Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 XTMAS

By Claudio Botelho
First and foremost, I wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Bellow, you’ll find some thoughts of mine about some of the CD’s I listened this year. Each end every one has a reason to be here. As you’ll find, they’re not always complimentary :

If you like his “Personal Standards”, you won’t be mistaken in investing in this one. If my mind doesn’t betray me, his fellow associates remain the same ones featured in that album and this has brought to this outing a magical sheen: a savor of childhood, of complete abandon, a presentation of music just for the sake of it. Broadbent is here at his best and make us think the volume one tunes were chosen by someone else as the complementation CD of that night is far, far better than the inaugural one. One of the very best I came across this year!
This is not a new CD, but I found it in this season. It’s nothing more than a straight out jazz album, played by a very tight team, in Italy. This is not representative of what you’ve become used to expect from Benoit. He wasn’t afraid of playing “Cakewalk” from the great Oscar Peterson, or “Blue Rondo a La Turk”, or even “Waltz for Debby” and, although not innovative in any way, presented some very decent renderings and these might turn you into thinking he’s more capable than you thought at first… (Hey, Márcio Távora: it starts with “Brothers Go to Mothers”…)
A very well delineated work in which you can easily listen to the work of each one without ever losing the sense of a working team. Varying moods and different kinds of songs make this album a bliss to listen to. Bossa nova, Monk, samba… It’s your choice!
The Word “Alive” seems to allude to Hersch’s serious health problems overcame some years ago. Well, he’s in very good shape, as attests this album. The Vanguard atmosphere is jazz itself and, there, each musician easily does his best. The cohesiveness of his combo is evident, but I should say I’ve heard more soulful renderings from him in the past. This is not the Fred Hersch of my dreams, definitively. But, be warned: this is a very personal view that is difficult for me to explain. Were I a professional reviewer, I wouldn’t dare to give it less than four stars…
I’ve already mentioned this album some three weeks ago. Mendonza’s got together a lot of musicians (something I always see with great suspicion), but escaped gracefully from any predicable havoc: The music flows smoothly, never overblowing the listener, even on climaxes. Am I getting older and, so, seeking less adventure? Maybe so, but if you’re looking for good taste, strong cohesiveness and rich musicality, search no further. As I’ve said, one of the gems of the year.
A new, very personal and fierce young piano player. This is an ambitious work from someone who strives with a resolution to carve his own way! This is the antithesis of another solo work I’ve listened this year. This Armenian-born lad has guts…
This is in the same league as Hamasyan: a young and equally ambitious Cuban piano player possessing many resources which provided him the right tools for making this such an encyclopedic good jazz album!
Williams has been making a lot of solo albums lately. This is a compilation of some live presentations she’s done in Seattle’s Triple Door. Comprising only compositions of her, you have a one-mood album, something I usually don’t like, but, even though I would have rated it very high weren’t she someone I know so well. Here, things get a little tiresome, sometimes; especially in view of other works of her I’ve listened.
Two passionate and vigorous musicians playing some of the best compositions jazz has to offer. Very fresh and instigating. Moroni can play the bass; do you know that?
Utmost beauty! Once more, Italy gives us a surprise! The improbable combination of piano, sax and accordion, in the right hands, can give us music of supreme beauty! Ms. Marcotulli, a piano player herself, has penned compositions of great lyricism, evocative of fond remembrances, what makes this record a pleasure to listen.
Mr. Call leads a Spanish piano jazz trio (piano, bass and drums) and his “Match Ball” album shows a great deal of original compositions to good effect. This is a very listenable outing, although somewhat contemplative, as the piano player sports excessive care to hit the keyboard. It seems to me, there are very little instant arrangements…
This is the proof that, sometimes, less is more. Never did she make a job so well done with so little people: She and herself at the piano doing her best job to date, at least to the best of my knowledge. She is her best accompanist, and this work is proof of this.
One of the best works of the gender I heard this year. The mix of Russian classical music with American jazz standards, as well as musicians of both countries, under the conduction of arranger Nick Levinovsky, resulted in a most sizable example of orchestral jazz work. It surely stands out of the herd!
The reunion of two great musicians at the peak of their form made up one of the very best duo records I’ve listened this year. Kellaway - a great jazz pianist at all counts - has a frisky side that, sometimes, belittles his musicality for my taste, but, this time, in front of an almost royal audience, he decided to go forward at full force. A very good recording rounds out everything.
