Monday, April 18, 2011

Shilts: Jigsaw Life (2008)

Paul Shilts Weimar hails from London, England and has been playing saxophone since his early teens. His career has spanned all forms of jazz, soul, rock and pop music. He has toured all over the world and performed with a host of international artists, such as The Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, Rick Braun, Jeff Lorber, Peter White and many more. Eventually Shilts became the most visible and identifiable member of the UK jazz group Down To The Bone. In his eleven years with the group, he remained excited creating a separate identity for himself. He did this with his highly anticipated debut, See What Happens, which earned a 2001 Smooth Jazz Award nomination, followed by his second and highly acclaimed follow up, HeadBoppin. His third and latest release, Jigsaw Life, is a powerful showcase of Shilts' multitude of performing and composing talents, focusing not only on his tenor brilliance but also his instantly infectious melodies.
01. Piece By Piece (5:01)
02. Back On The Hudson (4:30)
03. Smile For Me (4:07)
04. Broken Silence (5:35)
05. Too Close To The Edge (4:36)
06. Listen Up (5:54)
07. Outside The Box (4:44)
08. A Promise Is A Promise (4:39)
09. Ain't It Marvelous (4:49)
10. Time Gentlemen Please (4:38)
Jigsaw Life
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TEQ: Epilogue (2010)

This kind of combination of synthesound and guitar reminds me uncannily of ELP or ELOY. The great combination of all tools in a not so simply structured piece shows that here are the real thing to progress (both in composition and in implementation). My compliments.
01. Yin & Yang
02. Criminal Intent
03. Paul?s Revenge
04. In Between
05. Teq -a- Teq
06. 526
07. Indian Fake
08. Kitchen Emergency
09. Crazy Shice
10. Almost Disappeared
Robert Polikarpov - guitar
Artur Trzmielewski - bass
Paul Liksza - synthesizer
Bernt Kupper - drums
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

David Wells: Friday Afternoon (2008)

David Wells, a gifted Flugelhorn / Trumpet player from a small town in West Virginia has been living his dream of a career in music. Since the age of nine, David began learning the flugelhorn and trumpet with his professional debut at the age of thirteen. Heavily influenced by Louie Armstrong, Herb Alpert, and The Tijuana Brass, David evolved into an instrumental soloist with the capability of reaching his audiences on an intimate level.
Wells share’s his musical gift with the release of eight CD’s and with approximately 200 shows per year. In 2006, the release of “More Love, More Power,” brought national acclaim on smooth jazz radio and reached #13 on the R&R indicators. Additionally, his performance of Strawberry Letter #23 was charted at #10 in early 2007.
David’s career soared in 2007 after moving to #10 on the R&R indicators, and becoming endorsed with Conn and Selmer. His television and sports appearances included airing in Columbus Blue Jackets on ESPN2 and performing for the Cincinnati Reds. David Wells was also featured in several Christian music magazines and networks, WTAP- TV’s (NBC) “Daybreak,” and numerous Christian conferences.
David’s music is so engaging his holiday single, “Deck the Halls” hit #1 as the most added song on Smooth Jazz Radio Stations Nationwide such as Chicago, Miami, Orlando, NYC, and many more. He also hit #8 in the Top 10 most spin increase listing Nationwide.
In 2008 David was off to a strong start signing with Nuance Music Group based out of Long Island NY, then the release of “Friday Afternoon”. This full-length album will be released in February on both Nuance and Little Fish Records. “Friday Afternoon” is a collection of original instrumental pieces, which reaches out and touches the listener’s heart and soul.
01. Friday Afternoon (Radio Mix) [3:34]
02. Disco Kid [3:48]
03. We're In This Love Together [3:58]
04. Bahama Blues [3:50]
05. Just The Two Of Us [3:50]
06. Caution [4:04]
07. You Are Good [4:16]
08. Great Mystery [6:04]
09. Backtrack [3:43]
10. Friday Afternoon [4:39]
Friday Afternoon
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Apolo Bass: Tierras Lejanas (2011)

Apolo Bass was born in Cameroon in 1965. He started practicing music in 1982 in Colegio Vogt where he became an orchestra Chief. Apolo Bass was during a few months, a bassist guitarist in the national orchestra of Cameroon. He had a privilege of working with many known artists.
Since 1991 in Spain, he studied Jazz in the ITM of Madrid, which is the National institute of bassist (USA).  He was one of the students of one of the elite’s professor like Felix Santos. Since 2004, Apolo Bass directs his own music projects. He is assisted by a multicultural band.
This Bassist is one of the most innovative African musicians who bring (besides his music project Jazz Bass Africa) a type of music in which blends the Jazz with a variety of African music and Latin touch of elements.  Apolo Bass is consolidating himself as a African Bassist with an emphasis of Jazz and world music.
The cultural side, passion, artistic and dedication interest of this artist are all the factors that got him to get an invitation to perform live in the 2 major’s television sites,  TVE1 and TVE2. It is always a feeling of proud to know that his performance is always shown on television and that the people are enjoying it. Apolo Bass has been recognized as one of the 600 most representatives artist of the 5 continents.
Apolo Bass has participated in numerous festivals, by bringing a breath of fresh air wherever he performs, due to his great knowledge of music, to his talented and diverse  music team that accompany him on his tours. He performed in many concerts in the  whole national territory, and worked with many counties, Caja Madrid, Festivals etc…
Each Apolo Bass concert is an unique event, where each musician gives his best and unique art, making the spectator happy and enjoying the show. Actually, Apolo Bass is working on the promotion of his new album “ Tierras Lejanas”. It is a project where many known artist like Santiago Reyes, “El Padre” which is “The Father” of the Jazz Guitar in Spain.
1. Victory 5:06
2. Madrid Jazz 5:14
3. Etnoblues 5:51
4. Tierras Lejanas 4:39
5. Miracle 4:44
6. Stop Injustice 4:25
7. Chromatic Day 5:15
8. Grand Mere Marcelline 2:02
9. Alice De Bafoussan 2:39
10.All Rhythms Together 3:48
11.Makossando 4:14
12.Yaunde Jazz 2:42
13.Promenade De Lete 2:50
14.Autumn Leaves 5:57
15.Caminando 5:42
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Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Faithful (2011)

