New Jazz & Blues Releases – 9/21/2021
New Jazz Releases
Charlie Ballantine – Reflect/Introspection: The Music of Thelonious Monk (Green Mind): “Charlie Ballantine is acclaimed as one of the finest and most versatile young guitarists on the scene today. JAZZ TIMES MAGAZINE hails his playing as “teeming with intricate grooves and maniacal precision his guitar work is both beautiful and complex” and VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE described his style by stating “Jazz, rock, and folk music peacefully coexist in Charlie Ballantine’s world”.
Equipped with an impressive body of original compositions on albums like “Vonnegut” and “Cold Coffee”, Ballantine also displays a great reverence for the jazz tradition through the inclusion of standards like ‘My One and Only Love’, ‘East of the Sun’ and an entire double album dedicated to the music of Thelonious Monk to be released September 2021. “In the vein of fellow guitarists like John Scofield, Bill Frisell and Julian Lage, Ballantine reconciles his educational background in jazz with the stylistic background of his instrument. He approaches the gratifying tonal and harmonic language of rock/roots with the groove, ambition and improvisational focus of a jazz musician” – (JAZZIZ MAGAZINE)
Ballantine’s is backed by Chris Parker (drums) and Jesse Wittman (drums) on the first six songs with Ballantine plays solo on one with seven set is replaces by Amanda Gardier (alto sax), Cassius Goens III (drums) and Jesse Wittman (bass). Great music and performances! Click here to hear “Reflections”, the opening song.
Denise Donatelli – Strange Lands (Savant): “Just as the indelible vibe of the legendary Burt Bacharach was beginning to take hold of our culture and become the soundtrack of everyone’s lives, three-time GRAMMY® nominated vocalist Denise Donatelli, then a young girl growing up in Allentown, PA, found a deep connection to Dionne Warwick’s original version of “Walk on By.” And now, with her new album Whistling in the Dark – The Music of Burt Bacharach, she continues her lifelong love affair with his songs, marking her first concept album devoted to a single composer and her debut recording with legendary producer Larry Klein.
Recorded live under strict COVID-19 protocol in October 2020 at The Village Studios in Los Angeles, the sessions feature Denise bringing her warm vocal elegance with Klein’s hand selected all-star jazz/pop quartet of himself on bass, Larry Goldings on piano and organ, Anthony Wilson on guitar and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. Larry’s approach to the recording was drastically different from what Denise had been used to with her earlier projects. Instead of having her familiarize herself with the arrangements beforehand, he invited her into dynamic, highly spontaneous sessions – nearly mirroring the effect of an impromptu live performance. To quote Denise from her liner notes: “Larry’s idea was to re-imagine Bacharach’s music in such a minimalistic way that examines the very essence of the songs. He knew what he was striving for, but left room in the process for what became a great collaboration among the musicians.” Born and raised in the countryside of Allentown, PA, Denise, trained on classical piano from age four through her high school years and began her love of jazz at an early age. She grew up listening to all genres of music but fell in love with jazz and vocalist’s recordings of Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae, and Ella Fitzgerald. Click here to listen to the opening song on this disc.
Eliane Elias – Mirror Mirror (Candid): “Multi-GRAMMY®-winning pianist/singer/composer Eliane Elias’ distinctive musical style has emerged as one of the most unique and immediately recognizable sounds in jazz. Elias blends her Brazilian roots and alluring voice with her virtuosic instrumental jazz, her classical and compositional skills, while she consistently displays her pianistic mastery and ability to integrate the many artistic roles she takes on…. Elias’ 2021 album MIRROR MIRROR on Candid Records is a lifelong musical dream come true—an extraordinary piano duet recording of Eliane Elias with the late legendary jazz great Chick Corea, and famed Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés. While Elias’ highly successful recordings have predominantly featured her alluring voice and piano mastery, the piano has always been her first love and working with these two incredible icons was a rare opportunity to record in a two-piano setting, something she hasn’t done in many years….
