Posts Tagged ‘ Chris Mann ’

I Happened To Hear 09/2013

I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how long I’ve been listening – and enjoying – music from the Jeff Lorber Fusion in its various lineups. It’s always sounded different and distinctive to my ears. When Kenny G went off to do something altogether smoother, Jeff kept the groove alive. On this latest record – which is in some measure a shout out to the legendary dance club of the same name in Manchester, England, the funk is still much in evidence.

The band’s name is ‘Fusion’ though and you jazz lovers will enjoy how Jeff stretches out on the opener “Corinaldo”. Eric Marienthal, unusually on tenor sax, sounds fantastic. Guitarist Larry Koonse will similarly delight fans of precise finger work on the busy “Solar Wind”. Did you expect to hear a Frank Zappa song on here? Well, “King Kong” is the album’s only cover and the record’s fusion credentials go up a notch with the involvement of violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. In my head, I made a note ‘sounds like Return to Forever on great form’. What else can I say?

There are mellower moments on “The Steppe”, which features a lovely acoustic piano sound and a sound very reminiscent of Yellowjackets – with Jimmy Haslip on bass it’s not such a surprise. “Playa del Falco” cleverly switches time signatures and the interplay between electric piano and soprano sax is particularly enjoyable.

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I Happened To Hear 01/2013

If you read my review of Sharon’s first full-length CD, you’ll know I’m already a fan. I love her phrasing and the clarity of her delivery. Both virtues are evident on this album of jazz standards. The musical setting is simple: acoustic bass, drums, piano and trumpet – and they don’t all play on every song. That’s how stripped-down this is.

So – there is lots of room for Sharon’s very warm tone to work its magic on these lovely songs. I’m hooked from the first number “Don’t Go To Strangers” – the pace is right, the jazz trio sounds elegant and it’s all good. I love the Joe Sample-style bounce in the deceptively bluesy “Evening” and the gentle cha-cha rhythm of Duke Ellington’s “Midnight Sun” – a song which I’ve never heard before but instantly fell for. The minor chords in this song are gorgeous.

The evergreen “If Ever I Would Leave You” is a tear-jerker. I appreciate the breathiness of Sharon’s vocal and her perfect vibrato. Maybe I watch too many TV shows with singers who exaggerate the vibrato – and pretty much everything else. That’s not what happens here. The Razaf/Redman classic “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You” gets a lovely treatment here and it’s as much a homage to previous singers of this song such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday as it is to the writers. The muted trumpet solo adds just the right bluesy flavour.

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Chris Mann Interviews Peter White

CM – Peter, many thanks for taking the time to talk to me today. The last time we spoke was back in September 2009 and in the following month you were due to go and play some dates with your old buddy Al Stewart, so I wanted to start off by asking you how that went.

PW – I did some shows with him in Steelville, Missouri. It was a little hotel/resort kind of place and it seemed like fun, to me. It was, actually, a lot of fun. Getting together with Al is always fun – playing some of the old songs and playing some of the new songs. I started with him when I was 20 years old. Played with him for almost 20 years so it’s always fun to go back and re-live the past a little bit – it’s very comfortable.

CM – Fantastic. And towards the end of 2009 you were due to do some Christmas shows with Dave Koz again. Did that materialise?

PW – Yes it did. I did a whole tour with him. I’ve done many Christmas tours with Dave actually. Starting in 1998, we did five consecutive years, starting the day after Thanksgiving all the way through to Christmas and it was always a lot of fun. I was hanging out with Dave for a whole month out of the year. It was a constant party. Loved it.

CM – Excellent, excellent. Listening to the new CD ‘Here We Go’ Peter, lots of questions come to mind and I wondered after that brief catch-up if we could just launch into talking about the new CD?

PW – Yes, absolutely.

CM – I don’t want to dissect it track-by-track even though that is my usual M.O. but there were some things that really stuck out in my mind. On the first track ‘Night after Night’, I hope you don’t mind if I read from notes that I wrote recently: I wrote that it’s insanely catchy. Does that seem an apt description Peter?

PW – Yes! I like that description. I write lots of songs. I get lots of ideas. That song came to me when I was writing a whole lot – I wasn’t on the road so much. If I continue working on a song it’s because it is catchy to me, it has something that grabs me. The way that song starts – it has that little keyboard melody (sings the melody) – I thought that was really nice, that hypnotic riff that you can hang a song around.

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Chris Mann interviews Peter White

CM – Peter, I want to start by congratulating you on the release of ‘Good Day’, which I’ve been playing hard in the two days that I’ve had a copy.

I read that some of the songs on the new CD, which I know features original material, were written some time ago – what brought them back to your attention?

PW – As musicians we like to keep every idea – we’re like misers. I read that somewhere and it’s true. If you have an idea, what you think is a good idea, you may not use it at that time but you keep it around in case one day you don’t have any ideas.

I wrote a lot of these songs 10 or 15 years ago – there’s a song called ‘Ramon’s Revenge’. There never seemed a place for it on any of my albums, but last year I said ‘I’m going to record this song – I don’t care whether or not it gets played on the radio’. I don’t record songs to get played on the radio. I record them because I like them and because I’ve got fans out there who want to hear my stuff.

People kept saying to me ‘you’ve recorded enough cover songs – we want to hear your own songs’. So I thought ‘well, I’ve got a lot of those’.

Continue reading Chris Mann interviews Peter White

Chris Mann interviews Jason Miles

CM Jason, I’ve seen the interviews on your website and I ‘d like to use one of your questions: When did you know that Music would be your life’s work?

JM In college. Living in New York, I got to hear great artists in the clubs there. They had great songs and great melodies.

CM What motivated your decision to produce a second tribute album to Grover Washington Jr,  2 Grover With Love?

JM I’ve been listening to the old Grover Washington Jr. records and realised how many great songs I’ve missed. Grover could really play jazz . He could play anything.”

Continue reading  Chris Mann interviews Jason Miles

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