A drummer revelation indeed! A fabulous time keeper, a strong music enhancer, a pervasive (well received) intruder! One can’t ignore his presence! This is a piano trio album, added by a tenor sax. If you crave drums, don’t miss Tucci’s work!
One of his best ever. This is from 2006, although just released recently. It has a strong resemblance with his “Angels of Presence” which went to the stores in that year. It’s difficult to believe why waiting so much time to let us know such a gem! This is a major work of seasoned musicians which defies gender, time or trends: it’s just magical! Taylor, along with Palle Danielsson and Martin France, have done one of the major piano-trio albums released this year, what makes it, for my ears, one of the highlights of this season. A timeless work of wonderful music…
McCartney is on the fantastic “Sergeant Peppers” album, but what’s he doing here? Just stopped on his way to the Abbey Road Studios?
A young Philadelphian pianist who, through the last four years, engaged in different projects, each one having its own character. Along with Dwayne Burn on bass and either Byron Landham or Anwar Marshall on drums, he pays homage to some Philadelphians fellow jazz players that aren’t with us anymore. “One for Honor”, for instance is a Charles Fambrough composition that is featured in the album. Evans is the epitome of the new and talented breed of piano players in the USA today. Keep an eye on him and listen whatever thing he plays.
The elegant non-repetitive repetitive maven of the piano, has put out, once more, his fabulous control of tempo at the service of good music! Reginald Veal (b), Herlin Riley (dr.) and Manolo Badrena have helped him to render extensive interpretations of well known songs, along with some of his originals. For my taste, two tracks stand out: “I remember Italy”, a short theme of his which receives a long, intimate and gorgeous ruminative soliloquy, prior to Veal interventions, and “Laura”, which is thoroughly deconstructed, without ever losing its “film noir” flavor.
But let me quote someone who, under the acronym of RBS Prods., has summoned Jamal in a way I never could, in the Amazon site, on a review of this album:
“… The result is a whopping 72 minute CD with all of the characteristics that have made him a jazz favorite for decades: beguiling vamps, smoking pedal-points, lush interludes, sudden tempo changes, extensive ballad expositions, and hard-swinging solos in uncompromising virtuosity. In addition, the bass and percussion players 'crank it up' a notch to the boiling point on many songs…”
This is one unsung hero of jazz lyricism. Through the years, he has always done recordings of remarkable quality, but has never acquitted his due. This album is proof of this: Simon can be a poet of the piano as very few can. Here, you have a grossly underrated artist which really deserves a much wider recognition…
Ms. Coleman is a gifted arranger and does, on this recording of original compositions, a job out of ordinary, as the 17 piece orchestra (her first effort of the kind) work with an uncommon cohesiveness, with a strong sense of a team playing, as opposed to isolated soloist features. If you like traditional straightforward orchestral works, this is a CD for you.
Here, we have another one who’s been on the road for a long time, whom I didn’t know anything about till this year. She’s a real jazz singer and a very solid composer and has written all tracks of the album, except one (“A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”) which has received an exquisite interpretation. She’s been with a very talented sextet, comprising piano, trombone, trumpet, bass and drums, flavored by Brazilian Oscar Castro Neves, who helped to give a light groove touch to some of the tracks. A thoroughly enjoyable album.
23- DARIO CARNOVALE TRIO – EXIT FOR THREE (YURY GOULUBEV, LUCA COLUSSI). Another young giant of piano playing from Italy! Think of assertiveness and guts! There are thirteen tracks, being eleven of them from his pen. The former Student of The Conservatory of Palermo, on his second album as a leader, has shown he’s destined to be one of the leading pianists of that side of the ocean. One of the very best of the genre I’ve heard this year.
Frassi is one of the most articulate and tasteful piano players of the jazz scene these days! Everything he touches turn gold! With the help of Filipo Pedol (b), Andrea Melani (d) and guest Konitz on a few tracks, Frassi promenades through the ways of “ How Deep is The Ocean”, “ I’ll Remember April” (twice), “Time Remembered”, “ A Child is Born”, “A house Is Not a Home”, “Night in Tunisia”, “Beautiful Love” (twice) and “Serenity” with the most fluent steps you can find, on the verge of an epiphany!
As I’ve said above, Tucci’s playing conveys the energy and vitality that great drummers bring to anything they’re into. Listen, for instance, his renderings of “Equinox” and “Afro Blue”and you’ll know what an effective-no-waste-note playing means. He’s not the fastest gun of Dodge City, but, when he aims, he always hits the target. If this is not enough, you can indulge in listening to this CD, to the enfant terrible of piano player in Italy today: Claudio Filippini. This, along with Luca Bulgarelli on bass, complete this winning team. One of the top flights of the year!
