Saturday, November 12, 2016

2 Sem 2016 - Part Seven

John Beasley
Monk'estra, Vol.1 

By Dave Gelly
Since the 1950s, composer-arrangers have made orchestral versions of Thelonious Monk’s music. I have so far heard none that have been quite so bold as John Beasley in recasting what he calls the “architecture” of these dauntingly angular piano pieces for a jazz orchestra. He lifts Monk’s melodies away from their native idiom of bebop and replants them in the musically cosmopolitan 21st century. Monk’s insistent, almost manic worrying at single phrases is replaced by sudden surprises and changes of direction. The variety of orchestral textures seems endless too. There’s a lot to take in, and a lot of conventional ideas to set aside, but through it all Monk’s themes emerge as strong as ever.

The Fred Hersch Trio
Sunday Night At The Vanguard

By Dan McClenaghan 
Reach up to the CD shelf and pull a handful of Fred HerschCDS down. You'll find that the pianist has a good thing going with the Village Vanguard. Alive At The Vanguard (Palmetto Records, 2012) a stellar two CD set, and terrific solo set, Alone At the Vanguard (Palmetto Records, 2011), are Hersch's most recent recordings from the legendary venue; and now he and his trio offer up Sunday Night At the Vanguard.
Hersch says this is his best trio album. Almost every artist says that about their latest—that this one's the best. But he might be right. The vote here would have gone to a studio recording, Whirl (Palmetto Records, 2010), a marvelous in-the-zone effort with this same trio—John Hebert on bass, Eric McPherson playing drums—until Sunday Night At The Vanguard rolled around.
The trio opens with Richard Rodgers' "A Cockeyed Optimist," which is not exactly a familiar tune, in spite of its authorship. But as an opener it works to perfection, with a silvery, raindrop intro that finds a quirky groove that paints an upbeat atmosphere, with a bright melody that sounds like a second cousin to "It Might As Well Be Spring."
"Serpentine," a Hersch original, is a wandering slither of a tune, unpredictable and spooky, lovely in its fluid, abstract way; "The Optimum Thing" sparkles; and "Blackwing Palomino," maybe the only jazz tune ever written for a pencil, has the feel of a new jazz standard.
Hersch's output has been consistently excellent, but sometimes—as on this special Sunday Night—the stars align. The trio, from the opening notes of "The Cockeyed Optimist," is locked into and to a telepathic interplay zone—playful and eloquent, elegant and assured.
The Lennon and McCartney gem, "For No One," has the forlorn desperation of the song's lyrical content. The Beatles' version—a masterpiece in its own right—didn't take things to this dark of a place.
Kenny Wheeler's "Everybody's Song But My Own" rolls in a restless, jittery mode. "The Peacocks," from the pen of Jimmy Rowles, is pensive, lonely. Hersch explores an almost unmatchable majesty of the tune, with a bit of dissonance, before he jumps into Thelonious Monk, with "We See," an irrepressible jewel, followed—as an encore to the show—the Fred Hersch-penned "Valentine," one of the more inward tunes in Hersch's songbook, counterpointing a mostly gregarious, effervescent set by one of the jazz world's top piano trios at the top of their game.
Track Listing: 
A Cockeyed Optimist:Serpentine; The Optimum Thing; Calligram; Blackwing Palomino; For No One; Everybody's Song But My Own; The Peacocks; We See; Solo Encore: Valentine.
Fred Hersch: piano; John Hebert: bass; Eric McPherson: drums.

Denny Zeitlin
Solo Piano: Early Wayne

By Budd Kopman 
Early Wayne has many things going for it: it is a well recorded, live concert; pianist Denny Zeitlin, who has been recording for over fifty years, is masterful to the point of completely taking over the listening space, and, last but not least, the material used as the base for his improvisation is a set of ten Wayne Shorter tunes, mostly from the mid-60s.
The list of tunes, and the albums from which they come is below; the albums by Miles Davis were made by his second (great) quintet which included Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams:
1) "Speak No Evil" (Speak No Evil, Blue Note, 1966)
2) "Nefertiti" (Miles Davis, Nefertiti, Columbia, 1967)
3) "JuJu" (JuJu, Blue Note, 1965)
4) "Teru" (Adams Apple, Blue Note, 1967)
5) "Toy Tune" (Etcetera, Blue Note, 1965)
6) "Infant Eyes" (Speak No Evil, Blue Note, 1966)
7) "Paraphernalia" (Miles In The Sky, Miles Davis, Columbia, 1968)
8) "Ana Maria" (Native Dancer, Columbia, 1974)
9) "E.S.P." (Miles Davis, E.S.P., Columbia, 1965)
10) "Miyako" (Schizophrenia, Blue Note, 1967)
For many jazz fans, the Davis/Shorter nexus practically defines the music called "post-bop" and belongs to the "golden era" which began with "be-bop," then "hard-bop" and finally "post-bop."
In any case, most of the tunes have title recognition, if not melodic recognition, by which it is meant that most could not "hum" the tune, but could name it when it is played on the album. Shorter tunes are like that because of the way the melodies are constructed and how the lush harmonies and rhythm interact with it. The music is immediately recognizable in its entirety as "Shorter," but the details are for the most part ingeniously hidden under "the sound."
The Piedmont Piano Company offers an annual performance in their own space to an audience that appreciates the music. Zeitlin took the opportunity to do a "Shorter set" and obviously learned this music and these tunes inside and out. His improvisations, most six minutes or longer, are more like excursions or ruminations, and end up washing over the listener in their vastness.
Yes, a melodic fragment can be recognized (say, that of "Infant Eyes") here and there, but not recognizing the "ur text" in no way diminishes the depth, richness and sheer improvisatory invention of Zeitlin's playing. Each piece has it own mixture of that which has the sound of preparation with that of on-the-spot creation; this makes the album an exciting experience.
Anyone who is unfamiliar with sixties Shorter should definitely look into the Blue Note and Columbia catalogs of this period and deeply imbibe in Shorter and Davis.
The sheer pianistic virtuosity and high musicianship of Zeitlin makes Early Wayne a delightful gem and many times a mesmerizing experience.
Track Listing: 
Speak No Evil; Nefertiti; Ju Ju; Teru; Toy Tune; Infant Eyes; Paraphernalia; Ana Maria; E.S.P.; Miyako.
Denny Zeitlin: piano.

