New Jazz News – 11/24/2020

New Jazz News – 11/24/2020

Joanna Berkebile – Love Me Or Leave Me (Self-produced):”Each tune in Love Me or Leave Me contains a completely different personality and perspective, much like meeting someone and getting their candid take on the whole complicated subject of love.   “These songs are fresh imaginings of some of my favorite tunes”, Joanna says. “I love to play around with all the angles of a subject and what has more angles than romance?! From the beginning, the focus for Love Me or Leave Me was to authentically capture the quartet’s organic stage collaboration in a studio setting.  “We didn’t want the experience of live jazz with all it’s fascinating nuances and imperfections to get polished out in the recording process”, says Joanna. The nine songs cover a wide array of time periods, moods and styles.  A few are standards to any jazz fan, but a couple may catch you off guard. Even if you find yourself thinking “I’ve heard this one before”, you’ll quickly take back that thought after just a few bars of Leslie Maclean’s superb arrangements.  “I wrote these arrangements specifically for this ensemble” says Leslie. “We deserve that and so does our audience.” Everything about the presentation of these tunes falls fresh on the ear. The ease with which all four musicians – Joanna Berkebile (vocals), Jerry Pollock (drums), Leslie Maclean (piano) and Tim Brewer (bass)  – blend their skills and strengths in Love Me or Leave Me makes its excellence accessible to both casual listeners and jazz connoisseurs alike. Click here to listen to “Comes Love” from this disc.

Dave Brubeck – Time Out Takes (Brubeck Editions): “We’ve all heard Dave Brubeck’s Time Out – but never quite like this. You’ll hear Dave Brubeck’s signature pieces afresh and anew. Listening to this album will make you rediscover why you fell in love with The Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond, Joe Morello and Eugene Wright. This is mesmerizing music.
(Kabir Sehgal, Grammy Award Winning Producer). Once the Dave Brubeck Quartet released Time Out in 1959, the world of jazz was never the same. Every note of the seven original compositions soared with wild originality and trained musical genius. ”Take Five” became the best-selling jazz single of the twentieth century. I’ve often wondered how this work of genius came to fruition in the studio? How did Brubeck develop such chemistry with alto-saxophonist Paul Desmond? Now the mysteries are solved with the historic release of Time OutTakes (alternative takes to the masterpiece that blew the hinges off the doors of jazz). What a high privilege it is to be able to be in the studio with the quartet as they innovate using 9/8, 5/4 and 2 bars of 3/4 alternating with 2 bars of 4/4 on such classics as ”Blue Rondo a la Turk” and ”Three to Get Ready.” All listeners of Time OutTakes will experience the Cold War era jazz revolution as it unfolded. What joyous music for the ages!” Douglas Brinkley, CNN historian and Grammy-winning jazz producer.” ( I regret I am unable to offer a sample from this earlier take, but click here to listen to a live version of “Blue Rondo a la Turk” performed in 1959.

Jorge Garcia – Crossover (SDG): “In 2020, Cuban-born guitarist Jorge Garcia splits his time between South Carolina (where he resides) and Florida (where he has an established performing career). He says that the inspiration for this album occurred while he was growing up in Cuba and listening to Classic Rock on Miami radio stations, drawn to the sound of the guitar.” ( Garcia’s flows beautifully through the set with the support of Nicky Orta (bass), Abel Pabon (piano) and Rey Monrig (drums). The selections range from “Purple Haze”and “Black Dog” to “Nights In White Satin” and closes with the Garcia original “Crossover”, a straight ahead jazz flight. This is a fine set throughout. Click here to listen to the title song.

Vinny Golia / John Hanrahan / Henry Kaiser / Wayne Peet / Mike Watt – A Love Supreme Electric (Cuneiform): “Some records tell you what’s what. That’s not a bad thing: there’s a place in music for reportage, for commentary, for what’s going on. But A Love Supreme Electric, the collaborative project between Vinny Golia, John Hanrahan, Henry Kaiser, Wayne Peet, Mike Watt, and John Coltrane’s immortal spirit, starts from a different place. “What if?” it asks. In fact, ALSE asks “What if?” over and over again, joyously interrogating the twin templates of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and Meditations from a kaleidoscopic array of angles. All five performers weigh in with their solo perspective, but the magic is that the listener is invited to contribute, too. After hearing this music, you may never hear Coltrane in the same way again. Kaiser, the project’s de facto theorist, chose to start with “What if A Love Supreme and Meditations are two parts of one single expression of an ecstatic spiritual state?” “I had known that Coltrane intended his Meditations suite to be a spiritual sequel to his A Love Supreme suite,” Kaiser writes in his liner notes for A Love Supreme Electric, notes that are as provocative as the music itself. “Thus it was natural to suggest that with our A Love Supreme Electric gigs, we often play Meditations as the second set. After having done this more than a few times, I would note that….the two suites really do fit together to actually be one 2-part suite, where all the individual sections inform, deepen, cross-reference, and expand on one another, in both the musical and spiritual domains. “The 2-CD set that we present to you here,” he continues, “is this current crew’s fiery salvo of our testimony to this.” ( The players are Vinny Golia (tenor, soprano, baritone sax), John Hanrahan (drums), Henry Kaiser (guitar), Wayne Peet (Hammond B3 & Yamaha YC-45D Organs) and Mike Watt (bass) with special guest Rakalam Bob Moses on percussion at the top of “Meditations”.  Click here to listen to several samples of the songs on this set.

