New Jazz Adds – 9/4/2018
Big Heart Machine – Big Heart Machine (Self-produced): “Big Heart Machine is 18 Brooklyn-based musicians dedicated to performing Brian Krock’s idiosyncratic, unclassifiable compositions. Their eponymous debut album- produced by multi-Grammy nominated composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue- features a vast range of music that explores the intersection of jazz improvisation, contemporary composition, and heavy metal aesthetics.” (https://www.bigheartmachine.com/) The performers are Miho Hazama (conductor); Brian Krock (composer, alto sax, clarinet, flute, soprano recorder); Charlotte Greve (soprano & alto sax, clarinet, flute, sopranino recorder); Timo Volbrecht (tenor & soprano sax, clarinet, soprano recorder); Paul Jones (tenor sax, clarinet, flute, alto recorder); Jay Ratmann (bari sax, bass clarinet, clarinet, flute, alto recorder); John Lake, Nolan Tsang, Cody Rowlands and Kenny Warren (trumpet, flugelhorn); Nick Grinder, Chris Misch-Bloxdorf, Isaac Caplin (trombone); Jennifer Wharton (bass trombone); Yuhan Su (vibraphone); Arcolris Sandoval (piano, synthesizer);Olli Hirvonen (electric guitar); Marty Kenney (bass); and Josh Bailey (drums, percussion). I was at first reminded of the space scores from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but the group covers a wide range of styles. It’s an intriguing program. Click here to listen to samples from this disc.
Justin Brown – Nyeusi (Biophilia): “Drumming innovator Justin Brown, known for his work with Thundercat & Ambrose Akinmusire, makes his first Statement as a bandleader with NYEUSI, Swahili for “Black”.” (Liner notes) Brown wrote all of the selections and the sounds outside of his drums and the bass played by Burniss Travis are all electronic. Brown was a member of Thundercat and Flying Lotus and has performed with Esperansa Spalding, Terence Blanchard and Vijay Iyer, among others. Though emphasizing electronics, most of this material is neither frantic nor strange. It’s really more of an electronic soundscape. In additional to Brown and Travis, the players are Fabian Almazan (Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, MoPho), Jason Lindner (Moog synth, MoPho, Prophet), and Mark Shim (wind controller). Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Dennis Lichtman – Just Cross The River (Self-produced): Time for a little nostalgia with Dennis Lichtman who plays clarinet and wrote nine of the songs on this disc, which fit right in with the oldies by Louis Armstrong’s “Someday You’ll Be Sorry” and Fats Waller’s “Blue Turning Grey Over You” and Clarence Williams’s “Cake Walking Babies From Home” among others. The musicians playing with Lichtman are Dalton Ridenhour (piano), Gordon Au (trumpet), J. Walter Hawkes (trombone), Rob Garcia (drums) and Nathan Peck (bass) known as the “Queensboro Six”. Whether oldies or new material, the sound is authentic and fits right in. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Debra Mann – Full Circle: The Music Of Joni Mitchell (Whaling City Sound): One of the more difficult endeavors to accomplish really well is to cover the songs of a huge performer whose fame was a response to her individuality and idiosyncratic style. Numerous musicians / singers have covered a song or so of Joni Mitchell’s well, but an entire disc? Debra Mann may well be the first. She spends a good amount of time interpreting the style and content of Mitchell’s songs without falling into the copycat zone. No easy task, but only by doing so would one expect to honor her great compositions and performances with any relevance. Debra Mann has truly sought to tackle this hurdle and is largely successful throughout. This is a great success. Mann offers many interpretations that don’t mimic Mitchell, but truly seek to honor her. In addition to Mann who sings and plays piano, the music is provided by Dino Govoni (sax, flute), Jay Azzolina (guitar), Dave Zinno (bass) and Marty Richards (drums) with guests Paul Angel (piano on 2 songs) and Jerry Leake (percussion on 2 songs). Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Pete McCann – Pay For it On The Other Side (Self-produced): Guitarist Pete McCann is a terrifically inventive guitarist. His variety of styles is truly exciting and leads his accompanying musicians into such a variety of settings that everyone can rise to the music at some point. His accompanying players are John O’Gallagher (alto sax), Henry Hey (piano, organ, clavinet, pianet and accordion), Matt Clohesy (bass) and Mark Ferber (drums). This group tackles a lot of styles well, but the listeners must be ready to follow several different styles and attitudes to get a full appreciation for their reach and accomplishment. “Guitarist Pete McCann has been heralded as a convincing voice of the contemporary jazz guitar world, showing the skills to combine hard rock, blues, and post-bop in a legitimate manner. His latest record, Pay For It On The Other Side, is an extremely versatile work that features some of the brightest musicians on the scene…Exploring the full range of possibilities, McCann shows a fierce sense of independence regardless of the numerous styles that influence his compositions.” (http://jazztrail.net/blog/2018/7/16/pete-mccann-pay-other-side-album-review) Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Arianna Neikrug – Changes (Concord Jazz): Vocalist/songwriter/arranger Arianna Neikrug releases her first disc after having won Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition in 2005 and established herself in New York. She is accompanied by Laurence Hobgood (piano), Matt Clohesy (bass) and Jared Schonig (drums) on this disc and offers two original songs and some very interesting jazz versions of songs like “Let’s Stay Together” (Al Green) and “I’ll Be There” (The Jackson Five). Click here to listen to an introduction to this release and one song from the disc (“Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most”).
