Saturday, September 23, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Seven

Yaniv Taubenhouse Trio
Here From There



By Edward Blanco 
Young New York-based and Israeli-born pianist Yaniv Taubenhouse, who pursued an advanced musical education at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music after having previously studied under acclaimed Israeli and European instructors, is essentially a classically-trained pianist. Since moving to Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2010 to study at the University of Arkansas, jazz has been his professional pursuit and the classic piano trio, his preferred format. The Yaniv Taubenhouse Trio delivers their debut album with an audacious date on Here from There, perhaps a personal reference from the jazz pianist in describing his musical journey from Israel to the U.S. culminating in this first solo album as leader.
Though now performing throughout New York since moving there in 2013, this debut was recorded in Fayetteville with bassist Garrett Jones and drummer Darren Novotny—two Arkansas natives the pianist met during his stay there—with whom he collaborated with and led to the formation of this new trio and recording. Except for two standards, the eleven-track project provides all-new material from Taubenhouse beginning with the brief "Prelude of the Ozarks," a solo piano offering from the leader displaying his excellent classical skills as he introduces his new music.
The hard-driving contemporary-sounding "Coming Back" offers the first glimpse of the pianist's compositional talents on a nine-minute musical statements that essentially states "I'm not coming back, I've just arrived." Well the new kid on the block has indeed arrived and the beautiful title track demonstrates the leader's warm side with soft touches on the keys accompanied well by Novotny's brushes and Jones's laid back upright bass lines. "Joey Boy" however, is another story, as it contains a bluesy-tinged melody with nice bass and drum solos giving this piece, a night club groove to it.
The Walter Gross piece "Tenderly" and Sammy Cahn's classic "Time After Time," are the two jazz standards reimagined here by Taubenhouse, who pens cleaver new arrangements making these time-honored songs sound almost new. The fresh new sound keeps coming on the superb "Uncle Robert," the swinging slightly Latin-tinged "Train to a Green Mountain," and the dark-toned finale, "Hope."
Not very well know yet, but jazz pianist Yaniv Taubenhouse is definitely poised to be one of the new young lions of jazz to watch out for and his impressive Here from There debut, is a serious musical statement sure to shine some light on the young pianist who's current musical obscurity is certain to be brief. A technician on the keys and a talented writer, Taubenhouse provides an enjoyable session of music where jazz and classical merge to forge one of the finest trio performances found on today's jazz landscape.
Track Listing: 
Prelude of the Ozarks; Coming Back; Here from There; Joey Boy; Sunrise Fantasy; Time and Place; Tenderly; Uncle Robert; Train to a Green Mountain; Time After Time; Hope.
Personnel: 
Yaniv Taubenhouse: piano; Garrett Jones: bass; Darren Novotny: drums.


Trichotomy
Known-Unkhown



By Bruce Lindsay 

It's been a while, four years to be precise, but Australian piano trio Trichotomy is back. Known-Unknown appears after a break during which the band's members have been busy with numerous other projects and sees the first appearance of a new bassist, but it takes just a few bars of "Five" to reassure fans that this cohesive, exciting trio is back and on track.
Pianist Sean Foran and drummer John Parker are joined by bassist Samuel Vincent and all three musicians contribute compositions—Foran getting the lion's share of writing credits with six tunes. On the band's previous release, Fact Finding Mission (Naim Label, 2013), the trio was augmented by various guest musicians. Known-Unknown eschews this approach, returning to the core trio with no additional players.
All three band members are credited with electronics, used live to alter the acoustic instruments and hence to expand the tonal variation in the music. Such alteration is subtly done, on the hypnotic "Reverie Of Lack" for example.
Foran's "Five" opens proceedings in a fairly straight-ahead style, the trio establishing a muscularity in its playing before calming things down somewhat. It's a fine example of the band's sense of dynamics and drama. "Cells," by Parker, has more of a narrative feel: a melancholy story courtesy of melodic opening and closing passages that bookend some group improvisation. "Past Tense" is Vincent's first composition for the trio and features his mournful arco bass. On this evidence, the new member will further strengthen the band's writing abilities.
Trichotomy's powerful, muscular, playing style is again in evidence on "Asset Or Liability"—especially Parker's drums and percussion. "It's Strange Coming Back" is another Parker number, its title perhaps a nod to the band's extended absence. It's another showcase for the quieter and more reflective side of things and the album's prettiest tune. The repetitive "Semi-Quasars" hangs around a little too long but with "Hemmingways" Known-Unknown closes on a fluid and upbeat tone.
Track Listing: 
Five; Cells; Junk; Imaginary Limits; Past Tense; Asset Or Liability; It’s Strange Coming Back; Reverie Of Lack; Semi-Quasars; Hemmingways.
Personnel: 
Sean Foran: piano, electronics; Samuel Vincent: double bass, electronics; John Parker: drums, percussion, electronics.


Yaniv Taubenhouse
Moments In Trio-Voluma One



By Raul Da Gama
"The range of atmospheres and emotions in the poetry of Yaniv Taubenhouse’s music is astounding. Rarely and only once or twice in a lifetime do you get to hear a musician and a pianist who is as sensitive as Taubenhouse to the voice of the heart, the breadth of human emotion and its relationship with the whisper of nature, and its roar as well. Not surprisingly therefore Moments In Trio captures and coddles the whimsical and the tortured, the sensual and the affectionate in these vignettes, these delicate songs that appear on this programme. What invigorating motion, what exultation and what utter delicacy and earthiness in each and every song. This is not simply a talent worthy of recognition, this is one that every pianist – every aspiring musician – must listen to and even learn from.
Yaniv Taubenhouse has truly mastered his instrument to the extent that it, as Charlie Parker once said, has become an extension of his body. Thus it seems to be controlled by neurological energy and impulses rather than voluntary movements. This has a magical effect, for example, on his use of pedalling, the myriad of ways in which he applies pressure on the keys and the energy transferred from his body to the piano. His music stands out for its intelligently parsed dynamics and long singing lines. Each repeated note in ‘Sunshine in Pain’ and ‘Prelude of the Ozarks’ has a different colour, while chromatic such as ‘All the Figs’ and ‘Migrations’ radiate inner strength and ravishing nuance. Yaniv Taubenhouse also employs subtle tempo fluctuations and strategic accents that help give shape and dimension to the music’s harmonic richness.
The pleasures of the music of Moments in Trio can be attributed as much to Taubenhouse’s playing of his colourful arrangements as it can be to the virtuosity and excellence of bassist Rick Rosato, whose beautiful, dark tone and sinuous harmonies provide an exquisite backdrop to the sound and silence of the music. And we cannot ignore the masterful drumming and percussion colouring of Jerad Lippi. Both the accompanists acquit themselves with poise. There are wonderful mixes of sound between Taubenhouse, Rosato and Lippi, a crack ensemble who play with feeling, depth and sonority and the rhythmic dalliance that this music demands. The warm and realistically defined engineering by Robert L. Smith does full justice to Yaniv Taubenhouse’s now-seasoned mastery."
Track Listing: 
After the Storm; All the Figs; With You; Sunshine in Pain; Conversation; Migrations; Prelude of the Ozarks; Unknown; Imaginary Darkness; How About You.
Personnel: 
Yaniv Taubenhouse: piano; Jerad Lippi: drums; Rick Rosato: bass.


Jasper Somsen Trio
A New Episode In Life Pt.1



By Challenge
Dutch double bassist & composer Jasper Somsen (1973) studied Jazz and Classical double bass at the conservatories of Utrecht and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. During his career Jasper has performed with some of the very best musicians at the (inter)national jazz scene, a.o.: Enrico Pieranunzi, Joey Calderazzo, Jeff Ballard, John Beasley, Jean-Michel Pilc, Bob Sheppard, Justin Faulkner, André Ceccarelli, Gabriele Mirabassi, Bert Joris, Bert van den Brink, Ramón Valle, Toon Roos, Karel Boehlee, John Engels, Yuri Honing and Eric Vloeimans.
THE TRIO
It’s no coincidence Jasper Somsen’s third album as a leader features an internationalpiano trio line up. Recently performing and/or recording with a.o. Enrico Pieranunzi, Joey Calderazzo, Jeff Ballard, Justin Faulkner & André Ceccarelli, he is much sought after by (in particular) pianists. The former New York, now Montreal based French master pianist & composer Jean-Michel Pilc and one of Jasper's all time favorite French drummers André Ceccarelli joined him. The music is an intriguing and exciting exploration in the hearts and minds of these three wonderful musicians.
TWO ALBUMS
On July 11 and 12, 2016 the Jasper Somsen Trio went into the MotorMusic Studios, Mechelen (Belgium). Their entire album was recorded in less than one recording day. The same night Challenge Records decided to have the trio record their second album on day two. And just so happened. The first album is an all new original compositions album by Jasper Somsen. The second album contains a mix of free improvisations and some freely approached standards and was recorded in less than 6 hours. Most of the tracks of the second album were recorded in just one or two takes.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Six

The Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra
Garden Of Delights




By Michael J. West
Israels doesn’t go for rhythmic gymnastics. One of Garden‘s 10 tunes is in 6/8, the others swinging away in 4/4. He likes a touch of harmonic complexity: Songs like the woozy “Speed Bumps” and sly “Warming Trend” put ever-so-slight warpage on the chords, especially in Dan Gaynor’s piano intros. (In the case of “Warming Trend,” that off-kilter harmony makes a surprise of the song’s ultimate traditionalism; it’s based on “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise”). He meshes the orchestral voices with sympathetic beauty. The warm wash of reed and trombone backgrounds on “Natural Beauty” is undeniable, as are the leads-turned-obbligati that John Moak’s trombone, David Evans’ clarinet and Robert Crowell’s bass clarinet share on “Chaconne a Son Gout.”
But the melodies have priority, and there Israels shines brightest. It’s impossible not to smile at trumpeter Charlie Porter’s line on the opening “The Skipping Tune.” Better still is the relaxed do-re-mi-fa of “Chaconne a Son Gout,” and the tender Porter-led waltz “Natural Beauty” is best of all. Other tunes are launch pads for improvisation, and that works too. The title track makes a neat trick of the solos, having Porter, Moak and vocalist Jessica Israels sing blues licks for the first eight bars, then zip into bebop lines for what would seem to be the blues’ resolution.
The flaw in Garden‘s design is that Israels sometimes introduces secondary ensemble melodies into his charts-“The Skipping Tune,” “Garden of Delights”-that are not only extraneous, but detract from the solid main melodies. Perhaps Israels doesn’t know how good he is.


Alan Broadbent
Developing Story




By Edward Blanco
During the late '70s, now multi-Grammy Award-winning pianist Alan Broadbent, birthed the idea of merging the music of a jazz trio with a full orchestra and strings ..."in a complete phrase for woodwind soli, counterpoint..." in telling a musical story that is still unfolding today. This ongoing musical journey begins with Developing Story as Broadbent and his world-class trio of drummer Peter Erskine and bassist Harvie S, collaborates with the multimedia Hollywood industry London Metropolitan Orchestra (LMO) in presenting one of the most stunningly-gorgeous symphonically-styled jazz musical statements ever recorded.
Performing and conducting for orchestras is not a new thing for the pianist, evidenced by his many recordings in a large ensemble setting, and is currently the orchestra conductor for Diana Krall when in concert on occasion and, when not teaching at NYU. Peter Erskine is a multi-Grammy Award winner himself who has also performed with giants during his, over 600 appearances on albums and film scores throughout his career. Then there is legendary bassist Harvie S, former Jazz ambassador for the U.S. and long-time educator with the Manhattan School of Music, together, this piano trio is unmatched and though playing splendidly throughout the album, they sometimes seem overlooked, musically smothered by the awesome powerful play of the LMO and their strings.
The center-piece of the album is the title song suite performed in series of three separate movements beginning with "Movement 1," which has the orchestra starting off strong then withdrawing as Broadbent engages playing solo piano followed by brief interlude by the trio and settling into gentle musical expressions by the orchestra. "Movement 2" is a delightful slow waltz dedicated to the pianist's wife leading to "Movement 3" featuring an Erskine drum solo among solid horn section phrasings before subsiding and submitting to the pianists humbling chords.
The four jazz ballads for trio and orchestra include Tadd Dameron's classic "If You Could See Me Now," John Coltrane's well-travelled "Naima," the Miles Davis immortal "Blue in Green," and Broadbent's own "Lady in the Lake." Of standards, the pianist writes ..."have always been a gateway to expressing some feeling of the moment," and through his unique arrangements here, succeeds in conveying a musical message, a feeling that words cannot describe but an orchestra and warm keys, do so well.
The story continues and completes with a distinctly different arrangement of another Davis standard "Milestones," and the finale and last original "Children of Lima," penned for the great Woody Herman in the early 70s and around the time of a major earthquake in Peru, thus the dedication to the Children. The arrangement is the same as originally composed with changes for the orchestration. A continuing musical tale, Developing Storyis a superb production and may be Alan Broadbent's finest musical moments, a treasure of symphonic jazz and a definite for anyone's personal collection of favorites, well done!
Track Listing: 
Movement 1; Movement 2; Movement 3; If You Could See Me Now; Naima; Blue in Green; Lady in the Lake; Milestones; Children of Lima.
Personnel: 
Alan Broadbent: piano; Peter Erskine: drums; Harvie S: bass; London Metropolitan Orchestra: Andy Brown: Musical Director; David Juritz: violin/leader; Ralph De Souza: violin; Garfield Jackson: cello; Caroline Dale: cello; Chris Laurence: double bass; Anna Noakes: flute; John Anderson: oboe; Anthony Pike: clarinet; Alan Andrews: bass clarinet; Gavin McNaughton: bassoon; Martin Owen: horn; John Barclay: trumpet; Chris Dean: tenor trombone; Owen Slade: tuba; Christine Pendrill: English Horn; Gill Tingay: harp; Gary Kettel: percussion; Tristin Fry: timps.


E.S.T. SYMPHONY



By Karl Ackermann
One of the most widely popular piano trios in modern memory, e.s.t. combined jazz, classical, rock, and extended techniques in an organic and original way that hasn't been heard before. Since the tragic, accidental death of the visionary pianist/composer Esbjorn Svensson in 2008, there have been a handful of piano trios that provided a glimmer of hope that the "next e.s.t." was near at hand. Releases such as The Tingvall Trio Skagerrak (Skip Records/Soulfood), Sebastian Liedke Trio To Walk in the Past (Gema, 2010) and the PLS.trio East River(Echo Chamber, 2015) come to mind but it has always been an arbitrary and capricious comparison despite the high quality of those groups. Svensson's trio has always been best appreciated on its own terms, or at least on some relevant extension of their work as here with E.S.T. Symphony.There are a number of elements that are key to the overwhelming success of this album. The presence of e.s.t. bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Ostrom can't be understated. Scandinavian conductor and arranger Hans Ek has an inimitable, yet respectful approach to his reinvention of e.s.t. favorites; it breathes new life into each while maintaining their original essence. More importantly he manages the collaboration between the ninety-piece Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and a mere sextet in a manner that diminishes neither and steers clear of orchestrated jazz clichés. Lastly, the remarkable Finnish pianist Iiro Rantala and Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset add familiarity and freshness, respectively.
The album opens with the homage "e.s.t. Prelude," the most overtly orchestrated piece in the collection and then quickly moves on to "From Gagarin's Point of View," which like "Serenade for the Renegade" fall somewhere between third stream and classical/jazz fusion. "Seven Days of Falling" is a strikingly beautiful arrangement while "Dodge the Dodo" retains the substantial rock rhythm of the original. Extended compilations provide creative variations to originals from the namesakes of "Wonderland Suite" and "Viaticum Suite." The driving grandeur of one of the most popular e.s.t. pieces, "Behind the Yashmak" closes the album as a fittingly expressive tribute.
There is, perhaps, a bit of the rawness in the original e.s.t. recordings that is smoothed over with the number and types of instruments involved here, but that is a minor nitpick. E.S.T. Symphony reminds fans of the endless potential that the trio had. e.s.t. became edgier as it moved through its final ACT releases Viaticum (2005), Tuesday Wonderland(2006) and especially Leucocyte (2008). 301 (2012) added to their story as these unreleased numbers—originally from the Leucocyte sessions—were clearly head and shoulders above the quality that one might expect in a posthumous release. E.S.T. Symphony wisely avoids any attempt to entirely reproduce the e.s.t. sound while adding a welcome collection to the legend of the group.
Track Listing: 
e.s.t. Prelude; From Gagarin’s Point of View; When God Created the Coffeebreak; Seven Days of Falling; Wonderland Suite; Serenade for the Renegade; Dodge the Dodo; Eighthundred Streets by Feet; Viaticum Suite; Behind the Yashmak.
Personnel:
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra; Hans Ek: conductor/arranger; Marius Neset: saxophone; Verneri Pohjola: trumpet; Johan Lindström: pedal steel; Iiro Rantala: piano; Dan Berglund: bass; Magnus Öström: drums.


Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim




By Nate Chinen
Frank Sinatra was well into his Rat Pack era, the reigning American embodiment of masculine suavity and aplomb, when he teamed up with a maestro of Brazilian music to make one of the most exquisitely tender albums of his career. That album, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, has lost none of its luster since it was first released 50 years ago. In fact, a newly remastered anniversary edition extracts additional depth from Claus Ogerman's orchestrations, which frame Sinatra's voice like a Rolex on a velvet cushion.
Jobim, a pianist and guitarist as well as a composer, was the beating heart at the center of a worldwide bossa nova craze, following the success of Getz/Gilberto. A joint effort of the American tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and the Brazilian guitarist and singer João Gilberto, that album also served as a showcase for Jobim's songs, including "The Girl From Ipanema," a runaway smash.The album, recorded in Hollywood in the winter of 1967, captures both Sinatra and Jobim at an apex, flush with creative and popular success. Sinatra was coming off a knockout run of albums on his Reprise label — including Sinatra at the Sands, recorded with the Count Basie Orchestra; That's Life, a Top 10; and Strangers in the Night, whose title track became an unstoppable hit.
The 50th anniversary edition of Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim has just been released in various formats, including two vinyl packages. And along with the music from the original album, it includes two previously unreleased tracks: A live medley from a television special, and part of a session reel for "The Girl From Ipanema," which Sinatra and Jobim sing as a duet.
"Don't let it run away, fellas, with the tempo," Sinatra cautions at the top of the first take. "Just hold it down, let it settle down. Because it's got a lot of — it's got a gang of words." After the take is finished, he calls for another one, "right away." His decisive brusqueness strikes a jarring contrast to the singing, which is as delectably airy as a soufflé.
The commercial relevancy of bossa nova is one way to explain Sinatra's keen interest in Jobim: He was aware of his tenuous position within a cultural moment increasingly defined by The Beatles. But his treatment of this music belies any charge of opportunism. While bossa nova presented a new angle for him as a singer — "I haven't sung so soft since I had the laryngitis," he quipped during the sessions — he clearly regarded the style as something more than a novelty.
"No other American pop star would so thoroughly immerse himself in the world of bossa," writes Will Friedwald in his fine critical biography Sinatra! The Song is You: A Singer's Art. "He not only recorded two whole albums' worth of the stuff but sacrificed his signature stylistics in order to more smoothly fit into the new vernacular."
Consider the sensitivity of Sinatra's phrasing on "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars," a version of Jobim's "Corcovado" with English lyrics by the critic Gene Lees.
The balance of voice and orchestration is so impeccably calibrated that it has effectively been canonized: When Diana Krall made her own bossa nova album in 2009, she named it Quiet Nights, enlisting Ogerman as arranger (who won a Grammy for his efforts).
In its original iteration, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim broke into the Top 20 and spent 28 consecutive weeks on the Billboard album chart. According to Michael Bourne, the host of Singers Unlimited on WBGO, it marked another layer of validation for bossa nova in the American pop mainstream. "Even after the album Getz/Gilberto won a Grammy as album of the year," said Bourne, "the Sinatra/Jobim album was a musical apotheosis, a blessing of Jobim's songs from America's musical Pope."
There was, however, one distinction that eluded the album. Sinatra had won album of the year at the previous two Grammy Awards — for September of My Years (1965) and A Man and His Music (1966) — but he wasn't destined for a threepeat. While Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim was nominated, and perhaps even the frontrunner, the top honor went to another album that has stood the test of time: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

John Abercrombie 1944 - 2017



By Sam Sodomsky Associate Staff
Jazz Guitarist John Abercrombie Dead at 72!
The innovative composer and bandleader worked with Gil Evans, Jack DeJohnette, and more.
John Abercrombie, the influential jazz guitarist, has died. The cause of death was heart failure, according to Ottawa Citizen. He was 72. Abercrombie’s innovative approach to guitar touched on multiple genres, including rock, folk, and avant-garde music. After attending Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Abercrombie moved to New York in the late ’60s, where he gained prominence as a session musician for Gil Evans, Gato Barbieri, Barry Miles, and more. In 1975, he released his debut album as a bandleader, Timeless, which was recorded with drummer Jack DeJohnette and keyboardist Jan Hammer. The record began Abercrombie’s career-long relationship with ECM Records. His final LP, Up and Coming, was released through the label earlier this year.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Five

Alberto Luccas
Horizontes Farpados





By Tratore
Integrante de dois clássicos trios, Nelson Ayres Trio e Nenê Trio, o renomado contrabaixista Alberto Luccas lança seu 2º album “Horizontes Farpados”, onde explora a formação contrabaixo, sax e bateria. Com composições próprias, Alberto divide a execução com Vitor Alcântara e Rodrigo Digão Braz, formação elogiada pelo grande contrabaixista Sizão Machado em texto presente na obra.


Sari Kessler
Do Right













By Dan Bilawsky 
In just under five minutes—the running time for producer/percussionist James Shipp's album-opening arrangement of "Walk On By"—Sari Kessler successfully makes the case that jazz singing is her real métier. That particular truth may not have materialized until recent times, as Kessler walked away from a career as a clinical psychologist to pursue a life in music only a short while ago, but it's as clear as day now. And with no less an authority on the art of vocal jazz than the great Kate McGarry singing her praises and co-producing this album, it's obvious that those on the inside agree.
Do Right does right in so many ways. For starters there's the playlist, containing a classics-dominated assortment of shrewdly arranged numbers that perfectly balance intelligence and modesty. Then there are the musicians to admire. Kessler works with a crew of top-notch players here—veteran saxophonist Houston Person, rising star trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis, ace piano accompanist John di Martino, and sophisticated drummer Willard Dyson among them—and they all manage to complement her. By keeping such heavy company Kessler risks being overshadowed, but that risk never becomes reality. Instead, she simply thrives, carrying the program without issue. Whether due to her background in psychology, her work ethic, her God-given talents and intuition, or a combination of all of it, she proves to be a first-rate interpreter and dissector of songs. Her previous career likely contributes to her ability to tap into the marrow of a lyric and bring its essence into the foreground, her intonation is spot-on and her diction is something that other newcomers should take note of, and her phrasing is oh-so-natural and flexible. In short, she's the real deal.
While the large majority of this material will be familiar to listeners, these aren't the same old, same old versions. The aforementioned "Walk On By," for example, exists in a much different space than Dionne Warwick's take, built on an attractively laid-back framework and colored with vibrant cobalt commentary from Noordhuis' muted trumpet. Then there's Randy Porter's arrangement of "Sunny," which may just be the best version of the song to emerge in years. It's incredibly impressive without being showy, what with the sly metric twists, clever riffs, hip feel, and post-solo modulation there to lure the ears in. Other highlights include a haunting and hazy take on Duke Ellington's infrequently performed "The Gal From Joe's," a swinging "Why Don't You Do Right" that pairs Kessler's controlled sass with the bluesy tenor work of Person, a semi-swampy taste of "The Frim Fram Sauce" that becomes more flavorful as it plays on, and an all-too-brief goodbye in the form of an intimate "Moonglow." But to be fair and truthful, it should be noted that every performance on this album could really be classified as a highlight. There's not a weak track in the bunch on Do Right.
Track Listing: 
Walk On By; After You've Gone; Why Don't You Do Right; The Gal From Joe's; Sunny; It's A Wonderful World; I Thought About You; The Frim Fram Sauce; Feeling Good; My Empty Bed Blues; Too Close For Comfort; Moonglow.
Personnel: 
Sari Kessler: vocals; John di Martino: piano; Ron Affif: guitar; Steve Whipple: bass; Willard Dyson: drums; James Shipp: percussion (1, 5, 7, 9); Houston Person: tenor saxophone (2, 3, 10); Nadje Noordhuis: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 5, 7).


Vitor Gonçalves Quartet



By BirdIsTheWorm
The debut from pianist Vitor Gonçalves keeps to a nice chatter. It’s talkative music. There is a strong sense of dialog directed from musician to listener, and the tone is frequently one of a sunny disposition. But the arresting quality of Vitor Gonçalves Quartet is how the pianist plants little pockets of introspection throughout the upbeat tunes. It’s not so apparent on opening track “Sem Nome,” which is plenty contemplative, but there are moments on tracks like “Cortelyou Road” and “Samba Do Perdão” that enter a quieter state in between passages when the quartet lights a fire under things. Those shifts in tone, though subtle, change the atmosphere dramatically, and it’s what gives enjoyable tunes a touch of intrigue.
A Brazilian expat now living in NYC, Gonçalves brings some influences from both home turfs, old and new. Renditions of “Samba Do Perdão” and “Se É Por Falta De Adeus” fall nicely into line with modern straight-ahead originals like “Winter Landscapes” and “De Cazadero Ao Recife,” and all of it radiates the charm and warmth of an enjoyable jazz piano session.
You really can’t go wrong with this one.
Personnel:
Vitor Gonçalves (piano), Todd Neufeld (guitar), Thomas Morgan (bass) and Dan Weiss (drums).