Fabio Giachino Trio 

By Traccedijazz
E' uscito il nuovo album, "Blazar", del pluripremiato trio torinese guidato dal pianista Fabio Giachino e formato con il contrabbassista Davide Liberti e il batterista Ruben Bellavia. Prodotto e edito da Abeat Records, è stato presentato in anteprima a Bruxelles per rappresentare la città di Torino in occasione dell’EXPO-TO e dell’Expo 2015 di Milano.
E' uscito "Blazar", il nuovo e terzo album del Fabio Giachino trio, una grande formazione che sta facendo sempre più parlare di sé e che si è affermata nel panorama italiano raccogliendo importanti riconoscimenti. Guidato dal pianista Fabio Giachino, insieme al contrabbassista Davide Liberti e al batterista Ruben Bellavia, il trio con "Blazar" firma il suo terzo lavoro, prodotto ed edito da Abeat Records, che segue i precedenti “Jumble up” (2014) e “Introducing Myself” (feat. Rosario Giuliani, 2012).
In collaborazione con il Torino Jazz Festival, l'album è stato presentato in anteprima a Bruxelles presso l’Istituto Italiano di Cultura per rappresentare la città di Torino in occasione dell’EXPO-TO e dell’Expo 2015 di Milano.
Il titolo dell'album richiama la passione di Giachino per l'astronomia: tecnicamente, il termine blazar siginifica "blazing quasi-stellar object", indicando un fenomeno energetico molto potente che ben rappresenta il carisma dirompente del trio e della sua musica, che sarà portata in tour nel 2015 toccando diverse città italiane.
Dei nove brani presenti nel disco, otto composizioni originali di Giachino e un arrangiamento reggae di "In the wee small of the morning" di D. Mann e B. Hilliard.
Fabio Giachino: "Credo in questo terzo album si sia delineata maggiormente la via che abbiamo intrapreso in questi anni, la coesistenza di differenti influenze stilistiche legate dall’amore comune per lo swing e il beat più incalzante ma, con una maggior ariosità all’interno delle composizioni ed un’attenzione maggiore alla melodia e alla forma. "Blazar" è proprio questo, in scienze viene definito come una sorgente altamente energetica e supercompatta, uno dei più violenti fenomeni dell’universo, ed è così che amo vedere il mio gruppo e la nostra musica: energica, violenta, ma anche dolce e delicata...e che magari faccia anche ballare, come il jazz faceva agli inizi del '900!"
Nato ad Alba e trasferitosi successivamente a Torino, Fabio Giachino è un talento inarrestabile. Seppur giovanissimo ha collaborato con grandi artisti come Dave Liebman, Furio Di Castri, Fabrizio Bosso, Rosario Giuliani, Emanuele Cisi, Maurizio Giammarco, Dino Piana, Aldo Zunino, Dusco Goycovitch, Javier Girotto, Miroslav Vitous esibendosi anche in Francia, Svizzera, Inghilterra, Repubblica Ceca, Polonia, Turchia, Romania, Canada, U.S.A.
Negli anni è stato insignito di importanti riconoscimenti a livello nazionale e internazionale: il "Premio Internazionale Massimo Urbani 2011", il "Premio Nazionale Chicco Bettinardi 2011" e il Red Award "Revelation of the year 2011" JazzUp channel; inoltre, nel 2011, 2012 e 2013 è stato votato tra i primi 10 pianisti italiani secondo il referendum "JAZZIT Awards" indetto dalla redazione della rivista JAZZIT.
Con il Fabio Giachino Trio ha ottenuto il Premio Speciale come "BEST BAND" al "Bucharest International Competition 2014", il premio "Fara Music Jazz Live 2012" (sia come miglior solista che come miglior gruppo), il premio "Barga Jazz Contest 2012" ed il "Premio Carrarese Padova Porsche Festival 2011".
Il trombettista Fabrizio Bosso, nelle note di copertina: "Ho conosciuto Fabio qualche anno fa suonando come ospite del quartetto Jazz Accident e, fin da subito, ho capito che stava nascendo un grande talento. Credo che i progressi che ha fatto in questi ultimi anni siano veramente notevoli, lo dimostra questo riuscitissimo lavoro "Blazar", un disco che strizza l'occhio al jazz newyorkese, ma senza tralasciare la vena melodico-mediterranea che contraddistingue i jazzisti italiani in tutto il mondo. In quanto alla tecnica questo musicista non ha nulla da invidiare ai migliori pianisti della scena jazz internazionale, coadiuvato da una ritmica sempre pronta ad assecondare i suoi input musicali."

Sunday, November 06, 2016

2 Sem 2016 - Part Six

Joey Alexander

By Doug Collette
Like most such facile categorizing, 'child prodigy' usually ends up being a dead end rather than a means to explore the subject at hand. In the case of Joey Alexander, it's a disservice precisely because it's so restrictive: if he proves anything on his second album, it is that he will not be confined.
Quite the contrary, the thirteen year-old pianist and composer challenges himself on multiple fronts on Countdown. He not only chooses to play with other musicians, including bassist Larry Grenadier (Pat Metheny, Brad Mehldau) and saxophonist Chris Potter (Dave Douglas, Dave Holland), thereby allowing himself to assimilate technique, but he also takes the risk of involving both of them on an extended foray into Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage;" their detailed exploration of both the melody and rhythm reveals why it's so durable a composition and why the threesome are so simpatico.
The choice of the famous tune also represents the courage Alexander displays in his selection of cover material juxtaposed with his own evocative originals like "Soul Dreamer." John Coltrane's "Countdown" is a somewhat lesser known piece of the late great hornman's (his "My Favorite Things" served as the title of this artist's debut), while, in contrast, "Criss Cross" is one of pianist/composer Thelonious Monk's most famous tunes. Alexander and company approach both numbers with relish and no small amount of abandon.
In fact, the musicians leave self-consciousness so far behind, for a deep engagement in those numbers and their own playing, the combined resonance is as tangible as the audio presence producer Jason Olaine preserves equally vivid in detail and panorama. Ever-present drummer Ulysses Owen Jr.'s fleet but firm rhythms accentuate the various trios rumble and roar, especially when they get going on the album's opener, "City Lights," and the interaction on Wynton Marsalis'" "For Wee Folks" is lighting-fast and nimble to boot.
But the speed there isn't just for its own sake or for the players to show off how well they play, It's indicative not only of the depth of inspiration this precocious pianist/composer displays, but also how infectious is his enthusiasm. Joey's command of the keys lends as much airy atmosphere to his own "Sunday Waltz" as the deeper tones he injects into Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge." Based on the cumulative effective of the nine tracks on the Countdown compact disc (there is an extra one, Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance," available via I-Tunes), the range of feeling is a direct reflection of Alexander's learned and innate knowledge of his roots.
Not surprisingly, though, the moments he makes the deepest impression(s) are those within Charlie Chaplin's "Smile." Here the young man evinces an emotional depth far beyond his years and therein lies the source of his nascent genius.
Track Listing: 
City Lights; Sunday Waltz; Countdown; Smile; Maiden Voyage; Criss Cross; Chelsea Bridge; For Wee Folks; Soul Dreamer.
Joey Alexander: piano; Larry Grenadier: bass (3-6, 8, 9); Dan Chmielinski: bass (1,2,7); Ulysses Owens, Jr.: drums; Chris Potter: soprano saxophone (5).