In this much heralded and due homage to Bill Evans, Corea has chosen two Evans’ fellow players from two different trios he had leaded. It seems to me Gomez and Motian, prior to these dates on Blue Note, had never played together. As much as Corea and Evans are different players, this work exudes the latter musicianship: the carefully chosen repertoire, played with two of Evans’ closest associates (besides Corea, of course!) has become, for my taste, the most evocative homage ever done to him. This is an obligatory album for anyone who likes the piano, and specially Bill Evans and the songs to him linked and should be in any best-of-the-best short list of the kind.
The most impressive lecture of Chopin’s music I’ve ever heard in the hands of any jazzman! Addressed by a powerful pianist who was specially helped by fantastic bass punctuations, Chopin’s songs were played with no limits: grandiose, drama, lyricism, (you name it) are all present in this album. This CD was released some years ago, but I was just fortunate to get to know it only in this year. A tour de force and one of the very best of 2012.
A quartet of rare balance. A tenor sax with a real tenor sax sound! This player has lungs! This is a completely round out quartet, in which the musicians complement each other to make up an album of extraordinary cohesiveness. From Italy, comprised entirely of European players, “Nuvole di Carta”, as far as I know, it’s not easy to find it in the USA, unfortunately. Besides sax, there’s a piano, a bass and drums.
In this outing - her second album as a leader – you can hear a genuine jazz singer in a piano trio setting, doing some very gorgeous song of the American songbook in a most pleasing way. She’s not any novelty in the jazz scene, but has been hidden for some reason I don’t get…
An imaginative, bold and inspired solo work, mixing a Fazioli Gran Concert with some electronic keyboard, this one with just enhancing tasks. 10 out of 11 tracks are his own, and that doesn’t pasteurize the album in any way. Certainly, Mr. Z is a voice you should take notice, and this CD was a very good surprise for me. Recommended… (A little digression: Faziolis have some road to run before they keep up with the Steinways and Bosendorfers…)
Another great surprise! Although I know she’s been around for some years, I only found her this year. This Azerbaijani is an excellent pianist, a thoughtful composer, and this is already her 12th album. Apart from being all this, she has her own way to handle her sextet: the soloists are always intertwined in such a way that nobody almost ever has time to rest. There’s no chance to step aside to give the spot to the next soloist! Of course, this means some arrangement work, which makes her one of the most sophisticated jazzists around. This is one of the most consistent albums I heard lately.
Elling is most probably the state of the art in jazz singing these days. No one I know can sing with such assurance. He’s the jazziest of the jazziest. I have a hunch, although, that the arrangements on this album have dangerously crossed some border they shouldn’t. Laurence Hobgood has no peers in the art of intricate arrangements; at least that I know of. So, he’s been trying to supplant himself all the time, to the point of turning the song “Come Fly with Me” something a little more than a pale resemblance of what was penned by its author. OK, OK: jazz can’t be limited by any boundaries and believe me: the work done in this album is not beyond my comprehension. After all, I’ve been listening to jazz for many, many years now, but I've spotted some annoying discontinuities in the presentations that have detracted the album’s musicality for me. It’s that simple. Even considering all the capabilities of Elling, here and there, the arrangements and, in particular, the abrupt changes in direction provided by Hobgood, seems excessive, and, so, would have betrayed any other singer (and the music, after all) who could be performing in his place.
I’ve known Lakatos for some years now. This Hungarian piano player has done some easy to listen jazz albums, bordering what some call cocktail music. Well, time has passed and, this time, he produced some more solid work. Teamed with Christian Lakatos (a close relative?) on bass, Dre Pallemaerts on drums and Gabor Bolla who plays tenor sax on three songs, Lakatos has done a considerable jazzier work, without losing the attributes he’s know to posses. Listen, for instance, Legrand’s “You Must Believe in Spring”: This much abused song has gained a new life in his hands. The same can be said about “Love Letters” and “Spring is Here”. As such, this lyrical and sensitive musician, now seasoned enough, has gained the necessary guts to cross the line that distinguishes the man from the boys. For my ears, this work is nods ahead any other of his…
Franzetti has been around for a long time, having working with jazz mainly as an arranger but also playing the piano, as attests his excellent “Mambo Tango” piano solo. In this journey, however, his compositional side has the leading role and the arrangements do not leave space for improvisations by the players. So, what is Franzetti doing here? I don’t know. I just liked this album, although it’s classically oriented and its improvisations are 99% pre planned, which means done by him, who, by the way, was not playing along with the musicians in the recording studio…
Forget it! This is not the best place for pin-up girls…

