Archive for the ‘ Contemporary Jazz ’ Category

Dan Siegel – Faraway Place

Dan-Siegel-Faraway-PlaceEach musician has a different approach to dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic. Common to many is Dan Siegel‘s concept of recording a new album while stopping all performances. Siegel’s 22nd recording is Faraway Place scheduled for release July 31, 2021.

Most parts of the album were recorded by the musicians in their respective home studios. However, the rhythmic foundations were laid by drumming legends Steve Gadd and Vinnie Colaiuta at East West Studios in LA. From the credits you can see the numerous jazz greats who have contributed to this project.

The title of the album illustrates the unreality of the situation and the difficulty of processing it psychologically. After all, for our generation, this form of pandemic and its drastic accompanying circumstances is something completely new that needs to be overcome with. Isn’t it gratifying then to be able to hold on to music that brings familiar things back to you. With Old School, Dan Siegel takes us again to safe ground.

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Wayne Alpern – Frankenstein

FrankensteinThe title and cover of this album are eccentric not only for a jazz album. Nevertheless, it is ingenious to name a jazz album Frankenstein. It’s understandable when you recognize Wayne Alpern’s approach. Wayne is a master at breathing new life into familiar tunes from whatever genre.

The New York based composer, arranger and scholar is very well known among critics, judging by the numerous reviews. His ideas are implemented by well-known musicians, who are listed in detail under Credits.

The album opens with a cover of Carole King’s You Got A Friend. A song of timeless beauty whose message and melody touches the heart. At the beginning you don’t recognize the song, but the voice of the announcer seems familiar. Then the winds set in and the well-known melody miraculously crystallizes.

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Wayne Alpern – Frankenstein

FrankensteinWayne Alpern is a New York City composer, arranger, and scholar who integrates popular and jazz idioms with classical techniques and repertoire to create a sophisticated contemporary style of cross-genre, or even post-genre music. After years of composing complex new music, he embraced his personal history and indigenous musical culture and fused them with his classical background and training. His work includes numerous jazz arrangements, string quartets, woodwind and brass quintets, mixed ensembles, pieces for string orchestra, and several piano works.

Alpern’s innovative compositions, recompositions, and rearrangements have been performed and recorded by distinguished artists from diverse musical traditions. A native of Detroit immersed in the Motown sound, he studied at Oberlin College, University of Michigan, Yale University, and City University of New York, with additional work at Harvard, Juilliard, Wesleyan, and University of Pennsylvania. His musical scholarship and theoretical expertise focuses on Schenkerian analysis and 20th-century music. He holds a law degree from Yale Law School and practiced civil litigation for nearly twenty years. He taught at Mannes College of Music, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, and Cardozo Law School, worked at General Music Publishing, United Artists Music Publishing, and was Steve Reich’s editor. He is President and owner of Henri Elkan Music Publishing, Inc. and a lifetime member of the Society for Music Theory and American Musicological Society. He has lectured extensively in North America, Europe, and Russia. In his capacity as Founder and Director of the internationally acclaimed Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music Theory, Alpern received the highly coveted Society for Music Theory Honorary Lifetime Membership Award recognizing his “substantial and longstanding accomplishments distinguishing the recipient and our discipline through his many good works on behalf of his fellow scholars and students of music theory for our collective benefit.”

Frankenstein is a compilation of popular songs and jazz standards newly interpreted by Wayne Alpern and his musical friends. The album will be available July 19, 2021.

Jeff Lorber Fusion – Space-Time

space-timeKeyboard wizard Jeff Lorber has already pressed his idea of fusion jazz into the black grooves with his group Jeff Lorber Fusion in various lineups. With albums like the self-titled debut album (1977), followed by Soft Space (1978), Water Sign (1979), Wizard Island (1980), and Galaxian (1981) he has served the spirit of contemporary jazz for decades..

He continued this glorious period with albums such as Now Is The Time (2010), Galaxy (2011), Hacienda (2013), Step It Up (2015), the GRAMMY awarded Prototype (2017), and Impact (2018). On the new album Space-Time (2021) Jeff Lorber is joined by his longtime friends drummer Gary Novak and bassist Jimmy Haslip.

Further supporting musicians are flutist Hubert Laws, guitarists Paul Jackson, Jr., Michael Landau and Robben Ford, saxophonists Bob Mintzer, Dave Mann, Gary Meek and Gerald Albright (on bass). Bob Mintzer is thus back as on the previous albums, just not on all the tracks. The album opens with the title song, a sparkling up-tempo tune showcasing Lorber’s elegant keyboard play to the fullest. Lovers of Jeff’s Rhodes performance will be enchanted. Bob Mintzer on tenor sax takes over the melody line to a perfect finish.

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Dave McMurray – Grateful Deadication

Dave-McMurray-Greatful-DeadicationSaxophonist Dave McMurray has announced a July 16 release date for Grateful Deadication, his sophomore release for Blue Note Records. On the new full-length, McMurray takes his gritty, soulful Detroit sound and reimagines the flower empowered songs of San Francisco icons the Grateful Dead with an album as vibrant as it is unexpected. The announcement comes with the video for a transcendent version of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter’s “Loser,” featuring Grateful Dead co-founder Bob Weir, alongside Bettye LaVette and Weir’s Wolf Bros bandmates Don Was, Jay Lane, Jeff Chimenti, and Greg Leisz.

During the heyday of the Dead’s tireless touring, McMurray was on the road himself, joining now-Blue Note president Don Was in the uncategorizable Was (Not Was) beginning in 1981. McMurray has performed with a stunning roster of legendary musicians, including B.B. King, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Hallyday, Gladys Knight, Albert King, Nancy Wilson, KEM, Bootsy Collins, Herbie Hancock, Geri Allen and Bob James.

In 2018 McMurray joined Don Was for an all-star set at San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. The performance featured a surprise appearance by Bob Weir, who had recently enlisted Was and drummer Jay Lane for his new band Wolf Bros, including a rendition of Dead classic “Days Between.” Continue reading

Chuck Loeb – Life Colors

lifecolorsIt’s been five years since I wrote the review of Chuck Loeb‘s album Unspoken (2016). Even though Chuck was marked by his illness, we all still had hope that he could continue his life’s work. It was to be his last solo album.

At the age of 61, just one year later, guitarist Chuck Loeb succumbed to cancer. We have lost a great guitarist and a truly exceptional human being. The way to review a new album by Chuck is denied us for the future.

That’s why I’m looking back, because he left us an extensive body of work. So it was very convenient for me that the German company in-akustik has reissued an album of Chuck’s from his glorious DMP period as an Ultimate High Quality CD. His album Life Colors was released in 1990.

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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