Posts Tagged ‘ Jazz ’

Jim Yanda Trio – Regional Cookin’ and Home Road

Is he working overtime? Double time? Triple time? Or is he simply hoarding his collection until such time that he’s ready for a big splash? Either way, guitarist Jim Yanda offers the simultaneous release of two albums, one of them a two-disc set, adding up to nearly two and a half hours of ear candy. The releases are Regional Cookin’ and Home Road (Corner Store Jazz, 2017).

The Jim Yanda Trio consists of Yanda, Phil Haynes on drums and Drew Gress on bass.

The answer to the above questions is Yanda has been holding onto this material. The trio has been together for 30 years, but somehow has remained relatively unknown. The first album was recorded in 1987, but had not been released. The second album covers newly recorded material.

Read more …

Fabrizio Cassol – Strange Fruit

Strange fruit (n): an expression of dismay upon seeing human bodies hanging from trees, the victims of murder, lynchings perpetrated by those who considered those they killed less than human. Fabrizio Cassol adopts the jazz-blues standard as the title of his project, Strange Fruit (Instinct Collection, 2017).

Cassol plays alto saxophone. The musicians who appear in mix-and-match combinations are Baba Sissoko, vocals, ngoni, tama and tamani; Diely Moussa Kouyate, guitar; Zoumana Tereta, so kou; Magic Malik, flute; Laurent Blondiau, trumpet; Bo Van der Wert, baritone saxophone; Michel Massot, trombone; Stephane Galland, drums; Michel Hatzigeorgiou, electric bass; Oumou Sangare, vocals; La Choraline, choir; Eric Legnini, keyboards, Hammond organ; Manu Codjia, guitar; Claron McFadden, vocals; Makhan Cissoko, vocals and tama; Djimbe Sissoko, vocals and tama; Bazoumana Sissoko, vocals and tama; Djatourou Sissoko, vocals and tama; Yacouba Sissoko, vocals and tama; Fabian Fiorini, piano; Kris Dane, vocals and guitar; Melissa Givens, vocals; Marie Daulne, vocals; Hamane Toure, guitar; Sekouh Bah, electric bass; Dejeneba Dansoko, backing vocals; Pamela Badiogo Mahapa, backing vocals; Renauld Crols, violin; Kezia Daulne, vocals; David Linx, vocals; Sarah Klenes, backing vocals; Anu Junnonnen, backing vocals; Aka Moon jazz trio.

The set opens with “Didadi Horns,” which blends an African cultural motif with a touch of funk. Baba Sissoko has the lead vocal. The horns are reminiscent of some late 1960s or early ‘70s songs or film scores composed by a combination of Lalo Schifrin, Isaac Hayes or Quincy Jones. It’s a call to gather and freedom.

Read more …

Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr – Landed in Brooklyn

In a way, it’s like a present-day reinvention of mild jazz fusion. But then it’s many other things. Landed in Brooklyn (ACT Music, 2017) by brothers Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr touch several bases, with regard to types of jazz.

The players are Julian Wasserfuhr, trumpet and flugelhorn; Roman Wasserfuhr, piano, marimba and seaboard; Donny McCaslin, tenor saxophone; Tim Lefebvre, electric and double bass; and Nate Wood, drums.

“Bernie’s Tune” is a bright, upbeat selection. Though it is its own song, it revisits the type of music that made Chuck Mangione a breakthrough crossover success in 1977. McCaslin duets with Julian, providing a counter melody to the lead. After their dynamic opening sequence, the horns step back, and the piano emerges. The mood for the entire piece, but especially the solos, is ideal for an afternoon, sightseeing drive.

Read more …

Jason Anick and Jason Yeager – United

Jason squared? Possibly even Jason tripled, or whatever the mathematical equivalent of a tripling of something may be. Jason Anick and Jason Yeager team up for pleasing mix of old and new with United (Inner Circle Music, 2017).

The musicians are Jason Anick, violin and mandolin; Jason Yeager, piano; Greg Loughman, bass; Mike Connors, drums; John Lockwood, bass; Jerry Leake, percussion; Jason Palmer, trumpet; Clay Lyons, alto saxophone; and George Garzone, tenor saxophone.

Often, people who aren’t used to jazz will describe the sound as “so relaxing.” To many, that is taken as a bit of an insult – as if the speaker is saying jazz is boring, sleep-inducing. United is one example of how that description, relaxing, can be both accurate and positive.

Read more …

Ben Rosenblum – Instead

How does one emerge on the scene in a trio format and be distinctive? Well, one way is to bring some original material and take ownership of covers. Pianist Ben Rosenblum accomplishes this with his debut, Instead (One Trick Dog Records, 2017).

Accompanying Rosenblum are Curtis Lundy, bass; and Billy Hart, drums.

Rosenblum successfully avoids sounding ordinary by steering clear of the standards, popular jazz songs that have been covered ad nauseam. Instead, perhaps a hint of the thinking behind the album title, he composes six original songs and reinterprets five others that are a bit off the beaten path.

Read more …

Joel Larue Smith – The Motoroman’s Son

Pianist and composer Joel Larue Smith has a passion for mixing styles, Afro-Cuban, jazz and classical. He presents samples of each with The Motoroman’s Son (2017).

Personnel are Charles Langford, alto saxophone; Carlos Averhoff Jr., tenor saxophone; Jeff Galindo and Takahide Watanabe, trombones; Flavio Lira, bass; Tiago Michelin, drums; and Wilson “Chembo” Coriel, tumbadoras, which is a type of hand drum.

Each song is a work of a wonder. Standouts are “The Seed,” “Reverence,” “The Motorman’s Son” and “Sin Miedo.” Lira and the percussionists set the tone for most of the tracks, laying a solid foundation for the melodies and solos. On some tracks, Smith pairs with one of the saxes for a beautiful blend. The faster songs shift gears multiple times, altering both the themes and moods, as if on a journey through varied terrains and climates. The listener must take care not to presume a change is another song.

Read more …

Steve Khan – Backlog

There was the stunning electric guitar solo on the disco-fueled, big band cover of the Star Wars theme with Maynard Ferguson. Then there was the beautiful end solo to Steely Dan’s “Glamour Profession.” And apart from those, there were guest appearances with numerous other artists, his partnership with keyboardist Rob Mounsey and a brilliant solo career. The point is, you see Steve Khan’s name, you know what you’re going to get: musical fulfillment. That tradition continues with Backlog (Tone Center Records, 2017).

Personnel on this date are Ruben Rodriguez, baby bass and electric bass; Mark Walker, drums; Marc Quinones, timbal, bongo and percussion; and Bobby Allende, conga and bongo. Guests appearing selected tracks are Randy Brecker, trumpet on “Latin Genetics”; Bob Mintzer, tenor sax on “Invisible”; Mike Mainieri, vibes on “Head Start”; Rob Mounsey, keyboards, orchestrations and orchestral arrangements on several songs; and Tatiana Parra, voice on “Catta.”

Khan’s treatment of Ornette Coleman’s “Latin Genetics” presents a festive offering. Khan and Brecker are in unison for the melody. The rhythm section is as prominent here as the two leads, offering plenty of variety as they maintain the beat. Brecker and Khan take turns adding to the block party mood with extended solos.

Read more …