“The album title is about two pianos facing each other like a beautiful mirror image, and how in each duet we reflected each other’s thoughts and ideas back and forth. To me, the piano is an extension of my body, heart and soul and is at the center of everything I do. I will always be proud and grateful for the opportunity to have registered these special musical encounters with these two master musicians.” (http://elianeelias.com/bio/) Click here to listen to the opening song from this release.
Nicole Glover – Strange Lands (Savant): “New York-based Saxophonist Nicole Glover has been described by the press as a “precocious talent”, a “rising saxophonist”, and “uninhibited”. Nicole has recently been in bands led locally by Reggie Workman, Kenny Washington, Renee Rosnes, Billy Hart, Gene Perla, Rodney Green, George Colligan, Joe Farnsworth, Geoffrey Keezer, David Weiss, Luis Perdomo, and Jason Brown. In 2019, she appeared in three touring bands, including Latin Grammy-winning Buika, Blue Note supergroup ARTEMIS, and Rodney Green’s “Jackson Miller”. Buika’s 2019 world tour included performances on 4 continents, including appearances at Newport Jazz Festival and Red Sea Jazz Festival. Additionally, she led her own group (the Nicole Glover Trio) which was featured in a weekly residency at SMOKE Jazz Club, as well as local venues such as Smalls Jazz Club and Fat Cat. She was also honored to appear at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem and the Staten Island Jazz Festival with 2020 NEA Jazz Master and 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Reggie Workman.
Additionally, Nicole has worked with Victor Lewis, Gene Perla, Esperanza Spalding, Bennie Maupin, Mike Clark, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Mel Brown, and Bill Goodwin. She has performed at a multitude of venues in NYC, ranging from clubs such as Smalls, Mezzrow, Smoke, Fat Cat, Birdland, Blue Note, Dizzy’s, Minton’s, Nublu, 55 bar, Zinc, The Django, and Le Poisson Rouge, to larger performance venues and festivals such as SummerStage, Staten Island Jazz Festival, and Winter Jazzfest.
Nicole is also an experienced educator and clinician. She was involved with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Jazz For Young People” educational outreach program in various NYC schools. She is currently on faculty with the New York Jazz Workshop and is a teacher for multiple charter schools through the Jazz Empowers program.” (http://www.nicoleglover.com/about.html) This is Glover’s first release and she is accompanied George Cables (piano on four songs)with Daniel Duke (bass) and Nic Cacioppo (drums) on all but one track. Terrific energy throughout! Click here to listen to “The Twilight Zone” from this disc co-written by Nicole Glover and Daniel Duke.
Marc Johnson – Overpass (ECM): “Marc Johnson is a virtuoso of the bass whose immersive touch and tone are remarkable. The beauty and intensity of his playing made him a first-call sideman in projects of Stan Getz, Bill Evans, Peter Erskine, Gary Burton, John Abercrombie, Paul Motian, Joe Lovano and John Scofield, just to name a few. His peak as a leader was reached in the mid-1980s with the super quartet Bass Desires, but now he reaches new heights with his first solo album, Overpass, recorded in São Paulo in 2018.
Of the eight compositions that define the program, five are originals by the bassist and three are interpretations of classic jazz tunes. Johnson opens the record with two covers: Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance” is rendered with the sheer propulsion of its buoyant pedal-groove and the flawless articulation of the theme plus improvised segments. It is immediately followed by Miles Davis’ “Nardis”, a special tune for Johnson who played it with Bill Evans in the early 80s. Here, he explores the poetic possibilities of his instrument, finding an edgy refinement to the song that is completely engrossing. There’s also a sublime take on “Love Theme From Spartacus”, whose slow, rubato tempo increases its weightlessness and deeply felt lyricism. But before that, the Eastern-tinged “Samurai Fly” creates impact with the timbre-filled appeal of arco bass overdubbing on top of a sturdy pizzicato. This is a rework of “Samurai Hee-Haw”, one of his most known compositions and opener of his tour-de-force 1986 ECM album Bass Desires. “Life of Pai” is simultaneously reflective and majestic in the moves, whereas “Yin and Yang” combines languid, lush pizzicato and arco techniques that erupt from another Eastern modal center. Both the attacks and decaying sounds are set with a purpose. Also fantastic is “And Strike Each Tuneful String”, a technically flawless primal dance inspired by a field recording from the 60s with music from Burundi. The bassist lets himself go and follow his natural instincts in this improvised piece with a short reprise of “Prayer Beads”, which originally lives on the second album of the Bass Desires quartet, Second Sight. Johnson combines warmth, scope, melody and rhythm, sustaining plenty of interest in the course of eight pieces where his creative vision and maturity are on display. Click here to listen to songs on this release.