Jackie Ryan

By Larry Taylor
This two-CD set is vocalist Jackie Ryan's third recording and it's definitely a keeper. On the heels of her 2007 success, You And The Night And The Music (Open Art Productions), which landed on the charts, also appears destined for success.
With her clear, rich voice, Ryan undoubtedly has one of jazz's great vocal instruments—no low-note warble or reedy high notes for her and with a 3-1/2 octave range, she handles each song with aplomb. In addition, she has a sure sense of phrasing and an unerring accuracy for getting to the heart of a song. To say she always swings is an under-statement.
Based in the San Francisco Bay area, Ryan has played around the world—London, Japan, Amsterdam and made a memorable 2006 appearance in New York at the Lincoln Center. Along the way, she has been backed by some of the best, including Clark Terry, Toots Thielemans, Barry Harris, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco and Red Holloway.
Her accompaniment here is led by peerless pianist Cyrus Chestnut, and includes a superb front line of tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and the great Brazilian guitarist, Romero Lubambo.
Ryan includes a collection of pop tunes, Latin American songs and under- appreciated jazz compositions. Everything stands out on about the CD, making it difficult to choose highlights, but here are a few: On the opening title track, her original vocalese interpretation brings to mind the great Annie Ross, with tasty solos delivered by Pelt, Alexander, and Chestnut. Ryan's ability to tell a story and the flexibility of her voice is displayed in "Do Something," as she ranges up and down the scales and in and out of the melody. Also, Chestnut's expertise as an accompanist is reaffirmed in his embellishments. Another favorite, "Speak Low"—executed with a samba beat—is a vivid example of how Ryan builds dramatic intensity.
Lubambo's guitar magic is conjured particularly well in Jobim's "Caminhos Cruzados." His infectious bossa nova rhythm frames Ryan's sensual rendering. Later, their duo on Augustin Lara's classic "Solamente Una Vez" is blissfully beautiful.
Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time" finishes off the set, featuring just Ryan and Chestnut. Someone once said that "less is better." That maxim is proven with the stark beauty of this piece.
Track Listing: 
CD1: Doozy; You'll See;Caminhos Cruzados; Do Something; Speak Low; I Must Have That Man; Dat Dere; Beautiful Moons Ago; My How The Time Goes By 
CD2: Opportunity Please Knock; I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do; Brigas Nunca Mais/A Felicidade; Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most; Solamente Una Vez; Summer Serenade; Get Ride Of Monday; Midnight Sun; Tell Me More And More And Then Some; Some Other Time.
Jackie Ryan: vocals; Eric Alexander: saxophone; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet, flugelhorn; Cyrus Chestnut: piano; Romero Lubambo: guitar; Ray Drummond: bass; Dezron Douglas: bass; Carl Allen: drums; Neal Smith: drums.

Kenny Wheeler & John Taylor
On The Way To Two

By Mac Randall
The belated release of these 2005 duo recordings was originally intended to honor trumpeter/flugelhornist Kenny Wheeler on the first anniversary of his death. To that end, pianist Taylor penned a touching tribute to his longtime partner in the British chamber-jazz group Azimuth that’s reproduced on the album’s back cover. Not long after writing those words, however, Taylor himself died, making On the Way to Two a memorial to both players. Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing,” sensitively rendered, is the sole non-original here; Wheeler’s wistful compositions dominate, interspersed with three short sketches in which Taylor roots around inside the piano and Wheeler plays spooky lines on muted trumpet.
Decades of collaboration made Taylor and Wheeler highly attuned to each other, and their shared sense of telepathy is audible throughout this disc. The way they make the solo section of “Quiso” pitch and yaw like a tempest-tossed schooner is especially striking. Still, Wheeler seems overmatched at times. Taylor’s particle-accelerator approach to improvisation, smashing melodic fragments together and seeing what patterns they make, is brilliant but far more outgoing than Wheeler’s, which tends toward the circumspect. Also, Wheeler’s signature sudden leaps into the stratosphere are more wayward than usual, often only winding up in the troposphere, and yet he continues to attempt them so regularly that it takes on the air of an unhealthy fixation.
All the same, it’s wonderful to hear Wheeler’s cool, melancholy horn again. “Canter #2” and “Fortune’s Child” even offer us the chance to hear it twice, in a manner of speaking, as tasteful use of overdubbing gives both pieces an unexpected emotional climax. Think of the double-tracked conclusion to A Love Supreme, only in a more sedate style.

Jacob Christoffersen Trio
Facing The Sun

By Annika Westman 

Denmark has a great jazz tradition. Just like Paris, Copenhagen has been a haven for jazz musicians in exile (from the US, South Africa, etc.) for decades. Jazz has had a strong position in the city since the '40s, and many great players have been produced in this fertile climate, the best known being Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. Well, here is another one that deserves international success: pianist Jacob Christoffersen.
The impression that strikes immediately and persists through the whole CD is that this music sounds very fresh and very familiar at the same time. Christoffersen has a clean style, seemingly free of influences from piano icons that he obviously has listened to, like Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans. Sometimes the compositions bring back the flavour from a record like Jarrett's Belonging, or maybe My Song. But the playing style here is really fresh, very distinct and clear, nicely showcased by these beautiful tunes. This record, marked by strong playing and excellent compositions from the first note, is full of musical joy, expressed by the players and absorbed by the listener. Melodies just keep pouring out of Christoffersen, with a nice flow and at the same time a driving attack, a quick punch a couple of notches stronger than we normally hear in this type of jazz.
In addition to his work as a teacher at the well renowned Rhythmic Conservatory of Copenhagen and as a sideman in various Danish jazz groups, Christoffersen also plays with a few rock bands—and maybe that has helped him preserve his straightforward attack and musical approach. These features, combined with a wonderful lyricism and excellent songwriting, makes Facing The Sun a nice musical surprise.
The playing is very dynamic, from not just the piano but the whole band, including great drum solos from Jonas Johansen (whom I recently caught live with Ulf Wakenius, and his drum solos were just as nice on stage as they are on this recording). And Jesper Bodilsen plays his powerful, yet smooth and sensitive bass. That's why he is one of Denmark's busiest bassists, currently engaged with Ed Thigpen, Stefano Bollani, Kasper Villaume, and others.
This is straightforward and very melodic jazz, with a playful and joyful delivery. Simply beautiful, without ever getting too sweet. Rather than calling it mainstream, I would say that this music is right in the heart of jazz.
Track Listing:
Facing The Sun; Everything I Love; Fenster And McManus; Remembering; On The Horizon; Sing Song; Apology; Homecoming; All Of You; Transformation Game.
Jacob Christoffersen: piano; Jesper Bodilsen: bass; Jonas Johansen: drums.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Bob Cranshaw 1932 - 2016

