Return Trip

    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

    O's Notes: Vibraphonist Matt Moran leads the charge in a trio with Gary Versace (B3) and Tom Rainey (d). They open with the warm flow of “Ripples” and get a bit eclectic on “Spring” and “Chord Conversion” while maintaining an open landscape that allows a focus on each of the musicians at all points. There are seven songs spread across 36 minutes. Some of the songs are rather edgy especially “Sometimes That’s Ok” but the program grew on us especially “Effish”.

      Rhapsodize

      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

      O's Notes: Back in 2013 we called Elder Djangirov the best pianist you never heard of! Now 33, he’s been raising eyebrows since appearing on Marion McPartland’s Piano Jazz at 12! With over ten albums under his belt, Eldar’s still evolving but is easily appreciated in this trio format with Raviv Markovitz (b) and Jimmy Macbride (d). He performs 7 originals and 4 covers, notably “Willow Weep For Me”. Other highlights are “Burn” and “Blackjack”.

        Simplicity

        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

        O's Notes: Pearl Django is a quintet of like-minded musicians. Michael Gray (violin), Rick Leppanen (b), David Lange (accordion), Tim Lerch (g) and Jim Char (g) each contribute original music for Simplicity, a jovial set. The music is bouncy and borders on bluegrass. Our favorites are “It’s A Secret” and “Biscuits ’N Groovy”.

          The Latin Jazz Project

          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

          O's Notes: The Latin Jazz Project is the 6th CD from this well decorated band that is dedicated to hard-core salsa. Bandleader, pianist Oscar Hernández enlists support from a stellar cast along with his large ensemble. There’s a nice vocal arrangement of “Invitation” featuring Kurt Elling and Miguel Zenon (sax). But the instrumentals dominate this outing notably “Bebo” featuring Bob Mintzer (sax), “Las Palmas” with Tom Harrell (t), “Silent Prayers” featuring bassist Jimmy Haslip, Jeremy Bosch (fl) and Dave Liebman (sax), a spirited arrangement of “Round Midnight” and “Latin Perspective” featuring Joe Locke (vibes). “Descarga des Jazz” is a fitting festive finale for a super set.

            Mysteries Unfold

            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

            O's Notes: Belgian-born, Berlin-based vocalist Sophie Tassignon has sung many genres and has a fabulous voice. This is her Rare Noise debut, a solo effort where she overdubs her voice into a choir. The mood is mysterious, at times eerie yet always accessible, well articulated and appreciable. It sounds like she is in a cathedral for “Jolene”, a prime example of the rich vocal harmonies on Mysteries Unfold.

              Red Dress

              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

              O's Notes: The San Gabriel Seven are a funky, Los Angeles-based band with a tight rhythm section, crisp horn accents and that old-school, funky soul that is a rich foundation for featured vocalist/songwriter Femi Knight. Femi has performed alongside many well-known artists and she has a strong voice that will raise the roof. “West Indian Brown”, “When A Woman’s Had Enough” and “The Next Best Thing” are highlights. The throwback groove on Red Dress will keep it in your changer for months!

                Human Revolution

                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                O's Notes: Pianist Zen Zadravec leads a large ensemble through 62 minutes of spirited entertainment. The counter currents are cohesive and well coordinated, especially on “Mentor Disciple”. We enjoyed the uplift from “Live!” with scatting by special guest Dylan Bell. He appears again on the relaxing “Jamilian”. Saxophonist Todd Bashore tears it up on “Climb” and also soothes us on ballads like “Soul Eyes” along with trumpeter Derrick Gardner. This is a very fine effort from Zadravec.

                  Can You Imagine?

                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                  O's Notes: Trumpeter John Bailey ignites the fire on “Pebbles In The Pocket” one of three hot originals. Trombonist Stafford Hunter joins the party with a burning solo hot on his heels. Stacey Dillard (sax) complements Bailey’s horn along with special guest Earl McIntyre (b-tb, tuba) on “President Gillespie Suite”. Edsel Gomez (p), Mike Karn (b) and Victor Lewis (d) establish a strong foundation for Bailey to build on, and extending into the melodies where appropriate with crisp accents. There are also relaxed tunes like “Ballad From Oro Incienso Y Morra” and “Elite State of Mind” to balance the heat making Can You Imagine? a winner. John is attempting to unite Americans with social justice through music. It certainly feels good!

                    Overjoyed

                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                    O's Notes: Jazz pianist Larry Fuller polished his chops playing behind Ernestine Anderson, Jeff Hamilton, John Pizzarelli and the legendary Ray Brown. But he’s stepped out as a leader over the last six years with his trio, featuring bassist Hassan Shakur and Lewis Nash on drums. These guys swing on the opener “Fried Peas”, simmer into some pop on “Overjoyed” and cook on “Lined With A Groove” with Shakur working hard. Those are just the first three selections of a dozen, including a couple of originals notably “The Mooch”. Fuller let’s loose on “Cubano Chant” and “Bossa Beguine” balancing the session with a few ballads as well leaving listeners Overjoyed!

                      Pure Tango

                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                      O's Notes: Nuevo-tango maestro, saxophonist Julio Botti teams up with Matias Lanfranco, a more traditional tango musician. They performed together in a riveting live engagement late in 2017 that would be the last concert that Botti’s mother would witness before succumbing to cancer. This recording is a fine tribute to her, including both racy and romantic selections. There are fine vocal selections like “Cualquiera De Esta Nochas” (Any of these nights) featuring María Jose Rojas - voice or Silvia Lallana - voice, and with various musical configurations. We also enjoyed the jazz-laced tunes like “Oro Y Plata” making this recording modern, Pure Tango at its best!

                        You, Me & Cole

                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                        O's Notes: This is a swinging duo featuring vocalist Noa Levy and bassist Shimpei Ogawa. They enjoy an incredible musical bond and have a blast playing ten of Cole Porter’s best tunes on You Me & Cole. Shimpei and Noa take turns in the spotlight and both sparkle. They don’t hide behind the veil of electronics or congestion, this is naked and unafraid! The results are appreciable notably on “My Heart Belongs To Daddy” and “Anything Goes”.

                          So In Love

                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                          O's Notes: Vocalist Ashley Locheed is the soft and inviting showpiece in front of a trio led by pianist Chris Rottmayer. Chuck Archard plays bass with Keith Wilson on drums. There’s a taste of Brazil on “Agua de Beber” sprinkled into the classics like “Day In, Day Out”. Ashley makes her best efforts on “I Love Paris”, “The Windmills of Your Mind” and “So In Love, Take 2”, in a good performance.

                            Golden Year

                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                            O's Notes: New York based guitarist Tony Davis serves up a set of burners starting with the opening title track. He plays with a first class team including drummer Eric McPherson, bassist Dezron Douglas, pianist David Bryant and saxophonist Steve Wilson. They relax into the Caribbean flavored “Sinha” while Alina Engibaryan, a fresh voice on the scene, shines on “Orange Feathers” and “Lake Sebago” softening the edges on Golden Years, a winning set!

                              PaNOptic

                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                              O's Notes: Drummer Rudy Royston has kept time for many jazz headliners including Amina Figarova, Jim Snidero and JD Allen. But he’s back in the leadership role for PaNOptic, his latest release. “bLUes” is a rather melodic piece. Royston adds enough spoken word on “defeRRed”, to illustrate his point, and more so with vocals on “I’m Coming Home”. PaNOptic is divided into three sections: poetic reflections, tributes and spirituals. All twenty-three selections are solo drum pieces and Royston uses dynamics and mature moderation to pull off an introspective collection that is far more encompassing than you’d imagine for a solo drum effort. All proceeds from the album are being donated to the MusicCares COVID-19 Relief Fund

                                New Beginning

                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                O's Notes: Venezuelan pianist and composer Gabriel Chakarji assembles a fine ensemble around his trio with Jongkuk Kim (d) and Edward Perez (b). Chakarji draws on tradition to create his own vibrant landscape. We enjoyed the vibe of ”Melodía Agradecimiento” and “Montuno Quince” featuring tenor saxophonist Morgan Guerin. Carmela Ramirez adds vocals and shadowing on several selections notably “New Danza” making New Beginning a worthy effort.

                                  The New Immigrant Experience

                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                  O's Notes: In the backdrop of the pandemic and The Black Lives Matter movement, there is The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. (DACA) came about after the Dream Act was stymied by the 9/11 attacks and a series of untimely stumbles and political transitions. Trump vs. NAACP blocked the rescission of DACA. The battle will continue but there is light. The New Immigrant Experience is a masterful performance composed, arranged and orchestrated by Felipe Salles, a Brazilian immigrant and professor who was inspired by the speech cadences and melodic motives collected from speeches by Dreamers. Felipe’s well-orchestrated Interconnections Ensemble incorporates lots of air and space between the musicians that allows the instruments to bloom fully! The musical conversations are well articulated and easily embraced. Nine movements are spread across two discs along with an “Introduction” and “Coda”. Additionally there is a DVD that shows video footage that was projected behind the band during the live performance. We suggest viewing the DVD first. It includes interviews with the Dreamers in preceding the music. This work is very powerful, rich and rewarding. If we could only get this harmonious communication between the left and the right...

                                    Falling Stars

                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                    O's Notes: Eva Kess (Kesselring) started her musical career in Brazil studying ballet and tap dancing before taking up piano in Europe and eventually settling on bass as her primary instrument. She’s performed in Rio, Europe and New York and celebrates Falling Stars with a 7-piece chamber-jazz ensemble. Eva’s music is soothing, symphonic and sedative. She’ll be performing this material and more on tour in Europe through 2021.

                                      Terra

                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                      O's Notes: Italian vocalist Sissy Castrogiovanni has a beautiful voice that graces ten original songs in a performance that is just over an hour. We prefer that she sings in her native tongue to capture all of the nuances. The music is a rich blend of classic Mediterranean, soul and jazz that is vibrant and soothing, even without translation! Terra is inspired by the astonishing power of our planet, Earth and the creation of life in all forms. Our favorites are “Ancili” and “E Vui Dumiti Ancora”.

                                        Pictures at an African Exhibition

                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                        O's Notes: Saxophonist Darryl Yokley assembles a fine band with Zaccai Curtis (p), Luques Curtis (b), Wayne Smith, Jr. (d) and special guest Nasheet Waits (d). The Pictures at an Art Museum Wind Ensemble adds depth and color to the mix. We liked the dynamics and mysterious groove on “Hunting Natives”, a taste of free jazz on “Genocide March”, and the mellow “First Sunrise” in a symphonic recording.

                                          My Americana

                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                          O's Notes: Pianist Ernest Turner is based out of Raleigh North Carolina which affords us the opportunity to see him live as we’ve done on at least a couple of occasions at Jazz Arts Charlotte in The Jazz Room. For My Americana Turner forms a trio with bassist Lance Scott, Jr. and John Curry on drums. Each of the team gets moments in the spotlight and they shine brilliantly. Ernest plays with a lot of soul and you can hear that come through especially on “We Shall Overcome”. Turner also cooks throughout the set. Highlights are “If It’s Magic”, “Monk’s Dream”, “Ain’t Misbehavin’”, “Circles”, “In or Out” and “Return of Thanos”. The last three are Turner originals suggesting we should hear more from this pianist on the national scene!

                                            Quatro

                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                            O's Notes: Magos Herrera is the featured vocalist on four of seven passionate songs by composer John Finbury. Every other tune is instrumental. Chano Domínguez (p), John Patitucci (b) and Antonio Sanchez (d) form a rock solid rhythm section supporting Herrera and resounding on the instrumentals. We locked in on the opener “Llegará El Día” and never let go in a riveting session!

                                              Everybody Wants To Rule The World

                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                              O's Notes: La Lucha is a true example of diversity centered on a trio with Colombian-American Alejandro Arenas (b), Mexican-American John O’ Leary (keyboards), and Jewish-American Mark Feinman (d). They add a plethora of well-regarded guests including Ken Peplowski (cl, keys), Houston Person (t-sax), Chuck Redd (vibes) and Melissa Aldana (t-sax). The music is a mix of classic tunes and originals that come together nicely. Among the best are “Ottawa Vez”, “Blues For Houston Person”, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and the old school vibe of “Lilis”.

                                                Night Devoid of Stars

                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                O's Notes: The Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra is built on a solid rhythm section with Frank Carlberg (p), James Meger (b) and Michael Sarin (d). They afford the plentiful horns a canvas to paint a harmonious landscape. Noah Preminger (t-sax) and Brad Turner (t) are among the many individuals expressing themselves with brief, impactful solos during the session. They are more symphonic on “Night Devoid of Stars” and grooving on “Motion”, two of six Hersog compositions surrounding a fresh arrangement of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”.

                                                  Plays

                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                  O's Notes: Check Corea is a legendary pianist, living of course and still in prime form. He Plays on this solo outing experimenting by putting together classic and jazz composers and their ideas to construct a fresh approach that is intriguing. He opens by tuning up the audience, getting them ready for participation that takes the engagement up several notches! Influencers are Mozart, Gershwin, Wonder, Evans, Jobim, Monk and many others. The live audience continues their enthusiastic engagement through Disc #2. Chick is at peace, reminiscing past friendships on “The Yellow Nimbus” and then inviting several members of the audience to play piano on stage with him. He concludes with several songs from his Children’s Songs series reminding us of the innocent and creative spirit of youth.

                                                    ONE NOTE AT A TIME

                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                    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”.

                                                      Look for the Light

                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                      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!

                                                        Frame and Curiosity

                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                        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”.

                                                          Winterreise

                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                          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”.

                                                            Golden Daffodil

                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                            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.

                                                              What’s The Hurry

                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                              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!

                                                                Hypersphere

                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                O's Notes: Saxophonist Dave Pietro is a University of North Texas alumnus who has continued to expand his horizons composing, teaching and performing. He assembles a fine band for Hypersphere that includes Alex Sipiagin (t), Gary Versace (keyboards), Johannes Weidenmueller (b), Rogerio Boccato (perc) and Johnathan Blake (d). The music is all original, mixed tempo, modern jazz. Dave leads the horns, bathing us in the splendor of the title track. Other highlights are “Incandescent”, “Quantum Entanglement” and “Orbison” featuring Ryan Keberle (tb).

                                                                  Seven Angels

                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                  O's Notes: John Lake is a trumpeter, composer and educator. On Seven Angels he leads a fine band including saxophonists Paul Jones and Michael Thomas, pianist Steven Feifke, bassist Marcos Varela, and drummer Jeff Davis. The combined trumpet and saxophone melodies define the mood and spirit of session, a mix of originals and freshly arranged classics. Varela takes a cool stroll on “Ladybird” and Feiffer stands out on “Intro To Pearls” leading to the joyful, swinging mood of “Pearls of the Tartar” and “A Shade of Jade”, our two favorites.

                                                                    Suite: April 2020

                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                    O's Notes: Suite: April 2020 is Brad’s latest solo effort and it in many parts, a reflection of the times. Brad composed this music at his home in The Netherlands sheltering in place during the pandemic. There are times when we have stress, confusion and concerns, we look to music for solace, a way to escape, reflect and Mehldau provides an answer with twelve fresh originals and three complimentary covers notably “New York State of Mind” as he longs for his native home in America. Relevant and worthy, we purchased the signed limited edition vinyl and sound quality was very good.

                                                                      You Must Believe In Spring

                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                      O's Notes: Seasoned vocalist Sue Anne Gershenzon selects songs that parallel her life from the great American Songbooks. She assembles a band that includes Joel Frahm on tenor sax, trombonist Ryan Keberle and Brandon Vasquez on trumpet. The music is pleasing as Sue Anne’s soft vocals blend with the strings for a calming effect. When the pace quickens she swings, scatting and rolling with the beats on “Deed I Do”, one of the best.

                                                                        And So It Begins

                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                        O's Notes: This is the debut recording for vocalist Lois Bruno, a seasoned performer who has played the unheralded supporting role to many others. Bruno’s voice is magical and works on everything she touches from the sassy arrangement of “Love For Sale” to “But Beautiful” and “Feeling Good”. The supporting quartet is tight with Michael Eckroth (p), Yoshi’s Waki (b), Brian Fisher (d) and producer Kenny Shankar (sax). There are rich solos from Shankar and Eckroth on numerous occasions. But this is about the headliner Bruno, And So It Begins and we hope it continues!

                                                                          Marbles

                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                          O's Notes: Jazz pianist, composer and producer Falkner Evans has been situated in the New York jazz scene since 1985. Marbles is his fifth album as a leader and it is a fine effort. Bassist Beldon Bullock and drummer Matt Wilson join Falkner to make a solid rhythm section. Guest Steve Nelson adds vibes on three selections notably the title track. “This From That” shines with the entire splendor of a large ensemble including solos from Ted Nash (a-sax) and Michael Blake (t-sax). They join with Ron Horton (t) for rich harmonies throughout the set. Evans shines on “Sing Alone” and does a fine job extracting the most from his team.

                                                                            Triangular III

                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                            O's Notes: Ralph follows up his Blakey Tribute (100) in a trio with The Curtis Brothers, Zaccai on piano and Luques playing bass. They play intoxicating beats like the heavily syncopated “Beatrice” and “Manifest Destiny”, one of Zaccai’s two originals along with the swinging “Moments”. Peterson learned from old-school masters like hard bop pianist Walter Davis, Jr. and pays homage by including three of his compositions, notably “400 Years Ago Tomorrow”. They squeeze a relaxed cover of “Skylark” in the middle to catch their breath otherwise they go full tilt!

                                                                              Live at Pregones

                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                              O's Notes: Los Pleneros de la 21 is a New York band formed in 1983 by percussionist Juan "Juango" Gutiérrez with his eye on celebrating the music of Puerto Rico in New York. This is a vibrant performance captured Live at Pregones, Bronx, NY on June 21, 2017. The lyrics and commentary are In Spanish and the music celebrates 35 years of Bomba and Plena (Puerto Rican dance music). Among the best songs are “Plena Penita”, “Don Pedro” and “María Antonia”. The tradition carries on today with no signs of disappearing!

                                                                                Anemone

                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                O's Notes: Tenor saxophonist Vito Dieterle has a deep, warm tone that bodes well over nine, mixed tempo, classics. It’s tough to miss with music by legendary songwriters like Strayhorn, Monk and Porter. Vito is spot on along with his band: Kris Kaiser (g), Ben Paterson (organ) and Aaron Seeber (d). They start softly on “Dream Dancing”, swing on “You Said It”, cook on “Minor Chant” and entice on “Chelsea Bridge”. Dieterle successfully breathes new life into these oldies and keeps it fresh allowing the entire band to contribute meaningful notes.

                                                                                  Algorithm

                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                  O's Notes: Composer and pianist Zaccai Curtis and his brother, bassist Luques, are part of The Curtis Brothers Band with trumpeter Brian Lynch, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, and drummer Ralph Peterson. They do well featuring Zaccai’s fresh, original compositions, inspired by Art Blakey’s famous bands. Lynch, Harrison and Peterson serve as mentors to the young brothers and “The Professor”, “Chief” and “Sensei” are tribute tunes to each of them respectively. Algorithm shows the continued maturation of The Curtis Brothers, a fine effort.

                                                                                    New Chordtet

                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                    O's Notes: New Chordtet is a Connecticut-based quintet with Dave Santoro (b), Peter McEachern (tb), Mike Drubbo (sax), Jimin Park (p) and Tom Melito (d). The self-titled release is their debut in the current configuration. They play ten selections, three by the late, legendary Lee Morgan that define the modern jazz theme of the session. We also enjoyed “I’ve Got Your Number” and originals “Cosmos” (Santoro) and “Native Mode” (McEachern) in a swinging set.

                                                                                      Music In Me

                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                      O's Notes: Percussionist and conguero, Little Johnny Rivera assembles a Latin band featuring trumpeter Brian Lynch, Louis Fouche (a-sax), Zaccai Curtis (p), Ludwig Alfonso (d) and Luques Curtis (b). They are joined by many special guests on Music In Me. The overarching theme is merengue with a wealth of percussion. Among the best are “Let’s Do It Again”, “Palmieri, Much Respect”, “Alambique”, “Mr. LP”, “Africa My Land” and the funky “Afro-Rykan Thoughts”.

                                                                                        Oh! My Love

                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                        O's Notes: Le Mirifique Orchestra is a chamber jazz ensemble under the direction of Emmanuel Bénèche (horn) and Alban Darcie (sax). They deliver a romantic slice of Paris with Oh! My Love, a collection of thirteen love songs. The instrumentation is precise and vocals come from several voices. Among the best are “Skylark” featuring Agathe Peyrat, “Don’t Explain” featuring Alice Lewis and “Pearce que he t’aime” featuring Lois Le Van.

                                                                                          The Songbook Session

                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                          O's Notes: Lauren has a rich voice that falls nicely into the groove of her accompaniment. She gives us a taste of bossa nova on “Meditação” and “Sabon Á Mí”. Bassist Eric Wheeler opens “Beautiful Love” with a rich solo. Drummer Allan Menard and pianist Sullivan Fortner provide strong support as well, especially on “While We’re Young”, Bésame Mucho” and “Day By Day”.

                                                                                            Live at Maureen’s Jazz Cellar

                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                            O's Notes: Sometimes the magic is in the venue and such is the case at (Live at) Maureen’s Jazz Cellar, named in honor of the late, great jazz vocalist Maureen Budway. Maureen’s serves as a creative and inspirational venue for vocalist Tania Grubbs and her quintet featuring David Budway (p), Tania’s husband Jeff Grubbs (b), Ron Affif (g) and, James Johnson III (d). The Nyack, NY club has an intimate audience supporting its first recording. Tania’s voice is soft and inviting on “The Peacocks” including a fine guitar solo from Affif. She adds a taste of bebop scatting on “Orinthology” with fine accompaniment especially from her hubby and Afiff.

                                                                                              Porter Plays Frishberg: Unsung

                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                              O's Notes: Dave Frishberg is a pianist, composer and lyricist with many accomplishments and great tunes, yet he’s flown under the radar for most jazz fans. Most of Dave’s work is appreciated with vocals but pianist Randy Porter pays homage with an all-instrumental tribute. Porter Plays Frishberg: Unsung is a piano-centric recording that swings like crazy. “I Want To Be A Sideman”, ”Little Did I Dream”, “Peel Me A Grape” and “Snowbound” are some of the best.

