New Jazz & Blues News – 9/14/2021

New Jazz & Blues News – 9/14/2021

New Jazz Releases:

Bill Banfield’s Jazzurban 2 – ..Hey, holla when you hear me.. (Jazz Urbane): “The Jazz Urbane Is A Contemporary Recording/Performing Collective Which Embraces And Is Infused With Great R&B Song Writing, Melodies, Band Grooves And Style. Not Really A “New Movement”, Just A New Configuration Of Mindset/Artistry. It Is A “Collaborative Of Artists”, A Music That Crosses Several Bridges. This Is Music That Has Grown From Urban Places And Thrives Because Of Creative Musicians Who Are Tapped Into The People, And Into Progressive, Music- Art That Is Urbane, Hip And Non-Categorical. The Jazz Urbane Represents Too, The Rise Of Frustration Among Musicians With “Non Musical Culture” Dominating Mainstream Radio Music, Media.
Musically, The Past Lifeline Of Jazz Progression Has Always Been Its Reach To Younger Creative Impulses. In That Collaborative Exchange Comes “New Voices”, An Inspiring Charged Collective, Movements Of Style, Aesthetics, A Sound, Approach. These Never Severed Themselves From The” Blues- Afro-Collective-Spiritual-Pulse”, And Never Dislocated From Common-Folks’ “Dance And Move” In The World. Such Progressive Movements Were Always Led By Practicing Musicians.” ( Click here to listen to the songs on this release. 

Joey DeFrancesco – More Music (Mack Avenue): “When jazz aficionados think of Joey DeFrancesco – and they often do – they ponder his matchless talents as a modern-day avatar of the Hammond B3 organ and the Philadelphia history he shares with his principle instrument. Organ-based blues and jazz started in Philly and DeFrancesco is the first to tell you so…. On More Music, master organist Joey DeFrancesco, who has long supplemented his keyboard virtuoso with his skilled trumpet playing, here brings out his full arsenal: organ, keyboard, piano, trumpet and, for the first time on record, tenor saxophone. More Music offers up ten new DeFrancesco originals, brought to life by a scintillating new trio with fellow Philadelphia organist and guitarist Lucas Brown and gifted drummer Michael Ode.” ( Solid from start to finish! Click here to listen to “Free” the opening song on this disc.

Alon Farber Hagiga – Reflecting on Freedom (Origin): “Now entering its third decade as an ensemble, Hagiga’s founder, saxophonist Alon Farber looked to Eddie Harris’s “Freedom Jazz Dance” as inspiration and a theme for their 4th recording, “Reflecting on Freedom.” Hagiga revels in the diversity of musical flavors and colors that make up the “Israeli soundtrack.” With an exciting three horn frontline – reminiscent of some Dave Douglas or Booker Little ensembles – they draw liberally from Swing, Moroccan, Funk and Brazilian musics in creating their wide-ranging, highly personal sound. Farber’s bold compositions reflect his years at the forefront of Israel’s jazz scene – including co-founding the Israeli Jazz Orchestra & receiving the Prime Minister’s Award for Jazz Composers – and his time in America while studying at Berklee, where he won the Wayne Shorter Award for Composers. “Hagiga has been at the forefront of the miraculous envelope-pushing curve of Israeli jazz for some years now.” (Barry Davis) The players are Alon Farber (Soprano & Alto saxes), Yehonatan Cohen (Tenor sax, Flute, Clarinet),
Oded Meir (Trombone), Eden Giat (Piano), Assaf Hakimi (Acoustic & Electric bass) and Roy Oliel (Drums), with special guests Sarai Zak-Levi (Vocal 1,3,7) and Rony Iwryn (Percussion 1,2 3,7,8). Certainly an intriguing and after delightful set. Click here to listen to samples of two songs on this release.

