New Jazz Adds – 6/4/2017
Sylvia Brooks – The Arrangement (Self-produced): This is singer Sylvia Brooks’ third release and it is an engaging and well-rounded set. She seems to be stretching out beyond her “jazz noir” specialty, though it is still at the center of her craft. She has a very nice voice and a declarative style that focuses the listener on the lyrics. The musicians fill in the overall style of each performance, creating a tight musical connection that supports Brooks’ voice. At the same time, both she and the players exhibit an independence that gives each song a more unique and intriguing quality. Musicians are too numerous to mention here, but most songs feature piano, reeds, brass and percussion with occasional guitar. One song features Brooks with solo piano accompaniment. The songs themselves include standards like “Body and Soul”, “Midnight Sun” and “Night And Day”; Latin numbers like “Besame Mucho”; and originals by Brooks and one other musician. She also sings unique interpretations of “Eleanor Rigby” and “Cold, Cold Heart”. Whether “jazz noir” or not, this singer sure can slay her audience! Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Royce Campbell – Tea For Three (Self-produced): Here’s a beautiful live performance by guitarist Royce Campbell, late pianist Hod O’Brien and bassist Bob Bowen. The performance took place at the Luray Performing Arts Center in April, 2008. The disc was intended for release, but was withheld by Campbell because he was dissatisfied with the sound quality. He has released it now in honor of O’Brien’s musicianship. It is indeed a fitting tribute to each of these wonderful musicians and a new treasure for fans, new and old. Terrific individual and ensemble playing. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
B.J. Jansen – Common Ground (Ronin Jazz): Bari sax player B.J. Jansen leads an impressive hard bop group featuring Delfeayo Marsalis (trombone), Duane Eubanks (trumpet), Ralph Peterson (drums), Dezron Douglas (bass) and Zaccal Curtis (piano) through six of his compositions and three other tunes. It seems that the group gets deeper in the groove as they move from one song to the next and the groove is their most effective quality. The ensemble work is very tight. Click here to listen to the opening cut.
Erik Jekabson Quintet – Erik Jekabson Quintet (WideHive): Leader Erik Jekabson (trumpet, flugelhorn) has brought together a tight, interactive quintet that also includes Dave Ellis (tenor, soprano sax), Dave Mac Nab (guitar), John Wiitala (bass) and Hamir Atwal (drums) with guest John Santos (congas, percussion). The performance is especially tight and exhilarating as the group progresses through Jekabson’s increasingly funky compositions. It’s not all funk, but the best of it is. This is Jekabson’s sixth release as a leader. He has performed with Illinois Jacquet, John Mayer, Galactic and Throttle Elevator Music with Kamasi Washington, among others, and has several discs to his name. I regret I am unable to find any samples of this disc.
Roberto Magris – The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark (JMood): This Italian pianist has released numerous discs in a wide variety of settings. This appears to be his first release with the current MUH Trio, featuring Frantisek Uhlir (bass) and Jaromir Helesic (drums). Magris composed half of the selections here and Uhlir contributed two of his own. The remainder are “Third World” (Herbie Nichols), “Joycie Girl” (Don Pullen) and “In Love In Vain” (Kern-Robin). The performance is simply splendid throughout. There is terrific interaction among the players and Magris is in full swing. The group has played together off and on for 30+ years. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Yoko Miwa Trio – Pathways (Self-produced): “In the late 1990s this classically-trained artist auditioned for Berklee College of Music on a lark and ended up winning a full scholarship. She arrived at the school from her homeland of Japan in 1997, intending to stay for a year. In 2017, she’s still in Boston, enriching the city’s musical life and serving as one of the most popular professors in the Berklee piano department.” (http://www.yokomiwa.com/about-yoko-miwa/) Her style is direct, wonderfully fluid and as melodic as one can be. She composed four songs on the disc and the remaining four are covers: “Log O’Rhythm” and “After You” from Marc Johnson, Joni Mitchell’s “Court And Spark” and Lennon & McCartney’s “Dear Prudence”. Miwa is supported by Will Slater with one substitution by Brad Barrett (bass) and Scott Goulding (drums). The performances are terrific throughout! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Amanda Monaco – Glitter (Posi-Tone): Composer/guitarist/educator Amanda Monaco is an Assistant Professor at Berklee College and has taught for nearly 20 years. This is her fifth release and it is a straight-away swinger. Monaco doesn’t try to burn the house down, but she is a fluid player. She is accompanied by Lauren Sevian (bari sax), Gary Versace (organ), and Matt Wilson (drums). The interaction between Monaco and Sevian is particularly strong. Both play with careful control, but they respond in a way that both supports and challenges the other’s leads. Versace’s organ also adds a mellow and groovy flavor to the disc as well. Seven of the nine songs here are originals by Monaco. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Miles Mosley – Uprising (Verve): Bassist/singer/songwriter Miles Mosley is part of the Kamasi Washington circle and “Uprising” is his soul/funk/message music. It’s like a combination of Marvin Gaye, both in terms of the polish and the potent lyrics, with Funkadelic minus some of the effects, but making room for psychedelic guitar. Like Washington’s opus, the production is large. In fact the songs themselves were written as Washington was recording “The Epic”. The lyrics express disappointment and frustration, but also encourage continuing the struggle for progress and accomplishment and offer hope through continued determination. Musically, they continue to pursue the goal of the “West Coast Get Down” “…to defy genre and combine musical influences to make jazz dangerous and exciting again, while paying tribute to the legends before them.” The players are Kamasi Washington and the late Zane Musa on saxophone, Dontae Winslow on trumpet, Ryan Porter on trombone, Brandon Coleman on keyboards, Cameron Greaves on piano, and drummer Tony Austin. Is it jazz? I’m not sure, but it is powerful and intriguing and it is a sonic uprising. Click here and scroll down to listen samples of the songs on this disc.
