New Jazz Adds – 8/19/2016

New Jazz Adds – 8/18/2016

Rez Abbasi & Junction – Behind The Vibration (Cuneiform): Rez Abbasi (guitar, composer) has been a fusion artist for some time. Heretofore, the fusion has been acoustic. The blend has been described as a combination of modern jazz and Pakistani/American music as it re-interprets 1970s jazz-rock ( This time out with a new group, however, the sound is electric/electronic and all new compositions. His group Junction includes Mark Shim (tenor sax, midi wind controller), Ben Stivers (keyboards, B3, Rhodes), and Kenny Grohowski (drums). The performance blends the rigors of jazz with the rhythms and sensibilities of electronic jazz rock at its best. The ultimate blend is rock, hard bop, and Pakistani traditional music all rendered with the filter of electronic music. It is captivating and fun! Click here to listen to samples of four songs on this disc. 

Arjun – Gravity (Pheromone): Arjun is a jazz-rock-jam trio featuring Eddie Arjun Peters (guitar), Lamar Myers (drums), and Andre Lyles (bass) which turns the normal jazz rock genre on its head by emphasizing the aspects of jazz over the rock elements while expressing both styles in a balanced way. The result is a contagious blend that should appeal to people with tastes rooted in either genre as long as the listener wants acoustic music. The disc also features guest appearances by Jeff Coffin (flute, Dave Matthews Band, Bela Fleck), Cory Henry (organ, Snarky Puppy), Molly Cherryholmes (strings), Pasquale T Iannelli and Andrew Mericle (horns), and Vinas Peixoto and Michael Vetter (percussion). Critics have compared the band to to artists such as Charlie Hunter, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Weather Report, Jeff Beck, Pink Floyd, and Gov’t Mule. Click here and scroll down to “Gravity” to sample songs on this disc.

Anthony Branker & Imagine – Beauty Within (Origin): Educator/composer/trumpet player Anthony Branker composed and directed the group that brings these most recent of his compositions to life. The band features Ralph Bowen (tenor, soprano sax), Pete McCann (guitar), Fabian Almazan (piano), Linda Oh (bass), and Rudy Royston (drums) and their ensemble playing is tight, dynamic and often exhilarating. The sound walks a bit on the edge melodically and is often intense, but it’s post bop, not way out. Definitely a disc to check out. Click here to listen to a brief sample of the opening song.

Will Calhoun – Celebrating Elvin Jones (Motema): Drummer Will Calhoun was a founding member of ground-breaking hard rock group “Living Colour” and is a lifelong fan of jazz as well. His tribute to Elvin Jones demonstrates just how deep his respect and skill are. Jones will need no introduction to longterm jazz fans. Calhoun’s lifelong exposure to jazz as an essential element of his musical and personal heritage is reminiscent of Jones’ statement that, “Playing is not something I do at night. It’s my function in life”. Calhoun’s performance is, in fact, stunning on this disc and his supporting players are an essential element in its success. He is joined by Christian McBride (bass), Antoine Roney (tenor, soprano sax), Carlos McKinney (piano), and Keyon Harrold (trumpet) with guest appearances by Jan Hammer and Doudou N’Diave Rose. Click here to see an introduction to the project and this disc.

Sonny Clark – Cool Struttin’ (Blue Note): Reissue of a classic 1958 Blue Note recording featuring  pianist Clark, trumpeter Art Farmer, young alto saxophonist Jackie McLean whose name was misspelled on the jacket (and still is on the reissue), and bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones (Miles Davis’ rhythm section at the time). The recording swings and bops and IS one of the many brilliant sessions recorded at Blue Note. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc. 

The Claudia Quintet – Super Petit (Cuneiform): The Claudia Quintet is an “eclectic post-jazz” ensemble formed by drummer and composer John Hollenbeck. They oxymoronically claim the title of the disc “captures the essence of its ten new compositions….” It does capture the feel of these compositions – shorter times means higher impact. The group members are John Hollenbeck (drums, percussion), Red Wierenga (accordion), Matt Moran (vibraphone), Drew Gress (bass), and Chris Speed (clarinet, tenor sax) and together they give a unique blend of modern jazz with a unique twist. Peppy and weird, but it does hold together and it’s fun. The instrumental interaction is solid. Click here and scroll down to the the label that is labelled “Super Petite” and click on the arrow to listen to the title song.