By Matt Schudel/TheWashigntonPost
Bob Cranshaw, a versatile jazz bassist best known for his association with saxophonist Sonny Rollins, whom he accompanied on virtually every concert and album since 1962, died Nov. 2 at his home in Manhattan. He was 83.
The cause was cancer, said his wife, Bobbi Cranshaw.
Mr. Cranshaw never had an album as a leader, but he was on dozens of well-known jazz recordings, including trumpeter Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder” in 1964. He toured for several years with singer Ella Fitzgerald and appeared on more recordings on the famous Blue Note jazz label in the 1960s than any other bass player.
With his early classical training and an ability to play in any style, Mr. Cranshaw proved to be so adaptable and dependable that he may have been the only musician who performed, at various times, with Bing Crosby, Paul Simon, Coleman Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, Rod Stewart, Peggy Lee, the “Saturday Night Live” orchestra and the studio band of “Sesame Street.”
“I didn’t ask to be a star,” he said in a 2014 interview with jazz pianist Ethan Iverson on the Do the Math website. “I wanted to be a sideman. I wanted to be a super-sideman.”
Mr. Cranshaw first performed with Rollins in 1959 at the Playboy Jazz Festival in Chicago. It was a demanding job because, at the time, Rollins had a bare-bones lineup, backed by just bass and drums.
“I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it,’ ” Mr. Cranshaw recalled years later, in an interview with a publication of the New York musicians’ union. “And then I thought about it and said, ‘Oh man, am I stepping into something I’m not ready for?’ No pianist, you know.”
Rollins was a challenging musician to accompany, sometimes changing tempos or keys without warning. But Mr. Cranshaw followed him at every turn, and the performance was a success.
After Rollins took a two-year hiatus from music, he asked Mr. Cranshaw to join his band, and he appeared on the classic 1962 album “The Bridge,” marking Rollins’s return to the jazz scene after two years of solitary practice on New York’s Williamsburg Bridge.
For the next 50 years, Mr. Cranshaw was the rhythmic and harmonic anchor for the powerful saxophonist, considered by many the most influential jazz musician of his time. He appeared on nearly 25 albums led by Rollins, including the Grammy Award-winning “This Is What I Do” (2000) and “Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert” (2005).
In addition, Mr. Cranshaw spent more than 25 years with “Sesame Street,” recording the TV show’s theme song by Joe Raposo and other tunes associated with the long-running children’s program, including “(It’s Not Easy) Bein’ Green” and “Sing.”
From 1975 to 1980, Mr. Cranshaw was the bass player with the original studio band of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” working alongside keyboardist Paul Shaffer, who later became the director of the band on “The Late Show With David Letterman.” Mr. Cranshaw was a member of the studio band of “The David Frost Show” from 1969 to 1972, working with pianist Billy Taylor, and in the early 1980s, he was the musical director for one of Dick Cavett’s talk shows.
In the early 1970s, Mr. Cranshaw was among the first jazz bassists to adopt the electric bass guitar as his primary instrument. He continued to perform occasionally on the upright bass throughout his life, but back injuries sustained in a car accident initially forced him to switch to the smaller, amplified electric bass.
At first, he faced resistance from jazz purists, who maintained that the electric bass — a backbone of rock music — didn’t fit into the jazz aesthetic. But Mr. Cranshaw brought a rare subtlety to the electric instrument, applying the same touch, musical phrasing and jazz sensibility that he brought to the upright bass.
“A bass is a bass. That’s my attitude,” he said in the interview with Iverson. “I know that the jazz guys don’t dig the electric, so I gotta make it sound and I gotta make it feel like I’m playing the string bass.”
Melbourne Robert Cranshaw was born Dec. 10, 1932, in Chicago. He grew up in a solidly middle-class community in Evanston, Ill., where his father was a choir director.
“I came up in a really lovely neighborhood,” Mr. Cranshaw said in 2014. “As I tell guys, I can play the blues, but I can’t cry the blues because I didn’t come from that kind of thing.”
As a child, Mr. Cranshaw said he often visited church basements in Evanston because he could feel the bass notes of the organ and choirs through the foundation of the building. He gradually realized the bass was his musical calling.
He played in the school orchestra and learned to read music by the time he graduated. He received a bachelor’s degree from Chicago’s Roosevelt University, then served in the Army before beginning his music career in Chicago.
When he moved to New York around 1960, one of the first people he encountered was the eminent bass player Milt Hinton, whom he had long idolized. Hinton took an immediate interest in Mr. Cranshaw’s career, recommended him for recording dates and other jobs.
Among the noteworthy recordings he appeared on were “Idle Moments” (1963) by guitarist Grant Green, “Inner Urge” (1964) with saxophonist Joe Henderson, and “Movin’ Wes” (1964) with guitarist Wes Montgomery. Mr. Cranshaw created the catchy bass line that underscored Morgan’s soul-jazz hit “The Sidewinder” from 1964.
In addition to his studio work, Mr. Cranshaw performed in Broadway pit orchestras and for visiting singers, including Crosby, Lee, Collins and Frank Sinatra. He appeared on several tracks on Simon’s 1973 album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon.”
His first two marriages ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 39 years, Bobbi Curtis Cranshaw of Manhattan; three children from his first marriage; two stepchildren he adopted; and several grandchildren.
Mr. Cranshaw was a central figure in the New York musicians’ union and said he worked so steadily for so long because he managed to avoid drugs and other temptations of the jazz life.
“I did a lot of Blue Note dates because I was on time,” he said. “If you said, ‘Be there at a certain time,’ I was there. It was a business for me at that point. There were great bass players that came through; sometimes they were there and sometimes, you know . . .”

Sunday, October 23, 2016

2 Sem 2016 - Part Five

Peter Bernstein
Let Loose

By Thomas Conrad
Peter Bernstein has built a career in the service of others, especially saxophone players and organists. He was in Sonny Rollins’ best working band of the new millennium, and has been crucial to Lou Donaldson and Dr. Lonnie Smith. On Let Loose he slips seamlessly into the role of leader. It is a balanced, polished, erudite guitar recital that was made in one day.
Bernstein’s music is devoid of rough edges yet always sounds bluesy. On a tender song from the 1950s, “Blue Gardenia,” his precise single-note lines trace the melody sincerely, only subtly rephrasing it. Yet his understatements possess the sublimated urgency of someone whose emotional domain is the blues.
With instruments such as piano and electric guitar (as opposed to, say, saxophone), it is slightly perplexing how special players are able to imprint their own sound, their own tonal signatures. Bernstein personalizes every note and makes them glow. The clarity and purity of his guitar sound is beautifully rendered on this recording. (Sonic quality is a strength of the Smoke Sessions label.)
The bassist and drummer here, Doug Weiss and Bill Stewart, have long histories with Bernstein. Pianist Gerald Clayton is a new collaborator. Clayton’s presence creates high expectations. His imaginative daring has transformed many recent ensembles, including major ones like the Charles Lloyd Quartet. But whereas Lloyd gives Clayton space to create his own original art within the leader’s vision, Bernstein keeps Clayton in a box. On ballads like “Tres Palabras” and harder stuff like Woody Shaw’s “Sweet Love of Mine,” both examples of Bernstein’s insightful repertoire decisions, Clayton reinforces the leader’s concept of beauty but does not extend it. The album’s title notwithstanding, one of the few things Bernstein does not do well in music is let loose.

Melissa Errico
Legrand Affair: The Songs Of Michel Legrand

By William Ruhlmann
Although the musical Amour, with a score composed by Michel Legrand, had only a brief run on Broadway in 2002, it earned a Tony Award nomination for its female lead, Melissa Errico, who in 2005 began working with Legrand and producer Phil Ramone on a solo album of Legrand's songs. She put that project aside to take a career hiatus and start a family, then recorded an album about children and motherhood, 2008's Lullabies & Wildflowers. So, it took until 2011 for the long-gestating Legrand album to appear, but it proves worth the wait. Legrand Affair is a full-scale collaboration between singer and composer, with Legrand providing arrangements and orchestrations, and even stepping in to accompany Errico on piano and, on "Once Upon a Summertime," to sing (and scat) along. His charts for some of his best-known movie themes are lush and pastoral, and Errico, with her restrained, precise singing, is an ideal vocal embodiment of the lyrics. Many of those words were contributed by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, who bring to their settings of Legrand's swirling, circular melodies appropriately poetic and elliptical lyrics. The classic example, of course, is the series of similes that makes up the lyric to the Academy Award-winning "The Windmills of Your Mind" from the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair. But the Bergmans also provide a succession of prepositional phrases for "In Another Life," and elsewhere they traffic heavily in nature and weather imagery to describe the contours of long-term love affairs. Errico studiously avoids material that the Legrand/Bergman team wrote for Barbra Streisand; no "The Way We Were" or anything from Yentl. But the veteran composer has written so many songs that she still has plenty to choose from, including a couple of French lyrics. And Legrand makes as strong an impression in the album as the singer, usually allowed an instrumental section in each song to get his point across with ravishing, often wistful strings. He is a full participant in his own tribute, but Errico also stakes a claim as a major interpreter of his catalog.

