Sunday, March 08, 2015

Lew Soloff 1944 - 2015

By Jeff Tamarkin at JazzTimes
Lew Soloff, a fixture on the New York jazz scene for a half-century, and best known for his association with Blood, Sweat and Tears, died this morning, March 8, in New York City. His daughter, Laura Solomon, confirming Soloff’s death, stated on her Facebook page that he suffered a massive heart attack while returning home after eating dinner with his family. Soloff was 71.
Soloff was best known for his five-year stint with jazz-rock pioneers Blood, Sweat and Tears, which he joined in 1968. He was present on the group’s Grammy-winning self-titled second album, performing at Woodstock with the group and contributing prominently to the hit “Spinning Wheel.” He remained with BS&T until 1973, recording five albums in all with the band. He also contributed regularly to recordings by Gil Evans and Carla Bley and served as a sideman for many other artists, as well as recording several albums as a leader.
Born Lewis Soloff in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 20, 1944, Soloff was raised in Lakewood, N.J., where he first studied piano. He switched to trumpet at age10 and developed an interest in jazz. He attended Juilliard Preparatory, then the Eastman School of Music beginning in 1961, followed by a year in graduate school at Juilliard.
Soloff’s first professional association was with the Latin bandleader Machito, and in 1966 he joined Maynard Ferguson’s outfit. Soloff also played during this time in a big band co-led by Joe Henderson and Kenny Dorham, as well as with pianist/arranger Gil Evans, with whom Soloff would continue to collaborate until Evans’ death in 1988. Soloff also spent time during the late ’60s working with Tito Puente, Clark Terry, Eddie Palmieri and others, but it was his role as a core member of Blood, Sweat and Tears during that band’s commercial peak that brought him his greatest and most lasting recognition.
During the 1980s, Soloff was a member of the group Members Only and, beginning in 1983, the Manhattan Jazz Quintet, with which he recorded more than 20 albums (most for the Japanese market, where the group was extremely popular). He recorded nine albums as a leader, beginning with Hanalei Bay in 1986; the last was 2004’s Air on a G String.
Soloff’s contributions to the discography of Carla Bley occurred between 1988 and 2008. Other artists with whom Soloff record or played, according to a bio on his website, were Roy Ayers, Bob Belden, George Benson, Benny Carter, Stanley Clarke, Paquito D’Rivera, Miles Davis/Quincy Jones, Mercer Ellington, Grant Green, Lionel Hampton, Bob James, Herbie Mann, Tania Maria, Carmen McRae, Laura Nyro, Jaco Pastorius, Mongo Santamaria, Little Jimmy Scott, Wayne Shorter and Stanley Turrentine. The site also states that Soloff accompanied many well-known vocalists, including Tony Bennett, Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithfull, Aretha Franklin, Lou Reed, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Barbra Streisand, and also appeared on projects by Phillip Glass, Kip Hanrahan, John Mayall and Dr. John. Soloff also contributed music to numerous film soundtracks.
As an educator, he was on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music for nearly 20 years and served an adjunct faculty member at Julliard and New School.

Orrin Keepnews 1923 - 2015

By Rolling Stone
Orrin Keepnews, an NEA Jazz Master, Thelonious Monk producer, record exec and four-time Grammy winner, passed away today at his home in El Cerrito, California at the age of 91, one day shy of his 92nd birthday. Keepnews' son Peter, an editor for the New York Times, confirmed his father's death to the newspaper. No cause of death was given.
After starting out his career as a journalist and editor while moonlighting as the head of the jazz magazine The Record Changer, Keepnews teamed with Bill Grauer to form Riverside Records in 1953. Jazz legend Thelonious Monk, one of the musicians that Keepnews profiled while at Record Changer, soon joined the label in 1955.
It was on Riverside that Monk, with Keepnews serving as producer, crafted some of his most revered albums like 1956's Brilliant Corners and 1957's Monk's Music and Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane. Ironically, trumpeter Clark Terry, one of the two surviving musicians (Sonny Rollins being the other) to appear on the Grammy Hall of Fame-inducted and Keepnews-produced Brilliant Corners, also passed away last week.
Keepnews' Riverside Records would also be home to essential jazz recordings from the Bill Evans Trio, Cannonball Adderley, Randy Weston and Charlie Byrd. Following Riverside's bankruptcy midway through the Sixties, Keepnews was briefly the head of Milestone Records before he segued into an A&R position at Fantasy Records. He would later found Landmark Records, home to artists like Kronos Quartet, Buddy Montgomery and Yusef Lateef.
Keepnews frequently returned to his writing roots, penning album notes for some of the LPs he had worked on; the compilation Thelonious Monk: The Complete Riverside Collection earned Keepnews a pair of Grammys – Best Album Notes and Best Historical Album. Keepnews would win another Best Historical Album Grammy in 1999 for The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition: The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (1927-1973).
In 2011, Keepnews was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment of the Arts for his "significant contributions" to the field of jazz. He also received a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2004.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

