Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Roomful of Blues: Hook, Line & Sinker (2011)

Roomful of Blues - the gold standard of blues bands for more than 40 years with over 340,000 sales worldwide. 'Hook, Line & Sinker' is their rollicking new blast of guitar-stoked, horn-fired R&B. Exuberant soul-shout vocals, razor-sharp guitar work, impeccable ensemble horn playing and a skin-tight rhythm section all come together on a boisterous, satisfying new Roomful of Blues album.
1. That's A Pretty Good Love 2:55
2. She Walks Right In 3:32
3. Hook, Line and Sinker 2:50
4. Kill Me 3:55
5. Gate Walks To Board 4:01
6. Juice, Juice, Juice 2:42
7. Ain't Nothin' Happenin' 3:10
8. Win With Me Baby 3:50
9. It 4:01
10. Come On Home 2:36
11. Time Brings About A Change 5:32
12. Just A Little Love 2:23
Hook, Line & Sinker
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Paul Hardcastle: Desire (2011)

The timing could not be more perfect for the release of 'Desire'- in time for the Valentine's holiday. Long considered the purveyor of sexy and sensual sides, Hardcastle gathers many of his most intimate soundscapes from the past 20 years, complimented by three brand new tracks, 'Valentines,' featuring the vocals of daughter Maxine, 'Ready or Not,' and 'Dont You Know (Ibiza Chill Mix),' the sum of which is, as the title suggest, the ultimate album of seduction.
Named after one of the most popular hits, 'Desire' seems the apt title for the assemblage of songs rife with feeling and emotion that will surely provide the perfect soundtrack for any holiday or occasion that speaks of feelings for a loved one.
A must have for Hardcastle fans and lovers alike.
01. Desire (4:23)
02. Valentines (3:44)
03. Forever Dreamin' (4:46)
04. Closer (4:51)
05. Wonderland (4:49)
06. Lost Summer (5:16)
07. Same Place Same Time (5:50)
08. Lost In Space (4:54)
09. Smooth Jazz Is Bumpin (4:07)
10. Cloud Watching (5:28)
11. Ready or Not (4:15)
12. Don't You Know [Ibiza Chill Mix] (4:50)
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Lauren Jordan: Dreams (2010)

When I first put on this CD I immediately was struck by the fact that it was excellently recorded, balanced and mixed. Off to a great start. I have to say that no matter how good a singer, guitar player or band is if the mix ani’t got it then I just tend to pass it on by ---- but not this one. Not in the least. I’ll get to Ms Lauren in a minuet but right now I’ll address the band.
Guitar, Anthony Paule, what a smooth sweet tone he plays with and develops. Most of the time I know at the drop of an eighth note what guitar a cat is playing but this Paule has the cross between that tube amped ‘Strat’ and a fat solid bodied ‘Paul sound. Nice. Very very tasty. If you love that smooth guitar then Anthony is your guitar man. Bass, Paul Olguin, a musician who plays with the band and not against it. One of my pet peeves is a bass player who over drives everyone on stage or in the studio. Not Paul. He knows all the right notes and all the right levels. My kind of player. Keys, Julie Wolf, great keys seasoned just right and every now and then a pinch of that soulful sound I love so well the B3 sound. Drums, maybe the best for last? I really can’t say that with those guitar licks still right in front of me but Lee Thompson lays down the beat like a man torn between old style big band rhythms and an old school James Brown drummer held back for all he’s worth. Very very cool. All in all a band worth taking notice of now, on CD or live!
Now lets get to Ms Lauren Jordan - I’ll admit the first hand full of tracks were the kind of blues one puts on, pulls up their cutie and pours a glass of fine red wine to enjoy along with the music. That is until I got to track 6, ‘Stuck On A Plane’. Baby if this gal never studied the music of Janis Joplin I’ll be a monkeys uncle. Slow, sweet and about to explode at any second. You could cut her tension with a knife. Liquid dynamic with the drums laying down the style of less is more. My kind of playing.
It took several tacks for this CD to truly get my attention but now its got it. ‘Stuck On A Plane’, here comes that sprinkling of the Hammond sound, guitar leading strong but subtle block chord changes ------ building, building building! Oh yeah baby! This is the sleeper gem of the whole CD. Now you won’t want to fast dance to this one but grab your baby and slow dance the night away with her, Lauren and the entire band! Next is Angels Flying High. Hell Yes! More of that Janis inspired soulful Blues, can’t be missed. I’m not going to tell you about every track on the CD except that within the recording are some of the tastiest tracks I’ve heard in a long long time!
01. Warm-Up
02. Hollywood
03. Let Me Fly Away
04. Kallie
05. Little Diamond
06. Stuck On A Plan
07. As I Am
08. I'm Tellin' You
09. Smokin' Train
10. Heaven Or Hell
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Victor Bailey: Slippin' N' Trippin' (2010)

