Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

Marcus Anderson – Style Meets Substance

Style Meets Substance is a demanding title full of promise. Can Marcus Anderson fulfill this aroused expectations? The necessary personal and musical requirements he certainly brings along. As one of the saxophonist in Prince’s band the New Power Generation he convinced the audience with his performance.

With five albums under his belt he also has the experience of a lengthy solo career. All started with his debut album My Turn in 2005, soon followed by From the Heart (2009), NOW (2011), and “TLC” Tender Loving Christmas (2011).

Anderson has written, performed, arranged and produced all songs of the new album. He is joined by Bertron Curtis and Nicholas Cole (keys), Kenny Leonhard (organ), Demetrice Everett and Calvin Napper (drums), Fitzgerald McGill (guitar), Chris Ellis and AJ Brown (bass), Morris Hayes (synth solo) on selected tracks.

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Steve Wilson and Lewis Nash – Duologue

Each an established performer in his own right, saxophonist Steve Wilson and drummer Lewis Nash join forces for Duologue (MCG Jazz, 2014). It’s two players without accompaniment, stretching out to their hearts’ content.

Words cannot do justice to the sounds these two musicians create. It’s always a challenge to put into words a vivid description of instrumental music. That challenge becomes greater when there are only two instruments. In such cases, it’s best to just tell about the project and let the music speak for itself.

Three Wilson originals are among the 11 songs in the set. Among the classics they cover are “Caravan,” “The Mooche,” “Jitterbug Waltz,” “Woody ‘N’ You” and two medleys of Thelonious Monk compositions, the first presenting “Ask Me Now” and “Evidence,” and the second bringing forth “Bright Mississippi” and “Four in One.”

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Bob Baldwin – Twenty

TwentyThe battle of musicians for a recording contract to market their music is normal nowadays. In the case of Bob Baldwin the constant change of labels is already part of his musical experience. After all, it has left such an impression that he expressis verbis published his problems in the liner notes.

Against all odds Bob has managed to release his twentieth album on his own label, which significantly is entitled Twenty. Produced and arranged by Bob Baldwin and in parts by Dennis Johnson the album features several guest musicians mentioned below.

The album starts with Welcome To Planet Funky Onion. This track sounds inspired by Bob’s earlier piece Welcome To The Games, one of my favorites. Seabreeze comes like a gentle wind, the harmonies caress the ear. Gabriel Hasselbach contributes with his gentle trumpet sounds to the overall smooth impression.

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Jazzhole – Blue 72

Many mainstream pop and soul hits eventually find their way into the hands of jazz artists. Not all interpretations are successful, but those that are can make a powerful impression. This is the direction Jazzhole takes with Blue 72 (Beave Music, 2014).

The group consists of Mark Robohm, drums; Scott Colley, acoustic bass; David Inniss, electric bass; Daniel Sadownick, percussion; John Pondel, guitar; Keith Slattery, Fender Rhodes; David Binney, saxophone; Gary Pozner, organ and Clavinet; Warren Rosenstein, organ; Sam Friedman, harmonica; and Peter Mark, additional percussion.

The concept of Blue 72 is to reimagine hits from the year 1972.

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G’s Way – Patchwork

An exotic colorful cover attracts people and make them curious. Kudos to Gérald Bonnegrace for the wise selection of Clément Laurentin’s excellent picture for G’s Way‘s new album.

The Parisian group G’s Way consists of Gérald “GG” Bonnegrace (percussions, trumpet, trombone, keys) Thierry “JP Groov” Jean-Pierre (bass), Stefane Goldman (guitar), Sylvain “Sly” Fetis (tenor and baritone saxophone) and Sonny Troupé (drums). Their debut album Seventy Seven (2012) has the status of an insider. Hopefully that will change with the sophomore album Patchwork (2014).

It sounds like an old legend from ancient times. Once Upon A Time is not a fairy tale, but throw waves in the style of Curtis Mayfield or Fela Ransome Kuti. Is it jazz, is it funk or is it just African? Take It Easy has that certain groove beyond all musical borders. Lorenz Rainer shines on trumpet.

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Diva – A Swingin’ Life

A rare offering, a 15-piece, all-female orchestra matched up with two classy vocalists. Diva presents A Swingin’ Life (MCG Jazz, 2014).

A product of the Manchester Craftsman’s Guild, the album offers 11 songs, recorded in two sessions. “Nothin’” and “All My Tomorrows” were recorded by MCG Jazz at the Guild in Pittsburgh. Appearing only on those are Karoline Strassmayer and Kristy Norter, alto saxophone; Anat Cohen, clarinet and tenor saxophone; Scheila Gonzalez, tenor saxophone; Leigh Pilzer, baritone saxophone; Liesl Whitaker, lead trumpet; Barbara Laronga, trumpet; Lori Stuntz, trombone; and Chihiro Yamanaka, piano.

The rest were recorded by Jazz at Lincoln Center at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York City. The musicians are Sherrie Maricle, drums and leader; Sharel Cassity, alto saxophone and flute; Janelle Reichman, clarinet and tenor saxophone; Roxy Cross, tenor saxophone; Lisa Parrott, baritone saxophone; Tanya Darby, lead trumpet and flugelhorn; Jami Dauber, Carol Morgan and Nadje Noorduhuis, trumpet and flugelhorn; Deborah Weisz and Jennifer Krupa, trombone; Leslie Havens, bass trombone; Tomoko Ohno, piano; and Noriko Ueda, bass.

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Paul Brown – Truth B Told

As a producer Paul Brown worked for artists like Peter White, Rick Elliot, Boney James, Jessy J, Najee, Darren Rahn, Dave Koz, Euge Groove and many more.

Equally successful is his solo career as a guitarist. with albums such as Up Front (2004), The City (2005), White Sand (2007), Love You Found Me (2009), and The Funky Joint (2012). Also to mention is a remarkable collaboration with Marc Antoine on the album ForeignXchange (2009).

His album Truth B Told (2014) is his second CD for Woodward Avenue Records. Brown is also connected with the label as A&R consultant. The list of musicians on this CD is enormous. Greg Adams, Greg Vail, Dave Koz, Najee, Darren Rahn, Euge Groove, Richard Elliot, Bob Baldwin, Larry Carlton, Ricky Lawson, and many more are participating.

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