Posts Tagged ‘ Jazz ’

Frank Kimbrough – Quartet

Decades of working with one another in various ensembles ultimately leads to Frank Kimbrough’s Quartet (Palmetto Records, 2014).

The pianist calls on three longtime friends for a free-spirited, straight jazz set. With Kimbrough are Steve Wilson, alto and soprano saxophones; Jay Anderson, double bass; and Lewis Nash, drums.

“The Call” opens the set. It begins in ambient fashion, with the piano playing freely out front, while bass and drums go through some loosening-up rolls. The alto sax comes in briefly, steps back, then returns for a brief lead, then gives way to the piano again. The piece has no melody to speak of. It’s mainly Kimbrough, expressing himself without confinement. Toward the end, Wilson is more expressive when he returns toward the end. Though each player appears to be doing his own thing, it all fits as they complement one another rather than compete.

Read more …

Yonrico Scott – Only A Smile

OnlyASmileThird Blue Canoe Records release from Grammy Award winner Yonrico Scott (Royal Southern Brotherhood, Derek Trucks Band) titled, Only A Smile. Featuring Ronda Scott (vocals), Kofi Burbridge (keys/flute), Todd Smallie (bass), Joseph Patrick Moore (bass), Larry Jackson (alto/tenor sax), Mace Hibbard (alto/tenor sax), YS Jr. (hand percussion), Lebron Scott (bass), Randy Honea (guitar), Buzz Amato (keys), Rick Hinkel (guitar), Count Mubutu (congas), Grant Green Jr. (guitar), Bruno Spreight (guitar), Oliver Wells (keys, bass, string arr.), Tiffany Jackson (bgv) and Minnie Orr (bgv).

Throughout the 1980’s to the Present, Yonrico has enjoyed working with various composers and arrangers for a multitude of commercial recordings for advertising/ commercials, jingles, individual songs, etc. Probably one of the more important recordings of this nature, working with Producer, Tim McCabe, Yonrico collaborated with Ray Charles to re-record Georgia’s State Song, Georgia On My Mind. Additional composers Yonrico has worked with include Bill Meyers, Jim Ellis, Jack Turner, and Steve Holts, among others.

Listen to the album here. Only A Smile is available at

Jason Yeager Trio – Affirmation

The piano-led trio is a staple of jazz – has been since the beginning. However, the format can, at times, seem trite – even boring. The challenge for a contemporary pianist is to be different. Original songs help make Jason Yeager Trio’s Affirmation (Inner Circle Music, 2014) distinct. Adding a few guests here and there also spoils any chance of monotony.

With pianist Yeager are bassist Danny Weller and drummer Matt Rousseau. Three guests appear on selected tracks.

The trio is joined by tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger for “Smiled First.” It’s like a hybrid between ambient jazz and something more intense, accented by Rousseau’s rim shots. Preminger’s play is charming and soothing. Yeager and Weller play softly underneath. When Yeager steps out front, he does so with an elegance matched only by the overall beauty of this piece.

Read more …

Lawson Rollins – Traveler

TravelerMany people travel from an encapsulated distance, staying at posh brand name hotels and dining under the golden arches while others prefer to explore by blending amongst the natives for a more immersive and organic experience of the actual sights and sounds of a culture. Award-winning guitarist Lawson Rollins lives by the latter philosophy, taking his guitar with him to view and interpret his global journeys. Writing twelve expansive compositions that are wordless diary entries encapsulating his travels, Rollins’s virtuoso guitar parlance speaks a universal language on tales of exhilarating adventure, intriguing mystery and enticing romance on his fifth album, Traveler, which will be released by his Infinita Records label and distributed by Baja/TSR Records on February 17.

Rollins’s traveling companion once again is platinum-selling producer-engineer Dominic Camardella, who has shared the helm on each of the guitarist’s previous releases that, like “Traveler,” are audacious border-crossing quests of melodic and rhythmic jazz and world beat. Joining them to create the intricate aural backdrops upon which Rollins unfurls masterful and impassioned fretwork on intercontinental and coast-to-coast exchanges was a noted ensemble comprised of Grammy-winning violinists Mads Tolling and Charlie Bisharat, Randy Tico (bass), Dave Bryant (drums & percussion) and Cameron Stone (cello). On select tracks they were joined by a horn section in addition to contributions from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy members Scotty Morris, Joshua Levy and Karl Hunter. Both Rollins and Camardella added keyboards and piano to the earthy mix on “Traveler” that Rollins describes as “a gypsy jazz amalgamation of travels.”

