New Jazz & Blues Releases — November 11/23/2021
New Jazz Releases:
Armstrong Allstars – A Gift To Pops (Verve): “The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong All Stars are the cream of the crop of current New Orleans musicians paying tribute to the musician who started it all in the Crescent City. This album consists of new arrangements and recordings of music associated with Louis Armstrong and a rotating cast of key New Orleans musicians, including guest appearances by Wynton Marsalis, Common and others. The set also includes a previously unknown Louis Armstrong and the All Stars track and a touching private spoken word recording Louis made towards the end of his life. Produced by Wycliffe Gordon, Jackie Harris and Nicholas Payton, The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong All Stars are the cream of the crop of current New Orleans musicians paying tribute to the musician who started it all in the Crescent City. This album consists of new arrangements and recordings of music associated with Louis Armstrong. Includes a previously unknown Louis Armstrong and the All Stars track and a touching private spoken word recording Louis made towards the end of his life Produced by Wycliffe Gordon, Jackie Harris and Nicholas Payton.” (https://grigorian.com/webstore/view.php?iid=2188191) Click here to listen to “The Peanut Vendor” from this tribute.
Pat Bianchi – Something To Say: The Music Of Stevie Wonder (Savant): “Perhaps no other instrument in jazz boasts such a classic and beloved status as the Hammond B3 organ. On stage it sits like a majestic relic from jazz’s distant past, a slightly odd Rube Goldberg machine whose spinning speakers produce a saturated, unmistakable sound imbuing every performance with it’s own recognizable style. That style has set deep roots in American music including, of course, jazz and blues, but it has also provided undeniable contributions to pop, funk and soul. So it should really be no surprise that organist Pat Bianchi would choose a program of Stevie Wonder’s music for his second Savant Records release. Stevie Wonder himself played a number of keyboards during the early 1970s including the B3 and Bianchi shows just how well suited the venerable instrument is to Wonder’s oeuvre. Pat Bianchi stands at the forefront of today’s B3 players with a Grammy nomination and a lengthy list of credits on his resume. He has performed with Lou Donaldson, Javon Jackson, Bud Shank, Joe Locke and guitar legend Pat Martino. (Bianchi plays a MAG Custom Organ, considered to be among the best of the available portable B3 clones.) With band mates Paul Bollenback on guitar and Byron Landham on drums, the trio’s tight phrasing and razor-sharp ensemble keep the setlist moving along with arrangements which are never ostentatious but rather subtly layered with remarkable details that sneak up on you between the solo spots peppered liberally throughout. Lending his talents to the proceedings is the dynamic tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery on two tracks.” (https://waterloorecords.com/UPC/633842219028) Click here to listen to the title song.
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – First Flight To Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings (Blue Note): “A previously unreleased live recording finds Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers performing on their first tour of Japan in 1961. First Flight to Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings, which is set to be released this November by Blue Note, was captured at Hibiya Public Hall in Tokyo on Jan. 14, 1961. The Jazz Messengers were among the first modern jazz groups to tour Japan. The audiences treated to one of the band’s all-time great line-ups featuring Lee Morgan on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Bobby Timmons on piano and Jymie Merritt on bass. The concert featured performances of well-known jazz staples including Charlie Parker’s Now’s the Time and Thelonious Monk’s ‘Round About Midnight, as well as the Jazz Messengers’ own hits including Blues March, Dat Dere and Moanin’.” (https://jazz.fm/art-blakey-and-the-jazz-messengers-first-flight-to-tokyo-the-lost-1961-recordings/) Click here to listen to “Moanin’” from this release.
Bill Charlap Trio – Street Of Dreams (Blue Note): “Grammy award winning pianist Bill Charlap has performed with many of the leading artists of our time including Phil Woods, Tony Bennett, Gerry Mulligan, Wynton Marsalis, Freddy Cole and Houston Person. Born in New York City, Charlap began playing the piano at age three. His father was Broadway composer Moose Charlap, whose credits include Peter Pan, and his mother is singer Sandy Stewart, who toured with Benny Goodman, and was a regular on the Perry Como show. She earned a 1963 Grammy nomination for her recording of “My Coloring Book.” In 2005, Charlap and Stewart released the acclaimed CD, Love Is Here To Stay (Blue Note).
