New Jazz News – 7/7/2020
Jens Bockamp Flow Quartet – Into The Zone (Float Music): “Cologne-based saxophone player and award-winning composer Jens Böckamp presents his third album as a bandleader, an individual collection of sophisticated compositions in structure, harmonics and rhythm but still catchy and with plenty of space. Joscha Oetz (bass), strong and impulsive, perfectly matches with the creative, unconventional approach by drummer Dominik Mahnig from Switzerland and outstanding New York-based vibraphone player Dierk Peters, who always knows to contribute the right colours. „Into The Zone“ is the mental state of full, energetic focus, that might loosen up the feeling of time….” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137794819-jens-bockamp-into-the-zone-2020.html) Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this release.
Event Horizon – Event Horizon Jazz Quartet (GRB): “”Event Horizon is a cooperative quartet of like-minded veteran musicians based in Chicago, whose self-released first CD is a real treat. Working with a traditional instrumentation, the group finds a myriad of ways to keep the listener engaged, in terms of textures, grooves and sonorities across a program of eleven original compositions”. (https://www.isrbx.net/3137798466-event-horizon-jazz-quartet-event-horizon-2020.html) The players are Jim Kaczmarek (sax, flute), Scott Mertens (sax, flute), Donn DeSanto (bass) and Rick Vitek (drums) and all of the songs are originals. Click here to listen to a song from this set.
John Fedchock NY Sextet – Into The Shadows (Summit): “Throughout the history of jazz, groups with a three-horn frontline have been among the more important ensembles of the music. While still giving plenty of space for individual soloists, the configuration has offered unique, creative writing options while maintaining a sleek and mobile blend, avoiding the feeling of a heavier large-ensemble. Immortal recordings by greats including Louis Armstrong, Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane set an extremely high standard. John Fedchock’s illustrious career in jazz has spanned over three decades. Since his emergence on the scene in 1980, Fedchock has established himself as a world-class trombone soloist, a heralded bandleader, and a Grammy-nominated arranger. An in-demand performer and writer in New York City for over twenty years, his multifaceted talents have led him to become one of NYC’s premiere jazz artists…. A major part of what makes this project unique is the exceptional musicians. All are master improvisers who not only thrive within a modern framework, but also have not forgotten how to swing in a genuine and profound way. Players with these qualities gave Fedchock the freedom to experiment with vintage repertoire by adding a new viewpoint while still maintaining the true essence of the material.” (https://www.summitrecords.com/release/into-the-shadows-john-fedchock-ny-sextet/) The players are John Fedchock (trombone), Scott Wendholt (trumpet, flugelhorn), Walt Weiskopf (tenor sax), Allen Farnham (piano), David Finck (bass) and Eric Halvorson (drums). Click here for an introduction to this disc and the players.
Rebecca Coupe Franks – Every Little Thing Counts (Self-produced): “This album “Every Little Thing Counts” (which is the 3rd track on the album) is unique in many ways. It brings together all the material Coupe has composed the year following the passing of her mother Valerie Coupe Franks. The songs contain intimate emotional feelings and vivid landscapes of her grieving process. Also uplifting and hopeful positive messages that helped Coupe through this hard time….” (http://rebeccacoupefranks.com/about/) Franks sings and plays trumpet and keys and she is accompanied by Aaron Comess (drums, percussion), Sheryl Bailey (guitar), Jesse Murphy (bass), Jessica Jones (sax) and Christina Rust and Debbie Lan (backing vocals). Click here to listen to the opening song on this disc.
Derrick Gardner & The Big dig! Band – Still I Rise (Impact Jazz): “Jazz trumpeter, Derrick Gardner, inspired by the finest hard-blowing funky bop bands of the 1960‟s, is working to extend that great tradition as a composer, arranger, performer, leader and educator. With extraordinary, creative natural talent, Derrick quickly made his mark upon arriving on the New York jazz scene in 1991. There he began a top-flight career that has taken him around the world performing internationally with the Count Basie Orchestra, (1991-present), Frank Foster‟s Loud Minority Band, Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and Swiss tenor player Roman Schwaller‟s European Sextet. Mr. Gardner formed his own sextet, The Jazz Prophets, in 1991; it continues to be the primary vehicle of his distinctive, hard-driving music. The band‟s three-man horn line, consisting of himself, tenor sax player Rob Dixon and Derrick‟s brother, trombonist Vincent Gardner of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, has been together since the beginning. The players on this recording are Mark Gross, Greg Gatien, Rob Dixon, Tristan Martinuson and Ken Gold (saxophones); Bijon Watson, Jeff Johnson, Curtis Taylor, Andrew Littleford and Derrick Gardner (trumpets); Vincent Gardner, Joel Green and Anthony Bryson (trombones); Bill Green (bass trombone); Zen Zadravec (piano); Luke Sellick (bass); Kasey Kurtz (guitar) and Curtis Nowosad (drums). This is a truly dynamic performance. Click here to listen to “Melody For Trayvon”, one of Gardner’s compositions from this disc.