                                                                                                Into The Shadows

                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                O's Notes: A melodic trombone can be very rewarding and John Fedchock delivers a winner with Into The Shadows. He leads a sextet through eight, mostly original selections. Scott Wendholt (t) and Walt Weiskopt (t-sax) join him on a crisp, harmonized front line. Fedchock’s work is pure bliss on tunes like “Manaus” and “Nature Boy”. David Finck (b) and Eric Halvorson (d) keep it steady while pianist Allen Farnham tickles the ivory notably “On The Edge”, setting the stage for a spirited romp to close the set!

                                                                                                  Espiral

                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                  O's Notes: OKAN is the word for soul or heart in the Santeria religion. It is a fitting name for this Afro-Cuban, woman-led ensemble. Drummer/Percussionist Magdelys Savigne and violinist Elizabeth Rodriguez are the leaders. They sing beautiful, classic & original jazz and Cuban ballads with heart felt passion in Spanish and English. We hope to see them touring post-pandemic. For Espiral, the reimagined “Besame Mucho”, “Boundaries” and the spirited rap from Telmary Diaz on “Mercedes” are a few examples of their vibrant style.

                                                                                                    Touch & Go

                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                    O's Notes: Touch & Go is a dozen jazz and country/pop ballads featuring vocalist Susan Tobocman. Her voice is warm and inviting backed by a strong musical team that includes Joel Frahm (sax), Pete McCann (g) and Michael Sarin (d). The jazzier tunes like “The Man I Love”, “Make Believe “, “I Could Get Used to This” and the title track kept us engaged. The accompanying solos by Frahm and McCann were top notch. This is another achievement in Tobocman’s long list of accomplishments as a performing artist, producer and entertainer.

                                                                                                      New Sounds From the Jazz Age

                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                      O's Notes: New York-based vocalist Lizzie Thomas has a resounding, strong voice that is a passionate vehicle for delivering music from the American Songbooks. New Sounds From the Jazz Age is her latest recording and it bodes well. She doesn’t miss a beat on “One Note Samba” and is deeply romantic on “Our Love Is Here To Stay”. We also enjoyed “Fascinating Rhythm” and “Cheek to Cheek”. Musical director, arranger and pianist John Colianni does a fine job with a strong team that includes Omar Daniels (t-sax, fl) and guests Russell Malone (g) and Jay Leonhart (b). Lizzie delivers continuous, cool, collective entertainment.

                                                                                                        Present Company

                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                        O's Notes: Tenor saxophonist Peter Hess leads a quartet with drummer Tomas Fujiwara, trombonist Brian Drye and Adam Hopkins on bass. There are seven selections with a heavy dose of improvisation. Hess is out there but not too far gone, reminding us of Sonny Rollins on “Ring Tone”! They also play a couple of ballads notably “The Net Menders” featuring Hopkins. “Echolocation” has a cool horn intro that evolves into a funky exchange. The band gets charged up again on “Komma”, our favorite of the bunch, rounding out a good session.

                                                                                                          Night Kisses

                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                          O's Notes: Veteran jazz artist Eddie Daniels (fl, cl, t-sax) presents Night Kisses: A Tribute to Ivan Lins, the legendary Brazilian pianist and composer. It is well-deserved appreciation and acknowledgement of a tremendous musician. The music comes from Ivan Lins albums recorded from 1977 through 2014. There’s beautiful piano work from Josh Nelson on “D’Aquil Que Eu Sei”. We also enjoyed Eddie’s warm sax on “Cantor Da Noite”. Guest artist Dave Grusin (p) appears on three selections and Bob James also plays on two tracks. Both appear on the final track “Ivante”. The Harlem Quartet adds depth with strings making Night Kisses more than a simple compilation.

                                                                                                            Truth

                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                            O's Notes: Seth Weaver plays trombone and leads a big band. He also presents a fine voice on tunes like “What If” and “On A Clear Day”. Truth is a classic, orchestrated large ensemble with solos spread across the landscape. San Dillon (t-sax) and Nolan Byrd (d) are featured on “Frost”; and Dillon, Lukas Gabric (t-sax) and Marty Kenny (b) star on “It Could Happen To You” the lively finale.

                                                                                                              More Than A Song

                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                              O's Notes: Vocalist CeCe Gable is based in Reno, NV, a city with substance, heart and history, quite different from the smoke, mirrors, and glitz of Vegas! She assembles an all-star band with co-producer, bassist Harvie S, guitarist Roni Ben-Hur, Brian Landaus (b-sax, b-cl) and Sylvia Cuenca (d) to support her on More Than A Song. That band, like Reno, has substance! CeCe’s soft powdery lyrics speak of romance, what’s past and what’s tempting over ten classic covers. Among the best are “I Thought About You” and “Fotografia”.

                                                                                                                I’m All Yours

                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                O's Notes: Romance and blues are a reality on I’m All Yours, a collection of Martine Tabilio’s love songs. Beth is a great storyteller and she embraces Tabilio’s compositions rattling off pointed lyrics in front of a fine band including saxophonist Javan Manricks, trumpeter Joe Mazzaferro and guitarist Steve Homan. It’s a time of reckoning before celebrating the music on “The Band”. Duncan even scats a touch on “While You Decide”. Other highlights are “Suddenly”, “It All Begins With You” and “Kit & Kaboodle Blues”.

                                                                                                                  Rainbow Baby

                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Pianist and composer Cathlene Pineda reflects on the mixed emotions of four years of motherhood for her third release. She assembles a fine quartet with trumpeter Kris Tiner, bassist David Tranchina and drummer Tina Raymond. Tiner’s crisp melodies spill over the tight rhythm section with exacting emotion. There’s a cool, Latin vibe on “Milo” and a calming presence on “Wild Geese IV”. The landscape of Rainbow Baby is rich with evolving moods and replete with calming energy.

                                                                                                                    I Fall In Love Too Easily

                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                    O's Notes: This is the final recording for the late pianist, Larry Williams. It ended where it started in 1965, at Rudy Van Gelder’s recording studio! Larry was an understated musician who brought a tremendous amount of energy and context to whatever he touched. He plays with a solid team here: Jeremy Pelt (t), Joe Ford (a-sax), Blake Meister (b) and Victor Lewis (d). The eight selections are freshly arranged classics and a couple of originals, beautiful music!

                                                                                                                      Te Lo Dije

                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Cuban pianist and composer Harold López-Nussa comes from a musical legacy family that has been celebrated on the island and in the US. There is a wealth of Latin percussion and really crisp brass on tunes like “Lila’s Mambo” and “Timbeando” with bassist Julio César González rocking hard! Julio, trumpeter Mayquel González and drummer Ruby Adrián López-Nussa join Harold to form to core of this Afro-Cuban jazz band. The spirited vocals by the core musicians are a celebratory part of the cohesion on Te Lo Dije and what you can expect to hear on the streets of Cuba today!

                                                                                                                        MONK’estra Plays John Beasley

                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                        O's Notes: John Beasley is a masterful pianist, composer and band director with 3+ decades of experience working as a leader and supporting Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard. He’s the conductor and arranger of Monkestra, now on their third release. This time Monk’estra Plays John Beasley featuring John’s compositions along with four Monk classics and covers of Ellington and Parker. The vibe on “Donna Lee” is slammin’ contrasting with the vocal spiritual “Come Sunday”. “Masekela” is a fitting tribute performed in a septet anchored by bassist John Patitucci and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. They swing hard on “Five Spot” with Grégoire Maret (harmonica) in the spotlight. We love the beauty of these originals and arrangements, imparting different layers of beauty with exceptional musicians.

                                                                                                                          I Wish I Knew

                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Susie has beautiful vocal tone that is accentuated by Ken Peplowski (cl) Larry McKenna (t-sax) and John Shana (t) who rotate through the spotlight leading the melodies. The rest of this Philly-based band is also first rate with Paul Meyers (g), John Shaddy (p), Lee Smith (b) and Byron Landham (d). But Susie won’t let you forget that she’s leading I Wish I Knew especially on the title track, “Alfie” and “You Go To My Head”.

                                                                                                                            Status Sphere

                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                            O's Notes: This is a duo recording with saxophonist Vito Dieterle and pianist Joel Forrester. They play a mix of Monk tunes and Forrester originals, both ballads and swingers. Among the best are “Don’t Ask Me Now” with a cat and mouse treatment of the melody, Crepuscule With Nellie”, “Let’s Call This” and “The Comeback”. They sound much larger than two and present a compelling package.

                                                                                                                              Auld Lang Syne

                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Auld Lang Syne is a swinging big band with vocals from Laura Dickinson starting off with “Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season” launching us into the festive mode! The fire continues with “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm”, “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me”, “Let It Snow, Let It Snow” and “A Marshmallow World”. It’s energetic, festive and makes a holiday celebration different from the normal Christmas cheer! The title is a Scottish poem that sings goodbye to the past year and welcomes the New Year. Laura makes this recording one that you want to have in your Holiday rotation.

                                                                                                                                The Time Is Now

                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Peruvian drummer/percussionist and composer Jorge Perez-Albela leads the rhythm section behind featured vocalist (Jorge’s wife) Sissy Castrogiovanni with Tim Ray on keyboards and Jesse Williams playing bass on The Time Is Now. Lihi Haruvi adds soprano sax on “The Mirror” and “Hope” which also features trumpeter Phil Grenadier. Santiago Parades joins Sissy singing “Raices” and adds guitar on “El Reto”. Castrogiovanni sings passionately on “Shining Star” and displays a warm Peruvian tradition on “Viento De Los Andes”.

                                                                                                                                  Pivotal Arc

                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Pivotal Arc consists of a three-part “Violin Concerto” and a four-part “String Quartet” culminated with the title track. The concept for this work was born in 2007 when violinist Natalie Bonin met Nachoff backstage before a concert in Toronto. 13 years later, we have their masterpiece! There is great symphonic sense with expressions of multiple moods as the musicians dance to Nachoff’s prescribed emotions. The Concerto has more silky passages while the Quartet evokes more mystery and adventure.

                                                                                                                                    Let’s Go

                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Chicago-based crooner Sam Fazio swings with his crisp, mature approach to classics with unique arrangements and a sound that will have you hitting the repeat button! He has long held Tuck and Patti in high regard and eventually had the chance to open for them in a Chicago suburb. That led to this collaboration Let’s Go. Chris White (p) and Tim Fitzgerald (g) are the primary musicians in configurations from 2 to 5. Michael Peloquin plays harmonica on two selections notably “Pure Imagination”. We also enjoyed “My Baby Just Care’s Foe Me” and “Eleanor Rigby”, a duet with Tuck Andres on bass, yes bass!

                                                                                                                                      Originations

                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Pianist and composer Ryan Cohan assembles a fine ensemble that includes John Wojciechowski (fl, cl, t-sax), Geof Bradfield (b-cl, s-sax) and The KAIA String Quartet. Cohan was inspired by his combined Jewish and Jordanian heritage, both rich in culture and plagued by conflict. The vibrancy of “Imaginary Lines”, “Essence” and “Sabra” are highlights in the six-song set. Originations is a warm and engaging symphonic recording!

                                                                                                                                        Only Love

                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Portland-based guitarist, composer and educator Anson Wright leads a quartet for Only Love, his latest recording. Jasnam Dayna Singh (p), Brian Casey (b) and Todd Scott Bishop (d) provide good accompaniment. There are some spirited strolls, as on “Rahway Blues” and a couple of warm ballads like “Merci Mon Frére” and “All Shall Rise To Thee” that make for a good set.

                                                                                                                                          New Aurora

                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Trumpeter Michael Sarian embarks on a fresh approach with New Aurora. This take is more modern jazz vs. the contemporary bent of past works. The program is mostly original compositions performed in a quartet with Santiago Leibson (p), Dayeon Seok (d) and either Marty Kenney or Matt Pavolka on bass. There are a wide range of tempos ranging from warm ballads like “Colorado Yeta” and “Scottie” to the spirited “Primo” featuring Leibson. There’s also a cool cover of “Ask Me Now”.

                                                                                                                                            Live In France

                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: This live session was captured at the 1948 Jazz Festival in Nice, France. Louis is in prime form on his trumpet and singing. The band Armstrong’s All-Stars, is exemplary with Jack Teagarden (tb, vocals), Barney Bigard (cl), Earl Hines (p), Arbel Shaw (b) and Sid Catlett (d). They play ten classics including vocal tracks that were fully embraced by the French audience. Among the best, “Black And Blue”, “Rockin’ Chair” and “Dear Old Southland” with Hines standing out. The album was just released by Dot Time on high quality vinyl (limited edition) as well as digitally and it is truly a delight!

                                                                                                                                              Recognition

                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Portuguese improvisational vocalist and composer Sara Serpa leads a quartet with Zeena Parkins (harp, tuning forks), Mark Turner (sax) and David Virelles (p). The tone is dark and introspective with an abundance of repetitive phrases that can be impressionable or at times, trying. It is creative and unique geared for Serpa’s free-spirited audience.

                                                                                                                                                Todas las Voces

                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: NYC-based vocalist Eva Cortés was born in the Honduras and brings Latin flavors to her soft romantic voicing. She presents us with ten compositions on Todas las Voces. Bassist Christian McBride and drummer Eric Harland anchor a strong supporting band. We liked “Hills of Silver”, “Gracias a La Vida” and “Peace” with warm sax from Roman Filiu.

                                                                                                                                                  I Love To See You Smile

                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: The 3D Jazz Trio is a subset of the Diva Jazz Orchestra featuring pianist Jackie Warren with bassist Amy Shook and Sherrie Maricle on drums. There’s a little bit of ragtime on the opener, “I’d Love to See You Smile”, and the first of eight fresh covers. They take it down a notch on “Moonglow” drawing us into their space. We also enjoyed the vibrant version of “Besame Mucho”, the boogie-woogie groove of “Back at the Chicken Shack” and the deliberate take of “Angel Eyes”.

                                                                                                                                                    Suite: April 2020

                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Suite: April 2020 is Brad’s latest solo effort and it is, in many parts, a reflection of the times. Brad composed this music at his home in The Netherlands, sheltering in place during the pandemic. Sometimes when we have stress, confusion and concerns, we look to music for solace, a way to escape and reflect. Mehldau provides an answer with twelve fresh originals and three complimentary covers notably “New York State of Mind” as he longs for his native home in America. Relevant and noteworthy.

                                                                                                                                                      Mayan Suite

                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Mayan Suite is the debut for drummer Brian Andres’ Trio Latino featuring pianist Christian Tumalan and bassist Aaron Germain. They are the rhythm section of his famed, 8-piece Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel. But Trio Latino has 100% of the energy and vibrancy of the large ensemble! Both Tumalan and Germain contribute originals to the set to go along with five Latin jazz classics. They explode on “Got A Match” and “Morning Sprite”, two Corea pieces as well as “Viento Solar”. We also enjoyed the ballad “Si Tu Vez”, the mid-tempo “Higashi Nakano” and “On Green Dolphin Street” featuring Germain. Trio Latino establishes themselves as a formidable unit on any stage.

                                                                                                                                                        The III Side

                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: The Caribbean, festive beats are plentiful, anchoring a refined big band up front! Lyrics come from Braulio Barrera, Christelle Durandy and Armando Cordoba on 5 of the 9 selections. There are excellent covers, notably fresh arrangements of “Through The Fire”, “A Night in Tunisia” and “Birks Works”. Jon Faddis (t), Dafnis Prieto (d), Alex Britti (g) and Herman Olivera (vocals on the fiery “Omi Ye Ye”) are featured artists in a sea of strong musicians. The Spanish songs have Spanish lyrics and English songs have English lyrics maintaining the integrity of the tunes in an energetic celebration, The III Side.

                                                                                                                                                          Liberty

                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: The Dayna Stephens Trio is an atypical unit with the absence of chordal, harmonic support. Bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric Harland join the saxophonist. The musicians capitalize on the open space, allowing their instruments to blossom. Dayna breathes warm tones through his sax in what turns out to be a relaxed, mindful, sometimes melancholy series of original ballads that soothe the soul and provide a suitable opportunity for reflection. Liberty is a timely release.

                                                                                                                                                            Love is...

                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: There’s a young child dressed in a tux on the CD cover and yes, she’s the headline singer on Love Is... For those of you who watch America’s Got Talent, she’s recognizable. Now 7 years old, she’s got mad skills and will be fun to watch as she matures. In the mean time listen to her debut, backed by an orchestra directed by Rob Wasilauski with Jeff Hamilton (d), Chuck Berghofer (b) and Tom Ranier (p) holding down the rhythm section. But this is Sophie’s show and she’s giving it her all. She’s much more than a cute novelty; she has great pitch and a strong voice. Watch out!

                                                                                                                                                              A Love Letter to Lena

                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: A Love Letter to Lena is a fine recording focused on the life of Lena Horne, the first African American actress cast in positive roles in Hollywood. She faced animosity from both whites and blacks as she blazed the trail but ultimately endured. Clairdee does a wonderful job singing on songs like “Maybe” and “Something To Live For” with fine accompaniment from violinist Regina Carter. Margo Hall is the narrator, speaking from Lena’s voice on the interludes. We particularly appreciated “The Movement” followed by “Stand Up” which is relevant today reminding you to get out and vote in November!

                                                                                                                                                                Live

                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: This is a swinging live session with excellent work on the vibes by Marsalis as well as solid work on piano by Oscar Rossignoli. Bassist Jasen Weaver shows up strong on “Bourbon Street Ain’t No Mardi Gras” and drummer Gerald T. Watkins does a fine job keeping time across all six selections. Best bet is the finale, “At The House, In Da Pocket”.

                                                                                                                                                                  Eternal Dance

                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Pianist, composer and co-producer Monika Herzig reassembles her Sheroes band for their third release  Eternal Dance, their first on Savant. The sorority is beyond proving equivalencies and is excelling regardless of gender. Guitarist Leni Stern makes her presence known on several tracks notably “Eternal Dance’ and “Rabbit”. We also enjoyed “Fly High” featuring Lakecia Benjamin (a-sax), “We Can Be (S)Hereos”, the soothing “Fall in Reading” and solemn finale “Memories of Petra”.

                                                                                                                                                                    Catch Me If You Can

                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: The seamless harmony of a band with deep roots is unmistakable and the 30-year life of this trio makes them more than a cohesive unit. Pianist Tamir Hendelman, and bassist Jon Hamar perform with the leader, producer Jeff Hamilton on drums. They mix a few originals with several lesser-known covers for a set with varied tempo and flow that kept us engaged from start to finish! The excellent sound quality (HDCD) makes the performance even more enjoyable.

                                                                                                                                                                      Four Questions

                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Pianist, conductor and composer Arturo O’Farrill is inspired and shares a beautiful message with a Latin symphony performing a beautiful collection of Afro Cuban beats. And it is also a history lesson with reflections on the words of WEB Dubois as narrated by Dr. Cornell West. “Four Questions” was premiered at The Apollo May 21, 2016 and they are even more relevant today as we face an unprecedented challenge in National leadership. The vibrant music is rich and full of inspiration. Though it’s a full orchestra the sound is not cluttered. It is crystal clear, as clear as the message given in the Four Questions. As we witnessed the early release from jail of Michael Cohen while countless others remained in infected cells, we need this reminder to take heed to what’s right. Listen to the music and VOTE!

                                                                                                                                                                        All I Am

                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Anthony Jefferson is one of the Crescent City’s finest baritone crooners appearing on All I Am with support from pianist, arranger, composer and producer Cory Allen. There is a stirring bolero version of “Besame Mucho” pairing Jefferson with Patricia Pereyra and also unique arrangements of “Willow Weep For Me” and “Summertime” including a warm sax solo from Jesus Abreu. Anthony switches gears to the soul classic “Me and Mrs. Jones” with lush strings before romancing us with “In The Presence Of” shadowed by Mark Rapp on trumpet. Strong liner notes are compromised by small font and poor contrast but the performance easily overcomes that deficit.

                                                                                                                                                                          Running On Faith

                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Diane Schuur has one of the best jazz blues voices: resounding, rich and honey coated. Sure it’s changed over time but tonal accuracy and soul remain in tact with unprecedented story-telling ability. Guitarist Thom Rotella is on his A-game with complimentary liquid melodies on “The Danger Zone” while trumpeter Kyle Palmer takes the spotlight on ”All Blues”. Co-producer Ernie Watts (sax) compliments Schuur throughout the set as she shares the spotlight generously. But this is Schuur’s set and she is in classic form notably on “There Is Always One More Time”, “Chicken” and “Way Over Yonder”.

                                                                                                                                                                            New Songs For Old Souls

                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: The Lost Melody is a trio consisting of pianist Joe Davidian, bassist Dr. Jamie Ousley and drummer Austin McMahon. They have performed as a trio under their individual names over the past two decades but now perform as a band of equals on New Songs For Old Souls. The new, original tunes have catchy melodies and the quiet confidence of experience. Among the best are “Leaving Monserrat”, “Sol”, “Before I Forget” (recorded live) and the relaxed “Ready or Not”. The music swings and is easy to embrace for enjoyable listening.

                                                                                                                                                                              New York Paradox

                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: When bassist and composer Omer Avital plays, it’s with power, precision and high spirits. New York Paradox is another fine example. His quintet Qantar includes Eden Ladin (p), Asaf Yuria (t-sax, s-sax), Alexander Levin (t-sax) and Ofri Nehemya (d). All of the musicians were born in Israel and now reside in the Bed-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, adjacent to Bushwick where you can find Wilson Live, Avital’s innovative Brooklyn venue for jam sessions, meeting and recording. Qantar was born there 4 years ago and this is their sophomore release. The program was recorded live without editing to create a Mediterranean tinged, hard bop that is powerful. It ranges from the fierce opener “Shabazi” to the relaxed “It’s All Good”. Indeed it is!

