New Jazz Adds – 6/23/2020
Jesse Davis Quintet – Live At Smalls (SmallsLIVE): “Jesse Davis has a classic tone that will remind you of the best and beautiful days of bebop. With Live At Smalls you get a feeling of a classic jazz performance. This live performance from 2011 features great interaction between Davis (alto sax) and Ryan Kisor (trumpet); Davis sounds bold and his quintet have an urgency that makes this live date extremely exciting and romantic. A great session filled with lengthy selections and is a perfect introduction to a great performer.” (https://hdmusic.me/jesse-davis-quintet-live-at-smalls-20122013-official-digital-download-24bit88-2khz/) The remaining players are Spike Wilner (piano), Peter Washington (bass) and Billy Drummond (drums). Davis played in New York in the 80s and early 90s and then returned to New Orleans, his home. This set is straight ahead bebop in all of its glory! Three of the songs are Davis’ originals and the remaining pair are “I’ll Close My Eyes” (Kaye-Reid) and “Body & Soul” (Heyman-Green). Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Steve Davis Quintet – Live At Smalls (SmallsLIVE): “Steve is one of the greatest Trombone Players in the world!” (Freddie Hubbard) This disc was recorded at “Smalls” in 2009 and if you weren’t enticed by the introduction from Mr. Hubbard, take a listen to this live recording! The songs range from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Surrey With The Fringe on Top” and Eden Ahbez’ “Nature Boy” to Billy Strayhorn’s “Daydream” with two originals from Davis and pianist Larry Willis’ “To Wisdom The Prize”. The other players are Mike DiRubbo (alto sax), Gerald Cannon (bass) and Willie Jones III (drums). Solid all around! Click here to listen to samples of two songs from this recording.
Orrin Evans – The Intangible Between (Smoke Sessions): “If it takes a village to raise a child, as the proverb says, then it certainly takes at least that much to nurture a big band. Pianist and bandleader Orrin Evans has long used “The Village” to refer not only to his family-like cohort of fellow musicians in the Captain Black Big Band, but also to the extended family of fans, supporters and inspirations that have carried the ensemble to a Grammy nomination and its status as one of the most thrilling and revered ensembles in modern jazz. Featuring both taut, keenly focused ensemble playing and raucous, spirited soloing, The Intangible Between reflects the ever-growing chemistry of the core ensemble while celebrating bandleader Evans’ open-door policy toward collaborators new and old.” (https://smokesessionsrecords.com/shop/albums/the-intangible-between-feat-the-captain-black-big-band/) In Evans’ words, “This record is just about going for it, taking those projects you’ve been dreaming about and just making them happen,” he says. “The industry constantly tells you to wait, but for how long? Why not just do it now?” The results are something new while at times being somewhat timeless. Evans honors each aspect. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
John Finbury – Quatro (Green Flash Music): “John Finbury’s new album “QUATRO” premieres new music with broad Latin American and Spanish influences, mixed and matched in an unorthodox fashion. Alternating vocal and instrumental tracks, the album was produced by Latin Grammy winner Emilio D. Miler, and features Magos Herrera on vocals, Chano Domínguez on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Antonio Sánchez on drums. Recorded over two sessions in New York in 2019, “Quatro” is both a celebration of cultural diversity and immigration, and a condemnation of those who seek restriction based upon prejudice. Though written and recorded before the world was stunned by a pandemic that has hindered our ability to gather and celebrate, “Quatro” presents a musical meeting place that strives to bridge that distance, and convey the certainty that we are better together.” (https://www.greenflashmusic.com/quatro/) The beauty of the musical and vocal performances will sweep you away! Click here to listen to the songs on this release.