Andrew Gutauskas – Look Out! (Outside In Music): “Andrew Gutauskas is a Grammy Award winning saxophonist, film composer, music director, arranger and educator.  He has recorded and performed on Broadway, television, film and live around the world with a variety of artists ranging from jazz to rock to hip-hop to Bollywood.  He is music director, arranger and saxophonist for the protest band, Brass Against, and is a member of several other musical projects…” ( Gutauskas is a smooth and flowing sax player who immediately caches your ear and brightens your day. He is backed by Josh Paris (bass) and Chris Smith (drums) and adds Robert Edwards  (trombone on2 songs) and Willie Applewhite (trombone on 1 song). All but one song is a Gutauskas original. Truly inviting throughout. Click here to listen to the songs on this release.

Mercer Hassy – Sir Duke (Mercer Hassy): The Mercer Hassy Orchestra is a Japanese big band who play a wide range of music including jazz and big band including vocalists. This set offers originals from Kenta Sekiguchi (“Crescent”) and Telichi Okano (“Furusato”) and standards ranging from Coltrane’s “Naima” and “Moments Notice” to Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” and the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. Nice arrangements throughout and a wonderful reminder that despite our differences music can be a wonderful and powerful unifying force. Click here to listen to Telichi Okano’s “Furusato”.

Tom Keenlyside Quartet – Fortune Teller (Cellar Music): “Tom Keenlyside drops a poignant album featuring his wonderfully melodic and beautiful flute playing with a wonderful trio of Vancovuer jazz musicians: Miles Black (piano), Miles Hill (bass) and Bernie Arai (drums). Drawing on the flute’s expressive nature and tonal uniqueness he creates his own sonic place in the jazz universe. Tom Keenlyside proves that the flute belongs in the jazz lexicon. For those of you that feel flute juice is under served in your jazz punch, this cat and his crew bring just the right touch to the mix. A cat that plays with cojones, he proves flute doesn’t have to be just for coloration. The familiar stuff is a tonic but the originals you never heard before fit right in. Solid work. (Chris Spector Midwest Record review 11/07/2020)  Click here to listen to samples of all of the songs on this disc.

Juliet Kurtzman & Pete Malinverni – Candlelight (Saranac): “You could be forgiven if you thought track two was a contemporary work commissioned as a score for a silent movie reissued on Blu-ray. And you’d be close in spirit: it’s actually a piano piece by 1920s jazzman Bix Beiderbecke. The Cholera in the title of the album by violinist Juliet Kurtzman and pianist Pete Malinverni doubtlessly stands for COVID and Candlelight—romance and comfort in a time of need and uncertainty? The opening number by Malinverni conjures ghosts of tango and the overall mood calls up lost worlds of cultivation. Imagine the duo at a Park Avenue salon circa 1920, entertaining guests in evening wear. Their musical skill is as evident as their love of the early 20th century songs they selected to record.” ( In fact, Malinverni supplied two compositions while Bix Beiderbecke’s five songs were most evident. Otherwise, there is quite a scan with selections like Joplin’s “Solace” or “Body and Soul” and other songs that get the wonderful violin / piano treatment. Is it classical? Is it jazz? Apparently, it’s just “Love in the Time of Cholera”! Nice to know there is such a wonderful antidote! I wish I could give you a sample, but you’ll have to listen in on Tuesday morning on WTJU (that’s 91.1 FM or between 9 and noon!

