Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

The Breithaupt Brothers – Just Passing Through

The Breithaupt Brothers note that many vocalists who record a jazz album tap into the American Songbook. Compositions by George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Richard Rogers and Larenz Hart have been covered by artists of a various genres, including Natalie Cole and Rod Stewart. With Just Passing Through – The Breithaupt Brothers Songbook Vol. II (Alma Records, 2014), composer Don and lyricist Jeff attempt to recapture that spirit but with all-new material.

Each of the 15 tracks is led by a different vocalist. But these aren’t merely guest performers invited to sit in on the session. Many are singers the brothers have worked with before, including some who have performed their songs live.

The musicians are Don Breithaupt and Paul Shaffer, keyboards; Justin Abedin, Drew Zingg and Mike Francis, guitars; Russ Boswell and Pat Kilbride, bass; Steve Heathcote and Mark Kelso, drums; Tony Carlucci, William Sperandei and Dave Dunlop, trumpets; Carlucci, flugelhorn; Doug Gibson, Gordon Myers and Terry Promane, trombones; Gibson, bass trombone; Phil Poppa, Perry White, John Johnson, Vern Dorge, Andy Ballantyne, Mike Murley and Turner King, saxophones; Ross Woolridge, clarinet; Maurizio Baccante, cello; and Heathcote, percussion.

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Patrick Bradley – Can You Hear Me

Business success and good music do not interfere, they are a pleasant addition. As a successful businessman Patrick Bradley can live his musical passion without restrictions. Can You Hear Me is not a question but his third album after Come Rain Or Shine (2006) and Under The Sun (2011).

The album is well padded with illustrious musicians such as Jeff Lorber, Dave Koz, Jimmy Haslip, Gary Novak, David Mann, Rick Braun, Eric Marienthal, Dwight Sills and Michael Thompson. Nearly all songs were composed by Bradley in collaboration with Jeff Lorber, who also produced the new project.

What we miss at Jeff Lorber’s own jazz fusion albums of the last time, we see on his smooth jazz productions for other musicians in abundance. All In welcomes us with soothing sounds, where we feel at home.

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The Brandee Younger 4tet – Live at the Breeding Ground

Taking a page out of Deborah Henson Conant’s playbook, Brandee Younger blazes her own trail, playing an instrument seldom heard in jazz circles: the harp. With fresh takes on a few older songs and some original music, the Brandee Younger 4tet presents Live at the Breeding Ground (2014).

With Younger are Dezron Douglas, bass and E.J. Strickland, drums. The quartet is completed on some tracks by tenor saxophonist Chelsea Beratz and on others by soprano saxophonist Stacy Dillard.

A shuffle beat is part of the backdrop for “Wax and Wane.” Harp and tenor sax complement each other well on the melody. Behind the leads, Douglas and Strickland get plenty of action. Younger takes point for a while then yields to Baratz. The entire ensemble plays with passion and energy – enough so that it’s difficult to focus on one without neglecting the others. Even during the solos, the other musicians remain firmly engaged.

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Joey Sommerville – Overnight Sensation

Trumpet player Joey Sommerville started his solo career with the debut album Ride To This (2002). His sophomore album was Like You Mean It (2008), followed by his third project, the Getdown Club (2011). As rare as his albums are his concerts. Time to change it with Overnight Sensation (2014)!

The album features Earl Klugh, Jeff Lorber, Jeff Bradshaw, Elan Trotman and Eric Essix as star musicians beside many more supporting artists. The album is currently available at Pledge Music. Joey has written with the exception of one cover all songs in part with other musicians.

Overnight Sensation shows Joey’s trumpet skills in many facets. With a muted trumpet in the lead he refines the result with a horn arrangement dubbed in numerous takes. His crystal clear trumpet sound is the trade mark of Desire. Earl Klugh ennobles the song with his acoustic guitar. Sommerville and trombonist Jeff Bradshaw are giving us a welcome speed boost with a cover of Duke Ellington’s Caravan. They kick the song with some hip hop elements.

