New Jazz Adds – 7/27/2015
Tiffany Austin – Nothing But Soul (Con Alma): Austin is a singer with lots of vocal chops – scats and melismas and other adopted vocal stylistics from some of her notable jazz predecessors and mixes in her own blend soul, recent R&B, and “pop” jazz. She focuses on swing and pop tunes, six of the nine having been written by or associated with Hoagy Carmichael. She makes them absolutely her own. Could be that she is yet another young lion who is creating the next iteration of jazz creativity. Click here for an introduction to this disc by Tiffany Austin.
Sammy Figueroa – Imaginary World (Savant): Percussionist Sammy Figueroa has several well received Latin jazz discs to his credit and played with Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and the Brecker Brothers among others before going out on his own. This time out, his notion was to strengthen the jazz aspect and tone down the Latin influence. This meant asking his bandmates to step out more and leave the Latin grooves to him. The music, mostly composed by pianist Silvano Monasterios and bassist Gabriel Vivas still has plenty of Latin influence, but the blend is rich and wonderful, the songs are melodic and alive. The remaining members of the group are Alex Pope Norris (trumpet), Troy Roberts (sax), David Chiverton (drums) and guests Chico Pinchero (guitar), Cisco Dimas (trumpet solo) and Hal Batt (synthesizer). Any fans of Latin jazz or of any jazz that moves in that direction will find something you will like. Click here for an introduction to this disc by Sammy Figueroa.
Nick Finzer – The Chase (Origin): This is apparently trombonist Finzer’s first release as a leader and it includes eleven originals from the man himself. He earned a Masters degree from the Julliard Jazz program two years ago. While there he was mentored by Steve Turre. on this release, Finzer leads a tight group of musicians, including Lucas Pino (sax), Alex Wintz (guitar), Glenn Zaleski (piano), Dave Baron (bass), and Jimmy MacBride (drums). It’s mostly post-bop headiness jazz and the band is tight enough to pull the “P’s” off of “Polly Pop”. Very cool and hip. Finzer’s ‘bone is solidly flexible and amazing. Special kudos to the sax / bone interplay and the guitar fills. Click here for a performance by Finzer and band. Note: this song is not on the above disc.
John Ginty – No Filter (American Showplace): Keyboard player / session man Ginty was one of the original members of the “Family Band” (along with Robert Randolph) and has played numerous gig with other jam bands, including the Allman Bros, Santana, Govt Mule, Widespread Panic, and Bob Weir & Ratdog, but this isn’t a jam band recording. Ginty was also a member/player on the Alexis P. Suter Band who issued a powerful blues rock release in 2014. Suter returns the favor by singing “Old Shoes” on this disc (and it is amazing given her incredibly authoritative voice – Ginty had the very good idea of following her song with an instrumental). Ginty’s main band includes Mike Beckman on guitars, Paul Kuzik on bass and Dan Fadel and Andrei Koribanics on drums. Other contributors include Cris Jacobs (guitar, vox), Jimmy Bennett (also of the Alexis Suter Band on guitar and lap steel), Cara Kelly, Redman, Billy Harvey, and Paul Gerdis (vox). The results are somewhat varied depending upon the performers: my absolute fav is “Old Shoes” and I would recommend “Ball Of Fire” and “Pirates” featuring Cris Jacobs and “No Filter” featuring Cara Kelly. The instrumental “Elevators” shows off Ginty’s chops best. Now, is it jazz? I’d peg it as blues rock, but if that is ok with you, check it out. Click here for a sample song from this disc.
Charlie Haden & Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Tokyo Adagio (Impulse): Beautiful recording of grand master bassist Charlie Haden and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba who plays with such simple and understated beauty. These pieces are taken from live performances in Tokyo in 2005. Haden was the “director” of the sound and ambiance and could not have had a more compatible partner than Rubalcaba. The disc does require the listener’s full attention, but be prepared to be swept away with its eloquence and beauty if you commit to it. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Ben Haugland – A Million Dreams (Dazzle Recordings): This is pianist Haugland’s second release as a leader and he has put together a tight ensemble for the session. The line-up includes Scott Wendholt (trumpet), Stephen Jones (tenor), Jay Anderson (bass), and Chris Smith (drums). Haugland composed four of the eight songs and added Charlie Parker’s “Big Foot” and three standards to complete the program. The band is in fine form and everyone plays well, but the standout quality on this recording is the interaction of the players. Too often groups follow the identical solo pattern from one song to the next and the predictability cab undermine the performance. This group, including the leader, respond to one another in ways that help to amplify and expand the texture of the solos and all in a relatively subtle way. That is its greatest treat. Click here for a sample of Haugland’s playing. Note: This song is not on the above disc.