1 Sem 2015 - Part Six

Chick Corea Trio

By Bill Meredith
After half a century as a preeminent jazz composer and musician, 73-year-old keyboardist Chick Corea is in a rare place as an artist who can release practically whatever he wants. In recent years, his incredibly prolific output has included everything from solo-piano outings to duos to sets by reshuffled iterations of Return to Forever. Even the releases themselves, like this three-CD live collection clocking in at nearly three and a half hours, are bursting with material. Overkill? Perhaps. But fortunately Corea’s band here features bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade, forming a trio worthy of comparison to Corea’s great acoustic threesomes from Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes to Eddie Gomez and Paul Motian.
Five years ago, McBride played electric bass and Blade subbed for Vinnie Colaiuta on tour in Corea’s Five Peace Band, co-led with guitarist John McLaughlin and also featuring saxophonist Kenny Garrett. So the chemistry within this trio is evident from the outset. Corea’s opening composition, “You’re My Everything,” immediately spotlights the interactive ears of the swinging Blade, who answers the pianist’s phrases with both drumsticks and brushes as McBride provides the glue with accents and walking lines.
Corea then covers four pieces: Joe Henderson’s “Recorda Me,” Thelonious Monk’s whimsical “Work” and delightful new reads of “The Song Is You” and “My Foolish Heart,” the lattermost captured in Madrid with Spanish guest stars Niño Josele (guitar) and Jorge Pardo (flute). They both return for a barnburning 18-minute version of Corea’s “Spain.
The recording sites are as wide-ranging as the songwriting credits, from Washington, D.C., and Oakland, Calif., to Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Turkey and Japan. Disc two intersperses American Songbook material (“Alice in Wonderland,” “It Could Happen to You,” “How Deep Is the Ocean”) with another rousing Monk number (“Blue Monk”), Corea’s lone original, “Armando’s Rhumba,” and a couple of surprises. Kurt Weill’s “This Is New” is a highlight thanks to Corea’s exquisite touch, McBride’s take-no-prisoners break and Blade’s melodic approach. And Scriabin could never have imagined this trio’s take on his “Op. 11, No. 9,” a democratic call-and-response showcase for all three musicians.
Disc three closes with something old after two very long pieces of something new. Corea’s “Homage” is dedicated to the late flamenco guitar genius Paco de Lucía, and the pianist captures his essence through a darting unaccompanied intro and sections ranging from somber to spirited. And Corea’s previously unrecorded “Piano Sonata: The Moon,” clocking in at a half-hour, is a shell-game of written and improvised sections filled with starts and stops, crescendos and space. Its impeccable follow-up is the chestnut “Someday My Prince Will Come,” sung by Corea’s wife, Gayle Moran, which causes the crowd in Sapporo, Japan, to erupt. The couple starts the tune as a duet before McBride and Blade enter, playfully accenting Corea’s subtleties before Moran sustains a 22-second upper-register note to close (she was, some may forget, a vocalist and keyboardist for both Return to Forever and the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the 1970s).
This expansive three-CD set offers a lot to digest, and may even come across as self-indulgent on paper. Then again, chances are that nearly every listener at these concerts left the venue wanting more. With Trilogy, they don’t have to.

Baptiste Trotignon

Posted by Irwin Block 
There is an overwhelming sense of joy and playfulness in this latest album by French pianist Baptiste Trotignon, who has never sounded better.
Perhaps it’s the recurring company on this all-original outing: the big tone and melodic voice of French compatriot Thomas Bramerie on bass, and the tuneful ears, experience and technique of American drummer Jeff Ballard.
Ballard gives just the right touch to enhance and accentuate the verve in Trotignon dynamics, as he has done so effectively with pianist Brad Mehldau. Trotignon roams over the keyboard with purposeful abandon on the tone poem Choral, closing with a revisit to that theme.
Abracadabra is a more percussive and up-tempo excursion, more rhythmically complex, while Paul is lyrical in varying tempi and modes, with even an Eleanor Rigby reference! It defies definition.
This CD is a lot of fun to listen to and an uplifting musical session.

David Hazeltine
For All We Know

By C. Andrew W Hovan
While many of today's jazz pianists are looking to make a name for themselves by morphing their jazz chops with shades of hip hop, the avant-garde, or world music, David Hazeltine avoids these pitfalls altogether. His individuality is achieved through commitment to his craft and an immediately recognizable composing and arranging style that has a clear and refreshing sense of purpose. Even while he pays tribute to Cedar Walton on For All We Know, Hazeltine's music speaks with a decisive quality that marks him as one of the true piano greats of his generation.
There's much to be said for the cohesiveness that comes from musicians sharing the stage together on a regular basis and in the case of Hazeltine, bassist David Williams, and drummer Joe Farnsworth, you'd be hard pressed to find a rhythm section that is more in tune with itself. Providing the 'yin' to the trio's 'yang' is tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, making his first appearance here with Hazeltine and crew.
If you're familiar with Hazeltine's music, you know that he's become somewhat of an icon when it comes to rearranging standards. He has a knack of making everything he touches sound like his own work, breathing new life into standards like "My Ship," "Imagination," and "For All We Know." His own pieces are no less interesting, with him doubling melody lines with Blake on "Pooh" or reprising the funky excitement of "Eddie Harris," a tune first heard several years ago on a One For All set. All in all, this is another solid addition to Hazeltine's catalog and his first live recording as a leader.
Et Cedra; My Ship; Pooh; Lord Walton; For All We Know; Eddie Harris; Cheryl; Imagination; A.D. Bossa.
David Hazeltine: piano; Seamus Blake: tenor sax; David Williams: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

Diana Krall

By Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Diana Krall paid tribute to her father on Glad Rag Doll, the 2012 album sourced from his collection of 78-rpm records, and, in a sense, its 2015 successor Wallflower is a companion record of sorts, finding the singer revisiting songs from her childhood. Like many kids of the 20th century, she grew up listening to the radio, which meant she was weaned on the soft rock superhits of the '70s -- songs that earned sniffy condescension at the time but nevertheless have turned into modern standards due to their continual presence in pop culture (and arguably were treated that way at the time, seeing cover after cover by middlebrow pop singers). Krall does not limit herself to the songbook of Gilbert O'Sullivan, Jim Croce, the Carpenters, Elton John, and the Eagles, choosing to expand her definition of soft rock to include a previously unrecorded Paul McCartney song called "If I Take You Home Tonight" (a leftover from his standards album Kisses on the Bottom), Bob Dylan's "Wallflower," Chantal Kreviazuk's "Feels Like Home," and Neil Finn's "Don't Dream It's Over," a song from 1986 that has been covered frequently in the three decades since. "Don't Dream It's Over" slides into this collection easily, as it's as malleable and timeless as "California Dreamin'," "Superstar," "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," or "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)," songs that are identified with specific artists but are often covered successfully. Krall's renditions rank among those successes because she's understated, never fussing with the melodies but allowing her arrangements to slink by in a deliberate blend of sparseness and sophistication. It's an aesthetic that helps transform the Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why" and 10cc's "I'm Not in Love," singles that are as successful as much for their production as their song, into elegant torch songs, yet it doesn't do much for Kreviazuk's pedestrian "Feels Like Home," nor does it lend itself to the loping country of "Wallflower," which may provide the name for this album but feels like an uninvited guest among these majestically melodic middle-of-the-road standards. These stumbles are slight and, tellingly, they put into context Krall's achievement with Wallflower: by singing these songs as sweet and straight as the dusty old standards on Glad Rag Doll or the bossa nova on 2009's Quiet Nights, she demonstrates how enduring these once-dismissed soft rock tunes really are.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