                                                                                                                                                                                Rhythmic Synchronicity

                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Dafnis teaches at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. He designed a course to help students from all backgrounds get a grip on rhythmic syncopation, music on the offbeat. The exercises are designed for groups of students 2-35 in a classroom setting. He suggests clapping, tapping and/or vocalizing the beats. These exercises may be difficult starting out but become easier with time and practice, lots of practice! Start with a slower pace and build to a normal pace. Many musicians will have an easier time repeating these syncopated beats as opposed to reading them. So the book comes with 188 downloadable audio tracks so you can hear what the rhythms should sound like! There are three levels of instruction getting progressively more difficult and complex. Level 2 adds lengthier passages and more transitioning in time signatures. While performing one line can generally be mastered, one person clapping one line while singing another can be rather difficult but fun to try. Level 3 is extensive and even more engaging. Upon completion, you’ll be ready to play with more rhythmic accuracy in a multitude of situations. And you thought you had rhythm? You can do better with this book and have fun along the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Dark Matter

                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Baltimore-based pianist and composer Lafayette Gilchrist is self-taught. He didn’t start playing until he discovered his fascination for the piano at 17, wandering into a piano-equipped recital room while taking an English class at University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Now he’s 52 leading several bands and producing his latest album, Dark Matter recorded fittingly at University of Baltimore: Wright Theater. There are elements of stride piano intermingled with his DC/Baltimore DNA.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Fodder In Her Wings

                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: This album was originally recorded on a boutique French label in 1982 after Simone relocated to Paris. It was re-released this year on Verve. The vibe is Afro Caribbean, rootsy blues. Nina‘s voice has dark, smoky tones that pair well with the distinct, honest messages that she puts in her music. Blues, passion and reality are woven into the fabric of Fodder On My Wings, capturing a transitional period in Nina’s life. She chants over funky rhythms on ”Vous Etes Seuls, Mais Je Désire Etre Avec Vous” and “I Was Just A Stupid Dog To Them”. And there’s deep grieving on “Alone Again”. This is a classic recording of a legend in her prime!

                                                                                                                                                                                      The Art of Intimacy, Vol 1

                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: The Art of Intimacy, Vol 1 is just that, featuring leader and producer Jeremy Pelt in a trio with George Cables on the keys and bassist Peter Washington. Jeremy has pristine tone on his trumpet. That’s entirely appropriate for these warm ballads. The absence of a drummer makes things even more intimate as does the chemistry between the musicians. Pelt chooses less traveled but appreciable standards and adds an original to make a strong point for Volume 2.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Passion Flower

                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: John Di Martino leads a swinging modern jazz set from his seat at the piano on Passion Flower, a celebration of the music of Billy Strayhorn. The warm, romantic rendition of “Lush Life” features rich vocals by Raul Midón. There are also some instrumental ballads like “Star Crossed Lovers”. In fact there are more ballads than burners. We enjoyed the heat of “Take the A Train” with a cool bass solo from Boris Kozlov, “Rain Check” featuring drummer Lewis Nash, and “Johnny Come Lately”. Eric Alexander (sax) provides warm, resounding support on all fronts embellishing Di Martino’s arrangements to the fullest.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The Many Open Minds

                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Roger Kellaway is always a joyful listen. He’s got that bouncy swinging style that always gets your head bobbing, feet patting and puts a smile on your face. Bruce Forman does excellent work on guitar on “Doxy” while bassist Dan Lutz shines with a solo on “Take The A Train”. Roger exercises his fingers to delight the audience on “Caravan”. and “Take Five” making us wonder if he’ll ever slow down! These seven generous selections are excellent examples of The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The Dance She Spoke

                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Duende Libre is a trio featuring producer Alex Chadsey (keyboards), Farko Dosumov (b) and Jeff “Bongo Busch (d, perc). The Dance She Spoke arrives amidst the global pandemic and it has a soothing effect on the crisis. Frank Anderson (vocals, perc) and Chava Mirel (vocals) broaden the trio’s music, a blend of jazz, R&B and heavily influenced by West African music (Mali, Guinea). The rhythms are contagious and resonate in your body and spirit. Our favorite tracks are “Dansa”, “N’gri” and “Mendiani” packing a 1-2-3 punch in the middle of the set!

                                                                                                                                                                                              Blue Soul

                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: One of our favorite jazz guitarists is Dave Stryker. He enlists the support of the powerful and prestigious WDR Big Band under the direction of arranger Bob Mintzer. Bob also contributes tenor sax solos on three selections notably “Stan’s Shuffle”. Blue Soul extends Dave’s 8-Track series with jazzy arrangements of “What’s Going On”, “When Dove’s Cry” and “Trouble Man”. We also enjoyed “Shadowboxing”, one of a few Stryker originals. The large ensemble is a force of precision, never overwhelming, and injecting all of the right accents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Blended Lineage

                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Alto saxophonist and composer David Bixler combines his quintet (Bixtet) with a string quartet for Blended Lineage, a four-part introspective suite that speaks of tribes through instrumentation. Tribalism could be troubling in today’s environment but Bixler takes an optimistic approach. We liked the two middle tracks, “Motherland” without strings, and “Trenches” where the blending of the nine musicians is rich and engaging. Our favorite is the finale “My Soul Swoons Slowly” with the strings bathing Bixler’s warm melody.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Iron Starlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: We are enjoying the blossoming of 24-year-old, LA-based pianist and composer Connie Han. She has strong accompaniment with Jeremy Pelt (t), Walter Smith III (t-sax) and Ivan Taylor (b). Producer, drummer Bill Wysaske also contributes three originals to the mix. Connie shows her maturity with a warm approach across the keys on “Captains Song”. Pelt shines on “Dark Chambers” and teams with Smith to make “Nova” shine while Wysaske adds a strong solo on “For The O. G.” Don’t be fooled by the cover, Iron Starlet is a strong fresh set of straight-ahead jazz!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Watershed

                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Guitarist, composer and educator John Stein is experiencing a Watershed moment as he steps down from teaching at Berklee to focus on performing music! He assembles a quintet with Teco Cardozo (fl, sax), Daniel Grajew (keyboards), Frank Herzberg (b) and Źé Eduardo Nazario (d). The recording was made in Brazil and you can feel the air on “Brazilian Hug”. They don’t miss a beat on Joe Henderson’s “Kicker”, one of four covers combined with Stein’s originals and a showcase for the entire band. We also enjoyed the romantic ballad “Dreamsville” in a strong set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      New York Moment

                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: JC Hopkins is a pianist and bandleader who assembles a strong team of musicians and vocalists for this New York Moment. The featured vocalists are Joy Hanson, Nico Sarbanes, Vanisha-Arleen Gould, Shawn Whitehorn and Alicante Yaffee. We truly enjoyed “The Wonderful Things to Come” and “What Would You Say?” featuring Hanson and Hanson/Sarbanes respectively. There are also great blues on “The Children Will Lead Us” featuring Yaffee. This is a pleasant session as Hopkins coaxes the best from his team.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tie Me To You

                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: LA-based singer, guitarist and composer Kathleen Grace touches jazz, pop and country genres on Tie Me To You. It is a reflection of Kathleen’s current state of mind. The recording came together from the heart with no rehearsals or patches, a monumental expression for Grace exemplified by “John The Revelatory”, “Embarcadero”, “The Thrill Is Gone” and a unique arrangement of “Love For Sale“. She had excellent support from co-producer, pianist Larry Goldings with a minimalist approach that draws the listener into the performance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          For All We Know

                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: For All We Know is a collection of classic, romantic ballads featuring vocalist Gloria Ruben backed by guitarist, arranger Marty Ashby. It is a minimalist; everyday set that is truly heartwarming. This is a duo you’d love to see at the local coffeehouse, bookstore or any venue that has a small ensemble enhancing the mood. The MCG in Pittsburgh would also be ideal! Among the best tunes are “Time After Time”, ”The People That You Never Get To Love”, “How High The Moon” and the title track.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            All Too Soon

                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: All Too Soon is the second of five releases Whitaker planned to commemorate his Golden Jubilee (2019). He channels the energy of his sextet towards the music of Duke Ellington. This is material that he’s learned, relearned and practiced, especially during his tenure with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (‘94-‘02). Of course the material is great and the fresh arrangements allow the musicians to impart their own character on solo interpretations.  Rodney’s daughter Rochelle Fortin adds rich vocals notably on “Mood Indigo”, “Come Sunday” and “Do Nothing’Till You Hear From Me”. Diego Rivera (sax), Michael Dease (tb), Karriem Riggins (d), Richard Roe (p) and Brian Lynch (t) all play strong roles in a well-coordinated effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Prelude To A Kiss

                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Calibria Foti is a singer, composer and violinist who employs a large ensemble for Prelude To A Kiss. It’s a romantic work that goes beyond her immediate mate to close friends and those special bonds. Foti‘s confidence allows her wealth of talents to surface without showboating. Lush strings and lyrics that match the spirit of her mood supplement her. Calabria shares the stage with trombonist, producer Bob McChesney on “The Man With The Horn” and then with guitarist, vocalist John Pizzarelli on “It’s The Mood That I’m In”. Roger Kellaway (p), Peter Erskine (d), Larry Koonse (g) and Luis Conte (perc) are a few of the excellent team of musicians that combine to make this a winning effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Crossing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Guitarist and composer Frank Kohl teams up with guitarist John Stowell and bassist Steve LaSpina for a warm, soothing session, The Crossing. Each of these musicians takes the lead line and does it justice over nine well-crafted selections, a blend of classics and originals. There’s a taste of bossa nova on “O Grande Amour” & “Brigs Nuncas Mais”, a touch of romance on “The Goodbye”, and racy interplay on “Middle of Nowhere”. This set will fall into the hearts of countless guitar lovers and many others as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Live at Hangar 18

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Guitarist Doug MacDonald gathers ten fine west coast-based musicians including saxophonist Rickey Woodard and vibraphonist Charlie Shoemake. There are excellent arrangements of tunes like “Body And Soul”, “Tune Up” and “Maiden Voyage”. This large ensemble is easy to appreciate because there’s no race to see who can play the loudest or any over-assertion of simultaneous, full power of the band. Hats off to McDonnell for mature modulation! Jazz Marathon is indeed an enduring engagement with sixteen well-developed songs over two discs. It was recorded live at Marriott’s Hangar 18 restaurant at LAX, a fitting location for this west coast, cool jazz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Brown Book

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Denise Mangiardi has a storied history in music that includes playing guitar, piano, singing, arranging, recording and arranging across genres and with large ensembles including arranging for string orchestras. She brings it all together on Brown Book with Strings from the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra. She doesn’t stop there, also inviting Jerry Bergonzi (t-sax), Mark Soskin (p), Jay Anderson (b), Brian Seeger (g) and Tony Dagradi (s-sax, t-sax) to her party! And it’s an enjoyable party of ballads with vocals from Mangiardi. Among the best are “Castle in the Sky”, the soft tones of “Waves”, ”Horn Song” and the blues based romance of “Day Time Kind of Girl”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Solo Sessions, Volume 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Canadian vocalist and pianist Brenda Earl Stokes gives us a brand new recording titled Solo Sessions, Volume 1. We think it’s the start of something good. She sounds best on the blues tracks like “How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone” and the soft ballads like “I Can Let Go Now”. We also enjoyed “Ladies In Mercedes” and a unique arrangement of “The Power of Love” as Brenda is at peace with herself and in complete harmony with her piano.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Resist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Grdina takes us on a symphonic journey with his latest endeavor Resist, or that seems to be the case with the chamber orchestra on the lengthy (23+ minutes) opening title track. Then the mood shifts to a more vibrant exchange led by Gordon and Jon Irabagon (sax) on “Varscona”. Next up is the eerie, mysterious “Resist The Middle” before they wrap up with “Ever Onward” with Grdina playing the Oud. Gordon takes us through multiple genres within each selection showing his creativity and depth with this original music.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          New Shoes: Kind of Blue at 60

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Jon Schapiro celebrates perhaps the greatest Miles album with New Shoes: Kind of Blue at 60. Yes it’s been 60 years since the release of the landmark album! Jon’s large ensemble addresses the original music with a twist beyond the big band arrangements. He surrounds the Davis compositions with six chapters of “Boiled Funk” composed by Schapiro (mostly) and Roberta Piket (p). No doubt, Kind of Blue runs differently with this new foot-ware but the classic pieces are still vibrant, even with transformational arrangements. It took a while for us to enjoy the Boiled Funk but the core chapters 2-4 captured our attention, “Dark of Night”, “Whorth Your While” featuring Andy Gavish (t) and “Old Feet, New Shoes”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Choices

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Joan is a great storyteller and has packed this set with bountiful lyrics detailing personal experiences. She pays homage to her mother on the title track, her father on “My Child‘s Dreams”, and MLK on “Talking With Martin” as she makes a desperate plea to not regress on civil rights. There are the requisite heartaches on “I Ain’t Just A Pretty Face” as music director, arranger Frank Wilkins leads the supporting trio with accents in all the right places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Elbow Grease

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Pianist and composer Alan Rosenthal leads a trio with bassist Brian Glassman and drummer Mike Campania for 5 of the 9 selections. He also goes solo, plays in a quartet and a septet. We liked the pervasive, gentle swing that connected the entire set. Highlights are “Drop Me Here”, “They Didn’t Believe Me”, “Old-Fashioned Valentine” and “Monk Over Marrakesh”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Honorable Ones

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Pianist and composer Mike Bond sprinkles some first call talent into his debut recording as a leader, The Honorable Ones. Steve Wilson (sax) and Ben Wolfe (b) lead a fine team of musicians that help Mike realize his dreams. We enjoyed the tranquility of “Railroad” and the warmer selections like “Verus Vita” and “It’s A Long Way Back” as well as the spirited “Chase The Wind”. Guest vocalist Claudia Acuña appears on two selections notably the delicate “More I See You”. Gene Shinozaki (beatbox vocals) performs on three songs notably the title track. We have ample reasons to look for more from Bond!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Sphynx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Seattle based violinist and bandleader Jonathan Ng revisits the classic Swing era with The Sphynx. He forms a sextet that is up to the task. They open with the spirited title track, the lone original in a six-track set, setting the stage for five newly arranged, swinging classics. We liked the throwback, mid tempo “Rockhouse” with Chris Dawson tickling the ivory. Ng shines in concert with tenor saxophonist Albert Alva on “Gin Mill Special” and “Embryo”. The only drawback is the duration is slightly less than 23 minutes. They left the garbage in the studio, a good thing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Essencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Venezuelan pianist Otmaro Ruiz teams up with Brazilian guitarist Bruno Mangueira for Essencia. We enjoyed the simple Latin rhythms of guitar and piano on “Samba Pro Toninho”, “And Then She Smiles” and “Acordando”. Those rhythms are delightfully fresh and playful leading towards a rich, jovial session that blends traditional warm Latin American music with jazz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      La Marseillaise

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Laszlo dances across the keyboard on “O Solo Mio”, one of many examples of his dynamic and vibrant piano playing, with both hands on this recording. It’s a live set recorded at David Friend Recital Hall, Berklee. Music fills the air with all precious 88 keys resonating. This is a solo studio recording from master pianist and composer Laszlo Gardony. The program is all-original except for three unique arrangements of classic jazz tunes notably “Misty”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I Believe In Love

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Marsha puts her soft, warm vocals on a collection of eleven classic standards. She works in concert with a strong team including keyboardist Stephan Oberhoff. We enjoyed “Throw It Away” with Kevin Mandill (p), Brian Allen (d), Pat Bergson (g) and Marcus Finnie (d). Other highlights are “Alfie”, “Nature Boy” and “God Bless The Child” featuring saxophonist John Goforth shadowing Bartenetti.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mad Love

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Vocalist, pianist, songwriter and educator Kathleen Hollingsworth moved from Miami to Portland to teach a year or so ago. She brought a swinging East Coast vibe to blend with West Coast cool and that’s what we hear on Mad Love as exemplified on “Beneath An Evening Sky”. We liked the funky blues of ”Easy Rider” featuring Wil Blades (organ) and a cool drum solo from producer Brent Follis. Other highlights are “Candy Man” and the swinging “Whisper Not”. If you’re anywhere near Portland, find our where Hollingsworth is performing otherwise enjoy the CD!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Moment of Clarity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Paul Shaw was a drummer for the Air Force Falconaires Big Band. That gave him a wide exposure to different genres. He has evolved as a composer, educator and bandleader, now based in NYC and presenting his quintet for a Moment of Clarity. There’s a taste of racy fusion on “Peekaboo” with nice work from the entire band notably Gary Versace (p), Brad Shepik (g), Drew Gress (b) and Alex Sipiagin (t). We also enjoyed the mysterious vibe on the title track and “Song For Everyone” incorporating elements of chamber jazz to impart a rather calming sensation to this modern jazz set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Live In Europe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Live In Europe was re-released as a part of a set The Fred Hersch Trio: 10 Years/6 Discs in 2019. Originally released in 2018, we pulled out our original Europe disc and enjoyed it once again, as much as the live audience in Brussels, November 24, 2017! Eric McPherson (d) and John Hébert (b) join Hersch (p) for this set that includes 6 originals and 4 covers. There are soft ballads like ”Bristol Fog”, “Newklypso” for Sonny Rollins, and upbeat burners like “Black Nile” with a resounding opening drum solo! There is magic in the spontaneity of a live recording and the Trio was in rare form!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Viento y Tiempo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba collaborates with his childhood friend, vocalist Aymée Nuviola performing their native music on Viento Y Tiempo. The set was captured live at the Tokyo Blue Note. Aymée gets the audience participating on “El Güararey de Pastora” and then comes together with the band exciting the crowd on “El Maniaero”. We also enjoyed “Bemba Colorá” and the racy title track. The music is vibrant yet refined for an enjoyable experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ophelia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Lynn has a beautifully sweet voice that she spreads over romantic ballads on Ophelia. Primary accompaniment is Josh Nelson (p), Dave Robaire (b) and Dan Schnelle (d) with Nozomi Yamaguchi adding guitar on the first two selections. We particularly enjoyed the title track with Michael Hunter shadowing and blending his flugelhorn with Cardona’s voice. It is a brief three-song set, all originals completed in only thirteen minutes! But it’s a fine introduction to Cardona and we anxiously await the second side!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Battle Cry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: We’re at a crossroads in the nation, a silent Civil War where our truths have been challenged. Bad guys have been made good, and good guys been vilified to confuse and divide the nation. There’s no thought of equality, only selfish justice for a few and a sense of satisfaction for the bigots who feel left behind. Virginia saw this challenge after the election of Trump and the accompanying divisive inequities, regressive politicking and racial divide. Her Battle Cry is an impactful recording with a lot of patriotism including stirring renditions of “America the Beautiful”, and the “Pledge of Allegiance” with repurposed arrangements of “Abraham, Martin & John”, “Strange Fruit” and “Sack Full of Dreams”. It is soulful, inspirational call to us to reflect and become an active part of the solution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hero Trio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Rudresh Mahanthappa plays alto sax and leads a trio with bassist François Moutin and Rudy Royston on drums. They are the Hero Trio. The bulk of the program is hard bop covers of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. Rudresh also selects a few contemporary tunes as the foundation for fresh jazzy improvisation without losing the original themes notably “Overjoyed” and “The Windup”. All nine selections are fresh arrangements of work by people who have inspired Mahanthappa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Live at the Village Vanguard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: This is a collection of five duets featuring pianist Fred Hersch and vocalist as Esperanza Spalding. Hersch needs no introduction and he is on his A-game. It might be unusual to hear Esperanza performing without her bass but she’s a woman of many talents. Her youthful tone and perfectly accurate pitch along with improvisation and interpretation of classic ballads notably “Girl Talk” make this a most enjoyable experience. Spontaneous interaction with the audience makes this even more memorable especially on “Loro”. It’s a live session recorded at New York’s Village Vanguard in 2018 but just released this year with all proceeds supporting the jazz community impacted by the pandemic. It’s a limited edition only available this month (June 2020), don’t miss it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Close Your Eyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Trio de Janeiro is a Latin jazz ensemble featuring flutist/pianist Lori Bell, percussionist Tommy Amos and vocalist/guitarist Ron Satterfield. They coalesce around the music of James Taylor on Close Your Eyes. Ron’s arrangements are fresh and bouncy with a folksy, pop feel. The nine songs come together nicely for an entertaining set that grows on you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Shark NATO On A Plane

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: This is a large ensemble focused on the music emanating from New York City, a wide range of jazz genres including funk, swing, big band, and popular, contemporary jazz. They add a taste of Miles Davis on “Blue Jay Way” featuring Chris Anderson (t) and get a little funky on “What Barney” including solos from Stan Killian (t-sax) and Seneca Black (t). They follow that with a swinging version of “Summertime” featuring solos from Anderson (t) and John Isley (t-sax). The final track includes an exchange between trombonists Rob Susman and Rex Benincasa that is true to the title, “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky”. Bandleaders Dave Morgan (b-sax, fl) and Rob Susman keep the spirit and energy level high!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I Never Saw Another Butterfly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Dana sings spiritual lyrics based on poems from the collection I Never Saw Another Butterfly. The work is dedicated to children who left us prematurely. The words are interspersed with minimalist accompaniment from Carmen Staaf (p), Jorge Roeder (b), Peter Kenagy (t, flugelhorn), Rick Stone (a-sax, cl) and Austin McMahon (d, perc). The message and the music are impactful and presented well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Life Among Giants