Gregory Porter
Take Me To The Alley

By Thom Jurek
With 2013's Liquid Spirit, jazz singer and songwriter Gregory Porter's Blue Note debut, he accomplished what few in his vocation have in recent decades -- sold over a million albums globally. He also won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. In addition, in 2015, U.K. electronic unit Disclosure released "Holding On" -- a co-write with the singer that featured his vocal -- as the lead single from their Caracal album. The track was a worldwide club hit and inspired numerous remixes. On Take Me to the Alley, Porter sticks to what he does best: writing and singing great songs in his honeyed, unhurried yet disciplined baritone. Kamau Kenyatta remains his producer and his longtime band is back -- drummer Emanuel Harrold, bassist Aaron James, pianist Chip Crawford, and saxophonists Yosuke Sato (alto) and Tivon Pennicott (tenor) -- with select guests including trumpeter Keyon Harrold, vocalist Alicia Olatuja, and organist Ondrej Pivec. The leadoff track, unsurprisingly, is his own version of "Holding On," with a double-timed, brushed hi-hat, Motown-esque bassline, and crystalline piano. It skirts the edges of pop-soul yet remains in the jazz camp. Porter's lyrics are direct, confessional, and poetic. The spiritual clarity of the gospel message in the title cut is underscored by Olatuja's harmony vocal and Harrold's melodic trumpet break. "Consequence of Love" is one of the finest moments here, a tender midtempo ballad offered with the no-nonsense conviction that reveals love may be beyond the measurement of the rational, but commitment to it remains necessary for the revelation of its truth. Porter employs gospelized soul-blues (à la Ray Charles) in "Don't Lose Your Steam," one of two songs inspired by his son. The horns frame the B-3 and rhythm section groove while Sato's solo becomes a responsorial voice. "Fan the Flames" is a swinging political post-bop finger-popper with punchy horns. It's an anthemic call to arms with great solos by Pennicott and Keyon Harrold. The artful, strident narrative in "French African Queen" is accompanied in feverish modal form by the ensemble, accented by fluid rhythms that touch on Latin and African grooves (check the Fela Kuti-inspired horns to boot). A second version of "Holding On," with urban soulman Kem, feels unnecessary in comparison to the first. Conversely, the closer, a second read of the ballad "Insanity" with Lalah Hathaway in duet, should have replaced the first one, because it is superior. A seamless intersection of pop-jazz and adult cotemporary soul, it is a set highlight. If there's a knock against Take Me to the Alley, it's that it feels a bit long. Editing out two or three tunes would have heightened its impact. That Porter doesn't break new ground here isn't a big deal; he doesn't need to. His voice, already a standard of excellence by which others are judged, is matched by a truth-laid-bare songwriting style that is singular and second to none.

Nelson Faria & Frankfurt Radio BigBand
Live In Frankfurt

By Kees Schoof
There are musicians whose participation on an album always adds something extra. Nelson Faria is one of those musicians. Whenever his name is mentioned in the line-up, one can be sure that there’s something good about the album… Nelson Faria is a fantastic and dedicated musician (guitarist, composer, arranger). The various projects he participated in always benefited from his presence. So it was a smart move when the HR Bigband and Nelson Faria decided to join forces.
The HR Bigband is The Frankfurt Radio Bigband. The German orchestra acquired a solid reputation and worked with (jazz) musicians like Mike Stern, Michael Brecker, John Scofield and Jack Bruce. They also have experience in Brazilian music. They invited Tania Maria (2010, It’s Only Love) and the orchestra recorded the album Viva o Som(2009) with the music of Hermeto Pascoal. With Nelson Faria on guitar and as arranger, we now have an album that was recorded live in Frankfurt, 2009, and is nothing short from fantastic! Nelson Faria invited the two other members of Nosso Trio as special guests to accompany him. Ney Conceição on bass and Kiko Freitas on drums do an outstanding job, as always. They forgot they’re 2/3rd of Nosso Trio and make themselves part of the orchestra, leaving the honors as soloist to Nelson Faria. Another Brazilian input comes from the attentive percussionist Cristiane Gavazzoni (from Curitiba). She’s a regular member of the HR Bigband and also performed in other bands and orchestras throughout Europe.
The clever and tasteful arrangements make sure that the music stays Brazilian. It also underlines the quality of the musicians from the HR Bigband and the orchestra as a whole that they seem to feel what Nelson Faria had in mind with the music. The album opens with Nelson’s own composition “Brooklyn High,” which serves as kind of an overture, an introduction of the orchestra with sharp soloing by the leader himself, Andy Greenwood (trumpet), Günter Bollmann (trombone), Ney Conceição (bass) and Kiko Freitas (drums). It’s followed by another Nelson Faria composition, the Bossa Nova “Rio.”
Among the repertoire we find three compositions by João Bosco. It’s a funny thing about João Bosco’s music that his own vocal interpretations of the songs always are the best. But on an album like this, it shows how much potential his music has for instrumental arrangements. It’s pure jazz; something that also can be said, of course, about Jobim’s representation on the album, his composition “Dindi.” The rendition of this classic is breathtakingly beautiful, a perfect confluence of a Brazilian standard and jazz tradition. Nelson Faria opens in a most lyrical way after which Matthias Erlewein takes over the sentiment on the tenor sax. His soloing is absolutely a top performance. “Manhã de Carnaval” reaches that same level. Here it’s Martin Auer on the trumpet who answers to the inspirational opening by Nelson Faria.
Each track on this album is a joy to listen to. The arrangements are surprising; the soloing is superb and never disturbed by a too heavy big band sound. Everything sounds in perfect harmony. It’s absolutely among the finest releases in 2011, both in the jazz as in the Brazilian fields. Nelson Faria proves he can be counted among the greats, while the HR Bigband shows again that European Radio Orchestras often house the best local musicians; disciplined, original, dedicated and with perfect craftsmanship.
Nelson Faria & Frankfurt Radio Bigband
Live in Frankfurt
Independent (2011)
Time: 75’20”
Brooklyn High (Nelson Faria)
Rio (Nelson Faria)
Dindi (A.C. Jobim – Aloysio de Oliveira)
Incompatibilidade de Gênios (João Bosco – Aldir Blanc)
Linha de Passe (João Bosco – Aldir Blanc – Paulo Emílio)
Bala com Bala (João Bosco – Aldir Blanc)
Manhã de Carnaval (Luiz Bonfá – Antonio Maria)
Estamos Aí (Mauricio Einhorn – Durval Ferreira – Regina Werneck)
Vera Cruz (Milton Nascimento – Márcio Borges)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Claus Ogerman 1930 - 2016

