Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

Rob Tardik – Moments

When success can be measured with the amount of album releases, Toronto based guitarist Rob Tardik certainly belongs to the winners. He started his solo career with the self-produced album Without Words (2006), followed by The Right Time (2009), Balance.Energy.Laughter.Love (B.E.L.L) in 2011 and Limitless (2013). Now he returns with Moments.

On his new album he is supported by established artists like Nate Harasim, Will Donato, Steve Oliver, Mark Hasselbach, Davor Jordanovski, Walle Larson, Robert Vally, Gary Stanionis, Will Donato, Curtis Freeman, Carson Freeman, and more. A good mixture of his band-mates and professional musicians of the smooth jazz scene.

The album starts with the Latin tinged song Sip and Salsa, up-tempo Spanish guitar with great Mediterranean flavor. This guitar style gains more and more followers in the smooth jazz community. The lush Rite Of Passage showcases more of Rob’s guitar prowess backed by a horn selection with a short sax solo by Will Donato.

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Jeff Lorber Fusion – Step It Up

Fresh off collaborations with Chuck Loeb and Carol Duboc, Jeff Lorber is at it again, this time with Jimmy Haslip as his co-producer. Step It Up by Jeff Lorber Fusion (Heads Up International, 2015) continues Lorber’s tradition multi-genre excellence.

Lorber handles keyboards, and on selected tracks some combination of guitar, bass and Moog bass. Haslip handles bass on all but one track. Other musicians who contribute are Ash Soan, drums; Gary Meek, tenor and soprano saxophones; David Mann, horn section and horn arrangement; Lenny Castro, congas; Paul Jackson Jr., guitar; Claus Martin, sequences; Vinnie Colaiuta, drums; Bob Mintzer, tenor saxophone; Michael Thompson, guitar; Robben Ford, guitar; Gary Novak, drums; and Larry Koonse, guitar.

The set begins with the lively “Get Up.” Aided by Soan, Meek, Mann and Castro, Lorber and Haslip thrill. The title could be a command to the audience to get up out of your seats and dance. It’s a bright, put a smile on your face song, highlighted by a few phrases where Lorber opts for the piano.

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Mindi Abair And The Boneshakers – Live In Seattle

Sax player Mindi Abair started her solo career with the debut album Always And Never The Same (1999), followed by It Just Happens That Way (2003), Come As You Are (2004), Life Less Ordinary (2006), Stars (2008), In Hi-Fi Stereo (2010) and Wild Heart (2014).

Together with Peter White and Rick Braun she released Peter White Christmas (2007), with Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot Summer Horns (2013) and this year with the Boneshakers Live In Seattle.

In previous years Mindi Abair’s musical field of activity settled in the smooth jazz genre. That changed, when she joined Aerosmith for their 2012 Summer Tour and Bruce Springsteen and Max Weinberg for a night at the Beacon Theater. Infected by the Rock music virus her music became edgier. Mindi comments: “From touring with Aerosmith to getting to sit in with Bruce Springsteen for a song, those experiences gave me the permission to go a little more rootsy, and I’m going to run with it!″

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Rotem Sivan Trio – A New Dance

It’s different. Unique. Terms that can apply to any new music that’s engaging but have greater emphasis here. The Rotem Sivan Trio blends jazz, classical, Mediterranean and folk music in A New Dance (Fresh Sound New Talent Records, 2015).

With Sivan are bassist Haggai Cohen-Milo and drummer Colin Stranahan.

The title song opens the set. Good luck figuring its rhythm. At times, it sounds like an up-tempo waltz. At times, it’s a more conventional 4/4. Then there’s the abstract, the free form. Whichever the case, Sivan goes for it, playing seemingly unrelated phrases in a way that makes it all work cohesively. You might swear there are more than three instruments, as during some sequences, the chords sound like they’re played by a Fender Rhodes electric piano. It’s an interesting piece that gives the listener an idea of what to expect going forward.

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Andy Snitzer – American Beauty

Saxophonist Andy Snitzer is an in demand sideman performing with famous musicians like Paul Simon, Sting, The Rolling Stones and others. His solo projects shine however brighter꞉ Some Quiet Place (2006), Traveler (2011), The Rhythm (2013) and this year American Beauty.

On his newest album he is supported by David Mann (additional production, keys/synths/MIDI, saxophones, flutes), pianist Alain Mallet, bassist Tim Lefebvre, drummers Karl Latham, Clint de Ganon and Gary Novak, the horn section of Kent Smith (trumpet) and Michael Davis (trombone), Carl Fischer (trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone and tenor sounds), guitarist Chuck Loeb, and trumpet player Rick Braun.

The album starts with September ‘79, the time, when Andy visited his high school. He celebrates his sweet memories with a lush sax sound full of emotional tones.

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Fred Hersch – Fred Hersch Solo

The New York Times says Fred Hersch is a master who plays it his way: “Mr. Hersch has honed a solo piano concept second to none in jazz.” That’s it. Nothing else needs to be said. End of review. A listen to Fred Hersch Solo (Palmetto Records, 2015), and one can see the Times gets it right.

The album was recorded during an August 14, 2014, performance at Windham Civic Center Concert Hall in Windham, New York.

A solitary instrumentalist playing a song that lasts more than five minutes – to say nothing of 10 – can be challenging to a listener used to pieces like that being produced by orchestras or big bands with multiple soloists. Hersch, however, makes it work with the opening track, a Jobim medley, “Olha Maria / O Grande Amor.” At more than 12 and ½ minutes, the music keeps moving, even though the mood and pace change here and there. And the style straddles that line between symphonic and jazz, similar to the sounds that come out of the Gershwin playbook.

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Marcus H. Mitchell – All About You

Saxophonist Marcus H. Mitchell started his solo career with the album Jumpin’ in 2005, followed by R & R – Rest & Relaxation (2007) and twelve other albums. Now Marcus is back with his 15th album All About You (2015).

Like the previous albums it is released on his 24th Music label, a division of MHM Entertainment Group – a multi-faceted entertainment company based out of Maryland.

Mitchell has shared the stage with greats including Peter White, Kim Waters, Mike Phillips, Kim Waters, Destiny’s Child, Marcus Johnson, The Rippingtons, Paul Taylor and many more. All songs are produced, mixed and mastered by Marcus himself. Great originals and covers by Michael Jackson and Chrisette Michele!

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