New Jazz Adds – 6/5/2015

Jazz Adds – 6/5/2015

Albare – Only Human (Alfi): Melodic and warm sounds from this quartet featuring Australian guitarist/leader Albare, Venezuelan drummer Pablo Bencid, Cuban bassist Yunior Terry and Cuban pianist AxelTosca Laugar (replaced on one cut by long term Albare musical partner Phil Turcio).  The concept is a celebration of the differences and shared similarities of peoples and musicians from different backgrounds resulting in beautiful harmony.  As each player attests in the liner notes, “I am only human” despite the difference in my background. Their shared musical and sensibilities reflect the common human bond. The music is as harmonious, warm, and joyful as their collective spirit.   Click here for a sample.

JD Allen – Graffitti (Savant): Detroit native Allen, who has also recorded as JD Allen III, understudied with such greats as Ron Carter, David Murray, Wallace Roney, Frank Foster and Jack DeJohnette before recording as a leader.  This new release features Allen on tenor, Gregg August on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums on nine original compositions by the leader.  The music is direct and straightforward and the group blends together nicely while allowing each musician to express his individuality. Click here for a sample live performance.

Dave Bass – NYC Sessions (Whaling City Sound): Veteran pianist Dave Bass has made an exciting recovery from a broken wrist that caused a 20-year hiatus in what appeared to be the early phase of a superstar career.  This is not his first release since returning to active performing, but it may be his best. He composed eight of the eleven songs and gathered Harvie S (bass) and Ignacio Berroa (drums) as his rhythm section, adding an energized and awesome Phil Woods (sax) on six titles, Karrin Allyson and Paulette McWilliams (vox) on two songs a piece, with Conrad Herwig and Chris Washburnne adding trombone, Enrique Fernandez on flute, and Carlos Caro on percussion to a variety of songs.  The results are swinging and totally solid jazz led by Bass’ melodic and flowing piano.   Click here for a sample.

Kenny Carr – Idle Talk (Zoozazz Music): Fourth release from this Berkelee graduate who toured with Ray Charles for a decade before beginning his own career as a leader.  Guitarist Kenny Carr, in conjunction with Donny McCaslin (sax), Kenny Wollesen (drums), and Hans Glawischnig (bass), brings eight of his most recent compositions to life in swinging fashion.  My favorites are “Anthrozoology” and “Blues Coffee” because of the terrific interaction between the guitar and sax.  The mix is well blended throughout.  A solid release from a solid quartet.   Click here for a live performance  by Kenny Carr with Ray Charles.

Steve Davis – Say When (Smoke Sessions): Trombonist Davis showcases the compositions and great musicianship of J.J. Johnson, whom he describes as “the Charlie Parker of the trombone.”   All of the songs were either composed or arranged by or dedicated to this jazz giant.  The performing group includes Harold Mabern (piano), Nat Reeves (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums) with the addition of Eddie Henderson (trumpet) and Eric Alexander (tenor) on all but two of the cuts. Everyone is on the top of his game and the individual and ensemble play truly pay homage to this jazz giant.  Click here for an earlier session with Davis playing a tune by JJ Johnson.

Kurt Elling – Passion World (Concord Music Group): Vocalist Elling constructed this disc by collecting and performing songs that represent different countries and perspectives to include in his regular concerts. He eventually gravitated to a show of arrangements of several that expressed a collage or world view of hopes, fears, loves, memories, and confessions. This disc encapsulates his projection of the universal experiences across the globe. Click here for a sample.

Jeff Hackworth – Heart Of The Matter (Big Bridge Music): Tenor player Hackworth leads a solid quartet on what appears to be his sixth disc as a leader.  He lists Houston Person, David “Fathead” Newman, Stanley Turrentine and Gene Ammons as his major influences and learned his craft working in the bands of Buddy Murrow (then the leader of the Tommy Dorsey Band) and Matt “Guitar” Murphy.  Guitarist Ed Cherry is his counterpoint and they sync quite well. Hackworth’s rhythm section includes Kyle Koehler (organ) and Vince Ector (drums).  Four of the tunes are originals.  I like the greasier side of this lineup, so I’d suggest “Big Bad Boogaloo” or “The Heart of the Matter” first, but they handle a variety of moods quite well.  Click here a sample of Hackworth’s earlier work.  This song is not on this disc.