In 1997, Charlap formed his trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington, now recognized as one of the leading groups in jazz. In 2000, he was signed to Blue Note Records and received two Grammy Award nominations, for Somewhere: The Songs of Leonard Bernstein and The Bill Charlap Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard. He is known for his interpretations of American popular song.. Time magazine wrote, “Bill Charlap approaches a song the way a lover approaches his beloved…no matter how imaginative or surprising his take on a song is, he invariably zeroes in on its essence.” In 2016, Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap: The Silver Lining, The Songs of Jerome Kern, was awarded a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Album. In April, the Bill Charlap Trio released, Notes from New York, their debut recording for the Impulse label. Alan Morrison’s five-star review in Down Beat stated that the new recording is “a masterclass in class.” In 2019, Charlap will be celebrating his 15th year as Artistic Director of New York City’s Jazz in July Festival at 92Y. He has produced concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Chicago Symphony Center and the Hollywood Bowl. Charlap is married to renowned jazz pianist and composer Renee Rosnes, and the two artists often collaborate in a duo piano setting. In 2010 Charlap and Rosnes released Double Portrait (Blue Note). Bill Charlap is currently the Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey.” (https://billcharlap.com/bio) Click here to listen the title song, “Street Of Dreams”.
Larry Goldings – Scary Goldings IV (Pockets Inc): Instrumental funk sensation Scary Goldings offer their fourth release, featuring Larry Goldens (organ), John Scofield (guitar), Mono Neon (bass), Jack Conte (Wurlitzer) and Louis Cole and (WE ALSO HAVE THE RETURN OF TAMBOURINE JACK! Larry Goldings is a Grammy-nominated pianist and composer. His organ trio with Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart has been recognized in the New York Times as “the best organ trio of the last decade.” Goldings’ musical inspirations draw from a lifetime of absorbing jazz, pop, funk, R&B, electronic and classical music. As a performer and recording artist, he is known for long-term collaborations that straddle the realms of jazz and pop with such artists as Jim Hall, Maceo Parker, John Scofield, Steve Gadd, Jack DeJohnette, Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker, Sia Furler, John Mayer, and others. Goldings has been recording and touring with singer-songwriter James Taylor since 2001, and is the featured musician on Taylor’s One Man Band CD/DVD, the culmination of a two year world-wide tour with James and Larry in duet. In 2007, Scofield/Goldings/DeJohnette’s Trio Beyond -Saudades (ECM) was recognized with a Best Instrumental Jazz Album Grammy nomination for their searing live recording at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.” (https://www.larrygoldings.com/pdf/Goldings-bio.pdf) Click here for an introduction — “Disco Pills”!
Louis Hayes – Crisis (Savant): “Drummer Louis Hayes’s first recording session was in 1956, on Horace Silver’s Six Pieces of Silver (Blue Note). If that’s all he had on his resume, you’d feel compelled to buy his new album, Crisis (Savant). But there was more, much more. From there, he weaved through jazz like a long vital thread traveling through a gorgeous suit. He appeared on dozes of the classic albums in the 1950s and beyond. In the 1950s and beyond, Louis recorded extensively with Silver (Silver’s Stylings of Silver, Further Explorations, Finger Poppin’ and Blowin’ the Blues Away) and on John Coltrane’s Lush Life, and albums with Cannonball Adderley, Grant Green, Oscar Peterson, Joe Henderson, Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard and so many others. The beauty of Louis is that he has always been able to shift fluidly between hard bop and other styles. On hard-charging songs, he saturates the air with shimmering cymbal bashes, driving hi-hat time and polyrhythmic shots on the snare and toms. On ballads, he provides hushed, concentrated sensitivity. He knows what the ear likes and has always been conscious of the listener’s heart, not just the players’ needs. The 84-year-old drummer’s new album features Abraham Burton (ts), Steve Nelson (vib), David Hazeltine (p), Dezron Douglas (b) and Camille Thurman, a terrific vocalist on two tracks. On the album, Louis salutes many of his playing partners over the years. Arab Arab is by Joe Farrell, Roses Poses is by Bobby Hutcherson, I’m Afraid the Masquerade Is Over is a vocal track by Thurman, Desert Moonlight is by Lee Morgan, Where Are You? is another vocal track, Creeping Crud is an original by Louis, Alien Visitation is by vibraphonist Steven Nelson, Crisis is by Freddie Hubbard, Oxygen is by bassist Dezron Douglas, and the standard It’s Only a Paper Moon was an Art Blakey hard-bop staple.” (https://soundindepth.com/louis-hayes-crisis/2021/11/09/top-jazz-news/admin/) Absolutely SOLID from top to bottom! Click here to listen to “Crisis” from this release.
