Sunday, July 31, 2011

2 Sem 2011 - Part Four

Luigi Martinale Trio
Le Sue Ali

By Dusty Groove America
A trio date, but one with a really fresh feel – kind of its own mix of lyrical energy and rhythmic pulse – in ways that remind us of some of our favorite French piano sessions of the past decade or two, but with some distinctly original touches as well! Luigi Martinale's got a wonderful command of the keys – stepping forth in ways that warm things up while still swinging hard – thanks to this natural rhythm that seems to bubble forth even during more melodic moments – a bit hard to peg in words, but it will grab you right from the get-go when you give the set a listen. Other players fall right in line with this great approach – and include Drew Gress on bass and Paolo Franciscone on drums – on titles that include "Dancing In A Ring", "Soft", "Le Sue Ali", "Beyond The Door", "Sno Peas", "African Flower", and "Falling Grace".

The Impossible Gentlemen

By Chris May
You may not have heard of The Impossible Gentlemen, for this is the group's first album, and you may not have heard of one of its two chief protagonists, as he has chosen to spend most of his career away from the metropolitan center of things. So here's a map reference, crude and approximate, but one that gets close to the buried treasure. Imagine guitarist Pat Metheny's trio masterpiece, Day Trip (Nonesuch, 2007), add a pianist of commensurate genius, and you are banging on the disc's front door. It is that good.
The Impossible Gentlemen is an Anglo-American quartet which got together in 2009. From Britain, pianist Gwilym Simcock and guitarist Mike Walker, who conceived it, and from the US, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Adam Nussbaum. Its London launch at Ronnie Scott's Club in May, 2010, was generally agreed to have been one of the year's landmark events. The debut album lives up to the considerable expectations which have preceded it, and may seal the arrival of a major new guitar star—"new," that is, after three decades at the coalface. About this, more in a moment.
It is, of course, at least borderline offensive to liken four musical characters as strong as Walker, Simcock, Swallow and Nussbaum to anyone else, and, in any case, the comparison needs to be thrown away as soon as the map reference is suggested. For although The Impossible Gentlemen is, like Day Trip, a gutsy, gloriously lyrical, guitar-led romp in the acoustic jazz tradition, ranging from the filigreed to the full-tilt, and with a twist of fusion thrown in, it has a personality all its own.
While the first musician to be listed in the credits is Simcock, much of that personality comes from Walker, the least internationally celebrated member of the lineup. Like Simcock, Walker, almost 20 years his senior, is from Manchester, in the north of England. Unlike Simcock, he's never left the area, which partly explains his relative obscurity, for England's music business is still overwhelmingly London-centric. Born in 1962, Walker came to local attention with the fusion band River People. Asked to deputize for John Scofield in trombonist/pianist Michael Gibbs' band, he was heard by trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, who recruited him to his big band. In the early 1990s, he toured the UK extensively with saxophonist Tommy Smith, and has since performed or recorded with a mini-galaxy of stars, including pianist John Taylor, bassist Dave Holland, bassist Arild Andersen, trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, saxophonist Tim Berne and keyboardist George Russell. Walker toured the US and much of Europe with Russell, but he's yet to make a headline splash in his own right, either with his own or a cooperatively-led band.
The Impossible Gentlemen should help change that. Not only does Walker share at least half the soloing space with Simcock—occasionally playing acoustic guitar, he mostly goes electric—he also wrote four of the eight pieces (to Simcock's three). His writing displays a penchant for odd time signatures and idiosyncratic structures, platforms for streams of exquisite melodicism, sometimes easygoing, sometimes urgent, always fast-flowing. Walker's lyrical gift is certainly the equal of Metheny's, but his style has rougher, tougher edges, heard throughout the album and most lengthily on the closing blues, Nussbaum's "Sure Would Baby."
None of this is intended to belittle Simcock's contribution, or those of Swallow (at 70 years the don of the group) and Nussbaum. All three shine—Simcock with lyricism, Swallow and Nussbaum with rhythmatism—but they need less of an introduction in these pages. Unexpectedly, Swallow, a regular partner of Nussbaum's since the early 1980s, takes no writing credits.
In the iPod age, album cover semiology is in danger of becoming a lost pleasure. But the group photos in the booklet speak clearly: here is a band which is having an absolute ball. As you almost certainly will too, if, after finding the approximate map reference given above to be potentially attractive, you hear The Impossible Gentlemen.
Laugh Lines; Clockmaker; When You Hold Her; You Won't Be Around To See It; Wallenda's Last Stand; Gwil's Song; Play The Game; Sure Would Baby.
Gwilym Simcock: concertina (5), piano; Mike Walker: guitar; Steve Swallow: bass; Adam Nussbaum: drums.

Kit Downes Trio

By Bruce Lindsay
Golden is the first album by the Kit Downes Trio--and it provides plenty of evidence to support the growing reputations of these three young musicians. The trio, led by pianist Kit Downes, has been together since 2005 when its members were in the early stages of their studies at the Royal Academy of Music. The quality of writing and performance on this album so soon after the players' graduation demonstrates their huge potential and ensures that the album itself is one of the finest debut recordings of 2009.
Downes wrote seven of the eight tunes, with bassist Calum Gourlay contributing “Roots.” Drummer James Maddren has no writing credits, but his distinctive percussion style is central to the trio's sound--something which is most apparent on the title track where his hypnotic and controlled drumming is almost counter-intuitive but strikingly effective.
Golden opens and closes with two extremely beautiful tunes: “Jump Minzi Jump” and “Tom's Tune.” Both pieces are characterised by lovely, delicate melodies that are immediately accessible but endowed with enough depth and complexity to repay repeated listening. “Jump Minzi Jump” does lose focus in its mid-section before Downes returns to its melody line but “Tom's Tune,” dedicated to Downes' tutor and fellow pianist Tom Cawley, stays strong throughout with Downes' piano weaving in and out of a swinging and seemingly effortless groove from Gourlay and Maddren.
The musicians are capable of powerful and intense playing--on “Power and Patience (the bear)” for example--but they excel in more restrained and delicate compositions where their ability to display emotion and empathy belies their relative inexperience. “Madame” is a prime example of this quality--a “love song with no words” according to Downes' liner notes, it opens with Gourlay's simple but emphatic bass line before Maddren and Downes enter and Downes' piano takes charge of the tune. There are no unnecessary flourishes from any of the musicians: every player is precise, delicate, and supportive of the others and the result is a triumph.
Each of these musicians is already in constant demand and is building up an impressive resumé. Talented and versatile musicians such as these deserve this success, but hopefully this group will remain a priority for all three of its members. Golden is a genuine pleasure, and hints strongly that there is more great music to come from the Kit Downes Trio.
Track Listing:
Jump Minzi Jump; Golden; Homely; Power and Patience (the bear); Madame; A Dance Took Place; Roots; Tom's Tune.
Kit Downes: piano; Calum Gourlay: double bass; James Maddren: drums.

Dan Tepfer Trio
Five Pedals Deep

By Jacob Teichroew, Guide
Dan Tepfer’s Five Pedals Deep, a trio album that features bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Ted Poor, is permeated by a contemplative, pensive mood. The trio, without much surface grandeur, sustains long-arching growth, at the root of which often lies simple and repeated melodies. The piano trio is one of the most vibrant and rich forms of the contemporary jazz ensemble, in part due to the innovations of Brad Mehldau, and stepped up recently thanks to Aaron Parks and his Invisible Cinema, which added elements of refined rock to a genre that seems increasingly to value the phrasing and character of classical music.
On Five Pedals Deep, rock and classical elements are both present. The driving rhythm and headlong chords in “Peal, Repeal,” blossom or erupt into fits of uncontainable melancholic frustration. “The Distance,” with a similar brooding sentiment, Tepfer originally composed as part of a piano concerto. With its glacial growth and subtle emotional shifts, it eschews the charms of immediacy and embraces an aesthetic that is more akin to symphonic works.
Despite the wide use of influences that often occupy the space outside of jazz, swing is still present, and the trio uses it as a tool, just as effective as any other, in conveying the dim and agitated emotional atmosphere that cloaks Five Pedals Deep. “Diverge” teases out a buoyant swing, accented with pointed and dissonant melodic gestures. The last piece on the album, a solo rendering of “Body and Soul,” uses nostalgic phrasing and elaborations of the melody, although both are immersed in fresh harmonies.
The highlight of Five Pedals Deep is an original composition called “I Was Wonderin,’” a playful piece that is untethered to any of the aforementioned genres. There are hints of swing, rock, and even classical music, but insofar as they are all there simply to service the nuanced shading of the piece, they are hardly worth mentioning.

