Archive for the ‘ Folk ’ Category

Paolo Rozzi | Primiano Di Biase – Bon Voyage

Hailing from Rome Paolo Rozzi has already concentrated on the accordion at a young age. He graduated in accordion under the guidance of Maestro Sergio Scappini at the G. Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro. Since this time he is successfully working as music teacher and director of Viva Musica.

Rome resident Primiano Di Biase (piano and Rhodes) works as teacher at the same music school like Paolo, Viva Musica. In 2001 he received the low school diploma in singing and high school diploma in piano with jazz specialization at the University of Music in Rome.

Both musicians are active since several years in the Italian jazz scene. Together they created the album Bon Voyage in 2019. Paolo and Primiano have written all tracks in team work. They were supported by some Italian musicians listed in the credits.

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Robert Christa – Smooth World

German pianist and composer Robert Christa is a musician you really should have on the radar. Since his debut Nightflight To Rio (2015) and his sophomore project City Lights in 2017 he has come out as an insider tip in the smooth jazz genre. This impression is convincingly confirmed by his third album Smooth World (2019).

Robert Christa performs on his new album keys, backing vocals and programming. He is joined on selected tracks by Robert Friedl (sax), Tom Reif (guitar), Bernd Hemminger (bass), Josiah Ruff, Stephanie Forryan, Mel Kamper (vocals), Mattias Hase (acoustic guitar), Llioba Bruns (cello), Natascha Weber, Lyn Conary, Daniana (backing vocals).

The album opens with Rise & Shine which reveals Christa’s penchant for perfect construction with a great opening. Saxophonist Robert Friedl and guitarist Tom Reif get plenty of opportunity to bring their own ideas to the play.

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Kalen Henry – Not Forgotten

Vocalist Kalen Henry, the daughter of the well-known bassist Trey Henry, has a direct access to music and came early into contact with songs of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore, and Adele.

Through her father she was able to realize her first project without any problems, an album with songs by Nat King Cole, which have been part of the American Songbook for a long time. In addition to her father, she is supported by Andrew Synowiec (guitar), Paul Viapiano (mandolin, guitar), David Witham (Rhodes), and Ray Brinker (drums, percussion).

The compilation of the songs is well thought-out and follows the principle of a love story. Straighten up and Fly Right was written by Nat King Cole and Irving Mills in 1943. The song is about a monkey being picked up by a buzzard and starting a funny dialogue with it. Kalen Henry connects the song with her own vocal personality and embeds it in a demanding instrumental context.

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Andrew Van Tassel – It’s Where You Are

Traditional and contemporary jazz form the base from which saxophonist and composer Andrew Van Tassel builds his sound. He also leans on classical, indie-rock and folk music. Listeners hear more of the contemporary side on It’s Where You Are (Tone Rogue Records, 2016).

Van Tassel plays alto and soprano saxophones. He is accompanied by Julian Shore, piano and Rhodes; Edward Perez, bass; and Colin Stranahan, drums. Special guests on selected tracks are guitarist Ben Eunson and Michael Thomas, who plays clarinet and bass clarinet.

The set begins with “High Holborn,” an upbeat, electric tune with guitar and alto sax melding for the lead. Bass and drum kit carry a trotting beat, while the piano offers placid fills. Van Tassel then stretches out, taking off on a free-spirited jaunt. Eunson then comes in, deftly picking those strings in a series of single-note riffs, some of them in complex, rapid-fire strings. The mood and pace slow when Van Tassel rejoins. The alto leads while the guitar offers some haunting, ethereal fills as the song comes to a close.

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Rebecka Larsdotter – Whirlwind

It’s a marriage of light jazz and Scandinavian folk music. Swedish-born singer-songwriter Rebecka Larsdotter weaves the forms together with Whirlwind (Losen Records, 2016).

Larsdotter mixes and matches her accompanists, depending on the needs of the songs. The musicians are Aaron Parks, piano; Dayna Stephens, saxophone, arranger; Ben Street, bass; Nate Wood, drums; Shai Maestro, piano; Rick Rosato, bass; Ari Hoenig, drums; Oz Noy, guitar; Dennis Hamm, keyboard; Hadrien Feraud, bass; Gene Coy, drums.

