New Jazz Adds – 6/28/2016

New Jazz Adds – 6/28/2016

Steve Bach – 8 Keys (8 Keys): Veteran pianist Bach has more recently returned to performance as a leader of his own trio after many years performing with Stanley Clarke, Flora Purim and Airto Moreira,  Sergio Mendes, and Andy Williams. He also performed as a musician with Cirque de Soleil for several years. His trio includes Jakubu Griffin (drums) and Steve Flora (bass). Bach describes this current disc as, “inspired a bit by Keith Jarrett and Ahmad Jamal, the modal recordings of the ECM label, and Terry Riley’s piano music.”  Ambient and mesmerizing.  Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.   

Matt Baker – Almost Blue (JazzElm Music): Australian pianist Baker, a New York resident for the past 5+ years, has terrific style and continues to explore the depth of jazz piano through the American songbook and more recent pop songs. He has strong technical skills and can really bring out the mood in ballads. He is supported throughout by Luques Curtis (bass) and Obed Calvaire (drums), with Lage Lund (guitar), Joel Frahm (tenor sax), and Basher Johnson guesting on various songs as well. Baker notes that many of the songs here were chosen because of their lyrics and he also sings three, including Brian Wilson’s “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and Elvis Costello’s “Almost Blue”. His vocals are somewhat reminiscent of Chet Baker. His piano technique is the jewel in the crown though. Click here and scroll down to listen to some songs on the disc and/or to watch a promo.   

Mike DiLorenzo w/ Frank Valdes – Soul To Soul (Keep The Groove): Mike DiLorenzo has accompanied numerous musicians during his career, but his focus on this disc is soul jazz. He covers such tunes as Maurice White’s (Earth, Wind & Fire) “Sun Goddess” and Jaco Pastorius’ “Three Views Of A Secret” and modernizes Ray Noble’s “Cherokee”, but the majority of the cuts are his own compositions and they tie in quite neatly, often with a heavier Latin connection. DiLorenzo partners with percussionist Frank Valdes and guest shots from Vinnie Cutro (trumpet), Mark Friedman (alto sax), and Willy Dalton (guitar). The sould is quite close to the Latin-influenced soul jazz of the 70’s – 90’s. Click here to listen to songs from this disc.   

Mary Halvorson – Reverse Blues (Relative Pitch): Mary Halvorson is an avant-garde jazz guitarist and composer who studied and performed with Anthony Braxton and has performed with Marc Ribot. One might say that “outside” is her “inside”. The current disc is described by reviewer Paul Acquaro as, “Musically… engaging, nimble and exciting. Tandem melodies and counter melodies pass quickly between Halvorson and Speed and strong rhythmic grounding from Opsvik and Fujiwara give them the room to maneuver” (Paul Acquaro). Style shift from one tune to the next makes the disc wonderfully varied and difficult to describe as a whole. The group members are Chris Speed (tenor sax, clarinet), Eyvind Opsvik (bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums). This is “outside” music, but it is intriguing and inviting as well. Click here for a live performance from 2012 of the songs on this 2014 release.   

Marquis Hill – The Way We Play (Concord Jazz): Trumpeter Marquis Hill has a unique sound, reviving older standards (bop and pop) while incorporating his own style: frequently the muted sounds of cool and bebop with everyone in a tightly syncronized unit. He incorporates spoken poetry in the title song. The style is fresh and yet seems timeless. HIs group includes Christopher McBride (alto sax), Justin “Justefan” Thomas (vubes), Joshua Ramos (bass), and Makaya McCraven (drums) and guests Christie Dashiell and Meagan McNeal (vocals), Vincent Gardner (trombone), Harold Green III (poet), and Juan Pastor (percussion). The material stretches from the standard “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” to Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” and Monk’s “Straight No Chaser”, concluding with a unique Afro-Latin version of the 1936 classic “Smile”.  Click here to listen to the title song.   

ICP Orchestra – Restless In Pieces (Fonds Podium Kunsten): “In 1958, guitarist Jim Hall, in liner notes to a Jimmy Giuffre album, used the term “instant composition” to describe improvising. A few years later, Misha Mengelberg, knowing nothing of this, re-coined the term, and it stuck. A quiet manifesto, those two English words countered notions that improvising was either a lesser order of music-making than composing, or an art without a memory, existing only in the moment, unmindful of form. Misha’s formulation posited improvisation as formal composition’s equal (if not its superior, being faster).

Yes but: Misha says he was thinking of “instant coffee,” stuff any serious java drinker recognized as a sham substitute. He deflates his lofty idea even as he raises it. In the mid-1960s Mengelberg became involved with the Fluxus art movement, which he found inviting because it stood for nothing, had no ideals to defend. What bound together Fluxus’s conceptualists, shock artists, early minimalists, musical comics et cetera was a need for a performance format that could accommodate them all. (Hence that symbol of ’60s kookiness, the multimedia Happening.) Eventually he formed a band with that kind of flexibility: the modern ICP Orchestra.” (From: You can check out their web page for a more complete description of their music and philosophy. Great music, crazy nonsense, even cacophony – and you never know what will happen next. The ICP Orchestra is Ab Baars (clarinet, tenor sax), Walter Wierbos (trombone), Tristan Honsinger (cello, vocals), Mary Oliver (violin, viola), Ernst Glerum (bass), Michael Moore (clarinet, alto sax), Tobias Delius (clarinet, tenor sax), Thomas Heberer (cornet, trumpet), Guus Janssen (piano), Mattijs van de Woerd (vocals, and Han Bennick (drums). includes some interesting covers like Herbie Nichols’ “Blue Chopsticks” and “Lady Sings The Blues” and Monk’s “Locomotive” and a slice of Charles Ives. Listen with an open mind and a sense of humor and you will have a good time! Click here to listen/view a performance from 2014. I regret I was unable to find a sample from this current disc.   

