Posts Tagged ‘ Jazz ’

Gil Evans Project – Lines of Color

Big band with a twist. That’s the nature of the Gil Evans Project album, Lines of Color (Blue Note/Artist Share, 2015).

Conducted by Ryan Truesdell, the orchestra is comprised of woodwinds: Jesse Han, Jessica Aura Taskov, Steve Kenyon, Steve Wilson, Dave Pietro, Donny McCaslin, Scott Robinson, Brian Landrus, Tom Christensen and Alden Banta; French horns: Adam Unsworth and David Peel; trumpets: Augie Haas, Greg Gisbert and Mat Jodrell; trombones: Ryan Keberle and Marshall Gilkes; bass trombone: George Flynn; tuba: Marcus Rojas; guitar: James Chirillo; piano: Frank Kimbrough; bass: Jay Anderson; drums: Lewis Nash; voice: Wendy Gilles; and viola: Lois Martin.

“Time of the Barracudas” has a deceptive opening. Soft sounds, led by the flutes, it has a slight symphonic edge. The other horns come in, with Gilke taking lead. The mood shifts to a moderate, cheerful sound. Gradually, the piece picks up energy behind the throaty trombone. McCaslin follows on tenor, going through several mood changes as he takes the instrument to its depths, then brings is it back to mid-range with a few high notes sprinkled in. The pace shifts from up-tempo to easygoing to near frantic. The band goes silent while Nash gives the kit a brief workout, before the song reverts to its symphonic beginnings.

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Hailey Niswanger – PDX Soul

Hailey Niswanger was already getting rave reviews as a teenager. A listen to the saxophonist’s PDX Soul (2015) tells why.

Niswanger is accompanied by a variable lineup of players. Errick Lewis, and AG Donnaloia, guitar; appear on all tracks. Janice Scroggins handles keys on all but one song.

A groovy bass line greets the ear on the first track, “I’m Gone.” It’s an upbeat, see ya, I’m outta here kind of song. Niswanger plays the soprano on this one. Her lead is lighthearted, almost romantic, but not sugary sweet as a lot of soprano sax-led songs of this style tend to be. Lewis is dynamic throughout. Drummer Brian Foxworth makes a substantial contribution, though mainly as background. Donnaloia, Scroggins and Colligan also get busy. After a mostly easygoing, playful lead, Niswanger cuts loose big time. As if the proclamation of leaving weren’t convincing, she becomes emphatic, assertive during a sequence after the middle break. Then the two keyboard players take over, one out front and the other providing fills. It gives the song a late-1960s, early ’70s type of soulful instrumental sound. Not all the musicians get to solo here, but everyone makes a statement.

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Inaki Arakistain – Saxual

Spanish sax player Iñaki Arakistain is an in-demand musician in the music scene of Spain. According to his website he has already released three solo projects.

Tiempos de búsqueda was recorded in 2008, followed by PLAN B in 2010 and Saxual in 2014. On his newest project he is supported by Jonathan Badichi (trumpet and flugelhorn), Jorge Vera (keyboards), Israel Sandoval (guitar), Tomás Merlo (bass), Georvis Pico (drums), and Thomas Schindowski (vocals).

The album comprises six Arakistain originals and four instrumental covers. The journey begins with the dynamic Red Star and the in top form occurring main actor. The good flow is due to the great sax performance always ready to rise to peak exertion at the blink of an eye. The other musicians contribute to this through their perfect engagement.

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Nilson Matta – EastSideRioDrive

Mix a little Latin, a little samba and the craving to just get out there and play are the recipe for EastSideRioDrive (World Blue Records, 2015) by Nilson Matta.

Matta plays acoustic bass. His accompanists vary from track to track, with flutist Anne Drummond, pianist Edsel Gomez, and winds player Craig Handy contributing to several tracks each.

Guitarist Romero Lubambo’s expertise is called on for the opener, “Sertao,” featuring vocalist Jesse Lynn. It’s a lively piece with hints of South American styles with a taste of Europe. Handy’s flute is in a duet with the singer during the lyrical portions of the song. Then Handy shifts to tenor sax for a spirited solo. Percussionist Cyro Baptista joins Matta and carrying the foundation for this track. Lubambo is out front during the introduction, but he really stretches out after the middle break. The speed of his fingers amazes. After the guitar solo, Matta steps forward with Baptista providing a vocal chant. The song then reverts to early form.

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PLS Trio – East River

The initials of the leader form the name of the PLS Trio. A penchant for merging soft music with something edgy, the group releases East River (Echo Chamber Music, 2015).

The trio is comprised of Pier Luigi Salami, piano, effects and synths; Martin D. Fowler, electric bass and synth bass; and Shawn Crowder, drums, percussion, electronic drums and percussion.

“Yellow Is Not Just a Color” opens the set. It begins with the piano playing a looping melody. The cymbals and rim shots change from steady to something off-beat. Ultimately, a fuller sound emerges, with the bass and various effects. The song settles into a steadier rhythm, with the drum kit locking in the pace. Salami cranks up the heat, at times tickling the keys with high-speed focus.

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Steve Gadd Band – 70 Strong

He’s one of the great drummers of our time, a designation he’s carried for at least as far back as the 1970s, when he contributed to such recordings as “Aja” by Steely Dan, Van McCoy’s “The Hustle” and Maynard Ferguson’s Primal Scream album. Born on April 9, 1945, Steve Gadd celebrates 70 years as the Steve Gadd Band presents 70 Strong (BFM Jazz, 2015).

For this date, Gadd is reunited with his Gadditude ensemble: Walt Fowler, trumpet and flugelhorn; Larry Goldings, keyboards and accordion; Jimmy Johnson, bass; and Michael Landau, guitars.

“Foam Home,” co-written by all members of the group, is considered the son of “Green Foam,” a track from the ensemble’s Gadditude (BFM, 2013). This track is like a group therapy session, with all five players expressing themselves as individuals yet maintaining the cohesion of the group. Gadd and Johnson mostly handle background, but they do so effectively. Fowler carries the melody with supplements by Landau and Goldings, and each contributes a solo. It’s a strutting, free-spirited piece.

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Lisa Parrott – Round Tripper

Just ahead of baseball season, Lisa Parrott launches one across the fence. Round Tripper (Serious Niceness Records, 2015) is all about the passion of creating music.

Parrott plays alto and baritone saxophones. With her on this date are Matt Wilson, drums; Chris Lightcap, double bass; Carl Dewhurst, guitar; and guest Nadje Noordhuis, trumpet and flugelhorn on two tracks.

“Rosa Takes a Stand” is a Carlos Ward composition that Parrott and her bandmates adopt as their own. The alto sax and guitar handle most of the out-front work, with bass and drums getting plenty of action underneath. Toward the end is an extended call and response, showcasing Wilson’s dexterity on the kit.

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