One of the greatest bass guitar players of all time. As fine an example of funky jazz fusion and virtuoso bass guitar playing as you will ever hear.
Bassist Victor Bailey returns with his strongest and most consistent effort to date,titled Slippin’ N’ Trippin’. Bailey states “on this record I wanted to feature more of my bass guitar than on my other cd’s. I’m also a versatile keyboardist,vocalise a little, and play a little drums too”.
As usual Bailey serves up a variety of great feels,grooves and of course incredible bass playing. Standouts include the opener “Ape School” wth some innovative slapping and tapping over a surprising supple dance/funk feel. We follow that up with the title track “Slippin’ N’ Trippin’,with a shockingly strong vocal performance by Bailey and a great drum track by the legendary Billy Cobham. Next is an incredible rendition of John Coltrane’s Countdown,featuring Ron Carter on acoustic bass. Then he slows things down with his lovely ballad “I Wonder”,and displays exceptional arranging skills on the classic song Alfie, featuring a rare performance on fretless bass. He puts in a fine vocal performance on “Like A Horn” featuring some of the best bebop bass playing ever heard anywhere.Included is an innovative rendition of the Prince classic “Kiss” recorded with all bass guitars. We get a little gospel feel with “If You Say So” and finish off with the classic funk/fusion jam “Lucky Punch” featuring an amazing drum solo by Bailey’s former Weather Report bandmate Omar Hakim.With names like Hakim, Cobham, Lenny White and Ron Carter you can be sure this is music of the highest order.
1. Ape School [02:11]
2. Slippin' N' Trippin' [07:07]
3. I Wonder [05:11]
4. Countdown [02:26]
5. Alfie [04:22]
6. Like A Horn [05:38]
7. If You Say So [05:22]
8. Slippin' N' Trippin' Part 2 [01:58]
9. Lucky Punch [06:49]
Slippin' N' Trippin'
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Jazz Pistols: Superstring (2010)

For fifteen years the Jazz Pistols have been working on their Energy-Jazz. They are however, still able to discover new elements and levels of performance a fact that not only surprises themselves, but also their audiences.
This versatility is one of the strengths of the Jazz Pistols. Even formed like a classic jazz trio the Jazz Pistols have developped a sensational variety of sound which they can easily translate live without the need for loops and overdubs . It is rare that Jazz-Rock - notoriously known as the music for musicians -is able to create this fascination on listeners - even when they normally don't like fusion music. The extraordinary density of sound, the catchy melodies of the complex pieces, and culture of the musicianship - the Jazz Pistols are quite different from similar bands.
Stefan Ivan Schafer: His striking and variabel guitar sound carries and leads the band through ballads and hard groove pieces. His solo numbers melt into the compositions and with their catchy melodies are truly extraordinary. He is among one of the best guitarists in Germany , composes and plays for Uwe Ochsenknecht and can be found on various samplers.
Christoph Victor Kaiser: Through his extraordinary tapping technique Christoph constantly is the harmonic backing of the band and simultanously creates musical intensification that cannot be expected. As recipiant of a scholarship from the renowned Berklee College of Music / Boston and due to his technical expertise the Jazz Pistols bass player he is internationally known and has been sought after as interview partner for international music publications.
Thomas Lui Ludwig: As lecturer at the Pop Academy in Mannheim, Germany, and through his work with Jule Neigel, Uwe Ochsenknecht, Vanilla Ninja and Chaka Khan Lui belongs to the absolute top of the german drummer elite. With Jazz Pistols Lui develops a polyrhythmic firework of extraordinary proportions, is constant support and manages at the same time to distance himself from traditional forms.
Each member of the group is an accomplished musician with his individual style. Theband combines their diverse talents into an exciting whole featuring varied original compositions, arrangements rich in texture, and infectious solo performances.
It is surprising for a trio to show such expressiveness, variety of style and versatility; the reason why the Jazz Pistols captivate their audiences with this compactness and flexibility. Beside festival- and clubgigs in Germany and other countries the Jazz Pistols have toured twenty-six countries of Africa and Europe in the last years.
1. Superstring (7:44)
2. Chick San (8:35)
3. Berns?Rotation (3:45)
4. New One (8:41)
5. Three views of a secret (7:06)
6. SMBH (8:06)
7. Sex in a pan (5:25)
8. Old Fart (7:20)
9. Rubicon (2:42)
Stefan Ivan Schaeffer: Guitar
Christoph Victor Kaiser: Bass
Thomas Lui Ludwig: Drums
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

David Sanborn: Songs From the Night Before (1996)

David Sanborn's distinctive alto is all over this set, caressing the melodies and playing short soulful solos in typical fashion. Joined by an electronic quartet that features prominent work by Ricky Peterson on keyboards (including bass and drum programming), plus a horn section, Sanborn gives humanity and honest feeling to what could have been an anonymous effort. In addition to the many originals, the influential altoist plays tasteful versions of Wayne Shorter's "Infant Eyes" and Eddie Harris' catchy "Listen Here." ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
1. Relativity 04:56
2. D.S.P. 05:00
3. Rikke 04:03
4. Listen Here 03:29
5. Spooky 03:58
6. Missing You 04:53
7. Rumpelstiltskin 04:16
8. Infant Eyes 03:30
9. Southern Exposure 04:36
Songs From the Night Before
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Adam Nitti: Luminal (2009)

