New Jazz & Blues – 10/19/2021

New Jazz & Blues – 10/19/2021

New Jazz Adds:

Charged Particles w/Tod Dickow – The Music of Michael Brecker – Live At The Basked Potato! (Summit): “Randy Brecker: ‘Smoking and intense from beginning to end, Charged Particles and Tod Dickow have internalized Mike and his music to an impressive degree of accuracy and moreover: feeling! I found myself pinching my arm to remind myself that Mike is sadly no longer with us. Take the journey and check out this live recording. Everyone is at the top of their Mike game!’ Based in the San Francisco area and soon celebrating their 30th anniversary, Charged Particles crosses stylistic boundaries and blends multiple traditions to create multifaceted jazz. The band has been critically acclaimed for their passionate performances…reviewers have said things like: ‘An electrifying, push-the-limits performance style… A tight and enormously talented trio’ (Jazz Times Magazine)…The band is full-steam ahead on this recording – looking back only to harness Michael Brecker’s electrifying-legendary energy!
     Tenor saxophonist Tod Dickow began playing gigs in the Bay Area with small groups and big bands, and he is a powerful voice on the Bay Area scene today. His playing has been recognized by outstanding soloist awards at Jazz Festivals (Pacific Coast) and was awarded the Outstanding Soloist award by Down Beat Magazine. He has appeared with numerous celebrated artists in many genres of music. In addition to leading his own small groups, he has led the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, a 16-piece big band, featuring top players from around the Bay Area. As is true for so many other jazz tenor players, Tod’s playing and composing are powerfully influenced by Michael Brecker. But Tod is unique in having captured the essence of Michael’s spirit on the instrument, making Tod the perfect artist to perform Michael’s compositions with Charged Particles to honor the late-great superstar.” ( Click here to listen to “Peep” from this release. 

The Count Basie Orchestra (Directed by Scotty Barnhart) – Live At Birdland (Candid): “Candid Records is pleased to announce the release of LIVE AT BIRDLAND by the legendary Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Scotty Barnhart on September 17, 2021. The two-album set was recorded “live” at the iconic jazz club which Basie called his musical home in January of 2020 and features seasoned veterans including vocalist Carmen Bradford and trombonist Clarence Bank and emerging voices honoring their fabled and celebrated tradition. In the summer of 1961 The Count Basie Band played Birdland and a live recording from two of those nights, Basie at Birdland! has been called simply the best live recording of a big band ever. Almost 60 years later, they would return to Birdland to once again record a live record. Those four nights in January 2020 would prove to be fateful as this country and the entire world would fall prey to a global pandemic shortly thereafter and virtually all live music performances would cease for the next year and a half. However, none of these coming challenges were on anyone’s mind as the crowds poured into Birdland that week. The results of those performances find the current band at its peak and mark the latest recording, a two-album set Live at Birdland on the Candid Records label…. Pianist and bandleader William James “Count” Basie was and still is an American institution that personifies the grandeur and excellence of Jazz. The Count Basie Orchestra, today directed by Scotty Barnhart, has won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once, won 18 Grammy Awards, performed for Kings, Queens, and other world Royalty, appeared in several movies, television shows, at every major jazz festival and major concert hall in the world.” Click here to listen to “April In Paris” from this set.

Bill Evans – Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans (Craft): “Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans: A Career Retrospective (1956-1980) spans the pianist’s Riverside, Milestone, Fantasy, Verve, Warner Bros., and Elektra/Musician catalogs, and features such collective personnel as Tony Bennett, Cannonball Adderley, Kenny Burrell, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Eddie Gomez, Shelly Manne, and Lee Konitz, among many others. Produced by Nick Phillips, the 5CD collection comes housed in a fabric-wrapped, hard-cover book, containing 48 pages of photos, as well as new liner notes from the Grammy Award-winning writer Neil Tesser who offers insight into the life and career of Evans through recent and archival interviews with a variety of subjects, as well as a deep survey of the box set’s tracks. Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans includes newly remastered audio by Grammy-winning engineer Paul Blakemore. The majority of the box set’s musical selections are culled from Evans’ trios, with whom he released over 40 albums. This is a sampler sharing ten performances. I regret I am unable to attach a sample from this set, but this is a sampler from a song from the larger set.