Sara Gazarek & Josh Nelson
Dream In The Blue



By Dan Bilawsky 
The success of a story often hinges on the art of the telling. Listen to vocalist Sara Gazarek with pianist Josh Nelson and you immediately see that to be true. These two use ripples of inflection to elicit tidal waves of emotion, uncover new wrinkles in the oldest of thematic fabrics, paint scenes and/or inhabit characters so deeply and convincingly that they blur or erase the lines separating true self from role, and willingly reveal all that this world has to offer—blessings, drama, and slings and arrows included. On Dream In The Blue, Gazarek and Nelson alternately elicit tears of joy and sorrow by moving from escape to reality, heaven to earth, and mirth to melancholy, reaffirming their collective position as one of the most arresting voice-and-piano pairings out there in the process.
While their musical relationship is at the heart of all four of Gazarek's previous albums, it's never been highlighted to this degree before. Through duo work these two have discovered an even deeper bond than those formed over their many years of collaboration; it's a bond built on the mutual acceptance of art as a reflection of life.
There's certainly more darkness and woe here than usual for Gazarek and Nelson, but there's no lack of light. The triptych that introduces the album makes that clear. First up is their signature marriage of "Blackbird" and "Bye Bye Blackbird," a beautiful medley filled with hopefulness and reflection. A perky performance of "O Pato" follows. Gazarek moves effortlessly from Portuguese to English, shades of "Take The 'A' Train" materialize in the harmonic framework of the song, and effervescence rules the day. Then optimism continues to shine through with a version of "On The Sunny Side Of The Street" that finds Gazarek matching moves with Nelson on some daring, wordless, well-choreographed maneuvers.
Everything is looking up at this point in the album, but then the realization that nobody rides life's highs forever is swiftly set upon the listener. With "All Again," a radio-worthy Nelson original, a balance point is achieved between darkness and hope; a poignant and nuanced performance of the Bonnie Raitt-associated "I Can't Make You Love Me" tears the heart apart; and a highly personalized rendition of "Mood Indigo," harmonically tweaked and rooted to sixteenth notes, brings out the dark blue meaning in the title better than most.
The second half of the album is no less intriguing in its emotional and musical blend. The seductive "No Moon At All" swings and sings just as it should, demonstrating a straightforward approach that still offers a few surprises. An amalgamation of musical lightness and subject heaviness appears with "Petit Papillon," a Gazarek-Nelson work that uses the plight of a captured and damaged butterfly as an analogue for a woman snared in love, wounded by its daggers, and left in the dust. Then there's "I Don't Love You Anymore," a collaboration between these two and songwriter Cliff Goldmacher that's built around an emotional wallop of a post-breakup encounter. It comes softly but hits hard. This is the point where heartbreak is piled upon heartbreak.
The album then moves toward its conclusion with Laura Mvula's hymn-like "Father Father," Nelson's "Behind Me" (with new lyrics from Gazarek), and a medley of Nick Drake's "Cello Song" and "Without A Song." That last entry, bridging two distinctly different forms of popular music from different eras, conceptually complements the album's opening number and brings things to an ideal conclusion.
Convincingly selling this wide variety of material in such an intimate setting is no easy feat, but Sara Gazarek and Josh Nelson are uncommonly gifted communicators who have no problem getting these stories across in just the right way(s). Dream In The Blue is a testament to the strength of their relationship. It's an album that's likely to endure in hearts and minds.
Track Listing: 
Blackbird/Bye Bye Blackbird; O Pato; Sunny Side Of The Street; All Again; I Can't Make You Love Me; Mood Indigo; No Moon At All; Petit Papillon; I Don't Love You Anymore; Father Father; Behind Me; Cello Song/Without A Song.
Personnel: 
Sara Gazarek: vocals; Josh Nelson: piano.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Four

Barbara Carroll
Sentimental Mood



By Oldnslowon 
Barbara Carroll remains at the top of her game at age 80. This wonderful program of standards shows her at her swinging best. If her voice has lost a little of its bloom (she sings, or rather speaks, on a couple of numbers) her fingers certainly have not. Very few jazz pianists get a truly individual sound from the piano, but Carroll's full , two handed style is unique, and has been for decades. Her octave runs are instantly recognizable. An excellent rhythm section and the usual fine sound from Venus make this a winner. Barbara Carroll is an American treasure.
Tracks:
1. Lady Be Good; 2. Autumn in New York; 3. You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to
4. Here's That Rainy Day; 5. Fly Me to the Moon; 6. Last Night When We Were Young
7. On a Clear Day; 8. My Funny Valentine; 9. In a Sentimental Mood
10. Yesterdays; 11. I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plans; 12. As Long As I Live


Renee Rosnes
Written In The Rocks




By C. Andrew Hovan 
Always a major talent who has transcended the hokum that usually accompanies the precept of women jazz musicians, pianist Renee Rosnes offers a mature and individualistic touch that has been recorded on far too few occasions over the years. In fact, prior to this fabulous session, Rosnes' last U.S. release was a 2010 duo set with husband Bill Charlap on Blue Note. Around the same time she gathered together Steve Nelson, Peter Washington, and Bill Stewart for the Japanese only session Manhattan Rain. Even though some five years have passed, there must have been something about that ensemble that struck a chord with Rosnes, the quartet gathering together again with saxophonist Steve Wilson added for further good measure.
The centerpiece of this set are the seven pieces that make up the 45-minute "Galapagos Suite," penned by Rosnes herself. Touching on historic text and various theories, the idea was to compose music that represents the evolution of the planet Earth. Though this probably sounds like some heady, programmatic material for a grant or other educational purpose, nothing could be farther from the truth in application. Rosnes sets a mood with each piece that suits the overarching premise, yet each piece functions equally fine on its own.
"The KT Boundary" finds Stewart's colorful cymbal splashes setting the mood alongside some thick chordal work by Nelson in tandem with Wilson's soprano sax. Over the course of the next two pieces, Wilson adds his flute to the mix and the results are bright and optimistic. "So Simple a Beginning" recalls Ron Carter's "Little Waltz" with its lilting melody and ¾ meter. Some heat comes in the form of "Deep in the Blue" where Nelson steals the show with one of his typically fluid statements, only then to be matched for intensity by Washington's solo statement.
The Suite wraps up with "Cambrian Explosion," the most programmatic of the bunch, replete with rumbling bass and collective improvisation that recalls the budding of new life back some 600 million years ago. And if the preceding hadn't been fodder enough, Rosnes augments the program with two more trinkets. "From Here to a Star" is a medium tempo blowing vehicle based on the chord changes of "How Deep Is the Ocean?," while "Goodbye Mumbai" serves as a frisky send off.
This would be quite a different recording had Rosnes hired someone else to fill the drum chair. Stewart seems especially attuned to the purposes of the pianist's originals. He relies less on typical patterns and riffs and more on spontaneous interaction with his musical compadres. Like Rosnes, Nelson is criminally underrated and his appearance here is a major coup. The whole being greater than the sum of its parts, this unit gels with the common purpose of putting Rosnes' work into the best possible light. They wholeheartedly succeed.
Track Listing: 
The Galapagos Suite: The KT Boundary; Galapagos; So Simple a Beginning; Lucy from Afar; Written in the Rocks; Deep in the Blue (Tiktaalik); Cambrian Explosion; From Here to a Star; Goodbye Mumbai.
Personnel: 
Renee Rosnes: piano; Steve Wilson: saxophone and flute; Steve Nelson: vibraphone; Peter Washington: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.


Simone
Moonlight Serenade




1. Tea For Two《 I. Caesar – V. Youmans 》(5:51); 2. Fragile《 Sting 》(4:50)
3. L-O-V-E《 B. Kaempfert 》(3:39); 4. For No One《 J. Lennon, P McCortney 》(3:43)
5. Save your love for me 《 B. Johnson 》(5:04); 
6. I’ve grown accustomed to his face 《 A. Jay Lerner – F. Loewe 》(6:01)
7. I’m through with love 《 G. Kahn – M. Malneck, H. Carmichael 》(4:00)
8. Autumn Leaves《 J. Mercer, J. Kosma 》(4:15); 
9. What a diff’rence a day made 《 S. Adams, M. Grever 》(4:15)
10. The nearness of you 《 N. Washington – H. Carmichael 》(5:27)
11. Besame Mucho《 C. Velazquez 》(5:04)
12. Like someone in love 《 J. Burke – J. Van Heusen 》(4:08)
13. Peace《 H. Silver 》(4:19)
14. Moonlight Serenade 《 M. Parish – G. Miller 》(6:03)
15. Stompin’ at the Savoy 《 A. Razaf – B. Goodman, C. Webb, E. Sampson 》(3:26)


Clare Fischer Latin Jazz
Intenso!