Stacey Kent – Songs From Other Places (Candid): “Accompanied on piano by Art Hirahara, Songs From Other Places from Stacey Kent includes interpretations of songs by Stevie Nicks (Landslide), Paul Simon (American Tune), Lennon & McCartney (Blackbird), Gershwin, Weil, Jobim as well as two new songs written with Nobel Prize winning author Kazuo Ishiguro. In the spring of 2020, “I Wish I Could Go Traveling Again” was the song that was most talked about and requested by Stacey Kent’s Fans when they reached out on social media. It was clear, even early on during the Covid crisis, that in lockdown, people were relying on music and imagination to transport them and to find a sense of connection with the world beyond their own four walls. Like many of us, Kent spent the last year online, looking for ways not to lose touch with the world outside. In an effort to stay connected she landed on the idea of a collection of songs that gives expression to our collective desire to roam the world once again through the medium of music.” (https://newworldnjazz.com/stacey-kent-songs-from-other-places-candid-records/) Click here to listen to listen to Bonita, composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ray Gilbert and Gene Lees, with the backing of Art Hirahara on piano. Click here to listen to “Bonita” from this disc.
Zela Margossian Quintet – The Road (Ropeadope): “Zela Margossian Quintet is an ARIA nominated ethno-jazz band based in Sydney, performing original works and arrangements carrying influences from Armenian traditional music….” “Transitioning among seemingly impossible musical and rhythmic puzzles and into an effortless harmonious whole, Margossian’s strong compositional themes and organic, intuitive sense for sophisticated meters only is enhanced. Embracing her background and a shift over to jazz following classical music studies, the bandleader has carved out an entrancing and dazzlingly unique kaleidoscopic niche.” The players are Zela Margossian (piano), Stuart Vandegraaff (sax), Jacques Emery (bass), Adem Yilmaz (percussion) and Alexander Inman-Hislop (drums). (DownBeat) The music is challenging and simultaneously beautiful. -This is a snippet from Zela Margossian Quintet’s performance as part of Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival and Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues. Click here to listen to a live performance of “Adana”.
Kate McGarry + Keith Ganz Ensemble Feat. Ron Miles & Gary Versace – What To Wear In The Dark (Resilience): “With 7 critically acclaimed albums and 3 GRAMMY™ nominations, vocalist Kate McGarry is recognized as a jazz artist who brings authenticity and vitality to every song regardless of genre. The Wall St. Journal calls her music,“austere and elegant, an exceptionally appealing blend of folk and jazz.” The New York Times pronounced her singing,“astute and sensitive.” She has toured and recorded with jazz illuminati Fred Hersch, Kurt Elling, Maria Schneider…. and many others…. What to Wear in the Dark features vibrant, jazz-fueled rearrangements of songs by iconic songwriters of the 70’s that address the journey of darkness to light we’ve been traveling as a country and as individuals this year, with performances by jazz greats Ron Miles, Gary Versace, Obed Calvaire, Sean Smith, Clarence Penn, Becca Stevens, Erin Bentlage, Michelle Willis, Christian Euman, and James Shipp.” (https://katemcgarry.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Kate-Short-Bio.pdf) The music itself ranges from Dietz and Schwartz “Dancing In The Dark” to Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”, Paul Curreri’s “God Moves On The City” and George Harrison’s “Here Comes The Sun” and McGarry and Keith Ganz Ensemble have a very inviting way drawing music and listeners together. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of their way of bringing things together.