Adam Nitti has always played the bass with a lot of energy. His performance on Liminal, his latest CD release, is no exception. Surrounding himself with a first-rate band, including Mike Whittaker on keyboards, Shane Theriot on guitar, Marcus Finnie on drums and Jeff Coffin on tenor sax, Nitti’s newest effort is outstanding on many levels.
First off is the fact that Nitti not only produced the album, but also composed and arranged all the tunes, which he performs using a combination of 5- and 6-string basses. Careful not to make Liminal “just another bass record,” Adam takes an unselfish approach, giving plenty of room to the other band members to stretch out, treating everyone with equal importance. (Don’t worry, bass enthusiasts – there is still plenty of stellar bass playing, including slapping, tapping and other techniques that can be executed by no one other than Adam Nitti.)
Liminal is cohesive, yet also contains plenty of variety, always keeping the listener engaged. The compositions are strong, the arrangements are well written and the performance is great throughout. Making the CD even more enjoyable is the crystal clear production and overall sound quality.
Adam Nitti, already firmly established in the bass community, is still quite young, which makes one wonder what we can expect from him as his career continues to develop. If Liminal is any indication of how his talents and artistry are unfolding, there’s good news ahead for music lovers in general and bass lovers in particular.
01- The Renaissance Man/Rebirth [06:45]
02- Distraction [06:40]
03- Liminal [06:26]
04- Redemption Street [09:03]
05- The Seven Year Swing [06:47]
06- The Last Walk Home (Nakita's Song) [01:48]
07- Not Foresaken [06:04]
08- The Good Foot [06:53]
09- II Cuore Del Campione (for Christophe) [07:36]
10- (Hidden Track) Vivere I'Aperitivo [04:35]

Friday, January 21, 2011

Akira Jimbo: Jimbojamboree (2011)

The new CD of Japanese superdrummer Akira Jimbo released on January 11, 2011 features Abraham Laboriel on bass and vocals, Allen Hinds on guitar and Otmaro Ruiz on keyboards.
Japanese master drummer is at it again. This blazing Japanese fusion CD feature the best in musicians and great compositions. It must have for all fusion fans.
01. Let Me Be Yourself Special
02. Go Your Way
03. Jimbo Jamboree
04. Wind Your Clock
05. Ding Ling Go Go
06. Eternal Summer
07. Tokyo Summer Heat
08. Banana Strut
09. So Bad Boogie
10. Hitomi
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Julian Arguelles: Phaedrus (2010)

Julian Arguelles (born 28 January 1966 in Birmingham, UK) is a saxophonist. He is currently a member of the HR Big Band in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Arguelles started playing with big bands including the European Community Big Band that toured throughout Europe. In 1984 he moved to London. He studied briefly at Trinity College of Music before joining the much acclaimed band Loose Tubes, staying with them for four years and recording two albums. In 1986 he received the prestigious Pat Smythe award for young musicians. The first album by Julian Arguelles , Phaedrus, featured pianist John Taylor. The second CD Home Truths was a quartet which included Steve Swallow. Julian has worked with musicians drawn from around the world including Archie Shepp, Tim Berne, Hermeto Pascoal, Steve Swallow, John Abercrombie, Dave Holland, Peter Erskine, Chris McGregor, Evan Parker, Mike Gibbs, John Scofield, Carla Bley, Dudu Pukwana, Arturo Sandoval, and Giorgio Gaslini. Julian is also a member of several big bands including The Kenny Wheeler Big Band, Django Bates' Delightful Precipice and Colin Towns' Mask Orchestra.
“It’s good to find a record that does justice to British saxophonist Julian Argьelles extraordinary talents. Julian plays to his lyrical, passionate and highly individual best on soprano and tenor.” (Linton Chiswick, Time Out)
1.Phaedrus (8:50)
2.The Invisible Thread (9:28)
3.Duet (1:43)
4.Forests (9:27)
5.Maxine (6:41)
6.Red Rag (4:47)
7.Wild Rice (5:11)
8.Everything I Love (8:04)
9.Hi Steve (7:04)
Julian Arguelles - tenor/soprano sax
John Taylor - piano
Mick Hutton - bass
Martin France - drums
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Frank Klimbrough: Rumours (2010)

Rumors is Frank Kimbrough's fourth release for Palmetto Records. A constant winner in the Downbeat Critics Poll and a much sought after sideman, Frank is a regular member of the Maria Schneider Orchestra and is featured prominently on her Grammy award winning CD, Concert in the Garden.
01. Six
02. TMI
03. Hope
04. Rumors
05. Sure As We're Here
06. Forsythia
07. Over
08. For Andrew
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Clemens van der Feen Band: High Places (2011)

After some occasional drumming on various items, Clemens (1980) began singing and playing bass guitar in the band of his older brothers (the Feenbrothers) at the age of eleven. Later on, he studied jazz and classical bass at the Conservatories of Amsterdam and Detmold (Germany) and received his Master Degree with honors.
After playing with world famous orchestras like the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, he decided to focus solely on jazz and improvised music. He lived in New York for a while to take private lessons with Ben Street and John Pattituci, among others.
Clemens has won several jazz awards, including first prize at the Capbreton Bass Encounter in 1999 (France). He also won Best New Talent Award in the 2001 Dutch Jazz Competition and the Ruud Jacobs Award. In 2009, he was semi-finalist at the Thelonious Monk Competition in Washington.
Clemens co-leads a band called Narcissus, with reedman Robin Verheyen, drummer Flin van Hemmen and pianist Jozef Dumoulin. In 2010 he started is own group called the Clemens van der Feen Band, which features guitarist Jesse van Ruller, Harmen Fraanje (piano/wurlitzer), Flin van Hemmen (drums) and his brother Paul van der Feen (saxophones). The album also features the great Toots Thielemans and has appearred in January 2011.
Currently, Clemens is playing with the Michael Moore Quartet, Roelofs/Ruller/Feen trio, Harmen Fraanje Trio, Ensemble a l’improviste, Franz von Chossy Trio, Paul Wiltgen Group and the Toots Thielemans Quartet. Clemens also performed with Eric Vloeimans, Tony Malaby, Nelson Veras, Karel Boehlee, Nelson Veras, Seamus Blake, Gino Vannelli, Toon Roos, Rick Margitza, Bill Carrothers and many more. Clemens has been playing all over the world from jazz clubs in Paris and Tokyo to the Musikverein in Vienna and Carnegie Hall in New York. Since 2010, Clemens teaches bass at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.
01. Peaceguns
02. Brothers
03. Intro
04. Baby baby
05. The devil's delusion
06. Round it goes
07. End of the walk
08. Happy and rich
09. Tuesday
10. High places
11. Middle of the seven
12. Ziel
High Places
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Monday, January 17, 2011