Yoron Israel – New Dreams (Ronja Music Company): “Yoron Israel has been involved with countless projects during the past 30 years with such prominent jazz artists as Kenny Burrell, Jay Hoggard, Abbey Lincoln, Art Farmer, Roy Hargrove, Ahmad Jamal, Jim Hall, Tom Harrell, Sonny Rollins, Steve Coleman, Tony Bennett, Vanessa Rubin, Horace Silver, Clark Terry, James Williams, Russell Malone, Freddy Cole, Joe Lovano, Larry Coryell, George Cables, David “Fathead” Newman, and Laszlo Gardony to name a few. Always a supportive drummer who gives each musical situation the swing, drive, and sensitivity that it needs, he has also led and co-led eight albums prior to this recording, “New Dreams”, a project that is very special to him. “The message of New Dreams, which was recorded before the pandemic, is about having a sense of new hope with new aspirations and goals. It is about having the fortitude and energy to go out and accomplish one’s dreams with a sense of joy, and embracing every challenge faced with positivity.” At the time of this recording, Yoron Israel had been working with two different trios featuring either Kevin Harris or Michael Cochrane on piano. So, he decided to record this trio-based project with both pianists, bassist Will Slater, and guest artists Bill Pierce, Nedelka Prescod, David Eure, and Jaline Israel.  New Dreams consists of six of the leader’s originals and a song apiece from five musicians he greatly admires.” ( Click here to listen to the songs on this release.

Mary LaRose – Out Here (little i music): “Seldom has there been a more appropriate title for an album but it’s fascinating for fans of Eric Dolphy and the edgy music that he made in the early sixties. Vocalist Mary LaRose dedicates Out Here, a play on ‘out there,’  entirely to the music of Dolphy, using both vocalese and original lyrics that she composed for his compositions.  Taking cues from some of Dolphy’s unique instrumentation, LaRose recruited a chamber ensemble including reeds, cello, vibraphone, double bass, and drums.  The formidable players are clarinetist/arranger Jeff Lederer, cellist Tomeka Reid, vibraphonist Patricia Brennan, bassist Nick Duston, and drummer Matt Wilson. LaRose and Lederer took a deep dive, researching the Dolphy collection at the Library of Congress, which Lederer described this way, “To hold the manuscript versions of a composition like “Hat and Beard” in my own (gloved) hand was a thrilling experience. In addition to understanding his compositional intentions even better, the manuscripts also revealed many chamber-like settings of the music Dolphy had conceived of – some recorded and others existing only on paper.” So, Lederer took the chamber setting approach, allowing room for his bandmates to improvise as well. This is not the first time LaRose has taken on a project of this type, having written words to the music of Ornette Coleman, Anthony Braxton, and other pioneering jazz artists. LaRose is also an accomplished visual artist whose work adorns the cover of this album.  The label will also release an art book of her work, Out There, which contains her portraits of 40 saxophonists of the 1960s, including Dolphy, Yusef Lateef, and others. Just as many of us jazz aficionados say “Bird Lives: about Charlie Parker, Dolphy’s music gets new life through this reimagining.  Dolphy, is, of course, far lesser known but increasingly looked upon as an under-recognized musical genius. His light shines brightly through LaRose’s work.” ( Click here to listen to “Out There”, a Dolphy composition with a new take by LaRose and company.

Chad Lefkowwitz-Brown & The Global Big Band – Open World (la.reserve): “Chad LB is an international recording artist who has toured globally as a bandleader, and with superstars ranging from Chris Botti to Taylor Swift. He has been a featured soloist with premiere ensembles like the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, and was formerly a member of the multi GRAMMY winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. Despite his demanding tour schedule, Chad is on faculty as a visiting artist at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for their new Roots, Jazz and American Music degree program. On Open World, Chad LB presents a series of standards that showcase his enormous sound and unique style!” ( Click here to listen to the songs on this release.

Brian Lynch – Songbook Vol 1: Bus Stop Serenade (Hollistic MusicWorks): “MULTI-GRAMMY® Award-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch is proud to announce the upcoming release of Brian Lynch Songbook Vol. 1: Bus Stop Serenade, his new recording on Hollistic MusicWorks… The first in a series of “Songbooks” intended to reclaim the many original compositions that Lynch has recorded for other labels throughout his distinguished career as a recording artist, Bus Stop Serenade focuses on music originally composed between the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s, configured here for the classic quintet formation of Lynch on trumpet and flugelhorn along with longtime front line partner Jim Snidero on alto saxophone, the redoubtable creative Orrin Evans on piano, stalwart virtuoso Boris Kozlov on bass and the swingingly inventive Donald Edwards on drums…. A special note about the recording process and the resultant tracklist for this album, as Brian relates in his liner notes: “We cut this album in a single day in Kent and Lois Heckman’s beautiful Red Rock Studio out in the Poconos, after a warmup gig the night before at the famed Deer Head Inn. In order to get through all the material in time for the rhythm section to drive back to the city for their Saturday night gigs (boy, could we use some of those now), things had to move quickly. There wasn’t generally time for more than two takes of anything – a “warmup” first take that allowed us to get comfortable with the tune (we sometimes stretched out more on those) and then a second pass for the record. When I reviewed the session for mixing, to my surprise I found that so many of those first takes were special, along with the “real” takes being so outstanding, that it was exceedingly hard to make a choice. So I decided to include them all! On some tunes, there’s a shorter “radio-friendly” and a longer “stretching out” version, and on other tunes, the two takes are more or less uniform in length.” ( I regret I am not able to find a sample from this release.

