Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

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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Dirk K – It’s On

Two souls alas! are dwelling in my breast.

This cite from Goethe’s Faust describes excellent Dirk K‘s split love of Flamenco jazz and smooth jazz. His current work comprises fourteen CD’s as a solo artist, eight CD’s with band projects and further 30 CD’s for other artists such as Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine, Toots Thielemans, Dave Weckl, Brandon Fields, Alan Pasqua, Marc Johnson, Terri Lyne Carrington, Gary Meek, Rick Braun and many more.

His new project It’s On is a return to the smooth jazz genre with five original compositions and five covers. Most of the instruments are played by Dirk. He is joined on several tracks by C.C. Thomas Jr. (bass), Deana Massaro-Williams (cello), Otto Ehling (Rhodes and Wurlitzer), and Dirk’s son Philip Antony on saxophone and flute.

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Jazz in Pink – 1st Collection

As part of a review one should practice restraint in the use of superlatives. But Jazz in P!nk is a concentrated load of women power. Initiated by keyboardist Gail Jhonson this formation was founded in February 2008.

Jazz in P!nk features Karen Briggs on violin, Althea Rene on flute, Mariea Antoinette on harp, Robin Bramlett on bass and Danielle “Pockett” Brown on drums. Additionally, the live band consists of Darlene Moreno on guitar, and Benita Lewis on drums. Special guests include Los “Lady Mac” McMorris on guitar, Kim Scott on flute, Pamella Elaine on vocals, Kat Dyson on guitar, Tamina Khyrah-joi Johnson on vocals. As well as Nedra Wheeler on bass & Estaire Godinez on percussion.

“Our mission is to promote women in jazz, by providing live performance opportunities showcasing each others music. We endeavor to provide educational opportunities and mentorship to upcoming rising stars.″ In pursuit of this motto, this album offers a variety of guest appearances of further musicians not mentioned above. Gail Jhonson has composed and produced all tracks, in parts with other band members.

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Matt Marshak – Lifestyle

Long Island native guitarist Matt Marshak has an incredibly likable charisma. Is that enough to succeed? Certainly not. But with eight CDs on his shoulders he is constantly building on his awareness and reputation.

He is currently touring in support of his new album Lifestyle, which he recorded in a two-day walkover with the support of Gerald Veasley (bass), Benjie Porecki (keyboards), Carl Anderson (drums), Mario Cruz (sax) and Barry Danielian (trumpet).

Tell me your companions and I’ll tell you in which direction you aspire. With experienced studio musicians, an album with musical depth is the result. The album features nine originals, whose duration promises plenty of enjoyment.

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Jim Stranahan Little Big Band – Migration to Higher Ground

A big band and a smaller ensemble that sounds like a big band are the backdrops for Migration to Higher Ground (Tapestry Records, 2014) by the Jim Stranahan Little Big Band. The versatile reed instrument player and composer surrounds himself with top Colorado musicians.

Two ensembles are used in this set, recorded in two sessions. For five songs, Stranahan plays alto and soprano saxes, saxophone cadenza, and on “Mambo Facil,” soprano and tenor saxes. Other players are Caleb Starbuck, alto sax; Joe Anderies, alto flute and tenor sax; Chuck Schneider, tenor sax; Brad Goode, lead and jazz trumpet; Hugh Ragin, jazz trumpet; Wade Sander, trombone; Ben Faust, sousaphone on “Bayou Bounce”; Justin Adams, piano; Bijoux Barbosa, bass; and Todd Reid, drums. That session was recorded live in the performance studio of KUVO (Colorado Public Radio) during a broadcast.

On the four tracks, Stranahan plays soprano, alto and tenor saxophones. This group consists of Good, trumpets; Sander, trombones; Glen Zaleski, piano; Rick Rosato, bass; and Jim’s son, Colin Stranahan, drums.

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