1 Sem 2015 - Part Five

Billy Childs
Map To The Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro

By Matt Collar
A technically adroit pianist with an ear for sensitive, emotive accompaniment, Billy Childs has built a career primarily around backing other artists, including trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, vocalist Dianne Reeves, and trumpeter Chris Botti. Although he's recorded a number of superb solo dates, on 2014's Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro, Childs once again sets himself just outside of the spotlight as he gathers various musical friends to pay homage to his longtime idol, the late singer/songwriter Laura Nyro. Having discovered Nyro's emotive and lyrically thoughtful genre-crossing folk recordings in his teens while studying jazz and classical music at the University of Southern California's Community School for the Performing Arts, Childs would eventually get to work with Nyro prior to her death from ovarian cancer in 1997. One gets the sense that in an ideal world, Childs might have recorded this album with Nyro herself as a kind of retrospective anthology. In lieu of that poignant fantasy, here Childs, along with producer and former USC Community Schools classmate Larry Klein, have reinterpreted a handful of Nyro's songs, taking an ambitious, cross-genre approach that balances the intimate folk of her original recordings with a layered jazz and symphonic pop sound. Along with the aforementioned Reeves and Botti, Childs is joined by such like-minded luminaries as vocalist Renee Fleming, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, singer/songwriter Rickie Lee Jones, bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and others. Ultimately, with Map to the Treasure, Childs doesn't simply reimagine Nyro's songs as elevate them in a spiritual and heartfelt celebration of her life and music.

Peter Zak
The Disciple

By C. Michael Bailey
Pianist Peter Zak had a transcontinental shift from Los Angeles to Columbus and Kent Ohio and, finally, to New Your City, where he has remained since 1989. He has released critically well-received CDs for the Danish SteepleChase label: The Eternal Triangle (2012), Nordic Noon (2011) and Down East (2011). He returns with the present trio recording, The Disciple.
The jazz market is a small land finicky one. It is really no longer possible to simply put together a piano trio recording of original and standards that stands out from the battlefield clotted with the same. The smarter artists, like Zak, add a program or theme to their recordings, something that gives an otherwise disparate collection of pieces some continuity or integrity. In the The Disciple, this integrating factor are compositions by pianists Zak has be influenced by, and that list is impressive.
Zak opens The Disciple with a circular performance of Chick Corea's "The Loop." He follows this with one of three originals he peppers the recording with. Representing Elmo Hope, Zak selects "Barfly," Hope's "'Round Midnight." Zak and his responsive trio of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Willie Jones III give the piece its necessary crepuscular after-hours spirit.
Horace Silver's "Nutville" is provided a solid minor-key accompaniment over which Zak waxes poetic with hard bop riffs and roars. Truly inspired is Zak tossing in a Scriabin Prelude (Op. 35 #2) into the mix making this quite an interesting collection. Performances of Herbie Hancock's Requiem," Hampton Hawes' "Jackie" and Thelonious Monk's "Criss Cross" amp up the drama.
Track Listing: 
The Loop; Montserrat; Barfly; Nutville; Prelude, Op. 35 #2; Requiem; Jackie; Criss Cross; Nightfall in Kandy; The disciple.
Peter Zak: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Willie Jones III: drums.

Geoffrey Keezer
Heart Of The Piano

By Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The title Heart of the Piano makes it plain: after over a decade of collaborations, pianist Geoffrey Keezer has returned with a solo acoustic piano session. Perhaps the title also suggests something sentimental -- and he does dedicate four of the songs to individual members of his family -- but this isn't a collection of sticky love songs. Keezer takes some happy, subtle risks with his material, opening the album with Rush's classic rock warhorse "Limelight," working his way to moody selections from Peter Gabriel ("Come Talk to Me") and Alanis Morissette ("Still"), and finding time for KT Tunstall's joyous "Suddenly I See" and Christian McBride's "Lullaby for a Ladybug" while still working in a couple of originals as well. Keezer lets all of these songs breathe -- sometimes speeding up, sometimes drawing things out either with tension or a luxurious, lax sense of dreaminess -- dancing around the melody without neglecting it, gliding up and down the keys but skirting a sense of indulgence. It's a sweet, slyly mischievous set that truly lets Keezer show a full range of emotions without ever seeming like he's showing off.