By Marc Meyers
Claus Ogerman, an achingly beautiful jazz-pop orchestral arranger whose signature sound behind singers and instrumentalists featured violins scored in a high register, with the violas, cellos and bass playing sensually voiced chords below, died in Germany on March 8. He was 85.
News of Ogerman’s passing more than seven months ago seems to have escaped most traditional media in the States and other countries largely because his family was unavailable by phone to officially confirm his death at the time. His family also decided to keep the news private. As a result, many fans of his music may still be unaware of his death.
During a conversation last week with producer Tommy LiPuma about Ogerman's legacy, I mentioned I had heard that Ogerman was seriously ill. Tommy, who produced 12 albums with Ogerman as an artist and arranger, said he had, in fact, died earlier this year. Tommy said Ogerman's nephew, Spencer Matheson, had called him a few days after Ogerman's death with the sad news, asking Tommy to let singer-pianist Diana Krall know.
Tommy said that at the time, Spencer had asked him to keep it confidential, since the family didn’t want Ogerman's passing to be made public yet. Later, when the sad news was leaked by a few of Ogerman's German musician friends, Spencer convinced his family to make the news public. But by then, too much time had passed and Ogerman was largely forgotten by the press, at least in the U.S.
As an arranger in the jazz-pop world, Ogerman had few peers. He was remarkably prolific, even in a business where brand-name arrangers had to hire others to ghostwrite scores for them just to keep up with the work. Ogerman's warm, delicate string orchestrations still sound like sheer, luxurious curtains blowing in a gentle breeze, and there remains a dramatic, autumnal quality about his orchestrations that slowly envelope singers and instrumentalists like a silver mist. His big band, pop-rock and soul charts also had an unmistakable snap.
Ogerman began his recording career in Germany in 1952 as the pianist in a sextet led by Max Greger. Throughout the early 1950's, he recorded with a Greger and a range of German jazz-pop artists. His first recording with an American jazz musician was a Chet Baker jam session in Baden-Baden, Germany, in 1955.
Discovered by Stan Getz, Ogerman moved to the States in 1959 and quickly found work as a fast, diligent arranger. His earliest charts for American pop artists were for Solomon Burke and Lesley Gore, including her 1963 hit It's My Party. In 1962, Ogerman came to the attention of producer Creed Taylor shortly after Creed was named head of Verve.
At Verve, Ogerman first arranged the song Where Are You? by Jack Teagarden on the trombonist's Think Well of Me album in 1962. In May 1963, Ogerman began arranging a long string of bossa nova albums for Creed, developing a soft sound with strings that would become his hallmark. The first of these albums was Antonio Carlos Jobim's The Composer of Desafinado Plays. Throughout the 1960s, Ogerman arranged a massive catalog of superb albums produced by Creed at Verve (upward of 70, by Ogerman's count) and then continued with Creed when he moved to A&M and later founded CTI.
Shortly after CTI folded in 1978, Ogerman moved to Warner Bros., where he was produced by Tommy LiPuma. Together, Tommy and Ogerman recorded Dr. John’s City Lights; George Benson’sBreezin’, In Flight and Living Inside Your Love; Michael Franks’Sleeping Gypsy; Joao Gilberto’s Amoroso; Ogerman’s Gate of Dreams, Cityscape (featuring Michael Brecker) and Claus Ogerman, featuring Michael Brecher; Diana Krall's The Look Of Love and Quiet Nights; and Ogerman's Across The Crystal Sea,featuring Danilo Perez.
Over the course of five decades, starting in the 1960s, Ogerman recorded several hundred albums in the U.S. and Germany, where he spent half the year. The exact number still isn't known and probably won't be until someone writes his biography.
Claus Ogerman's arrangements speak volumes about his sensitivity and taste.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

2 Sem 2016 - Part Four

The Impossible Gentlemen
Let´s Get DeLuxe

By Adrian Pallant
Something of a Northern homecoming for guitarist Mike Walker and pianist/keyboardist Gwilym Simcock, a great buzz of excitement preceded the album launch of The Impossible Gentlemen’s third release, Let’s Get Deluxe, at Manchester Jazz Festival last night. Looking back from the stage of the RNCM Theatre, every one of the steeply-tiered seats appeared to be filled, and a warm expression of appreciation greeted this ‘international supergroup’ as they took up their positions. Alongside US colleagues, bassist Steve Rodby and drummer Adam Nussbaum, the name of Iain Dixon has now been added, providing a seamless woodwind and synth addition to the Gents’ distinctive musical character.
The new recording is stacked with layered instrumental textures (most notably Simcock on French horn), yet their live interpretation was a triumph, as revealed in the bright, opening prog-guitar groove of title track Let’s Get Deluxe. Grungy, late-night Dog Time (which Walker explained didn’t quite cut it in his straight Salford accent, but rather pronounced “Dawwwg Tahhhm”) is already an album standout – but here, the guitarist coaxed the most wonderful howls and caterwauls from his fretboard as it melded with Simcock’s double-banked Nord organ tremolo, before erupting into a full-bodied blues rocker with contrasting, mysterious episodes.
Dedicated to late, great pianist John Taylor, A Simple Goodbye is one of the most affecting tributes, and Simcock’s delicate chordal eloquence at the grand piano was matched by Walker’s oh-so-subtle string-bent cries – had a pin dropped in the hall, it would surely have been noticed; and blithe, countrified Speak to Me of Homebreezed along to Walker’s picked guitar and Dixon’s folksy soprano sax improvisations, expounding on the nursery-rhyme simplicity of its original melody. A complex left-hand piano figure introduced shuffling Barber Blues (from the band’s second album), developing to feature delightful bass clarinet from Dixon and lithe bass perambulations from Rodby, with Mike Walker feeling and mouthing every nuance of his octaved extemporisations; and amidst colourful drum soloing, with a few cheeky fake endings, Nussbaum’s cymbal work was positively balletic.
Closing the set with an even more energised version of the new album’s Propane Jane, Simcock jabbed away funkily with his effective Fender Rhodes voicing, and those deliciously soaring electric guitar lines from Walker could happily have been soaked up into the wee small hours by this rapt audience. But with that final number announced after just over an hour, never has a concert melted away so quickly, the whole auditorium rising to its feet in genuine gratitude for the beauty they had witnessed (many later taking to social media to declare it “one of the jazz gigs of the year”). Quite rightly called back for an encore, the band’s known playfulness surfaced: as Mike Walker’s guitar became detached from its strap, he genially muttered, “What ‘ave ah dun ‘ere?”, promptly followed by Gwilym Simcock's subtle teasing in the form of a perfect rendition of the Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em theme at the top of the Steinway!

Kenny Barron Trio
Book Of Intuition

By Mac Randall
For some strange reason, the trio that Kenny Barron has been leading for the past decade, featuring bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Johnathan Blake, had never cut an album until now. We should all thank the deity of our choice that they finally entered a recording studio, because Book of Intuition is a total delight.
From the first minute of the bossa-nova-ish opening track, “Magic Dance,” previously recorded as “J.J. Dream” with Ron Carter and Lenny White, the high degree of attunement between Barron and his bandmates is obvious. When he lays into a particularly frisky single-note phrase early on in his solo, Blake responds split seconds later with a flourish of ride cymbal and side stick, over which Kitagawa imposes a slight ritard to humorous effect. Next up is “Bud Like,” a blazing Barron performance stoked by Blake’s command of accents and Kitagawa’s dexterous walking. And so it continues through a mix of old and new material, including two pretty selections from Barron’s soundtrack for the 2010 film Another Harvest Moon.
Two standout pieces are by Thelonious Monk, to whom Barron’s had a direct spiritual line for many years. Although he may be a much smoother pianist technically than Monk, the two share a wicked sense of humor. For “Shuffle Boil,” Barron starts off his solo in a surprisingly romantic mood, then delves into deep funk, as if to say he was only kidding with that first bit. Even better is his solo take on “Light Blue,” which alternates fluid Tatum-esque arpeggios with jarring dissonances and ends on a downward glissando that fails perfectly to resolve anything.

