New Jazz Adds – 9/16/2016

New Jazz Adds – 9/16/2016

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – Real Enemies (New Amsterdam): “For a wholly original take on big band’s past, present and future, look to Darcy James Argue” (Seth Colter Walls, Newsweek). At first the music here is like a film soundtrack and then maybe a soundscape and then a soundscape for an exhibit. In fact, it is partly all of these things and more. Composer / conductor Argue has created a hybrid of the big band. He has also brought us a most intriguing and compelling performance. This performance sounds like a thrilling spy movie except that the quotes are real and the thriller is our worldwide political struggle and determining who exactly the villains are. The Secret Society itself includes Dave Pietro (piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute, soprano sax, alto sax); Rob Wilkerson (flute, clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax); Sam Sadigursky (Eb clarinet, Bb clarinet, A clarinet, tenor sax); John Ellis (clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor sax); Carl Maraghi (clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone sax); Seneca Black, Jonathan Powell, Matt Holman, Nadie Noordhuis, and Ingrid Jensen (trumpet, flugelhorn); Mike Fahie and Ryan Keberle (trombone); Jacob Garchik (trombone, tuba); Jennifer Wharton (bass trombone, tuba); Sebastian Noelle (acoustic & electric guitar); Adam Birnbaum (acoustic & electric piano, FM synth); Matt Clohesy (contrabass & electric bass, bass synth); Jon Wikan (drum set, cajón); and  percussion; and James Urbaniak (narrator).  This is an important work. Click here for an introduction to this recording.

Evan Cobb – Hot Chicken (Ear Up): This is reed man/composer/teacher Evan Cobb’s second release. In addition to his tenor and alto sax and flute, he is supported by Matt White (trumpet, flugelhorn), Joe Davidian (piano), Jonathan Wires (bass), Joshua Hunt (drums), and guests Roland Barber (trombone), James DeSylva (guitar), Jay Karp (alto sax), and Gabriel Collins (tenor sax). The guest solos are a strength, underscoring Cobb’s composing to create a platform  for each soloist. There are several style shifts on the disc. Click here to listen to a sample of the opening tune.

Tom Cohen – Joyride (Self-produced): Drummer Tom Cohen, described as a “drummer of creative agitation” (Philadelphia Inquirer) presents his fourth disc. He opens with a short drum solo before launching out on Wayne Shorter’s “Black Nile” and many other covers of classic jazz pieces. Cohen shares the recording with pianist Benito Gonzalez, alternating bassists Kris Funn and Mike Boone, with Tim Ries (tenor, alto sax) who provides one composition. Cohen also intersperses brief drum solos between several intervals on the recording. The presentation is quite enjoyable throughout. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Barbara Dane – Throw It Away… (Dreadnaught Music): Reminiscent of recordings by Alberta Hunter and Sippie Wallace though mostly in at the jazz vein, octagenerian Barbara Dane decided it was time to record again and the result is amazingly effective. She has a great sense of singing within her vocal limits and the musical support is just right. Several of the songs are blues numbers, but Dane also covers some classics like “All Too Soon”, “American Tune”, Lennon & McCartney’s “In My Life”, and Abby Lincoln’s “Throw It Away”. Dane is accompanied by Tammy Hall (piano, arrangements), Ruth Davies (bass), and Bill Maginnis (drums), with guest appearances by Pablo Menendez (blues harp) and Richard Hadlock (soprano sax). This is a very effective performance. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Camille Harris – Where I Go (Self-produced): EP released by singer/songwriter Camille Harris. Harris has a clear and melodious style that puts her right in the stage and jazz ranks. Three of the four songs here are originals and the cover is the classic “The More I See You”. Accompaniment is provided by Dave Tedeschi (drums), Georgia Weber (bass), and Wayne Tucker (trumpet, vocals). Solid performances throughout. Unfortunately, I am unable to find a sample from this disc. Click here to listen to earlier recordings by Camille Harris.