George Colligan
Ask Me Tomorrow

By Brent Black /
The artistic evolution of George Colligan, Ask Me Tomorrow is a stunning triumph!
Next to a solo piano release, the piano trio may be the most unforgiving ensemble presentations in improvisational music. The harmonic equivalent of tap dancing in a melodic minefield. This is an easy statement to make when you are an admittedly cynical critic that has reviewed more piano trios in four years than most people have heard in their lifetime. This is also a primary reason that George Colligan's Ask Me Tomorrow is a wondrous look into the cerebral vision of an artistic journey that has come full circle. There is a syncopated synergy of harmonic movement that some of Colligan's contemporaries have ignored, perhaps forgetting the piano originated as a percussive instrument. George Colligan pulls an ambient almost ethereal like quality while pushing what is normally considered the "straight ahead" sound into the next dimension.
To focus on the minutia of Ask Me Tomorrow in terms of critical analysis would be doing an injustice to this amazing collective that is rounded off with the fabulous Linda Oh on bass and the lyrical finesse of drummer Ted Poor. While Colligan would seem to favor minor keys, odd meters and an organic pulse, the overwhelming beauty of his melodies only seem stronger for his approach. Open, warm, deceptively subtle in nuanced texture is the embodiment of what can best be referred to as capturing lighting in a bottle as this is a live studio recording, three hours in the studio and no rehearsal. The results include the percussive insistence and odd metered groove of "Insistent Linda." We are also graciously served up an intimate "Jesper's Summer House." The richness of flavor is fortified with the dynamic tension of the free formed "Two Notes, Four Chords." The hauntingly beautiful "Denmark" may well be the jewel in this amazing collection. These are all original compositions, no standards...Ask Me Tomorrow is predictable by embracing an open ended unpredictable nature.
I have been hard on George Colligan and not because I know more about music or because I have some pseudo-intellectual axe to grind but because I knew this was an artist that could go deep. We all can pull from a deeper place; artists, listeners and especially critics. This is the George Colligan I have been waiting for. While the year is still relatively young, Ask Me Tomorrow may be one of the very best recordings I have heard in my four hundred plus reviews thus far and easily one of the most memorable piano trios that I have heard in the last decade.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Clark Terry 1920 - 2015

By David La Rosa at
After a long bout with diabetes, Jazz legend Clark Terry has died at the age of 94.
The highly influential musician and educator’s wife Gwen confirmed his passing with a message on his official Facebook page, which read: “Our beloved Clark Terry has joined the big band in heaven where he’ll be singing and playing with the angels. He left us peacefully, surrounded by his family, students and friends.”
Terry was first diagnosed with diabetes almost 40-years ago, and despite suffering physical challenges that would be insurmountable for less dedicated performers, including the amputation of both his legs, he kept the music alive and well and continued to perform well into his 90th year on this earth. And even when he couldn’t play he continued to dedicate much of his time to providing education and encouragement to the countless musicians, both young and old, that were inspired by the path he led in life.
Born on December 14, 1920 in St. Louis, MO, Terry had a rough upbringing after his mother died while he was young and his abusive father kicked him out of the family’s home at just 12 years of age. Music served as Terry’s only sanctuary from a very young age, and after standing out in his high school band a local musician encouraged him to take music more seriously; which sparked the start of a whirlwind career that would see Terry appear as a pivotal figure in the ongoing development of jazz as a genre.
After working with various travelling bands, and the U.S. Navy Band during World War II, Terry’s career took off when he performed with Count Basie’s big band between 1948 – 1951. Immediately after leaving Basie’s band, he enjoyed an 8-year stint as a central figure in Duke Ellington’s orchestra before becoming the first black musician on The Tonight Show’s house band in 1962.
During this period Terry became a fixture on the jazz scene. In addition to recording more than 80 albums as a bandleader he also worked with an incredible list of fellow jazz legends that includes Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Cannonball Adderley, Louis Armstrong, Charles Mingus, Stanley Turrentine, Yusef Lateef, Quincy Jones, and countless others.
In a career spanning seven decades, he is listed as a performer or producer on over 900 different recordings.
His impact on music today is incalculable, and according to his recently published autobiography Terry has received more than 250 accolades for his contributions to music. In addition to receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and being named an NEA Jazz Master in 1991, he was also the recipient of sixteen honorary doctorates at universities across the globe.
And despite all of his musical achievements, education always remained his greatest passion. In addition to mentoring jazz icons like Miles Davis, he also taught at many universities over the years and organized countless camps and classes for aspiring musicians to learn more about jazz. On his website, Terry wrote: “Teaching jazz allows me to play a part in making dreams come true for aspiring musicians.”
Terry’s recent mentorship of 23-year-old blind pianist Justin Kauflin was the subject of an award-winning 2014 documentary titled Keep On Keepin’ On.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

1 Sem 2015 - Part Four

Joona Toivanen Trio

By CamJazz
The bond between Scandinavian jazz and CAM JAZZ is becoming increasingly closer and stronger. The new work of Joona Toivanen Trio is an additional outcome of their common vision, which has given rise to a sizable number of remarkable projects and records. The Finnish pianist, still accompanied by Tapani Toivanen on double bass and Olavi Louhivuori on drums, composed an album that strikes a balance between the modern and the traditional, and between quiet, distinctively Nordic jazz moods and openness to new sounds and new expressive forms. This all is made even more intriguing by the outstanding empathy among the three musicians, who are able to cleverly back one another and, through refined mutual listening, reach a remarkable degree of interplay and responsiveness. Thus, each of them plays a leading role, in turn, and bears the responsibility for steering his band-mates towards new directions, new vibes, new melodic insight. The “liaison” between the Finnish trio and CAM JAZZ began in 2010, when the album At My Side was released. Of course, many things have happened from that time to this “November” release (including Joona Toivanen’s solo experiments and Olavi Louhivuori’s fruitful association with Claudio Filippini and Palle Danielsson), which this trio benefited from, as one realizes when listening to this new album. Eleven tunes, the authorship of which is equally shared between the bandleader and Louhivuori, also saving space for the title track by the double bass player. From the opening track “Moon Illusion” to the closing track “Open, Closed”, there is a quiet feeling in the air: time drawn out, a soft touch and sober, balanced arrangements. A journey in search of a clear, pure, crystalline sound. An elegant, refined tone. A thoughtful album, that never stops looking for new inspirations, between skillful song-making and moments of intriguing improvisation.
Olavi Louhivuori ( Drums ); Joona Toivanen ( Piano ); Tapani Toivanen ( Bass )
Recorded in Gothenburg on 21-23 February 2014 at Svenska Grammofonstudion
Recording engineer Oskar Lindberg
Mixed in Helsinki on 27, 28 February 2014 at Studio Kekkonen 
Mixing engineer Mikko Raita

