Archive for the ‘ Woodrow Wilkins ’ Category

Manuel Valera Trio – The Seasons

Does Manuel Valera ever get tired? If the pace of his releasing new music, or joining another artist’s session, is any indication, the answer to that is an emphatic no.

Six albums of his own in just four years, not counting other projects. And he’s done them in various configurations: solo piano, his groups New Cuban Express and Groove Square. Now, in trio format, he presents The Seasons (Mavo Records, 2017).

Accompanists are Hans Glawischnig, bass; and E.J. Strickland, drums.

Read more …

Tom Kennedy – Points of View

“Behold. The master at work,” says Ben Vereen of bassist/composer Tom Kennedy. He’s not exaggerating, as Kennedy exhibits his mastery of the instrument and of composition with Points of View (2017).

Kennedy plays electric bass, acoustic bass and keyboards. Personnel are Dave Weckl, drums; Bill Evans, soprano sax; Charles Blenzig, piano; Karla Harris, vocal on “New July”; Wes Ritenour, drums; Chuck Loeb, guitar; Bob Fanceschini, soprano sax, tenor sax; Lee Ritenour, guitar; Obed Calvaire, drums; Nick Marcione, trumpet; Randy Brecker, trumpet; Mike Stern, guitar; Richie Morales, drums; and Bob Malack, tenor sax.

Weckl and Kennedy begin “The Dark” in emphatic fashion, injecting a slight Weather Report touch. After the intro, the mood changes to something more mellow. Evans takes lead, setting the mood for an evening of romance. The tenor expresses freely, with Weckl and Blenzig offering support. Kennedy evokes memories of Jaco Pastorius when playing in the background. During his middle solo, he makes the instrument talk, much like a suitor saying sweet nothings to his darling. At just above eight and a half minutes, it’s the second-longest track in the set. That gives the listener ample time to enjoy each musician individually, and the quartet as a whole.

Read more …

Bob Dowell – Mississippi Slide!

After years recording and performing in large ensembles, or as a sideman for an array of artists in various genres, trombonist Bob Dowell celebrates his new home and the inspirations it provides with Mississippi Slide! (2017).

Accompanying musicians are Art Edmaiston, tenor sax; Tony Thomas, Hammond B3 organ; Tim Goodwin, bass; and Tom Lonardo, drums.

The title song has a cool blues vibe. The organ introduces the piece, followed by a brief melody by trombone and tenor. Dowell quickly gives way to a tenor solo that’s right out of the 1950s or ‘60s. Edmaiston plays clean, bright and – cool. Dowell follows with a smooth solo of his own. Thomas, Goodwin and Lonardo stretch out plenty in the background. After Thomas’ brief stint, Dowell and Edmaiston blend for the closing melody and fade.

Read more …

Bruce Blackman – Is That Your Yacht?

Bruce Blackman aims to please. He rarely, if ever, misses his mark. And he scores again with Is That Your Yacht? (Starbuck Music, 2017).

The musicians are Blackman, lead vocals, keyboards, percussion and bass; other vocals: Jerome Olds, Jim Tice, Lina Kawar-Machaelides, Sarah Blackman, Meeko, and Cheryl Wilson; Randy Hoexter, keyboards and strings; Bo Wagner, percussion and vibes; Larry Cianelli, percussion and bass; James Cobb, bass; Atlanta Symphony, strings; Robert Taylor, guitar and violin; and the Bentley Brass, horns.

A coastal location in Spain, the Caribbean or South America may be the setting for the opening track, “Luz De Luna,” or “light of the moon.” It’s a tropical ballad that’s accented by Taylor’s guitar. Blackman sings of a midnight rendezvous with his lover – sneaking away while everyone else is asleep.

Read more …

Jim Yanda Trio – Regional Cookin’ and Home Road

Is he working overtime? Double time? Triple time? Or is he simply hoarding his collection until such time that he’s ready for a big splash? Either way, guitarist Jim Yanda offers the simultaneous release of two albums, one of them a two-disc set, adding up to nearly two and a half hours of ear candy. The releases are Regional Cookin’ and Home Road (Corner Store Jazz, 2017).

The Jim Yanda Trio consists of Yanda, Phil Haynes on drums and Drew Gress on bass.

The answer to the above questions is Yanda has been holding onto this material. The trio has been together for 30 years, but somehow has remained relatively unknown. The first album was recorded in 1987, but had not been released. The second album covers newly recorded material.

Read more …

Fabrizio Cassol – Strange Fruit

Strange fruit (n): an expression of dismay upon seeing human bodies hanging from trees, the victims of murder, lynchings perpetrated by those who considered those they killed less than human. Fabrizio Cassol adopts the jazz-blues standard as the title of his project, Strange Fruit (Instinct Collection, 2017).

Cassol plays alto saxophone. The musicians who appear in mix-and-match combinations are Baba Sissoko, vocals, ngoni, tama and tamani; Diely Moussa Kouyate, guitar; Zoumana Tereta, so kou; Magic Malik, flute; Laurent Blondiau, trumpet; Bo Van der Wert, baritone saxophone; Michel Massot, trombone; Stephane Galland, drums; Michel Hatzigeorgiou, electric bass; Oumou Sangare, vocals; La Choraline, choir; Eric Legnini, keyboards, Hammond organ; Manu Codjia, guitar; Claron McFadden, vocals; Makhan Cissoko, vocals and tama; Djimbe Sissoko, vocals and tama; Bazoumana Sissoko, vocals and tama; Djatourou Sissoko, vocals and tama; Yacouba Sissoko, vocals and tama; Fabian Fiorini, piano; Kris Dane, vocals and guitar; Melissa Givens, vocals; Marie Daulne, vocals; Hamane Toure, guitar; Sekouh Bah, electric bass; Dejeneba Dansoko, backing vocals; Pamela Badiogo Mahapa, backing vocals; Renauld Crols, violin; Kezia Daulne, vocals; David Linx, vocals; Sarah Klenes, backing vocals; Anu Junnonnen, backing vocals; Aka Moon jazz trio.

The set opens with “Didadi Horns,” which blends an African cultural motif with a touch of funk. Baba Sissoko has the lead vocal. The horns are reminiscent of some late 1960s or early ‘70s songs or film scores composed by a combination of Lalo Schifrin, Isaac Hayes or Quincy Jones. It’s a call to gather and freedom.

Read more …

Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr – Landed in Brooklyn

In a way, it’s like a present-day reinvention of mild jazz fusion. But then it’s many other things. Landed in Brooklyn (ACT Music, 2017) by brothers Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr touch several bases, with regard to types of jazz.

The players are Julian Wasserfuhr, trumpet and flugelhorn; Roman Wasserfuhr, piano, marimba and seaboard; Donny McCaslin, tenor saxophone; Tim Lefebvre, electric and double bass; and Nate Wood, drums.

“Bernie’s Tune” is a bright, upbeat selection. Though it is its own song, it revisits the type of music that made Chuck Mangione a breakthrough crossover success in 1977. McCaslin duets with Julian, providing a counter melody to the lead. After their dynamic opening sequence, the horns step back, and the piano emerges. The mood for the entire piece, but especially the solos, is ideal for an afternoon, sightseeing drive.

Read more …