By Swing Journal
Australian-born and New York-based Nicki Parrot is a double threat: She plays the bass fabulously, and has a singing voice that shares the relaxed sexiness of Julie London and the coquettishness of Blossom Dearie. Since she's moved to New York, she has performed and/or recorded with the late guitar legend Les Paul, and pianists Rachel Z and Rossano Sportiello, among many others.Her two earlier albums released by Venus Records (Moon River and Fly Me To The Moon were met with wild popularity and critical acclaim, both of them becoming Swing Journal Gold Disc and receiving two Jazz Disc Awards in a row.Nicki's eagerly awaited third album is a sultry and attractive tribute to Peggy Lee and Julie London. She is againg surrounded by a hugely talented cast that includes pianist John di Martino, tenor saxophonist Harry Allen and guitarist Paul Myers as well as her sister Lisa Parrott who plays baritone and soprano sax and bass clarinet.Highlights include the title track which displays Nicki's tremendous vocal talent, whimsical "Dark Eyes" where Nicki sings in unison with her own arco bass, and "Fever" where she substitutes the famous vocal-drum duet section by Peggy Lee with a duet with her own bass! The audiophile recording enhances the value of this wonderful CD, too. Very highly recommended!Produced by Tetsuo Hara and Todd Barkan. Recorded at Avatar Studio in New York on December 17-19, 2009. Engineered by Katherine Miller. Mixed and mastered by Tetsuo Hara / Venus Hyper Magnum Sound Direct Mix. Swing Journal Gold Disc.
Seamus Blake Quintet
Live At Smalls
Seamus Blake, the Canadian-born tenor player, has been garnering an estimable reputation as a hard-edged modernist. He is a member of the award winning group The Bloomdaddies which he describes as “ a funky, alternative grunge jazz band”. For this live date he brings pianist David Kikoski, drummer Bill Stewart and guitarist Lage Lund, who is a real discovery and seems destined for guitar-hero status. The music is fresh and original with one standard “Stranger In Paradise” which gets treated in a sensitive, yet unconventional fashion. This is an exciting and original live project and one well worth listening to.
Vijay Iyer Trio
by Michael G. Nastos
Vijay Iyer has captured the ears of critics and listeners like only a handful of the most elite jazz pianists since McCoy Tyner, Cecil Taylor, or Misha Mengelberg initially burst onto the scene. There's no other single player who sounds even remotely like him, few who can match his inventive and whimsical sense of play or seriousness, and absolutely nobody who presents the stunning, highly intelligent music he dishes out. With Historicity, he touches on many different levels of acumen, influenced by contemporary alternative rock, Motown, show tunes, pop fusion, the early creative music of the '70s, and ethnic strains. Iyer also revisits two of his older compositions, with the majority of this progressive jazz -- whether "covers" or originals -- done completely in his own scintillating style. Iyer's working/touring band of drummer Marcus Gilmore and bassist Stephan Crump is more than up to the task, with this well-rehearsed music retaining a spontaneous, liquid, chameleonic urgency that consistently staggers the imagination. Iyer's mind-blowing virtuosity on the title track/opener is loaded with mutated repeat phrases that tumble from his brilliant, busy hands. Clearly, he is not like all the others. His love for Andrew Hill is demonstrated during "Smoke Stack," a scattershot, inventive, tangential swinger, while Julius Hemphill's deeply bluesy and tribal "Dogon A.D." is perfectly interpreted in its thorny, craggy, unpredictable rhythmic base, as Crump's bowed bass and Gilmore's juggernaut funk stagger the mixed meters, very faithful to the original. M.I.A. fans are treated to "Galang" in a hardbound big beat with summarily contrasting bright or dark piano lines, while Stevie Wonder's "Big Brother" sports a tom-tom-fed New Orleans syncopation contrasting Iyer's strident piano. The suggestive, introspective original "Helix" is different for the pianist in a diffuse setting, and he conversely incorporates a circle-the-wagons approach on the romantic Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim evergreen "Somewhere," juxtaposed against a bluesy swing, again atypical. Perhaps the most unusual choice is R&B fusioneer Ronnie Foster's "Mystic Brew," a straight funky version, not at all smooth, but way cool. The recapitulated tracks include "Trident: 2010" in a roiling, nearly boiled motion, while "Segment for Sentiment #2" is magnificently spiritual, again a twist for Iyer's more animated notions. Crump's bass playing and especially his soloing should be something to marvel at for anyone who appreciates finely crafted, artistic jazz musicianship, while Gilmore is amazing in his ability to keep up and push the more complex sounds. Vijay Iyer has mad skills, overwhelmingly and powerfully demonstrated on all of his recordings, but especially this one. He's also maturing at a rapid rate, while at the height of his powers on this incredible effort that sounds like much more than a mere piano-bass-drums mainstream jazz trio. This is an incredible CD, and a strong candidate for best jazz CD of 2009.