Nick Fraser Quartet – If There Were No Opposites (HatHut/ezz-thetics): “Nick Fraser has been an active and engaging presence in the Toronto new jazz and improvised music community since he moved there from Ottawa in 1995. He has worked with a veritable “who’s who” of Canadian jazz and improvised music including Justin Haynes, Mike Murley, Rich Underhill, P.J. Perry, Phil Dwyer, Michael Snow, John Oswald, Andrew Downing, Jean Martin, Christine Duncan, Lina Allemano, Quinsin Nachoff, Dave Restivo, Jim Vivian, David Braid, Ryan Driver, David Occhipinti, William Carn, Nancy Walker, Kieran Overs, Kelly Jefferson, John Geggie, Scott Thomson, Marilyn Lerner, David Mott, Lori Freedman, Jean Derome, Ron Samworth and Kirk MacDonald.
In addition, he has had the opportunity to perform and/or record with such international artists as Tony Malaby, Michael Moore, Bobby Shew, Donny McCaslin, Marilyn Crispell, Anthony Braxton, Joe McPhee, William Parker, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bela Fleck, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Wynton Marsalis, David Binney, Steve Turre, Matt Welch, Bill Carrothers and Bill Mays. Nick’s recorded works as a leader include Owls in Daylight (1997), Nick Fraser and Justin Haynes are faking it (2004) and Towns and Villages (2013)…. Nick is a founding member of The Association of Improvising Musicians of Toronto, a non-profit organization dedicated to the Toronto improvising community. “Fraser not so much plays the drums as hurls himself whole body and soul against skin and metal… truly talented.” (Bill Stunt)…. “Fraser can swing hard when necessary, but he’s equally a colorist with all manner of unusual tricks up his sleeve. Placing cymbals on the drums and pushing on them while striking them created a sound akin to a water gongs. His brushwork was impeccable, asserting time while, at the same time, creating richer texture. His solos were clearly focused on the musical rather than macho displays of dexterity—though in order to do what he does, it’s clear that he possesses all kinds of technical facility.” (John Kelman, All About Jazz) Click here to listen to “Shoe Dance” from this release.

Erroll Garner – Symphony Hall Concert (Mack Avenue): “On January 17, 1959, jazz immortal Erroll Garner took the stage of Boston’s Symphony Hall for a historic performance to a sold-out crowd. Recorded 11 months prior to the Dreamstreet sessions, which heralded Garner’s return after a lengthy battle for control over his catalog, Symphony Hall Concert is a previously unreleased compilation capturing the unparalleled genius of Garner’s live performances at the beginning of one of the most defining years of his life.” ( The dazzling piano played for this crowd stands among the many beautiful performances by one of the true all-time greats. Click here to listen to samples of this set.

Mercer Hassy Orchestra – Don’t Stop The Carnival (Self-produced): “Formed in 2010, The Mercer Hassy Orchestra is a large jazz ensemble based in Sapporo, Japan. This community orchestra is comprised of amateur performers; musicians who resonate with the leader’s unique arrangements. Recorded over a span of two years, this album represents Hassy’s perseverance and the pride that he feels for the artists who are a part of his outstanding big band. “I think my greatest strength as an arranger is my ability to feel the time in my life when I first listened to music. As I grow older, I became more aware that music was the best treasure to connect the deep parts of human soul and to share joy.” (Mercy Hassy) These performances are terrific and show the fabulous talent in the orchestra. Click here to listen to the songs on this release.

Sheila Jordan – Comes Love – Lost Session – 1960 (Capri): “The 1950s were a golden age for female jazz singers. They sang arrangements that were often more sophisticated than the material handed to girl singers in the swing era, and yet a genuinely popular audience existed for them. They weren’t performing for fellow conservatory students. They were entertainers who had achieved a high level of artistry. One singer who emerged from the ‘50s found her way to the recording studio only in 1960—and then the session was lost until now. Comes Love demonstrates Sheila Jordan’s octave-gliding vocal range and—more vitally—her emotional breadth. She’s frisky (and bursts into fast scatting) on “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got that Swing).” And then she’s rueful on “Ballad of the Sad Young Men,” alluring on “Comes Love” and resigned on “Don’t Explain.” Jordan could bring out the emotional nuances, the granular implications, in every word. The names of the musicians accompanying her on this session are lost to memory. They were a small combo of piano, bass and drums, providing an empathetic and uncluttered setting her the songs and her voice. I regret I am unable to find a sample from this beautiful performance.