Joel Frahm Quartet – Live At Smalls (SmallsLIVE): Reaching back to 2011 for a live gig at Smalls, Joel Frahm (tenor sax) and his colleagues Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Joe Martin (bass) and Otis Brown III (drums) surely wowed the audiences with their sweet flow and interactions. Frahm’s tenor flowed like honey, while Rosenwinkel tore the guitar up with wonderful tones and flow! The rhythm section kept center right where it needed to be. The set offers Billy Strayhorn’s “Chelsea Bridge” and Charlie Parker’s “Steeplechase” and five originals from Joel Frahm. Extra special kudos to Kurt Rosenwinkel’s amazing guitar playing. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Gordon Grdina’s The Marrow – Safar-E-Daroon (Songlines): “Here is the second release by The Marrow, Grdina’s Vancouver/New York project adapting Arabic and Persian forms to a jazz approach and ethos. For Grdina there is nothing exotic in this endeavor – he’s been playing oud since he was a teenager and first recorded with it on his Songlines debut, Think Like the Waves (2006); his Arabic/jazz 10-piece, Haram, debuted in 2008 and released Her Eyes Illuminate in 2012. Haram is at heart an extravert Vancouver party band filled with avant-jazz improvisers playing the heck out of old-time Arabic pop and folk tunes; The Marrow explores a deeper level of expressive fusion between worlds by means of original compositions (some more or less rooted in tradition, others more fluid in the influences they stir together and the emotions they evoke) and performers whose intuitive grasp of the material and group dynamics is very finely honed. As Grdina notes, “This recording carries on the development of the ensemble from where Ejdeha left off. The group is defining its own aesthetic, combining aspects of the Persian dastgah and Arabic maqam systems with free improvisation and harmonic fluidity. The band is dedicated to creating modern music that pays homage to tradition while championing personal expression. The title Safar-e-daroon means ‘inner journey.’ The group as a whole and each of the individual musicians are searching inward to best express their own experience of life, love and sorrow. We hope this music will help the listener on their own Safar-e-daroon.” (https://gordongrdina.bandcamp.com/album/safar-e-daroon) The players are Gordon Grdina (oud), Josh Zubot (violin ), Hank Roberts (cello), Mark Helias (bass) and Hamin Honari (tombak, daf, frame drum). Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Rajiv Jayaweera – Pistils (Outside In Music): “Rajiv Jayaweera is truly a global citizen, a fact that permeates and weaves its way into his playing and composing. He was born in London, grew up in Melbourne, is of Sri Lankan heritage and is currently based in New York City. He completed his Bachelor of Music at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2000, and Masters in Jazz Studies at SUNY Purchase, New York in 2013…. In Australia he was a highly sought after drummer, touring and recording with the country’s finest musicians….” (http://www.rajivjayaweera.com/about/) This is Jayaweera’s first release as a leader. The album features Chris Cheek (sax), Aaron Parks (piano), Hugh Stuckey (guitar), Sam Anning (bass) and Lara Bello (vocalist). Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Brian Landrus – For Now (BlueLand): “For Now has a baseline quartet of Landrus (bari sax, bass clarinet, alto flute, C flute) with Fred Hersch (piano), Drew Gress (bass) and Billy Hart (drums), which is about as start-studded as it gets for modern jazz. But Landrus is having it both ways by injecting some new blood with the trumpet talent Michael Rodriguez and the string quartet comprising of Sara Caswell (violin), Joyce Hamman (violin), Lois Martin (viola) and Jody Redhage-Ferber (cello). Mixing and matching these combinations has increased the latitude available to Landrus in how his songs are presented.” (https://somethingelsereviews.com/2020/05/08/brian-landrus-for-now-2020/) Click here to listen to a song from this release.
Jake Reed – Reed Between The Lines (Real & Imagined Music): “Jake Reed is a professional drummer based in Los Angeles, who is quickly gaining a reputation for his ability to fit into a variety of musical situations. He has performed and/or recorded with trioKAIT, Bill Holman, Johnny Mandel, Bill Cunliffe, Bruce Forman, Cow Bop, Seth MacFarlane, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Larry Goldings, Anthony Wilson, Bob Mintzer, Les McCann, Freda Payne, the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Synowiec, Mako, Ellis Hall, and Frenship.” (http://jakereedmusic.com/about) And an additional kudos: “Jake is my first choice for all playing and teaching recommendations.” (Peter Erskine) As for the disc itself, Reed gives us two “sides” allowing us to enjoy a broader range of his versatility. “Side 1”, if you would, begins with a quartet setting featuring expanding from there. The accompanying players include Andrew Synowiec (guitar), Kait Dunton (Fender Rhodes) and Cooper Appelt (bass) with Reed and eventually shifts and expands to ten: Larry Goldings (B3), Jonathan Flaughter, David Hughes, David Piltch (bass), Tim Kobza (guitar), Matt Saladino (synthesizers), Mike Green (vocal), and Rich Hinman (pedal steel), reaching its peak with Aiden Ritchie (euphonium), Jon Bradley, David Pittel, Joe Feruzzo (trumpets), Phil Menchaca and Juliane Grall (trombones), Todd Eames (bass trombone), Aija Matson and Lisa McCormick (French horns), and Blake Cooper (tuba), cresting in a wonderfully full version of “Shenandoah” before moving to “Side 2” for five trio performances featuring Bruce Forman (guitar), Edwin Livingston (bass) and Reed (drums). Great variety and wonderful performances throughout! Click here for a teaser from this release.