Nenê Trio

O Nenê Trio surgiu em 2001, do encontro do baterista Nenê com o contrabaixista Alberto Luccas. Depois de uma sessão de improvisos na casa de um dos músicos, os dois resolveram que seria um bom momento para desenvolver boa música instrumental, com grande variedade de estilos rítmicos, neste que atualmente é “o momento mais feliz” da carreira de Nenê, como ele mesmo diz. Alberto reafirma o sentimento, dizendo: “é um trabalho sem palavras, eu adoro. Realmente é um lugar que a gente pode se expressar ao máximo, no limite como músico”.
Para completar, desde 2008 eles contam com a participação do pianista Írio Jr., que comenta sua participação no trio: “para mim tem sido liberdade de expressão total, a gente faz o que quiser, sai criando o que dá na cabeça”.
Com tamanha liberdade criativa, o trio lançou o CD Inverno pelo Selo Sesc, segundo da formação atual. O projeto é continuidade do trabalho que vem sendo realizado, e da tetralogia que começou com Outono, lançado anteriormente.
Por conta da variedade de referências musicais mundiais com as quais cada um deles já teve contato, o trio usa da mistura de ritmos, mas nunca de maneira óbvia: “você não vai ouvir um maracatu claramente como é tocado em um grupo regional. Mas ele está dentro da música, lá no meio ele aparece também” explica o baterista.
Para que se mantenham prontos e com repertório para gravar a qualquer momento, o trio se encontra regularmente para ensaios a cada 15 dias. O compromisso em proporcionar boa música para o público é claro nas composições, na seriedade dos ensaios, e pode ser conferido no CD, todo captado de maneira analógica. Na captação digital, os músicos podem substituir partes das músicas que não deram tão certo, ou contar com ajustes técnicos de pequenos erros. No caso da captação do CD Inverno, a gravação foi feita como em um show, sem recortar as músicas ou ajustar nada.

Jaques Morelenbaum & CelloSam3aTrio
Saudade do Futuro, Futuro de Saudade

By Carlos Calado
Muitos trios instrumentais brilharam na história da bossa nova e do samba-jazz, mas nenhum com a singular formação do CelloSambaTrio. Criado em 2004 pelo violoncelista e arranjador Jaques Morelenbaum, esse grupo, que destaca também o violão de Lula Galvão e a percussão de Rafael Barata, parece já ter nascido clássico.
No esperado álbum de estreia do trio, "Saudade do Futuro, Futuro da Saudade" (lançamento Mirante),
o violoncelista carioca e seus parceiros fazem uma viagem sentimental pelo passado do samba: do gingado choro de Jacob do Bandolim, “Receita de Samba”, ao sestroso “Eu Vim da Bahia” (de Gilberto Gil), em versão calcada na gravação de João Gilberto, cujo “álbum branco” (lançado em 1973) inspirou a criação do próprio CelloSambaTrio.
Faixas autorais, como a lírica “Maracatuesday” (de Morelenbaum) ou o samba “Abaporu” (do violonista Lula Galvão), indicam que esse trio tem um futuro promissor à sua frente.

Eric Reed

By C.Michael Bailey
Eric Reed has fully established himself in the forefront of jazz pianists. Additionally, he has proven to be a gifted composer whose vision is as acute as it is compassionate. Reed's Smoke Sessions recital was performed on September 6 and 7, 2013. He led a saxophone-fronted (Seamus Blake) quartet secured by bassist Ben Williams and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. Reed composed eight of the ten selections performed, covering Clifford Jordan's "Powerful Paul Robeson" and Christian McBride's "The Shade of the Cedar Tree."
Reed's playing has matured into a deeply wrought hew, orchestral and expansive. His playing is of a unique vintage with notes of McCoy Tyner and Gene Harris. But Reed's voice is bigger than any influence. His playing is tactile, like that played behind Blake on "Ornate," where he incorporates Latin shades with bold Cecil Taylor-like statements and accents. "Bopward" is a circuitous and air theme for Blake to blow soprano in an Eastern vein. The tour de force is the title cut with its introductory vamp on "Lean on Me." Reed summons all of the church at his disposal, in the spirit of Gene Harris, the master of such. Reed turns it all upside down at the hinge between the introduction and song. Simply put, he rocks and so does his band.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

1 Sem 2015 - Part Three

Janis Siegel
Nightsongs: A Late Night Interlude

By C. Michael Bailey
Vocalist Janis Siegel is the mezzo-soprano/alto quarter of the Manhattan Transfer as well as half of the female contingency of the same with soprano Cheryl Bentyne. Like Bentyne, Siegel has managed a very successful solo career, releasing ten recordings since 1981. Nightsongs: A Late Night Interlude follows 2006's A Thousand Beautiful Things (Telarc, 2006) and 2004's Sketches of Broadway (Telarc). Siegel is a wholesale master of jazz vocals subgenre: ballads, scats, bop, she competently does them all. Nightsongs endeavors a theme of breezy Caribbean evenings, comfortably humid and crepuscular.
Sonically, this is an exceptional hearing. The engineer is impeccable, and the production is top notch without being overdone. There is a comfortable balance between the shiny and organic in this music. "Love Saves," "Slow," and "Marie" smell like salt and spray in the islands. "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing" is given a measure of funk among other piquant Latin delights, John di Martino modulates time and space over Christian McBride's muscular electric bass. Siegel shares a duet with Peter Eldridge on Jobim's "If You Never Come To Me" that is as provocative as it is simply elegant. Siegel continues to inhabit an upper echelon of jazz vocalist few can aspire to. Siegel wins with this fine band and material.
Track Listing: 
Love Saves (Salva Pantallas); Slow; Love and Paris Rain; If You Never Come to Me (Inutil Paisgem); Marie; You're Mine, You; Sweet September Rain; A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing; Midnight Sun; Lover; Say You'll Go; Clair De Lune. 
Janis Siegel: vocals; John Di Martino: piano, arrangements; Rob Mounsey: keyboards; Christian McBride: bass; Martin Wind: bass; Paul Meyers: guitar; Steve Khan: guitar, guiro; Dominick Farinacci: flugelhorn, trumpet; Joel Frahm: tenor and soprano saxophones; Alain Mallet: Melodica; Luisito Quintero: Percussion; Joel Rosenblatt: Drums; Peter Eldridge: Vocals; Roger Treece: vocals.