This is a dazzling and beautifully-recorded third ECM album by Poland's Wasilewski Trio, one of the most resourceful piano trios of the present day. The wide-ranging repertoire includes five new tunes from the pen of Marcin Wasilewski and contemporary jazz classics by Paul Bley, Hermeto Pascoal, Ornette Coleman and more. Produced by Manfred Eicher, the very natural and warm-sounding album perfectly captures the trio's blend of energy and lyricism. There is space here for both the outgoing and the reflective, for profound composition and in-the-moment creativity.
01. An den kleinen Radioapparat
02. Night Train To You
03. Faithful
04. Mosaic
05. Ballad Of The Sad Young Men
06. Oz Guizos
07. Song For Swirek
08. Woke Up In The Desert
09. Big Foot
10. Lugano Lake
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dave Grusin: An Evening With Dave Grusin (2011)

GRP-co-founder Dave Grusin is certainly one of the top five jazz pianists worldwide. More popular are however his scores for films and television. He was awarded with an Oscar for best original score for The Milagro Beanfield War, as well received Oscar nominations for The Champ, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Firm, Havana, Heaven Can Wait, and On Golden Pond. Other film scores he has composed include Tootsie, Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?, Three Days of the Condor, The Goonies, Tequila Sunrise, Hope Floats, Random Hearts, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
In December 2009 Dave Grusin celebrated a breathtaking event at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Florida, An Evening With Dave Grusin. Backed by the 75-piece Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra Grusin performed a collection of 12 songs by Grusin, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin and Henry Mancini. Guest musicians were Jon Secada, Patti Austin, Monica Mancini, Gary Burton, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres and Sammy Figueroa.
This remarkable event was recorded and will be simultaneously available on CD, Blu-ray Disc and ROBA iPadApp on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, April 26, 2011. The CD opens with Fratelli Chase, the most popular main theme of the Goonies. Grusin and the London Symphony Orchestra had re-recorded this piece for the album Cinemagic, so this version is the third installment. Certainly the most powerful with the support of a 75-piece orchestra.
On Golden Pond and New Hampshire Hornpipe are scores of the impressing film On Golden Pond featuring Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda and Katherine Hepburn. While the main theme is sensitive and intimate in describing the wonderful landscape, fills the second uplifting song the movie with energy and joy. Grusin comments: “In terms of using that amount of piano on a score this film was for me as a pianist the beginning of a new era.”
The jazz song Makin' Whoopee was highlighted by famous actress Michelle Pfeiffer sprawled over a piano in a red evening dress, in the 1989 film The Fabulous Baker Boys. Patti Austin reminds of this film scene during the intro, before she sings the song in her unsurpassable own way.
With the Porgy & Bess Medley Dave Grusin pays homage to George Gershwin as he did on many other albums. These timeless themes are designated for an orchestral interpretation. Same is to say about Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story. Cool with the legendary Gary Burton on vibes and the mesmerizing duet of Jon Secada and Patti Austin on Somewhere are highlights of this opus.
Suite from the Milagro Beanfield War is Dave Grusin's return to this wonderful movie score of Robert Redford's masterwork. Grusin had already published these songs on his album Migration in a jazz set with top-notch musicians. Now he presents the themes in a more coherent orchestral arrangement. Maria is another theme from West Side Story, which constantly influenced Dave Grusin's musical activity and found its echo in his tribute album West Side Story (1997). On that album Maria was performed by Jonathan Butler, Jon Secada's interpretation is a shade superior.
I Feel Pretty, another classical song of the West Side Story features Nestor Torres on flute in a phenomenal Latin festival. Latin percussion star Sammy Figueroa pushes the song with the perfect rhythm. “My idea for this rendition of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story was born of an old respect for his unique approach to what we have come to know as Broadway show music,” said Dave Grusin. “It is amazing that 50 years means nothing when dealing with something that is timeless in this way. It was hip in 1957…and it is hip now.”
Moon River by Johnny Mercer (lyrics) and Henry Mancini (music) was originally sung in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's by Audrey Hepburn. On this event the song features singer Monica Mancini, a daughter of famed film composer Henry Mancini. The amalgamation of legacy and prowess. The private eye television serial Peter Gunn might be forgotten, but not Mancini's theme, which won an Emmy Award and two Grammys. An everlasting attractive title. Final tune on this respectable album is Memphis Stomp from the 1983 film, The Firm. A brilliant piece to showcase Grusin's virtuosity.
An Evening With Dave Grusin is an outstanding album with timeless themes delivered in a breathtaking orchestral brilliance.
01. Fratelli Chase [3:43]
02. On Golden Pond/Hornpipe Medley [5:50]
03. Intro - Patti Austin [1:15]
04. Makin' Whoopee [4:13]
05. Porgy & Bess Medley [5:40]
06. Cool [5:09]
07. Somewhere [4:41]
08. Intro - Jon Secada [0:29]
09. Maria [4:48]
10. I Feel Pretty [6:36]
11. Moon River [3:55]
12. Peter Gunn [5:25]
13. Memphis Stomp [4:26]
An Evening With
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mathias Eick: Skala (2011)