Thursday, December 20, 2012


By Augusto Cesar Costa

- Brad Mehldau Trio - ODE (Nonesuch Records - 2012)
- John Abercrombie Quartet - WITHIN A SONG (ECM - 2012)
- Yaron Herman - ALTER EGO (ACT Music - 2012)
- John Taylor Trio - Giulia's Thursdays (CamJazz - 2012)
- Jacky Terrasson - GOUACHE (Universal - 2012)
- Edward Simon - A MASTER'S DIARY (CamJazz - 2012)
- Borja Cao Trio - MATCH-GAME (Audia Records - 2009)
- Nessin Howhannnesijan Trio - SONOCORE (Atelier Sawano - 2011)
- Marc Johnson & Eliane Elias - SWEPT AWAY (ECM - 2012)
- Kenny Wheeler Big Band - THE LONG WAITING (CamJazz - 2012)

By Claudio Botelho
TOP 10 Jazz CD's:


By Renato Barroso
Eis a lista TOP/JAZZ:

1) AHMAD JAMAL - Blue Moon
2) SERGE FORTÉ - Jazz'n Chopin
5) LORENZO TUCCI - Tranety
Sunflower Henry Mancini Songbook

By Dr. Leanardo L. Rocha
Embora não tenha ouvido muita coisa aí vai a lista dos discos (CDs e DVDs) que considero marcantes:

01.- Travelin Light - Dena DeRose 
02.- The Book of Chet - Luciana Sousa 
03.- Aventuras de Jerônimo,O Herói do Sertão 
04.- Duos III- Luciana Sousa 
05 - Rasgando Seda - Guinga e Quinteto Villa-Lobos 
06 - Rua dos Amores- Djavan 
07.- Amazônia - Mario Adnet 
08.- Special Big Band - R3
09.- Céu e Mar - Leila Pinheiro e Nelson Faria 
10.- Casa de Morar- Renato Braz 
11.- Drama´n Jazz - Alessandra Maestrini 
12.- Live at Blue Note Tokyo- Oscar Castro Neves 
13.- DVD Carnival Of Jazz II Live In Saint Petersburg - Igor Butman's Big Band and Larisa Dolina 
14.- 40 Anos Depois - João Bosco 
15.- DVD - Orquestra à Base de Sopro de Curitiba e André Mehmari 
16.- Iluminante - Áurea Martins 
17.- DVD Na Carreira - Chico Buarque 

By Marcio Távora
Meus Caros Amigos Audiófilos, segue abaixo o que mais me impressionou em CD e DVD no ano de 2012. 



