Sunday, January 16, 2011

1 Sem 2011 - Part One

GismontiPascoal - A musica de Egberto & Hermeto
Hamilton de Holanda & Andre Mehmari

by Dr. Leo Rocha
Um encontro de quatro gigantes da Música Brasileira ! Trata-se do segundo disco da dupla Hamilton de Holanda e André Mehmari,agora,pelo selo Brasilianos de propriedade do primeiro. O nome já diz tudo: é uma homenagem a Egberto Gismonti e a Hermeto Pascoal. Egberto,músico,compositor,arranjador,há muito tempo já é um nome de carreira internacional,consagrado,enfim,um gênio,comparece nesse disco como autor de seis músicas e ainda toca violão na faixa "Fala da paixão"(um luxo só). Hermeto,o mago de todos os instrumentos(toca tudo) é também compositor (seis músicas são de sua autoria) e arranjador, participa em uma faixa "Música das nuvens e do chão" que encerra o disco. Hamilton de Holanda,jovem bandolinista já vai fazer 20 anos de carreira e é,sem dúvidas, um dos maiores bandolinistas do mundo (ouçam o que ele faz com o tema "Bebê" de Hermeto). André Mehmari dispensa apresentação e continua a mostrar todo o seu talento como pianista além de compositor inspirado. No CD há também quatro músicas de autoria de Hamilton e Mehmari como o lindo tema "Menino Hermeto",quase um acalanto. Belos também são os temas de Gismonti ,já bem conhecidos: "Palhaço" e "Memória e fado". O ano de 2011 começa, portanto,com tudo ! É uma bênção a reunião desses quatro craques num disco.

Pat Bianchi
Back Home

by Michael G. Nastos
Organist Pat Bianchi's turn to be in the spotlight as a premier player on his instrument is long overdue, and with the release of Back Home, it's clear his time has finally come. Since the 2006 issue of his album East Coast Roots on the Jazzed Media label and his estimable work with guitarist Corey Christiansen, Bianchi's star has been steadily rising, but now he's reached his zenith. Playing with two different groups, Bianchi transcends soul-jazz by playing the C-3 (church) organ, choosing heady progressive material, and showing his acumen on his instrument similar to peer Larry Goldings (see the Goldings masterpiece Sweet Science). With his "A" group -- the very energetic sidemen of drummer Ralph Peterson, tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, and trumpeter Terell Stafford -- alongside, Bianchi whips out compositions not necessarily thought of as vehicles for organ, evidence including the super-fast and tricky Ornette Coleman post-bop piece "Blues Connotation" and Chick Corea's 6/8 groove and bop track "Litha," which came directly from fusion originally with electric piano. The "B" trio with drummer Carmen Intorre and guitarist Gilad Hekselman also tackles difficult music -- John Coltrane's "Fifth House" (and an additional shorter alternate take) challenges rhythmic parameters in a modal sense while Bianchi goes off à la Larry Young. But where Bianchi's three pieces also explore a mellower sound during ballads and blues, it is his deeply hued style on the C-3 that identifies a new approach to playing modern jazz. What Bianchi is doing is very nearly innovative, and this should only be the tip of the iceberg.

Miguel Zenon
Esta Plena

by Leonardo Barroso
This is one of the worst jazz cd I heard, some jazz is heard through some of the musics, but a lot of screaming(not singing) in the begining of each song. DownBeat Magazine gave 5 stars, I'll give 1 star. Run from this recording !!

by Jeff Tamarkin
Following the release of his previous album, 2008's Awake, Miguel Zenón was awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship "genius grant," the latter alone putting half a million bucks in his pocket with which he could do anything he wanted. He used at least some of that cash to create Esta Plena, an album that expands on 2005's roots-conscious Jíbaro by linking traditional Puerto Rican plena music with modern jazz technique. In the album's liner notes, Zenón provides an in-depth explanation of the history and musical properties of plena, a folkloric style born of the poor class in a barrio in southern Puerto Rico. Its lyrics, he explains, tell of the lives and struggles of those people, and while the music has continually evolved since its inception, it still pays its respects to its roots. Here it evolves yet again as Zenón marries the time-tested form to his modern jazz sensibilities. He is a superb, dynamic alto saxophonist and a visionary bandleader, and working with a cast of ace contemporary players -- pianist Luis Perdomo, acoustic bassist Hans Glawischnig, drummer Henry Cole (all three of whom appeared on Awake), lead vocalist/percussionist Héctor "Tito" Matos, and background vocalists/percussionists Obanilú Allende and Juan Gutiérrez -- Zenón finds the place where the traditional plena and contemporary jazz, both of which share African roots, meet up and become something new together. From the fiery opening instrumental, "Villa Palmeras," through the vocal numbers, Zenón melds his well-defined melodicism with intricate rhythms and harmonies, allowing plenty of space for his fellow musicians and vocalists to contribute to the story. Perdomo, particularly, is a major factor: a masterful pianist, he virtually serves as a second leader here by co-crafting the melodic direction with Zenón. On tracks like the midtempo "Pandero y Pagode," the swinging "Oyelo," the sizzling "¿Qué Será de Puerto Rico?" (spotlighting drummer Cole), and the epic instrumentals "Progreso" and "Villa Coope," Zenón and his crew create music that is full of life, history, richness, and realness.

