New Jazz Adds – 9/2/2016

New Jazz Adds – 9/2/2016

Ralph Alessi – Quiver (ECM): Trumpeter Ralph Alessi presents ten original compositions with Gary Versace (piano), Drew Gress (bass), and Nasheet Waits (drums). The trumpet is clearly the lead though there are shifts to the piano from time to time as well. The music is meditative most of the time and shares the “ECM tone” amazingly well. The feeling most definitively shifts when Versace replaces Alessi as the lead voice, almost as if the music is showing another aspect – from a sharper brass voice to the subtler voice of the piano. Intriguing. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Peter Brendler – Message In Motion (Positone): Bassist Peter Brendler issues his third disc and the music is open, improvisational, and rhythmic. Brendler’s bass is clearly the core of each performance and Vinnie Sperrazza’s drums help anchor the group as well. Rich Perry (sax) and Peter Evans (trumpet) create wonderful harmonies as well as taking their own sometimes independent paths. Ben Monder (guitar) adds an entirely different sound at times as his electric guitar can settle the group’s unity or turn the feel to an almost psychedelic jazz. The music itself covers quite a range of styles and the best quality of that is that there is something wonderful here for a wide range of listeners. Eight of the ten cuts are original compositions. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Sonny Clark – Dial “S” For Sonny (Blue Note): Reissue of a 1957 mono recording issued for the first time in stereo (though there is one mono track). The disc contains two standards and four compositions by Clark. The group lineup includes Clark (piano), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Hank Mobley (tenor sax), Wilbur Ware (bass), and Louis Hayes (drums). A classic Blue Note sound! Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of songs on this disc.

George Delancey – George Delancey (Self-produced): Bass player / composer George DeLancey is being recognized as a composer in the footsteps of Mingus and Ellington on the evidence of his craft on his first release as a leader. He is also an excellent bass player, providing the melodic root for the band. Band members include Aaron Diehl (piano), Lawrence Leathers (drums), Stacy Dillard (soprano, tenor sax), Caleb Wheeler Curtis (alto sax), Tony Lusitg (baritone, tenor sax), Mike Sailors (trumpet, flugelhorn), and Walter Harris (trombone). There are many styles represented here: balladry, big band, avant garde. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc. 

Empirical – Connection (Cuneiform): The definition tells the tale of this quartet: “based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic” or “relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory” (Mirriam Webster). Shane Forbes (drums), Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), Lewis Wright (vibes), and Tom Farmer (bass) are seeking to reintroduce hard bop and free jazz in a 21st Century iteration. Based on this disc, they seem to be reaching that goal quite handily. The interplay between the vibes and the alto sax is fascinating even when the listener may be thinking that these two strains or forms aren’t really supposed to be together. But it is OK if they are here. Just check the definition again. Click here for a sample.   And here for another that’s a different style. 

Adrienne Fenemor – Blues Jam (Self-produced): Australian singer/ B3 player based in New York leads a trio including Marvin Horne (guitar) and Brian Floody (drums) through one original and nine popular classics. Titles such as “Got My Mojo Working”, “God Bless The Child” and “Let The Good Times Roll” are representative. Fenemor has a gentle and jazzy voice which is accompanied well by her band mates and her own keyboard work. It’s club style – not too aggressive or loud. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Steve Fidyk – Allied Forces (Positone): This is drummer / composer / educator Steve Fidyk’s second release as a leader. Currently a professor at Temple University, Fidyk studied with Joe Morello and is a consultant for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Program. His band includes Brian Charette (organ), Joseph Henson (alto sax), Shawn Purcell (guitar) and Doug Webb (tenor sax), all of whom turn in fine performances here. Fidyk composed six of the eleven songs on offer and assures even greater variety by adding compositions by Monk, Charlie Parker, and Brian Wilson among others. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Michael Formanek & Ensemble Kolossus – The Distance (ECM): Bassist / composer Michael Formanek presents his formidable work “The Distance”. Formanek teaches bass and jazz history at Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. This music styles shift from one section to the next, first more in line with traditional large jazz orchestral works, then becoming more complex and challenging in tone and style. Musicians on this performance include: Loren Stillman (alto saxophone); Oscar Noriega (alto sax/ clarinet, bass clarinet); Chris Speed (tenor sax, clarinet); Brian Settles (tenor sax, flute); Tim Berne (baritone sax); trumpets Dave Ballou, Ralph Alessi, Shane Endsley, Kirk Knuffke (cornet); trombones Alan Ferber, Jacob Garchik, Ben Gerstein, Jeff Nelson (bass trombone, contrabass trombone); Patricia Franceschy (marimba); Mary Halvorson (guitar); Kris Davis (piano); Michael Formanek (double-bass); and Tomas Fujiwara(drums).  Mark Helias is the conductor. Click here for an introduction and sample.