By Carlos Couto

Antes de apresentar minha relação dos melhores do ano, gostaria de registrar minha maior satisfação em participar desta tradição criativa que, se não estou enganado, é iniciativa do Botelho/Marcio/Leo já de alguns anos. Esta satisfação se deve ao fato de que vivemos numa terra em que tradição e Cultura (extensivo à estética) são requisitos muito pouco valorizados. E nós, apesar de poucos, cultuamos esta forma prazerosa de mostrar nosso gosto musical elegendo aqueles Cd’s, de um determinado gênero musical, que mais nos chamaram atenção no decorrer do ano. Dificílima porém, prazerosa tarefa. Além da expectativa que precede a divulgação das listas e o impacto que estas causam em nós participantes, o mais importante são as opiniões diversas que estas suscintam. formando, ao mesmo tempo, pré-requisitos para futuras discussões no nosso lazer como os almoços, audições, comentários no World Jazz, etc. Se houver o tratamento estatistico, ainda melhor, digo, perfeito.
O que me leva a fazer este modesto preâmbulo, sem nenhuma intenção de nos projetar sobre outras pessoas, foi um programa do jornalista Jocelio Leal transmitido no dia 25 de dezembro passado, pelo canal 23 TV O Povo de Fortaleza. Nele, o jornalista fez uma pergunta para uma dúzia de bem sucedidos empresários/executivos do Ceará, a maioria do sexo masculino, de faixa etária variando dos 25 aos 70 anos, e dos mais diversos segmentos empresariais (industria, comercio, educação, finanças, etc). A pergunta foi: o que você faz nas horas dedicadas ao lazer ? A maior parte dos homens opta pelo off road, por kite surf, e viagens; as mulheres encotram nas viagens ao exterior(compras) seu lazer favorito, sendo que uma optou por cavalgar e apenas uma (Sra. Juliana Abifadel) dedica-se a atividades ligadas a cultura e divulgação de conhecimentos a comunidades carentes. Afora Juliana, nenhum outro citou envolvimento com qualquer atividade cultural, portanto, nenhuma motivação/compromisso para com atividades como cinema, música literatura, teatro, fotografia, etc. É triste demais para uma terra que já comeu do pão da Padaria Espiritual, fundou a segunda academia de letras do Brasil, movimentos culturais realizados por profissionais liberais, homens ligados a atividades importantes em suas épocas. Mais recente, um dos grandes executivos da cidade nas décadas de 1960-70, fundou o Clube de Cinema de Fortaleza, com profundos reflexos na cultura local. Estes homens tiveram nenhum ou muito pouco apoio do Estado.
Entretanto, percebi com tristesa que a cultura dos empresários entrevistados na TV, (alguns com doutoramento) é de forte visão burguesa, sem nenhuma sensibilidade para com a arte. Infelizmente, este é o espectro da sociedade brasileira. O pior é quem nos governa considera como atividades culturais, a promoção de shows musicais populares e humor escatológico barato. É triste. Tanta pobreza mesmo com o Dragão, a Lei Jereisati e a Lei Roanet. Sem nenhum demérito para quem gosta de off road ou surf mas, conclamo para que continuemos neste 2013, prezando por nossas audições, os Encontros com o Jazz, dicas dos últimos lançamentos, discussões sobre performances de interpretes, lendo o New World Jazz, atividades lúdicas ligadas essencialmente a cultura e a arte.
1.  Larissa Dolina & Igor Butman – Carnival
2.  R3 - Special Big Band
3.  Hector Martignon - Second Chance
4.  João Bosco - 40 anos
5.  Mario Adnet - Amazonas
6.  Chico Adnet - Alma do Brasil
7.  Claude Tessendier - Basie Vocal Celebration
8.  Bob Cupini - Caminhos
9.  Andrea Pagani Trio - Play Pucini
10. Luciana Sousa - Duos III

By Dr. Marcilio Adjafre
Melhores CDs de Jazz 2012 - I Miglio CD di Musica Jazz 2012 - Top 22 CD 2012

Conforme tento fazer todos os anos, abaixo segue a relação dos 10 melhores CDs que ouvi em 2012.
Não estão em ordem de classificação e o único critério adotado foi o prazer que me proporcionaram.
Não foram levados em conta qualidade de gravação ou critérios técnicos musicais.
Nem todos os CDs foram lançados em 2012:

- John Abercrombie Quartet - Within a Song - ECM
- Cordoba Reunion - Sin Lugar a Dudas - Abeat for jazz
- Dan Cray - Meridies - Origin Records
- Makaya McCraven - Split Decision - CD Baby
- Dario Carnovale Trio - Pensieri Notturni
- Max Ionata/Dado Moroni - Two for Duke - VVJazz
- Max De Aloe Quartet - Björk on The Moon - Abeat for Jazz
- Eddie Daniels/Roger Kellaway - Live at The Library of Congress - IPO Recordings
- Borja Cao Trio - Match-ball - Audia Records
- Nesin Howhannesijan Trio - Sonocore - Atelier Sawano

Ficaram de fora desta lista trabalhos incríveis como:
- Fred Hersch Trio - Alive At The Vanguard
- Lorenzo Tucci - Tranety