Nicole Henry – Time To Love Again (Banister): “Since her debut, Nicole Henry has established herself among the jazz world’s most acclaimed performers, possessing a potent combination of dynamic vocal abilities, impeccable phrasing, and powerful emotional resonance. Her passionate, soulful voice and heartfelt charisma have earned her a Soul Train Award for “Best Traditional Jazz Performance,” and three Top-10 U.S. Billboard and HMV Japan jazz albums. Heralded by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Japan Times, El Pais, Jazz Times, Essence and more, Ms. Henry tells real stories through peerless interpretations of repertoire from the American Songbook, classic and contemporary jazz, popular standards, blues and originals.” (https://www.nicolehenry.com/about) Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this release.
Christian McBride & Inside Straight – Live at the Village Vanguard (Mack Avenue): “Christian McBride & Inside Straight Live at the Village Vanguard is Christian McBride’s twelfth release with Mack Avenue Music Group. This recording can be thought of as a companion to the GRAMMY® Award-winning Christian McBride Trio Live at the Village Vanguard album released in 2015. Inside Straight is the quintet that inaugurated McBride’s collaboration with Mack Avenue Records (releasing Kind of Brown in 2009). Both live recordings of the bassist leading these two ensembles occurred in a consecutive two-week period in December of 2014 – a rare engagement offered to only the most venerated jazz artists by the most venerated jazz club in America. There is no doubt that McBride is one of the most versatile musicians on the scene today. His artistry has been documented in recordings and performances with the widest possible range of musicians in the most varied settings and genres one might imagine. His collaborations have been as diverse as duets with the revered classical bassist Edgar Meyer and avant-garde composer and violinist Laurie Anderson; performances with iconic artists like Sting and James Brown; ensembles with his fellow native Philadelphian, Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, of The Roots; not to mention a host of jazz masters from Sonny Rollins and Freddie Hubbard to Pat Metheny and the late Chick Corea.
It was in fact this nomadic journey that provided the inspiration for McBride to return to leading a more conventional straight ahead acoustic jazz ensemble. So, in 2007 McBride recruited his former bandmate in Freddie Hubbard’s group, drummer Carl Allen, saxophonist Steve Wilson, pianist Eric Reed (who subsequently was replaced by Peter Martin) and an amazing young musical prodigy who had enrolled in McBride’s summer camp program Jazz at Aspen, Colorado, vibraphonist Warren Wolf. They played one week at the Village Vanguard with the intention of each musician returning to his other respective projects at the end of that engagement. But the entire week sold out. The proprietor of the Vanguard, Lorraine Gordon, who had very high standards and a reputation for not being easy to please, was ecstatic. Legendary A&R executive Bruce Lundvall, who had come down to hear the band after attending a Ron Carter concert at Carnegie Hall, sat down with McBride after the set and in discussion with the bassist reaffirmed that this ensemble was something special. Some six months later, McBride signed with Mack Avenue Records. Although the Inside Band has made two prior studio recordings for Mack Avenue Records, Kind of Brown and People Music, the band has not, until now, released a live recording – the