Stefano Bollani
Joy In The Spite Of Everything

By John Fordham
When the Italian virtuoso Stefano Bollani plays piano, the word play applies in its widest senses, and the title of this fine transatlantic session (Americans Bill Frisell and Mark Turner augment Bollani’s Danish rhythm section) could hardly be a better description of his methods. While it would be difficult for the whole album to live up to the delicious opening calypso, Easy Healing, (in which Turner’s sax floats over Frisell’s softly skewed chords, and the melody is formed by a lovely piano-guitar unison), this is a warmly expressive encounter between a close-knit trio and two guests they’d never previously met, and the frequently genre-hopping Bollani freely revels in his straight-ahead jazz. The beboppish No Pope No Party is like a Monk tune played by a cool–school band. In the impressionistic 12-minute Vale, Bollani is in Bill Evans mood and Turner is at his most probing, while, in the piano-guitar duet Teddy, Frisell shows his skill with harmonics and his early schooling as a quiet jazz swinger. Bollani’s vivacious soloing provides many of the highlights, never more so than in the quicksilver title track.
Track Listing: 
Easy Healing; No Pope No Party; Alobar e Kudra; Las Hortensias; Vale; Teddy; Ismene; Tales from the Time Loop; Joy in Spite of Everything.
Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Bill Frisell: guitar; Stefano Bollani: piano; Jesper Bodilsen: double bass; Morten Lund: drums.

Tierney Sutton
Paris Session

By Thom Jurek
One need listen no further than "You Must Believe in Spring," the opening track of Tierney Sutton's Paris Sessions, to grasp that something quite special is taking place between the musicians. This collection of standards and originals recorded in duos and trios between the singer, guitarist Serge Merlaud, and bassist Kevin Axt is a bare-bones journey into the depths of musical intimacy. Recorded over two days at Val d'Orge Studio, these 12 tunes are the product of minimal rehearsal on the day before recording. The arrangements, such as they are, are simple, transparent; the considerable depth comes from the well of the song allowing itself to be expressed so nakedly. The aforementioned cut is a duet, with Merlaud's nylon-string acoustic guitar introducing it. When Sutton enters, the emotional frame is already in place; she fills it with commitment and hope derived from earned wisdom, not wishful thinking. It's a striking contrast to the dusky wordless vocals she provides to the guitarist's own tunes, including "Asma," where Axt's bass bridges the center as singer and guitarist engage in an ethereal and sensual dialogue. Of the other standards here, "Beija-Flor" by Nelson Cavaquinho and Noel Silva is introduced by a long wordless duet with the guitar before Axt enters on an acoustic bass guitar and coaxes surprising harmonic nuances from the familiar bossa nova. The other bossa here, Bruno Martino's "Estate," is perhaps more conventional in articulation, but Sutton sinks so deeply into the grain of the lyric that she owns its emotional expression. Merlaud uses an electric guitar on "Body and Soul," reflecting the multi-harmonic influence of Jim Hall. Sutton draws out the words slowly, purposefully, each syllable infused with a generosity absent of artifice or affect. She's sung this song many times before, but not like this. The resonance in "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" is dialogic. Merlaud's electric guitar doesn't merely comp and fill, but is the other equal voice in a difficult conversation. Axt enters with gorgeous chord voicings providing an equanimity that illustrates the emotional dimension shared between the conversants. Sutton's delivery is even, but far from detached. It affirms the beloved even as a glimpse of romantic pain is betrayed by the ends of her lines. Two of these cuts, "Don't Go to Strangers" and "Answer Me, My Love," will be familiar; they were recorded for and appeared on After Blue, but they fit this context just as well. Paris Sessions is a gem, so elegant, sparse, and intimate in its directness that it is as arresting as it is lovely.
Track Listing: 
You Must Believe In Spring; llm; Don't Go To Strangers; Beija-Flor; You're Nearer; Estate; All Too Soon; Asma; Body And Soul; Izzat; Don't Worry 'Bout Me; Answer Me, My Love.
Tierney Sutton: vocals; Serge Merlaud: acoustic guitar, electric guitar; Kevin Axt: acoustic bass guitar.

David Feldman

By Galeria Musical
O piano é um instrumento fascinante tanto para quem o toca quanto para quem o ouve sendo bem tocado. E é mais que justa a homenagem ao instrumento e ao seu som feito por David Feldman ao batizar o seu álbum singelamente de “piano”. David resolveu chamar o disco de “piano” com “p” minúsculo por querer transpassar ao ouvinte o clima intimista, sereno e suave que o piano pode oferecer.
O músico estreou em CD no ano de 2009 com o elogiado “Som do Beco das Garrafas”, e agora retorna com um álbum onde sessenta por cento das canções são autorais e inéditas, o que reafirma o momento de dedicação ao instrumento e de criatividade deste músico que acumula importantes feitos, como o de ter ficado entre os 10 maiores pianistas do mundo na competição de piano-solo do Festival de Jazz Montreaux, evento curado por ninguém menos que Quincy Jones.
Dessa forma, David vai dando vida a canções como “Conversa de Botequim” (Noel Rosa, Vadico), que ganha leveza sem perder a sua ginga original, e a inédita “Chobim” (David Fieldman), que funde Chopin e Tom Jobim com melancolia e lirismo.
No currículo de David também está o fato de já ter trabalhado com diversos ressonantes nomes de nossa MPB, como Maria Rita, Leny Andrade, Leila Pinheiro, Wilson Simoninha, dentre tantos outros.
“Piano” é um disco sofisticado e certeiro quando o assunto é o elegante som do piano, e momentos como “Sabiá” (Tom Jobim, Chico Buarque), que encerra o disco, e a dobradinha feita com ele mesmo em “Esqueceram de Mim no Aeroporto”, por si só já valem o disco.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