By Roger Farbey 
What better way to pay tribute to your father than, over the course of several years, painstakingly capturing his keyboard playing (and sometimes singing) and at a later date adding superb big band arrangements? Bandleader and keyboardist Clare Fischer died in 2012 aged 83 but left a legacy of work that his son, bandleader and bassist Brent Fischer, has faithfully recorded, using his father's archived keyboard playing on most, but not all, of the tracks. Brent Fischer did a similar legacy job using his late father's compositions and keyboard work on the 2014 release Pacific Jazz.
The opener, Dizzy Gillespie's "Algo Bueno (Something Good)" also known as "Woody 'n'You" is an upbeat piece alternating between an Afro-Cuba 6/8 and a Mambo. "Gaviota (Seagull)" by Clare Fischer with lyrics by Weaver Copeland, features the inestimable vocal talent of Roberta Gambarini who delivers an enticing scat solo into the bargain. Duke Ellington's "Rockin' In Rhythm" is given a sophisticated big band makeover successfully adding to the piquancy of the original.
Clare Fischer's vibrant "Solar Patrol" features Sheila Escovedo (also known as Sheila E) on timbales. Also by Clare Fischer with lyrics penned by Darlene Koldenhoven, "The Butterfly Samba" again features Roberta Gambarini exuberantly duetting with Scott Whitfield, who also contributes brief bursts of trombone soloing too.
Another Clare Fischer number, the ambitious and immensely satisfying "Renacimiento," represents a slight departure from the other pieces in that it opens in a neo-classical vein and transmutes into a kind of blues adorned with a highly imaginative, tonally colourfully arrangement utilising a wide range of instrumentation.
On "O Canto," again composed by Clare Fischer, Carl Saunders turns in a terrific trumpet solo and Clare Fischer is heard scat singing along to his keyboard playing. "Tres Palabras," written by the Cuban composer Osvaldo Farrés, has a bossa nova feel to it, not unlike Jobim's classic "Insensatez," but with an extra warmth imbued to it by the horns. The lively finale, "Play Time (A Gozar)" is both the last track recorded by Fischer Senior and the first time it's appeared on an album, with Francisco Torres here soloing on trombone.
Herbie Hancock has famously spoken of his indebtedness to Clare Fischer as a major influence on him and judging by this excellent album it's not surprising. This meticulously crafted album is simply a must for all big band fans.
Track Listing: 
Algo Bueno; Gaviota; Rockin’ In Rhythm; Solar Patrol; The Butterfly Samba; Renacimiento; O Canto; La Mucura; Tres Palabras; Play Time.
Personnel: 
Clare Fischer: keyboards; Brent Fischer: percussion, electric bass, “guitar” sounding parts; Alex Budman: soprano & alto sax, flute, piccolo, clarinet; Kirsten Edkins: soprano & alto sax, flute, clarinet; Don Shelton: soprano sax, flute; Brian Clancy: tenor sax, flute, alto flute, clarinet, recorder; Sean Franz: tenor sax, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, recorder; Rob Hardt: tenor sax, flute, alto flute, clarinet; Lee Callet: baritone sax, flute, alto flute, clarinet, recorder; Bob Carr: bass sax, flute, piccolo, Eb contrabass clarinet; Carl Saunder, Ron Stout, Rob Schaer, James Blackwell, Brian Mantz, Michael Stever, Anthony Bonsera: trumpet; Scott Whitfield, Francisco Torres, Philip Menchaca, Jacques Voyement: trombone; Steve Hughes: bass trombone; Quinn Johnson: keyboards (tracks 4,5,6); Ron Manaog: drums (tracks 5 & 6); Ken Wild: electric bass (tracks 5 & 6); Luis Conte, Kevin Ricard: percussion; plus Sheila E: timbales (on track 4); Robert Gambarini: vocals (tracks 2 & 5); Scott Whitfield: vocals (track 5); Walfredo Reyes: drums (track 10); Tris Imboden: drums (track 4).


Cheryl Fisher
Quietly There




By OA2 Records
For her sixth CD, Canadian vocalist Cheryl Fisher has recorded an album unique in both its repertoire and her approach. Purposefully chosen to be on the quieter side, Fisher puts a personal stamp on these beautiful, rarely heard songs, applying her musicianship and gift for vocal interpretation in celebration of love, or the mourning of love lost. Although they come from the era of the Great American Songbook, Fisher has given them a modern jazz treatment with the brilliant accompaniment of pianist/arranger John Toomey, the singular Portland guitarist John Stowell, the bass & drum team of Jeff Johnson & John Bishop, and acclaimed woodwind artist Eric Allison. "Concept albums aren't what I usually do, but sometimes you just want to sit by the fireplace, have a glass of wine, put on an album and let it play right through, letting its mellow mood merge with your own."
Tracks:
1 Quietly There 5:30; 2 Let There Be Love 3:35; 3 It Amazes Me 4:19
4 Flowers In The Sink 4:28; 5 I Never Went Away 4:12; 6 You're Looking At Me 3:46
7 He Never Mentioned Love 5:05; 8 You Go To My Head 5:00
9 Some Other Time 5:28; 10 You Taught My Heart To Sing 3:46
11 I'm In Love Again 3:42; 12 Here's To Life 5:08
Personnel:
CHERYL FISHER - vocals; ERIC ALLISON - woodwinds ; JOHN TOOMEY - piano, keyboards
JOHN STOWELL - guitars; JEFF JOHNSON - bass; JOHN BISHOP - drums
BURNIS STUBBS - percussion; BOB TILDESLEY - trumpet & flugelhorn

Sunday, July 16, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Three

Aaron Parks
Find The Way



By Karl Ackermann 
Find the Way is pianist Aaron Parks' eighth release as a leader and second on the ECM label. The prolific artist has appeared as a sideman on thirty-eight albums dating back to 2003, working frequently with Terence Blanchard, recording with Joshua Redman and Kurt Rosenwinkel and many other top names in jazz. At the age of fourteen, Parks was studying music and computer science at the University of Washington and has gone on to win multiple awards including sharing a Grammy for Blanchard's A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) (Blue Note, 2007).
Parks' ECM debut, Aborescence (2013), was a critically acclaimed solo outing that highlighted his deceptively nuanced flair for intricate harmony. On Find the Way he returns to a trio formation to convey his intricate vision. A complete resume on Billy Hartwould fill a book. The tireless, veteran drummer, he's been a leader since Enchance(Horizon, 1977); one of eleven such releases. He has anchored rhythm sections in groups that covered the jazz alphabet from John Abercrombie to Joe Zawinul. Hart and bassist Ben Street are well acquainted having recorded together on three recent Hart albums including Hart's last two ECM outings All Our Reasons (2012) and One Is the Other(2014).
Hart is key in shifting the dynamics throughout the program, quickly evident in the varying subtleties of the opening pieces "Adrift" and "Song for Sashou." "Unravel" is a balancing act between rich melody and somewhat more outside lines. "Hold Music" begins with an extended Hart solo focused on the tom-tom before Parks eases the piece down to a ballad. Parks modeled "Alice" on the compositional style that Alice Coltrane employed with the tune "Ptah the El Daoud" from her under-recognized album of the same name (UMG Recordings, 1970). More upbeat and exotic is "Melquíades," named for a character in a Gabriel García Márquez novel. The title track closes the album as it began—lyrical but slightly elusive.
Parks expressed his awareness of the ECM aesthetic, and at points looked to emulate that increasingly broader sensibility. The music certainly fits in the label's eclectic catalog nicely but because Parks is not given to over-the-top drama, the simplicity and polish in Find the Way demands closer attention to appreciate some thorny time signatures and moody textures. Parks proves that classic lyricism need not be played out as a relic of the past.
Track Listing:
 Adrift; Song for Sashou; Unravel; Hold Music; The Storyteller; Alice; First Glance; Melquíades; Find The Way.
Personnel: 
Aaron Parks: piano; Ben Street: double-bass; Billy Hart: drums.


Ron Carter Quartet & Vitoria Maldonado
Brasil L.I.K.E.