Anat Fort Trio – Birdwatching (ECM): Pianist composer Anat Fort and her trio mates Gary Wang (bass) and Roland Schneider (drums) are joined by alto clarinetist Gianluigi Trovesi on this program of sonic melodies and sonic shifts. Fort says the album title is concerned with literal bird-watching in nature—but also more generally with “watching, listening, waiting.” That may help with following the structure of the performance itself. Once the original recording was completed, Fort felt that it needed something else and so she added the opening and closing solo performances. They are so beautifully delicate and melodic. Early on in the set, she and Trovesi offer a duo of piano and alto clarinet which is quite ear-catching. Later on, there are some songs that almost explode into cacophony, but as soon as those “birds have flown”, we return to the stunning beauty of the group and solo performances that close out the performance. Click here for an introduction to this disc by Anat Fort.

Jackie McLean – Right Now (Blue Note): Reissue of a 1965 Blue Note session featuring the exquisite alto sax of Jackie McLean, with support from Larry Willis (piano), Bob Cranshaw (bass) and Clifford Jarvis (drums)The four songs on the original release include “Eco” a McLean original, two Larry Willis compositions, including his tribute to Eric Dolphy and played beautifully by McLean accompanied by Cranshaw’s bass and Charles Tolliver’s “Right Now” in the published and unpublished versions. Anyone not familiar with McLain’s amazing talent can certainly start here. This is a performance of the ages. Click here to listen to the released version of “Right Now”.

Hank Mobley – Thinking Of Home (Blue Note): Rerelease of this Mobley session from 1970. In addition to Mobley on tenor sax, we have Woody Shaw (trumpet), Eddie Diehl (guitar), Cedar Walton (piano) and Leroy Williams (drums). All but one song is a Mobley composition and the individual and combined playing of these musicians is terrific whether a cool side like “Justine” or the hotter compositions like “You Gotta Hit It”. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Lee Morgan – Lee-Way (Blue Note): This release was recorded in 1960 and features Lee Morgan (trumpet), Jackie McLean (alto sax), Bobby Timmons (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Art Blakey (drums). Chambers even gets some solo time! Shades of cool jazz start things off but the disc continues to build and explore as things progress. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Naima – Bye (Cuneiform): This Spanish trio is apparently gaining a substantial following as one of the most popular jazz groups in Europe. The group features Enrique Ruiz (piano, synths), Luis Torregrosa (drums), and Rafael Ramos Sania (bass). Interestingly, the group avoids solos so that they can build the unified sound and combined dynamics of the instruments. It’s also focused on the blend of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. Intriguing and infectious, but not for the faint of heart. The electronics get intense at times! Click here and scroll down to the section labelled “Buy Now” to listen to samples of the songs on this disc. You don’t have to purchase anything.

Anthony E. Nelson, Jr – Swift To Hear, Slow To Speak (MusicStand): Band leader Anthony Nelson wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on this disc. Each is linked to citation in the Bible though there are no spoken or written texts. The disc appears to be as much his own religious expressions of his faith based upon the specific references to the Bible. The music is definitely jazz, as opposed to gospel, and is often quite dynamic, yet the tone has a sort of peacefulness about it. Nelson plays soprano and tenor sax and is supported by Brandon McCune (piano), Kenny Davis (bass), Chris Beck (drums), Bruce Williams (alto sax) and Josh Evans (trumpet). A solid performance throughout. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Horace Silver Quintet – Finger Poppin’ With The Horace Silver Quintet (Blue Note): This 1959 recording jumps hard and swings so smoothly on eight original compositions by Silver (piano) with Blue Mitchell (trumpet), Junior Cook (tenor sax), Gene Taylor (bass), and Louis Hayes (drums). This particular edition is the remastered version done by Rudy Van Gelder in 2002. One of Silver’s finest and a Blue Note classic! Ah, the groove! Click here to listen to the title song.

Ashleigh Smith – Sunkissed (Concord): Young vocalist Ashleigh Smith, winner of the 2014 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition, in her first release. She has a beautiful voice which she stylizes to suit the style of various songs. She also wrote half of these songs and performs covers written by Hall & Oates (“Sara Smile”) and Lennon & McCartney (“Blackbird”) among others. Background music mixes elements of modern R&B, pop and jazz. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Thumbscrew – Convallaria (Cuneiform): Thumbscrew is an experimental trio that features Mary Halvorson (guitar), Michael Formanek (bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums). They identify themselves as a co-operative: everyone composes; everyone solos when s/he feels it will fit; time signatures shift within songs; improvisation is key. The ban mixes and shifts textures, tones, and time signatures during several numbers. At times, it seems things are in constant flux. The music isn’t loud but it can be quite challenging for the listener to understand or appreciate. The players, however, are widely respected within the jazz community. Those who seek a challenge should check this disc out. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.


Professor Bebop


Become a Sponsor

Underwriting WTJU is a way to broadly share information about your business. It’s also a way for your business or organization to gain community-wide recognition for your support of WTJU’s community mission.

Underwrite a Program


Your gift nourishes our community and helps bring people together through music.

Underwrite a Program