Brian Landrus Trio – The Deep Below (BlueLand): Landrus plays baritone sax and bass clarinet, sax, and flute – not to mention being the lead on this recording and composing or co-writing all but three of the fourteen songs on offer.  His rhythm section includes Lonnie Plaxico (bass) and Billy Hart (drums). The three interact with grace and assurance and the soundscape is spare yet melodious. Click here for a sample.

Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra – Blues For Tahrir (Hipnotic): Marcus actually grew up in New Jersey, but his heritage is Egyptian and this disc takes in to account the Egyptian revolt and eventual return to military control of the government and clamp down on dissent.  These compositions represent Marcus’ deepened interest in and attachment to the homeland of his family and heritage.  The Egyptian influence on his music is central.  The instrumentation includes Marcus on bass clarinet and percussion, Gregory Tardy (tenor sax), Russell Kirk (alto sax), Brent Birckhead (alto sax, flute), Alex Norris (trumpet), Alan Ferber (trombone), Xavier Davis (piano), Jeff Reed (bass), Eric Kennedy (drums), Jon Seligman (percussion) and Irene Jalenti (vocals).  Click here for a sample.

Jeff Richman – Hotwire (Nefer): Electric guitarist Jeff Richman has been recording for 30 years, releasing 16 albums to date.  A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he was influenced by classmate Bill Frissel and studied privately with Pat Metheny and Mick Goodrick.  His specialty is fusion.  On this new disc, Richman is accompanied by Vinnie Coaiuta and others on drums, Jimmy Haslip and others on bass, George Whitty on keys and guest shots by Jeff Lorber (synthesizer), and Mike Stern (guitar).  Nine of the ten songs are originals and they are electric enough to blow out all the fuses. Click here for a sample.

Throttle Elevator Music – Jagged Rocks (Wide Hive): Edgy alternative to / extension of Matt Montgomery’s (bass, guitar, piano) punk-jazz group Wide Hive Players.  This is the third issue by this group which also features Kamasi Washington (yeah that one on tenor sax) and Mike Hughes (drums). A bit wacky and all that jazz.  Kinda fun.  Click here for a sample. Note: This song is not on the above disc.

Tiempo Libre – Panamericano (Universal Music Classics): The members of the band grew up in Cuba and studied at Havana’s music conservatory, La ENA.  Years later they reunited and after jamming in their free time (tiempo libre) officially formed the group. Band members include Jorge Gomez (piano), Luis Beltran (flute, sax), Raul Rodriguez (trumpet), Xavier Mili (lead vocal), Wilber Rodriguez (bass), Israel Morales (drums) and Leonardo Gonzalez (congas).  What’s “panamericano”?  Listen for yourself!  Click here for a sample.

Kamasi Washington – The Epic (Brainfeeder): There is a new cat in town, or more accurately,  the jazz universe and his name is Kamasi Washington.  He plays tenor sax and he has a new vision of what the next phase in jazz is. That includes big band, big music, frantic solos, choral delight, jump, swing, bop, free jazz, r & b, and soul.  It is the new amalgamation and innovation in black music. It’s EPIC and so is this 3-disc set!  Who is this guy?  Already having made some noise with The Young Jazz Giants, Washington graduated from UCLA with a degree in Ethnomusicology and immediately went on tour with Raphael Saadiq, having toured with Snoop Dog at the end of his second year, and has since played with McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Burrell, George Duke, Lauryn Hill, Jeffrey Osborne, Stanley Clarke, Mos Def and Quicy Jones. I can’t begin to describe the 3-hour trip that is “The Epic” with any depth with only one complete listen, but I can say that this man has a vision that could, in fact, redefine and/or redirect jazz.  The band includes Thundercat (elec bass), Miles Mosley (acous bass), Ronald Bruner Jr and Tony Austin (drums), Leon Mobley (percussion), Cameron Graves (piano), Brandon Coleman (keys), Ryan Porter (trombone), Igmar Thomas (trumpet), and Patrice Quinn and Dwight Trible (vox). The discs are entitled “The Plan”, “The Glorious Tale” and “The Historic Repetition”. Let’s talk some more after we absorb this monumental work. Click here for a sample.

Enjoy!  Life’s too good for ordinary music!



Become a Sponsor

Underwriting WTJU is a way to broadly share information about your business. It’s also a way for your business or organization to gain community-wide recognition for your support of WTJU’s community mission.

Underwrite a Program


Your gift nourishes our community and helps bring people together through music.

Underwrite a Program