A Billboard singles chart-topper (“Moonlight Samba”) who has hit both the contemporary jazz (Top 30) and world music (Top 10) albums charts while amassing nearly eight million YouTube views for videos showcasing the guitarist’s mesmerizing technique, Rollins says, “‘Traveler’ is a musical travelogue for me, chronicling some of my journeys in life and evoking some of the places I’ve lived, visited and returned to in my memory. The album starts with the African-flavored title track ‘Traveler’ and continues north to Spain (‘Barcelona Express’ and ‘Meeting in Madrid’), France (‘Cafe Paris’), Germany (‘Berlin Bossa’) and England (‘Across the Moors’), and then over the Atlantic to Louisiana (‘Beyond the Bayou’) where I lived for a time after college. Next, we head to California with ‘Marching West’ and ‘Journey Home.’ The album concludes with the modern, electronica-infused ‘Urban Trilogy’ that evokes my times spent in New York, London, Tokyo and San Francisco. On this journey, my guitar serves as a kind of filter through which my impressions of the world are processed and expressed in the language of music.” Continue reading

Eric Schugren, Vin Scialla, Brian Charette, Mike DiRubbo – Wake Up!

No need for a group name. Just credit all members of the quartet, as each has his own distinct career as a band leader or sideman. They are Eric Schugren, tenor sax; Vin Scialla, drums; Brian Charette, Hammond B3 organ; and Mike DiRubbo, alto sax. The group presents Wake-Up! (Liftoff Records/Prime Directive Jazz, 2014).

It’s the debut album in a collaboration between Schugren and Scialla. The effort is a blending of the traditional organ trio and contemporary, “World Jazz,” expression.

The set begins with Jackie McLean’s “Appointment in Ghana.” The song opens slowly, brooding. It then shifts into high gear. The two saxophones carry the melody, at times with overlapping phrases. Charette stretches out with some adept stick work by Scialla to support him.

Read more …

Beka & Logic Project – Chillin’ in Batumi

Hip-hop meets jazz when pianist Beka Gochiashvili teams up with Jason Kibler, also known as DJ Logic. The Beka & Logic Project presents Chillin’ in Batumi (Exitus Entertainment, 2014).

Gochiashvili plays acoustic and electric pianos and synth. Kibler handles turntables and soundscapes. Also performing are former America’s Got Talent finalist Butterscotch, rap, spoken word, beat-box and sound effects; James Hurt, synthesizer and vocoder; Jaleel Shaw, alto saxophone; Lamont McCain, electric bass; and Justin Tyson, drums.

Beka plays the electric piano coolly underneath the vocal for the title song. The style is reminiscent of late 1970s fusion, the type you might expect from George Duke. Tyson’s drum play and timely crash cymbals help underscore the leads. During the middle break, Beka switches to acoustic piano. Though he has the lead, Tyson goes full throttle on the kit. Butterscotch comes back in with a haunting chant before the song shifts to full, hip-hop mode, with Kibler stepping up.

Read more …

Tommy Igoe – The Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy

The word “conspiracy” often has a negative connotation, as it usually relates to high crimes plotted or carried out by multiple persons. However, the word simply means a plan developed by two or more. It’s put to positive use by the new ensemble, The Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy (Deep Rhythm Music, 2014).

The Groove Conspiracy band consists of Tommy Igoe, drums, programming; Dewayne Pate, bass; Colin Hogan, piano; Drew Zingg, guitar; Louis Fasman, lead trumpet, flugelhorn; Steffen Kuehn, trumpet, flugelhorn; Dave Len Scott, trumpet, flugelhorn; Nick Ciardelli, trumpet, flugelhorn; John Gove, lead trombone; Jeanne Geiger, trombone; Mike Renta, bass trombone; Marc Russo, alto and soprano sax; Tom Politzer, tenor sax; Alex Murzyn, tenor and alto sax; and Aaron Lington, baritone sax. A few guest conspirers appear on selected tracks.

Guest conspirator James Genus holds the bass for the opener, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.” The horns and the wah-wah guitar highlight the main theme, with Igoe getting his licks in during transitions. Russo’s alto sax squeaks, squeals and rolls through a blistering middle. After the band revisits the theme, changing keys several times, Politzer offers a brief tenor solo. The mood and tempo are brighter than the textbook, Cannonball Adderley recording.

Read more …


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,526 other followers