Allen Lowe – A Love Supine (ESP-Disc): “Supine, in one definition, means “failing to act or protest as a result of moral weakness or indolence.” A Love Supine: A Dixieland Love Supreme is an act of atonement by one musician for not only failing to appreciate Coltrane sufficiently but also for not initially understanding his complex relationship with modernism and American root sounds. Allen Lowe has written an extensive, multipart suite celebrating, in an unconventional way, the breadth of Coltrane’s influence and effect. Trane’s restoration of modality, his stretching of tonal tolerance, his acceptance of dissonance as a necessary component of group sound and improvisation, all changed the basic and fundamental sound of jazz. The program will feature a wide range of contemporary musicians who, by the nature of their experiences and deep knowledge of jazz performance, challenge the very notion of narrow musical “schools” and show that a modernist in jazz, by any other name, is a complex sum of very diverse musical parts. The Dixieland Aspects of a Love Supine celebrate the cross-fertilization of revivalist styles with the modern strains of Lowe’s particular brand of Free Jazz. “Allen Lowe has re-invented free jazz, ” said the critic Larry Gushee a few years ago, and Lowe continues to dig deeply into traditional American song forms, as well as bebop, swing, early New Orleans, the pre-history of jazz, as well as hillbilly music and the blues.
“Dixieland is a dead music which we celebrate in all of its dormant glory. The contrapuntal wonders of New Orleans have been buried over the years in the sheen of revivalism, which has tended to substitute the expected for the mysterious. Another problem is related to the label being applied to virtually anything with classic jazz polyphony, from Red Nichols to Pee Russell, to the college dance bands of the 1950s and 1960s in which ageing and under-employed, great jazz musicians like Dickey Wells. Vic Dickenson, Doc Cheatham, Jo Jones, et al tried to make a living. Sixty years later the label is buried beneath one hundred years of racial confusion and degradation, under the heavy feet of Confederate statues. We hope to tear all of these down: Dixieland is dead – long live Dixieland!” (Allen Lowe) ( I regret I am unable to share a piece from this release.

Ray Russell – Secret Asylum (Cunieform): “He (the Mulla Nasrudini) had gone to China, where he gathered a circle of disciples, who he was preparing for enlightenment.Those who became illuminated immediately ceased attending his lectures.A party of his undeveloped followers, desiring more illumination, travelled from Persia to China to continue their studies with him. After their first lecture, he received them. ‘Why Mulla,” one of the asked,“do you lecture on secret words which we (unlike the Chinese) can understand?’ They are namidanam and hichmalumnist! They mean in Persian merely “I Don’t know” and “Nobody knows”.‘What would you have me do instead – lie my head off?’, asked Nasrudin: from The Sufis, Idries Shah. If, as Mailer said, Picasso is medically good for your eyes, then Russell is medically good for your ears  (Charles Shaar Murray)  I wish for change and glimpses (Ray Russell) Musicians: Harry Beckett (trumpet, flugel horn), Gary Windo (tenor sax, flute), Darryl Runswick (bass),  Alan Rushton (drums) and Ray Russell (electric and acoustic guitars, piano). All titles written and arranged by Ray Russell. Click to listen to hear selected pieces from this release.
Cathy Segal-Garcia – Social Anthems, Volume 1 (Origin): “A songwriter and vocal interpreter of uncommon emotional depth and intuitive lyrical insight… Cathy Segal-Garcia has the uncanny ability of discovering deeper, previously uncharted soul territory in a song no matter the surroundings.” (JW Vibe)  With feelings of profound loss over the direction of the world in the last several years, Los Angeles vocalist Cathy Segal-Garcia found herself searching back through songs from the ’60’s & ’70s – another period of existential uncertainty. The songwriters of the day spoke to those conditions, offering hopes for healing, love and redemption and providing a moral touchstone for a generation. Partnering with supreme musicians, Anthony Wilson, Josh Nelson, Lorca Hart, and Edwin Livingston, Cathy found new paths to voice the feelings at the center of those songs, while adding resonance for these times. Songs from Stephen Stills, Marvin Gaye, Steve Winwood & Peter Gabriel are combined with the Segal-Garcia original, “What Are We Gonna Do.” They uplift, add perspective, and console. “Segal-Garcia uses her deep and expressive voice to suggest more – not hope, not optimism, but perhaps that faith in our ability to rebound.” (Marc Phillips) Click here to listen the songs on this disc.