By Dan Bilawsky 
The road that connects Brazilian music and jazz—the essential thematic nexus on this collaborative venture that brings bassist Ron Carter (and his quartet), vocalist Vitoria Maldonado, Ruria Duprat's Brasilian Orchestra, and a handful of guest soloists into the same line of thinking—has always been a two way street, as both forms benefit and borrow from one another. Those on the jazz side have often found new harmonic angles to explore, gently undulating rhythms to coast upon, and beautiful songs built with extreme sensitivity in the Brazilian canon; and those on the Brazilian side have reveled in the opportunity to inject the unexpected into set forms and bring swing rhythms into contact with songs from their native land. All of those aspects born of the comfortable union between the two are audible in the material presented on this easy-on-the-ears date.
Carter and his quartet get first billing here, but they typically play second fiddle to the co-headliner. Maldonado's voice—a sweet, expression-rich instrument—is at the center of these performances. She sings in English, Portuguese, French, and wordless forms; she sways with the bossa beats, soars with spirit, and seduces in soft environs; and she evinces the beauty and positive spirit connected to the meaning of the acronym in the album's title—"Love, Inspiration, Knowledge, Energy." Her greatest strengths seem to be connected to standards with a bossa twist and material endemic to Brazil. Soulful suggestions ("Georgia On My Mind") and swinging sections of music don't suit Maldonado nearly as well as fully Brazilian-ized American standards ("How High The Moon," "There Will Never Be Another You") or star-kissed beauties born of her own mind ("Adoro O Teu Sorriso"), but she manages just fine in every setting.
While the spotlight remains focused on Maldonado for much of this program, Carter and his bandmates are able to shine, both as soloists and support players. Percussionist Rolando Morales-Matos and drummer Payton Crossley get the album rolling with some exciting exchanges ("They Can't Take That Away From Me") and provide steady rhythmic framework for others to build around; pianist Renee Rosnes proves to be a tremendous asset, capable of mesmerizing when she steps forwards ("How High The Moon"), providing a harmonic compass for all to follow, accentuating the mood of a song, or fading into the distance when need be; and Carter remains a model of class, support, and musicality. The bassist-leader is always focused on "finding the right notes," to borrow the title phrase of his biography, and that search always yields stellar results. Whether soloing, interacting with Maldonado, or anchoring the ensemble, Carter comes off as the consummate artist and professional. And then there are the guests to admire. Randy Brecker's flugelhorn graces a single track, Marcos Mincov's English horn adds achingly beautiful commentary to two Maldonado originals, and several other notables, like guitarist Roberto Menescal, step into the mix at one time or another.
Those looking to hear Carter and company let loose in a small group setting will be better served by going elsewhere, but those who see the appeal of a beautifully-shaped program that puts singer, small group, orchestra, and guests on near-equal footing will likely enjoy getting lost in this music.
Track Listing: 
They Can't Take That Away From Me; There Will Never Be Another You; Night And Day; I Only Have Eyes For You; How High The Moon; Adoro O Teu Sorriso; All Of Me; Que Reste-T-Il De Nos Amours (I Wish You Love); Georgia On My Mind; Someone To Light Up My Life; Lugar Comum; Because You Make Me Dream; Saudade.
Personnel: 
Vitoria Maldonado: vocals; Ron Carter: bass; Renee Rosnes: piano; Rolando Morales-Matos: percussion; Payton Crossley: drums; Roberto Menescal: guitar; Marcos Mincov: English horn; Toninho Ferragutti: accordion; Omar Izar: harmonica; Randy Brecker: flugelhorn; Proveta: alto saxophone; Ruria Duprat: arrangements, conductiong; Ruria Duprat’s Brasilian Orchestra—Luiz Britto Passos Amato: violin; Alex Braga Ximenes: violin; Otavio Scoss Nicolai: violin; Andrea Araujo Campos: violin; Nadilson Gama: violin; Flavio Geraldini: violin; Adriano Mello: violin; Marcos Henrique Scheffel: violin; Maria Fernandez Zagatto Krug: violin; Paulo Calligopoulos: violin; Heitor Fujinami: violin; Matthew Thorpe: violin; Alexandre Zappelini De Leon: viola; Elisa De Lina Do Rego Montiero: viola; Roberta Lizandra Marcinowski: viola; Fabio Tagliaferri: viola; Adriana Cristina De Barros Holtz: cello; Gustavo Pinto Lessa: cell; Patricia Mendonca Ribiero: cello; Maria Eduarda Leitao Canabarro: cello; Mario Sergio Rocha: French horn; Vagner Reboucas Da Silva: French horn; Rogerio Carvalho Martinez: French horn; Vitori Ferreira Neves: French horn; Marco Antonio Cancello: flute; Michel De Paula: flute; Clarissa Lapolla Bomfim Andrade: flute; Carlso Marcelo Nogueira Barboza: flute.


Julia Hülsmann Trio
Sooner and Later



By Karl Ackerman 
After expanding to an instrumental quartet—a quintet, with the vocalist Theo Bleckmann included—pianist Julia Hülsmann returns to a trio formation on her fourth ECM release, Sooner And Later. Bassist Marc Muellbauer and drummer Heinrich Köbberling have been part of that core through the previous three ECM outings, The End of a Summer (2008), Imprint(2011) and A Clear Midnight—Kurt Weill and America (2015) as well through Hülsmann's ACT Music years.
Despite a long, productive career and considerable recognition in Europe, Hülsmann is not well known in the US. A native of Bonn, Germany, she has been playing piano since the age of eleven. After moving to Berlin in the early 1990s, Hülsmann joined a jazz orchestra and later went on to record several albums with her trio and a succession of vocalists. A teacher at the Jazzinstitut Berlin, Muellbauer—a London native—has a broad cross-genre background that includes classical, jazz and tango music. He leads the ensemble Kaleidoscope, originated the Wood & Steel Trio and plays with the Lisbeth Quartet. Köbberling, a German born drummer and educator, has worked with some high profile jazz artists including Aki Takase and Anat Fort and was leader on Pisces (Nabel, 2002) with Marc Johnson, Ben Monder and Matt Renzi.
With more than a decade of collaboration, it shouldn't be surprising that the trio—all composers in their own rite—contribute pieces that are an intrinsic blend of their own strengths and those of the group. The opener, "From Afar" and the subsequent "Thatpujai" are subtle and sophisticated, very much in the vein of more familiar ECM piano trios. A perennial favorite rock source among jazz performers, Radiohead's "All I Need" opens with a beautiful duet from Muellbauer and Hülsmann before Köbberling quietly works his way in and gradually moves the piece up tempo. "You & You," "J.J." and "Later" are more challenging conventions and demonstrate a willingness to push the envelope.
Sooner And Later is an album that grows in appeal with repeated listening. The trio masters interplay and while that dynamic takes precedence over solo time, there are numerous opportunities to appreciate each of the players individually. The quieter moments are warm and enveloping, each with a distinct personality. Where the trio displays their more energetic side, they show a brilliance for creating complex and highly engaging melodies. Sooner And Later is a significant achievement for a trio that had set a high bar, long ago.
Track Listing: 
From Afar; Thatpujai; You & You; Biz Joluktuk; All I Need; The Poet (For Ali); Offen; J.J.; Soon; Later; Der Mond.
Personnel: 
Julia Hülsmann: piano; Marc Muellbauer: double bass; Heinrich Köbberling: drums.


Camila Meza
Traces



By Will Layman
Camila Meza, from Santiago, Chile, started as a bit of a phenomenon at home. She was a musical standout in school and began gigging as a young woman, singing and playing guitar. If she started as a classic rock and singer-songwriter fan, then it didn’t take her long to begin singing standards like Ella Fitzgerald and playing a hollow-bodied guitar like Wes Montgomery.
Of course that’s what young artists do. But, if they’re not careful, they keep doing it for way too long: copying, learning, living in the shadows of their elders. Meza, however, had other plans. She left home at 23 for New York and the New School in 2009, studied with Vic Juris and Steve Cardenas among others, and started playing with everyone all over town, including a recent stint with Ryan Keberle’s band Catharsis, with which she has recorded two excellent albums.
Traces is her third outing as a leader but her first in New York. The trio behind her (Shai Maestro on keys, Matt Penman on bass, and Kendrick Scott’s drums) is fleet and fantastic, and she supplements it with some harmony vocal from Sachal Vasandani, as well as percussion and cello. But at its core, this is a quartet record that puts Meza out front as a singer, a songwriter, and a guitarist — with both strong and appealing ideas in each role.
The first three songs out of the chute are all Meza originals, and they arrive in a flurry of sparkling melody and rhythmic appeal. Her band is not gimmicky or “smooth” — that is to say, this is not commercially calculated “jazz”. But the ensemble has the sparkle and snap of the bands of Meza’s early hero, Pat Metheny, making this exceptionally accessible and appealing modern jazz despite coming from a small label and lacking any of this season’s signals of commercial appeal: hip hop credentials, connections to soul music, gritty backbeats.
The opener, “Para Volar”, features a hooky four-note motif that rides above a bubbling stream of Latin groove. The band is precise and acoustic, negotiating melody and harmony with ease. Mesa’s guitar tone is mostly clean and bright, and she pairs it with her voice here like they were blue sky and sunshine: cool and bright at once. “Away” adds cello and sounds a bit more like a kind of chamber pop ballad, but the music picks up a percolating Latin jazz float a the midpoint, with electric piano candy underpinning the vocals. The third song, the title track, adds a new rhythmic feel: a beguiling snap of funk relieved by a more complex jazz groove build on precise written bass lines and complex harmony.
As a songwriter, then, Camila Meza is not going to be pinned down. She writes lyrics in Spanish and English, and she writes music across genres. It sounds of a whole, however, because her two voices — as a singer and as a guitarist — are strong.
Vocally, Meza is deft and not obviously brilliant but grows on your ear: modest of tone but fleet in phrasing. If you’re looking for a bag in which to place her, you’ll be stymied. Her voice is plainspoken and clear, arguably akin to recent young jazz singers who sound less like a classic “jazz” singer such as Becca Stevens. That is to say, Meza is not like the talented but oh-so-throwback-sounding Cecile McLorin Savant, whose updating of Sarah Vaughan is big at Jazz at Lincoln Center but sounds unaffected by the last 50 years of jazz singing. Her instrument, however, is less affected than that of Gretchen Parlato, less soul-driven than Somi, and less avant-pop than Cassandra Wilson. Meza manages to suggest her connection to Ella and Joni Mitchell at the same time while being tied to singing from other cultures too. The current singer she reminds me of most may be Luciana Souza, from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
I particularly like the vocal performance on the Meza original, “Mar Elastico”, where Meza moves quietly in her lower and middle registers with intimacy, a bit breathy but still clear as a bell, pulling a variety of colors from the melody that are beautifully complimented by an atmospheric arrangement that particularly features Scott’s drums.
Though she is not mainly an interpreter of classic material, I love that the one Broadway “standard” Meza has chosen for this band is “Greenfinch and Linnet Bird” from Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. It is a song about being captive, sung by the demon barber’s daughter in what is often an underwhelming moment in most Todd productions. Meza’s version may be the fist ever to actually have the momentum and urgency to suggest flight and escape. She sets it up with propulsive guitar lick, but the arrangement then blossoms into a skipping jazz waltz. The singer’s own guitar improvisation on “Greenfinch” takes off in lyrical beauty but really flies because Meza is a profoundly swinging player whose rhythm flutters and jumps against her band’s polyrhythmic groove. The song makes you believe in liberation — in part from the overstudied way that Sondheim songs usually come off in the hands of jazz musicians.
The other spectacular cover here is Meza’s closing version of “Little Person”, which is a tune from the intriguing Charlie Kaufman movie Synechdote, NY, written by Jon Brion. The original was a subtle stride piano feeling, and Meza keeps things simple here, accompanying herself on guitar only, offering up something as tender and heartfelt as jazz has to offer these days.
There are plenty of treats on Traces, but the best news is that so many of the songs are just as beautiful as they are complex, just as appealing as they are urgent. Little moments — such as the unison scatting with acoustic piano in the middle of Meza’s original “Mangata” — pop out as gleaming gems on the beach of her music. It doesn’t hurt that the song just has a great melody and hook, all while still clearly being some kind of “jazz”.
Camila Meza is just the latest evidence that this music — stereotypically thought of in today’s culture as fussy, niche, over-elite, cold, old — is capable of crossing every barrier. There’s an audience for this kind of beauty, melody, invention, flight. Find Camila Meza, please, folks.