- Kenny Wheeler Big Band - The Long Waiting - CamJazz
- John Taylor - Giulia's Thursdays - CamJazz
- Edward Simon - A Master's Diary - CamJazz
- Phronesis - Walking Dark - Edition Records
- Roberto Gatto - Replay - Parco Della Musica Records
- Chick Corea/Eddie Gomez/Paul Motian - Further Explorations - Concord Records
- Francesco Maccianti Quartet - Passo a Due - Alma Records
- Rita Marcotulli/Javier Girotto/Luciano Biondini - Variazioni su Tema - Sard
- Vito Favara - Even If - Wide Sound
- Jasper Somsen - Dreams, Thoughts & Poetry: the music of Enrico Pieranunzi - Challenge Records

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Best Jazz 2012 by WORLDJAZZ
Jazz Record of 2012
- Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, Paul Motian - Further Explorations

Top 10 Jazz Records of 2012
- Alan Broadbent Trio - Live At Giannelli Square Vol.2
- Fred Hersch Trio - Alive At The Vanguard
- Marc Johnson/ Eliane Elias - Swept Away
- John Taylor - Giulia's Thursdays
- Dario Carnovale Trio - Pensieri Notturni
- Dario Carnovale Trio - Exit For Three
- Ahmad Jamal - Blue Moon: The New York Sessions
- Larisa Dolina & Igor Butman - Carnival Of Jazz II-Live In Saint Petersburg
- Lorenzo Tucci - Tranety
- Niño Josele - Paz

Vocal Jazz 2012
- Veronica Nunn - Standard Delievery
- Dena DeRose - Travelin' Light: Live In Antwerp, Belgium

Jazz Hors Concours 2012
- Bill Evans Trio: Live at Art D´Lugoff´s Top Of The Gate
                          The Sesjun Radio Shows

Artiste du Jazz 2012
Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch, Dario Carnovale & Igor Butman

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

DAVE BRUBECK 1920 - 2012

December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012

By Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY
The jazz musician was one day shy of his 92nd birthday.
12:16PM EST December 5. 2012
Jazz musician Dave Brubeck died Wednesday morning at Norwalk Hospital, in Norwalk, Conn., his longtime manager-producer-conductor Russell Gloyd tells the Chicago Tribune.
Brubeck, who would have turned 92 on Thursday, died of heart failure, en route to "a regular treatment with his cardiologist," said Gloyd.
A birthday party was planned in the town of Wilton, Conn., featuring his son, Darius Brubeck; Richie Cannata, sax player for Billy Joel; and Bernie Williams, former New York Yankees star.
The pianist reached pop star status with recordings including Take Five and Blue Rondo a la Turk.
Brubeck, who once said he considers himself "a composer who plays the piano," wrote and recorded several large-scale compositions since the 1960s, including two ballets, a musical, an oratorio, four cantatas, a mass, works for jazz group and orchestra, and many pieces for solo piano. He has appeared at the Newport (1958, 1972, 1981), Monterey (1962, 1980), Concord (1982), and Kool jazz festivals, and performed at the White House (1964, 1981).
"For as long as I've been playing jazz, people have been trying to pigeonhole me," he told the Tribune in an interview. "Frankly, labels bore me."
Brubeck is survived by his wife, Iola; four sons Darius, Dan, Chris and Matthew (all musicians) and a daughter; grandsons and a great granddaughter.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2 Sem 2012 - Part Nineteen

