Archive for the ‘ Jazz Fusion ’ Category

Ricardo Bacelar – Ao Vivo No Rio (Live In Rio)

The discography of Brazilian composer and pianist Ricardo Bacelar is still manageable. After his debut album In Natura (2001), followed Concerto para Moviola (Concerto for Moviola),  a live album, recorded in 2015 during the Guaramiranga Jazz and Blues Festival at the Via Sul Theater, Fortalezea, Ceara, Brazil, and Sebastiana (2018). Now he returns with his second live album recorded in May 2018 at The Blue Note in Rio, Brazil aptly titled Ao Vivo No Rio (Live In Rio).

Ricardo was accompanied by guitarist João Castilho, saxophonist and flutist Danilo Sina, double bassist Alexandre Katatau, drummer Renato Endrigo and percussionist André Siqueira. Most of the repertoire of the live album covers compositions of the groundbreaking Brazilian musicians Milton Nascimento, Tom Jobim, Gilberto Gil, Flora Purim along with American greats Benny Golson, Horace Silver, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea.

Ricardo considers his album, which was recorded in the intimate circle of the 300-seat Blue Note, an incentive to return to live performances after the end of the pandemic. Ricardo comments: “People need the warm sound and feelings of live music as opposed to the electronic stuff we hear on studio recordings. By listening to this live album, you can embrace the warm sound from the safety and comfort of your home.”

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Jimmy Haslip – Nightfall

Bassist Jimmy Haslip has released in his solo career only three albums. His debut album Arc came out in 1993. His sophomore album Red Heat was released in 2000 on Unitone Recordings followed by Nightfall in 2010 on VIE Records. The latter two albums are now newly released on Blue Canoe Recordings.

Like its predecessor, Nightfall is a collaboration between Haslip and Joe Vannelli. Jimmy performs on his album electric and fretless bass, additional synths,  baritone guitar. Joe Vannelli plays keys, programming, Rhodes, piano, organ, orchestration.

They are supported on selected tracks by Bob Mintzer (tenor sax), Katisse Buckingham (flute), Wayne Bergeron (trumpet), Steve Tavaglione (alto and soprano sax), Judd Miller (EVI), Jason Hann (percussion, congas), Jimmy Branly (timbales, bongo), Roger Burn (vibraphones), Ross Vannelli (acoustic guitar), Stella Castellucci (harp), Lori Perry (vocals), and The Perry Sisters (background vocals).

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Vibes Alive – Vibrasonic

Vibes Alive is a collaboration of vibist Dirk Richter and guitarist Randall Crissman. The name of the duo is taken from the title of their debut album Vibes Alive (1997). In 2008 followed their second album After HoursVibrasonic (2020) is their third project.

With the new album the duo celebrates a reunion with the well-known musicians Jeff Lorber (Rhodes, Minimoog, synthesizers, piano), Jimmy Johnson (bass), Luis Conte (percussion), and Vinnie Colaiuta (drums).

The album opens with Sweet Vibes, a homogeneous and dynamic musical event, which shows Jeff Lorber, Dirk Richter and Randall Crissman in an inimitable vibrant unity.

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Karl Sterling – Dream

This album serves a good cause. Ninety % of album proceeds are going to fund the much needed Parkinson’s education and research. Karl Sterling is a neuro rehabilitation specialist based in Syracuse, New York, and is the creator of the Parkinson’s Regeneration Training® education program.

Originally working as drummer he gathered a large number of musicians around him to finance his charitable project with this album. On Dream (2020) are playing Jimmy Haslip (bass and producer), Scott Kinsey (keyboards and producer), Jeff Richman (guitar and producer) Peter Erskine, Gary Novak, Karl Sterling, Archibald Ligonierre, Gergo Borlai (drums), Mer Sal Coomes, Jimmy Keegan, Carolyn Samuelson (vocals), Brandon Fields (alto sax), Bob Reynolds (tenor sax), Naina Kundu (bass and vocals) and Nir Felder (guitar).

The band has carefully chosen popular songs, which have passed the test of time. The album is opened with Here to Love You, originally a song from the album Minute by Minute (1978) by the American Rock band The Doobie Brothers. With the vocalist Mer Sal Coomes the band ignites a firework of creativity.

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Eddie Bullen – Kaleidoscope

Caribbean-born jazz pianist, composer, arranger and producer Eddie Bullen has always been able to incorporate the Caribbean influences of his home island Grenada into smooth jazz. He started his musical solo career with the debut album Nocturnal Affair (1996), followed by Make It Real (2000), Desert Rain (2004), Spice Island (2015) and Havana Nights, a collaborative album with Cuban/Canadian percussionist Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo (2009). Kaleidoscope (2020) is his newest project.

Eddie performs on the new album piano. He is joined by Larnell Lewis, Otis Williams (drums), Rob Christian (alto saxophone/flute), Etric Lyons, Sam Williams, Andrew Stewart (bass guitar), Elmer Ferrrer, Jeremy Hector, Lucian Gray, Quincy Bullen (electric guitar), and Michelle White (vocals).

The album opens with Sunset Marquee. A fresh supreme sounding piano play exquisitely decorated by Rob Christian’s flute. Esplanado flatters with South American flair. Couldn’t it be a piano in an elegant hotel on Copacabana beach? With Avant-Garde Eddie firmly enters the jazz fusion ground and leaves his acoustic scent behind.

