New Jazz Adds – July 2, 2019
Juan Alamo & Marimjazzia – (Summit): “The system of roads known as the Ruta Panorámica traverses from west to east through Puerto Rico’s central mountain ranges. Named after the enchanted island’s first elected governor, Luis Muñoz Marin, the Ruta functions as a kind of corridor, running through the heart of the island and connecting its travelers to the people and local cultures of Puerto Rico. Juan Álamo’s CD Ruta Panoramica is a sonic realization of the Ruta, a realization in music wherein its rhythms, harmonies, and melodies move simultaneously in multi-layers and multi-directions.” (https://juanalamomusic.com/marimjazzia/) This is not his first release, however the buzz around this one is strong. Alamo plays marimba, timbales, bongo and many other native instruments over the course of this disc and is supported by Andrew Lazaro (congas, Cajon and wind chimes, among other instruments), Steve Anderson (piano), Ramon Vazquez (electric, acoustic bass), Raul Maldonado (drum set), and special guests Jesus M. Rivera Andino (cuatro), Christina Alamo Medina (lead singer) and Luis Angel Vazquez (barril de bomba) and back up singers Jorge Cortez, Virgil Rivera and Carmen G. Santos Rodriguez (backing vocals). The songs are quite vibrant and lovely. Click here and scroll down to listen to a song on this disc.
Blind Lemon Jazz – After Hours (Self-produced): James Byfield a.k.a. Blind Lemon Pledge has continued his come back, but this time he’s cut back on his vocals so that Marisa Malvino can tackle most of the leads. In truth, her voice shows the road wear, too, so she pushes the lyrics out in a style that is more talky and worn than crooning. It sort of suits the style, particularly on titles like “How Can I Still Love You” and “Livin’ My Life With The Blues”. Truthfully, it works better on the slightly upbeat. The other performers are Ben Flint (keys), Peter Grenell (bass) and Joe Kelner (drums). I regret I am unable to find a sample.
Doug Carn – Free For All (Doodlin’): Organist Doug Carn broke out on the West Coast in the early 70’s inspired by the work of John Coltrane and the performances of Pharaoh Sanders, Albert Ayler, Alice Coltrane and Lonnie Liston Smith. He slipped from the limelight for a time, but revitalized his energy and style in 2015 creating a unique two tenor lineup featuring Howard Wiley (tenor and bari sax) and Dr. Teodross Avery (tenor sax) and drummer Deszon Claiborne. This set features two compositions by Avery and one by Wiley and reworking such greats as Wayne Shorter’s “Free For All”, Bobby Hutcherson’s “Little B’s Poem” and Woody Shaw’s “Beyond All Limits” among others. There are several terrific performances on this disc. I regret I am unable to find a sample from this disc.
Dennis Coffey – Down By The River (Detroit Music Factory): “Dennis Coffey first began to make his mark as a member of The Royaltones, a group which had hits in the late 50’s and early 60’s and who performed sessions with other artists, including Del Shannon. From there, Dennis moved on to a distinguished run as a session guitarist for various labels operating at the peak of Detroit’s influence as a hub of musical innovation and commercial success. He’s perhaps best known for his work as a member of the legendary Funk Brothers, backing a veritable truck load of hits for Motown, specifically The Temptations’ classics “Cloud Nine,” “Ball Of Confusion,” and “Just My Imagination.” It is in those works that his introduction of the wah-wah guitar sound to Motown (and soul / R&B in general) first reared its head, and the resulting influence on all kinds of popular music continues to reverberate to this day. His work with The Temptations is just the tip of the iceberg, though… he’s on stuff like “War” by Edwin Starr… “Band Of Gold” by Freda Payne…on and on the list goes.” (https://denniscoffeysite.com/bio/) He also recorded with George Clinton and Funkadelic. This disc arrives many years hence and finds Coffey playing mostly standards such as “Polka Dots And Moonbeams”, “Sunny” and “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life”, but he also adds Freddy Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower” and Coltrane’s “Impressions”. Accompanying players on eight of the ten songs are Steve Adama (drums), Phil Whitfield (piano), John Barron (bass), Mark Byerly (trumpet), and John Rutherford (trombone) with Keith Kaminski (sax on “Baby What You Want Me To Do”. He cuts down to a quartet on two songs featuring Damon Warmack (electric bass), GayeLynn McKinney (drums) and Demetrius Nabors (keys). The bright moments come on “Little Sunflower” and “Impressions” when Coffey really steps his playing up. Click here to listen to “Little Sunflower”.
Javier Colina & Pepe Rivero – El Panuelo de Para (Cezanne): “In the tradition and example of Bebo Valdes and Cachao, two masters of Latin jazz come together to create a work of art that is honest, full of verve, and heartfelt…It is a global conversation about music and art with European, African, and Caribbean inflections. The simplicity of this ensemble—piano and double bass—embodies a musical complexity that is more than just percussion and rhythm. Colina (bass) and Rivero (piano) create a jazz form that brings into contact and transforms its singular Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Spanish elements.” (https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/javiercolina) Rivero composed three songs on this disc and others range from numerous Latin players/composers to Cole Porter (Night And Day). It is enticing! Click here to listen to samples of each performance on this disc.
