Posts Tagged ‘ Jazz ’

Mike Jones Trio – Roaring

We’re going back in time – almost a full century. The Mike Jones Trio revisits the 1920s with Roaring (Capri Records, 2016).

The trio consists of Mike Jones, piano; Katie Thiroux, bass; and Matt Witek, drums.

The album is a collection of fresh arrangements culled from the decade known as the Roaring ’20s, Each song is familiar enough to those who know the standards, but contemporary enough to please modern listeners. Highlights are “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby,” “Mean to Me.”

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Manu Katché – Unstatic

Manu Katché’s previous release was noted for the absence of a bass player. For Unstatic (Anteprima Productions, 2016), the drummer added one.

The band consists of Ellen Andrea Wang, bass and vocals; Jim Watson, piano and keyboards; Tore Brunborg, saxophones; and Luca Aquino, trumpet. Trombonist Nils Landgren appears on several tracks. And the percussion trio of Abraham Rodriguez Mansfarroll, Joel Hierrezuelo Balart and Inor Esteban Sotolongo Zapata assist on “Introduction.”

A stick-a-ti-boom roll introduces the title song. This bouncy jaunt is highlighted by the blended horn section lead, accented by the keyboard. After a couple of passes, Watson stretches out a moment. After a bass-led bridge, Aquino steps in, playing softly but passionately. Watson then sets up Brunborg, who cranks up the heat just a bit, mixing a throaty growl into solo. The song ends with Katché setting the exclamation point.

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Doc Powell – This Is Soul

When I heard about the new album of Doc Powell, I thought by myself, why does he release only so few solo albums? After his debut, Love Is Where It’s At (1987), followed The Doctor (1992), Inner City Blues (1994), Laid Back (1996), Don’t Let the Smooth Jazz Fool Ya (1997), I Claim the Victory (1999), Life Changes (2001), 97th & Columbus (2003), Cool Like That (2004) and For Old Times Sake (2010), his best of album.

His new project This Is Soul (2016) is a reminder of on how many soul, gospel and jazz albums Doc has played as featured lead guitarist. Powell performed with Luther Vandross, Kirk Franklin, Aretha Franklin, Teddy Pendergrass, Jeffrey Osborne, Ashford & Simpson and Dionne Warwick, as well as contemporary jazz giants Grover Washington, Jr., Bob James and McCoy Tyner.

First track on his new album is a rendition of Love on Top, a song by American singer Beyoncé for her fourth studio album 4 (2011). After the first notes you will love Docs’ brilliant guitar sound. He carefully selected this track because it keeps the spirit of Whitney Houston and the Jackson 5, the fabulous music of the 80’s.

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Dan St. Marseille – Invitation

Throwing in a pair of originals with an assortment of covers, Dan St. Marseille has a license to thrill with Invitation (Resurgent Music, 2016).

St. Marseille plays tenor saxophone and clarinet. He’s accompanied by Claudio Roditi, trumpet and flugelhorn; Bill Cunliffe, piano; Roger Shew, bass; and Paul Kreibich, drums. Special guests on three tracks are Gary Foster, alto saxophone and clarinet; and Chris Dawson on piano.

The title song is an elegant take on the classic composed by Bronislaw Kaper. Adapted by many jazz artists over the years, “Invitation” began as a selection in the 1950 film, A Life of Her Own. However, it became a standard after being used as the theme for the 1952 film of the same name. St. Marseille takes point on the first pass of the melody, with Roditi handling what counts for the chorus. On the second chorus, the duet shares the lead with St. Marseille deviating from the prescribed path, creating a charming harmony. What follows is jazz heaven. Roditi stretches out, occasionally dipping into the theme to supplement his free spirit. St. Marseille then steps out in purse, toe-tapping, finger-snapping style. After Cunliffe takes a turn, the song reverts to the theme. The rhythm trio is solid throughout the piece.

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Nori – World Anew

From central Texas comes the unique sound of Nori, presented on World Anew.

The band consists of Akina Adderley, vocals; Erik Telford, trumpet; Nick Litterski, Fender Rhodes; Aaron Allen, upright bass; and Andy Beaudoin, drums.

A cool bass groove sets the pace for “Just a Man.” Adderley’s vocal is accompanied by a parade march beat. After an intense passage where voice and trumpet counter each other’s moves, Allen sets up the spirited solo by Telford. The climax is highlighted by Adderley’s emphatic crooning, aided by the trumpet and keyboard ad libs.

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Todd Hunter Trio – Eat, Drink, Play

Life experience is the inspiration for the Todd Hunter Trio’s Eat, Drink, Play (Dexterity Records, 2016).

Hunter plays piano. Dave Robaire handles bass on all but one track. Rufus Philpot covers it on the closer, “210 to the 15.” Drum duties are split between Steve Hass and Aaron Serfaty.

The opening track is the sunny, upbeat, “Big Bird.” It’s a happy, proud strut through the neighborhood, occasionally changing pace to toss a ball back to a group of kids, or wave to someone on the porch. Hunter can hardly contain his excitement as he plays those keys with the vigor of one who has no troubles on his mind. About two-thirds of the way in, the leader steps aside, giving Robaire a moment to stretch out. The title was inspired by someone Hunter met during travels. The individual reminded Hunter of the Sesame Street character.

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Motor City Jazz Octet – Sanctuary

Drummer and band leader Joe Syrian brings together one of multiple lineups of the Motor City Jazz Octet to present Sanctuary (2016), a short set of six arrangements of jazz classics and pop hits.

The octet is made up eight members at any one time, but the band is a larger collection of Detroit-area musicians who vary from one performance to the next. Press materials show the entire group has 28 players. However, the liner only lists the following for this recording: Steve Wood, tenor sax and flute; Jimmy Smith, trumpet; Mike Rumbell, trombone; Mark Berger, baritone and alto saxophones; Gary Schunk, keyboard; Steve Carryer, guitar; Don Lewandowski, bass; Andrew Lloyd, bass; and Joe Syrian, drums. George Benson and Rick Margitza are listed as guests.

The set begins with a cool, ’70s fusion take on the Beatles’ “Come Together.” Syrian’s high hat work is a constant, as well as the bass line. The horns control the theme, with one trumpet taking lead briefly. A haunting guitar solo is followed by a free-spirited bass interlude. After a bridge the signals a reset, they split for overlapping phrases, with the baritone sax out front, before reverting to the melody.

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