George Colligan: Isolation (2010)

Since his recording debut (1995) with Activism (SCCD 31382), George Colligan has proven to be a leading instrumentalist / composer of the younger generation, whose prolific outputs since received international acclaim from both critics and public.
On this new release – third solo album on the label, Mark Gardner remarks, “…this particular release, to my ears, is of greater significance as it reveals the unalloyed core of his music and the man's ultimate self-reliance.“
Tracklist:01. Song For Sinne 6:02
02. Lonely Wind 5:37
03. Dead Of Winter 6:00
04. Flint Michigan 5:35
05. The Wrong Stuff 7:00
06. Isolation 4:48
07. The Secret Of Andreas' Beard 5:25
08. Simple Pleasures 5:24
09. The Old Danish Castle 6:02
10. The Road Back 6:18
11. Regret 3:17
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Colin Vallon, Patrice Moret, Samuel Rohrer: Rruga (2011)

This is a piano trio whose gifted leader is influenced, he says, more by singers than pianists, and the group ‘sings’ in its own unique way – with an emphasis on melody, texture, shading, and dynamics. Restraint is a watchword: demonstrative, soloistic flights are avoided. This is group music that builds tension through restraint, until eruptive energies can no longer be resisted. One of the inspirational sources here is music of the Caucasus. In their pieces Vallon and company sometimes draw directly on music of the region. The collective composition “Iskar”, for instance, named for the river that runs through Sofia, references “Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares”. “Rruga” itself derives its momentum from a Turkish rhythm by Erkan Oğur. “Meral”, too, is influenced by Turkish folk music. These are some of the colours that inform this jazz trio. But there are also many other elements at work – Patrice Moret’s tune “Telepathy”, for instance is inspired by Radiohead.
9.Rruga, var.
Colin Vallon: piano
Patrice Moret: double-bass
Samuel Rohrer: drums
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Nicolas Simon: Transylvanian Jazz (2009)

After more than 25 years of playing and writing music focused in a particular direction—mixing folk music and modern jazz with the other styles of music—I am still in the middle of the process. With each experience I get closer to what I feel is an ideal way of melting those sounds together, doing a crossover and coming to a point where one can say: "it sounds fresh and original, it sounds like—good music!” Finding the right people and experimenting with different musicians and instruments is always a challenge. This particular project could be labeled “ethno jazz,” “folk jazz” or “Balkan jazz”. I call it simply “music.” Looking back at my early CDs like Transylvanian Dance, Back to the Roots, Balkan Jazz, Romanian Dance or Transylvanian Grooves, to name a few, I thought that Transylvanian Jazz would be a good title for the next project.
This is the first project where I invited more musicians playing folk instruments than musicians playing conventional instruments. Everyone is a great player and a great personality on his own, so it was easy for me to line up the best grouping for each tune, to create a colorful group sound with a repertoire that is stylistically cohesive. I wanted to get the feeling and the mood of Transylvanian and Romanian folk music, to write or arrange a few songs like Hora Staccato, Lullaby or Colind in a very simple way and have fun playing them. They have something in common: scales, rhythms, chord changes, melodies, atmosphere. And they sound organic. It's like a picture, like a landscape with lots of details and contrasts.
Hora Staccato is a violin standard that nearly every violinist has heard and played. Grigoras Dinicu, a great Romanian violin player, wrote and performed it many times. Jascha Heifetz, another great classical violin player, arranged it for violin and piano and brought it into the classical repertoire. I kept the marvelous melody very close to the original but changed the comping and chords, alternating the original harmony with some poly chords and incorporating alternating time signatures. The melody is a fast 4/4 and the comping is an alternating slow 3/4 (half time) and fast 4/4.
On Lullaby, based on the “Chanson pour Bercer” from the George Enescu masterpiece, Impressions d'Enfance, I took the lullaby-like melody and repeated it over and over again, producing a dreamlike mood. The character of the piece then transforms into something else. It is like a fairytale. It speaks to us about other places, other times, about being lost in the depths of space somewhere, sometime….
Colind is a very old traditional Christmas song from Transylvania, from the village of Leud in Hunedoara. This masterpiece was transcribed and recorded by Bela Bartok almost 100 years ago and arranged for the solo piano album, Rumдnische Weihnachtslieder.
By keeping the music easier and simpler and by following the mood of each song, the spirit and the soul of it can come alive. This was always my idea, to make a timeless music. Now how good we did it—it's up to you to say.
I am very glad that the Romanian Culture Institute (ICR) from Bucharest trusted me and my musician friends and supported this project. It is great music inspired by the great old tradition of the Romanian folk music. It may be more Romanian or Transylvanian jazz but it's still sounding like universal music, a little American, Eastern European, African, Oriental, pop, Indian and so on. It is the music of our time. It has a strong rhythmic element, some gorgeous melodies, it swings, it grooves, you can dance if you want; you can just listen and dream if you like, it is yours now. We really enjoyed playing it. Just hear it and sing with us.
Last, but not least, I would like to say thank you to my musician friends and colleagues for their passion and support, for making the music sound so natural and beautiful and for putting their soul into the music. Gjako, Martin Lubenov, Zoltan, Giani, Sorin and Boris: I compliment you guys for your creativity and thank you for your friendship. --Nicolas Simion, from liner notes
1 Transylvanian Wood 6:16
2 Bear Dance 7:37
3 Children' Song 5:05
4 Colind (#3) (dedicated to Bela Bartok) 5:19
5 Wedding Song At The Black Sea 4:53
6 Lullaby For Pinx (dedicated to George Enescu) 5:54
7 The Village Is Getting Drunk 6:10
8 Hora Funk 5:58
9 Doina & Girl's Dance 2:43
10 dance from Maramuresh 7:49
11 Hora Staccato 1:39
12 Three Leaved Flower 3:10
Nicolas Simion clarinet, bass-ciarinet, soprano & tenor saxophones, caval
Zoltan Lantos violin
Martin Lubenov accordion
Giani Lincan cymbalon
Sorin Romanescu guitar
Martin Gjakonovski bass
Boris Petrov drums
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Casiopea: Light and Shadows (1997)