Wolfgang Lackerschmid / Chet Baker – Quintet Sessions 1979 (Dot Time): “…Quintet Sessions 1979’ is the follow-up to Dot Time’s critically acclaimed re-release of Wolfgang Lackerschmid and Chet Baker’s Ballads For Two. A continuation of Lackerschmid’s great adventure with one of the greatest trumpet players in the history of the art form, the album features the spirited duo of iconic trumpeter and vocalist Chet Baker and vibraphonist Wolfgang Lackerschmid alongside a stellar rhythm section made up of jazz luminaries Larry Coryell (guitar), Buster Williams (bass) and Tony Williams (drums).” ( This collection presents six songs – Tony Williams’ “Mr. Biko”; Wolfgang Lackerschmid’s “Balzwaltz”, Larry Coryell’s “The Latin One” and “Rue Gregoire Du Tour”, Buster Williams’ “ Toku Do” and two alternate takes. Nice interplay and with a group like this you could surely enjoy it. Click here and scroll down to listen to most of the songs on this release.

Eric Reed – For Such A Time As This (Smoke Sessions): “Smoke Sessions announces the release of For Such a Time as This, Eric Reed’s new record. Among the most requested pianists of the American scene (he has collaborated, among others, with Wynton Marsalis, Robert Stewart, Irvin Mayfield, Cassandra Wilson, Mary Stallings, Clark Terry, Dianne Reeves, Elvin Jones, Ron Carter, Paula West, Benny Carter and Christian MacBride). Reed is also a soundtrack composer and leader of his groups. The new album is a musical reflection on our time and its problems: the pandemic, racism and the injustices associated with particularly in American society, and the presidential election season in the United States. Reed is joined by a group of young musicians from Los Angeles, where the project came to life during the Covid epidemic: Kevin Kanner on drums, Alex Boneham on double bass, Chris Lewis on tenor and soprano; guest vocalist Henry Jackson in “Make Me Better”, one of Reed’s original songs. The track list includes great classics of the jazz tradition such as “Stella By Starlight”, but also of different genres, such as the beautiful version of “We Shall Overcome”. A very successful and well played album, which once again highlights the excellent qualities of Reed, a great sideman but also a very interesting leader with a personal voice.” (EM) ( I can only add my opinion that this is a beautiful release in all aspects. I regret I am not able to find a sample from this release.

Chris Rottmayer – Sunday at Pilars (Self-produced): “Sunday at Pilars is my second album. Produced in collaboration with Pilars Martini and Walt Hubbard, the album features quartet, trio, and solo piano tracks. Three of my original songs are featured: Trocadero, Waltz for Julia, and Break Blues for Pilar. A studio recording, Sunday at Pilars replicates the vibe of our Sunday gigs at Pilars Martini, in Winter Garden, Florida. This band performed there regularly on Sunday afternoons between 2015 and 2018.” ( The players are Chris Rottmayer (piano), Charlie Silva (bass), Walt Hubbard (drums) and Jack Wilkins (tenor sax). Click here to listen to the songs on this release.

Scott Routenberg – (Inside) (Summit): ““[Inside]” is the musical product of Routenberg’s months-long quarantine during the pandemic of 2020.“I often longed to get out of the house and explore the world as it once was,” he notes.  “This desire led me to create vivid soundscapes that fulfilled those dreams, all from the seclusion of my home studio.”As the musical journey unfolds, a gradual shift from light to dark mirrors the awe-inspiring trials and tribulations of these strange days. “Introduction (Enter)” sets the stage for an all-embracing musical adventure that draws upon Scott’s experience as a jazz pianist, orchestral composer, and electro-acoustic programmer. “Light Smasher” exudes energy and color, synthesizing a love of electronic music, drum and bass, the symphony orchestra, and modern jazz fusion and improvisation.  Five-petaled flowers can be described as “Pentamerous”; a beautiful garden.  On May 7, 2020, the world experienced a “Flower Moon” (May’s Supermoon) at the height of the pandemic and quarantine. Here, the listener takes a journey across the globe.  “Hidden Stars” provides swirling, sparkling polyrhythms and warm string swells.  “Home Sweet Home” features harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy on a rollicking trip through the sounds of Americana. Jonathan Raveneau burns on the fiddle, and Chris Whiteman guests on acoustic guitar.  “Native Land” was inspired after seeing the Native American protests at Mount Rushmore this past July. Guest artist Howard Levy gives an unforgettable performance once again–this time on various flutes and whistles.  July is the peak of Indiana firefly activity – “Fireflies” gave nightly shows.  2020 has been relentlessly apocalyptic, a reality depicted in “Days of Wrath”.  The album closes with an introspective, slightly dissonant lullaby titled “The Day We Went Away”. The track opens with the sounds of gentle raindrops on the window sill and a steady distant chorus of tree frogs and crickets–the sounds of nature amplified when people suddenly left the landscape.” ( Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.


Professor Bebop

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