Colin Vallon Trio

By John Kelman
As much as many artists have a clear idea of where they are and where they're going, there's no denying the value of a strong producer. Colin Vallon's first two trio discs—2004's Les Ombres, on the small Swiss NotsiNOISY label, and 2007's Ailleurs, on the more widely distributed Hatology label—both demonstrated plenty of promise, albeit in contexts where it seemed as though the young Swiss pianist was like a kid in a stylistic candy store. Vallon's classical background clearly informed the music, but so, too, did an allegiance to the American tradition, through Paul Bley and, in particular, Keith Jarrett's American Quartet of the mid-1970s, with plenty of freedom thrown into the mix. What elevates Rruga, the now 30 year-old pianist's debut on the even more venerable ECM label, is its clearer sense of focus and direction, two characteristics that producer Manfred Eicher has brought to hundred of jazz sessions over the last four decades.
Not that Vallon and his trio—which includes percussionist Samuel Rohrer, familiar to ECM fans for his work on pianist Wolfert Brederode's Currents (2008) and their work with singer Susanne Abbuehl on her label debut, the stunning April (2001)—are lacking in direction, but their first recording for ECM has a greater sense of unity, a more consolidated voice that also speaks to the trio's greater longevity, with Rruga reuniting the same lineup as on Ailleurs, also featuring bassist Patrice Moret, a participant on reed man Domenic Landolf's similarly empathic New Brighton (Pirouet, 2010).
The greater unity of Rruga is all the more curious for its fundamental shift in compositional input. Vallon remains its titular leader, but Rruga is the first to introduce writing from his trio mates. Rohrer contributes three tunes: "Polygonia," where a brooding intro leads to a moment of absolute silence, the trio emerging, like soft rays of sunshine with a stronger allegiance to time, and Vallon and Moret equal thematic partners; the simmering "Noreia," its gentle song form and intrinsic lyricism driven by a pulse from Vallon's left hand and Rohrer's consummate balance of timbre and tempo; and the closing "Epilog," with Moret's softly spoken bass intro foreshadowing its melancholy melody, dark-hewn by Vallon's languid but note-perfect performance.
Playing what the music demands—nothing more, and nothing less—seems to be a defining marker for Vallon and his trio. Moret's two contributions—the slow, repetitive build of the opening "Telepathy," and the sparer "Fjord," where slow arpeggios from Vallon are injected with occasional unison punctuations from the pianist and Moret—are open-ended, to be sure, but rely on the inherent chemistry of the trio for their dramatic arcs. And while "Iskar" is a group improvisation, it's not without a basis—Stefan Mutafchiev's folk song, "Shope Shope," though it's unlikely the Bulgarian would ever have envisioned Rohrer's small tuned gongs and deliberate but largely suggestive pulse, or Vallon's ability to gradually unveil a brief window of form, before dissolving, once more, into ethereality, coupled with Moret's sweeping, harmonic arco.
Vallon's title track—and its later variation—ebb and flow with a series of changes; materializing with dynamic movement, but avoiding the melodrama towards which such elemental melodism often leads in lesser hands. "Eyjayjallajökull" is an exercise in stasis, free expression and tonal experimentation, while "Meral" is more direct, though never approaching obvious virtuosity; instead, it's in Vallon's chiming outro, that it becomes clear how he, along with his trio mates, places greater emphasis on exploration of sound and service of song, rather than any kind of coarse, overt impression.
ECM has always held a special place for the piano trio, and its rich catalogue has successfully managed to avoid the trappings that stifle so many of this staple jazz format. Instead, its roster—the past twelve months seeing compelling and unmistakably different titles from Julia Hülsmann, Anat Fort and Marcin Wasilewski—continues to find new nooks and crannies to explore, adventuresome explorations of a format that, for some, has become tired and staid, but here remains as vital and forward-looking as ever. With Rruga, Vallon and his trio joins an elite group of piano trios that, despite a clear reverence for what has come before, focus more decidedly on what's to come.
Telepathy; Rruga; Home; Polygonia; Eyjayjallajökull; Meral; Iskar; Noreia; Rruga, var.; Fjord; Epilog.
Colin Vallon: piano; Patrice Moret: double-bass; Samuel Rohrer: drums.

Dee Dee Bridgewater
Eleanora Fagan(1915-1959) To Billie With Love From

By Jeff Tamarkin
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Dee Dee Bridgewater chose to record a tribute album to Billie Holiday. In quick succession beginning in the mid-'90s Bridgewater cut tribute albums to Ella Fitzgerald, Horace Silver, and Kurt Weill, and prior to that, in the late '80s, she was nominated for an award for her one-woman star turn in a European theater production of Lady Day, the Holiday story. That Bridgewater would eventually turn to Holiday (whose given name of Eleanora Fagan explains the title) for an album-length exploration was almost a given -- it was just a question of when. It's one of her grandest efforts, too. With arrangements by Edsel Gomez (who also provides piano) and a stellar cast of participants including bassist Christian McBride, saxophonist/flutist/bass clarinetist James Carter, and drummer Lewis Nash, Bridgewater doesn't attempt to mimic Holiday's mannerisms or inflections but, as one would expect of such a gifted artist, to absorb and reframe Holiday -- this is pure Bridgewater, not another performance of Lady Day. Gomez, for his part, quite often pulls the arrangements squarely away from Holiday territory to reinvent these classic songs for a modern audience. The opening "Lady Sings the Blues" is both instantly recognizable yet freshly reconceived as something of an uptempo blues packed with polyrhythmic punch. "All of Me," which follows, is taken at near-breakneck speed, Bridgewater jumping ahead of the beat, following Carter's thrilling soprano sax solo with a raging scat that's more Ella than Billie. Not everything is meant to redefine, though: "God Bless the Child" is mostly true to the original, though Carter's soprano solo again brings the tune into the new century, and "Lover Man," though livelier than Holiday's take, is offered in a somewhat timeless and straightforward manner. As one might expect, there's no way a singer with Bridgewater's commitment to jazz history could release a Holiday tribute without tackling "Strange Fruit," the controversial anti-lynching landmark that remains Holiday's most daring moment, and it's saved for last here. It's an eerie, ominous interpretation, Bridgewater's raw vocal up front and fraught with emotion. Carter's brooding bass clarinet and McBride's bass lend a foreboding quality to the take, Nash relies heavily on his cymbals to dramatic effect, and Gomez's piano is subtle, allowing the nakedness of Bridgewater's voice -- at times unaccompanied -- to retell this story that can never be told enough. It's a stunning finale to one of the finest Billie Holiday homages ever recorded.

2 Sem 2011 - Part Three

Anthony Principe Trio
New And Old Swing

by Veronica Timpanelli
His playing is passionate and exciting, filled with fervor and zeal. Although he doesn´t merely tickle the ivories, (he practically pounds and punches them) his style is not rough and choppy as one might expect. He portrays both the strength and forceful nature of the music, as well as the softer, gentler side with equal grace and technical elegance. Accompanied by Mauro Sereno on bass and Sergio Mazzei on drums, Principe´s first release proves to be a very exciting disc, with original and unique arrangements. Principe takes well-known standards and plays them the way he feels them, producing a sound and an atmosphere that is charged and driving.
Principeâs choice of tunes is interesting. For example,"I Remember April" is one example of a standard that has been played and played again, but with Principeâs flair and pizzaz, this version is surely one that will never be forgotten. It is probably one of the most stunning interpretations one will ever hear and includes a great drum solo by Mazzei.
One wouldnât expect a pianist as hard-playing as Principe to choose a tune like "The Man I Love" but somehow he manages to pull it off. You have to give him credit for that.
Of special note is "Cheek to Cheek" normally an upbeat, romantic song, transformed into a fast-moving and explosive romp that elicits much more than an easy-kind-of-love feeling. This interpretation expresses the fireworks and burning, insatiable desire of love. Serenoâs bass here is superb.
Another track of note is "Stella by Starlight" which, lingering in all the right places, proves Principe does have a softer side. Highlighted by bass and percussive accents, the tune picks up momentum, depth, and raw emotion and then eases off into another great bass solo by Sereno.
Principe also does an amazing version of Herbie Hancock´s "Dolphin Dance".
A seriously commendable first effort from Anthony Principe â a name the jazz world will certainly be hearing a lot more from. Bravo!