Wayne Horvitz – Some Places Are Forever Afternoon (11 Places for Richard Hugo) (Songlines): Wayne Horvitz is a composer / musician / producer who has worked with John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Carla Bley and the World Saxophone Quartet among others and has performed with his own bands. Given that list, you would expect that his compositions stretch beyond the mainstream which is true. This disc presents a varied collection of soundscapes performed by Horvitz on piano, B-3 and “electronics”, Ron Miles (cornet), Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon), Peggy Lee (cello), Tim Young (guitar), Keith Lowe (bass), and Eric Eagle (drums). The compositions were inspired by and dedicated to poet Richard Hugo who passed away not long ago. The stylistic variety suggests that there is likely something here that will please most jazz listeners. Click here for a sample song from this disc.
Ramsey Lewis & His Electric Band – Taking Another Look (Ramsey’s House): Ramsey Lewis (piano, Fender Rhodes) revisits his “Electric Band”, featuring Henry Johnson (guitar), Mike Logan (keyboards), Joshua Ramos (bass) and Charles Heath (drums) on eight originals as he re-records his 1974 album “Sun Goddess” with the new band listed above. The disc also includes some new songs, including “Sun Goddess” featuring composer Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire (in fact, much of this disc is reminiscent of EWF’s and others’ milder soul jazz in the mid to late 70s). The disc also includes three additional “bonus” remakes with different players, like Dr. John. The overall sound is similar to the late 70s soul jazz: electronic, smooth, and lite. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Caili O’Doherty – Padme (ODO): Another sensational graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, pianist O’Doherty has received several national awards for performance and composition and now steps out with her first disc. Padme features nine of O’Doherty’s original compositions with support from Zach Brown (bass), Cory Cox or Adam Cruz (drums) and intermittent contributions by Mike Bono (guitar), Alex Hargreaves (violin), Caroline Davis (alto sax and vocals) Ben Flocks (tenor sax) and Eric Miller (trombone). The musical textures continually shift as the disc progresses, resulting in a work that is quite compelling. Click here for an interview and samples from this disc.
Robert Sabin – Humanity Part II (Ranula Music): The credits inside this disc begin with a quote from Albert Camus’ The Plague followed by music inspired by various films or written works of art, beginning with the title tune which is the only composition not written by Robert Sabin. The themes throughout are dark or forbidding. Sabin is a master bassist and composer who holds a doctorate in music. He explains his compositions as “chromatic brooding permeated with silence”, which likely comes from his focus on works such as Through A Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman), Tenebre (Dario Argento), and Scarecrow, which “is based not on a film theme but elements of Ravel’s masterpiece Gaspard de la nuit …signifying a hanged man dangling against the horizon.” Supporting Sabin’s bass are Jesse Lewis (guitar), Jeremy Noller (drums), Jason Rigby (tenor sax), Aaron Irwin (alto sax), Dan Urness and Matt Holman (trumpet), Chris Komer (“horn”), John Yao (trombone) and Ben Stapp (tuba). Click here to listen to the title song from this disc.
Waxwing – A Bowl Of Sixty Taxidermists (Songlines): Waxwing, a chamber trio from Vancouver quartet, dedicated this disc to the memory of Ross Taggart a central jazz figure in that scene. The group includes Tony Wilson (electric guitar), Peggy Lee (cello), and Jon Bentley (numerous reeds). At times, the songs are rather erratic sounding and at others the blend of the cello and reeds is stunningly melodic in an unfamiliar way while the guitar is percussive. It’s NOT folk jazz or some other hybrid that you’ve likely heard before, but it is intriguing experimental jazz with a folk/classical/jazz blend. Click here for a live performance of the song “For Ross”, the band’s dedication to Ross Taggart.
Walt Weiskopf – Open Road (Posi-Tone): Weiskopf began his professional career playing with Buddy Rich and has released a dozen discs over the past 20+ years. Sonically, his greatest influence is John Coltrane: he co-wrote the book Coltrane: A Player’s Guide To His Harmony and The Augmented Scale in Jazz, he has a big sound, his tenor playing absolutely invokes the man, and his group setting is a quartet is filled out by Peter Zak (piano), Mike Karn (bass), and Steve Fidyk (drums) though I’m not suggesting this is a copy band. Weiskopf wrote ten of the twelve songs on the disc and there are no Coltrane covers. The performance is a strong one. Click here to listen to the opening track on this disc.