Mathias Eick’s intensely melodic trumpet occupies the centre-stage in this album of self-penned tunes which will appeal to an audience beyond “jazz”. Against the powerful backdrops offered by his sleek, modern band, driven by two drummers, he delivers richly lyrical soliloquies. Although regarded as a 'jazz' album by virtue of its instrumentation (trumpet, saxophone, rhythm section, plus occasional harp and keyboards), trumpeter Mathias Eick 's second ECM recording as leader is as likely to draw inspiration for his fluent, accessible compositions from pop and classical music as from jazz.
True, Jan Garbarek's 'plaintive cry' is cited as among the sources of one of the album's most striking pieces, 'Edinburgh' (Tore Brunborg featured on tenor), but other tunes have their sources in rock music: 'Oslo', for example, is discernibly influenced by Radiohead's trademark melancholic soar over assertively scurrying drums; 'Joni' nods to the great Candian singer/songwriter via the sincerest form of flattery by using her hypnotically compelling, long-lined verse structure – centred on Andreas Ulvo's rolling piano – as the basis for one of the album's standout tracks.
Eick's trumpet style relies, in his words, on an attempt to 'create a tone that was a mix of all the sounds I loved' (among his trumpet models are Kenny Wheeler, Chet Baker and Tomasz Stanko), and there is indeed a haunting purity in everything he plays, particularly when set, as in the album's closer, 'Epilogue', against the vigorous drumming of Torstein Lofthus.
There are moments on this attractive, immediately appealing album when a ravishing soundscape (cf. another recent ECM album featuring Brunborg, Manu Katche's Third Round) cannot quite compensate for the lack of two of jazz's (arguably) defining features, grit and unpredictability, but overall, Eick admirers will find Skala irresistibly seductive.
Mathias Eick: trumpet, vibraphone, guitar, bass;
Tore Brunborg: tenor saxophone
Andreas Ulvo: piano
Morten Qvenild: keyboards
Audun Erlien: electric bass
Torstein Lofthus: drums
Gard Nilssen: drums
Sidsel Walstad: harp
01. Skala
02. Edinburgh
03. June
04. Oslo
05. Joni
06. Biermann
07. Day After
08. Epilogue

Georgij Garanyan and Ansambl Melodia: Labirint (1974)

George Aramovich Garanyan (15 August  1934, Moscow - 11 January  2010, Krasnodar) was Soviet and Russian jazz, classical and pop saxophonist, artistic director of a number of musical ensembles, Honored Artist of Russia (1981), People's Artist of Russia (1993).
A member of the Composers' Union (since 1975), a member of the Union of Cinematographers (1996), laureate of State Prize of the Russian Federation (2000).
His musical career began in George Garanian Orchestra with Yuri Saulsky and Oleg Lundstrem . In the years 1966-73 he worked in the orchestra Vadim Lyudvikovskogo. In the years 1973-82 he supervised ensemble "Melody". Hallmark of the ensemble was the popular music of Soviet composers in jazz interpretation. His first record was sold in four million copies. Over the years of running Garanian ensemble has recorded 16 solo giants and 9 small plates (EPs). Garanyan sang the saxophone in the films "Diamond Hand","We're from Jazz", "Autumn Blues", a cartoon "Well, wait!", etc. He also conducted program "Jazz Club George Garanian" on Radio Russia - Culture and Jam -5" on the channel "Culture".
Garanyan won numerous international jazz festivals - in Prague, Bombay, Havana, Warsaw, Finland, Israel. He was the only jazz musician who had a season ticket - 3 concerts a year - in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. For the record a CD with the American group Oregon, where he acted as a conductor, Garanian was nominated for the award Grammy.
In addition, he composed music for several theatrical productions ("Mona" - Theatre Armen Jigarkhanyan , etc.), dozens of films, including such famous films as "Pokrovsky Gates", "Evening Labyrinth", "Recipe of her youth", "Magic Lantern", "A Girl from Rouen Nicknamed Doughnut", "Autumn Blues".
1. Labirinth
2. Marina
3. Lenkoran
4. Fiery River
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Alex Skolnick Trio: Veritas (2011)