“Kvar,” a Larsdotter original, is a tranquil piece written in her native tongue. The title translates to “left” in English. It reflects her concept of the language being left behind and its parallel to being in a relationship where the person doesn’t know where she stands. Bass and piano solos assist.

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Matt Marshak – New York

In the world of music artistry guitarist Matt Marshak has a secure and well deserved place. His life circle and sphere of activity is New York. A good reason to call his new album New York (2016).

Matt recorded the album in one day at Secret Studios in Baltimore supported by Sean Michael Ray (bass), Benjie Porecki (keys), Carl Anderson (drums), and Ronnie Queen (vocals on Real Music).

Most important was for Matt a human and natural sound with no drum programming and loops. He has implemented this concept on his album in all its consequences.

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Rotem Sivan Trio – A New Dance

It’s different. Unique. Terms that can apply to any new music that’s engaging but have greater emphasis here. The Rotem Sivan Trio blends jazz, classical, Mediterranean and folk music in A New Dance (Fresh Sound New Talent Records, 2015).

With Sivan are bassist Haggai Cohen-Milo and drummer Colin Stranahan.

The title song opens the set. Good luck figuring its rhythm. At times, it sounds like an up-tempo waltz. At times, it’s a more conventional 4/4. Then there’s the abstract, the free form. Whichever the case, Sivan goes for it, playing seemingly unrelated phrases in a way that makes it all work cohesively. You might swear there are more than three instruments, as during some sequences, the chords sound like they’re played by a Fender Rhodes electric piano. It’s an interesting piece that gives the listener an idea of what to expect going forward.

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Ochion Jewell Quartet – Volk

No frills. Off the beaten path. Interesting. That is the blend of jazz with world folk music presented by the Ochion Jewell Quartet on Volk (2015).

Saxophonist and composer Jewell, whose first name is pronounced “Ocean,” has a compelling story to tell in the months that preceded this recording. He overcame a brutal beating at the hands of New York City police in a wrongful arrest. Using the resources acquired in an out-of-court settlement, he produced Volk. Accompanying him on this journey are Amino Belyamani, piano; Sam Minaie, bass; and Qasim Naqvi, drums. Guitarist Lionel Loueke sits in on two tracks.

The songs are grouped into four suites. “Kun Mun Kultani Tulisi” opens the second grouping. Jewell’s tenor begins with a gray, mournful melody. As the other musicians come in, the tone becomes stronger, more dramatic though a bit brighter. About halfway through, the others stop, and Jewell expresses softly, freely. Keyed by the drum rolls, the next stage is like an adventure, a trek through unknown territory wherein the music reacts to whatever the travelers encounter.

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New Latitude – Convergence

New Latitude is a project of guitarists and composers Dave Erickson and Jim Carr. Dave is known by The Dave Erickson Project and the album Pinnacle (2013). Jim has released three instrumental acoustic guitar CDs, The Space Below (2012), The Green Room (2002), and Acoustic Legacy Sessions (1999).

Their collective debut album called Convergence (2014). The duo is joined by Eduardo Bijoux Barbosa (bass), David Young (drums and percussion), and Deon Kuhl (drums). The acoustic guitar duo is compared by prolific reviewers with the group Acoustic Alchemy. A praise the same time a stimulus.

Starter of the album is the guitar piece New Day, which comes as a madrigal at first glance before assuming fiery traits. Sunset is an eccentric mixture of reggae and structured fugal guitar harmony.

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Trevor Gordon Hall – Mind Heart Fingers

Trevor Gordon Hall defines the term virtuoso new. His instrument is the unique combination of an acoustic guitar with a Kalimba. He calls this instrument a “Kalimbatar”. Stylistically he sorts himself in the genres folk finger style, new age and folk jazz.

One can compare him with artists such as Tommy Emmanuel, Adam Palma, Bryan Lubeck or William Ackerman. At the risk of making a lame comparison and each comparison becomes lame, if you take it too far. Just listen to his album at CDBaby to get an impression.

Mind Heart Fingers (2014) is a solo guitar album. All songs are composed, arranged and performed by Trevor. The album was produced by Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton and Trevor Gordon Hall.

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