Posts Tagged ‘ Jazz ’

Brandee Younger – Wax & Wane

Continuing her tributes to the sounds created by icons Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane, harpist Brandee Younger makes her own mark in the jazz world with Wax & Wane (2016).

Younger is accompanied by Anne Drummond, concert and alto flutes; Chelsea Baratz, tenor sax; Mark Whitfield, guitar; Dezron Douglas, electric bass; and Dana Hawkins, drums and percussion.

“Soul Vibrations” has a 1970s, disco/funk vibe, influenced mostly by the rhythm guitar effects. However, the song takes on more of a classical feel with the harp and flute melody. After a few passes on the main theme, Younger stretches out for a moment. The music reverts to the theme. Then on the fade, Younger and Drummond step back and let the rhythm section ride it out.

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Colin Cannon – Intermission (Farewell)

Guitarist Colin Cannon changes up his format and goes for the cinematic with his third release, Intermission (Farewell).

Following In Summary (2009) and Glenville, Cannon says goodbye to the Colin Cannon Quartet, an ensemble that played together for seven years. His new approach involves a small orchestra. The musicians are Cannon, guitars, ukulele, vocals, synthesizer and sound effects; Zak Croxall, electric and upright bass; Tom Hartman, drums; Manami Morita, piano, Fender Rhodes and Melodica; Devin Dunne Cannon, Brik Olson, Madison Straton and Alex Mitchell, vocals; Tomako Omura, violin 1 and violin 2; Allyson Clare, viola; Kristine Kruta, cello; David Carkner, trumpet; Sly Onyejiaka, tenor saxophone and bass clarinet; and Yuhan Su, vibraphone.

“Everyday” picks up the melody at the end of “Your Everyday Prelude.” He plays a two-chord rhythm to accompany the orchestra at the start. The music swells briefly, then softens, as Cannon takes point. The song goes through many changes and paces. It’s like a musical adventure through different elements of an individual’s daily life, transitioning from the commute to work, encounters with other people, emotional highs and lows. A mostly instrumental track, a vocal chant joins in during the build-up to the finale. It ends with the playful laughter of children.

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Katherine Farnham – Vintage

She answers to Kool Kat. Pianist and vocalist Katherine Farnham breaks out the cool, the groove, the funky and the ethereal with Vintage (2016).

The music melds several genres, incorporating pop, funk, R&B, spiritual and a hint of easy listening, employing a few jazz musicians to help deliver her messages. The variable lineup of session players consists of Dan Warner, guitar; Dan Feizli, bass; Jason Furman, drums; Akil Thompson, guitar; Roy Vogt, bass; Marcus Finnie, drums and percussion; Jorge Costa, drum programming and background vocals; Kirk Whalum, saxophone on “Star Reacher”; Juancho Herrera, guitars; Nestor Torres, flute on “Mermaid” and “Eternidad (Eternity)”; Andres Canola, guitar and percussion; Danny Jiosa, guitar; additional vocals on “Zip, Zad, Zowee”: Thompson, Finnie and Dave Hagen.

In the “Prelude,” Katherine speaks over an electronic soundscape, asking the question, “How far would you go for love?” It’s an appropriate setup for what’s to come, songs of relationships, romance and pursuit of dreams.

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Julian Shore – Which Way Now?

Tranquility is the theme for pianist Julian Shore’s Which Way Now? (Tone Rogue Records, 2016).

Shore plays solo on a few tracks. On half the songs, he’s accompanied by the quartet of Gilad Hekselman, guitar; Dayna Stephens, tenor sax; Aidan Carroll, bass; and Colin Stranahan, drums. Other contributes are Louis Godwin, alto sax; Noah Preminger, tenor sax and clarinet; Michael Mayo and Alexa Barchini, vocals on “Alpine”; Kurt Ozan, guitar, dobro and pedal steel; Jorge Roeder, bass; Samuel Torres, percussion; and Michael Thomas, clarinet, bass clarinet and alto flute.

Thomas joins the core quintet for “Back Home.” It’s a tranquil, traveling piece that conjures the image of an individual who had been away, perhaps for college or military service, making a long drive home. The music captures the soothing, calming effect of seeing familiar landscapes after months or years away. It’s symbolic of feeling refreshed energy that comes with knowing family and old friends are close. The instruments represent the traveler’s mood and reaction to the occasional sight of birds in flight or animals on the ground enjoying an afternoon romp.

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Bob Wijnen – NYC Unforeseen

To paraphrase Mac Davis and Stevie Wonder, music is a universal language that we all understand. It can take on a special meaning when songs are written with certain people in mind. Pianist Bob Wijnen uses that philosophy on his debut, NYC Unforeseen (2016).

Performing with Wijnen are Peter Bernstein, guitar; Dezron Douglas, bass; and Billy Drummond, drums.

The set opens with a dramatic, 6/8 rhythm, featuring Drummond’s dexterity. “NYC Unforeseen” is an upbeat romp through the city. Bernstein leads the melody, with Wijnen supplying fills. Douglas and Drummond stretch out aplenty, playing underneath Wijnen’s middle solo. The play summons visuals of forays into various nightclubs, seeking that perfect fit. Bernstein follows with his own jaunt. The baton gets passed briefly to Wijnen before the main melody resumes to set up the ending.

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Mings & Craig – Day By Day

Jim Mings and Monty Craig formed the jazz guitar duo Mings and Craig to release their debut album Day By Day. Although both have a personal career, academically teaching included, they joined forces in 2015.

To enjoy the album, it requires two basic preconditions. Firstly, you have to like a pure guitar album. Secondly, you have to love jazz guitar standard music.

Day By Day starts with the duet of both jazz guitarists. They change the lead back and forth, while the seconding guitarist takes over the rhythm or even more harmonious additions. Stylistically the piece is paced in Latin American Bossa Nova.

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Laura Perlman – Precious Moments

From tragedy comes triumph. Laura Perlman. A lover of jazz since childhood, she achieves a lifelong dream with the release of Precious Moments (Miles High Records, 2016).

Musicians performing with Perlman are Bill Cunliffe, piano; Mark Sherman, vibraphone; Chris Colangelo, bass; and Joe La Barbera, drums.

An upbeat, bossa nova vibe accompanies “I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face,” Perlman’s spin on the classics. After Perlman lends her earthy voice to the lyrics, the band kicks it into high gear, with Sherman leading the way on vibes, followed by Cunliffe. An all-stop signals a call and response between Cunliffe and La Barbera. Two exchanges lead Perlman back into the mix. This is one of the brighter, livelier arrangements of this song.

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