Derrick Hodge – The Second (Blue Note): This disc is almost entirely a solo effort. Hodge plays drums and other instruments, including what sounds like programming drum loops. In fact, the drum riffs are most often in the foreground. Hodge also composed everything here. The song “For Generations” breaks the pattern with other players and an emphasis on horns. Marcus Strickland (tenor sax), Keyon Harold (trumpet), Corey King (trombone), and Derrick Hodge (bass) are the additional musicians. Click here and scroll down to “The Second” to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Bobby Hutcherson – Montara (Blue Note): This is a 1975 recording by vibes and marimba master Bobby Hutcherson covering ballads, great Latin grooves, and even some funk. This release was, in fact, Hutcherson’s first full blown Latin fusion disc. Accompanying musicians include Oscar Brashear and Blue Mitchell (trumpets); Ernie Watts, Fred Jackson, and Plas Johnson (flute, saxes); Larry Nash (electric piano); Eddie Cano (piano); Dennis Budimir (guitar),; Chuck Domanico and Dave Troncoso (bass); Harvey Mason (drums); and Ralph McDonald, Bobby Matos, Victor Pantoja, Johnny Palomo and Rudy Calzado (percussion). Terrific Latin soul jazz. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Jan Kus Quartet – Faith (Leitmotiv Arts): Jan Kus (composer, tenor and soprano sax) states on the liner notes, “Once we Disconnect from the everyday craze of the dark, fast-speed world, overloaded with information, aggression and immediate gratification, We will find a vast, yet beautiful Emptiness inside ourselves, We might feel alone at first, but if we stay true to the path, we will find a friendly…Band of people that think alike and stand for the same beliefs…make us feel that we are more than just a Little person. And should we have enough Strength to endure the challenges…with all of our spirits combined, we will make a difference.” The non-standard words beginning with a capital letter are the names of pieces on the disc and they express musically or lyrically what Kus and band strive for. There are many style shifts across the selections which also express these thoughts. The musicians with Kus are Sean Fitzpatrick (piano, rhodes), Dan Martinez (bass), Joel Mateo (drums) and special guests Melanie JB Charles (vocals), Antonio Hart (alto sax), Alex Sipiagin (trumpet), Carlos Madonado ((percussion), Rafal Sarnecki (guitar) and Ziga Murko (electronics). Engaging work. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of songs on this disc.

Jimmy O’Connell Sixtet – Arrhythmia (Outside In Music): Are you ready for some serious hard bop with amazing interplay among the players? Here it is! Trombonist Jimmy O’Connell can play like an avalanche and trade fours or duet with Andrew Gould (alto, soprano sax) like crazy. Their interaction makes you wonder if they aren’t operating with the same brain and heart. The other members of the band are totally solid as well. When it comes time for their solos, Tim Basom (guitar) and Tuomo Uusitalo (piano) are clearly on the mind-wave as well. Add Peter Slavov (bass) and Jimmy MacBride (drums) and bang! This is a solid disc from beginning to end. Click here and look to “Bolivia” to listen to that selection on this disc.

Mehmet Ali Sanlikol & Whatsnext? – Resolution (Dunya): Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, a native of Cyprus and graduate of Berkeley School of Music, has played and composed in numerous settings spanning from Dave Liebman, Bob Brookmeyer, and Esperanza Spalding, to the American Composers Orchestra and the Boston Cello Quartet. He “pairs Turkish instruments such as zurna (double reed wind), ney (end-blown flute), kös (large kettledrums) and nekkare (small kettledrums) with the jazz orchestra/combo to perform his Turkish music-influenced compositions, in which Turkish makam (mode) and usul (rhythmic cycles) are intertwined with modern jazz as well as specifically film noir influenced music.” ( The result on this disc is both exciting, bewildering and amazingly captivating. In addition to his composing and directing, Mehmet plays harpsichord, clarinet, moog, keybords, ney, cumbus, ud, talking drum, water pot, continuum fingerboard, piano, and zurna in the variety of settings on this disc. Musicians are too numerous to list, except for special guest performers Anat Cohen (clarinet), Dave Liebman (soprano sax), Tiger Okoshi (trumpet), Antonio Sanchez (drums) and Nedelka Prescod (vocals). A variety of music critics are tagging Sanlikol as the most completely integrated world music composer and performer. Click here for an introduction from Sanlikol himself.

Lonnie Smith – Turning Point (Blue Note): 1969 session for Blue Note as Lonnie Smith was becoming a leader rather than a side man. The Jimmy Smith influence is clear and the supporting cast is stellar: Lee Morgan (trumpet), Julian Priester (trombone), Bennie Maupin (tenor sax), Melvin Sparks (guitar), Idris Muhammad (drums). This is a classic session. All organ fans should know this one. Click here to listen to the title song.