Gino Paoli,Flavio Boltro,Danilo Rea,Rosario Bonaccorso,Roberto Gatto
Un Incontro In Jazz

Questo album rappresenta un incontro magico tra musica d’autore e jazz. Gino Paoli, uno dei cantautori che ha scritto alcune tra le più belle pagine della musica italiana, tra cui "Senza fine", "Sapore di sale" e “La gatta”, è il protagonista di un lavoro all’insegna della musica jazz in cui interpreta brani inediti, grandi classici della canzone internazionale e alcuni brani del suo repertorio riarrangiati. Al suo fianco troviamo alcuni tra i migliori jazzisti italiani dei nostri giorni: Danilo Rea al pianoforte, Rosario Bonaccorso al contrabbasso, Roberto Gatto alla batteria e Flavio Boltro alla tromba. Con questo progetto, Gino Paoli si conferma un autentico protagonista della scena musicale italiana, sempre capace di rinnovarsi, pur mantenendo le forme e i contenuti cantautoriali che da sempre lo contraddistinguono. Coadiuvato dall’eleganza di Flavio Boltro, dalla liricità di Danilo Rea, dalla precisione di Rosario Bonaccorso e dall’esuberanza ritmica di Roberto Gatto, Paoli ci regala un album raffinato ed elegante, in cui la sua indubbia classe si mescola ad un instancabile desiderio di sperimentazione. Registrato tra il 26 e il 28 Dicembre 2010 presso l’Auditorium Parco della Musica di Roma, l’album inaugura la collana “Recording Studio”, una nuova iniziativa della Fondazione Musica per Roma che dà la possibilità a pubblico e appassionati di entrare in studio di registrazione con gli artisti della Parco della Musica Records, seguendo e ascoltando dal vivo l’incisione di nuovi dischi.

Memorie Di Standards


by Roberto Paviglianiti
Emozionante è forse l'aggettivo più adatto per definire il contenuto di Memorie di Standards, l'album firmato da Alessandro Di Liberto, Nicola Cossu e Daniele Russo, tre musicisti cagliaritani in vena di prelibatezze jazzistiche.
Il loro è stato un percorso costruito con pazienza e intelligenza attorno a una manciata di standard, che in questa occasione non sono riproposti in maniera scontata, ma con l'aggiunta di elementi personali e inquadrati da un punto di vista inedito e quindi originale.
Un'ora di musica elegante, da ascoltare senza inutili frenesie, che si apre con “All the Things I Have,” brano dove sono subito in evidenza le doti pianistiche di Di Liberto, autentica punta di diamante del trio, il quale snocciola melodie sinuose, fatte di note cristalline, dal timbro pulito e deciso. Al suo fianco si muovono senza mai invadere troppo la scena Russo e Cossu, i quali - soprattutto nel up-tempo “Easy Living” - riescono a innescare uno scintillante interplay che si respira per l'intera durata dell'incisione.
Tra i momenti di maggiore introspezione va segnalata “Brazilian Sound,” tema che si muove con estrema grazia tra classicismo e jazz in senso stretto, e la conclusiva “Blues #2,” per la brillantezza esecutiva e per la riuscita d'insieme.
Visita il sito di Alessandro Di Liberto.
Elenco dei brani:
1. All The Things I Have; 2. Days of Empty Bottles; 3. Above All; 4. Eiderdown; 5. Easy Living; 6. Blues #1; 7. Sometime Ago; 8. Brazilian Sound; 9. Sulla scia dei delfini; 10. In ricordo di Stella; 11. Blues #2.
Alessandro Di Liberto: pianoforte; Nicola Cossu: contrabbasso; Daniele Russo: batteria

Stefano Bollani Big Band !
Live at Hamburg with The NDR BigBand

A pochi mesi dal clamoroso exploit di "Rapsodia in blue" che, con oltre 25 settimane di permanenza nella classifica Top100 GFK/FIMI (e con 3 settimane di permanenza nella "Top 10" e 55.000 copie vendute in Italia!), ha rappresentato il caso discografico dell'anno, Stefano Bollani pubblica un nuovo album e, come sempre, ci sorprende ancora una volta.
Big Band! è il primo album registrato dall’artista con un ensemble allargato, e rappresenta il debutto dell'artista per la celebre etichetta Verve.
Inciso dal vivo ad Amburgo il 10 e 11 giugno 2010 nella sede della NDR, con pubblico in studio, l'album vede la partecipazione della Bigband NDR.
Caratterizzata da un'attività concertistica molto fitta, la big band della NDR ha fra le sue file musicisti favolosi di diverse nazionalità (tedeschi, americani, argentini, svedesi). Per l'occasione Stefano Bollani ha voluto al suo fianco anche un "vecchio amico d'eccezione", Jeff Ballard, alla batteria: "uno dei più grandi al mondo", secondo le parole dello stesso Bollani.
L'album è nato da una idea del coordinatore artistico della big band, Stefan Gerdes, che già due anni prima aveva invitato Bollani con il quintetto I visionari.
I brani sono arrangiati da Geir Lysne, bravissimo sassofonista norvegese.
Come dichiarato da Bollani, Geir è "distante dalla mia musica, ma ha aderito con entusiasmo pazzesco, reinventando i miei brani, utilizzando anche alcuni passaggi dai miei assoli del disco I visionari e creando tante atmosfere diverse, all' interno delle quali mi sono poi inserito a mia volta".
Va segnalato da ultimo che le grafiche dell'album vedono la presenza di alcuni disegni del celebre Leo Ortolani.

Danny Grissett

Danny Grissett - Stride

by Challenge Records
On Stride, his fourth Criss Cross leader date, pianist Danny Grissett returns to the trio format he navigated with such panache and imagination on his first two outings for the label. Long-time bass partner Vicente Archer and top-of-the-class drummer Marcus Gilmore join Grissett in a fluent three-way conversation on a reflective program that incorporates the American Songbook, the European canon, original tunes by trumpeters Nicholas Payton and (his current employer) Tom Harrell, and three heady Grissett originals. As always, the leader’s playing is melody-driven, harmonically acute, swinging and focused; he again proves himself one of the major voices on his instrument among the under-40 crowd.

2 Sem 2011 - Part Two

Enrico Zanisi Trio
Quasi Troppo Serio

In Quasi Troppo Serio, il primo lavoro discografico di Enrico Zanisi, gli ingredienti per la ricerca di un immediato consenso ci sono tutti: talento, padronanza della tecnica, idee musicali di grande afflato melodico, trattamento brillante del pianoforte, tocchi di delicatezza luminosa - come in Corale, Il Volo, Il Caso Pone che portano la firma dello stesso Zanisi - studio e approfondimento del repertorio jazz (e non solo) raffinato attraverso un filtro del tutto particolare. Indole positiva e trasparente e un curriculum tale da alimentare ben pochi dubbi, a diciannove anni Enrico Zanisi sta in scena da grande artista. E’ interessante poi che un pianista e compositore così giovane sappia dare volto nuovo a brani come Just in Time (Berlin/Styne), Easter Eggster (Burk), Alfie (Bacharach), dialogando alla pari con musicisti formidabili e di consumata esperienza come Ettore Fioravanti (batteria) e Pietro Ciancaglini (contrabbasso), proponendo insieme ai due “veterani” del jazz quasi un tema di conversazione di grande equilibrio tra improvvisazione e contrappunto - ne è un esempio l’articolatissima Isidore firmata da Ettore Fioravanti - tra rarefazioni ed esuberanza ritmica, e allo stesso tempo con abbinamenti fantasiosi ed eleganti. Zanisi alla fantasia e all’eleganza affianca anche leggerezza, sa offrire una musica ad alto potenziale emotivo che si racconta amabilmente da sola, grazie anche alla ripresa naturale e ben definita in tutta la gamma realizzata nello studio di registrazione di Nuccia. Gli strumenti rimangono pianoforte, contrabbasso e batteria, suonati con grande veemenza, eppure la scrittura è decisamente corposa quasi orchestrale, e ognuno degli undici brani ha una forte ragione d’esistere, un quid che subito ne rivela un perché, salvo poi aggiungerne altri ancora, stratificati più sotto o poco più in là. Traccia dopo traccia si ha la sensazione che, oltre a confezionare un prodotto che riesce a scavare nell’intimo e a spiazzare per eclettismo, tensione e volontà di comunicare, tutti si siano divertiti, da una parte e dall’altra del mixer. Il giovanissimo Zanisi, dopo il successo ottenuto all’ European Jazz Expo 2009 di Cagliari e il concerto (sold-out) di presentazione del nuovo album tenutosi alla Casa del Jazz di Roma, sembra avere tutte le carte in regola per indirizzare il proprio mestiere verso approdi decisamente interessanti.