Nels Cline – Lovers (Blue Note): According to his liner notes, Cline, guitarist for Wilco, has had this idea/dream for 25 years: to create a recording called “Lovers” that would “be as personal in its sound and its song selection as it is universal in its endeavor to…map the parameters of ‘mood’…to the connection between sound/song and intimacy/romance.” He had hoped to present the recording to Jim Hall out of respect for the latter’s amazing music, but sadly Hall passed away before the recording was completed. In addition to Cline, there are numerous musicians in support on these cuts from Cline playing solo to the addition of Devin Hoff (bass) and Alex Cline (drums) to a variety of orchestral players adding brass, reeds, acoustic guitar, vibes, harp, celeste, violins, violas, and cellos. The sonic palette is broad here. Certainly, significant credit is due to arranger/conductor Michael Leonhart. Click here to listen to a song from the set. I would also recommend looking to the right and clicking on “Snare, Girl” to listen to a very different mood on this collection.

Kenny Dorham – Una Mas (Blue Note): This is a reissue of a 1963 session led by trumpeter Kenny Dorham who also composed the three numbers that were released on the original issue. A fourth song, Lerner and Loewe’s “If Ever I Would Leave You”, has been added to fill out the time on the disc. Durham is supported by Joe Henderson (tenor sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), Butch Warren (bass) and Tony Williams (drums). This was a tight and lively session clearly in the hard bop sound that Blue Note supported so well. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of songs on this disc.

Michika Fukumori – Quality Time (Summit): This is pianist Fukumori’s second release and, like her premiere, it features her in a trio setting. Her rhythm section features Aidan O’Donnell (bass) and Billy Drummond (drums) and the disc was produced by one of her former teachers, Steve Kuhn. She also studied with Ron Carter and Jeri Allen while earning her Masters Degree at City College Of New York. Fukumori contributed four originals to the playlist and a cross section of standards, including Julie Styne’s “Make Someone Happy”, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Someone To Light Up My Life”, Ellington’s “Solitude”, Leonard Bernstein’s “Lucky To Be Me” and “Somewhere”. Her playing is sophisticated and swings whenever she wishes. O’Donnell’s solos are also noteworthy. Click here to listen to songs on this disc.

Sara Gazarek & Josh Nelson – Dream In The Blue (Steel Bird): Vocalist Sara Gazarek and pianist Josh Nelson release what appears to be their second recorded collaboration, though each of these college music teachers has issued several individual releases in the past few years. Gazarek has a beautifully full and pure sound and Nelson accompanies her with terrific foundations and counter points. They cover a wide array of songs from standards like “Sunny Side Of The Street” and Ellington and Mills “Mood Indigo” to more modern songs like “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (popularized by Bonnie Raitt) to original compositions, like the highly touching “I Don’t Love You Anymore”. They also perform a terrific medley of the Beatles “Blackbird” with the classic “Bye Bye Blackbird”. Vocal fans, whether of stage, jazz or pop, definitely must check this out!  Click here and scroll down to listen to four songs on this disc.