Steve Gadd and Friends
Live At Voce

by PRWeb / Vocus
One of the most recorded drummers of all time, Steve Gadd has worked with everyone from Chick Corea to Paul Simon, Maynard Ferguson to Eric Clapton. When it comes to his own projects, Gadd loves to play good-time groove music that has the danceable qualities and bluesiness of the best R&B along with the adventurous solos and impeccable musicianship of jazz.
On "Live At Voce (Deluxe Edition)," Gadd is joined by Joey DeFrancesco (arguably the World's greatest organist), the passionate baritone-saxophonist Ronnie Cuber, and the versatile guitarist Paul Bollenbeck. Together they create grooves and hard-driving swing that are reminiscent of the best organ groups of the 1960s including an early George Benson band that featured Cuber. The infectious rhythms, catchy material, and colorful ensembles make this band impossible to resist.
For this project the quartet, which has been together since 2007, is heard at a popular club in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Watching The River Flow,” which is based on “Swanee River,” has exciting solos by all four musicians. The one-chord vamp “Way Back Home” gives Ronnie Cuber a chance to preach on his horn. “Undecided” is taken at a burning tempo that is perfect for the musicians, with DeFrancesco showing why he is considered the master of his instrument. “Bye Bye Blackbird” starts out with a surprising duet between Gadd on brushes and DeFrancesco, who is heard on a muted trumpet a la Miles Davis. “Them Changes” finds the group rocking out on an R&B groove that alternates with some furious straight ahead jamming.
Cuber is featured on a heartfelt rendition of “Georgia On My Mind.” “Back At The Chicken Shack” has the Gadd band returning to the blues, really digging into the music. Horace Silver's “Sister Sadie” is given quite a ride by the musicians, with this being the most stirring performance of the heated set.
As a bonus, the deluxe version of Live At Voce concludes with a pair of intriguing duets (“Here I Am Now” and “Down”) by Gadd and singer/songwriter Edie Brickell. Gadd and Brickell lead the newly formed band, The Gaddabouts, featuring Andrew Fairweather Low and Pino Palladino.
About The Musicians:
Steve Gadd has had a remarkable career during the past 40 years, and there are no signs that he plans to slow down. He began playing drums when he was three, sat in with Dizzy Gillespie at the age of 11, and became a major studio drummer in 1972. Since then his countless number of recordings include important sessions with Chuck Mangione, Bill Watrous, Jim Croce, Joe Farrell, Bette Midler, Chet Baker, Phoebe Snow, Bob James, Hubert Laws, Herbie Mann, George Benson, David Sanborn, Paul Simon, Tom Scott, Chick Corea, Grover Washington Jr, Jim Hall, Maynard Ferguson, Al DiMeola, Carla Bley, Judy Collins, Stanley Clarke, Stuff, Joe Cocker, the Brecker Brothers, Dave Grusin, Charles Mingus, Eddie Daniels, Weather Report, Lee Ritenour, Michael Franks, Carly Simon, Steely Dan, Al Jarreau, Grover Washington Jr, the Manhattan Transfer, Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, James Brown, the Manhattan Jazz Quintet and Natalie Cole plus the Gadd Gang. Just in the past year, Gadd has toured and recorded with Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Alain Clark and Edie Brickell.
Joey DeFrancesco is largely responsible for the Hammond B-3 organ making a comeback in the 1990s. The son of organist Papa John DeFrancesco, Joey began sitting in at his father's gigs when he was just six. He learned from the masters, befriended Jimmy Smith, and toured with Miles Davis right after his high school graduation in 1988. His brilliant playing and enthusiasm led to the organ, which had been neglected in favor of electric keyboards, being restored to its former place of prominence. His success has led to many other young organists entering the scene, but Joey DeFrancesco still ranks at the very top.
Baritonist Ronnie Cuber, whose deep guttural tone is influenced by the late Pepper Adams, has been a major force on his instrument since the 1960s. His stints with the Maynard Ferguson big band and with George Benson made him well known in the jazz world. In recent years he has often been heard with the Mingus Big Band.
Guitarist Paul Bollenback started playing music when he was seven. Originally a rock player, he changed his musical direction after hearing Miles Davis. He has been associated with Joey DeFrancesco off and on since the early 1990s and has also worked with Mark Murphy, Gary Thomas, Ron Holloway, Joe Locke, Houston Person, Geoff Keezer, Jim Snider, Jack McDuff, and Tony Monaco.
Steve Gadd's Live At Voce lives up to its great potential, resulting in bluesy music that is both accessible and superbly played by four master musicians.
For more information about Live At Voce (Deluxe Edition), contact Heather Noonan at BFM Digital: pr (at) bfmjazz (dot) com or 818-761-0191.