Sarah Rachele – Heartstrings (Ropeadope): “As a teen working for free cleaning out the cupboards at Atlanta acoustic venue Eddie’s Attic, Rachele met musicians and writers, joining bands as a side-player. There Rachele met Hope Partlow, and dropped her college plans for a music career, although she eventually completed a degree at Berklee College of Music. The wurlitzer player of The Love Willows (Decca/Universal) returned to her hometown to track her first LP, Diamond Street, with bandmate and producer and guitarist of Ponderosa, Kris Sampson (New West Records.) Released on Angrygal Records, the album and her follow up 7-inch vinyl singles received acclaim in American Songwriter, Paste Magazine, and single “Don’t Give Me Hell (feat. J. Thomas Hall),” (Normaltown Records) hit AAA, Americana, and Sirius XM charts. Her follow up cover of Cracker’s “Low,” produced by Nick Whitson, and dubbed “sublime,” by Spin Magazine, pushed her into the mainstream alternative formats.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sara_Rachele) Click here to listen to an earlier version of a song of “Hot Child In The City”.
Helen Sung – Quartet+ (Sunnyside): “Helen Sung is an acclaimed jazz pianist and composer, and a newly named 2021 Guggenheim Fellow. A native of Houston, Texas, and graduate of its High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), she eschewed her classical piano upbringing after a jazz epiphany during undergraduate studies at UT Austin. Helen went on to become part of the inaugural class of the Thelonious Monk Institute (now the Herbie Hancock Institute) at the New England Conservatory of Music. Her recent releases Sung With Words (Stricker Street), a collaborative project with renowned poet Dana Gioia funded by a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant, and Anthem For A New Day (Concord Jazz) topped the jazz charts. Helen and her band have performed at major American festivals and venues including Newport, Monterey, Disney Hall, SFJAZZ, and Carnegie Hall. Internationally, her “NuGenerations” Project toured southern Africa as a U.S. State Department Jazz Ambassador, and recent engagements include debuts at the London Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai, Blue Note Beijing, and the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival. She has performed with such luminaries as the late Clark Terry, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Wynton Marsalis (who named her as one of his “Who’s Got Next: Jazz Musicians to Watch!”)…. (https://www.helensung.com/index.html#about) Click here to listen to the songs on this release.
Roland Tempelaar – New York Chapter (Self-produced): “With his debut record entitled New York Chapter, jazz pianist and scientist Roland Tempelaar recounts the years he spent living in the Big Apple. While he has mastered the art of balancing science and music for much of his life, this especially held true throughout his New York years, during which he spent the days researching quantum chemistry at Columbia University while playing at the downtown clubs at nighttime.
Hailing from the Netherlands, Roland started his classical piano training at age 6 before discovering jazz in his teens. By the time he obtained his science doctorate with distinction cum laude at the University of Groningen, he had already immersed himself in the flourishing local jazz scene. The offer to come to New York presented him with the ultimate challenge of thriving at the highest academic and musical levels.
New York Chapter narrates the experiences coming forth from this challenge, decorated with the rich tradition of jazz culture. Ever since his arrival, Roland built his musical network entirely through attending nightly jam sessions, where his unique approach to melody and comping was soon taken note of. To Roland, jazz is very much a means of communication, and this principle has been the driving force behind the musical alliances he has developed over the years. Bassist Myles Sloniker soon became a regular companion at performances, and can be heard at this record alongside drummer extraordinaire Pete Van Nostrand.