Joe Henderson – Mode For Joe (Blue Note): This set was originally recorded in 1966 with tenor sax man Joe Henderson as leader with support from Lee Morgan (trumpet), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Bobby Hutchinson (vibes), Cedar Walton (piano), Ron Carter (bass) and Joe Chambers (drums). The hot tempos and solos are some of the best hard bop on record. Three songs are Henderson originals, two are by Cedar Walton and one by Lee Morgan. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Kenia – On We Go (Mooka): Brazilian singer Kenia Acioly came to the US in 1980 and made her first recording as a vocalist on Claudio Roditi’s “Red On Red” soon after. She made her solo debut as a singer in 1987. This disc is a reunion with two musicians who were in her first band: Paul Socolow (bass) and Mark Soskin (keys). She sings in English and her native language and also scats a bit just to spice things up even further. Kenia’s voice has grown over the years as has her repertoire and she is certainly an accomplished performer. Other supporting musicians include Sandro Albert (acoustic, electric guitars), Lucas Ashby (percussion), Adriano Santos (drums) and guest appearances by Romero Lubambo (guitar), Hendrik Meurkens (harmonica), and Ago Piaztora (surdo). Lots of variety here that will certainly appeal to fans of Braziian music and newcomers. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Blue Mitchell Quintet – Down With It! (Blue Note): Recorded in 1965, this disc featured Blue Mitchell (trumpet), Junior Cook (tenor sax), Chick Corea (piano), Gene Taylor (bass), and Al Foster (drums). The style is hard bop mixed with some soul jazz that, despite the uptempo style, is not very intense. Mitchell and Cook certainly stand out on their solos and the ensemble works well as a unit. “March On Selma” brings some sustained fire. Click here to sample the songs on this disc.

Lee Morgan – Candy (Blue Note): This recording took place in sessions in late 1957 and early 1958. In addition to Morgan on trumpet, the session includes Sonny Clark (piano), Doug Watkins (bass) and Art Taylor (drums). Somewhat unusually for Morgan, this session includes several standards, including a beautiful take of “Since I Fell For You”. In fact everything except Jimmy Heath’s “C.T.A.” is a standard. At the same time, the uptempo take of “Candy”, among others, are almost  jivey rags. Very cool! Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of each of the songs on this disc.

Music Soup – Cut To The Chase (Chicken Coup): Here’s a very cool trio, featuring Evgenia Karlafti (piano, keys, vocals), Nestor Dimopoulos (guitar), and Vagelis Kotzabasis (drums) unleashing nine original compositions that swing and constantly change ambience from one song to the next. Karlafti’s vocals, including scats and various style shifts, are right on the beam. The trio flows across styles by the change of instruments as well as by the songs’ individual flavors. Additional musicians Anastasis  Gouliaris (drums), Dimitris Popadopoulos (trumpet), Dimitri Vassilakis (tenor sax), and Antonis Andreou (trombone) also add to the variety. It’s over before you know it, yet you feel as if you’ve had quite a wonderful musical journey. Click here to sample the songs on this disc.

John Stowell – Michael Zilber Quartet – Basement Blues (Origin): Guitarist Stowell and sax/piano player Zilber are master musicians in their own right and together they weave a musical tapestry that is hip, lyrical, and adventurous. With a rhythm section that is fully prepared to lay down a framework for the two leads, this release swings, drops in the hard bop, and, after stepping slightly outside, offers some beautiful balladry. John Shifflett (bass) and Jason Lewis (drums) complete the group. As wonderful as the solos are, the full ensemble playing is stellar as well. Dave Liebman gives a wonderful endorsement of their work, acknowledging their status as two of his favorite musicians. Eight of ten songs are original compositions. Click here to listen to samples of two songs from this disc.

Hans Sturm – Tom Larson – Sylvain Rabbath – A Day In Paris (Avant Bass): Double bassist Hans Sturm has performed as soloist, chamber, orchestral, jazz and improvisational musician in many countries of the world. He was named professor emeritus at Ball State University and is currently continuing his musical leadership at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Pianist Tom Larson, a colleague of Sturm’s, teaches jazz piano and the history of jazz and rock at Nebraska as well. Sylvain Rabbath, a renowned classical and jazz bassist was the inspiration of this disc and he plays piano on one piece. The concept for this work was drawn from the “third stream” styling of Gunther Schuller, whose goal here was to intertwine the two styles into a new separate style. This recording bases each selection on one or the other, but includes some techniques and passages that “crept” in as the pieces were improvised. Sturm is a master bassist and the interaction with Larson’s and Rabbath’s pianos is fantastic. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.


Professor Bebop


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