Peter Madsen’s Six on Six Guitar Ensemble – Where There Was No Path (Playscape Recordings): “I’ve always loved the guitar. The sound. The feel. The power. The beauty. The variety of colors. But I was always too busy with my bigger love, the piano, to find the time to play it. What was a poor piano player to do but to form an ensemble of six guitarists and surround himself with this magical instrument! It was about ten years ago here in Vorarlberg, Austria that I formed a new Collective of Improvising Artists (CIA) group called the CIA Six on Six Guitar Ensemble (a word play on the title of the famous Wes Montgomery composition “Four on Six”).” (Liner notes) Add Herwig Hammerl (bass), Philipp Mayer (drums) and Peter Madsen (piano, compositions and arrangements) and voila! Click here for the opening composition: “Where There Was No Path”.

Randy Napoleon – Rust Belt Roots (OA2): “Guitarist Randy Napoleon cut his teeth in the clubs of Detroit and throughout the midwest in the mid-nineties, only realizing after his move to New York how much his musical identity and values were forged by that scene. The jazz masters that still populate the region swing with uncompromising commitment, deeply steeped in the Blues and the language of Bebop. His years touring and recording with Freddie Cole, Benny Green, Michael Bublé and the Clayton Hamilton Orchestra only solidified his own position in that rich legacy, and with Rust Belt Roots, anchors that position through this celebration of the musical voices who led his way. With two quartets of mentors and now long-time colleagues – Rodney Whitaker, Rick Roe, Sean Dobbins, Paul Keller, Xavier Davis and Quincy Davis – Napoleon brings together the spirit and tunes of a region, offering another chapter to a story that’s still being written.” ( Click here to listen to the opening song in this disc.

Houston Person – Live In Paris (HighNote): “Houston Person is the real deal. With a lifetime of experience Houston continues to grace concert stages with his expressive style which stubbornly defies categorization. One moment he is letting loose with some hard-driving swing and the next he is caressing your ears with his mellifluous, baritonal utterances on a beautiful ballad. “I just play good music,” explains Houston. “I look for a great melody and great lyrics.” Houston’s preoccupation with the art of melody is on full display in this live recording captured during his appearance at the Festival Jazz a la Villette in 2019. This is Houston’s first live recording in some time and it is quite an unforgettable experience, with the legendary man taking great care in putting just the right set list together for his audience, covering a wide variety of styles drawn from his remarkable career. Having recorded his first album as a leader in 1966 titled Underground Soul, coincidentally also an organ-tenor quartet, Houston Person has been a standard-bearer of so-called “soul jazz,” but that is a misnomer in his case. The truth is Houston plays soulful jazz rather than “soul jazz”; music that communicates with the listener and touches the heart. How appropriate it is then, that this live recording originates from Paris, also known as the “City of Love.”” ( Person’s playing is as smooth and lively as ever and his backing players are Ben Paterson (B-3 organ), Peter Bernstein (guitar) and Willie Jones III (drums). Straight ahead, swinging and as melodic as can be!  Click here to listen to songs on this release.