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Canadian vocalist Brenda Brown delivers warm, smoky vocals on top of swinging, classic, big band standards. She’s backed by a full orchestra along with a guest appearance by guitarist Rag Schwager on “Splintered Dream”. Other highlights are “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”, “If You Know Love” and “The Folks Who Live On The Hill”, a duet with Alfie Zappacosta. Life Among Giants is a storybook, debut recording with musical pages from yesteryear!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sketches In Jazz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Jan Hammer is a Czech-American keyboardist, composer and producer. He’s performed all types of music most notable the theme for the TV Series Miami Vice. This time out, Hammer straddles contemporary and traditional sides of jazz while playing all of the instruments. They open with the deeply introspective “Deep Pool”, a strong hint of the mood makers to follow. Sketches In Jazz is in fact an assemblage of musical illustrations that set the stage for thoughts and words. “Mood 2”, “Later On”, and “My Father’s Vibe” will all spark memories of events and experiences. The set is not lengthy but it is meaningful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Quite Frankly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Pianist, composer and producer Sam Hirsch assembles a trio with bassist John Webber and Kevin Kanner on drums. He opens with the title track rolling along with a steady bubbly groove. That’s followed by a peaceful “Look For A Silver Lining”. Saxophonist Ralph Moore jazzes things up on four tracks, notably “Pop’s Delight” and “Ways of the Wise” including a walking bass solo by Webber. All together Quite Frankly is enjoyable entertainment! This is Sam’s debut as a leader and we’re certain he’ll be back to a welcoming audience!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Project-K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Saxophonist Jim Snidero accentuates his quintet with the addition of Do Yeon Kim playing the gayageum, a Korean stringed instrument. He gives the entire session a taste of the orient starting with “Han”. There is some rather creative piano work (inside the box) to open DMZ” before the Snidero and Dave Douglas (t) get tangled up in a fierce exchange. Bassist Linda May Han Oh steps up with a solo on “Jeju” along with pianist Orrin Evans. Meanwhile Rudy Royston (d) keeps the pace with accents in all the right spots. We also enjoyed the jovial swing and groove of “Jenga” making Project K an exhilarating, Korean tinged jazz experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Doors Are Open

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: This is Act II for New York-based, Russian saxophonist Azat Bayazitov. He keeps good company with Adam Rogers (g), Boris Kozlov (b), David Kikoski (p) and Samuel Sarkisyan (d). The Doors Are Open is a strong session of originals that begs your attention. Azat opens “The Hugh Sky of Kazan”, a warm ballad before turning over the reins to Kozlov. Rogers and Bayazitov play the melodies in unison on many occasions, notably on “Midwest Steam Locomotive” giving the music a jazz-fusion feel. We also enjoyed “Past” and “A Highway To The Dreams”. There is no sophomore slump here with a very strong performance from Bayazitov and company!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A Romantic Evening With Jackie Allen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Jackie Allen is a fine jazz vocalist with more than a dozen records under her belt before this live session at the Rocco that aired on PBS. She gets support from her Chicago-based band that includes executive producer and bassist Hans Sturm. Special Guest Bob Sheppard adds a warm, wispy tenor sax and flute shadowing Allen’s deep, heartfelt vocals. The unique arrangements freshen some of the classic R&B tunes like “The Way You Do The Things You Do”. Jackie projects confidence on each of the romantic ballads for a good outing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here Be Dragons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Tenor saxophonist and composer Oded Tzur leads a quartet with Nitai Hershkovits (p), Petros Klampanis (b) and Jonathan Blake (d) for Here Be Dragons, his latest release. The dragons are rather peaceful here as the program is mostly the relaxed ballads including three solo expressions: “Miniature 1, 2 and 3” from Hershkovits, Klampanis and Tzur respectively. However the pace accelerates and the spirit livens on “The Dream” before they close with a warm cover of “Can’t Help Falling In Love”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cinematic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Bassist Kyle Eastwood loves movies and so it’s fitting for him to satisfy his passion with Cinematic, eleven fresh takes of movie scores. His band is a quintet with Quentin Collins (t, flugelhorn), Brandon Allen (sax), Andrew McCormack (p) and Chris Higginbottom (d). The music is expressive, stimulating, and it facilitates reminiscing some of the flicks. Camille Bertault adds vocals on “Les Moulins De Mon Coeur” as does Hugh Coleman on “Gran Torino”. Our favorites are “Charade” and “Pink Panther -Theme” with the sax/trumpet suspense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                While Looking Up

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: There’s lots of space on this recording, open space that allows for the blossoming of the tones of the instruments, particularly on tunes like “No Words” where Jimmy’s tenor sax is embellished. Greene (s-sax, t-sax, fl, cl, b-cl) assembles a strong team here with Aaron Goldberg (p), Reuben Rogers (b), Kendrick Scott (d) and Lage Lund (g) with guest Stefon Harris (vibes, marimba) on two selections notably “Always There”. Rogers states his case with Greene on “Good Morning Heartache” as does Lund on “Overreaction”. The best tunes are the warm ballads like “Steadfast” making While Looking Up a winning combination.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Straight Ahead to the U.K.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Straight Ahead to the U.K. is a new release from Segal-Garcia that touches many of her life interactions with British alto saxophonist Andy MacIntosh. They met during 1973 when they were both 20, starting their careers in Pittsburgh. They connected later in L.A. and even dated for a while. Andy moved back to England before Facebook brought them back together in 2011. That led to this recording in the U.K. with many British musicians celebrating their reunion of sorts. Cathy was sick during the recording, Andy passed in 2013, and this project was shelved until some friends encouraged her to release it in 2019. It is a good set that is a must have for Segal-Garcia fans who want a view into her straight-ahead jazz highlighted by “Hippityville”. We enjoyed “Highwire”, a jazz-fusion tune as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Capturing Clouds

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Israeli vocalist Tamuz Nissim comes from a family of artists, writers and musicians and she brought that inherent passion to New York where she’s been performing over the past four years. She employs first call musicians Harvie S (b), George Nazos (g) and Tony Jefferson (d) to back her over eleven selections on Capturing Clouds. Nissim mixes unique arrangements of covers with originals that push the envelope. The best is “Rhapsody For Trane” dedicated to the legendary improviser.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Paradise

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Al Gold plays guitar, mandolin, sings and composes the songs for Paradise, a collection of down home blues. There are all of the requisite guitar and organ infusions that you’d expect for blues. The beats have that rocking motion that lulls you into a sense of trust so you can sit back and listen to Al recite his stories, good stories, highlighted by “Won’t Sleep Tonight”, “Mr. Banker” and the title track.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Martingale

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Pianist Denman Maroney is inspired by nature on Martingale, his latest release with Steven Frieder on reeds, Ratzo Harris on bass, and Bob Meyer on drums. This is more free jazz than bebop but it’s an engaging set as the musicians play off of each other, dancing in harmony tune after tune. What makes it work is the separation of instruments on solos, just one dominant phrase at a time, allowing the space to radiate the message on the mind of the musician. They wrap the set with “Time’s Out”, an edgy tune with Denman playing hyperpiano, inside the box on the strings as well as on the keys, unusually enticing for the right mindset.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mid Century Moderm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Guitarist Doug MacDonald moved to LA in 1980 and eventually drifted east to Palm Springs where he connected with bassist Larry Holloway (from Seattle) and drummer Tim Pleasant (from New York) to form the Coachella Valley trio. Guest artist Big Black adds djembe to six selections. MacDonald leads the melodies on most of the songs with gentle swinging rhythms that are appealing and easy on the ears. Mid Century Modern is mostly classics with a few originals blended into the mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hallowed

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Pianist, vocalist and composer Michelle Rosewoman is masterful at combining Afro Cuban beats, brass and piano notes and Hallowed is another fine example. Her band New Yor-Uba, fuses NY modern jazz with Cuban folklore. Percussionist, vocalist Roman Dias is the inspiration for the bulk of the work here with a fresh, ten-part suite “Oru de Oro” (room of gold). The work is all original except “The Wind is the First to Know” based on traditional songs. This is a rich musical experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              is Bewitched, Not Bothered, Not Bewildered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Suzanna Ross is a New York Cabaret singer who makes her debut recording with Bewitched, Not Bothered, Not Bewildered. She delivers fifteen selections in both French and English lyrics in front of a polished trio. We enjoyed the mild Boss nova on “Dreamer” and “Ces Petits Riens”. Ross touches many styles singing childhood favorites that she’s also performed on stage!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Accelerate Every Voice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Cory Smythe is an innovative pianist, composer and bandleader who channels electronics and a collection of vocal gymnastics into a free improvisational session on Accelerate Every Voice. Kyoko Kitamura (voice), Michael Mayo (voice, looper), Steven Hrycelak (vocal bass), Raquel Acevedo Klein (voice) and Kari Francis (vocals, perc) join Cory to bend and blend notes, harmonizing with blue tones to create an electric, free jazz version of vocalese. It could be the soundtrack for a horror movie. After the tune-up on the first couple of selections they settle into a rather peaceful warbling effect. You’ll find the titles to be apropos in this rather unusual collection of music. Among the best are “Weatherproof Song” and the eerie instrumental “Piano and Ocean Waves For Deep Relaxation”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jazz Animals

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: 19 Year-Old alto saxophonist Makar Kashitsyn presents his debut recording Jazz Animals and it is one to pick up! He surrounds himself with strong musicians including Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (t-sax) and Josh Evans (t). Kashitsyn’s voice on sax is remarkable for a young musician and he shows good poise blending with his team. This is a modern jazz set with a lot of energy and a lot of groove courtesy of bassist Makar Novikov. This is especially the case on “Our Song” featuring Evans. We also enjoyed “Time to Forget”, a ballad including warm voicing from Hiske Oosterwijk and a fine bass solo by Novikov. Everybody gets into the groove on “Phone Call”, the finale a fine tune that caps an excellent session.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sonoran

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico is home to the Sonoran Desert with heat, cactus, mountains, sunshine and dry, barren earth. That is where bassist Andrew Schiller grew up and he reflects on his memories for Sonoran, a nine part suite. The band is a quintet with Tony Malaby (t-sax), Henry Paz (b-cl), Ethan Helm (a-sax) and Matt Honor (d). They vary the pace and mood reflecting the various elements of the desert. Our favorites are “Wet Hair, Dry Hair” and “Thorny Flora” in a very relaxing set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jazz Animals

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: 19 Year-Old alto saxophonist Makar Kashitsyn presents his debut recording Jazz Animals and it is one to pick up! He surrounds himself with strong musicians including Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (t-sax) and Josh Evans (t). Kashitsyn’s voice on sax is remarkable for a young musician and he shows good poise blending with his team. This is a modern jazz set with a lot of energy and a lot of groove courtesy of bassist Makar Novikov. This is especially the case on “Our Song” featuring Evans. We also enjoyed “Time to Forget”, a ballad including warm voicing from Hiske Oosterwijk and a fine bass solo by Novikov. Everybody gets into the groove on “Phone Call”, the finale a fine tune that caps an excellent session.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sonoran

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico is home to the Sonoran Desert with heat, cactus, mountains, sunshine and dry, barren earth. That is where bassist Andrew Schiller grew up and he reflects on his memories for Sonoran, a nine part suite. The band is a quintet with Tony Malaby (t-sax), Henry Paz (b-cl), Ethan Helm (a-sax) and Matt Honor (d). They vary the pace and mood reflecting the various elements of the desert. Our favorites are “Wet Hair, Dry Hair” and “Thorny Flora” in a very relaxing set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Plays Jobim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Jazz guitarist Albare was born in Monaco and grew up in Israel and France. He is a self-taught musician and has lost most of his vision from a genetic illness. Albare now plays entirely by ear. The buttery smooth guitar we hear on these classic Bossa nova tunes are special as Albare Plays Jobim. The addition of strings further enhances the performance. Pianist, string arranger and conductor Joe Chindamo is joined by Ricardo “Ricky” Rodriguez (b), Antonio Sanchez (d) with Albare leading the melodies. Among the best are “Desafinado”, “Chega De Saudade” and “Double Rainbow”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Plays Jobim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Jazz guitarist Albare was born in Monaco and grew up in Israel and France. He is a self-taught musician and has lost most of his vision from a genetic illness. Albare now plays entirely by ear. The buttery smooth guitar we hear on these classic Bossa nova tunes are special as Albare Plays Jobim. The addition of strings further enhances the performance. Pianist, string arranger and conductor Joe Chindamo is joined by Ricardo “Ricky” Rodriguez (b), Antonio Sanchez (d) with Albare leading the melodies. Among the best are “Desafinado”, “Chega De Saudade” and “Double Rainbow”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Live at The Jazz Bakery

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Polished vocalist Anne Phillips revisits standards from her 1959 debut recording Born To Be Blue along with some of her original works. She’s mastered her signature over the years and remains fluid, crisp and very warm. She performs with her husband Bob Kindred (t-sax), Roger Kellaway (p) and Chuck Berghoffer (b). They recorded the set LIVE at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. Don’t dismiss this one as a late set from aged musicians. These cats all have a lot of juice and deliver an entertaining performance, delighting their audience with songs like “New York Night Time Blues” and “Another Day Without Him”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Modern Ancestors

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Carmen has a deep, powerful voice that commands your attention while soothing your soul. That magic has enticed audiences for 30+ years and is as strong as ever on Modern Ancestors. Lundy pays homage to some of the jazz greats that influenced her path with ten new original songs that strike a chord. Carmen plays keyboards and guitar in addition to gracing the mic but employs a strong team including Curtis Lundy (b), Terreon Gully (d) Andrew Renfroe (g) and Mayra Casales (perc). Highlights are “Ola De Calor”, the mellow “Jazz On TV”, “Eye Of The Storm” and “Burden Down, Burden Down”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Live at The Jazz Bakery

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Polished vocalist Anne Phillips revisits standards from her 1959 debut recording Born To Be Blue along with some of her original works. She’s mastered her signature over the years and remains fluid, crisp and very warm. She performs with her husband Bob Kindred (t-sax), Roger Kellaway (p) and Chuck Berghoffer (b). They recorded the set LIVE at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. Don’t dismiss this one as a late set from aged musicians. These cats all have a lot of juice and deliver an entertaining performance, delighting their audience with songs like “New York Night Time Blues” and “Another Day Without Him”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Love Is

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Jazz vocalist Yvette Norwood-Tiger suffered from an inoperable brain tumor in 2012. Although doctors gave her little chance of survival, she persisted and has thrived on stage ever since, serving as an inspiration for all who have seemingly insurmountable challenges. There is solid instrumentation on Love Is with strong solos by Ken Burkhart (p), Michael Mackey (t), Joshua Ewers (b) and Jose Roman Duque (d), all complimenting Norwood-Tiger’s vocals. The program stretches from pop ballads like “Time Is A Wrecking Ball” to a taste of samba on “Agua De Beber” but it’s mostly jazz standards with a couple of originals. The music grows on us with an inspirational, spiritual element that is well-stated on her renditions of “Song For My Father” and “Dear Lord/Psalm 40:1-3”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Modern Ancestors

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Carmen has a deep, powerful voice that commands your attention while soothing your soul. That magic has enticed audiences for 30+ years and is as strong as ever on Modern Ancestors. Lundy pays homage to some of the jazz greats that influenced her path with ten new original songs that strike a chord. Carmen plays keyboards and guitar in addition to gracing the mic but employs a strong team including Curtis Lundy (b), Terreon Gully (d) Andrew Renfroe (g) and Mayra Casales (perc). Highlights are “Ola De Calor”, the mellow “Jazz On TV”, “Eye Of The Storm” and “Burden Down, Burden Down”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Live at The Jazz Bakery

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Polished vocalist Anne Phillips revisits standards from her 1959 debut recording Born To Be Blue along with some of her original works. She’s mastered her signature over the years and remains fluid, crisp and very warm. She performs with her husband Bob Kindred (t-sax), Roger Kellaway (p) and Chuck Berghoffer (b). They recorded the set LIVE at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. Don’t dismiss this one as a late set from aged musicians. These cats all have a lot of juice and deliver an entertaining performance, delighting their audience with songs like “New York Night Time Blues” and “Another Day Without Him”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Love Is

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Jazz vocalist Yvette Norwood-Tiger suffered from an inoperable brain tumor in 2012. Although doctors gave her little chance of survival, she persisted and has thrived on stage ever since, serving as an inspiration for all who have seemingly insurmountable challenges. There is solid instrumentation on Love Is with strong solos by Ken Burkhart (p), Michael Mackey (t), Joshua Ewers (b) and Jose Roman Duque (d), all complimenting Norwood-Tiger’s vocals. The program stretches from pop ballads like “Time Is A Wrecking Ball” to a taste of samba on “Agua De Beber” but it’s mostly jazz standards with a couple of originals. The music grows on us with an inspirational, spiritual element that is well-stated on her renditions of “Song For My Father” and “Dear Lord/Psalm 40:1-3”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Iridescence

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Young jazz bassist and composer Matt Snow is building momentum on the New York Jazz scene. He leads a talented band with Joe Doubleday (vibes), Daisuke Abe (g), David Gibson (tb), Clay Lyons (a-sax) and Wayne Smith (d) for his recording debut. Snow plays a supporting role for most of the set, allowing his compositions to unfold. The band takes their time playing with deliberation and purpose to arrive at a warm performance on Iridescence. This is an after-work, wine down set with 48 minutes of relaxing tunes. It is different and cool!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Iridescence

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Young jazz bassist and composer Matt Snow is building momentum on the New York Jazz scene. He leads a talented band with Joe Doubleday (vibes), Daisuke Abe (g), David Gibson (tb), Clay Lyons (a-sax) and Wayne Smith (d) for his recording debut. Snow plays a supporting role for most of the set, allowing his compositions to unfold. The band takes their time playing with deliberation and purpose to arrive at a warm performance on Iridescence. This is an after-work, wine down set with 48 minutes of relaxing tunes. It is different and cool!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Acústico

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Negroni’s Trio is a father/son duo + one that has successfully released ten albums. Acústico is a Latin Jazz set featuring dad, pianist José Ramón Negroni in a prominent role with strong support from bassist Josh Allen and son, drummer Nomar Negroni. Their sound is dynamic and vibrant on “I Remember You”, then relaxed and inspiring on “Puerto Del Sol” with fine bass and drum solos on “Tempest Fugit”. This is exceptional musicianship with definitive, precise notation, and at the same time with meaningful. expressions over eleven strong selections.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Acústico

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Negroni’s Trio is a father/son duo + one that has successfully released ten albums. Acústico is a Latin Jazz set featuring dad, pianist José Ramón Negroni in a prominent role with strong support from bassist Josh Allen and son, drummer Nomar Negroni. Their sound is dynamic and vibrant on “I Remember You”, then relaxed and inspiring on “Puerto Del Sol” with fine bass and drum solos on “Tempest Fugit”. This is exceptional musicianship with definitive, precise notation, and at the same time with meaningful. expressions over eleven strong selections.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bittersweet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Vocalist, pianist and songwriter Sumitra (Nanjundan) started her career in Vienna, and after a brief stint in London, moved back to Austria where she met her husband, guitarist and producer Alex Machace. They moved to Los Angeles in 2004 and have been a solid team ever since. They form a quartet with bassist Carlos del Puerto and drummer Brian Blade for Bittersweet, a musical sketch of the highs and lows in Sumitra’s life. It is a personalized collection of seven originals and three covers that land a step ahead of most romantic albums with heart felt lyrics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Night At The Movies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Svetlana Shmulyian fell in love with the magical world of the movies while growing up in Russia. That passion has remained with her and surfaces here over 14 selections on Night At The Movies. There’s a relaxed version of “Happy”, a vocal duet with Wycliffe Gordon (tb, vocals) that really resonated with us along with “Cheek to Cheek”. We also enjoyed the big band, country swagger on “Watch What Happens” including Matt Wilson (d). Other highlights are the relaxed lullaby, guitar duet with Pasquale Grasso on “Over the Rainbow”, and “Pure Imagination” with Rogerio Boccato (perc). Svetlana makes the ordinary unusually good by changing tempos and infusing exciting arrangements to bring freshness into these silver screen classics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bittersweet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Vocalist, pianist and songwriter Sumitra (Nanjundan) started her career in Vienna, and after a brief stint in London, moved back to Austria where she met her husband, guitarist and producer Alex Machace. They moved to Los Angeles in 2004 and have been a solid team ever since. They form a quartet with bassist Carlos del Puerto and drummer Brian Blade for Bittersweet, a musical sketch of the highs and lows in Sumitra’s life. It is a personalized collection of seven originals and three covers that land a step ahead of most romantic albums with heart felt lyrics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stormy Love

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Chadwick Johnson is a passionate, soulful, singer and songwriter who gives us 14 takes on romance with Stormy Love. They open with “Addicted” featuring Grace Kelly (sax) and the mood is set for a good mix of classic and original tunes. We preferred Johnson crooning on “Blame It On My Youth” over the pop style of “It’s Up To You” and “Song From Another Time”. But he addresses a wide audience here including a taste of country on “Crying” and blues on “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” with excellent accompaniment from Tasso Peltkis (g), David Olivia’s (sax) and Jason Corpuz (B3).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When We Were Young

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Kelley delivers a set of soft romantic ballads on When We Were Young, an extraction of some of the best from Canadian, rock songwriter, Neil Young’s catalogue. There is solid guitar work by producer/arranger Tosh Sheridan on “Down By The River”. Matthew Fries (p), Phil Palombi (b), Eric Halvorson (d, perc) and The Memling Ensemble String Trio provide rich backing instrumentation and they infuse a fair dose of jazz into Young’s music.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Night At The Movies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Svetlana Shmulyian fell in love with the magical world of the movies while growing up in Russia. That passion has remained with her and surfaces here over 14 selections on Night At The Movies. There’s a relaxed version of “Happy”, a vocal duet with Wycliffe Gordon (tb, vocals) that really resonated with us along with “Cheek to Cheek”. We also enjoyed the big band, country swagger on “Watch What Happens” including Matt Wilson (d). Other highlights are the relaxed lullaby, guitar duet with Pasquale Grasso on “Over the Rainbow”, and “Pure Imagination” with Rogerio Boccato (perc). Svetlana makes the ordinary unusually good by changing tempos and infusing exciting arrangements to bring freshness into these silver screen classics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bittersweet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Vocalist, pianist and songwriter Sumitra (Nanjundan) started her career in Vienna, and after a brief stint in London, moved back to Austria where she met her husband, guitarist and producer Alex Machace. They moved to Los Angeles in 2004 and have been a solid team ever since. They form a quartet with bassist Carlos del Puerto and drummer Brian Blade for Bittersweet, a musical sketch of the highs and lows in Sumitra’s life. It is a personalized collection of seven originals and three covers that land a step ahead of most romantic albums with heart felt lyrics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stormy Love