Bennie Green – Walkin’ & Talkin’ (Blue Note): “Walkin’ & Talkin’ is an album by American trombonist Bennie Green, recorded in 1959 and released on the Blue Note label. The AllMusic review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine awarded the album 4 stars and stated: “All of Bennie Green’s Blue Note records were rich with joyously swinging blues and bop, highlighted by his warm, friendly tone and good humor. Walkin’ & Talkin’ , his third record for the label, was no exception to the rule… The result is no different from Green’s two previous Blue Note records, but it’s no less satisfying, and fans of swinging bop should be contented with Walkin’ & Talkin’.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkin%27_%26_Talkin%27) The players are Bennie Green (trombone), Eddy Williams (tenor sax), Gildo Mahones (piano), George Tucker (bass) and Al Dreares (drums). Three of the songs are Dreares’ compositions and one is by Green. This is a mellow outing from beginning to end with some nice toe-tapping sounds. Click here to check out Green’s “Walkin’ And Talkin”.
Art Hodes – The Complete Art Hodes Blue Note Sessions (Mosaic): “Art Hodes, (born Nov. 14, 1904, Nikoliev, Russia—died March 4, 1993, Harvey, Ill., U.S.), American jazz and blues pianist known for the emotional commitment of his playing. He is regarded by many critics as the greatest white blues pianist, and he was also a noted jazz writer, historian, and teacher. Hodes’s Ukrainian family came to the United States in 1905 and moved to Chicago when he was a child. He began his musical education in 1916 at Jane Addams’s Hull House, where he often jammed with Benny Goodman and other jazz notables. Throughout the 1920s, Hodes learned from the many greats of jazz who were then in Chicago, including Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and King Oliver. He became pianist with the Wolverines in 1926 after the departure of leader Bix Beiderbecke, and he played in the Chicago area throughout most of the 1930s with such musicians as Gene Krupa, Frank Teschemacher, and Bud Freeman. He did not become well known, however, until he moved to New York in 1938 and made some noted recordings with Joe Marsala and Mezz Mezzrow. A committed jazz traditionalist, Hodes was often at odds with proponents of the bebop movement in the 1940s. Although known mostly for playing blues, Hodes was also praised for his stomping, two-fisted technique on up-tempo numbers.” (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Art-Hodes) I regret I am unable to find a sample of this set.
Fernando Huergo Big Band – The Possibility Of Change (Next Level): “Fernando Huergo is a bassist, composer, and educator from Cordoba, Argentina, now based in Boston. He has recorded over 140 albums, including 11 as a leader. Fernando has toured and given clinics in North, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. The big band includes Jeff Claassen, Doug Olsen, Paul Sanchez and Cosimo Boni (trumpets); Randy Pingrey and Jason Camelio trombone) with Utahn Santos and Bulut Gulen trading as an additional trombone; Ryon Bean (bass trombone); Yulia Musayelyan (flute, alto flute); Rick Stone (alto sax, clarinet); Tucker Antell and Allan Chase (alto sax); Rick DiMuzio (tenor sax, clarinet); Joel Springer (tenor sax); Daniel Ian Smith (bari sax); Santiago Bosch (piano); Fernando Huergo (bass) and Gen Yoshimura (drums). Eight of the eleven songs are Huergo’s with covers of A. Loureiro’s “Caipira”, Dave Holland’s “Processional”, Wayne Shorter’s “The Big Push” and a completely sensational version of Monk’s “Epistrophy”! The title is truly well placed on this excellent release. Click here and scroll way down to listen to the title song.