Alan Broadbent Trio
Live At Giannelli Square Vol.2

By Dan Bilawsky
Promise of more to come came with the numerical tag at the end of pianist Alan Broadbent's superb Live At Giannelli Square: Vol. 1 (Chilly Bin, 2010); two years later, he's made good on that promise. Live At Giannelli Square: Vol. 2, recorded as its predecessor was just seeing release, finds Broadbent and his brilliantly understated trio mates back at the same San Fernando Valley venue, making magic in their own sweet way.
The class, charm and musical savoir-faire that were ever-present on the first album, and virtually every recording Broadbent has made under his name in recent years, are evident throughout this sequel. While this record is a logical extension of Live At Giannelli Square: Vol. 1 in tone, tact and musical temperament, it stands apart because it highlights Broadbent's own written work. Much attention is often given to his arranging and skills as a standards-playing encyclopedia, but his own compositions rarely receive their due. Broadbent forces the issue here, tipping the programming scales in favor of his own pieces and it's a wise decision. The sly and gently swinging "Blues In 'n' Out" is finger-snapping good, Broadbent brilliantly plays off of bassist Putter Smith on "Wandering Road," and he moves from romantic and rhapsodic notions to late night musings on "Sing A Song Of Dameron." Tempos remain mild for most of the set, but the final, album-ending original, "Three For All," has some spring in its step, which helps to fire the imagination and musical muscles of all involved.
While Broadbent turns his attention to his own tunes, he doesn't turn his back on the jazz canon. His fingers probe the lower recesses of the piano as "You Don't Know What Love Is" gets underway and he makes the instrument twinkle in the aural light as reaches its final resting place. George Shearing's oft-ignored "Conception" also proves to be an inspired choice, but it's the album-opening essay on "Yesterdays" that comes off as the strongest number on the date. Broadbent shifts effortlessly from inside, down the middle soloing to quirky, outside sidebars as he demonstrates some incredible, Roger Kellaway-like independence. Smith and drummer Kendall Kay move from snazzy understatement to deep groove-making here and Kay delivers a simple, yet not-so-simple solo that creates a "hear a pin drop" moment.
So many trios operating today try to make their mark by swimming against the current or turning performances into athletic displays, but that's not the Broadbent way. These three men make the point that no-fuss music, made by exceptionally knowledgeable and skilled craftsmen, will always rise to the top.
Track Listing:
Yesterdays; You Don't Know What Love Is; Blues In 'n' Out; Wandering Road; Conception; Sing A Song Of Dameron; Three For All.
Alan Broadbent: piano; Putter Smith: bass; Kendall Kay: drums.

Makaya McCraven
Split Decision

By Brent-Anthony Johnson Bass Frontiers Staff Writer
Split Decision is the brilliant premier release of the globetrotting drummer/composer/bandleader, and in it you will find an agile and beautifully conversant take on the traditional piano trio that features McCraven, pianist Andrew Toombs and bassist Tim Seisser. This trio stretches time like a contortionist, but with a deep sense of musical communication that belies their considerably few years together as a band.
At several points throughout the CD, the entire band phrases fluid and twisting lines together and then punctuate the thoroughly articulated idea with a real silence that is jaw dropping to say the least! This trio plays together very well and their intuitive communal sense of groove and rhythmic flow is completely remarkable. In its way, this outing from this trio brings to mind the depth of interplay displayed by more mature trios led by Misters Camillo and Petrucciani!
Tim Seisser, in my humble opinion, is one of the finest young bassist on the Chicago music scene today. His 5-string fretted and fretless basses sound rich and full with a truly felt and hard won “tone for days” that eludes so many players. I look forward to hearing Tim on more releases in the coming future and I can strongly suggest that we “listeners to the low end”, him the kudos he deserves. He is a joy to listen to and he’s is always on it in a big way! Check him out on “Tasha’s Tune”, his cool solo (4:45-5:50) on “McGregor Bay” and on his compositional contribution to Split Decision, “Shades of Grey”. Nice work, Tim!
Split Decision is what real musicians playing solid compositions very well sounds like!