Alessandro Lanzoni


By Brian Morton
Through his two latest, most successful records, “Dark Flavour” and “Seldom”, released on CAM JAZZ in 2013 and 2014, respectively, Alessandro Lanzoni has conclusively developed his own features as an artist who puts his talent to good use in an unceasing musical exploration, to meet his inborn communication needs that are funnelled into narrative paths, both fanciful and logical, where form and imagination are strongly balanced. A performer so willing to explore could not but find piano solo as a favourable environment, in which he is able to release his creative energy most genuinely and subjectively: this is how Lanzoni’s latest album, again to be released on CAM JAZZ, was born. Its title, “Diversions”, conveys Alessandro’s ability to create ever-changing sonic landscapes through free improvisation, places where the listener is led confidently by an expert who knows how to manoeuver the roughest paths, mastering the most varied musical languages. For his stylistic versatility, Alessandro Lanzoni perfectly represents a contemporary aesthetic theory that leads the artist to express the many different stimuli of today’s world. But all this is supported by the young pianist’s strong background of classical studies, skilfully absorbed formal patterns and own genuine “jazzy” nature that induce the famous Scottish music reviewer, Brian Morton, to say: “Lanzoni’s music is not so much washed on the banks of the Arno as dipped in the waters of the Mississippi”, joking about his name, oddly sounding like Manzoni, the Italian author of “The Betrothed”.
Recorded in Ludwigsburg on 8 - 9 September 2015 at Bauer Studios.
Recording engineer: Johannes Wohlleben

Enrico Zanisi

By Franco Fayenz
Keywords. The first that come to mind are: inventiveness, talent, musicality, technique, composition, fusion, courage. You’ll find other keywords by listening to Enrico Zanisi’s brand new record. One could fill an entire review with them. Once again, the very young player from Rome (born in 1990) shows an amazing maturity in leading his trio through the recording of this sumptuous, kaleidoscopic album. With the support of Joe Rehmer on double bass and Alessandro Paternesi on drums, Zanisi built up a sterling recording, which (nearly) consists of original tunes, except for the closing piece, “Träumerei” by Robert Schumann: less than three minutes of elegance in its purest form, as if, at the end of a splendid musical journey, the trio wanted to say that everything starts from there, the old masters. Indeed, technical command over the instrument is derived from a deep-seated classical background, which enables Enrico Zanisi to explore any land with astonishing confidence and awareness, considering that he is only twenty-three years old. (Jazz by new talent is still rich in influences of all kinds.) It’s difficult to recommend one song, rather than another: from its opening, “Claro”, to its closing dedicated to Schumann, this album is a clear round of enlightened, well-written tunes, with airy moods (“Equilibre”), havens of peace (“Au Revoir”) and captivating rhythms (“Power Fruits”). Keywords (is it also a pun with the “keyboard”, of which Zanisi is a master?) is the ideal sequel to Life Variations, recorded a year ago, which displayed a fully blossomed, defined personality. Same concept (Ermanno Basso in the production room, Rehmer e Paternesi as excellent co-leads), up a notch. The Roman pianist is definitely ready to enter the circle of Italy’s top jazzmen, as already stated by Musica Jazz magazine in 2012.
Recorded in Ludwigsburg on 12, 13 June 2013 at Bauer Studios
Recording engineer: Johannes Wohlleben

Saturday, September 17, 2016

2 Sem 2016 - Part Three


By Roger Farbey
Parallax (noun) "the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer." This phenomenon is exactly how the listener new to Phronesis' oeuvre would perceive this, their sixth album recorded within the last decade.
"67000 MPH" for example, is a whistle stop tour of musically-defined gravitational resistance. The mad tempo changes and frequent erratic structural modulations characterise this frenetic opening number penned by Anton Eger. But in spite of this wild compositional metamorphosing the music is absolutely gripping. The initial fractured nature of Ivo Neame's "Ok Chorale" is soon resolved with undulating waves of light and shade from all three musicians playing together almost telepathically.
The tentative start to Jasper Hoiby's "Stillness," via sombre arco bass, belies its subsequent robustness propelled by Neame's florid piano and Eger's tumultuous rhythmic pulse. A breathing space is afforded in Neame's delicate ballad, "Kite For Seamus" at odds with the ensuing juddering explosions of Høiby's "Just 4 Now," his bass lines vibrantly percolating through the morass of piano and drums.
There is a considerable staccato element to Eger's "Ayu," emphasised by Eger's driving percussion, but typically there are paradoxical passages of near-tranquillity too. In contrast to the melee, Høiby's ballad "A Silver Moon" exudes sensitive fragility and a keen and haunting melody. The spaces here allow bass and piano in particular to interact magnificently.
In sections of Ivo Neame's aptly titled "Manioc Maniac" his rambunctious piano begins at times to channel Cecil Taylor whereas the concluding number, Eger's "Rabat," gradually resolves into a more coalescent form, centred around repeated chord patterns which permit some release to the built-up tension, finally drawing the piece to a relatively sedate close.
In truth, Phronesis are one of the most exciting jazz trios around. Although initially bassist Høiby's brainchild, the band is democratic both in terms of the prominence of all three musicians, each of whom are virtuosos in their own right, and also by the equal sharing of the composing duties. But crucially, the sheer energy that's generated from this album is simply phenomenal.
Track Listing: 
67000 MPH; OK Chorale; Stillness; Kite For Seamus; Just 4 Now; Ayu; A Silver Moon; Manioc Maniac; Rabat.
Jasper Høiby: double bass; Ivo Neame: piano; Anton Eger: drums.

Gilson Peranzzetta & Amoy Ribas

Lançado em 2015.

1. Fator Rh (03:56)
2. Luiz Eça É pra Você (04:19)
3. Loa de um Barranqueiro (05:24)
4. Paz (04:15)
5. Croa de um Jongueiro (03:42)
6. Repercutindo (02:58)
7. Lá Vai o Cara (04:47)
8. Entre Rios (05:27)
9. Quase em Gana (04:38)
10. Chega de Verdades Queremos Promessas (03:27)
11. Paisagens de Vidro (05:19)
12. Aprendi Com Donato (03:29)