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Lou Guldemond – That’s It!

Dutch jazz guitarist Lou Guldemond already performed with various groups such as Pasadena Dreamband, Top Secret, Batida, Big Black & Beautiful, and Sister Sledge. He also produced the debut album It’s Happening by jazz guitarist Martijn van Itserson. Currently he plays with the jazz big band Licks & Brains.

On his album That’s It! (2020) he is joined by Karel Boehlee (piano), Arjen Mooijer (keyboards), Michel van Schie, Boudewijn Lucas, Paddy van Rijswijk, Lene teVoortwis  (bass), Danny Sahupala (drums), Martin Verdonk, Sandra Sahupala (percussion), Tom Beek (sax), Ruud Breuls (trumpet), Peter Tiedhuis (guitar) Gregor Hamilton (keyboards), Tollak Ollestad (harmonica), Lo van Gorp and Diana Rosendal (vocals).

The album opens with Boom!, the affirmative expression of a loud, deep and resonant sound. Lou on the other hand takes it nice and easy in a wonderful flow. Son Carrio starts with an outburst of Samba and this rhythmic form is lived out to the full in this piece. The rest is pure ecstasy in virtuoso musicality.

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The Clusters – The Clusters

The Clusters is an Argentinian band hailing from Ramos Mejía. They leave you a record of what was the last date of the Year! A different space with lots of music of jazz fusion. With their debut album The Clusters the band reaches out to the world.

This album is available for download only at CDBaby.

Kirk Whalum – Humanité

Sax legend Kirk Whalum is as I already stated in another review a wanderer between the two worlds of smooth jazz and Gospel music. With his new album Humanité he breaks through this scheme.

Humanité is an album, whose music is formed in mosaic shape by the musicians and their involved personalities they have brought in to the recording process. Among many others the following musicians are participating: Japanese jazz pianist Keiko Matsui, the young bass phenomenon Barry Likumahuwa, gifted singer/songwriter Grace Sahertian and global pop star Indonesian singer/actor Afgansyah Reza, known to many as Afgan, vocalist/guitarist Zahara, one of South Africa’s biggest stars, Kasiva Mutwa of Nairobi, and the veteran UK jazz vocalist Liane Carroll.

Curtis Mayfield’s song Move On Up has lost none of its radiance since its inception in the ’70s. Especially in the last months you can meet his song in ever new variations. Kirk Whalum goes his own way with his interpretation which is settled near a jazzy attitude in a Weather Report way. Singer Brendan Reilly is sensationally excellent.

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Mike Stern & Jeff Lorber Fusion – Eleven

GRAMMY Award-winning keyboardist/composer/producer Jeff Lorber recalls seeing guitarist Mike Stern during his much-ballyhooed tenure with Miles Davis in the early ‘80s. “I’ve been a fan of his for a long time,” said the keyboardist, who was touring hard in support of his hit records Wizard Island and It’s a Fact in those analog days. “Jeff Lorber Fusion and Miles Davis were playing some of the same festivals back then, so I got to hear him play.” For his part, Stern offered, “To be honest, I was aware of him, and had heard a bunch of good things, but I had never really checked him out. We were just in different orbits, me and Jeff.”

In subsequent years, each staked out his respective musical territory — Lorber, the electric maestro from Los Angeles, pioneering the post-fusion sound of contemporary jazz with his radio-friendly, groove-oriented instrumental music; Stern, the esteemed six-stringer from New York, lending his considerable chops to bands led by Jaco Pastorius, Michael Brecker and Joe Henderson as well as groups like Steps Ahead, Vital Information and the Brecker Brothers while also leading his own band and cutting 18 recordings under his own name.

Credit bassist-producer Jimmy Haslip, a charter member of Yellowjackets, with bringing these two seemingly disparate musical forces from opposite sides of the country together. And rather than being a musical Odd Couple, it turns out that Lorber and Stern fit hand-in-glove on the ten scintillating tracks that comprise Eleven, set for release on September 27, 2019 via Concord Jazz. (The title is a joking reference toThis Is Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel, who proudly demonstrates in the 1984 movie how his amplifier has a volume knob that goes to eleven… “for when you need that extra push over the cliff.”) Continue reading

fo/mo/deep – Syzygy

Already the spelling of the formation reveals the elitist claim. fo/mo/deep is a band of the extraordinary. The core of the group consists of Ron “FatKat” Holmes, basses (fretted/fretless), André Scott, drums, percussion and Robert Mason, grand & electric piano, organ.

The discography includes the albums Eclecticism (2010), A Beautiful Bang (2012) and The Groovy Goodness (2014). This year Syzygy is joining them. In astronomy, a syzygy is a straight-line configuration of three or more celestial bodies in a gravitational system. Probably the title refers to the three members of the band who are in constant musical interaction.

Since the elitist is always in danger of self-isolation, the group has decided to open their album with a popular song. Curtis Mayfield was not only a highly talented songwriter but also the musical flagship of the African-American movement for equal rights in society and a precise observer of everyday problems. With Move On Up (1970) he spoke from the soul to the underprivileged and encouraged them not to give up. The group takes up this call because these problems still exist. If anyone is able to translate the dynamics of the piece into a piano run, it is Robert Mason.

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