Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

Ricardo Bacelar – Ao Vivo No Rio (Live In Rio)

The discography of Brazilian composer and pianist Ricardo Bacelar is still manageable. After his debut album In Natura (2001), followed Concerto para Moviola (Concerto for Moviola),  a live album, recorded in 2015 during the Guaramiranga Jazz and Blues Festival at the Via Sul Theater, Fortalezea, Ceara, Brazil, and Sebastiana (2018). Now he returns with his second live album recorded in May 2018 at The Blue Note in Rio, Brazil aptly titled Ao Vivo No Rio (Live In Rio).

Ricardo was accompanied by guitarist João Castilho, saxophonist and flutist Danilo Sina, double bassist Alexandre Katatau, drummer Renato Endrigo and percussionist André Siqueira. Most of the repertoire of the live album covers compositions of the groundbreaking Brazilian musicians Milton Nascimento, Tom Jobim, Gilberto Gil, Flora Purim along with American greats Benny Golson, Horace Silver, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea.

Ricardo considers his album, which was recorded in the intimate circle of the 300-seat Blue Note, an incentive to return to live performances after the end of the pandemic. Ricardo comments: “People need the warm sound and feelings of live music as opposed to the electronic stuff we hear on studio recordings. By listening to this live album, you can embrace the warm sound from the safety and comfort of your home.”

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David Bach – Fierce Heart

From my recent review of David Bach’s collection album Perficiendi I quote the following overview of David’s solo albums: Window On The West (1998), 5Thousand Words (2001), A Deep Breath (2005), Live at Baker Park (2008), Otherworld (2013) and Perficiendi (2020). His newest album Fierce Heart is already available on bandcamp, the official release date is July 17, 2020.

The album contains seven originals written by David and three covers. The album involves a large number of musicians, who are listed in detail below in the album information. Fierce Heart puts the listener in the right mood for David Bach’s new album, with slow tempo he wins the hearts of the fans. The piece has the impression of the soundtrack of a film with historical references.

Gymnopedie is the name for a nude dance or festival in ancient Greek. French composer and pianist Erik Satie has written three compositions of this theme. David Bach has chosen Gymnopedie No. 1, but makes out of more tranquil piece a vivid lively cover featuring Brian Falkowski on flute given the tune a Latin touch to the end.

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David Boswell – The Story Behind The Story

I received my first impression of guitarist David Boswell‘s music with his album I Like That in 2009. That was his third album after Hold Tight To Your Dreams (2004), and Bridge Of Art (2006). Then his albums Windows (2012) and his trio Storyboard project Hello (2014) followed. Now he returns with his album The Story Behind The Story (2020).

David gathers on his new album again an excellent crew of first-class musicians,  Scott Kinsey, Mitchel Forman and Otmaro Ruiz on keyboards, Bart Samolis and Jimmy Haslip  on bass, MB Gordy and Gary Novak on drums, and guest tenor-saxophonist Andy Snitzer.

The album begins with Miraculous, an overall harmonic tune which is influenced like his previous works by the guitar style of Pat Metheny. A Los Angeles Minute takes up this stylistic direction and mood, with Andy Snitzer picking up and continuing the melody on his saxophone.

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Jimmy Haslip – Nightfall

Bassist Jimmy Haslip has released in his solo career only three albums. His debut album Arc came out in 1993. His sophomore album Red Heat was released in 2000 on Unitone Recordings followed by Nightfall in 2010 on VIE Records. The latter two albums are now newly released on Blue Canoe Recordings.

Like its predecessor, Nightfall is a collaboration between Haslip and Joe Vannelli. Jimmy performs on his album electric and fretless bass, additional synths,  baritone guitar. Joe Vannelli plays keys, programming, Rhodes, piano, organ, orchestration.

They are supported on selected tracks by Bob Mintzer (tenor sax), Katisse Buckingham (flute), Wayne Bergeron (trumpet), Steve Tavaglione (alto and soprano sax), Judd Miller (EVI), Jason Hann (percussion, congas), Jimmy Branly (timbales, bongo), Roger Burn (vibraphones), Ross Vannelli (acoustic guitar), Stella Castellucci (harp), Lori Perry (vocals), and The Perry Sisters (background vocals).

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Boney James – Solid

Saxophonist Boney James has released with Solid (2020) his seventeenth album as a leader. In free thought Boney links the term with his personal relationship, the groove, and also the relationship to his fans.

Boney James does not see himself as a one-man-producer and on his new album he has also recorded and processed impulses of his band members and musician friends.

Boney performs on the new album tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, flute, electric piano, keyboards, and drum programming. Additional musicians are Kendall Gilder (guitar), Carnell Harrell (acoustic piano, organ, keyboards), Michael Stever (flugelhorn, trumpet), Alex Al (bass), Omari Williams (drums), Lenny Castro (percussion), Smitty Smith (bass), Paul Jackson Jr. (guitar), Darrell Smith (piano, key bass, Moog, keyboards), Christian Frazier aka BeatsMadebyFresh (piano, drum programming, Jairus Mozee (guitar, bass, keyboards, drum programming, Kenny Lattimore (vocals) and Jason Morales, Drak-Kar V Wesley (background vocals).