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Chadwick Johnson is a passionate, soulful, singer and songwriter who gives us 14 takes on romance with Stormy Love. They open with “Addicted” featuring Grace Kelly (sax) and the mood is set for a good mix of classic and original tunes. We preferred Johnson crooning on “Blame It On My Youth” over the pop style of “It’s Up To You” and “Song From Another Time”. But he addresses a wide audience here including a taste of country on “Crying” and blues on “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” with excellent accompaniment from Tasso Peltkis (g), David Olivia’s (sax) and Jason Corpuz (B3).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When We Were Young

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Kelley delivers a set of soft romantic ballads on When We Were Young, an extraction of some of the best from Canadian, rock songwriter, Neil Young’s catalogue. There is solid guitar work by producer/arranger Tosh Sheridan on “Down By The River”. Matthew Fries (p), Phil Palombi (b), Eric Halvorson (d, perc) and The Memling Ensemble String Trio provide rich backing instrumentation and they infuse a fair dose of jazz into Young’s music.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Solidarity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Drummer Jerome Jennings is a passionate musician who makes the most of every beat. He is also attentive to the details of African American history and pays homage to many untold heroes, musicians, genres and several courageous Black women who made a meaningful impact on society. Jerome produced and arranged the music including writing all or parts of severn selections. Accompanying artists include Christian McBride (b), Endeavor Owens (b) and Tia Fuller (sax, fl). Camille Thurman adds vocals on “I Love Your Smile” and tenor sax on “Pay It No Mind”. Paired with the liner notes, it is an emotional set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Solidarity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Drummer Jerome Jennings is a passionate musician who makes the most of every beat. He is also attentive to the details of African American history and pays homage to many untold heroes, musicians, genres and several courageous Black women who made a meaningful impact on society. Jerome produced and arranged the music including writing all or parts of severn selections. Accompanying artists include Christian McBride (b), Endeavor Owens (b) and Tia Fuller (sax, fl). Camille Thurman adds vocals on “I Love Your Smile” and tenor sax on “Pay It No Mind”. Paired with the liner notes, it is an emotional set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ghetto Princes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Ghetto Princess is a tribute to the late soul jazz pianist Gene Harris. Gene played in a trio called The Three Sounds for 15 years. 3 More Sounds is a trio with pianist Robert Turner, bassist Henry Franklin and drummer Khoran Harrison. Carl Bunnett plays drums on three tracks. Turner idolized Harris and you can hear that bluesy, gospel style loud and clear on this performance of nine classic jazz tunes. “Willow Weep For Me”, “I Thought About You” and “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” are standouts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Solidarity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Drummer Jerome Jennings is a passionate musician who makes the most of every beat. He is also attentive to the details of African American history and pays homage to many untold heroes, musicians, genres and several courageous Black women who made a meaningful impact on society. Jerome produced and arranged the music including writing all or parts of severn selections. Accompanying artists include Christian McBride (b), Endeavor Owens (b) and Tia Fuller (sax, fl). Camille Thurman adds vocals on “I Love Your Smile” and tenor sax on “Pay It No Mind”. Paired with the liner notes, it is an emotional set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ghetto Princes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Ghetto Princess is a tribute to the late soul jazz pianist Gene Harris. Gene played in a trio called The Three Sounds for 15 years. 3 More Sounds is a trio with pianist Robert Turner, bassist Henry Franklin and drummer Khoran Harrison. Carl Bunnett plays drums on three tracks. Turner idolized Harris and you can hear that bluesy, gospel style loud and clear on this performance of nine classic jazz tunes. “Willow Weep For Me”, “I Thought About You” and “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” are standouts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Brazilian Whispers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Andrea Brachfeld developed a passion for playing the flute as a child and polished her skills eventually working her way to Venezuela where she developed a penchant for Latin jazz that is now an indelible part of her signature. Brazilian Waters is her latest release. It contains mostly Jobim compositions and three originals. Accompanying musicians are Bill O’Connell (p), Harvie S (b), Jason Tiemann (d), Lincoln Goines (b), T Portinho (d, perc) and Chembo Corniel (perc, congas). Andrea’s flute work is excellent, soothing our spirits with equally strong performances from her band. Among the best songs are “Amparo”, “Ligia” and “Espaco Alberto” in a strong set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Brazilian Whispers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Andrea Brachfeld developed a passion for playing the flute as a child and polished her skills eventually working her way to Venezuela where she developed a penchant for Latin jazz that is now an indelible part of her signature. Brazilian Waters is her latest release. It contains mostly Jobim compositions and three originals. Accompanying musicians are Bill O’Connell (p), Harvie S (b), Jason Tiemann (d), Lincoln Goines (b), T Portinho (d, perc) and Chembo Corniel (perc, congas). Andrea’s flute work is excellent, soothing our spirits with equally strong performances from her band. Among the best songs are “Amparo”, “Ligia” and “Espaco Alberto” in a strong set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Actor and pianist Jeff Goldblum comes out of the shadows with I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, his latest audio recording. It’s much better than the usual celebrity recording. Those jazz fans on the left coast may have caught Goldblum at LA’s Rockwell Table and Stage. His band is the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra and they provide a lot of swing and blues with Joe Bagg working the B3 on “The Cat” and “Driftin’”. Sharon van Etten is the featured vocalist on “Let’s Face The Music And Dance”. Gregory Porter takes the mic on “Make Someone Happy”. Fiona Apple shines on “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me”. All told, Jeff’s effort is a good listen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We’ve Just Begun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Danish vocalist Sinne Eeg continues to expand her global reach to American audiences with her latest release We’ve Just Begun, a collection of ten classics including at least half with original content. She gets strong support from the Danish Radio Big Band including Hans Ulrik (t-sax) and guest artist Luis Conte (perc) on “Samba Em Comum”. Eeg presents each selection with delicacy, poise and confidence leading to a captivating performance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Something Good

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Kelley has a soft warm voice that she takes through ten ballads, mostly popular standards that help us resurface warm memories. She sings in front of a trio with John Hansen (p), Michael Glynn (b) and Kendrick Scott (d). Guest artist Jay Thomas (sax, t) provides accents on three selections notably “Let’s Do It”. We also enjoyed “Goodbye To Love” and “Lullaby of Birdland”, both fresh retakes with pizzaz. This is indeed Something Good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Actor and pianist Jeff Goldblum comes out of the shadows with I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, his latest audio recording. It’s much better than the usual celebrity recording. Those jazz fans on the left coast may have caught Goldblum at LA’s Rockwell Table and Stage. His band is the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra and they provide a lot of swing and blues with Joe Bagg working the B3 on “The Cat” and “Driftin’”. Sharon van Etten is the featured vocalist on “Let’s Face The Music And Dance”. Gregory Porter takes the mic on “Make Someone Happy”. Fiona Apple shines on “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me”. All told, Jeff’s effort is a good listen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We’ve Just Begun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Danish vocalist Sinne Eeg continues to expand her global reach to American audiences with her latest release We’ve Just Begun, a collection of ten classics including at least half with original content. She gets strong support from the Danish Radio Big Band including Hans Ulrik (t-sax) and guest artist Luis Conte (perc) on “Samba Em Comum”. Eeg presents each selection with delicacy, poise and confidence leading to a captivating performance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Something Good

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Kelley has a soft warm voice that she takes through ten ballads, mostly popular standards that help us resurface warm memories. She sings in front of a trio with John Hansen (p), Michael Glynn (b) and Kendrick Scott (d). Guest artist Jay Thomas (sax, t) provides accents on three selections notably “Let’s Do It”. We also enjoyed “Goodbye To Love” and “Lullaby of Birdland”, both fresh retakes with pizzaz. This is indeed Something Good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gang of Three

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Composer, producer, pianist Andrés Vial leads a serious trio with bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Eric McPherson. They open hot on “Atonggaga Blues” and the music sizzles all the way through the set with tremendous energy on the lower registers. Vial’s leadership is strong and his melodies are well constructed showing brilliance today and greater promises for tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gunn’s Ablazin’

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Gunn’s Ablazin’ features leader, composer and trombonist Shannon Gunn in the Firebird Organ Trio and with her Quintet. Shannon is the real deal on trombone taking center stage with the lead line on “Gymnopedie #1” and “Orange Noise”, the opener that includes strong solos from bassist Michael Combs and drummer Kelton Norris. There is a touch of fusion on “Cruash” and some cool funk on “Dinah”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gang of Three

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Composer, producer, pianist Andrés Vial leads a serious trio with bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Eric McPherson. They open hot on “Atonggaga Blues” and the music sizzles all the way through the set with tremendous energy on the lower registers. Vial’s leadership is strong and his melodies are well constructed showing brilliance today and greater promises for tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gunn’s Ablazin’

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Gunn’s Ablazin’ features leader, composer and trombonist Shannon Gunn in the Firebird Organ Trio and with her Quintet. Shannon is the real deal on trombone taking center stage with the lead line on “Gymnopedie #1” and “Orange Noise”, the opener that includes strong solos from bassist Michael Combs and drummer Kelton Norris. There is a touch of fusion on “Cruash” and some cool funk on “Dinah”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gatos do Sul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Jazz pianist and composer Brian Marsella puts his signature on these Brazilian influenced compositions to create a fresh take on Bossa Nova. Our favorite is the fiery, festive “Meu Doce de Abobora”. There are also light, racy sounds as on “Fire the Pandora Player” courtesy of Itai Kriss (fl), Mark Feldman (violin) and Cyro Baptista (perc). That’s in stark contrast with the pandemonium of “O Balanco das Corredeiras” before the relaxing “Lamento” featuring Sofia Rei (vocals) and Jon Irabagon (sax). We also enjoyed “Marakashtu” with fine work from Kriss, Feldman and Felipe Hostins (Accordion).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gatos do Sul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Jazz pianist and composer Brian Marsella puts his signature on these Brazilian influenced compositions to create a fresh take on Bossa Nova. Our favorite is the fiery, festive “Meu Doce de Abobora”. There are also light, racy sounds as on “Fire the Pandora Player” courtesy of Itai Kriss (fl), Mark Feldman (violin) and Cyro Baptista (perc). That’s in stark contrast with the pandemonium of “O Balanco das Corredeiras” before the relaxing “Lamento” featuring Sofia Rei (vocals) and Jon Irabagon (sax). We also enjoyed “Marakashtu” with fine work from Kriss, Feldman and Felipe Hostins (Accordion).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Say Yes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Jazz vocalist and actress La Tanya Hall burst onto the scene in 2008 and has lived up to her potential during the years since on many stages. Say Yes is only her second release as a leader but it was worth the wait! Pianist, arranger and producer Andy Milne leads the band Unison, a trio with John Hébert (b) and Clarence Penn (d). La Tanya’s voice is symphonic on “Jitterbug” and that style persists throughout the set with minimalist accompaniment from Unison. La Tanya has a voice that speaks volumes alone and with her band, they combine to leave us with a very pleasing palate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Total Harnage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Jason Harrell is a drummer, educator, composer and bandleader who has been lighting up the Southern California jazz scene for many years. Total Harnage is a no-holds-barred recording reflecting many of Harnell’s favorite tunes featuring his vocals and drumming. We enjoyed “Trance”, “Bad Fish”, “Captain Amazing Saves The World” and Harnell’s masterful scatting on “What Thing?” This is a unique album; an amalgamation of ideas that comes together successfully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                New Standards

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Laura Has New Standards is the debut recording for vocalist Laura Noejovich in a duet with pianist Takeishi Asia. She has an interesting dossier including training as an opera singer and a degree in neuroscience! What we hear is a young lady with a commanding voice, great tonal accuracy and unabashed stage presence. The 14 songs include pop and jazz standards “Misty”, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, “Summertime” and “When You Wish Upon A Star”. Laura’s renditions are unique while keeping the structure of the originals leading to a good launch of her vocal career.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Say Yes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Jazz vocalist and actress La Tanya Hall burst onto the scene in 2008 and has lived up to her potential during the years since on many stages. Say Yes is only her second release as a leader but it was worth the wait! Pianist, arranger and producer Andy Milne leads the band Unison, a trio with John Hébert (b) and Clarence Penn (d). La Tanya’s voice is symphonic on “Jitterbug” and that style persists throughout the set with minimalist accompaniment from Unison. La Tanya has a voice that speaks volumes alone and with her band, they combine to leave us with a very pleasing palate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Total Harnage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Jason Harrell is a drummer, educator, composer and bandleader who has been lighting up the Southern California jazz scene for many years. Total Harnage is a no-holds-barred recording reflecting many of Harnell’s favorite tunes featuring his vocals and drumming. We enjoyed “Trance”, “Bad Fish”, “Captain Amazing Saves The World” and Harnell’s masterful scatting on “What Thing?” This is a unique album; an amalgamation of ideas that comes together successfully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      New Standards

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Laura Has New Standards is the debut recording for vocalist Laura Noejovich in a duet with pianist Takeishi Asia. She has an interesting dossier including training as an opera singer and a degree in neuroscience! What we hear is a young lady with a commanding voice, great tonal accuracy and unabashed stage presence. The 14 songs include pop and jazz standards “Misty”, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, “Summertime” and “When You Wish Upon A Star”. Laura’s renditions are unique while keeping the structure of the originals leading to a good launch of her vocal career.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Excursions and Adventures

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Tim Ray is “the pianist you didn’t know you knew” having served as Lyle Lovett’s longtime keyboardist and the current pianist and musical director for Tony Bennett. He takes a leadership role on Excursions and Adventures in a trio with John Patitucci on bass and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. Each of these formidable musicians is on the faculty at Berklee! We like the open space that allows all of the instruments to blossom, notably on “Paint It, Black” and “Unconditional Love”. Other standouts are “Nothing From Nothing”, “Maria” and “Gone, Not Forgotten”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Excursions and Adventures

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Tim Ray is “the pianist you didn’t know you knew” having served as Lyle Lovett’s longtime keyboardist and the current pianist and musical director for Tony Bennett. He takes a leadership role on Excursions and Adventures in a trio with John Patitucci on bass and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. Each of these formidable musicians is on the faculty at Berklee! We like the open space that allows all of the instruments to blossom, notably on “Paint It, Black” and “Unconditional Love”. Other standouts are “Nothing From Nothing”, “Maria” and “Gone, Not Forgotten”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Inside Rhythmic Falls

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Aruán Ortiz is a masterful pianist, vocalist and composer born in Cuba and now residing in Brooklyn where he’s made a name for himself in Latin/Free jazz over the past 15 years or so. Inside Rhythmic Falls is his latest endeavor accompanied by drummer Andrew Cyrille and percussionist Mauricio Herrera (also voice). The stage is wide open with lots of space to hear instrumental tones, notably on “Marimbula’s Mood”. While there is an abundance of free form improvisational jazz it is not too far gone. We enjoyed both Part I & II of the title track as well as “El Ashé de la Palabra” and “Lucero Mundo”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Inside Rhythmic Falls

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Aruán Ortiz is a masterful pianist, vocalist and composer born in Cuba and now residing in Brooklyn where he’s made a name for himself in Latin/Free jazz over the past 15 years or so. Inside Rhythmic Falls is his latest endeavor accompanied by drummer Andrew Cyrille and percussionist Mauricio Herrera (also voice). The stage is wide open with lots of space to hear instrumental tones, notably on “Marimbula’s Mood”. While there is an abundance of free form improvisational jazz it is not too far gone. We enjoyed both Part I & II of the title track as well as “El Ashé de la Palabra” and “Lucero Mundo”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With Strings

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Pairing jazz saxophonist Eric Alexander with Strings results in a luscious presentation of warm ballads. Dave Rivello conducts the 14-piece string orchestra with John Webber (b), Joe Farnsworth (d) and David Hazeltine (p). We liked “Dreamsville” and the melancholic sounds of “Lonely Woman” with a complimentary piano solo. The pace intensifies with Alexander swinging hard on “Slow Hot Wind”. The sax/string textures are rarely combined to this level of satisfaction. Alexander gives us only a brief sampling of 36 minutes and we savored every bit of it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  With Strings

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Pairing jazz saxophonist Eric Alexander with Strings results in a luscious presentation of warm ballads. Dave Rivello conducts the 14-piece string orchestra with John Webber (b), Joe Farnsworth (d) and David Hazeltine (p). We liked “Dreamsville” and the melancholic sounds of “Lonely Woman” with a complimentary piano solo. The pace intensifies with Alexander swinging hard on “Slow Hot Wind”. The sax/string textures are rarely combined to this level of satisfaction. Alexander gives us only a brief sampling of 36 minutes and we savored every bit of it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chalkboard Destiny

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Jazz pianist, bandleader and composer Lisa Hilton takes a fresh approach on her latest release Chalkboard Destiny, a mix of contemporary, bouncy blues and warm jazzy ballads. There are relaxing tunes like “Temporary Lullaby” in a trio format with Rudy Royston (d) and Luques Curtis (b); jovial mid-tempo tunes like “Adventures Alibis”, and “Rush Hour Rhapsody” & “Waltz From Nowhere” with JD Allen adding tenor sax. Hilton makes a strong case for you to engage in her west coast, cool jazz and we’re biting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nocturnal Animals

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Classically trained Russian pianist and composer Yelena Eckemoff has been performing in the US since 1991 where she successfully transitioned to jazz. Her music is peaceful, progressive and intriguing. Her latest release Nocturnal Animals is appropriately titled as she provides an aural illustration of the vast sundown creatures with 14 songs over 2 discs. The band is a quartet with Arild Anderson (b), Jon Christensen (d, perc) and Thomas Strønen (d, perc). The liner notes (booklet) are excellent with band photographs and descriptions of each of the creatures (Bat, Fox, Wolf, Lynx...) phrased in the first person. It is a powerful educational tool, especially for home schoolers while listening to the accompanying music!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chalkboard Destiny

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Jazz pianist, bandleader and composer Lisa Hilton takes a fresh approach on her latest release Chalkboard Destiny, a mix of contemporary, bouncy blues and warm jazzy ballads. There are relaxing tunes like “Temporary Lullaby” in a trio format with Rudy Royston (d) and Luques Curtis (b); jovial mid-tempo tunes like “Adventures Alibis”, and “Rush Hour Rhapsody” & “Waltz From Nowhere” with JD Allen adding tenor sax. Hilton makes a strong case for you to engage in her west coast, cool jazz and we’re biting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nocturnal Animals

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Classically trained Russian pianist and composer Yelena Eckemoff has been performing in the US since 1991 where she successfully transitioned to jazz. Her music is peaceful, progressive and intriguing. Her latest release Nocturnal Animals is appropriately titled as she provides an aural illustration of the vast sundown creatures with 14 songs over 2 discs. The band is a quartet with Arild Anderson (b), Jon Christensen (d, perc) and Thomas Strønen (d, perc). The liner notes (booklet) are excellent with band photographs and descriptions of each of the creatures (Bat, Fox, Wolf, Lynx...) phrased in the first person. It is a powerful educational tool, especially for home schoolers while listening to the accompanying music!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sadao 2019 - Live at BlueNote Tokyo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Japanese saxophonist Sadao Wantanabe is a polished, confident musician. He shares the stage with a strong team including Russell Ferrante (p), John Patitucci (b) and Steve Gadd (d). They are a seamless unit performing eleven compositions with varied tempos making us wish we were there! After 87 years, with over 50 albums and countless performances, Wantanabe still delivers a fruitful concert as appreciated by the audience Live at The Tokyo Blue Note recorded August 2019. Highlights include “Butterfly”, “Waiting Song”, “Warm Days Ahead” and “Chega De Saudade”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sadao 2019 - Live at BlueNote Tokyo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Japanese saxophonist Sadao Wantanabe is a polished, confident musician. He shares the stage with a strong team including Russell Ferrante (p), John Patitucci (b) and Steve Gadd (d). They are a seamless unit performing eleven compositions with varied tempos making us wish we were there! After 87 years, with over 50 albums and countless performances, Wantanabe still delivers a fruitful concert as appreciated by the audience Live at The Tokyo Blue Note recorded August 2019. Highlights include “Butterfly”, “Waiting Song”, “Warm Days Ahead” and “Chega De Saudade”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Puertos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Argentinian pianist and composer Emilio Solla is a well-decorated musician combining the music of Spain, Argentina and New York to blossom on Puertos: Music from International Waters. This is a well-orchestrated, brassy, big band session with lots to enjoy on a serious listen or as cool background music! Emilio’s Tango Jazz Orchestra is littered with strong musicians. Todd Bashore (a-sax) has an explosive solo on”Chacafrik” and Edmar Castañeda is exceptional on the harp on “Allegrón”. We also enjoyed solos from Tim Armacost (t-sax), Jim Seeley (t), Pablo Aslan (b) and Mike Fahie (tb).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Puertos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Argentinian pianist and composer Emilio Solla is a well-decorated musician combining the music of Spain, Argentina and New York to blossom on Puertos: Music from International Waters. This is a well-orchestrated, brassy, big band session with lots to enjoy on a serious listen or as cool background music! Emilio’s Tango Jazz Orchestra is littered with strong musicians. Todd Bashore (a-sax) has an explosive solo on”Chacafrik” and Edmar Castañeda is exceptional on the harp on “Allegrón”. We also enjoyed solos from Tim Armacost (t-sax), Jim Seeley (t), Pablo Aslan (b) and Mike Fahie (tb).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Musician’s Lifeline

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: This is an easy reader, a book written for everybody, even those with short attention spans. The advice comes from 164 professional musicians compiled by Peter Erskine and David Black. It is written specifically for musicians though many of the principles can be easily applied to other professions. There’s a lot of reality in the artists comments and a realization that we all face challenges! The experiences ground the lessons and make them easy to embrace. The more we read, the more value we extracted. We found the information valuable for amateurs, young and seasoned professionals. The advice is relevant in an ever-changing world of music. It is candid advice with real life examples on Practice, Performing, Auditions, Traveling, Alternative Ways to Win and Business Aspects. It is parceled in a way you can absorb what you need as you need it, a true Reference Manual, The Musicians Lifeline. Our final take, “When in doubt, use common sense, be respectful of others, the music, fellow musicians and the audience!”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Musician’s Lifeline