Anthony Wilson
Campo Belo

by Phil Freeman
The 2011 CD by guitarist Anthony Wilson is a gentle, thoughtful collection of tunes for guitar, piano (and sometimes accordion), bass, and drums, plus the occasional dash of clarinet. It's sunny, pleasant music that could easily have been released on ECM. Wilson's ultra-clean playing style falls into the Jim Hall/Joe Morris range, which makes it simultaneously quite pretty and kind of forgettable once the track in question is finished playing itself out. A little more of a Grant Green-style bite might have made this record more than a nice soundtrack to a late spring brunch. That's the problem with so much Brazilian music, though, it's so light and fluffy, it just drifts away while you're listening to it. Jazz listeners who aren't looking for a record that will sink its claws into their heart and never let go, or leave them breathless in the face of its virtuosity, but who, instead, just want to hear some nice, pretty songs for an hour or so could do a whole lot worse than this very well played, carefully arranged, and impeccably produced set of tunes.

Andrea Pozza Trio
Blue Daniel

Andrea Pozza Trio Blue Daniel Audio CD

Andrea Pozza Trio opens its new work with the grace of Sem Palavras's crystal scales. Without words, the only thing speaking all throughout the record is pure music, springing from Andrea Pozza's piano, accompanied by Aldo Zunino's double bass and Shane Forbes's drums. After Drop This Thing, the trio is involved for the second time in a Dejavu Records production. With this label they experiment an effective and original mixture of modern jazz with a more traditional one, particularly convincing in this album. After all, Pozza is one of the most acclaimed young Italian pianists, according which tradition is an important reference point, and it's not a case that the last track, The Duke, is undoubtedly a homage to Ellington, to his melodies and to his dim lights. Furthermore it is not to be forgotten his background and his countless collaborations with some of the most important jazz artists: as soon as he finished his classical studies, Pozza devoted himself to jazz and from that moment on he played with some heavyweights like Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, Scott Hamilton and Massimo Urbani; for four years he was part of Enrico Rava's quintet, played in Steve Grossman's quartet and for over twenty years he was abreast with Gianni Basso, one of the figures that contributed to write the history of Italian jazz. A rich, intense and eclectic experience merges into the personal composition of this young pianist from Genoa, in a balanced coexistence of new and classic. Differently from the previous record, he prefers soft lighting atmospheres and delicate colors that definitely connote this storyboard, rather that nu-jazz rhythms. Listening to the eight tracks of Blue Daniel, one has the impression to follow a path: the tracks slip one after the other in a compact and fluid way, starting from the involving incipit of Sem Palavras, and floating on the elegant atmospheres of Naima, to the freshest and most playful ones of Children Games, from the intimate mood of Blue Daniel to a more variegated one, supported by a faster rhythm of Three Slices of Bread, leading to the impassive calm and the tranquil notes of The Duke, that wittingly close a tale softly played by the main character, accompanied by the lightness of the co-stars and capable of deeply soliciting the sensitivity of the listeners.

Patrick Williams Big Band


By Bill DeMain

Big-band jazz may have peaked in popularity in the 1930s, but Patrick Williams is out to prove it can still be vital. He did it once before with his Grammy-winning 1974 album Threshold, and this return to the bandstand is equally satisfying.

Williams, best known as a composer-arranger for TV and film (Columbo, Mary Tyler Moore) brings the right mix of retro and innovation to his latest project. Recorded live at Capitol Studio A with the great Al Schmitt engineering, it features an all-star cast of vets such as Hubert Laws, Tom Scott, Dean Parks, Gene Cipriano and Peter Erskine. But from the opening title track’s 2001: A Space Odyssey-goes-Cuban groove, and angular soloing from Bob Sheppard and Chuck Findley, it’s obvious that this isn’t your granddaddy’s big band. Williams has upped the ante by adding French horns and percussionists to his 21-piece band, and rather than rely on a safe repertoire of standards, he features self-penned material that has more in common with Steely Dan than with Glenn Miller.
With his flair for scoring, the best pieces unfold like little movies, with stirring mood shifts. The labyrinthine melody on “Heat” evokes a murder mystery before coasting into a top-down cruise that is pure private shamus. “Song for a Pretty Girl” is a sun-dappled reverie full of soft woodwinds and September kisses, and the brassy kaleidoscope of “The Sun Will Shine Today” evokes synchronized Chicago-style dance routines, all sizzle and cascading limbs.
Williams—with the financial patronage of movie producer Sidney Kimmel—has turned back the clock, but in a way that sounds both nostalgic and new.

Ann Malcolm
The Crystal Paperweight

Cover (Crystal Paperweight:Ann Malcolm)

by abeat
Ann Malcolm è straordinaria singer americana da alcuni anni residente in Svizzera con alle spalle pubblicazioni di grande pregio internazionale ( per esempio al fianco di Kenny Barron, Ray Drummond, Keith Copeland, Brian Lemon, Szakcsi, Robi Lakatos, Vince Benedetti, Junior Mance, Reggie Johnson ed altri ancora ).
“ The Crystal Paperweight ” rappresenta per Ann Malcolm una delle più esaltanti realizzazioni di sempre ed ha caratteristiche davvero speciali: innanzitutto vede Tom Harrell coinvolto non solo in qualità di trombettista ( dalle doti uniche al mondo) ma anche di arrangiatore dell’intero disco e compositore. Ann Malcolm ha realizzato alcuni testi che per la prima volta affiancano alcune notissime composizioni dello stesso Harrell: ciò costituisce un notevole valore aggiunto se si considera che nella storia compositiva di Tom Harrell è cosa raramente concessa.
Il disco offre una varietà stilistica e di sound notevole rimanendo sempre elegantissimo e curato. Le spiccati doti di sensibilità ed espressione della Malcolm nonchè la maestria degli arrangiamenti hanno permesso di oscillare da esecuzioni mainstream a jazz ballad sino ad ammiccare al pop ed al soul di "Remember The Time "( M. Jackson).
Ann Malcolm è l'incarnazione della cantante jazz femminile odierna , sofisticata e potente allo stesso tempo, con eccellente e plastico timbro . Ann Malcolm è nato in Iowa, Stati Uniti .

Friday, July 15, 2011

João Bosco & NDR Big Band

                                                      (REVISITING...) by Claudio Botelho

This CD has been reviewed in these pages before, by our dear friend and Brazilian music guru Leandro Lage Rocha. Although a laudable review – a very commendable one, in fact -, his efforts to communicate the excellence of that work, in my view, failed a bit: he was economical in his words; perhaps, by the time he was evaluating this job, who knows, he was, at the same time, indulging in other works or even in front of something even better… About this, I must be cautious, as that man knows every and each good music that was produced in this country for the last 80 years or so! Thus, he could really be, in that moment, in from of something even better!
But, for the rest of us, Senhoras do Amazonas is an awfully damn good work. It displays one of the best jazz singers around, together with one of the most tuneful orchestras ever assembled. The compositions are either from Bosco himself or Tom Jobim. No complaints here…
The band (NDR Big Band) has everything a band should have and none It shouldn’t: never aggressive, superbly arranged by the late Steve Gray (who died tragically before listening his finished product) and, most of all, perfectly complementary to the other orchestra: that one named João Bosco who, along with his acoustic guitar, can be much more than a man and a musical instrument.
The ten songs rendered are presented as every CD should and, for me, in a kind of “golden rule” which alternates fast and slow tempo musics: larghissimo always before a prestissimo, and so it goes… The total time follows another golden: less than sixty minutes, which makes it a breeze to listen. In no time, it ends and you find yourself get begging for more…
I, who generally prefer slow and medium tempo, would choose “Bodas de Prata”, “Desafinado” and “Angela” as the pièce-of-résistence of the CD, but you could, as well, choose any other. I wouldn’t dare say which music is better, such is the solidity of this brilliant work which does full justice to the excellence of the orchestra, his arranger and that man named João Bosco who, besides being one great composer, is an orchestra himself and more: one of the best jazz singers I know.
All told, the best CD I’ve heard so far in this year. He deserves from me all the praises in the world. Long life for you, Mr. Bosco!