La Lucha – Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Arbors Jazz): “Followers of La Lucha have known for a long time that this is a ‘trio with a difference.’ The first-call rhythm section in the Tampa Bay scene is at home in any jazz context, with the telepathic interplay you expect from a band together for years. But the places they reach for inspiration, the intriguing choices in finding and writing material, and the combination of these three spirited personalities have endeared La Lucha to listeners and to an ever-widening circle of collaborators. And they just keep getting better. John, Alejandro, and Mark – raised in Mexico, Colombia, and Florida, respectively – met up in a practice room at the University of South Florida, in Tampa, in 2006. The three were soon best friends, and the musical experiences from their younger years, collectively from punk to heavy metal, salsa to classical, were all grist for the mill as they delved into learning and creating jazz. Their energies and cultural backgrounds melded, and La Lucha became known for a sound with lots of Latin rhythms, combining jazz and American Songbook standards with their self-described ‘twisted arrangements’ of 80s and 90s pop tunes, and originals by each of the guys. In performance, they display a knack for turning on a dime, any given set ranging from a standard trio format to plugging in and heading for the funky or spacey side of things. A La Lucha show reminds us why the verb we choose for music-making is ‘to play.’ Along with their busy performance schedule, La Lucha is all about reaching out, and sharing their message in creative ways. They teach and mentor young musicians, have done TEDx Talks about their artistic approach, and shared the stage with dancers, photographers, and poets. There have been four cd’s since their 2009 debut, each a distinctive statement of their sound at the time. And for 2020…well, this is a whole new level…. The band’s name means ‘the fight, or struggle.’ They view it as a positive reminder to overcome whatever one needs to, including the obstacles found in living with a commitment to an artistic life. This is a great moment for the trio that has shared that commitment for years, and if this is your introduction to La Lucha, you have a lot of great listening in store!” (https://lalucha.bandcamp.com/album/everybody-wants-to-rule-the-world) La Lucha is: John C. O’Leary III (piano, fender rhodes, talkbox, moog sub-phatty, voice), Alejandro Arenas (upright & electric bass, voice) and Mike Feinman (drums, percussion, voice). Special guests include Melissa Aldana (tenor sax), Diego Figueiredo (acoustic guitar), Ken Peplowski (clarinet, fender rhodes, moog synth, voice), Houston Person (tenor sax) and Chuck Redd (vibraphone). This is a terrifically interesting and entertaining performance! Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Rhio – Blue Moods (BESO): Singer Rhio offers this six song collection which includes a cross section of songs varying from “Blues In The Night” to “San Francisco Bay Blues” to more exotic songs like “Vela Azul” or “Didn’t See It Coming Blues”. Backing musicians are Cecilia Coleman (piano), Marco Panascia (bass), Joe Giglio (guitar), Peter Brainin (tenor sax) and shifting drummers Elden Sims and Mike Campini. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Michael Sagmeister – The Antonella Letters (Rough Trade): “The Antonella Letters“ is an intimate and sensitive album by jazz and fusion guitarist Michael Sagmeister. It’s jazz guitar in its purest form, a concentrate of the harmonic and melodic lines all recorded by Sagmeister himself. The eighteen cuts include twelve by Sagmeister himself, plus works by Chick Corea, John Coltrane, Carlos Jobim, Sonny Rollins, Johnny Green and Arthur Schwartz. Together they create a coherent whole filled with exciting harmonies as the basis for clever and motley melodies and improvisations. Michael Sagmeister just won the Hesse Jazz Prize 2019. He has over forty years of stage experience, and is a professor at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts.” (https://www.acoustic-music.de/Michael-Sagmeister-The-Antonella-Letters/en) Sagmeister offers twelve original songs and covers of six songs including jazz standards “Alone Together”, “Giant Steps” and “Body And Soul” among others. All are wonderful performances. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Various Artists – Ella 100: Live At The Apollo (Concord Jazz): “Coinciding with Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday on Saturday (April 25), Concord Jazz is releasing Ella 100: Live at the Apollo! on Friday (April 24). The tribute was recorded at the iconic Harlem, New York venue where the premier jazz vocalist got her start competing in its equally legendary Amateur Night talent show. Three-time Grammy Award winner and 2010 Latin Grammy producer of the year Gregg Field produced the 2016 Apollo Theater birthday celebration from which the album stems, casting a lineup of contemporary vocalists that included Patti Austin, Andra Day, Ledisi, Lizz Wright, Cassandra Wilson and Monica Mancini, along with special guests. Ella 100: Live at the Apollo! also finds Field revisiting his musical roots: he formerly toured as Fitzgerald’s drummer.” (https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/9364087/ella-fitzgerald-celebration-ella-100-live-at-the-apollo) This is a wonderful celebration of one of the greatest singers of all time. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this program.