jazz musicians you should know.” (https://lydialiebman.com/index.php/2021/05/12/new-release-bruce-harris-soundview-due-out-june-4-2021-via-cellar-music-group/) In addition to Harris’ solid trumpet, backup players are Sullivan Fortner (piano), David Wong (bass), Aaron Kimmel (drums) and vocalist Samara McClendon who joins in on two songs. The sound is uptown from end to end. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this release.
Clifford Lamb – Blues & Hues / New Orleans (WeberWorks): “Following the success of his previous live, two track recording, Blues & Hues, San Francisco pianist Clifford Lamb again teams up with producer Jeff Weber to pursue their concept of the jazz “mashup”—the process in which a Lamb composition is stirred into an existing jazz work to offer a new perspective on history and culture. This time, they took their show on the road —despite COVID-19 restrictions—to record in New Orleans, the storied birthplace of jazz, whose gritty majesty and bayou mystery have inspired Lamb for years. Lamb has used the mashup concept as a way of telescoping history in order to offer musical commentary on societal issues. Now, he says “This has evolved to embrace the elements of an individual city, from love to racism to the cultural events that define it—and in this case, the chance to also consider what happened to the people who migrated there, particularly Africans from different lands who, centuries ago, converged on New Orleans, a distant land they did not understand.” On this first in a series of planned geo-musical explorations by Lamb, NOLA provides not only the backdrop but also the starring players, including such vaunted Crescent Citizens as trumpeter Nicholas Payton, drummer Herlin Riley, bassist Roland Guerin and saxophonist (and Mardi Gras Big Chief) Donald Harrison. This recording took place in October 2020 (released May 4, 2021), when “the cacophony of blues emanating from the juke joints and piano trios” (in Lamb’s words) had calmed to a hush due to the pandemic. Working with musicians who constitute the city’s heart and soul, however, Lamb was able to revive those sounds, and with the immediacy of a live, two track recording strategy, to then recast those very sounds into a memorable statement, not only of the then and there, but also of the here and now.” (https://news.allaboutjazz.com/pianist-clifford-lambs-blues-and-hues-new-orleans-features-nicholas-payton-herlin-riley-donald-harrison-roland-guerin-and-more) Click here to listen to a song from this release.
Mike LeDonne – It’s All Your Fault (Savant): “Mike LeDonne belongs to an elite group of musicians – those who have mastered the piano AND the organ while creating original voices for each. However, here on IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT, LeDonne sits down at the organ, puts his foot on the pedals and lays down some of the hippest organ licks you’re likely to hear. Two groups are featured on this recording. Mike LeDonne’s Groover Quartet has had the rare opportunity to play and record together for twenty years and counting. They had no difficulty integrating their sound into this all-star big band put together by Mike and his preferred arranger and conductor, Dennis Mackrel. Recorded in the famed Van Gelder Studio and actually using the original Hammond C-3 organ that Jimmy Smith et al. used for their recordings, the music within this recording is adventurous. It’s a continuation of the groove that was established years ago by organists interacting with big bands and it reveals to us the Blues, the Rhythm & Blues and the Jazz that Mike heard coming up through the jazz ranks.” (https://soundcloud.com/highnote-savant-records/rock-with-you-from-mike-ledonnes-its-all-your-fault-savant-records) Click here to listen to “Rock With You” with LeDonne burning up the keys and the Big Band catching the groove all over the place!
Matt Niess & The Capitol Bones – The Beat Goes On (Summit): “The long awaited fourth release has finally arrived!…featuring some of the best jazz players in the Nation’s Capitol! Matt Niess is a Washington, DC based cross-over trombonist who served in The U.S. Army Band (Pershing’s Own) for 30 years. He was a member of The Army Blues Jazz Ensemble and The US Army Brass Quintet. Here, he has joined forces with some of the best jazz performers and writers in the Nation’s capital to showcase the awesome power and musical range of this incredible ensemble. To hear this group live is to hear something truly special. The musicality and technical expertise is incredible. “The Beat Goes On” puts this all on display. The level of musical maturity and seasoning mixes perfectly with the collective love of the artform. This is an album for serious listeners. The music will challenge and energize lifelong fans of the group, as well as those who hear them for the first time.” (https://www.summitrecords.com/release/the-beat-goes-on-matt-niess-and-the-capitol-bones/) The players are Matt Niess, Jim McFalls, Jay Gibble, Zach Niess (Tenor Trombones), Matt Neff, Jerry Amoury, Jeff Cortazzo (Bass Trombones), Tony Nalker (piano), Shawn Purcell, Jim Roberts (Guitar), Paul Henry (bass) and Todd Baldwin (drums). Click here for a sample version of “Yesterday”, a song that is on the new disc.