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: This is an easy reader, a book written for everybody, even those with short attention spans. The advice comes from 164 professional musicians compiled by Peter Erskine and David Black. It is written specifically for musicians though many of the principles can be easily applied to other professions. There’s a lot of reality in the artists comments and a realization that we all face challenges! The experiences ground the lessons and make them easy to embrace. The more we read, the more value we extracted. We found the information valuable for amateurs, young and seasoned professionals. The advice is relevant in an ever-changing world of music. It is candid advice with real life examples on Practice, Performing, Auditions, Traveling, Alternative Ways to Win and Business Aspects. It is parceled in a way you can absorb what you need as you need it, a true Reference Manual, The Musicians Lifeline. Our final take, “When in doubt, use common sense, be respectful of others, the music, fellow musicians and the audience!”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Alterations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Robin McKelle is blessed with a sultry voice that works on pop, soul and blues genres. She shines on her new release Alterations, a collection dedicated to some of the best women of song. The star-studded band includes Richie Goods (b), Nir Felder (g) and co-producer, pianist, arranger Shedrick Mitchell. We liked the fresh take on Sade’s “No Ordinary Love”, Winehouse’s “Back to Black” and “Don’t Explain”. Our favorite is McKelle’s passionate, romantic plea on Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” that will strike the chords of many hearts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Alterations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Robin McKelle is blessed with a sultry voice that works on pop, soul and blues genres. She shines on her new release Alterations, a collection dedicated to some of the best women of song. The star-studded band includes Richie Goods (b), Nir Felder (g) and co-producer, pianist, arranger Shedrick Mitchell. We liked the fresh take on Sade’s “No Ordinary Love”, Winehouse’s “Back to Black” and “Don’t Explain”. Our favorite is McKelle’s passionate, romantic plea on Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” that will strike the chords of many hearts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Finding

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Tenor saxophonist Ian Christensen has energetic exchanges with Noah Bernstein (alto sax) and Andrew Jones (b) on four hard bop selections. The remaining four selections are more relaxed songs with guitarist Ryan Meagher. Jonas Oglesbee plays drums on all songs. While the styles were very different, we enjoyed both approaches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Escapism

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Los Angeles based pianist Lisa Hilton presents“Escapism, a formidable follow up to“Nocturnal“(4/4). It is somewhat of a continuation of Lisa’s dynamic style that spans across many moods. Her quartet includes Gregg August on bass, drummer Rudy Royston, JD Allen on tenor sax and trumpeter Terell Stafford. Hilton does great work on the keys while bringing her band into the fold for a solid effort. We enjoyed the swinging groove of “Too Hot” highlighting Allen, “Mohave Moon” featuring Stafford and the contrasting “29 Palms”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Saints Are Still Marching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Pianist Eric Byrd leads a trio with Bhagwan Khalsa on bass and drummer Alphonso Young, Jr.“Saints Are Still Marching“is a fresh collection of jazzy spirituals, hymns and gospel tunes. Special guests Tim Warfield (sax) and Terell Stafford (t) add additional color to three of the nine selections. Eric also sings on several tracks notably “Calvary”. The mood is upbeat and the groove is solid end to end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Who Saw You Then. Who Sees You Now

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Who Saw You Then. Who Sees You Now““is a rather mellow Latin jazz session from Ensemble Novo. The band is Ryan McNeely (g), Behn Gillece (vibes), Mark Przybylowski (b), Jim Hamilton (Perc) and producer Tom Moon (sax, fl). Special guest, percussionist Tom Lowery enhances the effort. Classics like “Estate” and “ƒ Luxo Só” are memorable in a truly relaxing session enjoyable across a wide audience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Live in London

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Solo piano can take many shapes but under the hands of Michel Camilo it is always an entertaining encounter! Such is the case for his latest release“Live In London. Camilo’s dexterity with both hands makes this much more than a typical solo experience. “A Place In Time”, “Manteca” and “The Frim Fram Sauce” are great examples. Michel has done solo recordings before but this is the first live, solo performance released and it is a gem!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Ripple

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: The Ripple is the meeting of two masterful tenor saxophonists George Garzone and producer, composer Jeff Rupert. Their inspiration is the laid back, west coast style of the legendary Lester Young. Richard Drexler (p), Marty Morell (d) and Jeremy Allen (b) round out the quintet. They open with the ultra mellow sounds of “Bahia”, picking up the pace on “Go-Go” and swinging hard throughout the set. We enjoyed “The Shadow of Your Smile” and the smoky tenor sax on songs like ”The Red Dior”. There is much to enjoy from both tenors!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Ripple

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: The Ripple is the meeting of two masterful tenor saxophonists George Garzone and producer, composer Jeff Rupert. Their inspiration is the laid back, west coast style of the legendary Lester Young. Richard Drexler (p), Marty Morell (d) and Jeremy Allen (b) round out the quintet. They open with the ultra mellow sounds of “Bahia”, picking up the pace on “Go-Go” and swinging hard throughout the set. We enjoyed “The Shadow of Your Smile” and the smoky tenor sax on songs like ”The Red Dior”. There is much to enjoy from both tenors!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sadness & Soul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Chip Stephens is head of the jazz studies department at University of Illinois. We sometimes forget how fortunate he is to remain on top of his game after a near fatal motor vehicle accident a decade ago. Sadness and Soul is a nice set of peaceful background music, a club set featuring Chip with baritone saxophonist Glenn Wilson, one of the most underrated performers in the business. The two have playing together for many years and at least two as a duo. Highlights are a warm rendition of “‘Round Midnight”, “Giant Steps” and “Countdown”, all unique arrangements that are refreshing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sadness & Soul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Chip Stephens is head of the jazz studies department at University of Illinois. We sometimes forget how fortunate he is to remain on top of his game after a near fatal motor vehicle accident a decade ago. Sadness and Soul is a nice set of peaceful background music, a club set featuring Chip with baritone saxophonist Glenn Wilson, one of the most underrated performers in the business. The two have playing together for many years and at least two as a duo. Highlights are a warm rendition of “‘Round Midnight”, “Giant Steps” and “Countdown”, all unique arrangements that are refreshing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A Life Soundtrack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Barcelona born pianist Marina Albero currently resides in Seattle but her Spanish roots are prevalent on A Life Soundtrack. This 3-disc album is a heavily syncopated, Latin endeavor complete with a full dollop of percussion. The first disc Albero, is mostly Albero originals notably ”Cardamomo”, “Indian Jam” and “Agartha” with a taste of rap! Disc 2, Agua has nine freely improvised compositions. Six are solo piano and three include saxophonist Hans Teuber notably “Nana Del Mar”. They are refreshing works of art. Music Is Love is the 3rd disc, a combination of originals and uniquely arranged standards including a few Seattle-based musicians. The collection is appropriately compartmentalized for entertainment in different settings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A Life Soundtrack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Barcelona born pianist Marina Albero currently resides in Seattle but her Spanish roots are prevalent on A Life Soundtrack. This 3-disc album is a heavily syncopated, Latin endeavor complete with a full dollop of percussion. The first disc Albero, is mostly Albero originals notably ”Cardamomo”, “Indian Jam” and “Agartha” with a taste of rap! Disc 2, Agua has nine freely improvised compositions. Six are solo piano and three include saxophonist Hans Teuber notably “Nana Del Mar”. They are refreshing works of art. Music Is Love is the 3rd disc, a combination of originals and uniquely arranged standards including a few Seattle-based musicians. The collection is appropriately compartmentalized for entertainment in different settings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fine State

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Heather is one of Canada’s top jazz vocalists and a true entertainer with exacting tone and pitch. Kelly Jefferson (sax), Eric St. Laurent (g), Ross MacIntyre (b), Ben Wittman (d, perc) and Chase Sanborn (flugelhorn) are the core band with Adrean Farrugia and Michael Shand splitting piano duties. There are thirteen tracks that combine jazz with popular music showing Heather’s reach to various audiences. Highlights are “It’s Beautiful”, “Bridges” and “Fine State of Affairs” featuring Carlos del Junco on harmonica. There are no disappointments on Fine State, a solid collection of contemporary jazz vocals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A New York Session

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Singer, songwriter Ellen Edwards returns to her musical passions after raising her children. She enlists producer Jason Miles (vibes, B3, strings) for A New York Session that includes bassist Will Lee, percussionist Richie Morales and Randy Brecker on trumpet. We enjoyed the funky vibe on “The Queens Bridge”. Her rebirth finds her singing from her heart on five original songs over 20 minutes. Really it’s just one set, but it is a cool and enjoyable set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fine State

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Heather is one of Canada’s top jazz vocalists and a true entertainer with exacting tone and pitch. Kelly Jefferson (sax), Eric St. Laurent (g), Ross MacIntyre (b), Ben Wittman (d, perc) and Chase Sanborn (flugelhorn) are the core band with Adrean Farrugia and Michael Shand splitting piano duties. There are thirteen tracks that combine jazz with popular music showing Heather’s reach to various audiences. Highlights are “It’s Beautiful”, “Bridges” and “Fine State of Affairs” featuring Carlos del Junco on harmonica. There are no disappointments on Fine State, a solid collection of contemporary jazz vocals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A New York Session

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Singer, songwriter Ellen Edwards returns to her musical passions after raising her children. She enlists producer Jason Miles (vibes, B3, strings) for A New York Session that includes bassist Will Lee, percussionist Richie Morales and Randy Brecker on trumpet. We enjoyed the funky vibe on “The Queens Bridge”. Her rebirth finds her singing from her heart on five original songs over 20 minutes. Really it’s just one set, but it is a cool and enjoyable set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dreamsville

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Saxophonist Cory Weeds is one of the luckiest jazz enthusiasts on the planet. He ran Cellar Jazz, a popular nightclub in Vancouver where many live recordings were produced for his label of the same name. While the club closed in 2014, the label persists. On“Dreamsville Weeds teams up with the Jeff Hamilton Trio for a jovial jaunt through eleven tunes in just over 1 hour. Drummer Jeff Hamilton’s trio includes pianist Tamir Hendelman and bassist Christof Lundy. Weeds leads most of the melodies and does so with effortless passion. The band shines across all tempos from the soothing notes of “Lady Wants To Know” to the playfully spirited “How Do You Like Them Apples”. Jeff steps up with rousing solos on “Bennissimio” and opening “Hammer’s Tones” with Hendelman and Weeds leading the melodies. This is a really swinging set!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Odalisque

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Spike Wilner plays a spirited jazz piano on“Odalesque. Bassist Tyler Mitchell and drummer Anthony Pinciotti join him over nine modern jazz renditions that kept us bouncing for just over one hour! The spontaneity of the intimate live recording is apparent on “You” where the trio catches fire and never looks back! There is magic here for those who take the time to engage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jazz Horn Redux

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Ken Wiley is a French horn player, composer, producer and the leader of the band on“Jazz Horn Redux. Bob Sheppard (tenor sax), Gary Grant (t) and Dan Higgins (fl, sax) are some of the featured horns with Wally Minko (p), Trey Henry (b), Luis Conte (perc) and Kendall Kay (d) anchoring the rhythm section. They perform 11 classics notably Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower”, Miles’ “Freddy Freeloader”, Coltrane’s “Equinox” and Jobim’s “Corcovado”. This is a mighty fine set showcasing a lot of brass harmony.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Look To The Sky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Eric Wyatt extracts a robust tone from his tenor saxophone with a style that draws elements from Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson and Dexter Gordon. Benito Gonzalez (p), Kenyon Harold (t), Eric Wheeler (b) and Shinnosuke Takahashi (d) are his supporting musicians some of whom appear regularly with Wyatt on the New York jazz scene. Eric not only shines on the burners but also on ballads like “A Psalm for Phennie” and “Tenderly” where he puts his soul into the mix. Eric plays soprano sax and picks up the mic for “My Favorite Things” along with Andrea Miller adding yet another dimension. The program bounces back and forth from hard bop to rich ballads for a good listening experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  River of January

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Bassist, composer, arranger and producer Dave Zinno leads a modern jazz quintet. Unisphere is tenor saxophonist Mike Tucker, Eric “Benny “ Bloom on trumpet, pianist Leo Genovese, drummer Rafael Barata and Zinno. The mix of Brazilian, Argentine and American musicians pack an abundance of Latin energy into this modern jazz set. Tucker contributes three originals, along with one from Genovese and two from the leader to go along with four reconstituted covers. “Remember When”, “Little Lillie”, “Recife Blues” and “South End Blues” are among the best. Tuckers work almost justifies co-billing with Zinno as both shine brightly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Song of No Regrets

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: First and foremost this is a collection of excellent classic songs. Secondly tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander is a superior soloist and handles these fresh arrangements and melodies with a lot of class. David Hazeltine (p), John Webber (b), Alex Dias (perc) and Joe Farnsworth (d) join Alexander in the band with special guest Jon Faddis (t) adding additional color. “Cede’s Shack”, “Mas Que Nada” and “These Three Words” are just a few of the winners on“Song of No Regrets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Home Road

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: This is a trio with bassist Drew Gress, Jim Haynes on drums and leader, guitarist Jim Yanda. It’s clear that it’s Yanda’s date as he’s burning on blues & bop and soothing us on the ballads!“Home Road“is a 2-disc set with eleven well-devoted original compositions. He touches a lot of ground across several genres n a good session.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Inside Turnabout

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Brazilian guitarist Lupa Santiago and Finish drummer Anders Vestergård follow up a successful 2015 recording with“Inside Turnabout, a with a fresh quartet including Swedish bassist Mattias Hjorth and tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Ursaia from Brazil. There’s a cool swinging groove on “Caixa Cuba” that extends into most of the tracks. We also dug “LŠrkan”, “De Passagem” and the softer “Me perdi“. It is a good mix of global music cultures featuring original compositions from Vestergård (4), Santiago (3), and Ursaia (2).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wonderful World

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Jazz bassist and composer Matt Dwonszyk resides in Hartford Connecticut where he studied under Nat Reeves at The Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz (Univ. of Hartford). He released his debut Wonderful World about a year ago and it almost escaped our attention; we’re happy it didn’t! Matt is accompanied by strong musicians including Steve Davis (tb), Ed Fast (vibes, perc) and many of his former classmates from the McLean Institute. Sheila Johns softens things up a bit adding vocals on “My Soul”. We really enjoyed “Weak Incentive”, “Cuban Breeze” and “The Academy”. We anxiously await the next edition from Dwonszyk!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wonderful World

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Jazz bassist and composer Matt Dwonszyk resides in Hartford Connecticut where he studied under Nat Reeves at The Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz (Univ. of Hartford). He released his debut Wonderful World about a year ago and it almost escaped our attention; we’re happy it didn’t! Matt is accompanied by strong musicians including Steve Davis (tb), Ed Fast (vibes, perc) and many of his former classmates from the McLean Institute. Sheila Johns softens things up a bit adding vocals on “My Soul”. We really enjoyed “Weak Incentive”, “Cuban Breeze” and “The Academy”. We anxiously await the next edition from Dwonszyk!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Trane of Thought

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Trane of Thought is a tribute to the legendary John Coltrane by two Toronto-based tenor saxophonists, Pat LaBarbera and Kirk MacDonald. They initiated this idea back in 1992 and it has since become an annual event at the Rex Hotel on or around Coltrane’s birthday! This recording captures the celebration during September 2018. Brian Dickinson (p), Neil Swanson (b) and Joe LaBarbera (d) anchor the quintet. The intensity builds over the set with “26-2”, “Naima” and “Impressions” building momentum for the closer “Acknowledgement/Resolution”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Trane of Thought

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Trane of Thought is a tribute to the legendary John Coltrane by two Toronto-based tenor saxophonists, Pat LaBarbera and Kirk MacDonald. They initiated this idea back in 1992 and it has since become an annual event at the Rex Hotel on or around Coltrane’s birthday! This recording captures the celebration during September 2018. Brian Dickinson (p), Neil Swanson (b) and Joe LaBarbera (d) anchor the quintet. The intensity builds over the set with “26-2”, “Naima” and “Impressions” building momentum for the closer “Acknowledgement/Resolution”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Latin Lounge

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Puerto Rican percussionist and composer Frank Colón steps out of the shadows as sideman and leads the charge on Latin Lounge. The album was recorded in Brazil and Colón utilized the wealth of local talent including Carlos Malta (fl), José Staneck (harmonica), José Arimateia (t), Estevão Lima (b) and many others. The ten originals are peaceful and fresh, including some programming. Highlights are the energizing “Emerald Coast” and “Wishful Thinking”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Latin Lounge

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Puerto Rican percussionist and composer Frank Colón steps out of the shadows as sideman and leads the charge on Latin Lounge. The album was recorded in Brazil and Colón utilized the wealth of local talent including Carlos Malta (fl), José Staneck (harmonica), José Arimateia (t), Estevão Lima (b) and many others. The ten originals are peaceful and fresh, including some programming. Highlights are the energizing “Emerald Coast” and “Wishful Thinking”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jump For Joy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Callie Cardamon released a jazz standards album about a decade ago and then disappeared to life’s demands but also focused on country music. She maintained her taste for jazz with the core of Standards, Volume II awaiting her attention. That title morphed to Jump For Joy, only five songs covering 17 minutes but it’s time well spent! Callie brings back some classic, vocal jazz highlighted by “Peel Me A Grape” and “Summertime”. It warrants more of her time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sway

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Actor and jazz vocalist Patrick Barnitt starred as "The Crooner" in the musical "Shag with a Twist". He performs in the greater Los Angeles area and stars here on Sway, his latest recording in front of a tight knit orchestra. Barnitt sings mostly romantic ballads but infused a taste of Latin on the title track, some pop on “Does Anybody Know What Time It Is”, and even some rockin’ “ACL Blues”. There’s a lot of variety to make this a very entertaining session.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jump For Joy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Callie Cardamon released a jazz standards album about a decade ago and then disappeared to life’s demands but also focused on country music. She maintained her taste for jazz with the core of Standards, Volume II awaiting her attention. That title morphed to Jump For Joy, only five songs covering 17 minutes but it’s time well spent! Callie brings back some classic, vocal jazz highlighted by “Peel Me A Grape” and “Summertime”. It warrants more of her time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sway

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Actor and jazz vocalist Patrick Barnitt starred as "The Crooner" in the musical "Shag with a Twist". He performs in the greater Los Angeles area and stars here on Sway, his latest recording in front of a tight knit orchestra. Barnitt sings mostly romantic ballads but infused a taste of Latin on the title track, some pop on “Does Anybody Know What Time It Is”, and even some rockin’ “ACL Blues”. There’s a lot of variety to make this a very entertaining session.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jump For Joy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Callie Cardamon released a jazz standards album about a decade ago and then disappeared to life’s demands but also focused on country music. She maintained her taste for jazz with the core of Standards, Volume II awaiting her attention. That title morphed to Jump For Joy, only five songs covering 17 minutes but it’s time well spent! Callie brings back some classic, vocal jazz highlighted by “Peel Me A Grape” and “Summertime”. It warrants more of her time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ella at Zardi’s

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: This is a live recording capturing Ella in her prime“at Zardi’s, a hot Los Angeles jazz spot during the 1950s. She’s ever the entertainer and is there to please her audience. Ella plays songs by request even when she doesn’t know the lyrics as on “Gone With The Wind”. She turns a difficult situation into a humorous adventure with her world class scatting. “Joe Williams Blues”, “Cry Me A River” and her famous “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” are just a few of the 21 classic tunes. This is very entertaining and one of the better collections giving us a glimpse of legend at work!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Motorman’s Son

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Composer and pianist Joel LaRue Smith pays homage to his father, a NYC Subway Conductor on“The Motorman’s Son. It’s a journey that is inspired by Caribbean and African American rhythms. The brass laden band includes Charles Langford (alto sax), Jeff Galindo (tb), Flavio Lira (b) and Wilson “Chembo” Corneil (Tumbodores). Eight of the nine compositions are originals with a vibrant cover of “Manteca”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Solo a Genova

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Pianist Jamie Saft takes a stab at the music of pop stars Curtis Mayfield, Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis, Coltrane, ZZ Top, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Charles Ives and Miles Davis/Bill Evans transforming their works into beautiful solo piano ballads.“Solo a Genova“(recorded at Teatro Carlo Felice, Genova, Italy) serves as excellent background music and a good challenge for listeners to identify the tunes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3Divas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: The“3Divas“performing for this session are bassist Amy Shook, pianist Jackie Warren and drummer, producer Sherrie Maricle. They are a fine trio performing seven classic jazz tunes. The tunes aren’t new but the arrangements are and they really sizzle. Of note are “I Thought About You”, “Favela” and “The Beat Goes On”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Off Beat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Katie Theroux is a bright new artist taking the jazz world by storm. The singer, bassist and composer leads a fine trio with pianist Justin Kauflin and Matt Witek on drums. Guests Ken Peplowski (sax, cl) and Roger Neumann (sax) join her on five and two selections respectively. Theroux's laid-back vocals and Kauflin's cool piano anchor a swinging ensemble and give this recording a lot of balance. Katie's scattering is well integrated with the band on "Ray's Idea". She sounds best for sultry blues numbers like "Some Cats Know" shadowed by Peplowski on sax and alone singing and playing bass on "Willow Weep For Me". We are here to tell you that Katie's sophomore effort,“Off Beat“is on time. She reworks these standards with a swagger that suggests she'll be delighting jazz fans for a while!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lisa Sanchez/Jon Eriksen Quartet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Jon Erikson (harmonica, vibes, vocals) and producer Lisa Sanchez (g, vocals) team up to lead a quartet with bassist Rich Gerard and Jack Dorsey on drums. The stage is tilted forward “in your face” and that’s not a bad thing as Lisa’s vocals and fretwork are warm. The music is mostly fresh contemporary arrangements of classics like “Waters of March”, “Tristeza” and “Favela”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nice!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Trumpeter Jay Saunders recently retired from the University of North Texas where he was an educator and prominent figure in the Dallas recording industry as well as a veteran of the Stan Kenton Jazz Orchestra. This 2-disc compilation features 3 prime selections from each of six recordings by the Two O’clock Lab Band under Jay’s direction from 2009-2014. We enjoyed the stroll down “Sax Alley”, “Vaguely Reminiscent” and an upbeat spirit on “Nardis”. Emily Davis delivers a warm message on “Detour Ahead”, the lone vocal track. This“Best Of“collection is very“Nice!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              for Being There