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Jimmy Haslip – Red Heat

Bassist Jimmy Haslip is commonly known as founding member of the jazz fusion group the Yellowjackets. He mainly spreads his wings in the jazz fusion genre where he is involved as a sideman in numerous collaborative projects. He is also very popular as a bassist in the field of smooth jazz.

Compared to his frequent collaborations, his solo releases are somewhat sparse. His debut album Arc was released in 1993. His sophomore album Red Heat was released in 2000 on Unitone Recordings followed by Nightfall in 2010 on VIE Records. The latter two albums are now newly released on Blue Canoe Recordings.

Even though it is a solo album, Red Heat is a joint project of Haslip and Joe Vannelli. Jimmy performs on his album electric bass, acoustic bass guitar, synth bass, fretless bass, additional keyboards, drum and additional percussion programming, background vocals, horn arrangements. Joe Vannelli plays keyboards, synth bass, drum programming, additional percussion programming, horn and string arrangements.

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Tracey Eileen – It’s Time

Chicago born R&B/jazz singer Tracey Eileen is since eleven years in the music business and developed from a local player to an internationally known soul/R&B artist. Starting with her debut album Love’s Journey in 2012 she arrived to her second album Why Did I Say Yes (2018). Her third project is the EP It’s Time, which appears delayed by the pandemic in June 12, 2020.

Opener of the album is the single Somehow Someway, which like most of her songs deals with interpersonal relationships and also contains biographical elements. The song was produced by Kendall Duffie (Cloud 9), who also performs synthesizer, drum programming and synth bass on it.

Now That We’re Here is also a commitment to togetherness. Donald Hayes underlines the tenderness in Tracey’s voice on saxophone. Sweeter With Time is a love ballad which focuses on the growth of love in a community. The special feature of Tracey’s performance is not only her voice but also the ingenious use of her vocals in the arrangement, for which she constantly finds new approaches.

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Mariea Antoinette – All My Strings

In the field of smooth jazz, the harp undoubtedly has a unique position. The harp is not unknown to jazz, as there have been jazz interpreters on the harp before such as Dorothy Ashby or Alice Coltrane. However, it is only through Mariea Antoinette that the harp comes back into the public eye.

Mariea had her first success with the debut album Sexy Paradise (2003). Only later followed by her albums Straight From The Harp (2014) and All My Strings (2020).

On her new album Mariea works together with producer Allan Phillips, who plays drums, bass, keyboards and guitar, has written and arranged four songs of the album and also produced her project. As further musicians are to be mentioned Derek Cannon (trumpet), John Rekevics (tenor and baritone sax), Dan Regan (trombone), Alex Al (bass), Jordan Morita (trombone), Evan Marks (guitar), Mark Hunter (bass), Kevin Koch (drums), Tommy Aros (percussion), and the AP AllStars Strings.

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Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis – Focus

Hailing from Waterbury, Connecticut GRAMMY nominated producer, writer and multi-instrumentalist Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis is one of the main producers of the smooth jazz area. He worked for Althea Rene (Flawsome), Nick Colionne (The Journey), Norman Brown (The Highest Act Of Love), Pieces Of A Dream (All In), Art Sherrod Jr. (Back 2 Business), Gerald Albright (30), Phil Perry (Breathless), Marion Meadows (Soul City), Najee (The Smooth Side Of Soul), Maysa (Blue Velvet Soul), Kim Waters, Rick Braun, Chanté Moore, Dave Koz, Will Downing and many more. He has significantly influenced the sound of smooth jazz.

However Focus (2020) is his first solo album in this genre. Consequently, some of his musician friends have contributed to his album debut. Among them are Gerald Albright (sax), Bluey (guitar, vocals), Maysa (vocals), Rick Braun (trumpet), Dave Koz (sax), Tony DePaolo (guitar), Nick Colionne (guitar), Kim Waters (sax). Furthermore Ace Livingston (bass), Patrick Williams (guitar), Marty Quadrato (sax), Dawn Tallman, and Timmy Maia (backgrounds).

The first track of the album is a cover of Chaka Khan terrific Gold awarded hit Whatcha Gonna Do For Me (1981). Chris counts Chaka to his predominant influences, so his choice is more than understandable. Chris takes the song as a starting point for his groovy arrangement, which comes to life through Gerald Albright’s outstanding sax improvisations.

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David Bach – Perficiendi

Keyboardist David Bach will not be known to most readers. With his official biography, which is peppered with many references to awards and recognitions like 2016 Maryland Music Awards Best Jazz Artist, Maryland State Art Performance Award and a Maryland State Art Composition Award he does not make it easier to come across his real career.

However, I like him already by the fact that he worked with Crystal Waters, the Basement Boys, Exodus Quartet, Thievery Corporation, Everything but the Girl, Fishbelly Black and Enrique Eglesias.  This musician therefore disposes of a healthy mixture of intuition for the elitist and financial stability. The one does not always exclude the other.

More about his releases is to find in his discography. Window On The West (1998), 5Thousand Words (2001), A Deep Breath (2005), Live at Baker Park (2008), Otherworld (2013) are listed as his solo records. His newest project Perficiendi (2020) is just released on Polyphemus Records.

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