Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

Arthur Vint & His Associates – Through the Badlands

Take a journey, a trip through time, to the Old West. And inject a bit of jazz fusion. You might come up with something like Arthur Vint & His AssociatesThrough the Badlands (Vintage Modern Music, 2016).

The band consists of Vint, drums; Ian Stapp, bass; Jon Cowherd, piano; Tony Scherr, guitar; Andrew Halchah, bass clarinet; Rich Perry, tenor sax; Yvonnich Prene, harmonica; and Blanca Cecilia Gonzales, violin.

The title song captures the theme perfectly. One can almost hear Johnny Cash crooning one of his country western songs to this soundtrack. The atmosphere has the ambient presence of southwestern landscapes of Utah, Arizona or Nevada. Then the tempo kicks in, and that scenery of sagebrush, distant mountains and the occasional cow skull is broken up by modern conveniences, like paved roads, motor cars and electric guitars. The guitar, harmonica and violin harmonize well. All other instruments play their roles, too.

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Jef Kearns – The Flute

Toronto based flautist Jef Kearns started his solo career with the album On the Level (2009), followed by Soulfisticated (2013) and this year The Flute.

Jef Kearns created this EP with several producers, who played all the other instruments. That explains the nature of his music, which is consistently detailed but also meticulously planned.

The flute is considered as the shyest instrument. Although it takes the most amount of air under the instruments next to tuba, the tone is overall warm, heartfelt and lovely. Its expressiveness is celebrated in the hands of masters like Nestor Torres, Alexander Zonjic, Ragan Whiteside, Dwayne Kerr or Najee.

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Myles Wright – The LA EP

Composer and arranger Myles Wright puts the spotlight on Los Angeles, as he assembles a cast of area musicians for The LA EP (2016).

The band is comprised of Dan Higgins, alto sax, flute and clarinet; Sal Lozano, alto sax, flute and clarinet; Bob Sheppard, tenor sax and clarinet; Jeff Driskill, tenor sax and clarinet; Jay Mason, baritone sax and flute; French horns by Teag Reaves, Laura Brenes, Dylan Hart and Katie Faraudo; trumpets by Dan Fornero, Rob Schaer, Jeff Bunnell and Bob Summers; trombones by Alex Iles, Ryan Dragon and Charlie Morillas; Craig Gosnel, bass trombone; Doug Tornquist, tuba; Alan Steinberger, piano; Andrew Synoweic, guitar; Rick Shaw, bass; Harvey Mason Sr., drums; and Wade Culbreath, percussion.

The epic “Corridors” opens the set. The music begins softly, like an elegant symphony. After a brief warm-up, it evolves into a delightful, contemporary groove. That’s just one of many transitions the composition will go through. It easily shifts from the tranquil, featuring the piano or woodwinds, to wide open with the brass out front. Sheppard is the featured soloist on tenor sax. He takes over at about the midway point, with perfect balance between his lead and the backing horns. What follows is a sequence in which different instrument groups carry the melody, while the others complement or perform a counter-melody. Superb composition and performance.

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Matt Marshak – New York

In the world of music artistry guitarist Matt Marshak has a secure and well deserved place. His life circle and sphere of activity is New York. A good reason to call his new album New York (2016).

Matt recorded the album in one day at Secret Studios in Baltimore supported by Sean Michael Ray (bass), Benjie Porecki (keys), Carl Anderson (drums), and Ronnie Queen (vocals on Real Music).

Most important was for Matt a human and natural sound with no drum programming and loops. He has implemented this concept on his album in all its consequences.

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Mala Waldron – Deep Resonance

It’s just a lady and her piano, with no more than one or two accompanists per track. Mala Waldron presents Deep Resonance (Soulful Sound Music, 2016), a short set of original music, plus one cover.

Waldron sings and plays piano. Her accompanists are Vincent Gardner, trombone; Allen Won, bass flute; Akua Dixon, cello; Jonathon Perez, percussion; and Maurizio Rolli, fretless bass.

“Life Is Now” begins slowly, softly with the piano accompanying a throaty trombone lead. Then, it settles into a bright, up-tempo groove. Waldron’s earthy voice joins in, with lyrics that speak of hope and a eye toward the future. After the interlude, trombone and voice harmonize on the melody. Peretz’s play injects an African feel.

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Chillaxing Jazz KolleKtion – Groove Jazz N Chill #5

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Konstantin Klashtorni is the most productive musician of the smooth jazz genre. Beside his solo albums and the serials Kool&Klean, Love Suggestions, Smooth Jazz and eJazz Artistry he has also released the Chillaxing Jazz KolleKtion Groove Jazz N Chill.

Scheduled for July 8, 2016 will follow his new album Groove Jazz N Chill #5. It’s no secret that Konstantin composed and produced all tracks and performed all musical instruments on this sequel. The factor romance is a priority to Wherever I Go. Wonderful acoustic guitar combined with richly underpinned keyboard sound. The hooking effect is undeniable.

With Sentimental Things Konstantin climbs new highs of sweetness. With his sensible piano touch he draws the listener into the magic of song. The fascinating assemblage of keys and guitar finds a new expression on Send My Love. A dream of mankind is to Live On Forever. With such smooth music it would be a pleasure.

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Christopher Zuar Orchestra – Musings

It’s rare to find a debut artist who brings mostly original music. Even rarer when the artist leads a large ensemble but does not perform as a musician. That’s the case with the Christopher Zuar Orchestra’s Musings (Sunnyside Records, 2016).

With liner notes by the album’s producer and fellow jazz artist, Mike Holober, Musings takes the listener on a journey of thought, expression and virtual scenescapes.

The musicians are Dave Pietro, alto and soprano saxophones, piccolo, flute and alto flute; Ben Kono, alto and soprano saxophones, flute, oboe and clarinet; Jason Rigby, tenor and soprano saxophones, flute and clarinet; Lucas Pino, tenor saxophone and clarinet; and Brian Landrus, baritone saxophone and bass clarinet; trumpets and flugelhorns by Tony Kadleck, Jon Owens, Mat Jodrell and Matt Holman; trombones by Tim Albright, Matt McDonald and Alan Ferber; Max Seigel on bass trombone; Pete McCann on electric and acoustic guitars; Frank Calberg on piano and Fender Rhodes; John Hebert on acoustic and electric bass; Mark Ferber on drums; Rogerio Boccato, percussion on three tracks; and Jo Lawry, voice on four tracks.

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