Luke Carlos O’Reilly – I Too Sing America: A Black Mans Diary (Imani): “My intention with this album is to convey the pain, the hurt and heartache that one goes through as a black man or woman living in America today. We are all too familiar with news stories of black individuals that have been verbally, emotionally and physically abused by the police. This physical abuse too often leads to an unwarranted death. The tragedy continues when those who are responsible are left unpunished, leaving families and communities without justice. My hope is that this music reminds us all that black lives really do matter.” (https://lukecarlosoreilly.bandcamp.com/album/i-too-sing-america-a-black-mans-diary) The performers are Luke Carlos O’Reilly (Piano/Rhodes/Organ), Nimrod Elab Speaks (Acoustic Bass), Anwar Marshall (Drums), Chris McBride (Alto Sax/Tamborine (1,3,5,8,10,12,13)), Caleb Wheeler Curtis (Alto Sax (2,6,7,9,11)), Stacy Dillard (Soprano Sax (4), Lee Hogans (Trumpet/Flugelhorn (1,3,5,8,10,12,13), Josh Evans (Trumpet (2,6,7,9,11), Corey Wallace (Trombone (1,5,12,13), David Gibson (Trombone (6,7,9,11), Shenel Johns (Lyrics/Vocals (6), Irv Washington (Additional Keys (6) and Khemist (Lyrics (6). Click here to listen to two songs from from this release.
Alexa Tarantino – Firefly (PosiTone): “Alexa Tarantino burns bright with a scintillating maturity of insight and takes flight on Firefly, her third release for Posi-Tone Records. Driven on by the Winds Of Change to refine the Clarity of her artistic vision, Tarantino reaches inward to transform herself into the luminous “Firefly” and searches to discover the unifying spark of eternity hidden behind each individual moment in time. Supported on the album by familiar collaborators, including vibraphonist Behn Gillece, pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Boris Kozlov, and drummer Rudy Royston, Alexa leads her group by example and sparkles with melodic inspiration throughout. The centerpiece of the album is Alexa’s evocative Moment in Time suite which clearly demonstrates her advancement as a composer and showcases the wide range of her effortless multi-instrument virtuosity. With an engaging program of original compositions and a few tasty covers, Firefly presents the world with a musical message that shines brightly into the darkness to provide a much-needed message of wonder, poise, joy, and hope.” (https://alexatarantino.com/discography/firefly/) The players are absolutely sensational throughout as Tarantino soars to the lead. Click here to listen to “The Firefly Code” from this fantastic release.
Denny Zeitlin & George Marsh – Telepathy (Sunnyside): “True improvisers always seek new avenues and vehicles to inspire themselves in their art. Keyboard master Denny Zeitlin and percussion guru George Marsh have continued to push their musical dialogs to near telepathic levels utilizing their long-honed rapport and technological advancements to propel their music into new, enlivening places. Their new recording, Telepathy, continues their journey into the endless world of improvisation. The Bay Area based Zeitlin and Marsh have worked alongside of each other since the 1960s. Together, they have explored the farthest reaches of numerous musical styles, from jazz and classical to rock, electronics and free improvisation. These decades of working together have cemented a bond and musical language that is unbreakable, but also one that continues to evolve. Since 2013, the two artists have met regularly at Zeitlin’s Double Helix Studio at his home. The meetings happen every two to three months and are always recorded for posterity. The studio houses percussion and drum set along with Zeitlin’s Steinway piano, and an astonishing array of keyboards, computers, monitors, pedals, breath controllers and electronics. Marsh typically plays acoustically on percussion and drums. Zeitlin plays all keyboards, acoustic and electric. The system is set up for maximum flexibility in real time…. Lifelong partners in exploration, Denny Zeitlin and George Marsh feel that Telepathy is the best representation of their unique musical bond and unbounded enthusiasm for creation. Click here to sample the song “Moon Flower” from this release.