Archive for the ‘ Contemporary Jazz ’ Category

Stephanie Lottermoser – Hamburg

61Bf9HOaDOL._SL1200_The saxophonist and singer Stephanie Lottermoser, who comes from Munich and now lives in Hamburg, moves stylistically between jazz, soul, funk and pop. In the combination of playing the saxophone and singing, she has found her very own musical language. In 2013 Stephanie Lottermoser received a Bavarian Art Prize in the form of a scholarship for a six-month stay at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, where she wrote the music for her third album, Paris Songbook.

She completed her studies at the HMTM Munich, she was also a long member of the Bavarian State Youth Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Harald Rüschenbaum and is now herself a lecturer for the Ljjb in the Jazz Juniors course, which takes place four times a year in changing music academies in Bavaria. She has released five solo albums to date – Second Glance (2009), Good Soul (2013), Paris Songbook (2015/Downhill Records), This Time (2018/Motor Music) and this year Hamburg (Leopard Records/2021).

This album is available on Amazon.

Enrico Morello – Cyclic Signs

au5014Italian drummer Enrico Morello debut album comes after gaining experience on the need of putting together the endless inputs he received over many years of activity as a sideman. These collaborations allowed him to get in touch and play with the musicians he selected as members of his Cyclic Signs quartet – Francesco Lento on trumpet, Daniele Tittarelli on alto sax and Matteo Bortone on double bass.

Immediately and solid and synched, the members’ approach and contribution fit into Morello’s complex original compositions, and enriched them with their own vision. The Cyclic Signs driving force is to be found in the rhythms of life, and their multiple transformations. However, this album also wants to become a gesture, a moving body, a kinetic force – in other words, a dance.

«When I had to put these concepts into music», Morello explains, «I started from what I feel is more suitable to me – rhythm. I tried to subvert the predictable logic of a metered tempo by tracing unexpected and mixed paths. My aim was to give that feeling of surprise and confusion back to the listeners facing the unknown.» Continue reading

Bob Reynolds – Runway

a4141481702_16Los Angeles-based saxophonist Bob Reynolds is a Grammy-winning member of the instrumental group Snarky Puppy, an award-winning composer, and a prolific recording artist with 10 top-selling solo albums to his credit. Widely known for his work with both Snarky and John Mayer, he’s been a featured soloist with Grammy-winning instrumentalists like Larry Carlton, Chris Botti, and Jeff Lorber and worked with a host of pop artists including Michael Bublé, Idina Menzel, Josh Groban, The 1975, and USHER.

The concept for this album was to take the spontaneity of what this band does live, bring it into the studio, and build a sonic landscape for it that felt rich and wide and reminiscent of pop & rock music that’s influenced them. This album was also, for him, about experimenting with songcraft. It’s the first time he has collaborated with band members on the songwriting process. For songs like “Runway,” “Wash Over Me,” “Until The Next Time,” and “Moving Pictures,” he was trying to blur the line between improvisation and composition in a way he hasn’t done on a record before.

This whole album was a search for opportunities to explore territories he enjoys as a soloist in other groups. Often they’re different from the places he gravitates to as a composer. Collaborating with this team was a much-needed breath of fresh air for him. Like all albums, this is an experiment in documenting how he hears and plays music right now. Runway captures ideals he strives for as an improviser with elements he enjoys as a listener. It feels like something fresh that’s been there all along. Bob is excited to share this with you and hopes you enjoy listening to it.

Runway is available at bandcamp.

David Sanborn – Anything You Want: The Warner-Reprise-Elektra Years (1975-1999)

David Sanborn-3CD_0Over an astounding career that began as a blues sideman at age 14 then evolving into one of the most in-demand and imitated musicians across genres, saxophonist David Sanborn is a living legend. Distinguished by a biting, ear-bending tone and a penchant for soulfully explosive runs, Sanborn’s sound has graced great recordings by artists that include David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Donny Hathaway, Chaka Khan, The Temptations, Jaco Pastorius, Kenny Loggins, Todd Rundgren, Esther Phillips and Bob James. As an artist, Sanborn earned 8 gold records, a platinum-seller, won six Grammys, and topped international critics and readers polls.

David Sanborn – Anything You Want: The Warner-Reprise-Elektra Years (1975-1999) salutes Sanborn by taking a deep dive into the 17 albums he recorded as a solo artist within the highly impressionable 25-year period he was earning a reputation for world alto saxophone dominance. From Taking Off (Warner – 1975) to Close-Up (Reprise – 1988) through Inside (Elektra – 1999).

• Produced by Los Angeles-based musicologist A. Scott Galloway with co-production by SoulMusic.com founder David Nathan, this deluxe package explores David Sanborn’s catalogue in an artful approach – an immersive 45-song experience, filled with cherry-picked radio edits, rare mixes, live versions and overlooked album cut gems that present Sanborn at his eclectic, emotive finest. Each of the three discs covers a specific aspect of Sanborn’s vibe, offering a variety of palate-pleasing styles that plays out like three 15-song feasts in one. Continue reading

Steve Hunt – Connections

connectionsJazz pianist Steve Hunt has linked his musical agenda to jazz. Steve attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he is still an instructor. He studied with concert pianist Albert Hirsh, jazz pianist Sid Davis and Lyle Mays. He performed and toured with Billy Cobham, Stanley Clarke, Angela Bofill, Tom Brown, and Allan Holdsworth.