Gemma Sherry – Music To Dream To (Tunley Records): “When the cherry blossoms begin blooming it allows one to start dreaming again…. Still on a high after the release of her critically acclaimed album “Let’s Get Serious” in December 2020, there seems to be no stopping Gemma Sherry. Gemma has released 3 albums in the span of 12months. One in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. She headlined the Los Angeles Brazilian Jazz Festival last year, has been featured in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, numerous podcasts in the USA, UK and abroad, airplay on nationally syndicated stations and now, after much demand, is bringing to the world a special Bossa Nova album. She hopes you enjoy and it allows your to dream for a moment. “Sherry has two great artistic advantages: a perfect ear for melody and a voice so clearly realized and experienced that she could sing a telephone book, should one exist anymore. “ (All About Jazz, USA) “Sherry has a knack for finding just the right material to put a smile on your face and some pep in your step” (Roots Music Report, Feb 2021) Sherry is accompanied by Paul Bollenback (guitar), Rick Germanson (piano), Eric Wheeler (bass),
George Coleman Jnr (drums) and Joseph Doubleday (vibes). Pleasant and cool. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.

Mark Zaleski – Our Time: Reimagining Dave Brubeck (Origin): “Origin Records is proud to announce the …release of Our Time: Reimagining Dave Brubeck, a momentous recording from the Mark Zaleski Band – a powerhouse sextet led by the esteemed saxophonist and arranger. On Our Time, the Boston-based bandleader presents reimagined takes of classic Brubeck compositions, celebrating the iconic pianist and composers stellar creative output with fresh, evocative arrangements. Mark Zaleski is featured here on alto and soprano saxophone alongside tenor saxophonist Jon Bean, pianist Glenn Zaleski, guitarist Mark Cocheo, bassist Danny Weller, and drummer Oscar Suchanek. In addition, Our Time features guest vocalist Michael Mayo on Brubeck’s “They Say I Look Like God”. Zaleski, an early graduate of the prestigious Dave Brubeck Institute in California, credits Dave and Iola Brubeck for helping form him into the musician he is today. One particularly vibrant memory is from 2003, when Zaleski met the Brubecks, then in their 80’s, on only his second day on campus. “Regardless of Dave’s fame and stature, they welcomed us with open arms and big smiles. They couldn’t have been kinder, which calmed our nerves in a big way,” reflects Zaleski.
Our Time: Reimagining Dave Brubeck goes far to celebrate Brubeck’s legacy and classic compositions with decidedly modern arrangements that reflect Zaleski’s singular, nuanced approach. Illuminating these selections is a seasoned ensemble with seamless interplay no doubt informed by the deep-rooted history between Zaleski and his musical compatriots. Mark and his brother Glenn Zaleski have played collaboratively for over twenty years while he and saxophonist Jon Bean have collaborated for ten. On Bean, Zaleski remarks that “we work together as if one mind is manipulating both of our musical voices.” With Our Time: Reimagining Dave Brubeck, Mark Zaleski captures Brubeck’s unbridled ingenuity, bringing these heralded classics into the present. To quote Zaleski: “How do you give something back to people who changed your life forever? Follow in their footsteps, honor their legacy, and do what you can to make their legacy continue to future generations.” This new offering does just that.”  Absolutely, one of the best releases of the year with respect and fantastic beauty! Click here to meet Mark Zaleski, then click here to listen to samples of these wonderfully new ideas, then go buy it!