"Light and Shadows" is the 23rd studio album released by the jazz fusion group Casiopea in 1997.
01. Golden Wave
02. Forbidden Fruits
03. Chain Reaction
04. Missing Days
05. Speeded age
06. The Tease
07. Don't Leave me Alone
08. Movin'
09. The Smile of Tender
10. Riddle
11. A Dressy Morning
Issei Noro - Guitars
Minoru Mukaiya - keyboards
Yoshihiro Naruse - Bass
Additional Musicians
Akira Jimbo - drums (M-2,3,4,7,8,9,10,11), Electric Percussion & Timbales (M-1,3,5,6,7,9)
Harvey Mason - Drums (M-1,5,6)
Light & Shadows
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Bob Mintzer: Canyon Cove (2010)

Between a bevy of sideman dates, longstanding gigs with Yellowjackets and his own big band, and periodic small ensemble recordings like the unassuming and heartfelt In the Moment (Art of Life, 2007), Bob Mintzer has remained one of the busiest woodwind multi-instrumentalists in jazz for nearly four decades, since first cutting his teeth as youngster with drum legend/mentor Buddy Rich. Largely focusing on the rich bebop tradition and its various offshoots, Mintzer has always managed to remain relevant by placing himself into a multiplicity of contexts. Mintzer visits the organ trio tradition on Canyon Cove, with a set of largely original material alongside one reworked standard and three free improvisations.
It's hard for Mintzer to miss with this trio of equally players. He's worked with drummer Peter Erskine countless times over the years, from bassist Jaco Pastorius' Word of Mouth big band to pianist Don Grolnick's overlooked mini-classsic, Weaver of Dreams (Blue Note, 1990) and the all- star Hudson Project (Concord, 2000). Mintzer's relationship with organist Larry Goldings is more recent; Canyon Cove was, in fact, originally intended for another organ great, Joey DeFrancesco. But Goldings is far more than just a sub: with artists ranging from guitarist John Scofield and saxophonist Michael Brecker to piano icon Herbie Hancock— the in-demand keyboardist has traveled the full range of the jazz spectrum and beyond.
All three players have more than enough cred in a range of tradition-centric projects to give Canyon Cove the same ring of truth of Mintzer's piano trio-driven In the Moment, though this time the reedman also includes three spontaneous, numbered improvisations, with guest Judd Miller on EWI, an electronic, wind-driven instrument that triggers sampled sounds and synthesized textures. "Improv #3" runs at a fast clip, with Erskine's delicate ride cymbal driving the pulse, while the drummer's lithe brushwork propels the equally swinging "#2" and those same brushes give the set-closing "#3" its gently funky pulse. All three tracks feel preconceived, despite their in-the-moment nature, and feature Mintzer on bass clarinet, an instrument that he's made definitive in his work over the years.
It's when Mintzer breaks out the longer horn on improvised sections—and on structured material like the ambling but ever-so-slightly outré "Road Well Traveled," and incendiary blues, "Bebop Special" (doubling the latter's head on flute)—that Canyon Cove truly transcends the norm. That said, his tenor work remains impressive on the more modernistic bent of "Somewhere Up There," Latin- esque "Papa Lips" and greasy funk of "Bugaloo to You."
There's even a nod to progressive rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer on the energetic title track, though Goldings can't help but imbue the music, driven by Erskine's rockier pulse, with considerably more taste and far less excess than Keith Emerson, even at his most understated. It's evidence that even the most committed jazzers listen to music beyond its broadest purview. Still, Canyon Cove is, for the most part, a centrist affair that, like Mintzer's last small group disc, is an honest, unassuming and, consequently, thoroughly enjoyable affair.
01. Somewhere Up There - Mintzer
02. Bebop Special - Mintzer
03. Papa Lips - Mintzer
04. Bugaloo to You - Mintzer
05. Thaddeus - Mintzer
06. When I Fall in Love - Mintzer, Young
07. Improv No. 3 - Erskine, Goldings, Miller, Mintzer
08. Road Well Traveled - Mintzer
09. Truth - Mintzer
10. Mr. Fonebone - Mintzer
11. Improv No. 2 - Erskine, Goldings, Miller, Mintzer
12. Canyon Cove - Mintzer
13. Improv No. 1 - Erskine, Goldings, Miller, Mintzer
Personnel: Bob Mintzer: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Peter Erskine: drums, percussion; Larry Goldings: organ; Judd Miller: EWI (7, 11, 13)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Agusti Fernandez: Morning Glory (2010)