1 Sem 2015 - Part Two


By Souza Lima
Trio reforça sua atuação baseada no equilíbrio entre a improvisação e a composição.
Guto Brambilla (baixo), Fernando Baggio (bateria) e Walter Nery (guitarra). Essa é a formação do RdT, grupo criado há seis anos que lança em agosto o segundo cd, intitulado Antídoto. Neste cd, o trio evolui em suas composições trazendo músicas dos três integrantes, tornando um trabalho mais heterogêneo. Inicialmente o grupo era conhecido como Rapazes do Trio, nome também do primeiro cd lançado em (ano 2008),bastante elogiado pela crítica especializada não só do Brasil, mas também de outros países, como o site europeu Jazz Rytmit, que considerou um dos melhores cds do ano. Para o grupo, "a mudança do nome marca uma transição para uma nova fase de maior cumplicidade e amadurecimento do trabalho".
Os músicos, também professores do Conservatório Souza Lima, definem o som que executam como música instrumental contemporânea, voltada para o equilíbrio entre a improvisação e a composição. A influência vem dos grandes nomes do jazz europeu e norte-americano, além dos compositores brasileiros, seguindo portanto, a tendência do jazz atual com elementos da música brasileira.
Os temas presentes no cd Antídoto trazem uma linguagem atual da música e do cotidiano vivido numa grande cidade. Um trabalho com uma sonoridade e estilo bem particulares, que acompanha a música que acontece agora nos outros grandes centros, como Nova Iorque, Boston, Los Angeles, Paris, Londres. Ou seja, uma música contemporânea, moderna, que preza por experimentações, sofisticações, improvisos, mas acima de tudo, pela estética da composição como elemento chave.

Marcin Wasilewski Trio w/ Joakim Milder
Spark Of Life

By John Kelman
What do you do when you've released three albums as a trio (more, if you include albums released in Poland, prior to coming to the label) for a producer who traditionally seems to like shaking things up after that magic number? For Polish pianist Marcin Wasilewski and his longstanding trio—first coming together in their teens, they've been together more than two decades, and first recorded for ECM with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko for a triptych of evolutionary albums that began with 2002's Soul of Things and concluded with the far maturer Lontano (2006)—there have been two moves in 2014: first, show up as Norwegian guitarist Jacob Young's band (along with saxophonist Trygve Seim ) on Forever Young, and now, follow that appearance with another set under the trio's own name, but with guest saxophonist Joakim Milder in tow. Spark of Life is another stellar collection from a trio predicated on the value of longevity and leveraging the opportunities this now late-thirty-something trio has been afforded to build a language all its own.
The Swedish-born Milder is no stranger to either the Polish scene or to ECM, though it's been 17 years since he last made an appearance on the label on one of Tomasz Stańko's most lauded sessions since the trumpeter's fruitful return to the label in 1994, 1997's Litania: Music of Krzystof Komeda. Here, in a smaller, more intimate context, the saxophonist helps make Spark of Life an album that, while rich with the profound lyricism that has imbued Wasilewksi's trio since it first emerged in Poland as the Simple Acoustic Trio, with its own tribute to the great film and jazz composer, Komeda (GOWI, 1995), simmers at a higher temperature...even, at times, approaching (if not exactly reaching) a full boil.
Not that Spark of Life doesn't possess the same elegance, the same rarefied, song-like melodism of previous albums including 2008's January and 2011's Faithful, nor does it fail to capitalize on the innate strength of the trio, which performs six out of Spark of Life's eleven tracks on its own. Wasilewski's "Austin," is as soft and lyrical as the trio has ever been, an inviting opener that creates a strong sense of continuity with what's come before. And if "Austin" seems redolent of the American music town for which it might be named, despite it actually being a dedication to fellow pianist Austin Peralta, Wasilewski's "Sudovian Dance"—which follows and introduces Milder to the mix—turns to a more appropriately Baltic sense of folkloric melody, even as bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz
and drummer Michal Miskiewicz begin to turn the heat up during the saxophonist's solo, hinting at more muscular interaction to come.
Still, Wasilewski's title track—presenting in two variations, first with Milder, but closing the album with a trio-only take—demonstrates that Milder does more than simply light a fire. A rubato tone poem where Miskiewicz's textural support is particularly noteworthy, Milder engages in a piece where interpretation and tone are everything. The saxophonist demonstrates similar developmental patience on his own irregularly metered "Still," while on a by now de rigueuer look at a Komeda piece, in this case, "Sleep Safe and Warm," the saxophonist demonstrates his attention to detail on a track that simmers with a slow-burning pedal point before breaking the tension into its familiar changes, with Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz treading a very fine swinging line between the implicit and the explicit.
While Wasilewski contributes five of the album's compositions, the trio makes clear that its musical touchstones range far and wide on a series of covers that range from a luxurious look at "Do Rycerzy, do Szlachty, do Mieszcan," from the Polish rock group Hey, that features Milder at his sparest and most refined, to a trio reading of Jazz Police's "Message in a Bottle. Heavily deconstructed and reconstructed, Kurkiewicz delivers his most potent solo of the set, while Wasilewksi demonstrates just how many rounded surfaces he can find in the relatively square corners of such a simple construct—having, in the past, found similar freedom in the music of Björk and Prince. And while he's long been a personal reference for Wasilewski, Spark of Life is the first time the pianist has taken the leap to actually perform a song by Herbie Hancock. In this case, the bright and bubbly "Actual Proof"—performed often by Hancock but first heard on the Headhunters' Thrust (Columbia, 1974)—and here turned into a more liberated and open-ended version that comes as close to incendiary heat as this trio gets, also providing Miskiewicz a rare moment in the spotlight.
ECM has, in its 45-year history, created a number of particular emphases amongst its massive breadth of musical offerings, and one of them has been to take that most conventional of jazz ensembles, the piano trio, and push it into different directions that respect the tradition of American greats like Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and, looking further back, Lennie Tristano, while encouraging it to incorporate music of other genres and cultures as, at the same time, it strives to assert a clear sense of modernity. Of the young piano trios it has encouraged over the years, the Marcin Wasilewski Trio may well be its longest-standing, and for good reason. Clearly, Wasilewski, Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz are capable of working in other contexts—Wasilewski and Kurkiewicz, for example, working together on drummer Manu Katche's first two ECM dates, 2006's Neighbourhood and the 2007 followup, Playground—but it's equally clear that it's in the context of this trio that these three young Poles find the most freedom to explore as they please.
With the addition of Milder on roughly half of this 74-minute program, the Marcin Wasilewski Trio has managed to retain its core strengths while adding something new to avoid any pitfalls of predictability. If the at once sublet yet intense Spark of Life is any evidence (along with Forever Young), it's a sure thing that this simpatico trio still has plenty up its collective sleeve to ensure no risk of that ever happening.
Track Listing: 
Austin; Sudovian Dance; Spark of Life; Do Rycerzy, do Szlachty, do Mieszcan; Message in a Bottle; Sleep Safe and Warm; Three Reflections; Still; Actual Proof; Largo (from Sonata #2 for piano); Spark of Life (var.).
Joakim Milder: saxophone (2-4, 6, 8); Marcin Wasilewski: piano; Slawomir Kurkiewicz: double bass; Michal Miskiewicz: drums.