Kunle Soetan & Friends – Yoruba Songs Revisited with Colors – Volume 1 (Self-produced): “Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Kunle Soetan grew up playing the trumpet in church. This led to the realization that his greatest passion lay in music, so he immersed himself in the music of great artists like Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Victor Olaiya, Hugh Masekela, Osibisa and numerous other influential African musicians. In 1981, Soetan left Lagos to study in Brooklyn, New York, where he got his first exposure to American and Latin jazz. He joined the Afro Cuban Jazz Club at New York City Technical College and, while studying economics at York College, was permitted to learn music arrangement at the music program’s Jazz Workshop under the tutelage of Dr. Dennis Moorman. He became enthused by legendary jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Booker Little, Lee Morgan, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and several others. During his time in New York, Soetan enhanced his musical talents both by playing local shows as well as entertaining bigger crowds featuring with Baba Olatunji, Hugh Masekela and Majek Fashek. Soetan later relocated to Chicago, where he works in risk management while continuing to frequent the local music scene with his trumpet. In 2000, he assembled his musical group “Soetan & Friends.” In 2004, he recorded a CD for which he composed original melodies and arrangements… inspired by Highlife music from West Africa… an innovative approach to Yoruba songs… His new project, (focuses on) interpreting the music that he grew up with in Lagos. It bridges the gap between the two genres that started it all for Soetan: traditional Yoruba music and jazz. The music is peppered with jazz improvisation throughout, but remains rooted in soulful Yoruba melodies and beats, transporting listeners through American and Caribbean landscapes.” ( Click here to listen to songs on this release.

Esperanza Spalding – SONGWRIGHTSAPOTHECARYLAB (Concord): “A prolific renaissance woman, esperanza spalding is immersed in music and the therapeutic practices and philosophies that define sound. “Formwela 1” is part of a trilogy of songs designed to benefit the listener and ease tension and grief.” ( “Esperanza Spalding brought John Coltrane’s supernatural vision into material reality. The saxophone icon would have turned 95 this week, and Jazz Twitter lit up with shout-outs, quotes and photos of the saxophone icon gazing, oracle-style, into the middle distance. One of his most famous sayings, which recasts the axiom that “music heals,” made the rounds.
“I would like to bring to people something like happiness,” said Coltrane, summing up his life’s work. “I would like to discover a method so that if I want it to rain, it will start right away to rain. If one of my friends is ill, I’d like to play a certain song and he will be cured; when he’d be broke, I’d bring out a different song and immediately he’d receive all the money he needed.”
“We use that quote just to nod directly to that,” the four-time GRAMMY winner and seven-time nominee tells over Zoom from a park in Paris. The bassist, singer/songwriter and composer is referring to her Songwrights Apothecary Lab, an affiliation of musicians and health practitioners that acts as a “half songwrighting workshop and half guided-research practice.” ( Click here to hear Formwela 1.

New Blues Adds:

Nathan Bell –  (Red, White And American Blues (it couldn’t happen here) (Need To Know): “Recorded in 2019 in Capitola, California at Skunkworks Studios, and delayed two years by the Pandemic, ‘Red, White and American Blues (it couldn’t happen here)’ remains relevant in every way. In 13 original songs, featuring guest appearances by Patty Griffin, Regina McCrary and Aubrie Sellers, the album takes the listener on a journey, from the Dead Thumb Blues of South Texas, through Swamp Music, American Roots Rock, and West Coast Spoken Jazz Poetry to the Folk stages of London.
“This is the kind of artist that Nathan Bell is: The year Donald Trump was impeached as president of the United States, Nathan was writing songs that would make up Red, White and American Blues (it couldn’t happen here), the subtitle a direct reference to Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 novel imagining the possibility that the people of the United States of America could be mindlessly led to fascism. Like Lewis’s novel, this album could be the most important piece of literature of our particular moment in time. You may call that last sentence hyperbole, but I just call it honest. Red, White and American Blues is not a protest album, although it has protest songs. It’s not a Black Lives Matter album, but in these songs, Black lives matter. It’s an American album. It’s a set of songs about a broken country and its broken people. It’s a cautionary album.” (Mark Kemp, author of ‘Dixie Lullaby: A Story of Music, Race and New Beginnings in a New South’) I regret I unable to find a sample that I can post from this release.

Zac Harmon – Long As I Got My Guitar (Catfood): “Catfood Records announces an October 1st release date for Long As I Got My Guitar, the new album from Texas-based award-winning blues singer/guitarist Zac Harmon…. The album’s repertoire runs the gamut of the blues experience: from the uptown sound of “Soul Land” and “Love for You Baby;” to the gritty “Deal with the Devil,” “People Been Talking,” “Waiting to Be Free,” “New Year’s Day” and the title track, the latter two especially distinguished by Harmon’s stinging blues guitar attack. Dan Ferguson’s accordion playing on “Crying Shame,” even adds a little Zydeco touch to that track.
“This probably is the most memorable record of my career,” Zac Harmon says about the new CD. “Bob Trenchard and I were so much on the same page with all that we went through in 2020 that it spawned some incredibly emotional song testimonials, such as ‘Scatter My Ashes to the Wind.’ Great songs, great musicians and a great producer have once again created a great musical presentation.” Zac Harmon is an award-winning guitarist, singer, and songwriter whose distinctive style provides a powerful soul message of the blues. He’s been called “a masterful musician and performer of the blues,” whose delivery rivals “Bobby Blue Bland uptown sophistication with a touch of Freddie King guitar.” ( Straight-forward and mellow. Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this release.