Barb Jungr – Shelter From The Storm (Linn): Jungr is a well established cabaret singer who includes pop songs in her repertoire but always performed in the cabaret style and tightly focused on the lyrics. She is accompanied by Laurence Hobgood (piano, keyboards, whistle), Michael Olatuja (bass), and Wilson Torres (percussion). Jung has a strong and melodic voice. Songs on this disc include classic stage songs such as “Bali Hi” and classic “rock” or pop songs like “Woodstock” or a medley of “Life On Mars? / Space Oddity”. She also includes Dylan’s “Shelter From The Storm”, Leonard Cohen’s “Sisters Of Mercy” and two originals.  Click here for a live performance of the title song.    

Miss Sophie Lee & The Parish Suites – Traverse The Universe (Self-produced): Traditional jazz and vocals from NOLA singer/songwriter Sophie Lee on classics like “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Undecided” and six originals. The Parish Suites are a rotating batch of NOLA musicians, including Matt Bell, Luke Winslow King, Casey McCallister, Chris Christy, Russell Welch and Matt Johnson (guitar); Dave Boswell, Ben Polcer  and Ashland Parker (trumpet); Aurora Nealand and Oliver Bonie (clarinet); Bart Ramsey and Leslie Martin (piano); Tommy Sciple, Charles Lumar, Robert Snow and Cassidy Holden (bass); Benji Bohannan and Chris Davis (drums); Brian Coogan and Earl Scioneaux III (piano/organ); Matt Rhody (violin); Charlie Halloran (trombone); Khris Royal (sax); Helen Gillett (cello); and Tom Saunders (bass sax). It all swings in that old timey way. Check her out on Frenchmen Street if you’re in the neighborhood on a Thursday night or click here to sample songs on this disc.   

Lenny Marcus Trio – Moving Fourth (Self-produced): Though, in addition to piano, Marcus plays flute and sings, it all keys on this outing and that is just fine! Marcus is a veteran player who has recorded over 20 discs as a leader and has recorded with David “Fathead” Newman, Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis, Lou Donaldson, Frank Foster, and Sonny Fortune,among others. Ten of the thirteen songs here are originals. Marcus’ trio includes Rick Eckberg (bass) and Larry Scott (drums) with guest spots by Vladimir Espinosa (percussion), Tom Artwick (sax, flute), Ken Hitchcock (sax) and Chris Magee (trumpet, flugelhorn). The disc is alive with wonderful, joyful  energy. Clearly, everybody was locked in. BTW, Marcus lives in Roanoke! Click here and scroll down to listen to the title song.  Then you can decide when to take a road trip! Also, the disc will not be officially released until July 16, but you will be able to hear it on WTJU beginning June 28! 

Fabrizio Sotti Trio – Forty (Incipit): Guitarist Fabrizio Sotti has just turned 40 and in honor of that landmark has decided to step into the jazz world full force after years of playing fusion, R&B, and hip hop among other styles. Influenced by Jim Hall and Pat Metheny among others, Sotti has a beautiful, full-bodied and deep tone that draws your undivided attention and much as his fluid playing does. Supported by Peter Slavov (bass) and Francisco Mela (drums), the performance swings and flows as beautifully as the best works of his idols. Fans of jazz guitar won’t need to hear any more from me about it, but click here for the word from the man himself.   

Kandace Springs – Soul Eyes (Blue Note): Singer/songwriter/keyboard player Kandace Springs releases her first full length disc. Her first release was an EP also on the Blue Note label, but in the interim Springs was advised by Prince, “Be who you are: minimal production, live instruments; center on your voice.” She acknowledges his excellent advice in this new release. Springs has a full, expressive, and soulful voice and wrote or co-wrote four of the songs on this new disc. She primarily sings ballads and whether jazzy or more in the pop realm, she is fully in command. Terence Blanchard makes a guest appearance on Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes” and on “Too Good To Last” (an original co-written by Springs). Other supporting musicians include Larry Klein (vibes, percussion), Jesse Harris (guitar), Dan Lutz (bass), Dean Parks (guitar, piano), Pete Kuzma (keys), and Vinnie Colaiuta (drums). Click here to listen to a song from this disc.   

Allen Toussaint – American Tunes (Nonesuch): What a fitting tribute to the legacy of Allen Toussaint, one of, or possibly, the greatest promoter and sculptor of the music of New Orleans. The approach on this disc is simple and straightforward, a minimalist approach that highlights the elegance and elemental charm and grandeur of at the heart of this unique style. The song choices include compositions by Fats Waller, Billy Strayhorn, Bill Evans, Duke Ellington, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Earl Hines, Professor Longhair, Earl King, and a couple from Toussaint himself. He closes with a lovely version of Paul Simon’s “American Tune”. Though many of the performances are solo, contributing musicians include Jay Bellerose (drums), Bill Frisell (guitar), Greg Leisz (weissenborn), Charles Lloyd (tenor sax), David Piltch (bass), Adam Levy (guitar), Cameron Stone (cello), Amy Schulman (harp), Rhiannon Giddens (vocal), and Van Dyke Parks (piano). This is the essence. Click here and scroll down to sample the songs on this disc.   


Professor Bebop


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