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Church on Monday is a quintet lead by saxophonist Elias Haslanger with Dr. James Polk (organ), Tommy Howard (g), Daniel Durham (b) and Scott Laningham (d). They evolved in 2011 from Haslinger’s album and song of the same name and took up residence at Austin's famous Continental Club Gallery. It’s been over six years and they’ve released for being there to give those of us outside of Texas a taste of bluesy, soul and the modern jazz, church experience! “Bolivia”, “ For Being There” and the sizzling finale, “Midnight Creeper” are standouts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                for Being There

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Church on Monday is a quintet lead by saxophonist Elias Haslanger with Dr. James Polk (organ), Tommy Howard (g), Daniel Durham (b) and Scott Laningham (d). They evolved in 2011 from Haslinger’s album and song of the same name and took up residence at Austin's famous Continental Club Gallery. It’s been over six years and they’ve released for being there to give those of us outside of Texas a taste of bluesy, soul and the modern jazz, church experience! “Bolivia”, “ For Being There” and the sizzling finale, “Midnight Creeper” are standouts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Road Less Traveled

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: The Road Less Traveled marks 20 years of musical pleasure from the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. We don’t ordinarily associate Knoxville with jazz but the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra is a powerful large ensemble led by director and co-producer Vance Thompson. This edition includes guest artists Michael Dease (tb), Eric Reed (p), Mike Seal (g) and Greg Tardy (b-cl, t-sax). Carmen Bradford adds beautiful lyrics on “The Peacocks” and “At Last”. There’s a taste of the south on “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and “The Tennessee Waltz” but they also shine as a traditional jazz ensemble on “Woodyn’ You” and “Rhythm-a-ning” capping a fine set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Road Less Traveled

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: The Road Less Traveled marks 20 years of musical pleasure from the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. We don’t ordinarily associate Knoxville with jazz but the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra is a powerful large ensemble led by director and co-producer Vance Thompson. This edition includes guest artists Michael Dease (tb), Eric Reed (p), Mike Seal (g) and Greg Tardy (b-cl, t-sax). Carmen Bradford adds beautiful lyrics on “The Peacocks” and “At Last”. There’s a taste of the south on “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and “The Tennessee Waltz” but they also shine as a traditional jazz ensemble on “Woodyn’ You” and “Rhythm-a-ning” capping a fine set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mirror

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Katerina sings a wide variety of tunes opening with the “The Gate” in French. Her band is powerful, polished, and swinging throughout the set led by producer, pianist Gary Brown and including bassist Akira Tana. We enjoyed “Can’t Take That Away From Me” featuring vocalist Kenny Washington and warm renditions of classics like “Moanin’” as well as the ballads “Like A Lover” and “Mirror”. There are also three bonus tracks (English translations) that tip this one over the top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mirror

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Katerina sings a wide variety of tunes opening with the “The Gate” in French. Her band is powerful, polished, and swinging throughout the set led by producer, pianist Gary Brown and including bassist Akira Tana. We enjoyed “Can’t Take That Away From Me” featuring vocalist Kenny Washington and warm renditions of classics like “Moanin’” as well as the ballads “Like A Lover” and “Mirror”. There are also three bonus tracks (English translations) that tip this one over the top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Out of Dust

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Canadian jazz singer and pianist Laila Biali is reaching her stride 20 years into her musical career. She now resides in New York and has surrounded herself with top talent for Out Of Dust, her latest release. George Koller (b), Alan Ferber (tb) and Lisa Fischer are among the extensive cast. Biali gives us French lyrics on “au Pays de Cocagne” and a beautiful tone on “Take Me To The Alley”. Bassist Rich Brown adds a funky backdrop on “The Baker’s Daughter” and “Sugar” extending the audience but remaining on the jazzy adult contemporary jazz side. She wraps the set with “Take The Day Off” reminding us to remain balanced and pause to reflect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mirror

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Katerina sings a wide variety of tunes opening with the “The Gate” in French. Her band is powerful, polished, and swinging throughout the set led by producer, pianist Gary Brown and including bassist Akira Tana. We enjoyed “Can’t Take That Away From Me” featuring vocalist Kenny Washington and warm renditions of classics like “Moanin’” as well as the ballads “Like A Lover” and “Mirror”. There are also three bonus tracks (English translations) that tip this one over the top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Out of Dust

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Canadian jazz singer and pianist Laila Biali is reaching her stride 20 years into her musical career. She now resides in New York and has surrounded herself with top talent for Out Of Dust, her latest release. George Koller (b), Alan Ferber (tb) and Lisa Fischer are among the extensive cast. Biali gives us French lyrics on “au Pays de Cocagne” and a beautiful tone on “Take Me To The Alley”. Bassist Rich Brown adds a funky backdrop on “The Baker’s Daughter” and “Sugar” extending the audience but remaining on the jazzy adult contemporary jazz side. She wraps the set with “Take The Day Off” reminding us to remain balanced and pause to reflect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Phrases

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Vocalist, composer and producer Jeff Baker return to the studio after a 7-year hiatus. Brian Blade (d), Steve Wilson (alto sax) and Geof Bradfield (tenor sax) are among the many musicians/friends who support the effort.“Phrases“is a collection of subdued romantic ballads draped over relaxed jazzy rhythms. We liked the mysterious vibe of “Salinger” and “And So It Goes”. These are insightful Phrases indeed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Distant Song

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: This is vocalist Fred Farrell’s debut on Whaling City and we hope to hear many more in its likeness. His accompaniment is crisp, clean and open with pianist Richie Beirach and saxophonist Dave Liebman shining behind Farrell as well as alone. All of the musicians participated in composing the material, some spiritual, some reflective and all quietly stimulating. The use of space allows a full appreciation of each musical element and the skill of the performers is evident!“Distant Song features confident musicians playing from their hearts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kalamazoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Delfeayo is a consummate entertainer who covers blues, ballads, pop and New Orleans jazz for a super, live set on“Kalamazoo. He takes the lead line on ”Tin Roof Blues” with an abundance of passion, technique, rich tone and gutsy expression. And that’s just the first track. They breathe new life into classic standards like “Autumn Leaves” and “My Funny Valentine”. Marsalis shares the stage with a solid team including the patriarch Ellis Marsalis, Jr. on piano, Reginald Veal (b) and Ralph Peterson (d). It is yet another gem from Delfeayo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tribute To Bobby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Vibraphone is Steve Hobbs pays tribute to the late, great Bobby Hutcherson. Hobbs percussive attack extracts the most out of the instrument reminiscent of what Hutcherson did best. Bassist Peter Washington stands out on “Besame Mucho”; Maurice Meyers, Marvin Thorne and Carol Ingretsen add harmonized lyrics to “In From The Storm”, and Adam Kolker (sax) takes the lead on “The Craving Phenomenon” in the sharing spirit of the masterful bandleader. Hobbs recreates the groove and spirit of Hutcherson while imparting touches of his own character, 10 of the 13 tracks are originals, for a winning session.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Rising Tide

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Rising Tide is guitarist Frank Kohl’s fourth album as a leader following up on the successful Invisible Man (4/3). He sticks to the same formula with the same swinging band and a split of eight selections that include five originals. We enjoyed the title track, “Tears of Joy” and “Late Night” along with the solo guitar cover of “Beautiful Love”. Frank’s melodies are precise and melodic with a solid big box guitar sound. Jon Doty (d), Steve LaSpina (b) and Tom Kohl (p) continue to provide strong support rounding another fine effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Roll On

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart forms a trio with bassist Paul Sikivie and Phil Stewart on drums a combination pioneered by Sonny Rollins that lends to a sound that is open, almost empty. But there are strong solos from all three musicians from the opener ”Thinking of You”. Phil Stewart provides strong drum solos on "After You've Gone" and "Un Poco Loco" to compliment Grant’s gentle warm sax and Sikivie’s bass melodies on "Just As Though You Were Here".“Roll On“is a solid bebop encounter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Brightest Minute

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Toronto based guitarist Andrew Scott plays bop and assembles a quartet to perform eight original selections. Jake Wilkinson is on piano with bassist Jon Meyer and drummer Jeff Halischuk. Highlights include “Ain’t It So” and “Moody Blues”. This is good new music and Jeff Bull states in the liner notes that he feels the set is lasting, original and really good. Scott’s precision is matched with liquid warm tones that welcome extended listening. The sparks are there and we enjoyed it more with each track.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Live in Brooklyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: New York-based guitarist and composer Perry Smith plays straight-ahead jazz, burning on the opener, “Starlight Skies” one of three originals. The band is a quartet with Melissa Aldana (sax), Matt Aronoff (b) and Jay Sawyer (d). There are more burners notably “Premonition” and a couple of solid ballads like “Don’t Worry About Me”. We’d enjoy seeing Perry live, in a small club setting like The Nest Session, the site for Live in Brooklyn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dialogues On Race

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Bassist and composer Gregg August is a prominent member of JD Allen’s trio but he flips the script here taking the leadership role and incorporating Allen (t-sax) in a 12 piece ensemble including John Ellis (s-sax), Frank Lacy (vocals), Luis Perdomo (p), rich strings and multiple vocalists. Dialogues On Race includes both instrumental juxtapositions and spoken word on race relations. The instrumentation is excellent with solos coming from all directions. Lyrics are based on historic poems by Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Richard Katrovas and others. Among the best are “Mother Mamie’s Reflections” with Emmett Till’s mother reciting the spoken word, “Sweet Words on Race” and “The Bird Leaps”. Moods range from anger, pain and sorrow to hope and joy. The “Blues Finale” is a possible path forward blessed with hope for a better future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Live in Brooklyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: New York-based guitarist and composer Perry Smith plays straight-ahead jazz, burning on the opener, “Starlight Skies” one of three originals. The band is a quartet with Melissa Aldana (sax), Matt Aronoff (b) and Jay Sawyer (d). There are more burners notably “Premonition” and a couple of solid ballads like “Don’t Worry About Me”. We’d enjoy seeing Perry live, in a small club setting like The Nest Session, the site for Live in Brooklyn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dialogues On Race

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Bassist and composer Gregg August is a prominent member of JD Allen’s trio but he flips the script here taking the leadership role and incorporating Allen (t-sax) in a 12 piece ensemble including John Ellis (s-sax), Frank Lacy (vocals), Luis Perdomo (p), rich strings and multiple vocalists. Dialogues On Race includes both instrumental juxtapositions and spoken word on race relations. The instrumentation is excellent with solos coming from all directions. Lyrics are based on historic poems by Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Richard Katrovas and others. Among the best are “Mother Mamie’s Reflections” with Emmett Till’s mother reciting the spoken word, “Sweet Words on Race” and “The Bird Leaps”. Moods range from anger, pain and sorrow to hope and joy. The “Blues Finale” is a possible path forward blessed with hope for a better future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Live in Brooklyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: New York-based guitarist and composer Perry Smith plays straight-ahead jazz, burning on the opener, “Starlight Skies” one of three originals. The band is a quartet with Melissa Aldana (sax), Matt Aronoff (b) and Jay Sawyer (d). There are more burners notably “Premonition” and a couple of solid ballads like “Don’t Worry About Me”. We’d enjoy seeing Perry live, in a small club setting like The Nest Session, the site for Live in Brooklyn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lab 2019

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: The powerful, brassy One O’clock Lab Band has become one of our favorite large ensembles and certainly among the best of the college bands. Even with a continuously evolving student body at the University of North Texas, the band remains true under the direction of Alan Blaylock. They play freshly arranged classics with changes in key and tempo, but always exacting precision. There are rich, melodic solos on “Red Herring” (Patrick Hill, a-sax and Andrew Duncan, b-sax) and “Leverage” (Kyle Meyers, a-sax and Ethan Ditthardt, g) with sweet vocals by Marion Powers on “The Things We Did Last Summer”. We also enjoyed the mysterious sounds of “Confluence” and the crisp accents on “I Can’t Get Started”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lab 2019

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: The powerful, brassy One O’clock Lab Band has become one of our favorite large ensembles and certainly among the best of the college bands. Even with a continuously evolving student body at the University of North Texas, the band remains true under the direction of Alan Blaylock. They play freshly arranged classics with changes in key and tempo, but always exacting precision. There are rich, melodic solos on “Red Herring” (Patrick Hill, a-sax and Andrew Duncan, b-sax) and “Leverage” (Kyle Meyers, a-sax and Ethan Ditthardt, g) with sweet vocals by Marion Powers on “The Things We Did Last Summer”. We also enjoyed the mysterious sounds of “Confluence” and the crisp accents on “I Can’t Get Started”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Primary Colors

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: John Vanore is a polished trumpeter, educator, composer and producer. He recently discovered tapes of a duo performance with keyboardist Ron Thomas made in 1984 and1985. It’s a spontaneous set focusing on classic tunes and their impromptu takes. There is some overdubbing of cymbals and the DX-7 but otherwise it’s all fresh first-take music. The rich sounds of John’s trumpet and flugelhorn are the highlights of Primary Colors, mostly ballads. “Final Dawn” and “A Time For Love” are among the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Primary Colors

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: John Vanore is a polished trumpeter, educator, composer and producer. He recently discovered tapes of a duo performance with keyboardist Ron Thomas made in 1984 and1985. It’s a spontaneous set focusing on classic tunes and their impromptu takes. There is some overdubbing of cymbals and the DX-7 but otherwise it’s all fresh first-take music. The rich sounds of John’s trumpet and flugelhorn are the highlights of Primary Colors, mostly ballads. “Final Dawn” and “A Time For Love” are among the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Very Early

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Audrey Silver is a songbird that is evolving into a formidable star on the New York jazz scene. This is her third release as a leader including freshly arranged classics and a couple of her own compositions. Silver’s voice is rich, smooth and tonally accurate. She makes the timeless classics that much better and easily embraceable. Examples are “Getting to Know You”, “Lemon Twist” and “Surrey with the Fringe on Top”. Pianist Bruce Barth, Alex Pope Norris (t) and drummer Lewis Nash are among the solid band supporting Silver on“Very Early, a taste of musical magic worthy of many takes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sonder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Chris McCarthy is a composer keyboardist who is very creative.“Sonder“is his latest release that could easily serve as a sound track for a mysterious movie! Carri Furniss provides vocal renderings with Max Light (g), Simon Willson (b) and Jongkuk Kim (d) rounding out the quintet. The program combines three McCarthy originals with three covers and Carrie’s “Count On Me”. Our favorite: “Ugly Beauty/Rant”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rosas Para Lecuona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Ana’s soaring vocals are more like an opera in a cathedral than jazz anywhere. She sings eighteen selections in front of accompaniment from pianist Hubrel Herrera.“Rosas Para Lecuonais an art piece for those attracted to this genre. But it could be a bit of a stretch for those of us who are not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ladies Day

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Ladies Day“is an all women encounter sparked by vocalist MJ Territo’s recognition of the wealth of great songs composed by women. Women are not only great writers but also great musicians as represented here by a strong band that includes pianist Linda Presgrave, bassist Iris Ornig and Barbara Merjan on drums with guest artists Virginia Mayhew (sax) on “Strange Fascination” and Andrea Brachfeld (fl) for two selections. MJ’s style is well articulated, more spoken than melodic at times but she shines with her accompaniment on “You Gotta Pay The Band” and the bluesy “It’s Cool To Be Cool”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Talinka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Talinka is a quartet led by Israeli born and London based vocalist Tali Atzmon. This is her debut as a leader but you may recognize her from numerous appearances with her husband Gilad who plays bass clarinet, soprano sax and accordion on this outing. Yaron Stavi (b), Jenny Bliss Bennett (violin, fl, vocals) and guests Frank Harrison (p) and Enzo Zirilli (perc) round out the band. They mix tango, folk and jazz to Tali’s whims. Seven of the ten selections are originals by Tali, Gilad and/or Talinka with three classics recast to fit into this mode. It is earthy with dark tones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Baby It’s Cold Outside

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Trumpeter Chris Pasin assembled six different groupings of musician friends to celebrate the Holidays on“Baby It’s Cold Outside. The collection has 11 selections including a few vocal tracks featuring Patricia Dalton Fennell (also a notable expert on chronic illness). She breathes warmth into the chilly Northern breezes notably on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and the title track. Pasin’s tone is incredibly rich on “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel”, a duet with pianist Armen Donelian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tales & Tones

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Saxophonist Troy Roberts takes the lead role with a quartet including Silvano Monasterios (p), Robert Hurst (b) and Jeff "Tain" Watts (d). They perform six Roberts originals and three classics. Tain takes a lengthy solo on the opener "Decoration" bringing the drums into the spotlight here and on numerous occasions during the session. They swing hard on "Take The A Train" and "Bernie's Tune" but step back to the cool swagger of "Pickapoppy", our favorite in a strong session.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              War Lords

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Pianist John Shaw leads a quintet through a swinging set of seven modern jazz tunes.““Bassist Monte Butts, drummer Renardo Ward, Johnny Yancey on trumpet and saxophonist Kyle Lee join Shaw to form the Jazz Alliance. All of the songs are““originals composed post-2000. We enjoyed the East St. Louis groove of the second two selections while "Metropolis", "Bahnhofstrasse" and "Lumark's Tune" are on the mellow side. All are enjoyable in this balanced set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Zoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Russian pianist and composer Evgeny Sivtsov leads a trio with bassist Dan Chmielinski and drummer Shawn Baltazor. Sistov’s piano work and outstanding dynamics bring the compositions on Zoo to life, combining several jazz styles. We enjoyed “Post-Wild”, “New Anthill”, “Dragonfliesis” and the final ballad, “The Death Of The Last Dinosaur”. Evgeny spent the greater part of a decade in New York polishing his chops before returning to Russia when he was unable to get his work visa renewed. He’s finding a more developed jazz space in Moscow now and is certainly a large contributor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Zoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Russian pianist and composer Evgeny Sivtsov leads a trio with bassist Dan Chmielinski and drummer Shawn Baltazor. Sistov’s piano work and outstanding dynamics bring the compositions on Zoo to life, combining several jazz styles. We enjoyed “Post-Wild”, “New Anthill”, “Dragonfliesis” and the final ballad, “The Death Of The Last Dinosaur”. Evgeny spent the greater part of a decade in New York polishing his chops before returning to Russia when he was unable to get his work visa renewed. He’s finding a more developed jazz space in Moscow now and is certainly a large contributor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jazz Party

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Trombonist, producer and composer Delfeayo Marsalis leads the Uptown Jazz Orchestra for his latest release, Jazz Party. And yes indeed, this is a party atmosphere all the way through with an element of enthusiasm to warm up the audience. While the festive instrumentals are dominant, we also enjoyed the Karen Livers vocals on “Moboya’s Midnight Cocktail”. They throw a little calypso into the mix on “Caribbean Second Line” and are true to form on “So New Orleans” featuring Tonya Boyd Cannon and Dr. Brice Miller on the mics. You’ll find it hard to resist bobbing your head, tapping your foot or/and shakin’ your rump!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jazz Party

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Trombonist, producer and composer Delfeayo Marsalis leads the Uptown Jazz Orchestra for his latest release, Jazz Party. And yes indeed, this is a party atmosphere all the way through with an element of enthusiasm to warm up the audience. While the festive instrumentals are dominant, we also enjoyed the Karen Livers vocals on “Moboya’s Midnight Cocktail”. They throw a little calypso into the mix on “Caribbean Second Line” and are true to form on “So New Orleans” featuring Tonya Boyd Cannon and Dr. Brice Miller on the mics. You’ll find it hard to resist bobbing your head, tapping your foot or/and shakin’ your rump!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chimes of Freedom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Lynn leads a piano trio here with drummer E.J. Strickland and bassist Jasper Somsen. She opens with a firm command of the keys on “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child”, one of two covers to go with eight originals. They pick up the pace on “Journey”, add a great drum solo on “Reunion”, and invite guest vocalist K.J. Denhert for two selections. We also enjoyed “The Whole Truth”. Chimes of Freedom is yet another lively performance from Arriale with a theme based on racial equality and social justice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Surrounded By Blue

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Grant is an old school, soul singer with a beautiful mezzo-soprano and tons of controlled passion. Joyce sings classic ballads with a timeless, traditional style. Her deep warm voicings are meaningful and relaxed. She opens with the often recorded “Cry Me A River” and makes it her own followed by seven more standards. We especially enjoyed “My Baby Just Cares For Me”. You can catch her performing live in The Bay Area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chimes of Freedom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Lynn leads a piano trio here with drummer E.J. Strickland and bassist Jasper Somsen. She opens with a firm command of the keys on “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child”, one of two covers to go with eight originals. They pick up the pace on “Journey”, add a great drum solo on “Reunion”, and invite guest vocalist K.J. Denhert for two selections. We also enjoyed “The Whole Truth”. Chimes of Freedom is yet another lively performance from Arriale with a theme based on racial equality and social justice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Surrounded By Blue

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Grant is an old school, soul singer with a beautiful mezzo-soprano and tons of controlled passion. Joyce sings classic ballads with a timeless, traditional style. Her deep warm voicings are meaningful and relaxed. She opens with the often recorded “Cry Me A River” and makes it her own followed by seven more standards. We especially enjoyed “My Baby Just Cares For Me”. You can catch her performing live in The Bay Area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Still Still Still

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Still Still Still is a set of Christmas time poems for voice (Rebecca Spencer), piano (Philip Fortenberry), cello (Moonlight Tran) and soprano sax (Eric Taxwell). They perform a dozen hymns and Holiday classics in traditional, spiritual splendor. It is soft, gentle and sweet, well suited inside and out of the church.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Feeling The Jazz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Vocalist Donna Singer dedicates this recording to the late, great men in her life: her father, brother Donald, Doug Richards and guitarist Jeff Otis. Each of these men provided different inspirations: guidance, joy & laughter and musical support and structure. The mood is bright over eleven classic songs. The band is bubbly and Donna is“Feeling The Jazz“on her latest release. The Doug Richards (b) Trio including Billy Alfred (p) and Mike Cervantes (d) supports her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Que Descaída