Melody Gardot
My One And Only Thrill

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Melody Gardot's 2006 debut, Worrisome Heart, was greeted with warmly enthusiastic reviews that never failed to mention Gardot's musical similarities to Norah Jones and Madeleine Peyroux, or her sadly compelling story of surviving a severe hit-and-run accident at the age of 19. The tragedy gave critics an irresistible hook, and the musical similarities -- which also include her vocal resemblance to Fiona Apple's smoky tones -- gave new listeners a familiar touchstone, but both merely provided an entry into a fine, accomplished debut. Released three years later, Gardot's second album, My One and Only Thrill, proves that the first was no fluke; it doesn't build upon the debut so much as it sustains its quality. Like before, My One and Only Thrill is built primarily on Gardot originals (a fine version of "Over the Rainbow" that closes the album being the only exception) that seamlessly blend sultry, late-night jazz blues, singer/songwriter introspection, and sophisticated pop melodies. If anything, My One and Only Thrill emphasizes Gardot's chanteuse qualities, feeling like more of a jazz album than its predecessor, thanks both to its languid atmosphere and also Gardot's phrasing, which elegantly elongates her melodies and slips into scat. These are slight, subtle progressions but what impresses is how thoroughly My One and Only Thrill lives up to the promise of her debut, offering another album that is as enchanting in its sound as it is in its substance.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Charles Fambrough 1950-2011