Ed Motta
Perpetual Gateways

By John L Walters 
Ed Motta’s music can be an acquired taste. This is not because his music is especially challenging or ‘difficult’ – though his use of harmony is far from simple. It’s more that Motta inhabits a world of his own making which seems far removed from the everyday machinations of the post-internet music industry, from the commercial landscape of pop music and from the day-to-day concerns of many listeners and musicians.
I guess that Motta, like Charles Mingus, like Martin Scorsese, Byron or Shelley is a kind of romantic, who yearns for times and places he is too young to have experienced at first hand. And, like a portrait painter in a time of abstract expressionism, or a machine code programmer trying to make sense of Facebook, he is an outsider who is bursting with inside information, the sort of person outlined by Brian Wilson in ‘I Guess I Just Wasn’t Made For This World.’
Motta has well honed skills as a singer-songwriter-instrumentalist, which makes him a rare artist in an age of delegators and generalists. Furthermore he appears to have a brain and intellectual appetite the size of a small, inhabitable planet, in possession of a vast amount of knowledge about cheese, wine, jazz, stage musicals, comic books, arcane instruments and the ‘Yacht Rock’ culture he explored in the album AOR. (This 2013 masterpiece lovingly recreated West Coast sounds of the late 1970s in Rio studios, with guests such as Jean Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunik from Incognito and David T. Walker, and hip English lyrics by Rob Gallagher aka Earl Zinger.)
For Perpetual Gateways, Motta has set his controls for the heart of jazz-rock – with an emphasis on the jazz side of the hyphen. He hired musicians who were around at the time of the music’s heyday, pianists Greg Phillinganes and Patrice Rushenand flutist Hubert Laws, and younger guys such as bassist Cecil McBee Jr and trumpeter Curtis Taylor, who – like Motta – appear to have ingested that West Coast sound in their parents’ vinyl). The producer is Kamau Kenyatta, known for his fine work with Gregory Porter, and the album has the form of an LP: one side is Soul Gate; the other, Jazz Gate.
Side one opens with Captain’s Refusal, a jazzy yacht-rock song with nifty horn punctuation and close mic’d lead vocal tracking reminiscent of George Duke’s mid-70s albums. Phillinganes’ electric piano solo sneakily quotes from ‘Girl From Ipanema’ as if responding to Motta’s musical joke, and there is a splashy, flamboyant ending by drummer Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith.
Hypochondriac’s Fun pairs bizarre lyrics with a perky, rolling groove that has a hint of Michael McDonald-era Doobie Brothers – it swings and rocks at the same time. If you listen on headphones, Motta’s vocal is almost in your ears, a whispering presence both calming and slightly weird. There’s a barnstorming acoustic piano solo by Phillinganes – you can imagine the other session players applauding after the take.
Good Intentions has an understated keyboard minor chord vamp and groove from the Donny Hathaway / Stevie Wonder school, with an arrangement (by Motta himself) that locks so neatly with the rhythm track that the horns can be mixed high. More classy acoustic piano (by Patrice Rushen) and drums that make you wish Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith had played on Donald Fagen’s sweet but somewhat underproduced Hold On To That Slinky Thing (on Sunken Condos).
Reader’s Choice is Motta’s take on a torch song, with a lovely chord sequence, and a fine trumpet coda by Curtis Taylor in which he channels the most dramatic soul ballads he’s ever internalised. However the English words (Motta’s own) are somewhat opaque. Even if Motta’s songs make Elton John’s repertoire sound tepid, Bernie Taupin has nothing to worry about.
The Soul Gate A-side comes to an end with Heritage Déjà Vu, the most explicitly Latin track on the whole album, with a nice turnaround between upbeat yacht rock and a jazzy chorus montuno that invokes the sound of Brazilian-themed jazz-rock albums from the 1970s: early Return To Forever, Flora Purim, Airto, George Duke and Earth Wind and Fire.
The Jazz Gate second side of Perpetual Gateways starts with Forgotten Nickname, another breezy ballad with magnificent flute by Hubert Laws.
The Owner is a hustling, up-beat hard bop song with colourful drums, piano vamps and trumpet/sax hooks that channel a 1960s Horace Silver influence. There’s an exuberant acoustic piano solo by Rushen plus more Taylor on trumpet and an arrangement by Kenyatta – it’s proper, full blooded jazz!
A Town in Flames opens with a blare of free-ish horns and cymbals that evoke Motta’s Aystelum (which itself was reminiscent of the intro to Steely Dan’s Everything Must Go). The track then hustles along like crazy and features another terrific solo by Laws.
I Remember Julie is an uncompromisingly forthright jazz piece driven along by a busy, ultrafast 4/4 swing time feel – like that of the best mid-60s jazz quartets and quintets. Motta demonstrates his vocal chops with a melody that could plausibly be a vocalese version of something from Miles Smiles.
Overblown Overweight, with its fleet 6/4 pulse, takes us down the path of ‘righteous jazz’ re-trodden so successfully by Gregory Porter, Kamasi Washington and a host of newer bands. There are great vocal harmonies, a roaring tenor sax solo by guest Charles Owens, and an electric piano solo by Rushen. Motta treats us to some scat singing. Defying its title, the track sounds lean and sleek.
Although Perpetual Gateways deliberately pushes buttons for those who loved this music the first time round, its strength lies in what Motta has done with the idiom to make it new. At a time when much popular music sounds rigid, arthritic, auto-tuned and overproduced, Perpetual Gateways is a generous, authentic treat – fast on its feet and bursting with energy.

Marcotulli/ Erskine/ Danielsson
Trio M/E/D

By Neri Pollastri
Questo disco live documenta la tournée fatta nel 2014 in trio da Rita Marcotulli, Palle Danielsson e Peter Erskine, antichi compagni di avventura (con il contrabbassista svedese la pianista romana registrò nel lontano 1993 il primo disco a proprio nome, lo splendido Night Caller) già avevano registrato un disco (uscito per la collana dell'Espresso) nel 2006. Di quella tournée viene qui ripreso il concerto tenutosi il 13 luglio a Genova.
Avvalendosi anche della tensione e della concentrazione di un concerto dal vivo, il disco mette assai bene in mostra il valore della formazione: pariteticità basata su una perfetta intesa artistica, ecletticità stilistica mai scissa dalla centralità della melodia, originalità del repertorio, fulgide qualità dei singoli. Di quest'ultimo fattore si ha un esempio emblematico fin dall'apertura, la prima delle due tracce di Danielsson dedicate ai pianeti: nel bel brano dalle curiose forme di derivazione barocca, il contrabbassista si produce in una bellissima introduzione in solitudine, che riprende di nuovo poco prima della conclusione. Il prologo di una performance di altissimo livello che ne prova la splendida forma.
Non sono da meno i due compagni: la Marcotulli -della quale è presente qui solo un brano, "This Is Not" -ha ovviamente più volte modo di mettersi in luce (tra i tanti momenti si ascolti il modo in cui conduce e varia espressivamente la seconda parte dell'ultimo brano, "Autumn Rose" di Erskine); il batterista, oltre a essere sempre molto presente nell'ordito paritetico (si senta lo scambio con la pianista nella seconda metà di "This Is Not"), domina ampiamente la scena nel suo "Bulgaria," ove si produce in un lungo assolo d'apertura.
Due gli omaggi, il primo a Monk , con un "Pannonica" certo più smussata rispetto alla spigolosità dell'originale ma comunque ricca di espressività, e l'altro, con un "Nightfall" sentitissimo e infatti molto bello, a Charlie Haden, che all'epoca del concerto era scomparso da appena due giorni.
Un gruppo di primo piano, dunque, che presenta una musica curatissima, moderna e viva, forse non particolarmente innovativa ma che unisce fruibilità e spessore, bellezza dei suoni e invenzioni improvvisative.
Track Listing:
Mars; This Is Not; Spells; Pannonica; ForJupiter; Nightfall; Bulgaria; Autumn Rose.
Rita Marcotulli: pianoforte; Palle Danielsson: contrabbasso; Peter Erskine: batteria.

Francis Hime
50 Anos de Música

By Biscoito Fino
Os 75 anos de vida e 50 de carreira de Francis Hime foram celebrados no palco, em grande estilo, ao som de uma trilha sonora generosa em clássicos e novas canções do compositor, intérprete, arranjador e pianista carioca. Registrado pelo Canal Brasil, o espetáculo comemorativo, batizado com o nome de Francis Hime - 50 Anos de Música, está sendo lançado em CD e DVD.

06. MINHA