Octobop – Live @ Savanna Jazz (Self-produced): Octobop is a West Coast octet dedicated to performing jazz and pop treasures. The players are Geoff Roach (bari, tenor and soprano sax), Jack Conway (guitar), Brian Brockhouse (bass), Dave Casini (vibes), Eric Patience (tenor, alto sax), Jon Schermer (trombone), Randy Smith (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Frank Wyant (drums). The performance includes standards like Billy Strayhorn’s “Chelsea Bridge”, Jelly Roll Morton’s “King Porter Stomp”, Henry Mancini’s “Sorta Blue” and surprises like Dickey Betts’ “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed” among others. Randy Smith even contributes his original “Theme For An Imaginary Sitcom”. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Adam O’Farrill’s Stranger Days – El Maquench (Biophilia): Improvisation rules in Adam O’Farrill’s newest release. Leading a quartet this 23 year old trumpeter set the framework for the other members of the group to mesh and stretch one another. Joining O’Farrill are Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (tenor sax), Walter Stinson (bass) and brother Zack O’Farrill (drums). It’s not all difficult listening, but the players do step outside from time to time. They also cover a range of styles. Click here to listen to three songs off of this disc.
Houston Person & Ron Carter – Remember Love (HighNote): It is hard to imagine a more compatible pairing than Houston and Ron Carter. Both are so mellow and lyrical. Both players contributed one original song and the remainder come from Rodgers and Hart, Ellington and Strayhorn, Kern and Fields, and even Jimmie Davis. The solos and the combined playing by this duo is both timeless and delicious. Delicious! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Scott Petito / Rainbow Gravity – Rainbow Gravity (Self-produced): “‘Rainbow Gravity’ is a new concept in Quantum physics that contradicts the Big Bang Theory. Instead it proposes that time stretches back infinitely and continues on endlessly. One of my goals as a musician and composer is to create a sense of timelessness in my music.” (Liner notes) The music on this disc does, in fact, take us back to the fusion or electric jazz of the 70s and 80s while presenting something fresh and new. Petito plays acoustic and electric bass and composed all but one song on the disc. There is a grand procession of players supporting his quest: Jack DeJohnette, Peter Erskine, Simon Phillips and Omar Hakim (drums); Bob Mintzer (sax); Mike Mainieri (vibes); Rachel Z, Davis Sancious and Warren Bernhardt (keys); Chris Pasin (trumpet); David Spinozza (guitar); and Bashiri Johnson (percussion). The music is, on once a refresher and new. On top of that, it is quite inviting. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Charlie Sepulveda & The Turnaround – Songs For Nat (HighNote): This is veteran trumpeter Charlie Sepulveda’s ninth release as a leader and is dedicated to his wife Natalia. He blows a full and lovely trumpet. He is also supported terrifically by Norberto Ortiz (tenor sax), whose interaction is excellent, and by Gabriel Rodriguez (bass), Francisco Alcala (drums), Gadwin Vargas (congas), and Bienvenido Dinzey (piano, B-3). The sound is solidly focused on the jazz sounds of the Caribbean. Sepulveda composed all of the songs on this disc. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Jeff “Siege” Siegel Quartet – London Live (ARC): The Jeff “Siege” Siegel offers a live concert from London. “On November 3, 2010, having left their last destination on tour in Europe (Marktoberdorf, Germany – Bavaria), the quartet took the train to Munich, flew to London, made their way into the city, got lost, had a taxi adventure and eventually found their way to their hotel. In an unfortunate coincidence, the city’s metro went on strike shortly after their arrival, meaning that many people who would have come to the show at Pizza Express Jazz Club couldn’t make it out of fear of not having a way home. Nevertheless, the group closed their European tour that night in London after two weeks in Germany and Austria and as it conveniently turned out, were given the opportunity to have this concert recorded and videoed.” (Liner notes) Leader/drummer Siegel composed three of these songs, Erica Lindsay (tenor sax) composed two, Francesca Tanksley (piano) composed one, and the remaining songs are Coltrane’s “Peace On Earth” and the traditional “I Want Jesus To Walk With Me”. Uli Langthaler (bass) rounds out the group. Those who were able to be in the audience certainly had an amazing experience. There is a great deal of style and expertise in this set. As Siegel points out in the liner notes, this recording was a terrific, if rare occasion that we can all enjoy. I truly regret that I am unable to find a sample from this cd.