Alex Skolnick is a true guitar hero. At sixteen years old, he joined a group of twenty- somethings who'd formed a thrash metal band called Testament. Alex stayed with the band through five critically acclaimed albums and countless tours with, among others, Slayer, Megadeth, Judas Priest, and White Zombie. After hearing and seeing one of Miles Davis electric bands on TV, Alex relocated to New York City to play and study jazz.
Alex Skolnick Trio (AST) was formed while Alex was earning his BfA in jazz from New School University in Manhattan. AST has been lauded by critics, fans and musical heroes alike ranging from Downbeat to Jazziz to the Village Voice to Kirk Hammet of Metallica. Veritas is the trio's 4th album and their first for Palmetto Records.
AST s newest release, Veritas, continues Alex's passion to trail-blaze through the landscape of pop, jazz, rock and metal to find common ground and push boundaries all in the name of great music. Veritas (Latin for 'Truth') has nine original tunes (all penned by Alex) and a 10th track that transforms a classic metal tune by Metallica, 'Fade to Black,' into a post-modern Jazz composition. Other standout tracks include Bollywood Jam a humorous mash-up of Bollywood soundtrack grooves and sophisticated improvisation, and the hard-hitting funk of 99/09, in which Alex imagines a collaboration between pop superstar Prince and jazz guitarist John Scofield.
Veritas will become a favorite of music fans that enjoy some of the pillars of Jazz guitar Scofield, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Bill Frisell, Jim Hall and George Benson - but recast from an edgier and more energetic perspective. Veritas is poised to further push the boundary of contemporary Jazz as fans of harder rock and metal are fast becoming a significant new audience in Jazz. It is this fast-growing group of listeners that forms the core fan base of AST. They want truth in live performance, they want truth in great songs, they want Veritas.
1. Panna
2. Bollywood Jam.
3. Song Of The Open Road
4. Veritas.
5. 99/09
6. Path Of Least Resistance
7. Alone In Brooklyn
8. The River Lethe
9. Flection
10. Fade To Black
11. Bollywood Jam (Remix)
Personnel: Alex Skolnick - guitars; Matt Zebroski - drums; Nathan Peck - upright bass.
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Stanley Clarke: If This Bass Could Only Talk (1988)

This was bassist Stanley Clarke's twelfth solo set, and one of his very few that would be recommended to jazz (as opposed to funk and R&B) listeners. On the instrumental set, Clarke's bass is featured in a wide variety of settings, including duets with tap dancer Gregory Hines and drummer John Robinson, a quartet with Wayne Shorter ("Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"), in a power trio with guitarist Allan Holdsworth and drummer Stewart Copeland, a piece with George Duke (on acoustic piano for a change) and soprano saxophonist George Howard, a quartet with the synthesizers of Steve Hunt, and "Funny How Time Flies," which has a colorful Freddie Hubbard trumpet solo. Throughout, Clarke's bass has plenty of solo space, and he shows how strong a player he can be when given decent material. - Scott Yanow (AMG)
1  If This Bass Could Only Talk - Clarke 2:30
2  Goodbye Pork Pie Hat - Mingus 6:25
3  I Wanna Play for You - Clarke 3:27
4  Stories to Tell - Clarke 3:47
5  Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun) - Harris, Jackson, Lewis 6:05
6  Workin' Man - Clarke 6:26
7  Tradition - Clarke 7:11
8  Come Take My Hand - Clarke 4:09
9  Bassically Taps - Clarke 3:15
If This Bass Could Talk
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Avishai Cohen: Aurora live at NDR Hamburg (2010)

Aurora finds Avishai Cohen not only playing acoustic and electric bass, but also playing acoustic piano and electric keyboards and singing. In fact, he does a great deal of singing on this 2008 recording -- which will come as a surprise to those who think of Cohen as strictly an instrumentalist. Aurora is by no means an easy album to categorize; at the risk of oversimplifying things, one possible description could be "world jazz meets post-bop meets adult alternative." Jazz is a prominent ingredient on Aurora, but so are pop/rock and world music -- and Cohen gets a lot of inspiration from Middle Eastern, North African, and Spanish music. He sings in four different languages -- Hebrew, English, Ladino (the language of Spain's Sephardic Jews), and Spanish -- on an album that is dominated by original material but also contains some traditional Jewish songs. But as unpredictable as this 53-minute CD is, Aurora has a certain continuity. Cohen sounds like he knows exactly what he's doing, and he has sympathetic support that includes Amos Hoffman on oud (a traditional Middle Eastern lute) and Karen Malka on vocals (although Cohen is the main vocalist)." - by Alex Henderson, 
1. Seven Seas (Avishai Cohen)
2. Morenika (Trad)
3. Dreaming (Avishai Cohen)
4. In One (Avishai Cohen)
5. Aurora (Avishai Cohen)
6. Alfonsina y el mar (Ramirez/ Luna)
7. Para el monte me voy porque en monte no estoy (Trad.)
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Nana Vasconcelos: Sinfonia & Batuques (2011)

One of the most complex albums we've heard in years from percussionist Nana Vasconcelos – a set that's still much more "batuques" than "sinfonia" – although there are some larger arrangements on the record at times! Nana's definitely got some help from a range of musicians for the record – none of the sparer, nearly-solo modes of other sets – but there's still a nicely earthy execution to most numbers, especially once the record gets going – a great sense of space and soundplay, really reaching back to some of Vasconcelos' best 70s moments, but complicating things up nicely too. Titles include "Santa Maria", "Po De Chineto", "Chorrindo", "Aquela Do Milton", "Batuque Nas Aguas", and "Menininha Mae".
1- Menininha Mae
2- Batuque nas Aguas – Aquela do Milton
3- Mistйrio
4- Pra Elas
5- Sinfonia & Batuques
6- Pedalando
7- Lamentos
8- Chorrindo
9- Pу de Chinelo
10- Santa Maria
11- Caneгo para Nanile
12- Recife Nage
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stanley Clarke: 1 2 To the Bass (2003)