by Dr. Leandro Rocha
O mineiro João Bosco surpreende mais uma vez ao lançar esse disco gravado na Alemanha acompanhado da NDR Big Band formada por músicos competentíssimos que souberam se adequar perfeitamente às harmonias fantásticas da música desse genial compositor. O CD tem 10 músicas,das quais 7 são de Bosco e 3 de Tom Jobim,o grande homenageado,revisitado através de Desafinado(com Newton Mendonça) numa performance estonteante de João,Chega de saudade(com Vinicius de Moraes) e Angela,numa interpretação arrasadora! Os temas de autoria de João já são conhecidos mas recebem um tratamento diferente das gravações originais. O clima é jazzístico,muitas vezes,desde o rock Bate um Balaio(uma homenagem a Jackson do Pandeiro) ,passando pelos sambas empolgantes como Nação e Pretaporter de tafetá até às baladas (João Bosco é mestre nelas) Bodas de prata,Saída de emergência e Senhoras do Amazonas. Embora não encontremos nenhuma música inédita,o encontro de João Bosco com a NDR Big Band foi revigorante para a música desse extrordinário compositor,cantor e violonista. Nossos ouvidos e nosso espírito agradecem.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

2 Sem 2011 - Part One

Jessica Williams
Freedom Trane

Cover (Freedom Trane:Jessica Williams)

by Alex Henderson
John Coltrane tributes are not hard to find in the jazz world, and different tributes will celebrate different periods of the saxophone innovator's career. Some tributes pay homage to Coltrane's hard bop period (as in "Giant Steps," "Moment's Notice," and "Lazy Bird"), others pay homage to his modal post-bop period of roughly 1960-1964, and some pay homage to his radically avant-garde free jazz period of 1965-1967 (the last few years of his life). Jessica Williams' Freedom Trane, it turns out, is essentially a tribute to modal post-bop Coltrane on Atlantic and Impulse, and the acoustic pianist leads an intimate trio that employs Dave Captein on upright bass and Mel Brown on drums. The thing that separates Freedom Trane from many of the other tributes to modal post-bop Coltrane is the fact that Williams offers a combination of familiar Coltrane compositions and original material. She puts a piano-trio spin on the Coltrane pieces "Naima," "Lonnie's Lament," and "Welcome," but she also plays four original compositions that are mindful of Coltrane's modal period -- "The Seeker," "Just Words," "Prayer and Meditation," and the title track -- and she demonstrates that a session can be Coltrane-minded even without the presence of a saxophonist. That said, Williams never allows her own personality to become obscured on Freedom Trane; this 2007 date always sounds like a Jessica Williams project even though she is fondly remembering the contributions of an iconic jazz master. And one of the ways in which Williams fondly remembers Coltrane is by celebrating the spiritual aspects of his playing and composing. It's no secret that Coltrane was greatly influenced by eastern religion in the '60s; Williams is obviously well aware of that fact, and in the CD's liner notes, she writes, "Right now, John's beautiful album, A Love Supreme (on Impulse), is on my CD player. I've lit a few candles and am burning some incense." And that imagery from Williams really speaks volumes about the way she identifies with Coltrane's spirituality on Freedom Trane, which finds the pianist in consistently excellent form.

Dave Peck
Modern Romance

Cover (Modern Romance: Live at Jazz Alley:Dave Peck)

by Let’s Play Stella Records
Dave Peck’s newest recording, "Modern Romance". Recorded live at Jazz Alley in Seattle in the fall of 2007 this set of standard songs from the Great American Songbook continues the trio’s exploration into the reinvention of the jazz piano trio.
Joining Dave is Jeff Johnson on bass and Joe La Barbera on drums. Both rhythmic and romantic, the trio uses the standard repertoire as a framework for new composition and form. Their work is rich, intuitive, and harmonically complex with a unique and signature sound. Peck who is known for his deeply introspective and passionate style and for his focus on the profound beauty he finds in the narrative of this music has been lauded by the jazz press for his award winning CD’s.
On "Modern Romance" Dave and the trio bring to this set of familiar standards a modern and fresh approach. Included are "Bye Bye Blackbird", "East of the Sun", "Lover Man", "They Say it’s Wonderful", "If I Should Lose You", "I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good". The music is surprising and beautiful and comes to the listener in a swinging and easy way. The songs are love songs, old love songs but the interpretation is distinctly contemporary.
Peck and Johnson have each discovered creative ways of playing. They have conceived their own dialect which they speak at every moment with true and pure improvisation. With the addition of Joe La Barbera the trio becomes grounded but not contained. Three original voices thoroughly influenced by the past and by their experience and yet newly invented at each performance. This is jazz.

Yakov Okun
New York Encounter

Cover (New York Encounter:Yakov Okun Trio)

by Criss Cross
A major force in Russian Jazz since the mid ‘90s, pianist Yakov Okun, finally places himself on the international stage with his Criss Cross debut, a trio date with world-class bass-drum team Ben Street and Billy Drummond, on which he mixes challenging original material with strong arrangements and less traveled Songbook repertoire and tunes by Sonny Rollins and Fats Waller.
At 38, Okun is an individualistic voice, an important player, able in his improvisations to refract an entire timeline of jazz vocabulary in a cogent, compositional manner.

1. Pent-Up Chaos (Sonny Rollins / Yakov Okun)
2. Kind Bug (Antonio Spadavecchia)
3. Spillikins (Yakov Okun)
4. Jitterbug Waltz (Fats Waller)
5. Eric Dolphy's Tomb (Yakov Okun)
6. Falling In Love Again (Frederick Holllander)
7. Plain Jane (Sonny Rollins)
8. Giant Steps (John Coltrane)
9. Heaven (Duke Ellington)
Total Time: 57:04
Recorded November 11, 2010 in Brooklyn, NY, USA by Joe Marciano

Dado Moroni
Live In Beverly Hills

Cover (Live in Beverly Hills:Dado Moroni)

by Ken Dryden
Dado Moroni has had an impressive career since emerging on the European jazz scene in the early 1990s, having recorded as a sideman with Clark Terry, Tom Harrell, and extensively with Swiss alto saxophonist George Robert, in addition to his work as a leader. Live in Beverly Hills is his first opportunity to record as a leader for an American label, featuring the pianist with veteran drummer Peter Erskine and bassist Marco Panascia, recorded and videotaped at the Rising Jazz Stars over two nights in early 2010. Among the highlights is his lively bossa nova setting of John Lewis' "Django," the intimate interpretation of Lionel Bart's "Where Is Love" (from the musical Oliver!), Ron Carter's playful bop vehicle "Einbahnstrasse," and the leader's infectious "Ghanian Village," the latter buoyed by Erskine's versatile drumming. The bonus DVD disc (which is Blu-Ray) contains all of the CD selections plus two bonus tracks, an impromptu blues, and a brief piano solo. In spite of the difficulty of videotaping on a cramped stage in a crowded nightclub, the camera angles are excellent, with numerous closeups where one can see both Moroni and his handiwork on the keyboard, while the editing is tight without excessive jumping around between different camera angles.

Bob Brookmeyer
Music For String Quartet and Orchestra

Cover (Bob Brookmeyer: Music for String Quartet and Orchestra:Bob Brookmeyer)

by Ken Dryden
Bob Brookmeyer has long been an important jazz trombonist, composer, and arranger, recording many of his own albums, in addition to working with Gerry Mulligan, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, and many others. But he also began writing for classical ensembles during the '80s, so when he was approached about a commission to write for the Gustav Klimt String Quartet, he jumped at the chance. After some initial recording, he decided to write an additional work and the Metropole Orchestra was added to the project, necessitating the re-recording of everything, with Brookmeyer conducting. Anyone who has heard Brookmeyer's compelling work New Works Celebration (which was written for Mulligan to perform with a large orchestra) will recognize the composer's style immediately. The opening track, "Fanfares and Folk Song," is a furious, exuberant number showcasing the full orchestra, then ending with just the string quartet and an unidentified pianist. The somber "American Beauty" initially sounds like a requiem, with its mournful feature for cello, though it blossoms into a tender tone poem. The complex yet joyous "A Frolic and a Tune" is full of surprising twists, while the tense "Wood Dance" provides a dramatic closing. Arguments may ensue among listeners as how to label this enticing music, but Duke Ellington's favorite description of works he enjoyed hearing as "beyond category" is more than sufficient.