milieu in which this ensemble was originally created. Represented herein are compositions by three of the five band members. The album opens with a rip-roaring performance of Warren Wolf’s soulful tune “Sweet Bread” and later in the set includes his vibraphone feature “Gang Gang.” Alto and soprano saxophonist Steve Wilson contributes a paean to Maya Angelou. The remainder of the compositions are McBride’s; two of which similarly celebrate the work of jazz greats James Williams and Cedar Walton and provide fertile ground for the aforementioned accomplished pianist Peter Martin. The other two McBride tunes, “Fair Hope Theme” and “Stick and Move,” showcase the quintet engaged in powerfully deep swing with the rapidly shifting rhythmic and harmonic phrasing that kept audiences at the Village Vanguard on the edge of their seats. November of 2021 marks the 64th anniversary of the very first live recording from the Village Vanguard made by Sonny Rollins. It is a high point in any musician’s career to have performed and become part of a commercial release that has been “recorded live at the Village Vanguard.” One need only listen to any of the legendary recordings made there ranging from Rollins and John Coltrane to Barbra Streisand to hear the magic those performances yield. Except for 2020, the “Inside Straight” quintet has played at the Village Vanguard every year since 2009. Finally, with Christian McBride & Inside Straight Live at the Village Vanguard, music fans the world over have a chance to hear what all the fuss is about.” (https://bassmagazine.com/artists/christian-mcbride-inside-straight-releases-live-album-from-village-vanguard) Listen to the album.
Gina Schwarz – Pannonica (cracked aneggg): “Austrian bassist Gina Schwarz leaves no room for doubt as to who occupies the driver’s seat on Pannonica. A few measures into the opening number, “GM’s Musicbox,” Schwarz’s muscular bass melody is high in the mix, doubled by Lisa Hofmaninger’s bass clarinet, setting the tone for the rest of this two-disc affair. The ensemble she’s gathered for Pannonica is a versatile nonet that traverses rock, folk, swing, chamber jazz and free-improvisation—although the group’s not convincing in each format. The strongest moments come during open improvisations, many as short episodes highlighted as “Cut” on the second disc. The band swings hard, too, during the handful of moments that call for it—such as “Abibliophobia” and “Four Steps.” The rhythm section tends to struggle, though, summoning the intensity needed to sustain a convincing rock feel. Good horn writing and outstanding solo work, such as trombonist Alois Eberl’s turn on “Toronto,” redeem some of these challenges. Schwarz’s compositions are thoughtful and clever, making good use of stylistic range by highlighting the timbral strengths of different sections of the ensemble—tightly orchestrated contrasts between quietly energetic string passages and Primus Sitter’s raucous distorted guitar, for instance. Taking its inspiration from revered bebop patron Pannonica de Koenigswarter, Pannonica shows Schwarz demonstrating another way for a woman to support the music: by leading it themselves.” (https://downbeat.com/reviews/detail/pannonica) The musicians are Gina Schwarz (bass); Lorenz Raab (trumpet, flugelhorn); Lisa Hofmaninger (soprano sax, bass clarinet); Alois Eberl (trombone); Florian Sighartner (violin); Clemens Sainitzer (violoncello); Philipp Nykrin (piano); Primus Sitter (guitar); and Judith Schwarz (drums). Amazing performances. Click here to listen samples of the songs on this collection.