Morning Glory rises as a monument dedicated to all music; music that has come and gone, music in the making, and music yet to come. Any genre, any emotion, any referent finds expression in this work, where introspection (“An Anonymous Soul”) mixes with euphoria (“Morning Glory”), love (“La nina de la calle Ibiza”) with grieving over a love that shall remain unspoken (“Mourning”), and a wink at baroque forms (“Benito”) with one at Ornette Coleman (“Zahori”)... Two sides of a coin, and a strong enough argument to accept the invitation extended by these three boatmen to enlist on a journey where relentless search, uncertain outcomes, and constant surprises are the leitmotiv for them surely, but for us as well.
Agusti Fernandez - Piano
Barry Guy - Double Bass
Ramon Lopez - Drums and Percussion
Disc One Morning Glory
01. La Nina de la Calle Ibiza
02. Morning Glory
03. Unfinished Letter
04. Zahori
05. An Anonymous Soul
06. Perpetuum Mobile
07. Benito
08. The Magical Chorus
09. Glade
10. Mourning A Sudden Appearance
11. Belvedere
Disc Two Live in New York
01. Don Miguel
02. Odyssey
03. Can Ram
04. David M
05. Aurora
06. No Ni No
07. Rounds
2-disc set containing Morning Glory and Live in New York
CD 1 Recorded 5 & 6. February 2010 in 44.1 Estudi de Gravacio, Girona
CD 2 Recorded live 14. May 2009 in the Jazz Standard, New York
Morning Glory
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Steve Oliver: Radiant (2006)

The smooth Jazz hit `Good to Go' is the best way to describe this project for Steve Oliver. The guitarist puts you into a feel good mood right from the outset on the cut `Feeling Good'. The smooth work on `Tradewinds' lures you into a somewhat funky groove. 'Cool' definitely lives up to it name and his rendition of Buffalo Springfield's 'For What it's Worth' is quite impressive. Equally impressive is the talent accompanying him on the project, featuring: former Al Jarreau saxophonist Michael Paulo, Spyro Gyra's keyboardist Tom Schuman, bassist Gerald Veasley and Stevie Wonders trumpet player Steve Madeao. This CD adds a little pop flavor to the mix with `Bend or Break'. A softer side of Steve Oliver is manifested in `Shine' and `Across the Water'. Putting all these factors together for the Radiant project, I can truly say this album is `Good to Go'!
01. Feeling Good
02. Tradewinds
03. For What Its Worth
04. Good To Go
05. Shadow of the Moon
06. Cool
07. Bend or Break
08. Across The Water
09. Reach the Sky
10. Shine
11. Radiant Dreams
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jason Ajemian: Protest Heaven (2010)

Bassist Jason Ajemian assembled a company of improvisers in December, 2006 at Heaven Gallery in Chicago as part of a music series he had been curating since 2002. The assemblage named Jason Ajemian's Daydream Full Lifestyles contained the infamous Chicago Underground players Rob Mazurek (trumpet), Chad Taylor (drums) and Jeff Parker (guitar), plus the well-traveled Tony Malaby (tenor saxophone), Ajemian's mentor from his university days.
The result is heard here in a limited edition 180g vinyl release (also available as MP3). This is not the concert in its entirety, but carefully elected sections, with pieces rearranged for album flow. As this is fully improvised sound, the reconstruction is an additional rephrasing by Ajemian and gives the music more of a composed feel.
The bassist first caught listeners attention in the bands Triage (with Dave Rempis and Tim Daisy) and Dragons 1976 (with Aram Shelton and Daisy) and has since been heard with Mazurek in Mandarin Movie and Exploding Star Orchestra with Bill Dixon, just a few of nearly 20 bands of which he is a member. His debut recording The Art Of Dying (Delmark, 2008) made multiple "best of" lists.
The music, although improvised has a choreographed texture. That's attributable to the players, whose purpose is to make music. Grandstanding is not heard here. The players maintain an agreeable posture throughout. For example, on "Light Up," a short blues ramble, Jeff Parker is disposed to support a line, Tony Malaby follows and Chad Taylor adds accents. The band is satisfied to keep tension to a minimum, and the lack of that tension/release formula makes these improvised pieces quite special. The surprise comes in the edit, where on two tracks, the music cuts off in midstream as a shock to the ears.
Mazurek's trumpet and Malaby's saxophone are conversant and comfortable here. The longest track is "Animal, Big Tree & River Steam" at 13:31 it is a meandering river of a song, that passes through several different systems of turbulence and calmness, arriving at an affable and simpatico destination. - Mark Corroto, AAJ
Tracklist:1. Still Building Your Life on Fear
2. Your Concrete
3. Get Mine
4. Stock Pile
5. Light Up
6. No Dark
7. Let Live
8. Animal, Big Tree & River Steam
Personnel:Jason Ajemian (bass)
Tony Malaby (tenor sax)
Rob Mazurek (cornet)
Jeff Parker (guitar)
Chad Taylor (drums)
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David Sanborn: Pearls (1995)