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Samuel Pompeo is a fine saxophonist especially on the baritone where he is melodic, warm and embraceable. For“Que Descaída“he leads a quintet with Dino Barioni (g), Fabio Leandro (p), Gibson Freitas (b) and Paulinho Vicente (d). Each of them gets a few moments in the spotlight where Barioni sparkles. There’s a hint of klezmer weaved into the fabric of a few selections but most of the music is swinging, jovial, modern jazz. The playful spirit of songs like “Apanhei-Te Cavaquinho” typifies the set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rise Of Orion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Drummer Rudy Royston leads a trio with bassist Yasushi Nakamura and Jon Irabagon (sax). Royston composed the bulk of the material and reaches deep to express hope and love amidst feelings of darkness and despair. Jon's style is free spirited and he takes many up-tempo tunes to the edge of free jazz while he expresses more controlled passion on the ballads especially "Make A Smile For Me". Royston reminds us he's the leader with nice work on "Man O To" and "Mintaka".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Let’s Groove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Saxophonist Cory Weeds transforms the classic R&B songs of Earth Wind & Fire to a swinging, hard blues, jazz set. Mike LeDonne’s (B3) presence gives the music a unique dimension. Dave Sikula (g) also does a fine job carrying the lead lines. The titles are familiar and the fresh approach gives them a rebirth that will appeal to jazz fans. Cory and his team state the original melodies and quickly move to jazzy improvisation that may lose some classic EWF lovers. But most of the arrangements result is a good listening experience, especially “Getaway”, “The Way Of The World” and “Kalimba”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Minutes to Midnight

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: This is contemporary flamenco style Jazz, it’s smooth jazz with Rollins’ pleasing, lighthearted yet spirited approach on guitar.“3 Minutes to Midnight“continues the jovial, festive music that Lawson has mastered. Randy Tico (b), Dave Bryant (perc) and Charlie Bisharat (violin) are long standing band members along with Dominic Camardella (keyboards), Stephen Darosa (drum programming) and Forrest Marquisee (pedal steel). Together, they make music that soothes the soul.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Perseverance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Rich Derosa is the director of composition and arranging at The University of North Texas.“Perseverance“is a collection of his work including a few arrangements of classics all performed by various UNT Lab bands. Derosa is a highly regarded composer in and outside of the University having done work for Wynton Marsalis, New York Pops, Portland Symphony Pops, Swedish Television and Radio Orchestra and many others. Things get a little spacey on “Fugue For Thought” but otherwise this is a vibrant compilation documented with excellent liner notes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Christmas in Velvet Volumes I & II

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Simply put, Derric Johnson’s Vocal Orchestra is pure bliss for those who appreciate a great choir! It is a vocal orchestra of great talent that performs 26 songs and snippets of Christmas classics. The performance is captured in its entire splendor including the acoustics of a cathedral. They don’t stray too far from the originals in their arrangements and present a program with a complete audio spectrum. This is Volumes I & II of Christmas In Velvet originally produced on vinyl and the on CD in 2002.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You And The Night And The Music

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: This is the debut recording for drummer Dave Pope in a trio with John Patitucci on bass and his brother, producer Mike Pope playing piano. There is excellent solo work on “I Love You” across the trio especially by Patitucci who comes alive again on “Once I Loved”. You And The Night And The Music is solid, 45+minutes of swinging jazz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You And The Night And The Music

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: This is the debut recording for drummer Dave Pope in a trio with John Patitucci on bass and his brother, producer Mike Pope playing piano. There is excellent solo work on “I Love You” across the trio especially by Patitucci who comes alive again on “Once I Loved”. You And The Night And The Music is solid, 45+minutes of swinging jazz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You And The Night And The Music

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: This is the debut recording for drummer Dave Pope in a trio with John Patitucci on bass and his brother, producer Mike Pope playing piano. There is excellent solo work on “I Love You” across the trio especially by Patitucci who comes alive again on “Once I Loved”. You And The Night And The Music is solid, 45+minutes of swinging jazz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You Can’t Lose With The Blues

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Pianist and composer Lafayette Harris, Jr. forms a trio with bassist Peter Washington and Lewis Nash on drums. We loved the sound of the trio on “I Love You, Yes I Do” and that feeling persists over the entire set, twelve songs including three originals. We enjoyed “Bloomdido”, a taste of ragtime on “Please Send Me Someone To Love” and “Blues For Barry Harris”. There are a variety of mixed-tempo songs all of which are good proving You Can’t Lose With The Blues!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You Can’t Lose With The Blues

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Pianist and composer Lafayette Harris, Jr. forms a trio with bassist Peter Washington and Lewis Nash on drums. We loved the sound of the trio on “I Love You, Yes I Do” and that feeling persists over the entire set, twelve songs including three originals. We enjoyed “Bloomdido”, a taste of ragtime on “Please Send Me Someone To Love” and “Blues For Barry Harris”. There are a variety of mixed-tempo songs all of which are good proving You Can’t Lose With The Blues!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Taladim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Hungarian jazz and bossa nova singer, songwriter Rozina Pátkai has a soft voice that resonates with her band: János Ávéd (sax, p), István Tóth Jr. (G), Ditta Rohmann (cello), András Dés (perc), and Márton Fenyvesi (synth bass). We enjoyed the bouncy bossa nova on “A Rã”, “Laughing Song” and “Sea Song”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Taladim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Hungarian jazz and bossa nova singer, songwriter Rozina Pátkai has a soft voice that resonates with her band: János Ávéd (sax, p), István Tóth Jr. (G), Ditta Rohmann (cello), András Dés (perc), and Márton Fenyvesi (synth bass). We enjoyed the bouncy bossa nova on “A Rã”, “Laughing Song” and “Sea Song”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Diva + The Boys

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: The Diva Jazz Orchestra is typically an all-female, large ensemble but Diva + The Boys includes special guests Ken Peplowski (cl), Claudio Roditi (t), Jay Ashby (tb) and producer Marty Ashby (g). They make good use of the boys with Peplowski shining on “The One I Love Belongs to Someone Else” and joining Diva Janelle Reichman (cl) for “Slipped Disc”. We enjoyed the warm sounds on “Noturna” featuring Jay Ashby and the bossa nova groove of “A Felicidade” featuring Roditi with Diva Roxy Cross (t-sax). As always with the DJO, there is an abundance of brass and reeds with a definitive rhythm section including Noriko Ueda (b), Tomoko Ohno (p) and leader Sherrie Maricle (d).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Diva + The Boys

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: The Diva Jazz Orchestra is typically an all-female, large ensemble but Diva + The Boys includes special guests Ken Peplowski (cl), Claudio Roditi (t), Jay Ashby (tb) and producer Marty Ashby (g). They make good use of the boys with Peplowski shining on “The One I Love Belongs to Someone Else” and joining Diva Janelle Reichman (cl) for “Slipped Disc”. We enjoyed the warm sounds on “Noturna” featuring Jay Ashby and the bossa nova groove of “A Felicidade” featuring Roditi with Diva Roxy Cross (t-sax). As always with the DJO, there is an abundance of brass and reeds with a definitive rhythm section including Noriko Ueda (b), Tomoko Ohno (p) and leader Sherrie Maricle (d).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tribute to Jimmy Smith

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: There’s no debating the legendary status of the late Jimmy Smith who made his B3 speak with authority. And there’s no better than Lucky Peterson to pay homage with this Tribute to Jimmy Smith. The lineup features Lucky on the organ with drummer Herlin Riley and Kalyn Crapp burning on guitar. Guest artists Nicolas Folmer adds trumpet on “Night Train”; Philippe Petrucciani plays guitar on “Blues For Wes” and Archie Shepp plays sax for “Jimmy Wants to Groove” and “Back At The Chicken Shack”. Lucky recreates the magic of Smith on a solid session that includes a couple of Smith originals and others that he made famous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Live and Alive

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: This is a live recording of Brazilian vocalist Mari Nobre captured at UCLA May 27, 2016. It was a therapeutic elixir of sorts that helped Nobre fight off a bout with cancer. She sings in front of a quintet that includes Justo Almario (sax, fl) and Daniel Szabo (p). They play both Brazilian bossa nova and a few American classics all loaded with passion to the satisfaction of their audience. Highlights are “Fascinating Rhythm”, “Linda” and “Chega de Saudade”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Little Steps

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Spanish native, tenor saxophonist, composer, producer and bandleader Berta Moreno started her career in Europe before moving to New York. She has performed as a sideman on many albums and is well regarded as a top jazz prospect.“Little Steps“is her debut recording as a leader. She surrounds herself with great talent including Steve Wilson (alto sax), Troy Roberts (tenor and soprano sax), Manuel Valera (p) and David Hardy (d). They perform eight original tunes, each with unique flavors. Valera stretches out on several selections notably “Lost and Found” and “Option A” balancing a definitive sax attack. We also enjoyed “Mind The Gap” and “J.G. Power”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No Reservation Required

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: “Anyplace Anytime” is a fine example of the warm flowing tunes on“No Reservation Required. We enjoyed most of the songs especially the instrumentals like “Passport” and “Preachin’ To The Choir”. The core band includes Billy Thornton on bass with drummer Emrah Koran. Guests Craig Shaw (b) and Terreon Gully (d) play on two selections notably “Four On The Floor”. Pianist Gary Motley plays throughout the set with a bubbly, vibrant style and his accompaniment is locked in stride to make this a winning session.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Northern Adventures

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Veteran jazz trumpeter Al Muirhead assembles a swinging band with some of Canada’s finest musicians including guitarist Reg Schwager and Mike Murley (tenor sax). We really enjoyed the passionate brass harmonies on “Emily” along with classics like “The Nearness Of You” with vocalist Laila Biali, and “Love Me Or Leave Me”.“Northern Adventures“is a warm set of freshly arranged classics from Muirhead, still a classic musician at 80 years old!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Baritone Madness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Baritone Madness is quintet featuring three Canadian baritone saxophonists: Keith O’Rourke, Pat Belliveau and Garth Bane. They are joined by bassist Kodi Hutchinson and Tyler Hornby on drums. They play mostly original tunes with fresh arrangements of a few classics. The sweet, harmonized melody on “I-Yor” is excellent and they expand their horizons with “Part NOLA”, swinging hard on “Turbulant Trane” and the calypso beats of “Remember the Aramo”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Baritone Madness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Baritone Madness is quintet featuring three Canadian baritone saxophonists: Keith O’Rourke, Pat Belliveau and Garth Bane. They are joined by bassist Kodi Hutchinson and Tyler Hornby on drums. They play mostly original tunes with fresh arrangements of a few classics. The sweet, harmonized melody on “I-Yor” is excellent and they expand their horizons with “Part NOLA”, swinging hard on “Turbulant Trane” and the calypso beats of “Remember the Aramo”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Su Mimmi Non Si Spara

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Italian cellist Francesco Guerri marries the worlds of classical and contemporary music with a fine solo effort, Su Mimmi Non Si Spara. The improvisation takes us into jazz space, as Guerri leaves nothing to the imagination while stretching out on his cello. He uses percussive slaps, elaborate bowing techniques, and a tasteful dose of electronics for this adventurous endeavor. We found it to be intriguing and enjoyed tunes like “Paper”, “Your Beginning” and the title track.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Su Mimmi Non Si Spara

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: Italian cellist Francesco Guerri marries the worlds of classical and contemporary music with a fine solo effort, Su Mimmi Non Si Spara. The improvisation takes us into jazz space, as Guerri leaves nothing to the imagination while stretching out on his cello. He uses percussive slaps, elaborate bowing techniques, and a tasteful dose of electronics for this adventurous endeavor. We found it to be intriguing and enjoyed tunes like “Paper”, “Your Beginning” and the title track.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pure Imagination

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Amber has a soft warm voice that she imparts to thirteen classic, jazzy, pop ballads. We really enjoyed the duet on “The Way He Makes Me Feel” with vocalist Mon David. Other highlights are “The Snake”, a unique arrangement of “Just Squeeze Me” and “It’s All Right With Me”. The musical accompaniment is excellent all the way through including Nick Mancini (vibes), Justo Almario (fl), Trevor Ware (b) and Munyungo Jackson (perc).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bardfly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Composer, arranger and vocalist John Allee is a self-proclaimed Bardfly, a bebop balladeer who is also a student of Shakespeare. Allee leads the way on thirteen compositions based on lyrics from Shakespeare’s plays. Mahesh Balasooriya (p), Aaron McLendon (d), Dominic Thiroux (b), Javier Vergara (t-sax) and Matt Von Roderick (t) form a supportive band that provides an excellent compliment. John displays rich vocals on “Sigh No More” and “Never Come Again”. “The Hungry Lion” is littered with poetic spoken word intermingled with crisp, jazzy phrases. We also dug the “Barfly Blues”, “The Wind and the Rain” and “Green Willow” making this a super, entertaining set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pure Imagination

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Amber has a soft warm voice that she imparts to thirteen classic, jazzy, pop ballads. We really enjoyed the duet on “The Way He Makes Me Feel” with vocalist Mon David. Other highlights are “The Snake”, a unique arrangement of “Just Squeeze Me” and “It’s All Right With Me”. The musical accompaniment is excellent all the way through including Nick Mancini (vibes), Justo Almario (fl), Trevor Ware (b) and Munyungo Jackson (perc).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bardfly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Composer, arranger and vocalist John Allee is a self-proclaimed Bardfly, a bebop balladeer who is also a student of Shakespeare. Allee leads the way on thirteen compositions based on lyrics from Shakespeare’s plays. Mahesh Balasooriya (p), Aaron McLendon (d), Dominic Thiroux (b), Javier Vergara (t-sax) and Matt Von Roderick (t) form a supportive band that provides an excellent compliment. John displays rich vocals on “Sigh No More” and “Never Come Again”. “The Hungry Lion” is littered with poetic spoken word intermingled with crisp, jazzy phrases. We also dug the “Barfly Blues”, “The Wind and the Rain” and “Green Willow” making this a super, entertaining set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pure Imagination

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: Amber has a soft warm voice that she imparts to thirteen classic, jazzy, pop ballads. We really enjoyed the duet on “The Way He Makes Me Feel” with vocalist Mon David. Other highlights are “The Snake”, a unique arrangement of “Just Squeeze Me” and “It’s All Right With Me”. The musical accompaniment is excellent all the way through including Nick Mancini (vibes), Justo Almario (fl), Trevor Ware (b) and Munyungo Jackson (perc).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Remembrance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Pianist Danny Grissett has shown up as a sideman with Jeremy Pelt, Rale Micic, Anne Mette Iversen, Tom Guarna and Tom Harrell. He’s made his presence known on all occasions. He takes the lead on“Remembrance“aligning himself with a strong cast including Dayna Stephens (sax), Vicente Archer (b) and Bill Stewart (d). They swing through nine selections including four Grissett originals. Dayna’s voice on sax is warm and easily embraced. The session starts out burning with “Woodyn’ You”; includes a spirited Monk cover and several warm ballads notably “Renatus”. Just sit back and take it in!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Swinging On A Star

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Pianist Tardo Hammer assembles a trio with bassist Lee Hudson and Steve Williams on drums. You may not be familiar with Tardo but he is a first call veteran sideman on the NYC jazz scene. His work as a leader has been sparse but well received.“Swinging On A Star“is a cool set of nine bubbly classics including the swinging “Numero Uno” and a taste of Brazil with “Samba Do Brilho“.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Songs We Like

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: George Hazelrigg plays piano and Geoff Hazelrigg plays bass with drummer John O’Reilly rounding out their trio. The Hazelrigg Brothers have outgrown the hard rock of their youth in favor of a more sophisticated sound. They fare well on the jazz front recasting tunes by Hendrix, Bartók, Page/Plant, Sting and Steely Dan in their own improvised style somewhere between Modern and Pop-based jazz. Our favorites are “Spirits In The Material World” and “What Is and What Should Never Be”. The music will resonate with baby boomers whose tastes have probably matured right along with the Hazelrigg’s!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Falando Docemente

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Gil presents warm classic jazz pieces performed with a lot of passion courtesy of his fine work on sax. He’s complemented by strings that help make Falando Docemente an extremely relaxing complement. The twelve songs include “Embraceable You”, “Nature Boy” and “My Romance”, all classics that Spitzer freshens up to make the moment meaningful! Brazilian bassist and producer Nelson Matto was impressed by the 75-year old Spitzer and encouraged him to make this recording, his debut proving that it’s never too late for great music to surface.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Familia Tribute to Bebo + Chico

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: Familia pairs two established Cuban pianists, Arturo O’Farrill and Chucho Valdes in a“Tribute to Bebo and Chico. Chico O’Farrill and Bebo Valdes are their late fathers, both pioneers of Latin jazz. The first disc features Arturo and Chucho and The Afro Lain Jazz Orchestra performing six family originals notably “Three Revolutions“ and “Team de Bebo”. Disc two introduces us to the third generation powering their own ensemble along with a few of their own originals. Jessie Valdes (d), Leyanis Valdes (p), Adam O’Farrill (t) and Zack O’Farrill (d) make their presence known. The soothing groove of “Recuerdo”, the jovial spirit of “Con Poco Coco” and the up-tempo piano duet “Para Chico” make this a thrilling session and prove that the blood line is still rich with vibrant jazz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Rebel Portraiture

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        O's Notes: Rebel Portraiture“is a collection of songs of courage. Each selection is dedicated to someone who lost his or her life for a personal cause or conviction. This musical illustration keeps the memories alive. The honorees include Giles Corey (Salem Witch Trials), Jeffrey Miller (Vietnam War), Berta Cáceres (Honduran Environmentalist) and Nicole Nogwaza (LGBTQ+ Activist). The music has dark tones that represent sorrow but a lurking powerful foundation that stands for the cause. The accompanying liner notes amplify the sentiment completing a memorable package.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wishes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          O's Notes: Sasha’s deep tones work well on lyrics and her scatting/vocalizations. She plays with her voice fitting it in to the musical landscape of her band. That team is drummer Julian Addison, James Westfall on keyboards, bassist Jasen Weaver and Nick Solnick on percussion. Guest artist Steve Masakowski plays guitar on two selections notably “Tacea La Notte Placida”. We enjoyed “St. James Infirmary”, “Congo de Ossanha”, “E Preciso Perdoar” and “Pieces of You”. This recording is pretty good but our experience at Sasha’s live performance in Charlotte earlier this year was excellent! Don’t miss the opportunity to catch her live.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Old Devil Moon (single)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            O's Notes: We take a step back to the golden age of Sinatra and a swinging large ensemble on“Old Devil Moon, a standout single from crooner Andrew Heller’s last release,“Sinatra All The“Way“(4/3). The support comes form The Nelson Riddle Orchestra and Andrew is on his game!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Manhattan Sunset

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              O's Notes: Japanese pianist Kayo Hiraki has been basking in the NYC Jazz scene since the 1990’s and has six CDs to her credit.“Manhattan Sunset“is her latest ambition with mostly original music an including a few covers. The core band is a trio with Patrick O’Leary (b) and Eric Halvorson (d) with a few guest artists enhancing the set. Kayo adds vocals on “Manhattan Sunset” & “My Melancholy. Baby”. Giuseppe Milici sweetens “June In Paris” and “Cafe Gitane” with harmonica melodies and guitarist Russell Malone takes the lead on “Komorebi”. We also enjoyed the free flowing groove of “Gorilla In Safari Hotel”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Happy Song

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                O's Notes: Clarinetist Anat Cohen assembles a tentet for“Happy Song“her latest release. James Shipp (vibes, perc), Sheryl Bailey (g) and Victor Gonalves (p, accordion) are among the talented team led by musical director Oled Lev-Ari. They open with the title track and it is true to form contrasted with the more melancholic “Valsa Para Alice” that folllows it. Both are Cohen originals. This pattern is repeated through the set but one thing is constant. It swings! “Oh Baby” is a prime example.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Bug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O's Notes: The Bug“is mostly a modern jazz session featuring the compositions of producer Miles Donahue who plays alto sax, flugelhorn and trumpet on this outing. The title track is a little bit more contemporary with a really cool swag to it courtesy of drummer Larry Finn and guitarist Mike Stern. They bring that same jazz-fusion groove to "Hawthorne Highway" and "Swamp House". Ralph Peterson handles drumming duty of all other selections along with pianist Tim Ray and bassist Tamil Shmerling. Guest Jerry Bergonzi adds tenor and soprano sax on four selections notably on "Clifford" paralleling Donahue's strong work on flugelhorn. Miles illustrates his depth as a musician, collaborator and composer on this set. There's a lot here!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What Now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    O's Notes: Pianist Dick Fregulia assembles a fine trio with bassist Steve Webber and Bill Moody on drums.“What Now?“is a series of live recordings from JB Piano Store in San Rafael, California? Dick is tickling the ivory on “All Blues/Blues In Green” with vibraphonist Piro Patton right behind him. No matter how many times we hear these classics, they sound great. We also enjoyed the mild samba on “Black Eyes”. There’s a lot of spirited piano playing for this upbeat jovial set!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jazztopian Dream

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      February 18th, 2020 | Comments Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      O's Notes: You may not be familiar with jazz trombonist Bob Ferrel but I’m sure you’ve heard him! Bob has played with The Duke Ellington Orchestra for forty years and toured Europe for 20 years with The Spirit of Life Ensemble before surfacing as a leader on“Jazztopian Dream. This is a swinging set of Classic bebop tunes featuring Farrel’s sweet trombone tones with lots of brassy arrangements. Dwight West steps up to the mic with vocals on four selections notably “Yardbird Suite”, “Don’t Go To Strangers” and “You’ve Got To Have Freedom”. We also enjoyed “Alter Ego”, “Inner Glimpse” and “We Began With A Kiss”.