He recorded with Allan Holdsworth, Stanley Clarke, Lucas Pickford, Gregg Bandian, Bruce Bartlett, Randy Roos and Pam Pryo. His debut solo album was From Your Heart and Soul (1997). Connections (2021) is his sophomore album. Musicians of distinction in the field of jazz have gathered on his album. More details can be found in the credits.

Starter of the album is Now’s The Time. The intense texture that percussionist Jorge Bezerra spreads out as the foundation of the piece is impressive. The structure and flow remind me strongly of the music of Joe Zawinul’s Weather Report. From the dense mesh that the musicians build together, the individual contributions are hardly to be equalized and that is obviously also intended.

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Dan Wilson – Vessels of Wood and Earth

Dan-Wilson-Vessels-of-Wood-EarthIn today’s society, perception over reality influences everyday life. Grand offerings of seemingly luxurious lifestyles flood social channels, offering a glimpse of false security and achievement that rarely lie on a strong foundation. Just as a beautiful house is finished with vessels of silver and gold, underneath lies wood and earth.

On his marvelous new album, Vessels of Wood and Earth, guitarist/composer Dan Wilson takes the title to mean that we as a society tend to look at the shiny exteriors that attract us in an instant, rather than appreciate the less readily apparent structures that actually support the house. Through 11 joyfully dynamic compositions ranging from takes on classic songs from Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Ted Daffan mixed with a nod to the spiritual master John Coltrane as well as five original compositions, Wilson builds a foundation rooted as much in tradition as it is in moving the music irresistibly forward into the modern world.

Joined by pianist Christian Sands, bassist Marco Panascia, drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts and guest vocalist Joy Brown, the virtuosic guitarist’s broad musical roots inspired by Motown, gospel and jazz tradition result in a remarkable feel for arrangements. Wilson’s musical explorations allow the band to elevate each passage, aided by his fluid and melodic expression. Continue reading

Reza Khan – Imaginary Road

A socially conscious musical citizen of the world, Reza Khan has a long-established history of blazing fresh trails, pushing limits and finding unique ways to redefine what is possible in contemporary jazz. Helping us navigate our way through the darkness, anxiety and steep challenges of the past year, Khan graces us with an empowering way forward along a fascinating, twist and turn filled Imaginary Road. Khan writes, “there are moments where I was naturally drawn between Indian and Spanish styles which make the project even more interesting.

The record is about our journey on the Imaginary Road where love, lust, desire triangulate in evolutionary way and open doors in an unimaginable surprise filled with both happy and sad aspects of life. As I am taking this Imaginary Road, embarking on a journey, life is still quite exploratory and full of experiments. The title track goes out to the imaginary journey of the next generation!” Featured artists on this album are Sergio Pereira, Miles Gilderdale, David Mann, Maurizio Zottarelli, Mark Egan, Fernando Saci, Matt King, and Philippe Saisse.

The album is available for pre-sale here.

Lincoln Adler – Tabula Rasa

Since my review about Lincoln Adler’s album Grateful ten years have passed. A period that changes people and sometimes also their music. Of course, one cannot shed one’s past like a cloak. Experiences, abilities, influences, origins continue to shape you. But one can try to renew oneself. In case of saxophonist Lincoln Adler, this attempt is called Tabula Rasa.

The Latin expression tabula rasa (tabula “board” and rasa “scraped”, radere “scraped”) originally referred to a wax-covered writing board that was smoothed by scraping off the writing and can be rewritten like a blank sheet of paper. Figuratively, it means clearing the air and starting from scratch.

Lincoln Adler ventures a new beginning with a fresh band consisting of Erik Jekabson (trumpet, flugelhorn), Mike Blankenship (keyboards), Scott Thompson (bass) and Aaron Green (drums). Tabula Rasa is a digital EP with five tracks, all written and arranged by Lincoln with the except of the cover Red Clay.

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Francesco Cataldo – Giulia

Hailing from Syracuse, Italy guitarist Vito Francesco Cataldo has earned and collected widespread critical acclaims by Italian and International jazz critics. Not much is known about his career as a musician. After all, he caught the attention of the professional world in 2012 with his album Spaces, released on AlfaMusic. His sophomore release on this label is Giulia (2020).

For his second album, he has again relied on a sworn team of highly skilled musicians to bring his original compositions to life. He is accompanied by pianist Marc Copland, bassist Pietro Leveratto, and drummer Adam Nussbaum. He recorded the new album at the “Forward Studios” in Grottaferrata, Rome.

The album starts with the prologue I Tuoi Colori (Prologo). The individual chords and notes are carefully placed to achieve maximum mood with just a few notes. The title song refers to a famous novel character, we don’t know the female reference character from Francesco’s life. In the context of the musical environment of contemporary jazz, the piece probably springs from a source of deep romanticism.

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Stefania Tallini – Matteo Bortone – Gregory Hutchinson – Uneven

Stefania Tallini was a teacher of jazz piano for several years at the Conservatory of Pesaro, and she is currently a professor at the Conservatory of Benevento. Her artistic activity spans collaborations with numerous musicians, film music, abundant performances in both jazz and classical music, creations for theater, television and radio.

Her creative power is also reflected in countless record releases. Uneven (2020) is her tenth album as a leader. Pianist Stefania Tallini works on her new album with drummer Gregory Hutchinson and double bass player Matteo Bortone. A formation that is not born of necessity, but an expression of her advanced experience and the result of a lengthy selection process.

The title of the album is the demand that Stefania makes on herself and her music, and at the same time the listeners can expect from her. In her own words: “The feeling of unpredictability and surprise at setting off upon new pathways together, the exploration of various different possible solutions through a total freedom in thinking about music, and the sense of play combined with lively fantasy”.

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