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Chris Walden Big Band – Full-On!

The title says it all. Full-On! (Origin Records, 2014), by the Chris Walden Big Band, is a full-on thriller for fans of this style of music.

Walden has done orchestral arrangements for mainstream pop stars like Stevie Wonder and Neil Young, as well as jazz artists such as Michael Buble and Diana Krall. When he’s not doing that, he’s doing this. Full-On! features six original songs, including one co-written by Walden with Courtney Fortune, and Walden’s arrangements of several genre-crossing selections: pop, standards, country and jazz.

The band consists of Jeff Driskell, Bob Sheppard, Rob Lockart, Brandon Fields, Tom Peterson and (two tracks only) Kim Richmond, saxes; Wayne Bergeron, Kye Palmer, Ron King and Kevin Richardson, trumpets; Bob McChesney, Alex Iles, Paul Young, Rich Bullock and (two tracks only) Andy Martin, trombones; Mitch Holder and (“Sir Duke”) Andrew Synowiec, guitars; Alan Steinberger, piano and keyboard; Kenny Wild, bass; Ray Brinker, drums; and M.B. Gordy, percussion.

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Jakob Elvstrøm – SaxClub vol. 2

Saxophone players from Europe often develop a different style than American musicians. This can be seen also in the Danish saxophonist Jakob Elvstrøm, who has remained unlike Michael Lington in his homeland.

This was already visible on his debut album SaxClub vol. 1 (2009) and continues on his second album SaxClub vol. 2 (2013). Jakob has written and arranged fourteen new originals. The album starts with the funky U.F.O. in the tradition of Pick Up The Pieces. Elvstrøm on sax meets Steen N. Hansen on trombone to a fat brass mix propelled by Henrik Møller on bass.

Lonely People offers a heavy techno groove featuring Jamaica born singer Roy Richards on a stomping beat. Long Lost Love served as the title suggests the romantic side of the listener. St. Tropez Off-season is a relaxed ode to the glamorous southern French city. The song is decorated by a French speaking woman with some funny comments about the city.

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Mitch Shiner and the BloomingTones Big Band – Fly!

Fly! (Patois Records, 2014) is the startling debut of Mitch Shiner and the BloomingTones Big Band. The percussionist, composer and arranger is a protégé of trombonist Wayne Wallace and follows the trail blazed by other products of Indiana: Freddie Hubbard and Wes Montgomery among them.

Shiner was born in Milwaukee but received musical education in Indiana, where he also has performed with a variety of jazz ensembles.

The BloomingTones Big Band are: Amanda Gordier, alto and soprano saxophone, flute and alto flute; Adam Carrillo, alto and soprano saxophone, clarinet; Matt Roehrich, tenor saxophone, alto flute and clarinet; Alex Young, tenor saxophone and clarinet; Steven Banks, baritone saxophone and bass clarinet; Dan Coffman, lead trombone; John Sorsen and Stewart Rhodes, trombones; Wayne Wallace, trombone on two tracks; Brennan Johns, bass trombone; Jordan Ghaim, lead trumpet; Josiah Lamb and Lexie Signor, trumpets; Joe Anderson, flugelhorn, trumpet and electronic valve instrument; Pat Harbison, trumpet on two tracks; Matt Johnson, tuba on two tracks; Eric Dumouchelle and Torrey D’Angelo, tuba on “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”; Matt MacDougal, guitar; Richard Baskin, vocals on three tracks; Michael Spiro, vocals on “When You Wish Upon a Star”; Anna Butterss (three tracks), Rob Walker (five tracks) and Jeremy Allen (two tracks), bass and baby bass; John Weisinger, piano; Joe Galvin (two tracks), Kristin Olson (five tracks), Shiner (four tracks) and Spiro (“When You Wish Upon a Star”), percussion; Olson (four tracks) and Shiner (three tracks), vibraphone; and Ben Lumsdaine (“Watchful Eyes”), Josh Roberts (two tracks) and Shiner (six tracks), drum set.

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