New Jazz & Blues, 12/13/2022
Donald Byrd – Cookin’ with Blue Note at Montreux (BlueNote): “In July 1973, Blue Note Records headed to Montreux, Switzerland to showcase several of the label’s stars at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Produced by Blue Note President George Butler, live albums all titled Live: Cookin’ with Blue Note at Montreux followed from vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, organist Ronnie Foster, flutist Bobbi Humphrey, and vocalist Marlena Shaw, but one of the performances by trumpeter Donald Byrd remained unreleased in the Blue Note vaults, until now. That summer, Byrd was fresh off the release of his hit crossover fusion album Black Byrd, the first of his innovative and incredibly successful studio collaborations with producer Larry Mizell. But in a live setting the band had a rawer, harder edge, as this searing set attests. Byrd led a 10-piece band that included Larry Mizell on synthesizers, Fonce Mizell on trumpet and vocals, Allan Barnes on tenor saxophone and flute, Nathan Davis on soprano and tenor saxophone, Kevin Toney on electric piano, Barney Perry on electric guitar, Henry Franklin on electric bass, Keith Killgo on drums, and Ray Armando on congas and percussion. The set list includes Larry Mizell’s tune “Black Byrd” along with otherwise unrecorded Byrd originals like “The East,” “Kwame,” and “Poco-Mania,” as well as an excellent cover of Stevie Wonder’s “You’ve Got It Bad Girl.” Click here to listen to “Black Byrd” !
Tito Carrillo – Urbanessence (Origin): “Urbanessence, the second album as leader from Chicago-area trumpeter, composer and educator Tito Carrillo, is a rhythmic showcase for ten of his buoyant original compositions, all of which embody his love of BAM (Black American Music) and the lyric legacy of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Peru. Carrillo, a bold and burnished improviser from the Freddie Hubbard-Lee Morgan-Donald Byrd school of hard bop, shares the front line with the energetic and versatile saxophonist Troy Roberts (who plays tenor sax most of the way) in a sextet whose other members are pianist Ben Lewis, bassist Clark Sommers, drummer Jay Sawyer and, last but by no means least, conguero Victor Gonzalez who adds impressive color and vitality to most numbers.” Click here to listen to all songs on this set.
Ernesto Cervini – Joy (Three Pines): “The album showcases Canada’s finest musicians and is the first of Cervini’s albums to feature vocalists; Two tracks feature Alex Samaras (Queer Songbook Orchestra), and an additional featuring track with Felicity Williams (Bahamas, Bernice), Emilie-Claire Barlow (2 time Juno Award winner, 6 time nominee) and Amy Cervini (Duchess) who also co-produced the album. Featuring Ernesto’s Turboprop, Tune Town and Tetrahedron groups as well as other sonic surprises, this album is a musical journey through the soul and heart of Three Pines and the characters who inhabit it, guided by an adoring fan. Cervini’s music and personality beam with unbridled joy and this album is a true reflection of that.” Click here to listen to all of the songs on this release.
Greg Chako – Friends, Old & New (Mint400Records): “Guitarist Greg Chako has always considered himself a composer and arranger first and foremost over his abilities as a player. After a long chapter in his life where he performed and produced music in Asia, his return to the states and coming back home to Cincinnati, has energized the guitarist and filled him with a new sense of purpose, resuming his prolific music career by signing with a new label (Mint 400 Records), re-releasing previously produced recordings and finally presenting Friends, Old & New. The title of the album is a recognition by Chako that in order to achieve his goal of bringing new compositions and re-imagining older charts to light, as he states, takes “people to help me make it all come together.” Click here to listen “Samba Summer” from this release.
George Colligan – King’s Dream (PJCE): “I got interested in the piano mostly because I wanted to be a composer. This album is a reflection of this idea. However, it’s also a reflection of my philosophy as an improviser and a jazz musician. These performances are all first takes. I wanted to document my songs, but also exemplify my belief that perfection in music is not as important as the initial impulse and overall musical intent. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been more interested in capturing the human and organic moments in music. With all of the technology we have now, you could spend a lot of time editing your music to the point where it’s impeccable. But is this what life is all about?“ Make your decision after listening to the songs on this release.
Whit Dickey Quartet – Root Perspectives (TAO Forms): “Vanguard jazz drummer Whit Dickey inaugurated his TAO Forms label in 2020 with the release of pianist Matthew Shipp’s Piano Equation. Since then he’s been industrious: He released the pianist’s seminal Codebreaker, as well as curating titles by saxophonists James Brandon Lewis and Ivo Perelman, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, drummers Tani Tabbal and Michael Bisio, and a complement of his own recordings. The latter include the trio dates Village Mothership and Expanding Light. Astral Long Form: Staircase in Space, an earlier quartet offering, was released one day before this session was recorded. Dickey’s companions here include Shipp and bassist Brandon Lopez (both regulars), and master saxophonist Tony Malaby in his first collaboration with the drummer. In his liner essay, Dickey claims that he conceived this recording 15 years ago after catching a “vibration” while repeatedly listening to John Coltrane’s Crescent and A Love Supreme. It sounds like neither album…”
Tomas Janzon – Nomadic (Changes Music): “Welcome to a new edition of the Neon Jazz interview series with NYC-based Jazz Guitarist Tomas Janzon on the 2022 CD Nomadic .. He’s an old friend of the show and after sending the music via CD to Neon Jazz, we have delighted in to sonic power of .. The album features Steve Nelson on vibes, Hiliard Greene & Jeff Littleton on bass, along with Tony Austin & Chuck McPherson on drums .. We cover the construction of this album, how he survived and thrived in COVID times, upcoming 2023 events and so much more… Dig this interview …” Click to listen.