Also keeping with the jazz tradition, the renditions captured on New York Chapter have emerged organically at the bandstand. The track list features a collection of standards that grew to become the staples of Roland’s performance repertoire, including a moody rendition of “Beatrice” built around modal vamps, an atmospheric version of “Slow Hot Wind”, and a light-footed take on “My Little Suede Shoes”. Complementing these standards are two original compositions, the waltz “Roland’s Song” and the blues “To Chicago”. Similar to the album as a whole, these compositions draw inspiration from the City that has generously and ruthlessly hosted Roland during these years.” (https://www.groovmarketing.com/artists/roland-tempelaar/) Click here to listen Templar’s performance of “Tenderly”.
Anna Webber’s Simple Trio – Binary (Skirl Records): “Anna Webber (b. 1984) is a flutist, saxophonist, and composer whose interests and work live in the aesthetic overlap between avant-garde jazz and new classical music. Her 2020 release, Both Are True (Greenleaf Music), co-led with saxophonist/composer Angela Morris, was named a top ten best release of 2020 by The New York Times. She was recently named a 2021 Berlin Prize Fellow and was voted the top “Rising Star” flutist in the 2020 Downbeat Critic’s Poll. In addition to her work as a bandleader, she has performed and/or recorded with projects led by artists such as Dan Weiss, Jen Shyu, Dave Douglas, Matt Mitchell, Ches Smith, John Hollenbeck, and Trevor Dunn, among others. Webber is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow and has additionally been awarded grants from the Copland Fund (2021 & 2019), the Shifting Foundation (2015), and the New York Foundation for the Arts (2017) and residencies from Exploring the Metropolis (2019), the MacDowell Colony (2017 & 2020), the Millay Colony for the Arts (2015), and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (2014). Webber is originally from British Columbia.” (https://roulette.org/event/anna-webbers-simple-trio-idiom-vi-large-ensemble/) The Simple Trio includes Anna Webber (flute, tenor saxophone), Matt Mitchell (piano) and John Hollenbeck (drums). Click here for the perfect demonstration of the music and inspiration it can bring!
New Blues Releases:
Rusty Ends – Blues Band (Earwig): “Rusty Ends is the real deal, a true link between the rock and blues of the 50’s and 60’s and the 21st century. Rusty learned his craft as a teenager playing in the bars and taverns up and down Dixie Highway between Louisville and Fort Knox. The audiences were made up of a combination of soldiers, bikers, laborers, hustlers and working ladies (a vocal, volatile and sometimes lethal combination). The band had to play a combination of blues, soul and country and do it all with a beat that allowed the topless dancers to keep gyrating.With every gig Rusty improved and soon was asked to join “The Premiers”, a popular club band…. In the early 90’s Rusty decided he wanted to focus on his first love ……….. The Blues and was a founding member of the Rusty Spoon Blues Band.” (https://rustyends.com/about/) He has been connected with music off and on since. This set was first released on 1996. I regret that I am not able to find sample of this disc at this time.
Samantha Fish – Faster (Rounder/Concord): “Over the course of her career as an award-winning artist, singer/songwriter/guitarist Samantha Fish has brought extraordinary power to her self-expression, capturing her inner world in combustible riffs, visceral rhythms, and spine-tingling vocal work. On her new album Faster, she joins forces with super-producer Martin Kierszenbaum (Lady Gaga, Sting, Sheryl Crow) and imbues even more intensity into her electrifying brand of blues/rock-and-roll. With Fish accompanied by legendary drummer Josh Freese (Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, The Replacements) and bassist Diego Navaira of The Last Bandoleros, the result is a singular body of work both irresistibly galvanizing and emotionally raw. The follow-up to 2019’s Kill or Be Kind (Fish’s Rounder Records debut), Faster came to life at the famed Village Studios in Los Angeles, where she and Kierszenbaum uncovered new possibilities in her captivating sound. “Kansas City played a major part in bringing us together: I was born and raised in KC and Martin has some familial ties. Shortly after being introduced last year, we had a conversation about making an album,” she recalls. “His track record was perfect for what I wanted to do with this album, which was to expand into different genres while retaining the roots I’d built in the blues world.” Revealing her affinity for North Mississippi blues heroes like R.L. Burnside and wildly inventive iconoclasts like Prince, the album ultimately embodies an unbridled energy true to its emotional core. “The whole record has a theme of taking charge and taking the reins, in a relationship or in life in general,” says Fish. “I really thought that after 2020 I’d end up with a really dismal, bleak album, but instead, we came up with something that’s fun and sexy and so empowering.”
