New Jazz Adds – 7/28/2017
Mark Arroyo Trio – Two Sides To A Promise (Curiousimprovisor): “I plan to create an album that continues in the direction that the music of trumpeter Miles Davis was headed before his retirement in the early 1970’s. That music was also a mix of Jazz, Rock, and Funk. Very contemporary, and very much a sound of his environment, it presaged the sound of the trio and Silicon Valley with its heavy use of rhythmic drive, electronics, and free-spirited improvisation. I want to re-visit and continue that journey in sound.” That was the description Mark Arroyo wrote for his vision of a prospective disc seeking funding on Indiegogo. It seems to have taken longer than expected to complete the project and I don’t hear much in the way of electronics, but the disc is clearly based in experimental rock with a clear improvisational base. This Bay area jazz rock trio has also been compared to Tony Williams Lifetime, but certainly not the latter’s earliest releases. Rather, it seems based in rock with a tendency toward jazz. Arroyo’s bandmates are Fred Paclibon (bass) and Kristian Buenconsejo (drums, except for one song when he is replaced nay Chris Leidhecker). I found it to be pretty solid throughout and certain tunes were absolutely killer! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Sheryl Bailey & Harvie S – Plucky Strum – Departure (Whaling City Sound): This duo, Sheryl Bailey (guitar) and Harvie S (bass) have a unique sound and great agility as they take the listener on a tour of their nine originals and covers of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” and “The Hissing Of Summer Lawns”. They shift styles with ease throughout the disc and their interaction is agile and smooth. Bailey’s shifts between electric and acoustic guitars show her great command of each. Really fine individual and interactive performances by both members of this duo. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Laura Campisi – Double Mirror (Self-produced): Italian singer/songwriter Laura Campisi, moved from Italy to New York and has established herself successfully there. She is an expressive singer and narrator who stretches into vocal sounds as well as sometimes “talky” ones, sometimes straight on vocals. There is a good bit of range in style and presentation across the disc. Songs run the gamut from recitation to ballad to standards to a cover of Lou Reed’s “Venus In Furs”. Instrumental support is mostly quite simple, bass and drums supplied by Ameen Saleem (double bass), Gianluca Renzi (electric bass) with Great Hutchinson and Flavio Li Vigni alternating on drums. Other guest musicians appear on individual tracks: Zach Brock (violin), Jonathan Scales (steel pan), Martin Pantyrer (bari sax), Vincent Herring (alto sax) and Emilio D. Miler (percussion). Seven of the thirteen songs are original compositions by Campisi. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Eclectik Percussions Orchestra – Invite Oliver Lake (Traces de Vies): The EPO, kindred spirits to the musical expression of Oliver Lake and like musicians describes itself as “an invitation to find the truth in freedom and the love of mankind. They note that, “Polyrhythm is at the center of a universal music, without borders, which associates the lyrical heritage of the Great Black Music called jazz, the raw energy of rock and the unfettered quests of Improvisation.” (liner notes) The orchestra includes Youssef Essawabi (trombone, euphonium), Maxime Tisserand (clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax, vocal), Alex Ambroziak (drums), Rene Le Borgne (drums, percussion), Bakery Doumbia and Gustavo Ovalles (percussion), Guy Constant (composition, percussion, vocal), Antoine Arlot (alto, bari sax), and Nicholas Arnoult (arranger, vocal). Oliver Lake not only composed music for this disc, but also plays alto and soprano sax and recites poetry. The program features outside music, at times intense and always unique. Click here to watch and listen to an earlier version of “Emma”. Note that Oliver Lake is not part of this performance.
Hal Galper & The Youngbloods – Live At The COTA Jazz Festival (Origin): Veteran composer/pianist/teacher Hal Galper first rounded up his “Youngbloods”, former students Nathan Bellott (alto sax), Dean Torrey (bass) and David Frazier (drums), and then selected three of his original songs to enrich the performance. With the exception of “Goodbye”, the ballad of the performance, the group is bebop on fire! Galper’s piano sets the tone throughout and he truly jumps! He was, by the way, employed by Phil Woods for a number of years. His students / sidemen certainly learned their lessons well and they bring their own fire throughout the session, as well. Click here to listen to a sample from the opening song on the disc.
