O's Notes: Music became a part of Leslie’s early life as she grew up in greater Chicago and it stuck with her. Leslie Beukelman is a vocalist, trumpeter and songwriter with an affinity for many genres. She spans across pop/rock, country and jazz with a soft, youthful voice that she puts to good use over nine selections including a few originals. Rob Deerfield (keyboards), Patrick Mulcahy (b) and Job Deitemyer (d) are a compelling rhythm section. “Wasting Time” will appeal to the country, pop crowd while we preferred the jazzier takes on “The Nearness of You”, “Here’s that Rainy Day” and “Secret Love”. Golden Daffodil is a fitting title for this relaxed set of thoughtful songs.
O's Notes: Balladeer Kenny Washington has a groovin’ baritone and a wide range that puts him in the sweet spot for the great majority of classics. The New Orleans native migrated to the Bay Area but has toured extensively and made a splash in New York as well. What’s The Hurry is a great sampling of his work with great takes of “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues”, “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”, “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Invitation”. The support from pianist Josh Nelson, guitarist Jeff Massanari, bassist Dan Friszli and Victor Goins’s (sax, cl) is first rate. Kenny works deep emotion into all he touches and audiences will feel it!
O's Notes: We continue enjoying the music of trumpeter, composer and bandleader Erik Jekabson. He continues to evolve now, a polished voice in modern jazz. Many of the songs are upbeat, fresh and vibrant like “Bell Song”, “Shaker Funk” and the calypso vibe of “Full House”. There are also several ballads, the best of which are “When You Went Away” and “Dusk”. Melodies and solos are dispersed across the band with strong performances from saxophonist Dave Ellis, guitarist Dave Mac Nab. Guest violinists Mads Tolling & Alisa Rose, along with poet Avotcja star on “One Note At A Time”.
O's Notes: Bassist Jeff Reed leads a quintet on a collection of nine tunes including four originals. They open with the upbeat “Segment” setting the stage for many more cool selections to follow. We liked “Tricotism”, a taste of fusion on “Conversion” and the relaxing title track featuring guitarist Jonathan Epley. Trumpeter Sean Jones takes the lead on “Quasimodo” before Epley is back on the mark for the finale, “Your Name Never Came Up”. The album was inspired by the full circle of life. Reed and his team do a fine job!
O's Notes: Drummer/percussionist Sivan Ivanovic and pianist/guitarist Vladimir Nikolov lead a Modern European large jazz ensemble that marries traditional and contemporary jazz into rich, warm music for Frame and Curiosity. There are eleven members plus featured guest Magic Malik Lezzadri (fl, vocals). All of the music was composed by the leaders and they strike an enticing balance that is vibrant, embraceable and relaxing on ballads like “Across The Threshold”. The true beauty is in the controlled power on “L’Etranger”, “Carefree” and “Sade Sati”.
O's Notes: Madre Vaca is a musical collective founded by Jarrett Carter (g), JeanCarlo Mendez (recording engineer), Jonah Pierre (p) and Benjamin Shorstein (d). They perform the music of Frank Schubert on Winterreise, the story (a collection of poems by Wilhelm Muller) of a depressed man who wandered away from home on a blustery winter night. The music was arranged by Shorestein and it touches many emotions and associated jazz styles. We liked the racy brass on “Frozen”, “The Stormy Morning”, and the solos from Carter and Pierre on “The Crow”.