PHO – two (Self-produced): PHO is a progressive funk band from Minneapolis and, yes, they’re jazzy but the funk is on top. One listen to this and you will for certain have a dip in your hip and a glide in your stride! The band includes Luke Ibach (bass), Joe Paris (guitar, glockenspiel), Spencer Christensen (guitar), Demetrius Mabry (drums), Patrick Horigan (keys, synths, guitar), Lukas Skrove (trumpet, flugelhorn), Aaron Levin (tenor sax, flute), Arthur “LA” Buckner, percussion), and special guests Kirk Johnson (percussion) and Sten Johnson (trombone). Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Marius Preda – Mission Cimbalom (Self-produced): The cimbalom is a wire stringed concert hammered dulcimer typically associated with Central and Eastern Europe. Having received one for his fourth birthday, Marius Preda has been enthralled the cimbalom throughout his life. Though he also plays violin, accordion, bass, piano and vibes, Preda is determined to share the wonders of his first instrument on this delightful disc. He composed or arranged all of the songs on offer and is accompanied by a rotation of wonderful players, including Taco Gorter, Tudy Zaharescu, Sanah Kadoura and Dennis Chambers (drums); Robin Koerts, Tom Kennedy, Phell Teymar, Yerman Aponte and Kiba Dachi (bass); Arturo Sandoval (trumpet); Mike Stern (guitar); Radu Nechifor (pan pipes); Stan Daniel and Viorel Bustean (strings). The disc is full of surprises and wacky delights. Click here for an introduction to this wonderful disc.
Mason Razavi – Quartet Plus, Volume 2 (OA2): Guitarist/composer Mason Razavi offers nine original tunes and a cover of “Caravan” on this augmented quartet performance. The remaining quartet members are Bennett Roth-Newell (piano, keys), Dan Robbins (acoustic, electric bass), and Cody Rhodes (drums). The group is expanded to a nonet for the second half of the program with additional players Justin Smith (trumpet, flugelhorn), Ben Torres (alto sax, clarinet), Oscar Pangilinan (tenor, soprano sax), Kevin Bryson (trombone) and Alex Murzyn (bari sax, bass clarinet, clarinet). The sound is modern fusion jazz even when revisiting “Caravan” (the song that knows no limitations!). This is his fourth disc and it is truly a wonderful jazz fusion experience. Click here to listen to a terrific example from this disc.
Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington – Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Five (OA2): Paul Tynan (composer/trumpet/flugelhorn) and Aaron Ligton (composer/bari sax) each composed half of the numbers on this disc specifically for the Bicoastal Collective, a powerhouse big band featuring, in addition to the composers, Bobby Selvaggio (soprano, alto sax, alto clarinet, flute); Steve Jones (alto sax, clarinet); Dave Down (tenor sax flute); Marcus Wolfe (tenor sax, bass clarinet); Paul Compton, Carl Lundgren and Alex Dubrov (trombones); Josh Brown (bass trombone); Jason Levi, Ken Edwards, Daniel Matthews and Micah Bell (trumpet, flugelhorn); Noel Johnston (guitars); Josh Hanlon (piano); Mike Luzecky (bass); and Stockton Helbing (drums). The compositions are straight ahead and often driving. There is a nice variety of styles, which really makes this disc stand out. Click here to listen to samples of the first tunes on this disc.