Kit Downes Trio
Quiet Tiger

Cover (Quiet Tiger:Kit Downes)

By Bruce Lindsay
The Kit Downes Trio's first album, Golden (Basho Records, 2009), won a Mercury Music Prize nomination and put the group firmly at the forefront of British jazz. Quiet Tiger finds the Trio eager to move forward, redefining its sound. Not content to rest on the laurels garnered by Golden, pianist and composer Downes has augmented the band, expanding its musical palette with the unusual addition of tenor saxophone, bass clarinet and cello.
At heart, though, this is still a trio, and bassist Calum Gourlay and drummer James Maddren remain central to the band's identity. Gourlay is an undemonstrative but focused player who seems to radiate calmness. Maddren is one of the most distinctive drummers around, his inventive playfulness ensuring that his percussion constantly surprises. Downes' playing is considered, thoughtful and often exquisite; his writing equally inventive and intriguing.
The new instrumentation is provided by reed player James Allsopp--leader of The Golden Age Of Steam, in which Downes plays Hammond organ and Wurlitzer--and cellist Adrien Dennefeld. They appear on all but three of the tunes, and their impact is undeniably effective, lending an air of mystery and suspense to the music. Dennefeld, like Gourlay, tends to shun the musical limelight; his presence is not always obvious, but his understated performances are incisive. Allsopp is much more upfront, often overdubbing his two instruments to add depth to his sound.
On “Attached,” Allsopp and Dennefeld create a somber, melancholy atmosphere through the use of long, wave-like phrases. “Wooden Birds” is a curious, dreamlike tune featuring Downes' tinkling, bright, piano patterns. “Skip James” is languid, reflective and sad--the title suggesting a tribute to the great bluesman--but it could well be Downes' instruction to Maddren, and features some rolling piano phrases and a plaintive bass solo. “The Wizards” opens with a duet between Allsopp, on tenor sax, and Maddren, with Allsopp keeping things fairly simple as the drummer jumps and swings across the kit.
Of the trio numbers “In Brixen” is the most beautiful: a lyrical and flowing tune underpinned by Gourlay's lovely bass groove. On “Fonias” Downes' piano playing is spacious and delicate, the most classical-sounding and romantic playing on the album. “Frizzi Pazzi” finds Downes firmly in Thelonious Monk territory, with phrases reminiscent of Monk's “Suburban Eyes.”
The cover of Quiet Tiger is absolutely gorgeous, the work of Scottish artist Lesley Barnes, who is collaborating with the band on an animation project--another indication of Downes' ambition and exploratory energy. Golden was an emphatic debut, and Quiet Tiger takes things onward and upward: refusing to simply recreate the debut's successful formula, Downes and his fellow musicians are moving in fascinating and engaging new directions.
Track Listing:Boreal; Tambourine; With a View; Frizzi Pazzi; Attached; In Brixen; Wooden Birds; Fonias; The Wizards; Skip James; Quiet Tiger.
Personnel: Kit Downes: piano; Calum Gourlay: double-bass; James Maddren: drums: James Allsopp: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Adrien Dennefeld: cello.    

Rick Germanson Trio
Off The Cuff

Cover (Off the Cuff:Rick Germanson)

By John Kelman
With so many mainstream piano trios flooding the market, it's increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. It's easier when, in the instance of a Brad Mehldau, John Taylor or Enrico Pieranunzi, the artist's voice is so distinctive and approach so readily identifiable that there can be little doubt of its relevance. It becomes a greater challenge with pianists working this space who combine original composition with the Great American Songbook and, occasionally, more contemporary popular sources. Still, there are pianists who, in their unassuming honesty, feel and touch, rise above the crowded arena. Like Lenore Raphael, who brings elegance and charm to everything she touches, Milwaukee native/New York resident Rick Germanson is a straight-ahead player who may not move the music forward in great leaps, but plays without presumption, approaching everything he touches with heart, soul and improvisational élan.
Off the Cuff features Germanson's new trio, with Gerald Cannon back from You Tell Me (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2005) and Louis Hayes replacing the more outgoing Ralph Peterson. Hayes' more delicate approach may contribute to Off the Cuff's more graceful experience, but the trio can when it wants to, as it does with aplomb on the short but sweet Arlen/Mercer classic, “The Dream's On Me.” The veteran Hayes who, over the course of 40 years, has played with legends including Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley, Woody Shaw and McCoy Tyner, approaches the music with a largely light touch, although he hits hard on his equally brief and impressive solo over the ending ostinato of “The Dream's On Me,” a clear album highlight along with his intro to Germanson's fiery “Brick.”
Cannon's a younger player with a less extensive pedigree, but with work ranging from Roy Hargrove and Peterson to Sherman Irby and Steve Turré, it's clear that he's a capable player who can (and does) work hand-in-glove with Hayes as a strong rhythm partner, while delivering his own share of strong and confident solo work on tunes including Germanson's ambling “Daytona,” where the pianist's riff-based intro leads into a comfortable swing to provide the bassist all the freedom he needs. There may be clear delineation of solos on the disc, but when Cannon and Hayes enter on Germanson's challengingly fervent “Jill's Song,” it's clearly an egalitarian unit with strong ties to the Bill Evans school.
Germanson, whose history includes work with Pat Martino, Eddie Henderson and Tom Harrell, may fit firmly in the mainstream, but his harmonic sophistication places him a little more left-of-center than many. His solo piano feature, “The Way of Water,” combines abstract impressionism and brief moments of more vibrant expressionism, while he exercises just the right combination of reverence and flexibility on Vernon Duke's enduring ballad, “Autumn in New York,” stretching it out to become the disc's longest track without ever overstaying his welcome.
Germanson may not rattle any revolutionary cages with Off the Cuff but it's a compelling set, played with heart and honesty, that demonstrates why mainstream jazz and the music at its foundation continues to possess popular appeal.
Track Listing:Quagmire; Jill's Song; Daytona; Up Jumped Spring; The Time the Dream's on Me; Wives and Lovers; The Way of Water; Autumn in New York; Brick; Any Thoughts?
Personnel: Rick Germanson: piano; Gerald Cannon: bass; Louis Hayes: drums.

Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band
That's How We Roll

Cover (That's How We Roll:Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band)

by Alex Henderson
Upon seeing the title That's How We Roll, people who don't know anything about the history of pianist/tenor saxophonist Gordon Goodwin and his Big Phat Band might assume that this is a hip-hop recording. "That's how we roll" is a popular expression in hip-hop circles (at least as of 2011), but like a lot of the bebop and hipster slang of the '40s and '50s, hip-hop slang often reaches people who aren't necessarily part of hip-hop's core audience, and that includes a jazz instrumentalist like Goodwin, who is jazz-oriented on this 67-minute CD but doesn't conduct himself like a jazz purist from start to finish. Goodwin has his traditional big-band influences (Count Basie, Buddy Rich), but it's obvious that he also has a taste for soul and funk; in fact, some of the horn arrangements on That's How We Roll successfully find the link between Basie's funkiness and the funkiness of '70s funk/soul bands such as Parliament/Funkadelic, Tower of Power and Earth, Wind & Fire. That's How We Roll has its share of tracks that could easily be described as big-band soul-jazz, including "Rippin' n Runnin'," "Howdiz Songo?," and the title tune. But "Race to the Bridge" and "Gaining on You" have boppish melodies, and Goodwin's hard-swinging arrangement of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" (which is the only song on this 2011 release he didn't compose) is quite Basie-minded. Meanwhile, the least jazz-friendly track is "Never Enough," which features Take 6 and is the only vocal offering on a predominantly instrumental CD; "Never Enough" is the only time the album ventures into outright funk (as opposed to jazz-funk or soul-jazz). That's How We Roll is not an album that was recorded with jazz purists in mind, and at the same time, there is way too much improvisation for the smooth jazz crowd. But this is an enjoyable outing if one is seriously into big-band jazz and also has a strong appreciation of soul and funk.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Diana Krall - Jazz or Just Easy Listening ?

Diana Krall
Jazz or Just Easy Listening ?

    She is one of the most important jazz musician of all time. Her sales are high and made a strong influence on singers and on music marketing.
      Most of the recordings, in my opinion are JAZZ, and the rest are jazz-oriented.
      If you don´t know her old recording, you don´t know what you´re missing, and you will find why she became the jazz-icon !   
       Diana Krall is a wonderful jazz singer and a very good jazz pianist !
       Don't let this massive marketing lead you to a soft listening or easy-listening !
       By Leonardo Barroso

Stepping Out - 1993

Cover (Stepping Out:Diana Krall)

by Michael G. Nastos
Krall's first recording remains an eye and ear opener. Without the overt schmaltz, Krall proves a sincere singer and, more so, a fine pianist whose talent in this area would later become sublimated. If you want to hear not only the roots of Krall's jazzier and romantic side, not to mention the fun, you'll get it all on this remastered CD, with a bulletproof rhythm section of the peerless bassist John Clayton and always on-the-money/in-the-pocket drummer Jeff Hamilton. The program contains several songs that have become Krall's signature tunes. "Straighten Up & Fly Right" is typically cute as she nicely modifies the lyric. "Frim Fram Sauce" is easily swung and wittily rendered. Several standards such as the easy swinging, bluesy "I'm Just a Lucky So & So" with its impressive bridge piano or the straight read of "Do Nothin' 'Til You Hear From Me" seem like child's play. She uses delayed, staggered phrasings with energetic pianistics during "As Long As I Live," jumps in more pronounced and driving tones for "This Can't Be Love," and cleverly deviates from the melody in now typical Krall-ian fashion for the previously unreleased "On the Sunny Side of the Street." She's most convincing on the unaccompanied take of the classic "Body & Soul" and goes into semi-classical mode with Clayton's bowed bass during her lone original "Jimmie." There are two instrumentals: "42nd Street" swings very well with flourishes inserted here and there on a slight re-arrange, while Klaus Suonsaari's (not Charlie Parker's) "Big Foot" sports heavy modal introductory chords, impressive stop starts on a blues strut, and the most interaction during this set. Krall's fans should consider this an essential recording in her growing discography, and perhaps in many ways her best.

