New Jazz Adds – 9/10/2019
Roxy Coss – Quintet (Outside In Music): “Musician, Composer, Bandleader, Recording Artist, Educator and Activist Roxy Coss has become one of the most unique and innovative Saxophonists on the scene. Winner of a 2016 ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award, the Downbeat Critics’ Poll listed her as a “Rising Star” on Soprano Saxophone the past five years in a row, and a Downbeat Magazine review called her “An exceptional young talent”. Originally from Seattle, Roxy has been a fixture on the New York scene for over ten years.” (https://www.roxycoss.com/quintet) In addition to Coss (tenor & soprano sax), the quintet includes Miki Yamanaka (piano, Rhodes), Alex Wintz (guitar), Rick Rosato (bass) and Jimmy Macbride (drums). Seven of the eight songs on this disc are Coss’ originals. Super fine! Click here to catch a live version of Coss’ “Don’t Cross The Coss” and the group’s treatment of “All Or Nothing At All”.
The Curtis Brothers – Algorithm (TruthRevolution): “Brothers Zaccai and Luques Curtis, pianist and bassist, respectively, have been strong and stable presences on the top jazz scene with participations in widely recognized projects by pianist Eddie Palmieri, trumpeter Brian Lynch, drummer Ralph Peterson, and saxophonist Donald Harrison. The latter three heavyweights and former jazz mentors join them again (seven years after Completion of Proof) on Algorithm, a stirring post-bop album recorded live and released on the brothers’ record label, Truth Revolution Records.” (https://jazztrail.net/blog/curtis-brothers-algorithm-album-review) An example in this set is “Parametric” – a set of facts or a fixed limit that establishes or limits how something can or must happen or be done (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/parametric). Mathematics certainly drives music in presentation and this live performance offers nine aspects which are both heady and instructive. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
DSC (Dorsey, Skaff & Clark) – Monktime (JazzAvenue 1): Bassist Leon Lee Dorsey offers his first recording in 20 years with a new take on eight of Thelonius Monk’s compositions. After recording a few releases earlier, Dorsey dedicated himself to instruction in harmony and jazz arranging and composition at Berklee School of Music. This disc presents eight Monk compositions in a trio setting, with guitarist Greg Skaff and drummer Mike Clark with the intention of a fresh interpretation without piano or horns. The disc certainly brings a new sound. Dorsey adds, “We wanted to retain the original character of Monk’s music. We weren’t looking to reinvent the wheel on masterpieces. We wanted to keep the essence of the songs, that timeless commonality they have, while blending in our own spices and flavors.” (https://news.allaboutjazz.com/leon-lee-dorsey-explores-the-music-of-thelonious-monk-on-monktime-bassists-first-album-in-20-years-set-for-sept-13-release.php) Click here to listen to a short sample of “Well You Needn’t”.
Eliane Elias – Love Stories (Concord jazz): “… pianist/singer/composer Eliane Elias’ distinctive musical style has emerged as one of the most unique and immediately recognizable sounds in jazz. With over 2.2 million albums sold to date, Elias blends her Brazilian roots and alluring voice with her virtuosic instrumental jazz, classical and compositional skills, while she consistently displays her pianistic mastery and ability to integrate the many artistic roles she takes on.” (http://elianeelias.com/bio/) This disc includes three original songs and covers of “A Man And A Woman”, “Bonita”, “Come Fly With Me” and three original compositions. Mellow and enticing throughout. Supporting musicians include Marc Johnson (bass), rotating guitarists Marcus Teixeira, Daniel Santiago, and Roberto Menescal; and drummers Edu Ribeiro, Rafael Barata, Paulo Braga and Celso de Almeida. Click here to listen to a song on this disc written and performed by Eliane Elias.
George Garzone – 3 Nights In L.A. (Fuzzy Music): “3 Nights in LA” documents a January 2019 performance at a new Los Angeles club, Sam First. Peter Erskine took to the bandstand with pianist Alan Pasqua and bassist Darek Oles, his fellow faculty members at University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music joined by tenor saxophone player George Garzone, in town to teach a master class, for three nights, two sets a night. The result is this three-disc release, with each disc representing a different night with a total of 20 tracks and over three hours of music.” Well sort of: This is a sampler disc with selections from each of the discs, so I’ll only be able to review six songs. That being said, there is some very fine music here. The selections here offer covers on the bookends – Rodgers and Hart’s “Have you Met Miss Jones?” and Kaper and Webster’s “Invitation” with one composition from each of the players on this disc. While the covers sound fine, the originals are certainly gems on this sampler. Fine live performances from the quartet! Sadly, they only offer us a sliver of music from one song, but it does represent the style and sound. Click here to listen to the opening song on this disc.