Stanley Clarke is without doubt a phenomenally talented bassist but has not done much to showcase this ability on his own recordings since the late '70s. You can chalk that up mostly to Clarke's propensity for trite, pop-oriented material that does little to illuminate his great technical command of the instrument or to engage the listener either melodically or lyrically. 1, 2, to the Bass is a step in the right direction with a more jazz-oriented feel and some interesting guest appearances. Rapper Q-Tip gets things off to a nice start on the title track which reimagines '90s hip-hop jazz as "quiet storm" R&B. "Simply Said" is reminiscent of Sting's more fusion-style originals with flutist Hubert Laws on a nice melodic hook. There is also an inspired reworking of the R&B classic "Where Is the Love" featuring Glenn Lewis and Amel Larrieux. Later on, if "Los Caballos (The Horses)" sounds a little too much like Madonna's "Borderline," and Oprah Winfrey's reading of Maya Angelou's "I Shall Not Be Moved" seems a bit out of place on an album that includes a song titled "Just Cruzin'," there's at least the "Rock It"-styled electro-disco-funk of "Bout the Bass." And don't forget the monstrous "freak" funk cover of "Hair" that almost redeems everything guitarist Joe Satriani has ever done. Perhaps not the exhilarating breakthrough one would hope, 1, 2, to the Bass is nonetheless a very exciting return to form. - AMG
1  1, 2, To the Bass - Clarke, McKinley, Q-Tip (Fareed 5:55
2  Simply Said - Clarke 4:34
3  Where Is the Love? - MacDonald, Salter 4:06
4  Anna (She Loves the Good Life) - Clarke 5:01
5  Los Callabos (The Horses) - Clarke 4:41
6  Just Cruizin' (En Hommage - Wes Montgomery/George Benson/Pat Martino) - Clarke 4:26
7  'Bout the Bass - Clarke, McKinley 7:32
8  Hair - Graham 5:14
9  Touch - Clarke 6:04
10  All the Children/Todos los Ninos - Clarke 4:56
11  I Shall Not Be Moved - Angelou 6:37
12  Shanti Peace Paz - Clarke, Subramaniam 5:53
1 2 to the Bass
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Nguen Le: Songs of Freedom (2011)

Nguyen Le takes the title of his latest album from one of his favourite songs of freedom: Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" sits alongside hits from Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton and the Beatles, whose "Eleanor Rigby" and "Come Together" frame the album - credit where credit's due, these artists wrote some of the finest songs in recent memory. But Le takes the liberty to unearth these icons of pop and rock history from their dust (or gold) covered depths and brings them to the present day and to the global village, with the help of his own formidable musical prowess as well as many exceptional guests from all over the world who provide support in his band.
Together with Le, Illya Amar (marimba, vibraphone and electronics), Linley Marthe (electric bass) and Stephane Galland (drums) form the dynamic basic framework of these transformations, continually pushing forwards rhythmically but remaining easy going and light. The singers Youn Sun Nah, Dhafer Youssef, David Linx, Ousman Danedjo, Himiko Paganotti, Julia Sarr and the percussionists Karim Ziad, Stephane and Prabhu Edouard, Hamid El Kasri and Keyvan Chemirani and the saxophonists David Binney and Chris Speed give each song their own personal stamp. Le brilliantly arranges these musicians, placing them in suitable yet always surprising situations. On several occasions he converses with his guests, so to speak, with brief self-composed intros which offer the perfect introduction.
As a result, this isn't an album featuring standard cover versions. Instead, familiar melodies are introduced with great respect to pulsating new sound streams from all over the world. "Music is like a bird. Once it has been released it will fly in any sky. The earth becomes rounder and rounder and invites all cultures to an exchange and to immerse themselves in one another. This leads to the freedom to make these songs one's own: to still lovingly play the original melodies yet with the boldness of our own arrangements which celebrate the realm of imaginative power and fantasy," says Nguyen Le.
These poetic words are not too far-fetched, and this is undoubtedly proven on the album. Here we can hear how the soul of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" immerses totally harmoniously in Caribbean-Asiatic sound worlds, and how Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" rolls along not only Californian but also Indian, Japanese and French paths. Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" is also transformed in to a rousing whirlwind, with the band being led by the eternally and indisputably precise Youn Sun Nah who is here surprisingly rocky and irresistibly intense.
"Come Together" is therefore not simply the last track of the album, but represents what the album is about. With these 15 songs of freedom, Nguyen Le impressively brings together a wide and previously unheard range of individuals and sounds from various different origins - West merges with East, North with South, great vocals with instrumental virtuosity and the melodic legacy of the past with the sound of the future.
01. Eleanor Rigby (7:02)
02. I Wish (5:45)
03. Ben Zeppelin (0:51)
04. Black Dog (6:20)
05. Pastime Paradise (8:01)
06. Uncle Ho's Benz (0:40)
07. Mercedes Benz (6:23)
08. Over The Rainforest (0:36)
09. Move Over (6:59)
10. Whole Lotta Love (5:15)
11. Redemption Song (5:27)
12. Sunshine Of Your Love (4:44)
13. In A Gadda Da Vida (5:22)
14. Topkapi (0:43)
15. Come Together (5:47)
Nguyen Le: guitars, computer
Illya Amar: vibraphone, marimba, electronics
Linley Marthe: electric bass & vocals
Stephane Galland: drums
Guests: Youn Sun Nah, Dhafer Youssef, David Linx, Ousman Danedjo, Julia Sarr, Himiko Paganotti, David Binney, Chris Speed, Prabhu Edouard, Stephane Edouard, Karim Ziad, Guo Gan, Hamid El Kasri, Keyvan Chemirani
Songs Of Freedom
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Balkan Horses Band: Part 2 (2004)

