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”.
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”.
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.
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!
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.
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”.