Sara Gazarek – Thirsty Ghost (Self-produced): Singer/composer Sara Gazarek offers her fifth solo release and sixth in all. While there are only three original songs this time around, her newly invented covers are quite entertaining as well. The covers range from “1960’s “Never Will I Marry” to “”I Get Along Without You Very Well” (1929) and Dolly Parton’s “Jolene’ from 1973 mixed with Gararek’s own current work. Her supporting players include Stu Mindeman (piano, Rhodes), Alex Boneham (bass), Christian Euman (piano), Josh Johnson (alto sax), Ido Meshulam (trombone), Brian Walsh (bass clarinet), Erin Bentlage and Michael Mayo (background vocals) and special guests Larry Goldings (organ) and Kurt Elling (voice). Intriguing and enticing! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Scott Hamilton Quartet – Danish Ballads…& More (Stunt Records): Tenor sax player Scott Hamilton, having played a giant percentage of American standards has reached out for new material and has created a fresh collection of Danish ballads given his beautifully mellow personal style. The only song that will likely be identifiable is “Alley Cat”. There are a couple of Oscar Pettiford compositions, but this is a truly fresh bouquet. Hamilton is accompanied by Jan Lundgren (piano), Hans Backenroth (bass) and Kristian Leth (drums). Swinging, gorgeous and fresh! Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Hendrik Meurkens – Cobbs Pocket (IN+OUT): “Hendrik Meurkens, a virtuoso on both the chromatic harmonica and the vibraphone, is the most important jazz harmonica player since Toots Thielemans.” (http://hendrikmeurkens.com/blog) This is his twenty-sixth release and he plays exclusively harmonica. Meurkens is accompanied by Peter Bernstein (guitar), Mike LeDonne (organ) and Jimmy Cobb (drums). Three of the songs are Meurkens’ originals and the remainder range from Burke and vanHeusen’s “Polka Dots And Moonbeams” and Mancini and Gimbel’s “Slow Hot Wind” to Herbie Hancock’s “Driftin’” and Slide Hampton’s “Frame For The Blues”. Overall, it’s an unusual blend but it’s certainly well played. Click here and scroll down to listen to “Cobb’s Pocket” and “Polka Dots And Moonbeams”.
Bill O’Connell & The Afro Caribbean Ensemble – Wind Off The Hudson (Savant): “After a 40-year long career that has seen him excel as a leader, soloist, arranger, musicaldirector, and accompanist for some of the most celebrated names in jazz and Latin music, Bill O’Connell can lay claim to a track record of challenging and artistic-diverse triumphs that few of his peers can match. As a recording artist, his 13 dates as a leader have drawn universal critical acclaim while his talents as a pianist and arranger have been tapped by a diverse range of noted soloists to elevate their sessions. Today, as both a respected educator and leader of The Latin Jazz All-Stars, O’Connell’s professional life brims with new opportunities to express and fulfill his singular music vision.” (https://static1.squarespace.com/static/562412d9e4b092a567ca64b4/t/56901019df40f3469484f9e3/1452281881950/Bill+O%E2%80%99Connell+short+bio.pdf) The players include Andrea Brachfeld (flute, alto flute); Craig Handy (alto and soprano sax); Ralph Bowen (tenor sax); Gary Smulyan (bari sax); Alex Sipiagin (trumpet, flugelhorn); Conrad Herwig (trombone); Lincoln Goines (electric bass); Robby Ameen (drums); and Román Díaz: (congas). This disc offers six original compositions and covers of Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va”, Juan Tizol’s “Perdido”, John Coltrane’s “Transition” and Duke Ellington’s “C Jam Blues”. The performance offers nice variety and swings wonderfully! Click here to listen to the title song.
Houston Person – I’m Just A Lucky So And So (HighNote): Houston Person has been recording regularly over the recent past and he certainly is a king of the smooth. He is 84 and blows with beauty and mellowness of anyone around! The rest of the band is a perfect fit as well: Eddie Allen (trumpet), Lafayette Harris (piano), Rodney Jones (guitar), Matthew Parrish (bass) and Kenny Washington (drums). Anyone listening to this disc is certainly a lucky so and so as well! Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Ben Wolfe – Fatherhood (Resident Arts): “Strings are the connectors on bassist Ben Wolfe’s Fatherhood. Not heartstrings, mind, but violins, viola, and cello.…. What Wolfe does with those strings isn’t sweetening. Rather than use them simply to plump up the arrangements, the writing here treats the quartet as an additional voice—sometimes supportive but at times oppositional.” (https://jazztimes.com/reviews/albums/ben-wolfe-fatherhood-independent/) The quartet includes Jesse Mills and George Valtchev (violins), Kenji Bunch (viola) and Wolfram Koessel (cello) and they either blend or oppose with the rest of the players: Ben Wolfe (bass), Donald Edwards (drums), Luis Perdomo and Orrin Evans (alternating on piano), Joel Ross (vibes), Immanuel Wilkins (alto sax on two songs), Ruben Fox (tenor sax on 1 song); and JD Allen (tenor sax on 2 songs). Wolfe composed all but one of the songs on this disc. The result is unusual and also an intriguing mix. Click here and scroll down to listen to a song on this disc.