Greg Johnson – Aquablue (GREGJOHNSONJAZZ2021): Johnson composed all songs. I’m unable to find more information about this artist. We can however, hear samples of the songs. Click here to listen to this release.
Barrett Martin Group – Stillpoiint (Sunyata): “Barrett Martin plays just about anything that can make a ding or a dong, with percussion instruments from all over the world joining in along with bass and piano while he farms out trumpet to Dave Carter and various South American percussion instruments to Lisette Garcia on this wide ranging opus of tunes.” Click here to listen to “Jaun’s Strait Swing”.
Kerry Politzer – In A Heartbeat (PJCE): “Kerry Politzer is a Portland-based jazz pianist, composer, and educator. She is on the music faculty of Portland State University and the University of Portland. Kerry received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Piano from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied improvisation and composition with the late jazz guru Charlie Banacos. She continues to be inspired by his teachings and is now working on a Master of Music in Jazz Composition from Rowan University. Prior to moving to Portland, Kerry lived in New York for many years, where she studied Brazilian music and performed original compositions at clubs including Smalls…. Kerry has released six jazz CDs as a leader, including Blue in Blue, which featured saxophonist Donny McCaslin and was termed a “first-rate jazz outing” by AllAboutJazz.com. She has also been a featured sideman on albums of George Colligan, Laura Dreyer, and the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble and was featured on Sax And The City: Musical Contributions From New York’s Best Women Jazz Instrumentalists (Apria Records, 2004).” “In a Heartbeat” was released in October 2022.
Duran / Virelles – Front Street Duets (ALMA): “The album Front Street Duets played by the great Hilario Durán and his one-time acolyte, David Virelles is a sublime recording…. Mr Virelles is one of the greatest young apostles of Afro-Cuban musical tradition, but he has always known that the inner dynamic of tradition is always to innovate, rather than be imprisoned by its structures. And so by actively pursuing this thesis he has managed to throw overboard melodic, structural, harmonic, and [because this is Afro-Cuban music we are talking about] rhythmic hooks that expressively blunted the music through overuse.” Click here to listen to the music and an interview from “Front Street Duets”.
Rodney Whitaker – Oasis: The Music Of Gregg Hill (Origin): “The compositions of Gregg Hill have found an inspired home through several recordings by revered bassist Rodney Whitaker. Intellect and feeling stand in expressive balance with Hill’s concepts of form, melody and rhythmic hooks on this third album in the series. He’s absorbed the lessons of his heroes but writes from his own heart and soul. Whitaker, from Detroit and again firmly entrenched in the rich Michigan jazz scene, continues to perform at the highest levels.” Click here to listen to two selections from “Betty’s Tune” and “Puppets.”
Big B and the Actual Proof – The Noir Album (Mood Poisoning): “Big B and the Actual Proof (2022 International Blues Challenge Semifinalists, 2021 Capital Area Blues Society Band Challenge Winners, 2018 International Blues Challenge Semifinalists, 2017 Detroit Blues Society Band Challenge Winners) are an inspired fusion of modern blues, roots music and psychedelic rock. Their original music features dynamic arrangements fueled by powerful, emotional guitar, clear, convincing vocals and a rhythm section that booms, rattles and shakes. Imagine Stevie Ray Vaughan covering Nick Cave, the Stray Cats doing Tom Waits, or Pink Floyd playing Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.” Click here to listen to “Red Carpet.”
Mick Kolassa – For The Feral Heart (Endless Blues): “Over the course of 12 previous albums Mick Kolassa has written and recorded many love songs – this album is NOTHING BUT LOVE SONGS! For the Feral Heart starts with blues but ventures into several other styles, taking the listener on a musical journey. For the Feral Heart includes blues, jazz, calypso, reggae, singer/songwriter and even America standards. With ten originals and two “covers”, the album traverses a lot of musical ground!” Click here to listen the songs on this disc.
Lil’ Red & The Rooster – Keep On! (Blue Heart): “A deep calling lead them both to the Blues, and the Blues brought them together in 2010. For over a decade Jen “Lil’ Red” Milligan and Pascal Fouquet have been fine tuning their style and living and breathing their music. Decades of knowledge and experience ring through Pascal’s tasteful touch and the sparkle in Red’s sassy smile. Retro modern blues, is how they describe this style, it’s constantly evolving as the artists themselves, but the roots remain in the Blues. …They exude a contagious charm that guarantees you’ll feel good no matter how haunting the song or biting the message. It all comes from a place of love and respect for the Blues and humanity.” Click here for samples of their show.
Orange G – The Void Bereft (Self-released): “OrangeG is a multi-instrumentalist based in Pittsburgh, PA (USA). His music blurs the lines between indie rock, folk, blues and americana, with gasoline-fueled vocals and self-reflective themes. OrangeG first started releasing music in the pandemic, honing his performances at the Hambones Virtual Open Mic. At the behest of one of the organizers, he started a social media account and bandcamp page in the summer of 2020. This move awakened his love of performing, home recording, and sharing his music with the world.”
Rusty Wright Band – Hangin’ at the DeVille Lounge (SadSon): “Hangin’ At The DeVille Lounge is an incendiary blues-rock album, and that’s not just because it dances around imagery of fire and brimstone. No, every track is positively glowing with ambition and passion, leading the nearly hour-long record to fly by while it simultaneously punches you in the face with its gritty guitars and burly blues stylings on every track.” ~Melody Maker Magazine
“Rusty Wright is a masterful lyric storyteller, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and producer and he is often called upon to be a ‘celebrity counselor’ for Rock-n-Roll Fantasy Camps across the US. This Billboard Top 10 artist’s sound is a hot-rod fusing of Texas-style blues; swinging boogie and Southern guitar rock.” Click here to listen to “No One Cares At All”.