David Sanborn is joined on this CD by an orchestra arranged by Johnny Mandel for a set of music dominated by melodic versions of standards. Sanborn does not get all that far away from the themes (which include "Try a Little Tenderness," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "For All We Know," "This Masquerade" and a very emotional "Everything Must Change" in addition to a few newer songs) but his sound is so soulful and full of passion that he does not really need to improvise much to make his point. It's a fine change of pace for the highly influential altoist. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
01. Willow Weep For Me
02. Try a Little Tenderness
03. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
04. Pearls
05. For All We Know
06. Come Rain or Come Shine
07. This Masquerade
08. Everything Must Change
09. Superstar
10. Nobody Does It Better
David Sanborn - alto saxophone
Oleta Adams - vocals, keyboards
Little Jimmy Scott- vocals
Don Grolnick - keyboards
Kenny Barron - keyboards
Christian McBride - acoustic bass
Marcus Miller - bass guitar
Mark Egan - fretless bass
Steve Gadd - drums
Don Alias - percussion
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

David Binney: Aliso (2010)

For his fourth Criss Cross leader date, alto saxophonist-composer David Binney convenes his primary New York working quartet of the 2000s (pianist Jacob Sacks, bassist Eivind Opsvik, and drummer Dan Weiss), adds to the mix guitar hero Wayne Krantz, with whom he works frequently in an electronica-oriented group, and augments the proceedings with several appearances by British pianist-composer John Escreet, a frequent partner in recent years. The leader plays with deep emotion and the concision of an old master; it's as strong a date as any in Binney's now sizable discography.
1. Aliso (7:55)
2. A Day In Music (7:54)
3. Toy Tune (8:51)
4. Strata (9:14)
5. Teru (4:59)
6. Fuchsia Swing Song (6:27)
7. Bar Life (5:56)
8. Think Of One (7:44)
9. Africa (13:58)
Personnel :
David Binney - alto saxophon
Wayne Krantz - Guitar
John Escreet - Piano
Jacob Sacks - piano
Eivind Opsvik - bass
Dan Weiss - drums
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Carol Morgan Trio: Opening (2010)

Opening is an album so rich in the intricacies of melody that it never fails to surprise at every turn. The saddest aspect of the album is that it is all too short. But the biggest surprise of all is Carol Morgan, a trumpeter who seems to have awakened the urge to find parallels in phrasing with the great Clarence Shaw. The often discussed "talking" style of playing attributed to men like Shaw, as well as trumpet players such as Louis Armstrong, Jabbo Smith, Bubber Miley and Rex Stewart, finds its new epitome in Carol Morgan. Her "trumpet voice" is raw and husky, and it often slips into a velvety intonation that is so seductive it's impossible to resist. It stuns the inner ear into a kind of rapture that comes from being completely captivated by her sound. The notes she plays—no matter how brisk the pace of the song is—are flawless. And because she has an uncanny sense of finding the right note to begin with, her phrases are brilliantly crafted and become lines that are as narrative in a riveting way as they are lyrical. With this album, Carol Morgan has clearly arrived and is set to take the trumpet world by storm. --Raul d'Gama Rose, AAJ
1. Opening Line
2. Nica's Dream
3. Celia
4. Dark Continent
5. Like Someone In Love
6. Prince Albert
7. Sizzle
8. Calypso Blue
Carol Morgan - trumpet
Harvie S - bass
Rich DeRosa - drums
Woody Witt - saxophone (tracks 2,8)
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Houston Person: Moment to Moment (2010)

Houston Person is a gentleman of jazz, a versatile player who honors the compositions he has assembled in his discography with a seemingly effortless approach that's elegantly sensuous and unabashedly romantic. Beautifully recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, Houston explores and elaborates on melodic themes with unhurried ease. His lines are resolutely lyrical, gently toying with the melodies; reflecting upon rather than re-inventing each composition. It's just first-rate music played with exquisite taste and an emphasis on the sheer beauty of timeless tunes.
01. Bleeker Street - 4:01
02. I Cover the Waterfornt - 5:59
03. Moment to Moment - 4:49
04. Freight Dance - 4:37
05. Don't Take Your Love From Me - 6:12
06. E Nada Mais - 4:54
07. Just The Way You Are - 6:16
08. Back In New Orleans - 6:09
09. All My Life - 3:36
10. Love Won't Let Me Wait - 5:51
11. Nina Never Knew - 3:52
Houston Person - Tenor Saxophone
Terell Stafford - Trumpet
John Di Martino - Piano
Randy Johnston - Guitar
Ray Drummond - Bass
Willie Jones III - Drums
Moment to Moment
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Lionel Loueke: Mwaliko (2010)

