New Jazz Adds – 7/3/2018
JD Allen – LoveStone (Savant): Tenor sax player JD Allen offers nine ballads ranging from “Stranger In Paradise” and “Until The Real Thing Comes Along” to “Put On A Happy Face” and “Gone With The Wind” in a beautifully stark manner that really brings out a new notion of what these songs can bring. Allen is accompanied by Liberty Ellman (guitar), Gregg August (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) and everyone is in sync with the leaders intention. It’s a quiet and somewhat unadorned set, but that very difference will reward the thoughtful listener. I was even struck by the name of the disc which is printed like LOVESTONE, allowing each listener to decide whether it’s intended to be LOVE STONE or LOVES TONE. Click here to listen to a sample from the disc.
Tiffany Austin – Unbroken (Con Ama Music): “Widely hailed as one of the best jazz debut albums of 2015, Tiffany Austin’s self-released Nothing But Soul made quite a splash…. Her eagerly awaited follow-up, Unbroken, confirms the Bay Area vocalist’s status as one of jazz’s elite singers and a formidable songwriter as well. Unbroken is both a timeless meditation on African-American culture’s extraordinary resilience and an all-too-timely response to the re-energized forces seeking to degrade and deny that legacy….Rather than separating African-American music into kindred tributaries, Austin plunges into the whole river of sound that’s sustained black life in America since before the nation’s founding. In many ways, she’s contesting what vocalist Gregory Porter has called “musical genocide” with a soul-steeped affirmation that embraces blues and swing, spirituals and R&B, bebop, post-bop, and her own Louisiana Creole heritage.” (https://www.tiffanyaustin.com/bio/) I can’t think of a better or more accurate description. This is simply one of the most stunning works of art I have ever heard. Austin certainly covers Ella Fitzgerald’s style, but is always herself. She composed four of the songs and added her own lyrics to Ornette Coleman’s “The Blessing” and Charles Mingus’ “Better Git It In Your Soul”. Backing musicians are Asklin Parker (trumpet), Mitch Butler (trombone), Teodross Avery (tenor sax), Cyrus Chestnut (piano), Rodney Whitaker (bass) and Carl Allen (drums). Click here to listen to samples of three songs on this disc.
Black Art Jazz Collective – Armor Of Pride (HighNote): The Black Art Jazz Collective features Wayne Escoffery (tenor sax), Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), James Burton III (trombone), Xavier Davis (piano), Vicente Archer (bass) and Johnathan Blake (drums). They state that the purpose of the group is to celebrate Black culture, particularly jazz, but also politics, while remembering and honoring the earlier masters of the art form. (All About Jazz). Each of the eight compositions are originals: three by Pelt; two by Escoffery; and one each by Blake, Burton and Davis. The noble cause of the group includes honoring the older sound and they do that in a crisp and inventive way. Click here to listen to the opening song.
Andrea Brachfeld – If Not Now, When? (Jazzheads): Flutist / educator / arranger Andrea Brachfeld “began her professional career as a musician at age 16… and played many different genres of music including funk, Country Western, Charanga, Salsa, Latin Jazz, devotional music and Jazz. Her breakthrough performance as the flutist for the popular Latin band Charanga ’76, catapulted her into Salsa history and fame as the first female flutist to play this music in the United States.” (http://andreabrachfeld.com/epk/short-bios/) She now has numerous recordings to her credit. Her band members on this disc are Harvie S (bass), Bill O’Connell (piano) and Jason Tiemann (drums). Nine of the ten compositions are new: four by Brachfeld, five she composed with O’Connell and a lovely version of “Amazing Grace”. This disc has a fresh sound with terrific interplay by Brachfeld and the group. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Jean Chaumont – The Beauty Of Differences (Misfitme): Born in France, but a resident of Princeton, NJ since 2014, guitarist/composer Jean Chaumont is truly a citizen of the world. His music employs group and individual dynamics in a remarkably egalitarian style. Chaumont plays several different types of guitars, but his style has his instrument sharing the lead as much as yielding to other musicians in the group. The other players are Michael Bond (piano, rhodes), Ike Sturm (upright bass), Rudy Royston (drums) and Sam Sadigursky (tenor & soprano sax) with guests Tierney Sutton and Vinod Gnanaraj (vocals on three songs), John Hadfield (percussion on 1 song) and Enoch Smith Jr (Hammond organ on three songs).The kaleidoscope of sound within songs and across the disc is exquisite and enchanting. Chaumont also notes that each sale of this disc will be donated to “Villages In Partnership” to build wells in the Sakata region of Malawi. This is an intriguing and exquisite disc. Click here to listen to samples of each song on this disc.
Amos Hoffman & Noam Lemish – Pardes (Self-produced): “The meaning of the word Pardes in Hebrew is ‘orchard’ or ‘fruit garden’. The word also carries with it layers of meaning in Jewish tradition. Pardes is etymologically rooted in Farsi and is the origin of the word ‘paradise’.” (Liner notes) The music performed is a blend of world music traditions and features Amos Hoffman (guitar, out), Noam Lemish (piano), Justin Gray (bass) and Derek Gray (drums, percussion) with special guests Pedram Khavarzamini (tombak) and Jacob Gorzhaltsan (clarinet). This is a delightful and engrossing set. Click here and scroll down to listen to three songs on this disc.