New Blues Releases:

Tas Cru – Broke Down Busted Up (Subcat): “With Broke Down Busted Up singer-songwriter, Tas Cru goes further to solidify his reputation as a blues eclectic who refuses to let his music be bound to any one sound and style. On the opening title cut listeners are greeted by pleading and urgent fiddle strains courtesy of the spirited Anne Harris. This alone tells those familiar with his previous works that on Broke Down Busted Up, Tas is once again going to be breaking fresh, new ground. Tas calls it his “quasi-acoustic” album as it features mostly acoustic instruments and seeks an earthy and relaxed roots-music vibe. The instrumentation, song arrangements, and production are notably simpler than his recent recordings. What’s new here on Broke Down Busted Up foremost is the fiddle – a great fit for the aforementioned sought-after vibe. So too, is the standup bass that is featured on many tracks. There is mountain dulcimer on a couple of tracks as well. The beautiful sound of the grand piano, the trademark rich backing vocals, tasteful drumming and subtle percussion that are all a part of Tas’ recent recordings are staples that remain. And of course, there is the guitar work – acoustic and resonator.” ( Cru wrote or co-wrote everything on the disc and he states that this disc is very, very different from anything he has put out. Backed up by Mary Ann Casale as featured singer on two songs and pacing vocals on others and plays Mountain Dulcimer throughout with the remaining players Anne Harris (fiddle), Dave Liddy (piano), Garry Loiacono (slide guitar), Andy Hearn (drums), Ron Keck (perfusion), Mike Lawrence (acoustic bass) and Bob Purdy (electric bass). Cru is certainly at the top of his game from end to end on this release. Click here to listen to the title song.

Mark Hummel – East Bay Blues Vaults, 1976-1988 (Electro-Fi): All right old style blues fans, Mark Hummel has been rummaging in the storage room just to stir up the fires for you folks who like the straight ahead blues from the vaults of the San Francisco that may not be so familiar. These rare cuts feature Brownie McGhee, Sonny Rhodes, Ron Thompson, Mark Hummel, Boogie Jake and more! A very nice collection of blues that will keep your toes tappin’ in the midst of the solid BLUES that will keep your feet rap-a-tappin’! I regret I am not able to find a sample from this disc.

Colin Linden – bLOW (Thirty Tigers): ““Got a coin in my pocket heavy and gold/It don’t own me I need to let it go/Cause having is wanting/Desire can make you weep” (bLOW) Colin Linden’s tale is the stuff of legend, the kind told in the Coen brothers’ O Brother Where Art Thou or Inside Llewyn Davis, both of which featured his guitar playing on the soundtracks. That film would begin with an 11-year-old meeting his musical idol Howlin’ Wolf at a matinee show in his native Toronto, accompanied by his mom, who took a picture of the two during a nearly two-hour long conversation before the gig, the legendary bluesman idling over coffee and cigarettes. “I’m an old man now, and I won’t be around much longer,” Wolf told him. “It’s up to you to carry it on.” Linden still carries that frayed photograph in his wallet, along with a Sears 5/8” socket wrench in his pocket to play slide guitar. He has taken Wolf’s plea seriously, performing since he was 12 years old, leaving home as a teenager to travel the south at the invitation of Mississippi Sheiks delta blues guitarist Sam Chatmon which took him to Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Memphis and Hollandale, Mississippi, meeting and visiting the sites of his heroes – Brownie McGhee, Muddy Waters, Sippie Wallace, Tampa Red, Blind John Davis, the Rev. Robert Wilkins, Sleepy John Estes and Son House, visiting the landmarks and juke joints, many of which he’s played in during the course of a 45-year career producing and playing blues and roots music. As a singer/guitarist, he’s accompanied everyone from Bruce Cockburn (as his producer and touring musician) to Bob Dylan, Greg Allman, Rihannon Giddens, Pistol Annies, John Prine and more…. Indeed, bLOW offers a blues travelogue much like the odyssey he took in his youth, with Bo Diddley-inspired boogies such as the churning, slide guitar of leadoff track “4 Cars,” the glorious Sun Records homage of “Boogie Let Me Be,” inspired equally by early John Lee Hooker and Floyd Murphy, guitarist for Junior Parker with Colin playing his 1961 Harmony Stratotone with the original strings still intact, the Texas roadhouse blues of “Houston” and the apocalyptic, psychedelic roar of “Change Don’t Come Without Pain.” Other songs, like “When I Get To Galilee” recall a gospel vibe, while the closing “Honey on my Tongue,” reflects on life during and after the lockdown…. Although following in the footsteps of his heroes was the beginning of Linden’s story, with bLOW he continues a journey that began even before he met Wolf. That magic moment and so many others continue to live on in the music.” ( “About Linden, acclaimed author Peter Guralnick (Searching for Robert Johnson, Last Train to Memphis) notes, “Colin always has something soulful to say. Howlin’ Wolf charged him with bringing everything he had to offer, all of his feeling and all of his humanity, to the music, and he has.” ( This release is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to “4 Cars”, the opening song on this amazing release!

