Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

Steffen Kuehn – Leap Of Faith

German-born trumpet player Steffen Kuehn performed already with a great array of artists before he started his own solo projects. His debut album Now Or Later was released in 2002, followed by Trumpop (2008), a smooth jazz project with dazzling contemporary jazz elements.

Meanwhile he won in 2014 with the co-founded 20-piece Latin Big Band Pacific Mambo Orchestra a Grammy® Award for Best Tropical Latin Album. Time to create the new solo album Leap Of Faith, which was released on May 15, 2016.

Steffen plays on his new project trumpet and flugelhorn. He is joined in the rhythm section by Tommy Igoe (drums), Dewayne Pate (bass), Drew Zingg (guitar), Colin Hogan (piano and keyboard), in the horn section by John Gove (trombone), Tom E. Politzer (tenor sax), Marc Russo (alto sax), in the percussion section by Javier Cabanillas (congas, percussion), Omar Ledezma Jr. (timbales), Braulio Barrera (bongos).

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Rhythm Future Quartet -Travels

No piano and no drums, but it works. The Rhythm Future Quartet brings a different approach with Travels (Magic Fiddle Music, 2016).

The musicians are Jason Anick, violin; Olli Soikkeli, lead guitar; Max O’Rourke, guitar; and Greg Loughman, bass. The group gets its name from the Django Reinhardt composition, “Rhythm Futur.”

Loughman composed the opener, “Iberian Sunrise.” It sets the tone for this gypsy jazz offering. With one guitar carrying the rhythm, the other pairs up with the violin for a delightful duet. Then, the gear shifts. The guitars and bass accelerate to a frantic pace. A while later, the violin rejoins. The sound conjures a visual of time-lapse photography of a city with commuters going to work as the sun climbs into the sky. Another shift changes the view from wide angle to close-up of the hustle and bustle.

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Konstantin Klashtorni – Smooth Jazz I

Multi-instrumentalist Konstantin Klashtorni follows the tradition of many professional jazz musicians such as John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, Eric Dolphy and Herbie Mann. In the era of home studios this is a fairly common time appearance.

Klashtorni is recording his albums this way since several years. In 2011 he started his Smooth Jazz series with the album Smooth Jazz I. Nevertheless on this special album he was joined by Adir Kochavi (trumpet, flugelhorn), Roy Louis (bass and guitars), Glenn Gaddum (piano), and several gifted singers on selected tracks.

The powerful Let’s Get It On with the sax in the lead gives the album a perfect start. With the addition of a second saxophone the song gets an extra dose of vigorous energy.

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Matt Geraghty – Trade Winds

Twenty-one days. Twenty-one improvised compositions. One hundred Cuban musicians. It doesn’t get much more creative than that. Bassist Matt Geraghty presents these elements with Trade Winds (2016), a two-disc set of 21 songs.

“With the softening of political tensions between Cuba and the United States, ’21 Trade Winds’ has brought together 100 of the most important names in Cuban music to build a bridge between the two nations through the universal language of music,” Geraghty says. “The only rule – new work be made in the moment.”

The tracks are listed in the sequence of the 21 days. The cover description explains: Trade Winds is a series of unprecedented musical collaborations that travel along the historic triangle trade route, exploring the history and evolution of music through improvised compositions. It seeks to reveal the cultural and musical footprint that was made by the trans-Atlantic trade route while creating a new model for music making in our globalized society. The liner also names the venue where each song was recorded.

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Bennett B – Midnight Passion

Berklee graduated guitarist Bennett Brandeis is since many years a constant factor in the smooth jazz genre. He started his career with the album Jazz Guitar (1995), followed by The View From Above (2001), Storytelling (2006) and Groove Time (2014).

Now he returns in 2016 with Midnight Passion. The new album is produced like the previous one by guitarist Paul Brown. In addition Brandeis is supported on selected tracks by Gordon Campbell, Joel Taylor (drums), Jervonny Collier, Steve Billman and Robert Vally (bass), DW3 (vocals), Marco Basci (keys, piano), Andy Suzuki (sax), Lee Thornberg and Jason Rahn (horns), Lenny Castro (percussion), and Darren Rahn (sax).

The best at first. With this motto starts the album presenting the title song Midnight Passion. The liner notes doesn’t reveal the sax player on this song. But he and guitarist Brandeis put the icing on the cake. By the way the secret sax player is Andy Suzuki.

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Sofia Ribeiro – Mar Sonoro

Sofia Ribeiro brings an element of international collaboration with Mar Sonoro (2016). The Portuguese vocalist mixes jazz with Brazilian sounds and music from her native country.

The musicians are Juan Andres Ospina of Colombia on piano; Petros Kamplanis of Greece on double bass; and Marcelo Woloski of Argenita on percussion. Guests on this date are Arooj Aftab, voice on “Vai Ficar Tudo Bem”; Maeve Gilchrist, harp on “Vai Ficar Tudo Bem”; Itai Kriss, flute on “Tela”; Emily Eagen, whistle on “O Amor, Quando se Revela”; Yoed Nir, cello on “Midnight Dreams”; and the strings on “Mar Sonoro,” “Vai Ficar Tudo Bem” and “Menina de Olhos Verdes”: Maria Im and Megan Gould, first violins; Gokce Erem and Christiana Liberis, second violins; Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin and Irina Momchilova, violas; and Maria Jeffers and Sam Quiggins, cellos.

The opening track, “O Amor, Quando se Revela,” is a tranquil ballad. Subtle accompaniment supports Ribeiro’s voice. Each musician makes a mark without distracting from or overpowering the lead. For her part, Ribeiro soothes, calms and charms.

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Phillip “Doc” Martin – Pocket Love

Quite rightly Philipp Martin is nicknamed Doc. He works in his day job as dentist in the Washington DC area. His second passion is music and as saxophonist he has already released several solo albums.

All started with his album Saxappeal in 2003. 2007 followed Pride and Joy, then Realization (2009), and Good Day at Work (2013). Pocket Love (2016) is his fifth album and was released on the label Innervision Records.

His new album was produced by Marvin Tony Hemmings, who also plays keys on all tracks. Additionally are joining the project on selected tracks Greg Boyer (trombone), Paul Brown (guitar), Frank Brunot (bass, guitar), Courtney Leonard (bass), Luc Derival (guitar), Kenny Kohlhaas (guitar, vocals), Jeff Lorber (drum programming), Eddie Montalvo (percussion), Roger Smith III (bass), Jay Williams (drums), Marlon Winder (flugelhorn, trumpet) and many more.

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