Lenny Marcus Trio – Gloria’s Step (Self-produced): Based in Roanoke, VA, the Lenny Marcus trio offers five original compositions and covers of compositions from Scott La Faro, Cat Stevens, McCoy Tyner among others. In addition to Marcus (grand piano, flute on on two songs), the group features Rick Eckberg (bass) and Larry Scott (drums) and guest players Vladimir Espinosa (percussion), Brain Mesko (guitar) and Ken Hitchcock (flutes and sax). At times the music swings with a flourish and at others the melodiousness of the group carries the songs the whole way. This is Marcus’ 25th release! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
The Maguire Twins – Seeking Higher Ground (Three Trees): This is the Maguire Twins’ second release and it covers a lot of ground. The twins are the rhythm section for the band, Carl on drums and Alan on bass and they each wrote or co-wrote two of the twelve songs on the release. The remaining players are Bill Mobley (trumpet, flugelhorn, 1 composition); Gregory Tardy (tenor and soprano sax, 1 composition); Aaron Goldberg (piano, 1 song); and Donald Brown (Fender Rhodes). The band covers a good bid of ground and the soloing by Tardy is a major force in the sound. Altogether, this is a solid piece of playing throughout. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Sasha Masakowski – Art Market (ropeadope): “Sasha is currently preparing a new album, Art Market. The music takes a deliberate step into new territory, showcasing Sasha not only as a vocalist but also as a composer and bandleader. Compositions on Art Market splash traditional New Orleans jazz with layers of electro pop and art rock, and the tunes are all heavily based on the various rhythms of her hometown, from swing to second-lines to bounce music and beyond. Art Market features traditional songs reimagined, and original songs fashioned for a charming, energetic and edgy New Orleans music experience with a band of young masterminds born and bred in the Big Easy.” (http://www.sashamasakowski.com/aboutreal/) Masakowski’s range of styles is at once the disc’s strength and weakness. She wrote or co-wrote four of the ten songs. I found the covers more appealing, but you should just be sure to listen to the entire disc to determine what most appeals to you. Masakowski plays synthesizer, guitar and programs drums as well as singing and is supported by Martin Masakowski (bass), David Torkonowsky (piano, Rhodes), Jason Lindner (synthesizer, Wurlitzer), Peter Varnado (drums), Cliff Hines and Steve Masakowski (guitar), Simon Lott (drums, FX), Jerome Amari Ansari (sax) and Colin Myers (trombone). There’s a lot to like here, while the range may lead you to seek out your favorites. Click here to listen to sample of the songs on this disc.
Jocelyn Michelle – Live At Viva Cantina! (Chicken Coup): Organist / vocalist Jocelyn Michelle offers her takes on a number of jazz and pop songs on this release. The styles range from music by Gato Barbieri and Antonio Carlos Jobim to Burt Bacharach & Hal David and Henry Mancini to Eddie Brigati and Felix Cavaliere. The set honors the original style without mimicking the genre. Players include Joh Rack (guitar), Bill Noble and Steve Mann (alto, tenor sax); Andrea Lindborg and Tony Ferrell (trumpet); Sammy K (drums, percussion), Al Person (percussion), and Laura Dickinson (vocals). There is a nice variety on this set. Click here to listen to three first sings from this set.
Onyx Collective – Lower East Suite, Part Three (Big Dada): Though they’ve released a few self-produced projects in a the past, this is Onyx Collective’s first release by a studio. “Whereas previous Onyx Collective projects capture New York City’s more romantic facets, ‘Lower East Suite Part Three’ has a much more ominous sound, reflective of the dissonance that accompanies life in the city. After being forced out of their original practice space due to rising rent, Onyx Collective relocated their headquarters to Magic Gallery on Market St, located in a gritty pocket of Chinatown by the East River. (webpage) When I wrote the record I was thinking about concepts like eviction and gentrification….The record is born out of the challenges of being in New York.” The record features de-facto band leader Isaiah Barr on alto and tenor saxophone, Austin Williamson on drums, Walter Stinson on upright bass, Spencer Murphy on electric bass, and Roy Nathanson as guest saxophone on four tracks. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Joshua Redman – Still Dreaming (Nonesuch): Tenor sax player and composer Joshua Redman offers four new compositions, covers of Charlie Haden’s “Playing” and Ornette Coleman’s “Comme Il Faut” and two compositions by bass player Scott Colley. The quartet is rounded out by Ron Miles (cornet) and Brian Blade (drums). While not clearly listed as a tribute to Joshua’s father Dewey, the disc does show the latter’s influence. The songs range from sweet melodies to quirky challenges to straight ahead ballads. The result will offer something for many listeners while offering some automatic connections for a wide span of jazz fans. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.