Itiberê Orquestra Família 

By Editio Princeps
A Itiberê Orquestra Família comemora seus 10 anos de existência com o lançamento de seu terceiro CD, intitulado "Contrastes". Integralmente composto por músicas inéditas, de autoria do baixista/multi-instrumentista Itiberê Zwarg (com exceção da faixa "Feitinha para Nós", escrita por Hermeto Pascoal exclusivamente para a Orquestra), este é o trabalho mais maduro da Orquestra Família, apresentando seu já tradicional repertório eclético, interpretado por formações camerísticas de duos, trios e quartetos, além da orquestra completa, seguindo sempre a escola Hermeto Pascoal de liberdade total de criação, arranjos complexos e rompimento de fronteiras estéticas e estilísticas.
1. Interiores 9'43; 2. Clássico Romântico Moderno 5'33; 3. Depois da Arrebentação 5'12
4. Batera 3'46; 5. Atualidades 7'34; 6. Flora Lis 2'35; 7. É Pra Você, Arismar 5'40
8. Na Calada da Noite 4'37; 9. Feitinha pra Nós 8'08; 10. Já Fui 4'27
11. Do Chão à Cumeeira 13'37.
Todas as faixas de autoria de Itiberê Zwarg, exceto por "Feitinha pra Nós", de Hermeto Pascoal.
Itiberê Zwarg: Piano, melodica, voz, baixo elétrico, Direção Musical, composição, arranjos e regência; Carol Panesi: Violino, piano, voz; Beto Lemos: Viola caipira, rabeca, zabumba, violão; 
Mariana Zwarg: Flauta, piccolo, voz, percussão; Karina Neves: Flautas, percussão: 
Letícia Malvares: Flautas; Ana Carolina D'Ávila: Flautas, cavaquinho, guitarra, voz;
Ajurinã Zwarg: Bateria, percussão, sax soprano; Ranier Oliveira: Piano e acordeon.
Produção Executiva: Felipe Ábido e Mariana Maia; Produção Musical: Itiberê Zwarg; Gravado, mixado e masterizado em março e abril de 2009 no Tenda da Raposa - Rio de Janeiro - RJ; Gravação: Daniel Vasques e Carlos Fuchs; Mixagem: Daniel Vasques, Carlos Fuchs e Itiberê Zwarg; Masterização: Carlos Fuchs.

Zéli Silva

By JazzB
O baixista, arranjador e compositor Zéli Silva é conhecido na cena instrumental brasileira pelo virtuosismo e sofisticação nas composições e arranjos.
Tem vasta experiência no jazz e na música brasileira. Sua música tem como referências, além do jazz, o samba, o choro e o cancioneiro brasileiro. O músico faz desses elementos uma música criativa e comunicativa, rica em melodias, ritmos e harmonias.
Zéli fez parte do grupo Terra Brasil, com o qual foi indicado ao Grammy Latino pelo CD “Atlântico”. Atuou ainda ao lado de Zé Menezes, Rosa Passos, Badi Assad, Virgínia Rosa, Nuno Mindelis, Oswaldinho do Acordeon, MPB-4, entre muitos outros.
Os arranjos e o talento dos músicos improvisadores são destaque em sua música, registrada em 4 CD’s: “Voando Baixo” (2002), “Em Movimento” (2006), “Duo” (2010), com o saxofonista Vitor Alcântara, e “UNA – Zéli Silva Convida”, que apresenta hoje.
“UNA” tem o conceito de união de gerações de instrumentistas e está representado pelas participações especiais de João Donato, Arismar do Espírito Santo, Lulinha Alencar, Léa Freire, Chico Pinheiro, Cléber Almeida, Renato Consorte, Gil Reyes, Da Do e Tatiana Parra.
Vitor Alcântara (sax), Fernando Corrêa (guitarra), Moisés Alves (piano), Zéli Silva (baixos acústico e elétrico), Gabriel Guilherme (bateria).

Albert Heath/ Ethan Iverson/ Ben Street
Tootie's Tempo

By Manuel Grosso Galvan 
The great Albert Tootsie Heath on drums, Ben Street on bass and Ethan Iverson on piano had made one of more lovely album of the year. Have a very special type of sound, is not simple retro is pure vintage. Tootie is part of the history of jazz, and this record confirm the reasons. A collection of songs from "The Charleston" to the incredible Motian's "It should have happened a long time ago", from a great version of "How Insensitive" to"Violets for your Furs", and not forget a incredible solo "Tooties Tempo" five magic minutes of pure drumming feeling. Is the soundtrack of another times, thanks to Iverson to get it. I's so nice, so beautiful that you can't believe it. Only one suggestion; the next time please put the booklet inside, print not digital
PS. If you like this very special album, please hear "Live at Smalls" from 2009 with the same musician