Sings Cole Porter & The Beat Of A Yearning Desire
by Cinzia Guidetti/Jazzitalia
Affascinato dal mondo dei cantautori nel corso degli ultimi anni Giuseppe Delre si è avvicinato alla musica di Cole Porter. Cercando di approfondire alcuni degli aspetti stilistici e compositivi è rimasto affascinando dal tema del desiderio che aleggia nei versi del compositore.Così, coadiuvato da ottimi musicisti come il trombettista Luca Aquino, con una big band di dieci elementi, e un quartetto d'archi, ha dato vita a questo suo lavoro.
I brani, tutti di Cole Porter a esclusione di "In a Porter mood for love" dello stesso Delre, sono stati riarrangiati con gusto, riuscendo a coniugare tradizione e modernità grazie anche a un'interpretazione sobria e elegante. Si passa così da "Love for sale", a "I've got you under my skin", a "What is this thing called love?" fino a chiudere con "Night And Day". Curiosa la citazione di "Libertango" di Astor Piazzola in "Get out of town".
Il disco si presenta godibilissimo, energico e passionale come la musica dello stesso Porter.
Delicious and Delightful
by Ethan Krow
Steve Turre, trombone & shells; Billy Harper, tenor saxophone; Larry Willis, piano; Russell Malone, guitar; Corcoran Holt, bass; Pedro Martinez, Bata & djembe drums; Dion Parson, drums.
On his latest release on High Note Records, Steve Turre surrounds himself with some familiar faces and, while keeping the relaxed and easy rhythms of his 2008 release Rainbow People, explores a variety of different compositions. Turre brings back Dion Parson on drums from 2006’s Keep Searchin’ and adds impressive newcomer Corcoran Holt on bass to round out his rhythm section. He completes the band with label mate Larry Willis on piano and old friend Billy Harper on tenor sax.The album starts with Light Within, composed by Harper. Turre opens in classic style, with light playing on three different types of shells. When Harper eventually comes in to double Turre on the main theme, the interaction of the two instruments is warm and lively. Harper has a laid-back solo, followed by Turre and then Willis. Turre’s solo especially plays off the tight rhythm section. Parson distinguishes himself with complex, energetic playing that effortlessly settles into a strong groove.Next is Duke Rays, which works off Ellington’s In a Mellotone. Turre starts off the track and settles the melody into its slow deep swing. Holt’s walking bass line is subtle and easily lost in the mix, but nevertheless forms the heart of the track‘s groove. Harper’s solo near the three and half minute mark is probably his best work on the album. Willis follows him with a brief, sparse solo. Towards the end of the song the band falls back and lets Holt take focus. Even when all of the attention is on him he continues to play subtly and quietly, and scores the best solo on the track. Dance Of The Gazelles is probably the best track on the record.. It begins with a funky rhythm line from Holt, upon which Willis lays a surreal and repetitive melody. This mysterious theme, aided by guest percussionist Pedro Martinez on Bata and Djembe drums, settle into a deep trance until Turre starts braying lightly over it. Martinez extends his solo by teasing it out instead off erupting with sound. Around the five and a half minute mark Willis has a superb, delirious and off-kilter solo. The title track, Delicious And Delightful, opens with guest Russell Malone on guitar, followed by the horns sections playing an energetic, upbeat theme. They riff on the theme for quite some time, until Turre has a chance to slow down and dissect it. Malone follows with a tricky playful solo, and Harper responds with the most frenetic playing on the album.Blackfoot starts with Holt playing a drum roll to announce that this will be his track. He takes center stage as the band plays between his drum breaks for about a minute until Harper lets loose with all of the energy that the composition has built up. His solo flies out like he is worried he won’t be able to finish in time. This forces Turre to up his game and he lets loose a furious solo. Toward the end of the song Parson takes control again, barely letting the band in between his intense drum breaks.Delicious and Delightful continues the string of quality records from Turre and will impress and delight any of his fans.TrackList: Light Within, Duke Rays, Speak To Me Of Love, Speak To Me Of Truth, Dance Of The Gazelles, Delicious And Delightful, Tenderly, Sunala Nobala, Blackfoot, Ray’s Collared Greens.