Various Artists – RELIEF: A Benefit for the Jazz Foundation of America’s Musicians’ Emergency Fund (Mack Avenue): “A consortium of major jazz labels – Blue Note Records, Concord Music Group, Mack Avenue Music Group, Nonesuch Records, Universal Music Group, Verve Label Group and Warner Music Group – has taken the unprecedented step of joining hands for Relief, an all-star compilation of previously unreleased music to be issued on LP, CD and digitally November 12, continuing the non-profit Jazz Foundation of America’s (JFA) ongoing efforts to aid musicians affected by the international shutdown of venues and other performance opportunities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. All net proceeds from the package – comprising studio and live tracks by top-flight jazz artists – will benefit the JFA’s Musicians’ Emergency Fund, established in the spring of 2020 after the pandemic ground the music industry to a sudden, catastrophic halt. JFA executive director Joe Petrucelli says, “The Jazz Foundation of America deeply appreciates the artists, songwriters and label teams who contributed to this project with such compassion and generosity. As pandemic restrictions continue to lift, we recognize that musicians will face a particularly lengthy recovery. They were among the first to be hit by the effects of the crisis and will be among the last to achieve a true sense of normalcy or stability. We and our partners are here for the long haul.” In his notes for the album, Rolling Stone senior music editor Hank Shteamer writes, “Even in a pandemic, the jazz ecosystem – not just its practitioners and facilitators but those who value the music as a lifelong sustenance – has managed to summon grace, dignity and unexpected joy. That spirit extends to Relief, a compilation which continues the relief efforts undertaken last year. This album reflects the duality at the heart of jazz: It’s a music of cooperation, of intuitive teamwork, that also leaves room for a broad array of personal idiosyncrasy. Differences of generation, heritage, methodology…strengthen the music’s vast collective mesh.” (https://jazzfoundation.org/relief-a-benefit-for-the-jazz-foundation-of-americas-musicians-emergency-fund/) This all-star compilation of previously unreleased music features Jon Batiste, Kenny Garrett, Herbie Hancock, Hiromi, Irma and Leo (Esperanza Spalding and Leo Genovese), Charles Lloyd, Christian McBride, Joshua Redman and Cécile McLorin Salvant. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this collection.
Marcin Wasilewski – En Attendant (ECM): ““Their years together have resulted in an ensemble with an utterly symbiotic creative flow,” observed Don Heckman in the Los Angeles Times, when the Marcin Wasilewski Trio was first making its presence felt on the international jazz scene. The improvisational communication among the players has continued to deepen with the years, along with their range of creative options. En attendant pays testimony to the musicians’ far-reaching imagination and to the ways in which the group’s lucid musical language can integrate influence from disparate sources. Recorded just prior to their Arctic Riff collaboration with Joe Lovano, En attendant finds Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz and Michal Miskiewicz in thoughtful, exploratory mood. The multifaceted Polish group illuminates a characteristically wide span of music, the scope extending from Bach to group improvisation. Recorded just prior to their Arctic Riff collaboration with Joe Lovano, En attendant finds Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz and Michal Miskiewicz in thoughtful, exploratory mood. The multifaceted Polish group illuminates a characteristically wide span of music, the scope extending from Bach to group improvisation…. Marcin Wasilewski and Slawomir Kurkiewicz (both born in 1975) have been playing in trio with Michal Miskiewicz (born 1977) since 1993. The group quickly became an important force on the Polish jazz scene, both in its own right and as three quarters of Tomasz Stanko’s band…. It was with Stanko that they first came to ECM appearing on the acclaimed albums Soul of Things (recorded 2001), followed by Suspended Night (2003), and Lontano (2005). Stanko, who was also a mentor for the trio, enthused, “In the entire history of Polish jazz, we’ve never had a band like this one. I’m surprised by these musicians every day. They just keep getting better and better.” This sentiment was echoed in the press, with JazzTimes observing, “Marcin Wasilewski does not think like other jazz pianists. His improvisational underpinning, his sense of musical space and his aural imagery are so fresh they are initially mysterious, then get more so. …It takes nerve for a young trio to create music of such stillness, such patience. The fact that the three have played together since they were teenagers is audible in the way they trust the epiphanies they collectively come upon.” (https://www.marcinwasilewskitrio.com/en/news/2021/10/17/en-attendant-new-album) Click here to listen to samples of the music on this release.