Ilana Katz Katz – In My Mind (Self-produced): ““Ilana Katz Katz travels handily across wide and personal terrain in Movin’ On, spanning blues and old-time American tunes and songs, and featuring some of her own ‘take no prisoners’ compositions. Great contributions from blues icons Barry Levenson, Bobby Radcliff and Louisiana folk virtuoso Cedric Watson help to make this a fun and uplifting musical journey.” (Bruce Molsky, Appalachian Fiddle and Roots Music Guru) ““Ilana Katz’s gorgeous new release is a breath of sweet, honest air that takes the listener on a journey thru old time traditional fiddle and blues inspired originals. She effortlessly makes the old sound new again, mining past treasures and informing them with her unique sonic signature. She wears her heart on her sleeve while daring her listeners to step back into the future.” (Anne Harris, Blues Fiddler). Great sound and straight-forward playing. Click here to  listen to the opening song, “In My Mind”.

Reverend Freakchild – The Bodhisattva Blues (treatedandreleasedrecords): “Spiritually positive songs, faithful covers, great choice of players!!” (David Gans, author and radio host (The Grateful Dead Hour) “With album number 12, the good Reverend Freakchild gives thanks to a number of artists that influenced him early on. Of course, it’s one thing to do an album of covers, but quite another to diversify the choices and reboot them in a way that effectively melds with the artist’s own singular style. An early disciple of the Grateful Dead, he sings their praises with three different offerings, while also offering homage to a number of other idols – among them, the Beatles, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, and another reverend of special stature, Reverend Gary Davis…. His handle aside, Reverend Freakchild takes his sacrament seriously, from the opening incantation of Om Mani Padme Hum to the flute and bottleneck guitar duet that turns Death Don’t Have No Mercy into a solemn prayer about saving grace.  Coupled with the a cappella And We Bid You Goodnight, the Dead’s traditional set closer.  The Bodhisattva Blues offers the impression that this Reverend is conveying a certain sanctity.  It ought to have even nonbelievers conceding that, in this particular case, the soul and the spirit have never been so fully in sync.” (Living Blues Magazine) Click here to listen to the Reverend’s own “Black Peter” from this release.

ZOOM (Karen Lawrence) with Shawn Kellerman – Chocolate Cake (Mouhaha): “Zoom was born on a small farm in Romulus Michigan, but has cut a path to stages all over the US, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. She was introduced to the blues at 3 years old and in the late 70’s, she saw Koko Taylor for the first time. That experience of seeing and hearing Koko’s raw tone changed her life. Hitting the road in the 90’s and gaining recognition, she was invited to join prestigious Chicago Blues Tours across Europe. Sharing the stage with some of her idols like Koko Taylor, Bobby Bland, Albert King, James Cotton, Junior Wells, John Primer, Lucky Peterson, Billy Branch and Maurice Vaughn just to name a few. Things were definitely moving up up up, but Zoom made a sudden stop and took a 2 decade hiatus from the music business, to raise her family. After that time and making the decision to get back in the business, she contacted her old friend, Shawn Kellerman. In her time away from the music business, Shawn had been touring with his own band plus blues greats like Bobby Rush, Sherman Robertson and Lucky Peterson, in over 40 countries.
When Zoom & Shawn reconnected, Shawn had been touring with Lucky Peterson for 8 years and was producing Lucky’s newest album, celebrating Lucky’s 50 years in the business. Immediately after Shawn completed that project, he and Zoom started trading ideas and writing songs through voice memos over email. After months of work, Shawn completed the all original musical components for the album and finally got to meet up, face to face with ZOOM, after all those decades, adding her undeniable voice to the music.
Then….well Covid……Zoom and Shawn decided to put the release of the album on hold. Now that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, you can witness ZOOM’s vocal POWER and DRIVE with Shawn’s HIGH ENERGY guitar, that will take a ferocious ride of infectious funk and blues grooves. This will SHAKE it’s listeners TO THEIR CORE…AND LEAVE THEM BEGGING FOR MORE!” ( INTENSE! Not for the faint of heart. Click here to listen to the songs on this release.   


Professor Bebop



More Recent Posts