Faster opens on its spellbinding title track, a fiercely stomping number whose vocal hook states her intentions to “make your heart beat faster.” Immediately making good on that promise, Fish next unleashes the restless urgency of “All Ice No Whiskey,” a pop-perfect powerhouse she considers something of a dare. “‘All Ice No Whiskey’ is a way of telling someone they don’t have any of that substance I’m looking for—sort of like, ‘Come back when you’ve got something interesting for me,’” Fish says. That defiant spirit also infuses “Better Be Lonely,” a fantastically loose and freewheeling track graced with a frenetic guitar solo. “That song’s about putting someone on ice, where you’re telling them: ‘I don’t want you right now, but when I am ready to have you, you better be there,” says Fish. Another bold statement of self-possession, “Twisted Ambition” brings mercurial rhythms and jagged guitar work to Fish’s refusal to let others define her. “It’s about flipping the roles of power—taking control and confronting a world that tries to put you in your place,” she notes. While Faster never fails to showcase the gritty vitality of Fish’s musicianship, much of the album journeys into elegantly eclectic sonic terrain. One of Faster’s most vulnerable moments, “Crowd Control” unfolds in delicate beats and shimmering keyboard tones, forming a dreamy backdrop to Fish’s self-reflection. “It’s about confronting your demons – separating the version of yourself that you portray to the world from who you actually are. At its core, it’s about expressing vulnerability,” Fish explains. “When I wrote it, it felt like a true rootsy, Americana song. Martin added keys and modern synth textures that really brought it back around to this plaintive mood.” Featuring a guest spot from rapper/singer/songwriter Tech N9ne, “Loud” drifts from doo-wop reverie to guitar-fueled frenzy, riding that tension to glorious effect. “Tech N9ne is by far one of the biggest artists to come out of KC, and one of the biggest self-made artists in the world,” says Fish. “He was perfect for ‘Loud,’ which is a song about speaking your truth as loud as you can. It’s about saying to the person you’re with: ‘I want you, but I want you ugliness and all. So don’t ever be afraid to speak your mind and speak your heart.’” And on “Hypnotic,” Fish lays down a mesmerizing piece of R&B-pop, telegraphing unfettered desire in her seductive vocal delivery and lushly textured grooves. “‘Hypnotic’ is about putting somebody under a spell,” she says. “There’ve been times in my life when I haven’t felt all that in control in a relationship, and this song was my chance to become that person.” For the final track to Faster, Fish selected the album’s most tender song, a gorgeously stark and slow-burning ballad called “All the Words.” “It’s about letting a relationship go because that’s what’s best for everyone, even though it’s a horribly painful experience,” says Fish. “When we recorded it, it was just me on guitar, Diego on bass, Martin playing the grand piano. It’s a song I hold very close, and it felt right to make it as raw as possible.” (Liner notes) This is a certified “Professor Bebop Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to check out the opening song, “Faster”.
Sue Foley – Pinky’s Blues (Stony Plain): “Sue Foley is a multi-award winning musician and of the one of the finest blues and roots artists working today. Foley spent her early childhood in Canada, mesmerized by her father’s guitar and started her professional career at sixteen. By twenty-one, Foley was living in Austin, TX and recording for Antone’s—the esteemed blues label and historic nightclub that helped launch the career of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Her first release, Young Girl Blues, quickly rooted her unique talents as a proficient blues guitarist, inspired songwriter and captivating vocalist. Foley has toured steadily with her band, toting her signature pink paisley Fender Telecaster—working and sharing the stage with greats such as BB King, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams and Tom Petty. In 2001, she won the prestigious Juno Award (Canadian equivalent of the Grammy) for her CD, Love Coming Down. Foley also holds the record for the most Maple Blues Awards (seventeen) and has earned three Trophees de Blues de France. She has also garnered several nominations at the International Blues Music Awards in Memphis, TN.