Dionne Bennett – Sugar Hip Ya Ya (Hunnia Records): “Sugar Hip Ya Ya is the debut album from singer Dionne Bennett on Hunnia Records. The album features two Soul Classics – Tell Mama written by Clarence Carter and made famous by Etta James and Yes We Can Can written by Allen Toussaint and made famous by The Pointer Sisters and Lee Dorsey – plus eight original songs, seven of which were written or co-written by Little G Weevil…. It features Dionne Bennett on Vocals, Laszlo Borson on Guitar, Matyas Premecz on Hammond B3 Organ and Keyboards, Attila Herr on Bass and Lajos Gyenge on Drums and Percussion. Plus, a host of featured musicians and singers – including Robert Zoltan Hunka from Hunnia Records! Dionne Bennett is a British/West-Indian singer-songwriter, producer, and radio personality. She started singing and performing live at age 14 and released her first soul single by the time she was 15. Dionne is internationally known for her unique and diverse vocal style that covers all Afro-culture influenced genres from Blues, Jazz to Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Reggae, Drum Bass Funk, Rock & Roll, and beyond. During her career she has performed throughout Europe, and has shared the stage with music legends such as Dr. John and Maceo Parker.” (https://www.nativedsd.com/product/hres2116-sugar-hip-ya-ya/) Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this release.
Jamie & The Numbers – You Don’t Love Me (Superfly Soul & Funk): Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Jamie Mavusa became well known for singing soul tunes for Tapestry Music Promotions at many of their Music Reviews and in her gospel choir at Church. It was at one of the Tapestry Music shows in Wellington that Jamie met Simon from Deltaphonic Records/The Numbers and after watching Jamie perform an amazing version of “Wade In The Water”, the rest is history. The Numbers are an incredibly tight Wellington based band. Prolific writers of their own original material they are a 4 piece that consist of three brothers from Wainuiamata and a newly adopted Kiwi originally from Birmingham, England…. The Numbers collectively have played, sessioned, recorded for other artists on… a variety of labels. The results of their collaboration are superb. (https://www.bluesnrootscorner.nl/nieuwe-albums/jamie-and-the-numbers-you-dont-love-me/) The band members are Jamie Musuva (vox), Mark Lerwill (vox, guitar), Geof Lerwill (keys, vox), Simon Bayless (bass, vox) and Craig Lerwill (drums/percussion). How about a sample? Click here to listen to You Don’t Love Me.
Mean Old Fireman & The Cruel Engineers – Dumpster Fire (Self-produced): “Art may imitate life, but without a doubt, life has shaped the music of slide guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, Ned Bollé. He brings his varied life experience that are as diverse as his instrumental influences: Slide guitar is Ned’s sonic paintbrush and he presents a variegated assortment of songs, unbound by conventional notions of genre. Ned is joined by Rick Plourde (bass), Joey Pafumi (drums & percussion), and Chuck Whiting (keyboards). Click here to listen “Tour Three” the introduction to the set.
The Daptone Super Soul Review – Live! at the Apollo (Daptone): Sadly, both Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones have passed away, leaving two of the greatest soul artists of recent times lost but not completely gone. Their music and energy was and is still as powerful to warrant them as front line greats with Otis Redding and James Brown among others. If you haven’t ever heard one or either this is a terrific introduction and if you have you know this is essential SOUL! Click here to listen to this set which also adds additional soul artists.
Tom Principato – Down The Road (Powerhouse): The sub-title says “Celebrating 50 Years of Roots Music & Guitar Playing” with one disc focusing on Principato on vocals and songwriting and the second disc on instrumentals. “Powerhouse Records continues the Tom Principato Anniversary celebration by releasing “Down The Road-The Studio Recordings” a 2-CD compilation set of vocals and guitar instrumentals that is the companion to the “50 Years Live” CD set. Celebrating 50 Years of Roots Music and Guitar Playing with Chuck Leavell, Willie Weeks, Sonny Landreth, Kim Wilson, Brian Auger, Jim Brock, Wayne Jackson of The Memphis Horns, Steve Wolf, Tommy Lepson, Robbie Magruder, Joe Wells, Kevin McKendree, John Perry, Conrad Drennon, Clark Matthews, Josh Howell, Joe Maher, Jeff Sarli, Wes Johnson, Peter Bonta, Steve Riggs, Chris Watling and many others…”. (http://www.tomprincipato.com/) If you don’t know his playing, get started for a beautiful rocking celebration! Click here to listen to “In The Middle Of The Night” which is included in this set.