Art Taylor – A.T.’s Delight (Blue Note): Art Taylor was one of short list of drummers who redefined the jazz drumming style during the late 50’s and early 60’s. He recorded with Miles Davis and John Coltrane and performed with Thelonius Monk before leaving the US for France and Belgium. This disc was recorded in 1960 and features Dave Burns (trumpet), Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax), Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and “Potato” Valdez (congas). Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Throttle Elevator Music – IV (Beehive): This is one of Kamasi Washington’s projects or avenues for expression. In addition to Washington’s arranging and sax playing, the group includes Erik Jekabson (flugelhorn, trumpet), Mike Hughes (drums), Matt Montgomery (bass, organ, guitar, piano), and Gregory Howe (guitar, piano, arranging). All of the songs here were conceived by Montgomery and/or Howe. It might be called funky jazz rock. This isn’t as grandiose as “Epic”, but the group is a solid unit that can hit a groove. Be prepared for some outrageousness, but whatever Washington is up to deserves a listen. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.

The Unknown New – Thieves (Self-produced): The Unknown New is a Chicago-based chamber jazz ensemble, featuring new works by Paul Mutzabaugh, the bassist in the group. Other members include Rich Stitzel (percussion), Jon Deitemyer (drums), Mike Pinto (über-guitar: electric, acoustic, & synth), Jim Tashjian (acoustic guitar), and Chris Siebold (lap steel & electric guitars). The sound is jazzy and melodic with an occasional nod to rock. The group performance  presents a tight interweaving of the of the tones. Click here to listen to several songs from this disc.

Various Artists – The Lost Sessions (Blue Note): This disc is the result of some hard work done by Michael Cuscuna. He had compiled and published The Blue Note Label: A Discography (1988) and decided to review the unissued takes to separate the “unissued” takes from the “rejected” takes. The task was prompted by the intention to publish an updated and improved version of the discography in honor of Blue Note’s 60th anniversary. Avid collectors had asked if there was any way unreleased material could be issued, prompting Cuscuna to review that “stash”. This disc compiles a dozen recordings that merit release but were not released for reasons like insufficient quantity for artist-dedicated releases. Here’s a quick list of personnel represented: Charlie Rouse (tenor sax) with Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Bob Cranshaw, Billy Higgins – 1 cut; Tadd Dameron (piano), Donald Byrd (trumpet), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Julius Watkins (French horn), Sam Rivers (tenor sax), Cecil Payne (bari sax), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums) – 4 cuts; Duke Pearson (piano) with Ike Quebec (tenor sax), Israel Crosby (bass), and Vernel Fournier (drums) – 3 cuts; Sonny Stitt (tenor sax) with Dexter Gordon (tenor sax), Don Patterson (organ), Paul Weeden (guitar), and Billy James (drums) – 1 cut; Ike Quebec (tenor sax) with Gene Harris (organ), Andrew Simpkins (bass), and Bill Dowdy (drums) – 1 cut; Fred Jackson ( tenor sax) with John Patton (piano), Grant Green (guitar), Herbie Lewis (bass), and Ben Dixon (drums) – 1 cut; and Herbie Hancock (piano) with Melvin Lastis (cornet), Stanley Turpentine (tenor sax), Eric Gale and Billy Butler (guitars), Bob Crenshaw (bass), and Bernard Purdie (drums) – 1 cut. These are curios: interesting or unusual combinations of players and often material with which there was insufficient material for issuing a full LP. I regret I am unable to find any samples from this disc. 

The Julius Watkins Sextet – Volumes 1 & 2 (Blue Note): This release on the Connoisseur Series combines two 10 inch LP releases from 1954 and 1955. Leader Julius Watkins (French horn) wrote or co-wrote six of the nine selections. Accompanying players on the first “volume” are Frank Foster (tenor sax), Perry Lopez (guitar), George Butcher (piano), Oscar Pettiford (bass) and Kenny Clarke (drums) and Hank Mobley (tenor sax), Perry Lopez (guitar), Duke Jordan (piano), Oscar Pettiford (bass), and Art Blakely (drums) on the second set. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this set.

Nick Zoulek – Rushing Past Willow (Innova): Solo saxophonist Nick Zoulek offers a dozen of his own improvisations/compositions. He creates numerous effects by switching among alto, tenor and bass saxophones as shifts from piece to piece. He describes his set-up: recording “using an  array of carefully placed microphones, arranged based on extensive research and experimentation…” capturing the “rich textures from a variety of angles and distances.” Sound artist Jason Charney created the composite sound.” Zoulek focused on “repetition,vocal techniques, circular breathing, unconventional articulation and spectral exploration” to create these unique performances. Though the recording (and his performance) is several steps beyond the mainstream, it is surprisingly captivating. Click here and scroll down to view some performances of songs on this disc.


Professor Bebop


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