Recorded live June 2001 at the Antique Theatre, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
This second CD to the concerts given in Plovdiv has more of a jam session feeling about it.
Tamara Obrovac (Croatia) - voice, wooden flute
Vlatko Stefanovski (Macedonia) – guitar, composer
Theodosii Spassov (Bulgaria) - kaval, voice, composer
Aleksandar Sanja Ilic (Serbia) – piano, composer
Kostas Theodorou (Greece) - double bass, composer
Emil Bucur (Romania) - panpipe
Hakan Beser (Turkey) - percussion
Stoyan Yankoulov (Bulgaria) - tupan, drums, composer
Krassi Jeliazkov (Bulgaria) - acoustic guitars, tamboura
1. Black Mile 7:36 (Obrovac)
2. Danube’s Bank 16:10 (Balkan Horses Band)
3. Bridges 4:35 (Theodorou)
4. Kostas from Skidra 11:01 (Spassov)
Contact, Part 2
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Balkan Horses Band: Contact, Part One (2003)

During the last few decades the existence of dictatorships and totalitarian rule in the countries of the region raised confrontation in a political, economical and cultural aspect. As a result the peoples of the Balkan Peninsula separated themselves in closed systems, not knowing the cultural and public life of their neighbors. We witnessed the bursting genocide on the territory of former Yugoslavia, exercising strong destabilizing influence over the relations between different ethnic groups in the other Balkan states, as well. In spite of these somewhat artificially created clashes the Balkans continue to be a united field of culture and spirit, the most explicit expression of which we find in the sphere of arts and most of all music.
UNESCO’s proclaiming the year of 2000 as the International Year of Culture and Peace inspired AQUA STORM Music and Performing Arts Agency to be the initiator of the idea of creation of a Balkan Cultural Project in the field of Ethno and World Music. Nine of the most distinguished Ethno, Rock, Jazz, Ambience and New Age composers and performers participated in the Balkan Horses Band International orchestra.
Tamara Obrovac (Croatia) - voice, wooden flute
Vlatko Stefanovski (Macedonia) – guitar, composer
Theodosii Spassov (Bulgaria) - kaval, voice, composer
Aleksandar Sanja Ilic (Serbia) – piano, composer
Kostas Theodorou (Greece) - double bass, composer
Emil Bucur (Romania) - panpipe
Hakan Beser (Turkey) - percussion
Stoyan Yankoulov (Bulgaria) - tupan, drums, composer
Krassi Jeliazkov (Bulgaria) - acoustic guitars, tamboura
01 – BALKAN 2000 ( 9.20)
02 – TOUCH THE MOON (8.06)
03 – FRIEND’S SONG (8.42)
04 – GYPSY SONG (7.00)
05 – VIKI’S SONG (5.18)
06 – ANATHEMA (11.59)
07 – KALAJDZISKO ‘ORO (10.02)
Contact: Part One
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jake Andrews: Livin' in the Grave (2011)

Andrews began playing guitar at age 5, taught by his father, John Andrews of the 60s Roots Band Mother Earth with noted singer Tracy Nelson. At an early age, he began attending shows at the legendary blues venue, Antone's, to see blues legends like BB King and Albert Collins perform. At age 8, Andrews first went onstage to play guitar with Albert King. Impressed with the young guitarist, King invited him to play with him for his entire second set. That moment sparked Andrews' young career, and he continued to hone his skills in the clubs of Austin, Texas regularly performing with local musicians such as Jimmie Vaughan and soaking up the sounds of the music-filled city. First known as a child guitar prodigy, Andrews has evolved into a skillful guitarist, singer and song-writer.
Andrews has performed with music giants such as BB King, Buddy Guy, and Albert King. He has also performed at major festivals such as the San Francisco Blues Festival and Madison Blues Festival with Ray Charles. He has been featured on CBS, Austin City Limits, Texas Monthly, Guitar Player, and Vintage Guitar among numerous other publications. He has toured the US and Europe extensively.
1. Solid (feat. Eric Johnson) (08:56)
2. Livin' in the Grave (04:10)
3. Easy to Come By (05:17)
4. High Flyin' (03:57)
5. Love in Me (04:51)
Livin' in the Grave
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Eliane Elias: So Far So Close (1989)

Eliane Elias' debut for Blue Note is a bit of a disappointment. Having established her credentials as a fine acoustic pianist, she switched back to her less personal synthesizer work and contributed some rather mundane wordless vocals. The music (which includes some solos from tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and Randy Brecker on flugelhorn) is not terrible, but it lacks a sense of adventure and sounds as if potential radio airplay was its main goal.
01. At First Sight (4:53)
02. Bluestone (5:33)
03. Barefoot (4:40)
04. Nightimer (6:10)
05. Still Hidden (1:49)
06. So Far So Close (5:50)
07. Straight Across (to Jaco) (5:44)
08. With You In Mind (2:24)
09. Two Way Street (4:32)
So Far So Close
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Steps Ahead: Holding Together (2005)