By Douglas Payne
After a long bout battling liver disease and many years of suffering, the great jazz bassist Charles Fambrough passed away on Saturday, January 1, 2011. Fambrough had apparently been awaiting a transplant match. Several musical tributes were held in Philadelphia over the last several years to help Fambrough and his family pay the bassist’s outrageous medical expenses.
Philadelphia resident Charles Fambrough was born on August 25, 1950. Fambrough studied classical piano throughout his elementary and high-school years. He gravitated to bass at the age of 13, attempting to imitate Paul Chambers, the first jazz bassist he ever heard. He began studying classical bass in the seventh grade but gave it up in 1968 to begin working in the pit bands for such theatrical productions as You Can’t Take it With You and Bye-Bye Birdie and, by day, playing on The Mike Douglas Show.
In 1969, Charles began working with a cover band called Andy Aaron’s Mean Machine that also featured a young saxophonist by the name of Grover Washington, Jr. A year later, Charles joined Grover Washington’s road band, staying with the saxophonist during his popular CTI years. In 1975, Fambrough joined Airto Moreira’s band, where he stayed for two years until joining legendary pianist McCoy Tyner’s group, playing on Tyner’s Focal Point (1977), The Greeting (1978) and Horizon (1979), as well as Rahsaan Roland Kik’s Boogie Woogie String Along For Real (1977) – his earliest known recordings.
Upon leaving Tyner’s group, Fambrough hooked up with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers at about the same time Wynton Marsalis was part of the group, recording with the great jazz drummer from 1980 until 1982 and featuring on the pivotal Album of the Year (1981). Fambrough once said “McCoy showed me how to play with endurance. Art gave me refinement.”
He continued, “With McCoy, the gig is about speed and strength. He plays so much stuff that you’re lucky if you’re heard, so you struggle to keep up with him. But with Art it was a lot different. He heard every note you played and if there was anything raggedy, he immediately let you know about it. He really taught you how to play behind a horn player, how to develop in a rhythm section.”
Surprisingly, Charles Fambrough made his own solo recording debut on Creed Taylor’s famed CTI Records in 1991 with The Proper Angle, an excellent, star-studded affair featuring Wynton Marsalis (who featured Fambrough in his first band in 1982) and Roy Hargrove on trumpet, Branford Marsalis and Joe Ford (who first met Fambrough on a McCoy Tyner gig 13 years earlier) on sax, the late, lamented Kenny Kirkland on piano, Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums (both Kirkland and Watts featured with Fambrough in a trio at the time dubbed “Jazz From Keystone”) and Steve Barrios, Mino Cinelu and Jerry Gonzalez on percussion. The record is the first bassist-led date on CTI Records since the legendary Ron Carter in 1976 and it’s clear that Fambrough, like Carter, was a bassist who could lead an interesting jazz record of his own. It also ranks among the very best the label issued during its 1989-98 resurgence.
The Proper Angle was not only one of CTI’s only straight-ahead albums of the time, it also showcased some of jazz’s best young lions at the top of their game. It surely proved that Fambrough was a tremendously capable leader adept at helming a band of great improvisers who worked beautifully well together and it introduced the bassist’s amazing facility for interesting composition (“The Dreamer,” “Sand Jewels,” “Broski,” the bassist’s nickname from his Jazz Messenger days, “Dolores Carla Maria,” named for Fambrough’s wife and widow, a singer of great renown in her own right, “Earthlings,” “The Proper Angle,” “One for Honor,” originally written for McCoy Tyner’s Horizon, and the beautifully titled “Our Father Who Art Blakey,” named for the drummer who had passed away the year before).
Fambrough issued two more records on CTI, The Charmer (1992), featuring Roy Hargrove on trumpet, Kenny Garrett on alto sax, pianists Bill O’Connell, Kenny Kirkland and Abdullah Ibrahim (!), drummers Jeff “Tain” Watts, Billy Drummond and Yoron Israel (!) on drums and a reunion on three tracks with Grover Washington, Jr., and the splendiferously excellent live album Blues at Bradley’s (1993) featuring Donald Harrison, Steve Turre, Joe Ford, Bill O’Connell, Bobby Broom, Ricky Sebastian and Steve Berrios. These records remain the undisputed highpoint of CTI in the nineties.
Several other discs under Charles Fambrough’s name also appeared, including Keep of the Spirit (AudioQuest, 1995), City Tribes (Evidence, 1995), Upright Citizen (NuGroove, 1997) and Charles Fambrough Live @ Zanzibar Blue (Random Chance, 2002). The bassist also continued to appear on a wide array of discs by others, including Pharoah Sanders (Crescent with Love), Bill O’Connell (including the pianist’s great CTI album Lost Voices), Ernie Watts (Reaching Up), Kevin Mahogany (My Romance) and the jazz-rock cover bands Beatlejazz and Stonejazz.
In recent years, health problems prevented Charles Fambrough from participating as much as he once had on the recording scene. But he continued playing around his hometown as much as possible and was one of the bassists featured on drummer/composer Lenny White’s 2010 album Anomoly (Abstract Logix).
A fellow musician and Fambrough friend, pianist, composer and educator George Colligan, said on his jazztruth blog today that “Charles had health issues for many of his last years, but it never seemed to deter him from his passion for music. He talked about his condition like it was a minor nuisance. He seemed determined to press on despite his health.”
There was something undeniably special about the sound Charles Fambrough made. While you never got the sense that his bass was leading the music’s charge, you often stopped to wonder exactly what drove the music he was port of to be as magnificently magnetic as it was. Simple consideration reveals just how emphatic and empathic his role in the music was.
Fellow bassist Ron Carter has stated that he doesn’t like his playing to be considered an anchor, something that holds a vessel from moving. Bassists hear that kind of thing all the time, and it’s no wonder Carter resents it.
When listening to Charles Fambrough, it’s clear that a good bassist propels the music where it needs to go. It’s a shame that the music will no longer be propelled by Charles Fambrough, an inventive and imaginative bassist and one of the finest of “the young lions” who emerged in jazz’s new traditionalism of the early 1980s.