Sonar w/ David Torn – Tranceportation (Volume 2) (Rare Noise): “Throughout my life, music has served as a means of transportation for me — something that can take one’s mind on a journey beyond the constraints of space and time and into beautiful, strange and unknown worlds.” (Stephan Thelen) “Tranceportation (Volume 2) is the next destination in Sonar’s ongoing musical journey as the Swiss-based band celebrates 10 years of cutting-edge music-making. Once again the quartet formed in 2010 have joined forces with internationally-respected experimental guitarist, David Torn, to deliver an album brimming with a sound that’s marked by bold, resonant creativity. The group’s polyrhythmic approach, utilizing various elements of tension, release, space and dynamics rewrites the rules about what guitar-dominated music is capable of achieving. Sonar’s founder, guitarist Stephan Thelen, whose work has been performed by the Kronos Quartet, brings forward a further installment of compositions that seamlessly blend a pointillistic, metrical complexity with deep subterranean grooves that engage both the heart and the mind of the listener.” (https://www.rarenoiserecords.com/2020/06/01/new-release-june-2020-sonar-w-david-torn-present-tranceportation-volume-2/) Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Alexa Tarantino – Clarity (Posi-Tone): “Alexa Tarantino is an award-winning, vibrant, young jazz saxophonist, woodwind doubler, composer, and educator. Alexa’s “lovely, ardent way of improvising,” and “sharply plotted but gracefully unencumbered straight-ahead jazz [compositions]” (Giovanni Russonello, The New York Times) establish her individual voice which shines through as a dynamic performer and educator. Tarantino was recently named one of the “Top 5 Alto Saxophonists of 2019” by the JazzTimes Critics’ Poll.” (https://alexatarantino.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Alexa-Tarantino-Short-Bio.pdf) This is Taranrtino’s second release on Posi-Tone. She features four original compositions and also performs Steven Feifke’s (piano, Fender Rhodes) “Karma”. Her rhythm section features Joe Martin (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums). The interplay between Tarantino and Feifke is especially terrific, but the truths of this disc are fantastic individual and ensemble play. Click here and scroll down to listen to three samples of Tarantino’s compositions on this release.
Bill Warfield & The Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra – Smile (Planet Arts): “Warfield’s kind of music is a mixture of adventurous modernistic pieces, jazz tinged salsa, and post-bop hipness…as an arranger, trumpeter Warfield is a top-rate craftsman, perhaps one of the best on the scene.” (Jazz Times) “The Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra is a group of New York City Jazz and Studio musicians who aim to produce a brand of music that defies boundaries. The HKFO accomplishes just that on the new Planet Arts Network release “Smile”. The groups first release “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” on the Blujazz label was the “maiden voyage” for this band. It was chosen by Downbeat as the Editors Pick of the Month for August 2015. Reviewer Bobby Reed observed that the band “offers some tracks that would be irrefutable additions to a party mix”, while also saying “but that doesn’t mean the music lacks complexity. Sometimes it takes a highly intelligent musician to propel you onto the dance floor”. The new release “Smile” features a core of musicians from the original unit. Added to the mix are vocalist Jane Stuart, Blue Lou Marini on reeds, Paul Shaffer on Hammond Organ, Cecilia Coleman on piano, Matt Chertkoff on guitar and Matt Hong on reeds.” (http://www.billwarfield.net/hellskitchen.html) The set list ranges from Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”, opening with a vocal and closing the set instrumentally, and offering ten other songs ranging from Joe Zawinul’s “Cucumber Slumber” and Booker T’s “Hip-Hug-Her” to Bill Warfield’s “Dance Of The Coal Cars” and Goldberg and Goffin’s “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination” and Michael Post’s “Theme From Law and Order”. Click here for an introduction to this disc by by Bill Warfield.