Michael Gamble & The Rhythm Serenaders – Get Rhythm In Your Feet (Organic): Bandleader / arranger / bass player Michael Gamble decided the thing for this second release was to hark back to the dancing numbers of the mid to late thirties, so be ready to cut a rug to the sound of “Get Rhythm In Your Feet”, “Royal Garden Blues”, and “Rigamarole”. Composers range from Spencer Williams and Clarence Williams to Lionel Hampton and Benny Goodman. In addition to Gamble, musicians include Jonathan Stout (guitar), Keenan McKenzie (reeds), James Posedel (piano) and a variety of part-timers: Jonathan Doyle (reeds), Josh Collazo and Russ Wilson interchanging at the drum set, Noah Hocker and Gordon Au trading off the trumpet duty, and Lucian Cobb and David Wilken switching with the trombone. Jason DeCristofaro adds vibes on seven songs and Laura Windley sings on six. Check this out and see if you don’t find your toes a-tapping and your stomps rap-a-tapping! Click here to watch and listen to a live version of a song from this disc.
Laslo Gardony – Serious Play (Sunnyside): Pianist/composer/educator Laslo Gardony is a Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music. He has released numerous discs in the past years, playing with Dave Holland, Miroslav Vitous, Mick Goodrick, and Yoron Israel, among others. Always seeking new contexts, Gardony cut this disc solo. Seven of the ten cuts are originals and the covers are “Georgia On My Mind”, “Naima” and “Over The Rainbow”. The performance is spectacular throughout. The variety and reach of his playing is terrific and the simplicity he offers, especially on the standards, is delightful. Click here to listen to two original songs from this release.
Tardo Hammer Trio – Swinging On A Star (Cellar Live): Veteran pianist Tardo Hammer has been listening to jazz from a very early age and quickly decided that piano would be his instrument. He began his career shortly after high school and has performed and taught since then. He has accompanied singers such as Annie Ross, Abbey Lincoln and Jon Hendricks and has joined various bands as well. This is his sixth release and he thoroughly shines in a trio. Hammer is accompanied by Lee Hudson (bass) and Steve Williams (drums). The set includes compositions from Gil Evans, Billy Strayhorn, Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis with a couple of standards and a Latin number as well. The performance is interpretive while remaining in the mainstream. The interplay is wonderful and the piano is terrific. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Hyeseon Hong Jazz Orchestra – Ee-Ya-Gi (Stories) (Mama Records): Composer / director Hyeseon Hong presents seven original compositions, blending jazz, classical and traditional Korean themes together and building a most interesting and beautiful program. Ee-Ya-Gi are stories translated or interpreted by the music. The performers include special guests Rich Perry (tenor sax) and Ingrid Jensen (trumpet) and band members Ben Kono (alto, soprano, ute), Matt Vashlishan (alto, EWI, ute), Jeremy Powell (tenor, clariet), Andrew Hadro (Bari, bass clarinet); trumpets: Augie Haas, Ingrid Jensen, Jason Wiseman, and Colin Brigstocke; trombones: Ron Wilkens, Daniel Linden, Ric Becker, and Becca Patterson; Matt Panayides (guitar), Broc Hempel (piano), John Lenis (bass), Mark Ferber (drums), and vocalists EJ Park and Subin Park (opening vocals on “Boat Song”). There is a lot of style and variety in this program. In a word, it’s cool and gets more so as the program unfolds. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Chad Lefkowitz-Brown – Onward (Self-produced): Tenor saxophonist/composer Lefkowitz-Brown has performed backing several stars like Don Henley and Taylor Swift and is a member of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. This fall he will join the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as a visiting artist for their new Roots, Jazz and American Music program. This is his second release as a leader. He composed five of the nine titles on the disc, with the remainder being standards like “The Nearness of You”, classics like Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” and a pop hit “Isn’t She Lovely” (Stevie Wonder). Supporting players are Steven Feifke (piano), Raviv Markowitz (bass), and Jimmy MacBride (drums). Special guest Randy Brecker sits in on two original cuts, including Lefkowitz-Brown’s “Blues For Randy”. This is straight-ahead jazz with great craft. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Pete Malinverni Trio – Heaven (Saranac): Veteran pianist/composer Pete Malinverni has released over a dozen discs to date and is recognized as a one of the best jazz pianists in NYC. His style is direct and almost simple sounding, yet it is as if he plays exactly what is needed in each performance. This performance is devoted to celebrating songs about a higher plane, whether in the present or faith in the future, perhaps heaven. The program includes one original composition, four traditional songs like “Wade In The Water” and carefully selected titles like “Come Sunday” (Ellington), “People Get Ready” (Mayfield). The performances are reverent and touching. Malinverni is accompanied by Ben Allison (bass) and Akira Tana (drums) with three guest performers: Karrin Allyson, vocal on “Shenandoah”; Jon Faddis, trumpet on “Come Sunday”; and Steve Wilson, alto sax on “Wade In The Water”. Beautiful, contemplative performances throughout. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Stanton Moore – With You In Mind (Cool Green Recordings): This tribute disc to Allen Toussaint is absolutely in the pocket! The formula: collect a group of his compositions, with hits and not, then gather super hip musicians from NOLA and give them some license to create rather than mimic the great composer’s work. The songs span from “Java” to “All These Things”, “Night People” and “Everything I Do Gone Be Funky” to “Southern Nights”. The basic group features Stanton Moore (drums), David Torkanowsky (keys) and James Singleton (bass) with additional musicians including Cyril Neville (vocals, percussion), Trombone Shorty and Mark Mullins (trombone), Eric Bloom (trumpet), Nicholas Payton (trumpet, B3), Aaron Fletcher, Donald Harrison Jr and Maceo Parker (alto sax), Skerik (bari sax), Mike Dillon (percussion), Joynda Kiki Chapman and Erica Falls (vocals) and Wendell Pierce (spoken word). The result is fresh and completely honors the NOLA groove and the exquisite singularity of Allen Toussaint without mimicking him. A “Certified Professor Bebop Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
OAR – Sounds Of April & Randall (Soaring Records): Vocalist April May and trumpet/flugelhorn/Fender Rhodes player Randall Haywood have a unique presentation centered around the voice and stylizating of April May and the trumpet playing of Randall Haywood. Their vocal and brass duets are striking and appealing. They also composed five of the eleven songs on this disc. Additional musicians show up here and there on this disc: Charlie Sigler (guitar), Lafayette Harris (piano), Jacob Webb (bass, keys on one song), Nathan Webb (drums), with Jay Rodriguez (soprano sax), Chris Haney (bass) and Will Terrill (drums) on the final track. The cover songs range from “Midnight Sun” (LHampton-SBurks-JMercer) to “Blackbird” (Lennon & McCartney” and “Party” (KWest-JBhasker-BKnowlesDMills-ABenjamin-DDavis-RWalters). It will be very interesting to see where they go from here, but this is certainly a great beginning. Click here to listen to a live version of a song on this disc.
Audrey Ochoa Trio – Afterthought (Chromograph): Trombonist Audrey Ochoa presents a brand new sound with her trio. The sound and approach is both very groovy and unique. First of all, she has a unique technique: rhythm and expression in bursts with a melodic and rhythmic style. Her group includes Mike Lent (bass) and Sandro Dominelli (drums) with electronic additions by Dallas Budd (curiously unacknowledged on the disc, though not in an interview about the disc). Ochoa’s style is highly rhythmic and uniquely understated, as least as much as one can be in a trio. The outcome is a nice groove and an enhanced presence with domination by the ‘bone. A special highlight is the added electronic sounds added to a couple of other songs by Budd. It positively changes the tone of the music, adding new textures and flow to those performances and to the overall disc. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
The Vampires – The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke (Earshift Music): The Vampires are an Australian group who have released four previous discs and now join forces with guitarist Lionel Loueke. Band members include Jeremy Rose (alto & tenor sax, bass clarinet), Nick Garbett (trumpet), Jonathan Zwartz (bass), Danny Fischer (drums) and Alex Masso (drums, percussion). Loueke also provides what vocals there are. Rose and Garbett composed all of the songs on this disc. The music is instrumental easy jazz funk reminiscent of New Orleans, but with a much mellower and less funky riff. Still, they can catch a nice groove – a jazz/folk/reggae -influenced sound. Mellow and groovy. Click here and scroll down to check out two songs from this disc.
Florian Wittenburg – Don’t Push The Piano Around (Self-produced): First of all, Florian Wittenburg is the composer of the music on this set and he provides electronics on one. The pianist is Sebastiaan Oosthout. The tone of the disc is reminiscent of the ECM releases, with a slightly more classical connection. Wittenburg has studied and written in a more modern classical zone than would generally be associate with jazz, but is situated comfortably in company with some ECM discs. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.