In the summer of 1999, Steps Ahead founder/vibraphonist Mike Mainieri joined Eliane Elias, Bob Berg, Marc Johnson and Peter Erskine for a reunion tour of Europe. They recorded several of those shows but Mainieri didn't listen to the tapes for two years. He eventually did, and the result is the two-CD set Holding Together (N.Y.C.). The musicians perform the tunes with great sensitivity to one another, both as an ensemble and in solo spotlights. "Uncle Bob" just swings along, while Mainieri's gliding vibes impart an almost magical quality to a lovely version of Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," and "The Time Is Now" is a 22-minute-plus opus that gives everyone a chance to shine. There are too many high points on this solid set to mention, but it should be noted that Berg's playing is vigorous and inventive throughout and provides a poignant reminder of the profound loss the jazz world suffered when he was killed in a car accident in December 2002.
Personnel: Bob Berg (saxophone); Eliane Elias (piano); Mike Mainieri (vibraphone); Marc Johnson (double bass); Peter Erskine (drums).
1.Bowing to Bud (Elias)
2.Copland (Mainieri)
3.Autumn Rose (Erskine)
4.Pools (Grolnick)
5.All the Things You Are/Soul Eyes (Hammerstein/Kern)
6.Uncle Bob (Grolnick)
1.Dee Minor (Mainieri)
2.The Time Is Now (Wlias)
3.In a Sentimental Mood (Ellington)
4.Friday Night at the Cadillac Clab (Berg)
Holding Together
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Christian Muenchinger: The Glance (2011)

Saxophonist Christian Muenchinger was born in Zurich in 1969. He studied first at the Jazz School of Zurich and changed later to Bern, where he received his diploma. He has studied with Andy Scherrer and has participated in workshops with Joe Lovano, Jerry Bergonzi, David Liebman, Billy Brooks and Joe Haider. The saxophonist has played with several well known musicians like Clark Terry, George Robert, Jimmy Woode, Barry Finerty, John Engels, Franco Ambrosetti, George Gruntz as well as with vocalist Sandy Patton. He was a member of the SJS Big Band, with whom he has performed at Birdland in New York and at the “Blues Alley” in Washington DC. With his own quartet, he has toured Europe and has himself been a member of the Zurich Jazz Orchestra. This album is his third under his own name. After The quintet recording “five of a kind” (1995) and an album with a quartet “live at moods!” (1999) for the German record label “Mons Records”. The record “The Glance” is his latest album under his own name.
01. Aeolian Walk
02. Aglaja Fechado pra Balanco
03. The Glance
04. Rent Party
05. Dr. Freud
06. Unforced Errors
Personnel: Christian Munchinger(ts), Christoph Stiefel (p), Andreas Zitz (b), Pius Baschnagel (ds)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gerald Veasley: Electric Mingus Project (2011)

A release of re-imagination of works written by acclaimed jazz composer Charles Mingus. This project features a collection of well-known Mingus pieces performed using cutting edge instruments.
01. Blue Cee [6:13]
02. Interlude-Let My Children Hear Music (feat. Kevin Wayns) [1:35]
03. Haitian Fight Song [5:44]
04. Better Get Hit In Your Soul [6:27]
05. Duke Ellington's Sound of Love [9:06]
06. Interlude-Sounds (feat. Kevin Wayns) [1:03]
07. Canon [11:03]
08. Work Song [6:30]
09. Eighteen Sixty-Three [6:17]
10. Interlude-Color and Slavery (feat. Kevin Wayns) [1:12]
11. Blues For Mingus [7:09]
12. Boogie Stop Shuffle [4:46]
Gerald Veasley - Bass,
Chris Farr - Saxophones,
John Swana - Trumpet,
Tony Miceli - Vibraphon,
Donald Robinson - Keyboards, Organ,
James Rouse, Richard Waller - Drums.
Electric Mingus Project
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Klaus Doldinger's Passport: Blues Roots (1991)

Passport was initiated in 1970 as a jazz fusion experimental group, similar to American groups such as Weather Report. The ensemble's first recording was issued in 1971, and through the 1970s had a constantly revolving membership, though it continued to release albums frequently. The group was active into the 2000s, recording for Atlantic Records and Warner Bros. Records among others.
Klaus Doldinger's Passport (Blues Roots) Featuring Johnny Copeland is something different than the other Passport releases of the early 90's. It has an unmistakable Gospel influence and has a number of tunes with vocals.
01 - Blues Roots
02 - Inner City Blues
03 - Lousiana Sunset
04 - Time Signal
05 - Born Under A Bad Sign
06 - Blue Avenue
07 - Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
08 - How Did You Know
09 - Love Utopia
10 - Idgo Now
Klaus Doldinger - saxophone, flute
Roberto di Giola - piano
Peter O'Mara - Guitar
Joshen Schmidt - Bass
Ernst Stroer - percussion
Wolfgang Haffner - Drums
Johnny "Clyde" Copeland - Vocal, Guitar
Blues Roots
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Eliane Elias: Cross Current (1988)