Larry Corban – Emergence (Nabroc): “Larry Corban is a New York City jazz guitarist and composer with 5 CDs out as a bandleader. His rhythm section of choice is the Aperturistic Trio (pianist James Weidman, bassist Harvie S, drummer Steve Williams)” also joins the group on four of the eight songs. (http://larrycorban.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Larry-Corban-Biography-1.pdf) There is a lot of variety on this disc, partly because of the style changes from song to song and because of the dynamic from the interaction between tenor sax player Jerry Bergonzi and Corban as well as on the band itself. They’re good all around, but they also turn on the large burner to a higher blaze when Bergonzi is playing with them. It’s also worthwhile to check out the impact of Pat Martino with whom Corban studied privately for quite a while. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Matt Dwonszyk – Wonderful World (Truth Revolution): “Born in Hartford CT, Matt Dwonszyk began playing the electric bass at age eleven. In high school, he picked up the double bass while attending the Greater Hartford Academy of Performing Arts. Soon after that, Matt started attending the Artist Collective after school program founded by the legendary Jazz Saxophonist/Composer Jackie McLean. He continued his collegiate studies at the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz studying with world-renowned bassist Nat Reeves.” (https://www.mattdwonszyk.com/bio) He has incredible strides since that time and resulting in his premier as a leader. He has previously performed on numerous releases as a sideman. Dwonszyk composed ten of the twelve songs on this disc. The players are Steve Davis (trombone), Shenel Johns (vocal), Joshua Bruneau (trumpet), Jovan Alexandre (tenor sax), Jonathan Barber (drums), Taber Gable (piano), Andrew Renfroe (guitar), Ed Fast and Jorge Fuentes (percussion) and Jonathan Barber (drums). Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Moutin Factory Quintet – Mythical River (Laborie Jazz): This appears to be the fourth release by this quintet which features two brothers, Francois and Louis Moutin playing bass and drums respectively and Paul Lay (piano), Manu Codjia (electric guitar) and Christophe Monniot (alto and soprano sax) with backing vocals on two songs by Axelle DuRouret and Louis Moutin. At times, the group is reminiscent of ECM, but often they add Eastern sounds or stronger rhythms. The music is on the edge of outside, but the sound continually keeps the listener wanting to hear more. I’ll defer to an earlier summation from five years back: “… this new ensemble – the Moutin Factory Quintet – manages to sound ageless and sublimely vital.” (Scott Albin – JazzTimes – February 2014) Click here to listen to “No Human Is Illegal” from this release.
Curtis Nowosad – Curtis Nowosad (Self-produced): “Nearly 100 years after the Harlem Renaissance shook the world, there’s a whole new cultural and spiritual awakening in that corner of the jazz world. Organized by post-bop pianist Marc Cary, The Harlem Sessions (originating at Gin Fizz and now based at Smoke Jazz Club) invites musicians, poets, artists, philosophers and dancers to build and explore a new common repertoire with original ensemble arrangements.” (https://curtisnowosad.com/bio) Composer/drummer Curtis Nowsad moved from Canada to be a part of this scene and is currently one of the leaders of the movement. “This is his third release and it covers a variety of jazz styles and covers of “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” (Skip James), “See Line Woman” (Nina Simone) and “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” (Gil Scott Heron). The group includes Duane Eubanks (trumpet), Braxton Cook (alto sax), Andrew Renfroe (guitar), Jonathan Thomas (piano, Fender Rhodes, organ) and Luke Sellick (bass). Guests include Corey Wallace (trombone), Matthew Whitaker (organ) and vocalists Michael Mayo (whose beautiful wordless vocal brings a rich humanity to “The Water Protectors” and “Song 4 Marielle Franco”) and Brianna Thomas, who brings the burning soul-blues angles and edges to “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” and “See Line Woman.” Marc Cary guests on Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer and synth.” (Liner notes) This release demands our attention and thoughtfulness. Click here to listen to “Never Forget What They Did To Fred Hampton” from this disc.
Bennett Pastor – Indivisible (Self-produced): Based in NYC, keyboard player Bennett Pastor has performed with jazz and blues stars Wallace Roney, Keb Mo, Robben Ford, Kurt Elling, Rufus Reid, Billy Hart and Peter Erskine among others. This appears to be his second release as a leader and this set will definitely put a “dip in your hip and a glide in your slide”! All of the songs are originals. Pastor is accompanied by Jeff Hanley (bass), Tony Mason (drums), Al Street (guitar), Kenny Brooks (tenor sax), Samuel Torres (congas, percussion) and Todd Isler (percussion). This is a truly infectious collection! Click here to listen to samples of each of the songs on this disc.
Richard Shulman Trio – Waltzing Out Of Town (RichHeartMusic): Pianist Richard Shulman leads his trio features Zack Page (bass) and Rick Dilling (drums) through a dozen of his wonderful compositions. Shulman has many releases to his name. The music is straight forward and the group flows well as a unit. Shulman explains that artist Marsha Hammel invited the trio to perform at The Gallery at Flatrock (NC) and during that time Hammel would create a painting of the group. The outcome was enjoyed by all and following that Shulman recorded original music to be played in honor of the exhiibit. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Judy Wexler – Crowded Heart (Self-produced): Singer Judy Wexler offers her sixth release – “a collaboration with piano great Alan Pasqua called Crowded Heart (June 2019, Jewel City Jazz)… jazz standards for the 21st century,” an anthology of ten modern jazz compositions by contemporary songwriters.” (http://judywexler.com/about-judy/) Accompanying her are Alan Pasqua (piano, melodica, whistling), Larry Koonse (guitar), Jos Johnson (alto sax), Bob Sheppard (alto flute), Stefanie Fife (cello), Derek Oles (bass), Steve Hass (drums) and Aaron Serfaty (percussion). Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.