Only Trust Your Heart - 1995

Cover (Only Trust Your Heart:Diana Krall)

by William Ruhlmann
Canadian singer/pianist Diana Krall moved up to an American major label, GRP Records, with her second album, Only Trust Your Heart, having made her debut, Stepping Out, with the Canadian independent Justin Time Records two year earlier. The approach is basically the same, although her supporting musicians are different. Tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine sits in on three tracks, "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?," "I Love Being Here with You," and the Ray Brown instrumental "CRS-Craft," but otherwise this is piano trio music, with drummer Lewis Nash and either Brown or Christian McBride on bass. Krall is a neo-traditionalist with a legitimate pedigree detailed by Michael Bourne in his liner notes: an isolated upbringing in British Columbia, playing her father's Fats Waller 78s; classical piano lessons while playing in the school jazz band; a Vancouver Jazz Festival scholarship to the Berklee College of Music; a Canadian Arts Council grant to study with Jimmy Rowles in Los Angeles. The result is a performer steeped in traditional acoustic jazz piano playing and singing, and Krall demonstrates her talents on this album, soloing freely on the tunes, which are mostly standards, of course, and singing in a sturdy alto. It says something about the state of jazz circa 1995 that, at age 30, such a performer was getting a big promotional push. Krall was much more than a pretty face and a wave of blonde hair playing old-fashioned jazz, but she was that, too. So, once again in major-label jazz, it was back to the future for a record that, for all intents and purposes, could have been recorded in 1954 instead of 1994, except, of course, that that would have been ten years before the artist was born.

All For You - 1996

Cover (All for You:Diana Krall)

by Scott Yanow
Pianist/vocalist Diana Krall pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio on her Impulse! set. In general, the medium and up-tempo tunes work best, particularly such hot ditties as "I'm an Errand Girl for Rhythm," "Frim Fram Sauce," and "Hit That Jive Jack." Krall does not attempt to directly copy Cole much (either pianistically or vocally), although his influence is obviously felt on some of the songs. The slow ballads are actually as reminiscent of Shirley Horn as Cole, particularly the somber "I'm Through With Love" and "If I Had You." Guitarist Russell Malone gets some solo space on many of the songs and joins in on the group vocal of "Hit That Jive Jack," although it is surprising that he had no other opportunities to interact vocally with Krall; a duet could have been delightful. Bassist Paul Keller is fine in support, pianist Benny Green backs Krall's vocal on "If I Had You," and percussionist Steve Kroon is added on one song. Overall, this is a tasteful effort that succeeds.

Love Scenes - 1997

Cover (Love Scenes:Diana Krall)

By Robert Spencer

Diana Krall is a singer out of another era: instead of wailing endless melismas, she is as cool and sophisticated as Carmen McRae. She's breathy in a way that evokes days when male-female relationships seemed more relaxed and less politically charged, not to mention more mysterious and alluring instead of in-your-face. Indeed, were it not for the thoroughly modern production values, this could pass for a record from a lost age. The playlist could have been put together by Bob Thiele at Impulse! of the early Sixties; six of the twelve selections date from the Thirties or earlier, and none from after 1965. Of course, this is perfectly understandable, for no one was writing songs like this after 1965. These are love songs from the age of glossy romances: Krall could be singing to Cary Grant or Fred Astaire-from Bacall to Krall is not a big jump. She shows virtually no awareness of anything in between.
Does she pull it off? Sure. The backing is spare and tasteful, providing an excellent setting for her delivery even at its most whispery. Christian McBride's bass is, as is his wont, completely unflashy and supportive of the musical mood. He never misses a beat and provides depth and strength. Krall seems to play more off Russell Malone on electric guitar, and he proves a worthy and empathetic foil. On “They Can't Take That Away From Me” his chording sometimes sounds so pianistic that I wonder why she didn't just play his part. Krall's piano playing is somewhat abbreviated, but her yearning solo on “Gentle Rain” shows off the concentrated power of her playing. Don't miss “Garden in the Rain,” either.
“They Can't Take That Away from Me” is another highlight. Krall, befitting the after-hours feel of the entire recording, takes it down a peg or two from the cheerful verve of Frank Sinatra's version. Her take is intriguing for the unusual emotional spin her breathy delivery gives the song. Unusual in the opposite direction is Billy Myles' blues “My Love Is,” which Krall tackles with a bit more vigor but no less cool.
Love Scenes somewhat resembles Krall's 1995 Impulse! album, All for You, although that recording included Benny Green on piano, whereas here Krall (and Malone's guitar) fill that space just fine. Another solid effort from a singer with a bright future; if pop music ever turns toward beauty and grace again, Diana Krall will no doubt be right in the thick of things. Heck, she may have a hand in starting it turning.

When I Look In Your Eyes - 1998

Cover (When I Look in Your Eyes:Diana Krall)

by Michael G. Nastos
With this CD, the young Canadian singer/pianist/arranger joins forces with producer Tommy LiPuma, who places his orchestral stamp on eight of the 13 tracks. It is the latest attempt to push Krall to an even wider pop/smooth jazz audience than she already enjoys. After all, Nat Cole, Wes Montgomery, and George Benson, among others, went this route. Wonder if she'd agree the cuts sans strings were more fun and challenging? Krall does get to it with central help from bassists John Clayton and Ben Wolfe, drummers Jeff Hamilton and Lewis Nash, and guitarist Russell Malone, all stellar players. Krall's voice is sweet and sexy. She's also flexible within her range and at times a bit kitschy, mostly the hopeless romantic. On this CD of love songs, it's clear she's cool but very much in love with this music. Bob Dorough's "Devil May Care" and the insistent "Best Thing for You" really click. Favorites are a decent Shearing-esque "Let's Fall in Love" with vibist Larry Bunker; a suave slow bossa on the opening number, "Let's Face the Music"; the lusher-than-lush title track; and especially an incredible horn-fired fanfare intro/outro on the hip "Pick Yourself Up." Some might call this fluff or mush, but it depends solely on your personal taste. This will certainly appeal to Krall's fans, lovers, and lovers at heart.

The Look Of Love - 2001

Cover (The Look of Love:Diana Krall)

by Ken Dryden
Diana Krall has a good voice and plays decent piano, but this somewhat ridiculously packaged Verve CD seems like an obvious attempt to turn her into a pop icon, and sex symbol to boot. The bland arrangements by Claus Ogerman (who conducts the London Symphony Orchestra or the Los Angeles Session Orchestra on each track) border on easy listening, while Krall and her various supporting musicians, including John Pisano, Russell Malone, Christian McBride, and Peter Erskine (among others), clearly seem stifled by their respective roles. There are plenty of strong compositions here, including standards like "I Remember You," "The Night We Called It a Day," and "I Get Along Without You Very Well," but the unimaginative and often syrupy charts take their toll on the performances. What is even sillier is the label's insistence on attempting to photograph the artist in various sultry poses, which she evidently wants to discourage by refusing to provide much of a smile (the rumor is that she's not happy with this part of the business at all). If you are looking for unchallenging background music, this will fit the bill, but jazz fans are advised to check out Krall's earlier releases instead.