As an offshoot to her professional recording and touring career, Foley started a project called Guitar Woman based around dozens of interviews she conducted with the world’s leading female guitarists. From 2001-2008, she wrote articles, organized and promoted concerts, and worked on a book—fueling her passion for gender studies in music and her desire to bring the work of great women guitar players to light…. Pinky’s Blues is a guitar driven collection of 12 songs, both original and some of Sue’s favourite covers, that demonstrate not only that Sue is one of the world’s greatest Blues guitarists, but that the sheer joy of playing can be felt through the recording in an emotional thrill for the listener…. Guests include Jimmie Vaughan who adds his signature guitar to the track“Hurricane Girl”. (https://stonyplainrecords.com/suefoley/) Click here to listen to “Dallas Man”, a Foley original.
Avey Grouws Band – Tell Tale Heart (Self-produced): “Tell Tale Heart is the 2nd full length release by the Quad Cities, Iowa-based Avey Grouws Band. Recorded in Nashville at East Iris Studios and The Purple House (Leiper’s Fork, TN) with Grammy-winning engineer/producer Casey Wasner at the helm. Featuring 10 original songs, Tell Tale Heart’s music (described by producer Wasner as “rock and roll blues soul”) demonstrates the label-defying band’s command of a wide swath of American roots music – – including blues, classic rock, country, R&B, funk, introspective balladry and unbridled rock and roll. “Maybe the most important thing to understand about our band is that we are the mix of all of our Middle America backgrounds and experiences. That includes blues, folk, Americana, rock. We take what we have learned from those masters and make the music that feels most authentic to us. This album is the best work we have ever done.” (Jeni Grouws) The players are Chris Avey (lead guitar, vocals), Joni Grouws (lead vocals, harmony, rhythm), Randy Leasman (bass), Bryan West (drums) and Nick Vasquez (keys). Click here to listen to “There For Me” from this new release.
Elly Wininger – The Blues Never End (Earwig): “Inducted into the NY Blues Hall of Fame in 2014, Elly Wininger’s third album “Little Red Wagon” was #8 on the Folk Music DJ Chart for January 2018 and in the top 100 for that year….
“Before I could read or write, I was transported by my parents’ 78s: Vera Hall’s “Black Woman;” Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was the Night” and Lead Belly, who I used to try to sing like, much to my kindergarten teacher’s dismay. I had no idea what or who I was listening to, but it stirred something in my soul that has been swirling ever since.” Cutting school to hang out in the Village, Elly listened. There was Lightnin’ Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Mississippi John Hurt, Dave Van Ronk, and newcomers like her teacher David Bromberg, and John Hammond Jr., Artie Traum, Geoff Muldaur, Danny Kalb and so many others picking up from the source. Eventually she got up the courage to play in the basket houses. 1973 found her on stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, singing with Maria Muldaur and immersing herself in all the styles that made up the ‘folk revival.… This set of 13 songs, including 4 original compositions, brings a contemporary set of aesthetics, rooted in tradition, to a variety of blues and gospel styles. You’ll hear influences of Cajun, ragtime, old timey, jazz and country, affirming the proximity and cross pollination of all these styles, and their commonality in actual practice, both today and historically. We Americans grew up together with an incredible richness and variety of musics. Elly and Earwig Music Company hope this album encourages an appreciation and enjoyment of that living diversity.” (https://www.earwigmusic.com/earwig-artists/elly-wininger-0) Wininger’s four originals sound like they could have been several decades earlier. This is a certified “Professor Bebop Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Introducing Elly Wininger – click here!