Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

Yonrico Scott – Life of a Dreamer

Drummer Yonrico Scott is best known as member of the Derek Trucks Band and his current group Royal Southern Brotherhood. His solo career boasts the albums Be In My World (2012), Quest Of The Big Drum (2014), and Only A Smile (2015). Life Of A Dreamer (2016) is his fourth album as leader.

On his new album he is joined by Ronda Scott, Diane Durrett, Nicole Lund (backing vocals), Kofi Burbridge (organ), Joseph Patrick Moore (bass), Mace Hibbard (sax), Kenny Banks Jr., Buzz Amato (keys), Mike Seals, Paul Nelson, Nick Johnson, Daniel Groover, Tyler Neal (guitar), Kevin Hyde (trombone), Melvin Jones (trumpet), Col. Bruce Hampton, Rev. Jeff Mosier (talking vocals).

A horn intro inspired by Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer and a voice like the late Joe Cocker. Don’t Give Me has all that stuff successful dreams are made from. Yonrico combines effectively vocal elements with rock.

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Mike Jones Trio – Roaring

We’re going back in time – almost a full century. The Mike Jones Trio revisits the 1920s with Roaring (Capri Records, 2016).

The trio consists of Mike Jones, piano; Katie Thiroux, bass; and Matt Witek, drums.

The album is a collection of fresh arrangements culled from the decade known as the Roaring ’20s, Each song is familiar enough to those who know the standards, but contemporary enough to please modern listeners. Highlights are “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby,” “Mean to Me.”

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Manu Katché – Unstatic

Manu Katché’s previous release was noted for the absence of a bass player. For Unstatic (Anteprima Productions, 2016), the drummer added one.

The band consists of Ellen Andrea Wang, bass and vocals; Jim Watson, piano and keyboards; Tore Brunborg, saxophones; and Luca Aquino, trumpet. Trombonist Nils Landgren appears on several tracks. And the percussion trio of Abraham Rodriguez Mansfarroll, Joel Hierrezuelo Balart and Inor Esteban Sotolongo Zapata assist on “Introduction.”

A stick-a-ti-boom roll introduces the title song. This bouncy jaunt is highlighted by the blended horn section lead, accented by the keyboard. After a couple of passes, Watson stretches out a moment. After a bass-led bridge, Aquino steps in, playing softly but passionately. Watson then sets up Brunborg, who cranks up the heat just a bit, mixing a throaty growl into solo. The song ends with Katché setting the exclamation point.

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Doc Powell – This Is Soul

When I heard about the new album of Doc Powell, I thought by myself, why does he release only so few solo albums? After his debut, Love Is Where It’s At (1987), followed The Doctor (1992), Inner City Blues (1994), Laid Back (1996), Don’t Let the Smooth Jazz Fool Ya (1997), I Claim the Victory (1999), Life Changes (2001), 97th & Columbus (2003), Cool Like That (2004) and For Old Times Sake (2010), his best of album.

His new project This Is Soul (2016) is a reminder of on how many soul, gospel and jazz albums Doc has played as featured lead guitarist. Powell performed with Luther Vandross, Kirk Franklin, Aretha Franklin, Teddy Pendergrass, Jeffrey Osborne, Ashford & Simpson and Dionne Warwick, as well as contemporary jazz giants Grover Washington, Jr., Bob James and McCoy Tyner.

First track on his new album is a rendition of Love on Top, a song by American singer Beyoncé for her fourth studio album 4 (2011). After the first notes you will love Docs’ brilliant guitar sound. He carefully selected this track because it keeps the spirit of Whitney Houston and the Jackson 5, the fabulous music of the 80’s.

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Dan St. Marseille – Invitation

Throwing in a pair of originals with an assortment of covers, Dan St. Marseille has a license to thrill with Invitation (Resurgent Music, 2016).

St. Marseille plays tenor saxophone and clarinet. He’s accompanied by Claudio Roditi, trumpet and flugelhorn; Bill Cunliffe, piano; Roger Shew, bass; and Paul Kreibich, drums. Special guests on three tracks are Gary Foster, alto saxophone and clarinet; and Chris Dawson on piano.

The title song is an elegant take on the classic composed by Bronislaw Kaper. Adapted by many jazz artists over the years, “Invitation” began as a selection in the 1950 film, A Life of Her Own. However, it became a standard after being used as the theme for the 1952 film of the same name. St. Marseille takes point on the first pass of the melody, with Roditi handling what counts for the chorus. On the second chorus, the duet shares the lead with St. Marseille deviating from the prescribed path, creating a charming harmony. What follows is jazz heaven. Roditi stretches out, occasionally dipping into the theme to supplement his free spirit. St. Marseille then steps out in purse, toe-tapping, finger-snapping style. After Cunliffe takes a turn, the song reverts to the theme. The rhythm trio is solid throughout the piece.

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Vandell Andrew – All For Love

Hailing from New Orleans saxophonist Vandell Andrew has started his solo career with the album Years Later… in 2011. Soon followed his sophomore project Turn It Up (2014) and this year All For Love.

On his new album he invited professional musicians like Lew Laing (keys and programming), Cory James (bass, keys and additional programming), Earl Diamond, David P. Stevens, Matt Godina, Darrell Crooks and Ash Jangda (guitar), John Fontenot (drums), Brandon Marcel (vocals), Emanuel Wells and Aaron Mason (bass), and Quentin Moore (keys).

Vandell allows Lovers Suite to breath with emotional intonation. Keeping a perfect embouchure he strokes every tone with great heart-melting tenderness and passion. On Better With You he is stepping up the pace performing with wide bandwidth from smooth to forced.

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Bahama Soul Club – Havana ’58

Bahama Soul Club is a project by producer and percussionist Oliver Belz. Oliver lives in Braunschweig, the musical silicon valley of Germany. Groups like Dancing Fantasy, Blue Knights, Jazzkantine, D-Phunk, Bahama Soul Club and many more have their origin in this German city.

Oliver started the project in 2008 with the album Rhythm Is What Makes Jazz Jazz. He returned in 2010 with Bossa Nova Just Smells Funky, added in 2013 Bossa Nova Just Smells Funky Remixed and followed in 2013 with The Cuban Tapes.

November 2016 sees the new edition with Havana ’58. All tracks are written and performed by Oliver and keyboardist André Neundorf. Additional musicians on selected tracks are Ralli King (guitar), York (sax), Thomas Wolter (orchestra), Lars Lehmann and Helge Preuss (bass). The group describes their style as Afro-Cuban jazz, but with the original style of the fifties and sixties their music has at best in common just the inspiration. It is a groundbreaking conglomerate of Bossa nova, rumba, jazz and much, very much modern beat.

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