Archive for the ‘ Jazz ’ Category

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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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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Isha Love – Jars of Waters

JarsofWaterWhen the fingers of Isha Love glide across the piano, a dazzling cascade of melody rushes forth spraying the atmosphere like the mist from a waterfall. “Jars of Waters,” her new offering, is a fluid tapestry of 14 luscious piano solos that pour sweet liquid libations for the soul. With ten gospel-tinged jazz originals and four unique interpretations of traditional spiritual hymns, Isha Love’s “Jars of Waters” is a tall refreshing glass to drink from.

A classically trained pianist, Isha Love emerges on the music scene as a source of “living water.” With “Jars of Waters,” Isha hopes to share and spread ever-abundant love. The inspirational solo performances on the CD transcend genres, riding the waves of jazz, classical, gospel, worship and pop. Whether she is surfing across the keys, like a boogie board bouncing above the ocean or rafting quietly down the river’s bank, tickling the ivories like a paddle propelling the current, her compositions shower light and shimmer with the presence of love.

Isha reveals that she only composes when she feels led by the Spirit. In fact, each track from “Jars of Waters” emerged from a series of compelling visions she believes God used to guide her musical journey. Song titles like “Rain On Me,” “I’ve Got Peace Like A River,” “There is a Fountain,” “Living Water,” and the title track “Jars of Waters” reveal her personal plunge to sacred depths. Continue reading

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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Kiki Ebsen – Scarecrow Sessions

As a jazz vocalist you are faced with the decision to present your own compositions or songs from the American Songbook. The first testifies to creativity, the latter is more popular but also more challenging. However it exposes you to the comparison and competition with a wide variety of other artists.

Singer Kiki Ebsen has chosen the American Songbook, to honor the memory of her father, the great actor Buddy Ebsen. Scarecrow Sessions stands out because of its cultural diversity and professionalism of the musicians involved. John Patitucci (bass), Henry Hey (piano and organ), Chuck Loeb (electric and acoustic guitars), Clint de Ganon (drums) and David Mann on saxophone and flute.

Kiki comments꞉ “The songs included are taken from my father’s career in movies and musicals, songs he loved, and his original works″. The album opens with You Don’t Know What Love Is, originally sung by Carol Bruce for the Abbott and Costello picture Keep ‘Em Flying. You learn to appreciate the value of a treasure only when it is lost. The bittersweet of this knowledge is internalized by Kiki with sensuous voice.

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