Wesley Pruitt – Gypsy Soul (Groovin 2 Soul): “For 20 years, Wesley Pruitt Band has delivered the ups and downs and the ins and outs of love and life, all neatly wrapped in hard-driving blues-rock rhythms. Through it all, the band leader and namesake, Wesley Pruitt, Jr., never doubted the music would continue to be his professional calling. As he puts it, “I didn’t know how I was going to be able to climb the ladders and complete this journey, but I knew this is something that I wanted to do the rest of my life.” The latest part of the journey can be heard on the band’s new album Gypsy Soul, the third full-length release following a debut EP, and the albums Sunrise and Line ‘Em Up. Pruitt describes Gypsy Soul as “a personal story” and reflects the band’s maturing process in recent years.Looking back on the release of Line ‘Em Up, Pruitt said, “That album was all about saying, ‘This is who we are, we need to be heard, and we’re coming to take all that’s there for us.’ The energy of that album is in there; it’s raw and uncut.”
Gypsy Soul, by comparison, invites the listener to share, relate, and perhaps find healing in the stories the band presents. Pruitt describes the album as “my personal story of eight years told through songs – happiness, triumphs, sadness, heartbreak, depression, darkness, transformation, weeding dead leaves, growing in faith, the law of attraction, affirmation, astrology and all of that.“This is what’s been going on for several years, and somebody needs to hear this, and somebody needs to be able to relate and speak through the music as we’re giving it to you,” Pruitt explained. “By the same token, I’m able to put something out there that makes me feel not really compelled to tell, but it makes me feel like I’m actually bringing something out of me that’s needed to be told for a long time.” It’s that musical communion with the audience that Pruitt says he has grown to appreciate and encourage.” ( “One Mind, One Band, One Goal… Playing Texas Music with Soul.” Click here to listen to a song by Pruitt on this disc.

Alexis P. Suter – Be Love (Hipbone): “Raised in Brooklyn, NY by a musically gifted family, Alexis P Suter was infused with the passion and the belief that music is to be an emotional and spiritual experience. Miss Suter brings abundant love and energy into each of her performances. At an Alexis P. Suter Band show, the audiences dance and sing along to rollicking roots songs or funky blues numbers; then a few songs later are wiping tears stirred by an awe-inspiring version of “Let it Be” or other songs that touch deeply. Alexis and her band are not just another musical act, but an energetic and emotional experience that fans return to time after time. Critics struggle to find words to describe her smooth, deep voice and unique style. Elmore Magazine summarized it well, “Suter is as fascinating to watch as to hear. A stunning, ample woman with the face of a cherubic African queen, her molasses contralto can whisper and purr, then swell into a pulsating wave of sound that radiates from the depths of her being”….Alexis and her core band, fellow Brooklyn natives Raymond Grappone (drummer) and Vicki Bell, (vocals and percussion) have been making music together for nearly twenty years. Grappone and Bell own and operate the Hipbone Records label. They met Alexis soon after Alexis signed with Epic/Sony Records Japan in the 1990’s. At the time, Alexis was performing House Music, Funk and R&B. Impressed with her incredible and unique talent, Grappone and Bell invited her to record vocals on a Hipbone project. A life-long collaboration ensued which culminated in the Alexis P. Suter Band. Recently, accomplished musician and fellow Brooklyn native, Michael Louis joined the band as lead guitarist. This was the magical combination of talents needed to open musical doors and lift the band to new musical levels. The band is bringing a fresh sound to their catalog and exploring new songs and musical genres. They are selling out venues, receiving rave reviews, and filling their calendar with national and international performances.” ( Click here to listen to the songs on this release.


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