Originally from the small West African nation of Benin, guitarist Lionel Loueke has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past several years. In 28 and 29, he was picked as top Rising Star guitarist in Down Beat magazine's annual Critics Poll. His sophomore release for Blue Note, Mwaliko, follows up 27's acclaimed Karibu with a series of searching, innovative, intimate duets with Angelique Kidjo, Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona and Marcus Gilmore. Loueke also includes three new tracks featuring his longtime trio with Massimo Biolcati on bass and Ferenc Nemeth on drums.
01. Ami O
02. Griot
03. Twins
04. Wishes
05. Flying
06. Intro To LL
07. LL
08. Nefertiti
09. Vi Ma Yon
10. Shazoo
11. Dangbe
12. Hide Life
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Dado Moroni Trio: Shapes (2010)

Dado Moroni, the internationally acclaimed pianist and elder statesman of Italian jazz makes his TCB debut with a new trio featuring bassist Peter Washington and drummer Enzo Zirilli who is based in London and playing regularly on the UK scene.
Featuring a great selection of tunes, five originals from Dado plus four standards that include wonderful interpretations of Ivan Lins' "Love Dance" and Jobim's "Desafinado", the album is dedicated to Italian tenor saxophonist and friend Gianni Basso. The album also introduces Dado as a singer for the first time on the standard "Here's to Life", which is performed as a tribute to another friend, drummer 'extraordinaire' Bobby Durham. Both Gianni Basso and Bobby Durham passed away in the summer of 2009.
Dado Moroni Dado is no newcomer to the recording studio. As well as leading and recording with his own trio, he has appeared on at least 24 albums over the past 15 years with such musicians as Jon Faddis, Clark Terry, Lee Konitz, Al Grey, Ron Carter, Ray Brown, Lewis Nash, Peter Washington and, of course Tom Harrell and George Robert with whom he has both toured and recorded widely. He was also Ray Brown's 'first call' pianist whenever the great bassist toured Italy. Dado also appeared on the Ray Brown album, Some of 'My Best Friends Are...the Piano Players' (Telarc).
1. Ballade Pour Gianni
2. Brother Alfred
3. Desafinado
4. The Duck and the Duchess
5. Love Dance
6. F.B.S.
7. For the Time Being
8. Shark Attack
9. Here's to Life
Recorded Oct 26-28, 2009 at Zerodiecistudio, Genova, Italy
Dado Moroni (piano)
Peter Washington (bass)
Enzo Zirilli (drums)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Roger Smith: Just Enough (2004)

This pianist and organist has been releasing solid, funky smooth jazz discs for a decade, but has never quite been given his due or been an upper-echelon artist. On this likeable, easy grooving disc, he increases his chances for mainstream exposure by working with the infallible Dave Koz and the Temptations (on the dreamy, mid-tempo ballad "I'll Always Love You") and Peter White, who wrote and plays on the spirited "Workin' It." It's great hanging with high-profile cats, but Smith -- whose multifaceted approach is reminiscent of George Duke -- does just fine on his own, as well, working up the moody, old-school soul-jazz groove on "Rough Cut" (with brass enhancements courtesy of Norbert Statchel and Adolpho Acosta from Tower of Power) and the bluesy "Vega." Another type of vibe is created on the island-themed "Hali Imaile (The Maui Song)."
1. Rough Cut 4:31
2. Just Enough 4:06
3. Vega 4:01
4. I'll Always Love You 5:11
5. Workin' It 5:15
6. Sunset Dreams 4:17
7. Hali' Imaile 3:32
8. Friday 3:46
9. Tunisia 3:59
10. Perfect Circle 3:18
11. Just Another Day 5:51
12. Roger's Groove 4:22
13. Friday (Remix) 3:47
Personnel: Roger Smith (piano, electric piano, organ, programming); Phillip Ingram, Lynne Fiddmont, Rachael Santos, Carol Toca, The Temptations (vocals); Cornelious Daniels (various instruments, programming); Peter White, Derek Allen; Arthur Marbury (various instruments); Dino Soldo (soprano saxophone); Norbert Statchel (tenor saxophone); Dave Koz (saxophone); Adolpho Acosta (trumpet); Thom Rotella, Kevin Chokan, Ray Raymond (guitar); Mike Tores (percussion)
Just Enough
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Friday, January 7, 2011

Kasper Villaume Quartet: Outrun (2008)

This was the Kasper Villaume's first cd as a leader. It features the quartet about which a music critic wrote: "This goes to show the raw strength of young Danish jazz!" Kasper Villaume Quartet is rooted in the great American tradition from the '60s, and with immense energy, intensity and impressive skills the young star shines behind the piano in close interplay with con- genial partners. "Outrun" fulfils the unusually great expectations regarding Villaume and his quartet. Villaume's own compositions form the basis, and the quartet plays with breadth of view and great sense of dynamism and gives an energetic, rhythmically free and spellbinding idea of what modern quartet jazz can sound like.
1 Cuba 6:07
2 Light 5:49
3 You And The Night And The Music 6:13
4 The Warp 6:27
5 Prism 5:15
6 Outrun 7:06
7 #3 6:07
8 Footprints 6:08
9 I Loves You Porgy 5:36
Kasper Villaume - Piano
Lars Mшller - Tenorsax
Jesper Bodilsen - Bass
Morten Lund - Drums
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