Pianist Eliane Elias' second of two Denon CDs recorded before she hooked up with Blue Note is a lesser-known but worthy session. Elias is mostly featured in a trio with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Jack DeJohnette performing originals, a pair of Charles Mingus compositions ("Peggy's Blue Skylight" and "East Coastin'"), "Beautiful Love," "When You Wish Upon a Star" and Bud Powell's "Hallucinations." Elias was quickly developing into a strong modern mainstream pianist. The concluding number ("Coming and Going") was written by her grandmother in 1927 at age 12 and features Elias with Gomez, drummer Peter Erskine, guitarist Barry Finnerty, percussionist Cafe and nine singers (including a few family members). Well worth searching for. - Scott Yanow
1. Hallucinations
2. Cross Currents (Elias)
3. One Side of You
4. East Coasting
5. Comin' and Goin'
6. Campari & Soda
7. Beautiful Love
8. Impulsive
9. When You Wish upon a Star
Jack DeJohnette - Drums
Peter Erskine - Drums, Vocals
Eddie Gomez - Bass
Randy Brecker - Vocals
Cafe - Percussion
Eliane Elias - Piano, Vocals
Doris Eugenio - Vocals
Barry Finnerty - Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals
Cross Currents
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Pasqualino Ubaldini: Girovaghi notturni (2010)

"Girovaghi notturni" is born from the demand to describe the world of the outcasts, of the cultural intolerances, and of the mental distances, that until they too often flow in episodes of violence, to which must not accustom us!! The difference and I exchange him/it they are between the first forms of growth and sharing. The fear of the different one produces isolation, closing and atrofizzazione of the thought. I have wanted to tell this, me that I live in Rome, and that I frequently come upon me in episodes that represent such regression. Have wanted to simply tell him/it, and still with my tools, classical guitar, Arabic oud and bouzouki, that testify the desire and the beauty of the to acquire, not only play, but ways of way of living and experiences! I have imagined a zingarata, a nighttime vagabondage, a journey that should accompany every human being in his/her natural development. I have thought at night about this trip in moments and situations in which the look mostly results focused toward some shades that, magically they take life, and they tell his/her own realities, his/her own trips and his/her own histories. All have a history to tell! A crossed journey! A suitcase that you/they bring behind him. His/her own life. Surely sort of are wrong, but not for this deprived of emotions and feelings and not calpestabile! A thought to that "Wander about nighttime", that sink the footsteps in the wet pavements as me, or to the edges of a park, above a bench, in a glass of wine, To the boys that play, to whom has found or lost his/her love, to whom hopes in a pleasant I meet, to who incazzato is, to whom is alone but has always been him/it, All have a history, all must respect her/it! ... From here they begin the most beautiful trips!
1 Stazioni metropolitane  9:46
2 Incontri   4:37
3 Gatti randagi (Agebz)  7:16
4 Girovaghi notturni (Alif)  3:51
5 Strade deserte  5:03
6 Il sogno del Clochard  4:53
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Friday, April 1, 2011

European Jazz Trio: Vienna Forest (2010)

Frans van der Hoeven (bass), Roy Dackus (drums) and Marc van Roon (piano) make up this multi-genre trio that straddles the boundaries between classical, jazz, pop and film scores. Adopting everyone from Beethoven to Tchaikovsky, the group smoothes out the various pieces to add a personal touch.
Popular in Japan, the group includes well-known pieces, such as Antonin Dvorak’s “4 Romanticke kusy op.75-4,” from his Romantic Kiss series and George Frideric Handel’s “Violin Sonata op. 1-13.”
The trio, who has released more than 15 albums together, is a well-oiled collaboration between artists. Unfortunately, at times, numbers blur together to form a somewhat bland — albeit beautiful — blend of music.
01. Tempest 4:01
02. Beethoven Symphonie Nr. 7 4:34
03. Thais Meditation 5:03
04. Frau 5:02
05. Sentimental Waltz 5:41
06. Love Greetings 4:46
07. Blue Danube 6:28
08. Beethoven Sinfonie Movement 2 4:05
09. Henderubaiorin sonata 3:20
10. Wiener Blut 6:00
11. Vier romantische Stucke 5:58
12. Herenitee 4:26
13. Mathew's passion 5:23
Marc van Roon on Piano,
Frans van der Hoeven on bass
Roy Dackus on drums
Vienna Forest
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Mark Harrison Quintet: Just Add Water (2010)

The Mark Harrison Quintet raise the bar again with their third CD release, "Just Add Water". Keyboardist/composer Mark Harrison creates a very distinctive contemporary jazz and funk mix, again assisted by some of L.A.'s finest players. From the hard funk of "Get In Line", to the gentle lyricism of "Conundrum", to the joyous shuffle groove of "So Far So Good"...this CD truly has something for all fans of contemporary jazz!
Mark’s goals for the Quintet and for their latest CD are very simple. “I want to chart our own territory in the jazz world, by creating substantive and interesting music that is accessible to the ear of the listener”, says Mark, “I’m thrilled when people come to our shows who are not diehard jazz fans, and yet they still feel our grooves and hum our tunes when they leave”.
01. Get In Line [04:51]
02. So To Speak [05:27]
03. Conundrum [06:05]
04. So Far So Good [06:11]
05. Just Add Water [06:57]
06. Gotta Keep Movin' [06:03]
07. Snakes And Ladders [05:26]
08. Sinaloa Shuffle 2010 [05:26]
09. Take My Hand [04:12]
10. Pacific Time [04:48]
Mark Harrison - piano, organ and synthesizers,
Rick Rossi - saxophones,
Mark Chosak - guitar,
Steve Billman - bass,
Matt Starr - drums.
Just Add Water
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