Brian Charette
Once & Future




By S. Victor Aaron
While unboxing guitarist Will Bernard’s delightful latest offering Out & About a few months ago, it wasimpossible not to rave on the key contributions of his combo’s organist Brian Charette. Charette has regularly put in stellar supporting roles whether it’s for Posi-Tone Records stablemates like Bernard or any jazz leader of note in need of some maximal Hammond B3.
And that speaks nothing of Charette’s playing when Charette is in charge of the sessions: he once had the audacity to put his organ alongside four horn players (Music For Organ Sextette) that ended up being one of the most inspired organ jazz record in recent years.
Once & Future (Posi-Tone, June 3, 2016) doesn’t reach for such levels of risk-taking but it does offer the occasion of hearing Charette again trading licks with Bernard, only with the leader/sideman roles reversed. No horns this time as Charette’s group is reduced to the tried-and-true organ/guitar trio (Steve Fidyk brings the drums). As a noted educator of the B3 (he writes instructional books and articles, conducts masterclasses and teaches at workshops), Once & Future can be thought of as a ‘clinic’ record where he touches on many of the various techniques of the jazz organ as well as many shades of sub-styles, from Jimmy Smith to Larry Young. In keeping, only three of these fourteen tunes are his and many of the rest might be familiar to you. They may also titillate with Charette’s manner by which he carries these songs.
He begins paying homage to perhaps the original organ jazz great, Fats Waller; “Jitterbug Waltz” is a 3/4 swing that might be common in mainstream jazz but for some reason isn’t done as often where an organ is involved. At least not with the lilting grace that Charette seems to do so effortlessly. But he can get funky like the best of them, too: Jack McDuff’s “Hot Barbeque” captures the fun of the original’s boogaloo. Charette’s take on James Brown’s “Ain’t It Funky Now” evokes Grant Green’s, but his nasty solo is actually a nod to the late Deep Purple organ giant Jon Lord.
Homage to Young is played on a number written by Woody Shaw, “Zoltan,” which had launched Young’s masterpiece album, Unity. Charette’s solo here is astonishing, he picks up where Young left off and takes it higher. Bud Powell of course wasn’t an organist, he was bop’s most important pianist. But Charette takes on his “Dance of the Infidels” with the right bright attitude and of course, that swing. Jimmy Smith’s “Mellow Mood” is undertaken with Charette not so much recalling Smith as the exotica expressions of Korla Pandit, a twist that like everything else Charette attempts in these sessions, lands on its feet.
“Latin From Manhattan” (streamed above) is Charette’s own samba and he also contributes the blues shuffle “Blues For 96.”
Bernard wasn’t brought on to be a bystander and he delivers tasty blows on Larry Young’s “Tyrone,” goes on one mean blues streak for “96” and gets it square in the pocket for “Ain’t It Funky Now.” Fidyk was given a tall task to pivot from swing to funk to Latin to Elvin Jones’ unique polyrhythmic swing on “Zoltan,” and is never less than rock steady.
Brian Charette gave aspiring jazz organists a lot to chew on with Once & Future but as is evident from my thoughts above, you don’t have to be a student of the instrument to appreciate this record. It’s the perfect record for aspiring (and accomplished) organ-jazz listeners as well.
Track Listing: 
Jitterbug Waltz; Tyrone; Latin From Manhattan; Da Bug; At Last; Hot Barbecue; Dance Of The Infidels; Zoltan; The Scorpion; Falling Fourth; Ain't It Funky Now; Mellow Mood; Road Song; Blues For 96.
Personnel: 
Brian Charette: organ; Will Bernard: guitar; Steve Fidyk: drums.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Two

Tomás Fraga
Influencias




By Fernando Marinelli
El guitarrista y compositor argentino Tomás Fraga es hijo de un talentoso pianista de la escena jazzística porteña, Manuel Fraga. Pero al momento de escuchar este, su debut discográfico, el dato pasa a ser sólo anecdótico. Con apenas 27 años, Tomás ostenta una trayectoria y una calidad musical que lo eximen de exhibir su linaje: estudió armonía con el maestro Manolo Juárez y guitarra con Marcelo Mayor y ha tocado con muchas de las grandes figuras del ambiente local e internacional, como Ricardo Lew, Gustavo Bergalli, Ollan Christopher, Javier Malosetti, Jorge López Ruiz, Hubert García, Eloy Michelini y Jorge “Negro” González entre muchos otros.
Influencias es un álbum integrado por composiciones propias de Tomás Fraga, pero cuyo título hace referencia a los músicos que lo marcaron en su carrera profesional y en su vida. Comenzando por Pat Metheny, en el primer track, Pequeños pasos, de clima sutil y delicado; siguiendo por Chick Corea, pero en clave de candombe, en el tema Seúl; y continuando por otros nombres que el oyente podrá ir descubriendo a medida que avanza el disco, como Brad Mehldau, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans o Jim Hall. El resultado es un gran mosaico de composiciones y arreglos, donde destaca incluso una samba brasileña, pero todo bajo el paraguas de un estilo homogéneo, donde Fraga y los buenos músicos que lo secundan hacen un culto de la improvisación y generan climas que, aunque pueden llegar a ser intensos, deleitan en todo momento a los oídos. En Girando, además, participa un cuarteto de cuerdas que aporta un toque delicado e intimista.
Este más que interesante disco debut de Tomás Fraga cierra con una segunda versión de Pequeños pasos, el primer tema de la lista, esta vez a dúo de pianos con su padre en un plan más intimista.
Personnel:
Tomás Fraga, guitarra; Sergio Wagner, trompeta; Gabriel Santecchia, saxofón y clarinete,
Manuel Fraga, piano, Tomás Fares, piano, Álvaro Torres, piano, Pablo Motta, contrabajo,
Andrés Pellican, bajo, Oscar Giunta, batería, Quintino Cinalli, percusión