Live In Paris - 2002

Cover (Live in Paris:Diana Krall)

by Paula Edelstein
Recorded "live" at the Paris Olympia, Live in Paris offers listeners Diana Krall's understanding of the musical techniques of composition, piano, and vocal improvisation on 12 songs from the Great American Songbooks of Cole Porter,Harold Arlen, George and Ira Gershwin, and contemporary artists Joni Mitchell and Billy Joel. Accompanied by the award-winning Anthony Wilson on guitar, John Pisano on acoustic guitar, John Clayton on bass, Jeff Hamilton on drums, and Paulinho Da Costa on percussion as well as the Orchestra Symphonies European on "Let's Fall in Love" and "I've Got You Under My Skin," the lovely vocalist heightens your listening pleasures with distinctive phrasings and tangible pathways to inside the creative imagination by getting inside harmony, the changes, and melodic structures. On Joel's "Just the Way You Are," Krall is accompanied by Christian McBride on bass, Michael Brecker on tenor saxophone, Lewis Nash on drums, and Wilson on guitar, among others. This song also resides on the soundtrack to the film The Guru and is probably one of the best ballads on the set due to the great solo from Brecker. His powerful but sensitive playing adds the ultimate expression and approach to the melody -- one with attitudinal preparation, which is always necessary for a song that has such familiarity and association with another musician. For those who may not have heard Krall perform "live," this recording will give you a firsthand account of the ambience and excitement of a musical evening with her.

The Girl In The Other Room - 2004

Cover (The Girl in the Other Room:Diana Krall)

by Thom Jurek
While the jazz fascists (read: purists) may be screaming "sellout" because Diana Krall decided to record something other than standards this time out, the rest of us can enjoy the considerable fruit of her labors. The Girl in the Other Room is, without question, a jazz record in the same manner her other outings are. The fact that it isn't made up of musty and dusty "classics" may irk the narrow-minded and reactionary, but it doesn't change the fact that this bold recording is a jazz record made with care, creativity, and a wonderfully intimate aesthetic fueling its 12 songs. Produced by Tommy LiPuma and Krall, the non-original material ranges from the Mississippi-fueled jazzed-up blues of Mose Allison's "Stop This World" to contemporary songs that are reinvented in Krall's image by Tom Waits ("Temptation"), Joni Mitchell ("Black Crow"), Chris Smither ("Love Me Like a Man"), and her husband, Elvis Costello ("Almost Blue"). These covers are striking. Krall's read of Allison's tune rivals his and adds an entirely different shade of meaning, as does her swinging, jazzy, R&B-infused take on Smither's sexy nugget via its first hitmaker, Bonnie Raitt. Her interpretation of Waits' "Temptation" is far more sultry than Holly Cole's because Krall understands this pop song to be a jazz tune rather than a jazzy pop song. "Black Crow" exists in its own space in the terrain of the album, because Krall understands that jazz is not mere articulation but interpretation. Likewise, her reverent version of Costello's "Almost Blue" takes it out of its original countrypolitan setting and brings it back to the blues.
As wonderful as these songs are, however, they serve a utilitarian purpose; they act as bridges to the startling, emotionally charged poetics in the material Krall has composed with Costello. Totaling half the album, this material is full of grief, darkness, and a tentative re-emergence from the shadows. It begins in the noir-ish melancholy of the title track, kissed with bittersweet agony by Gershwin's "Summertime." The grain in Krall's pained voice relates an edgy third-person tale that is harrowing in its lack of revelation and in the way it confounds the listener; it features John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums. In "I've Changed My Address," Krall evokes the voices of ghosts such as Louis Armstrong and Anita O'Day in a sturdy hip vernacular that channels the early beat jazz of Waits and Allison. The lyric is solid and wonderfully evocative not only of time and place, but of emotional terrain. Krall's solo in the tune is stunning. "Narrow Daylight," graced by gospel overtones, is a tentative step into hope with its opening line: "Narrow daylight enters the room, winter is over, summer is near." This glimmer of hope is short-lived, however, as "Abandoned Masquerade" reveals the shattered promise in the aftermath of dying love. "I'm Coming Through" and "Departure Bay," which close the set, are both underscored by the grief experienced at the loss of Krall's mother. They are far from sentimental, nor are they sophomoric, but through the eloquence of Krall's wonderfully sophisticated melodic architecture and rhythmic parlance they express the experience of longing, of death, and of acceptance. The former features a beautiful solo by guitarist Anthony Wilson and the latter, in its starkness, offers memory as reflection and instruction. This is a bold new direction by an artist who expresses great willingness to get dirt on her hands and to offer its traces and smudges as part and parcel of her own part in extending the jazz tradition, through confessional language and a wonderfully inventive application that is caressed by, not saturated in, elegant pop.

Christmas Songs - 2005

Cover (Christmas Songs:Diana Krall)

by Matt Collar
On her first full-length Christmas album, pianist/vocalist Diana Krall delivers a smoky, sophisticated, and slightly melancholy album perfectly suited to accompany egg nog cocktails and romantic afterglow holiday affairs. Although there isn't anything unexpected on Christmas Songs -- Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" is as close to obscure as it gets -- Krall coos life into such standards as "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve," and "I'll Be Home for Christmas." It also doesn't hurt that she gains top-notch support from the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, whose urbane arrangements help bring to mind similar works by such iconic vocalists as Nat King Cole, June Christy, and Frank Sinatra. But it's not all deep sighs and bedroom eyes; on the contrary, Krall keeps things swinging with such uptempo numbers as the joyous "Jingle Bells," "Winter Wonderland," and the Blossom Dearie-inflected "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." If you like your holiday albums cool and classy, Christmas Songs is a stocking stuffer that's sure to please.

From This Moment On - 2006

Cover (From This Moment On:Diana Krall)

by Matt Collar
Returning to the large ensemble sound of her 2005 success, Christmas Songs, pianist/vocalist Diana Krall delivers a superb performance on 2006's From This Moment On. Although having received a largely positive critical response for her creative departure into original singer/songwriter jazz material on 2004's The Girl in the Other Room, here listeners find Krall diving headlong into the Great American Songbook that has long been her bread and butter. While she's always been a pleasant presence on album, Krall has developed from a talented pianist who can sing nicely into an engaging, classy, and sultry vocalist with tastefully deft improvisational chops. But it's not just that her phrasing and tone are well-schooled. Having long drawn comparisons to such iconic and icy jazz singers as Julie London and Peggy Lee, Krall truly earns such high praise here. In fact, tracks like "Willow Weep for Me" and "Little Girl Blue" are drawn with such virtuosic melancholy by Krall as to be far and away some of the best ballads she's put to record. Similarly impressive big swing numbers like "Come Dance with Me" showcase her muscular rhythmic chops both vocally and on the keys. Backing her here is the always wonderful Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, featuring some punchy and solid solo spots by trumpeter Terell Stafford, as well as the rhythm section talents of guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist Robert Hurst, and drummer Jeff Hamilton.

Quiet Nights - 2009

Cover (Quiet Nights:Diana Krall)

by Marcia Hillman
Diana Krall's new CD arrives just in time to greet the “lazy, hazy days” and nights of summer. On this outing, she is on vocals and piano, accompanied by Anthony Wilson on guitar, bassist John Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton, percussionist Paulinho Da Costa and a lush orchestra consisting of a full string section augmented by flutes, French horns, oboe, tuba and vibes.
The material is a selection of familiar American songbook standards and three Antonio Carlos Jobim tunes--”The Boy From Ipanema,” “Este Seu Olhar” (sung in Portuguese) and the title song (with Gene Lees' English lyrics). All of the arrangements have been done by the legendary Claus Ogerman, who worked on the bossa nova albums of Jobim, João Gilberto, Astrid Gilberto and Stan Getz among others. Ogerman also did the arrangements for Krall's last CD, The Look of Love (Verve, 2008) and since that CD did well, the decision was made to go with the same formula.
Krall's voice certainly suits the bossa genre. She is at her soft, sultry and sexy best, singing each song straight through, just breathing in and breathing out, and adding just enough single-note piano solos (á la Jobim) on each. Even though Krall is not a belter, the orchestra does not overpower her--it seems to wrap around her like a soft shawl. Everything is done in the bossa tempo with the exception of “I've Grown Accustomed To His Face” (done as a very slow ballad) and “Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” (another ballad which features some very silky guitar work by Wilson). There are two bonus tracks that are also non-bossas--The Bee Gees' “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart,” treated in a gospel fashion, and “Every Time We Say Goodbye” which spotlights the string section in all its glory.
The CD is a peaceful oasis of quiet nights that we could all use in contrast to our stressful, hectic days. Krall ably provides the ultimate atmosphere for relaxing.

Track Listing:Where Or When; Too Marvelous For Words; I've Grown Accustomed To His Face; The Boy From Ipanema; Walk On By; You're My Thrill; Este Seu Olhar; So Nice; Quiet Nights; Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry; How Can You Mend A Broken Heart; Every Time We Say Goodbye.
Personnel: Diana Krall: vocals/piano; Anthony Wilson: guitar; John Clayton: bass; Jeff Hamilton: drums; Paulinho Da Costa: percussion.