Alexi Tuomarila
Kingdom



By Roger Farbey 
Piano-led power trios have proliferated over the last twenty years or more thanks to the likes of the Esbjorn SvenssonTrio and The Bad Plus whose respective approach was undeniably a more consciously dynamic one than the reflective approach of say Bill Evans or the redoubtable Keith Jarrett. There was also, inevitably, a move away from the old style of swinging piano trios such as those led by Erroll Garner or Oscar Peterson. Often, contemporary piano-led trios have embraced a more rock-influenced stance, whilst not in any way selling out. The drums have gotten louder (especially the snare), the amplified double bass has grown more resonant and the piano has utilised the sustain pedal in abundance. But this says more about the medium than the message, which still harbours the intrinsic tenets of jazz and maintains that crucial marriage of the cerebral and the visceral.
So is time-up for the piano-led power trio? Well hardly. The phenomenon survives and thrives. A perfect exemplar must be Kingdom from Alexi Tuomarila. Following the first few lone piano chords, "The Sun Hillock" begins with a back beat-heavy rhythm section overlaid by an elegant melody. But then the mood changes rapidly with the pastoral "Rytter" dominated by ostinato piano and elegant arco bass courtesy of Mats Eilertsen.
Tuomarila hails from Finland but gained his musical education in Belgium at the Royal Conservatory, Brussels. He's played and recorded with the great Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and in 1999, Tuomarila's Quartet won the trophy for best band at the international Jazz Hoeilaart competition in Belgium whilst he won the title of best soloist. Kingdom is the welcome follow-up to Tuomarila's 2013 recording Seven Hills, also on Edition.
The piano-led vamp on "Vagabond" backed by an ostinato bass figure is simply irresistible. "Aalto" benefits from a memorable and repeated head and represents all that is good about Tuomarila's trio. Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" is given a refreshing and all-too-rare jazz reworking which, due to its insistent timeless melody, undoubtedly becomes the stand-out track on the album. Judging by this fully engaging and satisfying album the piano-led power trio is most definitely alive and well.
Track Listing: 
The Sun Hillock; Rytter; The Girl In A Stetson Hat; Vagabond; The Times They Are A-Changin'; Shadows; Aalto; Bruin Bay; White Waters.
Personnel: 
Alexi Tuomarila: piano; Mats Eilertsen: double bass; Olavi Louhivuori: drums.



Michel Leme





By InformaçãoMusical.com 
Este é o quinto álbum lançado por Michel Leme. Algo muito peculiar é o fato de ter dois bateristas tocando ao mesmo tempo e com muita discrição. Passando pelo jazz, latin, funk, samba e ballad, ouve-se solos interessantes como os de "3 notas" e "Deixem o Coltrane em paz", por exemplo, onde momentos bastante rítmicos e tensos perfazem o contexto dos improvisos. Leme com um timbre limpo ora explorando tensão, ora suavidade, trabalha sua naturalidade, técnica e versatilidade na construção dos climas e melodias neste CD que é no mínimo, bastante curioso.
Trabalho lançado em 2010 que traz 06 composições inéditas de Michel Leme - mais uma faixa bônus em vídeo. Participam desse trabalho o baixista Bruno Migotto e os bateristas Wagner Vasconcelos e Bruno Tessele.


Billy Childs
Rebirth



By Dan Bilawsky
It's been a while since we've heard pianist Billy Childs really dig in. While he certainly hasn't been dormant, reaching tremendous artistic heights in semi-recent times with a pair of highly refined chamber jazz explorations and a much-lauded tribute to Laura Nyro, the Childs of yore—the man that would throw down the gauntlet night after night while in the employ of legends like trumpet titan Freddie Hubbard or trombonist J.J. Johnson—hasn't been heard from in a while. Rebirth brings that part of Childs' past back into view, but it also continues to shine a light on his clarity of expression and his incredible skills in the arranging department. It's punctilious and unpredictably powerful all at once. Believe it or not, you can have both ways. At least, that is, if you're Billy Childs.
While those aforementioned post-millennial winners were well-staffed affairs—the chamber ensemble projects were chock full or orchestral trappings and the Nyro album had a guest list that ran a mile long—Childs pares things down for this one, running lean in the personnel department. For six of the eight tracks, it's just a quartet at play. Of course, referring to the marshaled forces of Childs, saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Hans Glawischnig, and drummer Eric Harland as "just a quartet" is akin to referencing the New York Yankees as "just a baseball team." These are heavy hitters that came to play. That fact is made abundantly clear right of the gate on "Backwards Bop," one of three tunes on this program that Childs recorded in his Windham Hill days in the '80s. It's a bold opening stroke, setting the bar incredibly high with precision unison lines, sharp turns, and powerful solo stands. Glawischnig is like a tightly wound spring, Childs works with an authoritative tone that never dulls or blur his incredibly articulate touch, Wilson comes off like a shrewd harmonic navigator, and Harland puts his monumental chops to good use. It's the perfect example of how to hook the ear from the start.
The pair of guest-enhanced tracks—one a unique yet stylistically congruent follow-up to "Backwards Bop" with appearances from trombonist Ido Meshulam, percussionist Rogerio Boccato, and vocalist Claudia Acuna, the other a ballad with vocalist Alicia Olatujain the spotlight—both immediately follow that slam dunk of an opener. Acuña co-wrote the title track, a piece that benefits greatly from her inimitable wordless vocals. Harland creates a steadily skittering backdrop that gives the song a nervous energy, Wilson's soprano takes to the sky, and Childs scampers around, mixing playfulness and potency in his piano work. "Stay," on the other hand, does just that, giving Olatuja a chance to shine in a mellow musical climate that never really intensifies.
The five remaining numbers are gratifying in so many ways. "Dance Of Shiva," ridiculously intricate in its design, engineering, and realization, features some startlingly fresh statements from Childs and Wilson; "Tightrope" finds all four men moving with lighter steps and listening closely, painting and dancing a varicolored waltz together; "The Starry Night" suggests its title through the dreamiest of piano forewords, skyrockets into the stratosphere with Wilson's soprano acting as the nose cone of the ship, and settles into orbit for solos; and "The Windmills Of Your Mind" glows and burns a deep red, with Childs and company drawing out the most intense flavor notes and emotions buried in the song's structure. Then serenity sets in for the closer—a poetic (piano and saxophone) duo take on Horace Silver's "Peace."
Childs hasn't always put all of his talent cards on the table at once, suppressing one aspect of his artistry in deference to others at times, so it's nice to see that change with Rebirth. He's showing his full hand here—chops, nuance, composing, arranging, and all—and it's a musical royal flush if ever there was one.
Track Listing: 
Backwards Bop; Rebirth; Stay; Dance Of Shiva; Tightrope; The Starry Night; The Windmills Of Your Mind; Peace.
Personnel: 
Billy Childs: piano; Steve Wilson: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Hans Glawischnig: acoustic bass; Eric Harland: drums.


David Feldman
Horizonte




By Dan Bilawsky 
Fans of the music always remember their first aural encounters with talents of note. In the case of this writer's awakening to the wonder that is pianist David Feldman, the initial point of contact was drummer Duduka Da Fonseca's Plays Toninho Horta (Zoho Music, 2011). That date—the first of three fine outings that Da Fonseca's trio has produced for that imprint, leading the way for New Samba Jazz Directions(Zoho Music, 2013) and Jive Samba (Zoho, 2015)—served several purposes. Its primary functions were clear as day—to shine a welcome light on the titular composer's work, showcase the leader's malleable samba jazz grooves, and introduce a fledgling unit with incredible potential; its secondary function, likely unintentional, was to give the world a taste of Feldman's talents. If it was a conscious decision to put the pianist on display, all the better. You just couldn't fault Da Fonseca if he wanted to flaunt somebody like this.
While Feldman's decision to remain in Rio de Janeiro has kept him slightly off the radar, this album is a brilliant blip that should register with Brazilian jazz lovers near and far. Feldman's composing chops take center stage, his piano playing—alternately ruminative and animated—delights, and his crafting of a strong group dynamic speaks volumes about his leadership. His two previous leader dates are nothing to sneeze at, but it appears the third time is really the charm. Horizonte is truly a cut above.
A spirited take on Oscar Castro Neves' "Chora Tua Tristeza" opens the album. It's shaped as an arc of excitability with few boundaries, putting forward a pliable trio and showcasing zestful piano work with shades of Chick Corea coming in and out of view. Bassist Marcio Bahia and drummer André Vasconcellos prove to be immediate assets there, completely in line with Feldman's way of thinking. The mood changes drastically with the arrival of Feldman's rueful and stately "Melancolia"—the most mournful and downcast design on the album—and the spellbinding "Navegar." Then things take another notable turn as the guests arrive. "Tetê," a dreamy bossa ballad, features the gorgeous blend of Feldman's piano and the distinguished Toninho Horta's breezy vocals and guitar; "Sliding Ways," highlighting trombonist Raul DeSouza's fluid and lyrical horn work, presents in samba-esque fashion; and "Soccer Ball," a cheery Horta number penned for the 1994 World Cup, brings the core trio and both guests together for some high times.
The tracks beyond or between those others all prove to be memorable in different ways. Feldman's "Esqueceram De Mim No Aeroporto," for example, is playful and bluesy, with a surprising harmonic twist or two in the form. And his "Adeus" charms with its beautifully lyrical melody. You feel like you already know it on the first listen, as it comes at the ears like a wonderful memory from childhood that sits just out of current reach. The song is six-plus minutes of pure contentment. Horizonte has more impressive music to offer than that penultimate piece, but nothing more affecting.
We still have a long way to go in 2017, but it's already safe to say that this record is in the running for Brazilian jazz album of the year. It certainly has my vote at this point.