John Abercrombie Quartet
Within A Song

By John Kelman
In the jazz world, one thing that keeps a lot of fans coming back for more with their favorite artists is the unpredictability factor. It may well be human nature to subconsciously form preconceptions, but with this music, it's usually best to avoid reductionist pigeonholing as, more often than not, it sets self-limiting expectations. Guitarist John Abercrombie has proven, in a career now well into its fifth decade, that just when it seems clear where he's heading, he veers unexpectedly elsewhere—though there always seems to be some thread of commonality running through it all. Since forming the quartet with pianist Richie Beirach that debuted on Arcade (ECM, 1978), Abercrombie's release pattern with his regular groups has, however, been largely consistent, with three recordings featuring the same lineup before moving, at least, on record, to the next. Even the quartet with violinist Mark Feldman and drummer Joey Baron that has occupied much of the guitarist's attention in the new millennium released three records with Marc Johnson before Thomas Morgan took over the bass chair to alter its complexion for Wait Till You See Her (ECM, 2009).
Despite no signs of that configuration exceeding its "best by" date, Within A Song represents a directional shift of sorts, while still possessing some of the markers that link all of Abercrombie's work together. Drummer Joey Baron is the only carryover in a quartet that, along with bassist Drew Gress—making his second appearance on ECM after his label debut (with Abercrombie) on saxophonist John Surman's Brewster's Rooser (2009)—also features saxophonist Joe Lovano, on his first session for the label since drummer Paul Motian's final trio recording with guitarist Bill Frisell, Time and Again (2007). It's an inspired choice for an album that pays tribute to some seminal music of the 1960s, even though Abercrombie is the only one who fits the bill of his brief liners, referring to ..."an old saying that goes: if you can remember the 1960s you probably weren't there." Abercrombie was there and he does remember, but if Lovano, Gress and Baron were, for the most part, pre-teens when most of the inspirations for Within A Song were first recorded, then their subsequent careers—ranging as far and wide as their leader's—have all demonstrated a near-mitochondrial appreciation and, even more importantly, understanding of that innovative period.
Abercrombie has often covered a song or two on his recordings as a leader, but he's largely focused on original material. Within A Song flips the equation, with only three original songs in a nine-song set that touches on Miles Davis, with an indigo-tinged version of "Flamenco Sketches" that's even more impressionistic than the original on the trumpeter's seminal Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959)). Abercrombie also pays tribute to saxophonists John Coltrane, with "Wise One" (from Crescent (Impulse!, 1964), and Ornette Coleman, with the free jazz founder's "Blues Connotation," from This is Our Music (Atlantic, 1961), moving effortlessly from time and changes to greater freedom, only to find its way back, mid-song, for Lovano's ambling but effervescent solo.
Within A Song never actually reaches a boil, with the opening "Where Are You" and Abercrombie's "Easy Reader" setting a relatively gentle pace. Still, the guitarist's title track—which borrows both indirectly and, ultimately, directly from the Youmans/Rose standard "Without A Song"—does turn the heat up to a simmer, while Bill Evans' "Interplay" swings vibrantly at a medium tempo thanks to Gress and Baron, whose powerful punctuations—rarely as flat-out exuberant as some of his best work in Bill Frisell's group of the 1980s/90s, but still demonstrating the occasional slap-happy bent—are unexpected but never gratuitous.
The entire quartet's behind-the-beat approach when it comes to both groove and melody may give Within A Song its generally relaxed veneer, but beneath this largely soft surface is a freer approach that speaks to Abercrombie's explanation, in a 2004 All About Jazz interview: "I like free playing that has some relationship to a melody; very much the way Ornette Coleman used to write all those wonderful songs and then they would play without chords on a lot of them; but they still had these great melodies to draw you in and act as a reference point; I think having a reference point when you're playing this kind of music is very important."
A cursory look at the collective discography of everyone in this quartet reveals players comfortable with the tradition and in more left-of-center contexts. Given Baron's textural playing here, there are times when Within A Song actually recalls some of Lovano's wonderful On Broadway recordings with Motian and Frisell from the late 1980s/early 90s—where that group found ways to deconstruct well-heeled tunes, albeit with more overt fire, at times, contrasting a similarly impressionistic approach. But if Abercrombie is a less idiosyncratic player than Frisell, he's just as unpredictable. Time and again, on album and in performances ranging from Montreal in 2007 and Mannheim in 2009, to Ottawa in 2010, Abercrombie is both instantly recognizable and perennially fresh, never resorting to stock ideas or signature lines. If he has largely focused on string-driven chamber jazz for the better part of the last decade, with Within A Song he's delivered an unequivocal jazz recording—one founded on the groundbreaking music of the 1960s, to be sure, but, in the hands of these fine players, resonating with fresh, contemporary relevance.
Where Are You; Easy Reader; Within A Song / Without A Song; Flamenco Sketches; Nick of Time; Blues Connotation; Wise One; Interplay; Sometime Ago.
John Abercrombie: guitar; Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; Drew Gress: double bass; Joey Baron: drums.

David Benoit

By Stewart Mason
Recorded in a simple trio format with bassist Brian Bromberg and drummer Gregg Bissonette, Standards is about as close as smooth jazz pianist David Benoit has come to the classic post-bop West Coast sound that's always been one of his primary inspirations. Benoit is simply not an adventurous soul as either a bandleader or a pianist, and so Standards consists mostly of familiar songs (John Lewis' "Django," Thelonious Monk's "Straight No Chaser," Bill Evans' "Waltz for Debby," Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo à la Turk") given safe, pretty performances that never come close to re-invention. It's simply not in Benoit's nature to take risks, but to a listener on the pianist's mellow wavelength, these performances are both technically excellent and completely heartfelt. The choice of a couple obscurities by Henry Mancini and Neal Hefti adds an idiosyncratic personal touch as well. Bold and audacious it may not be, but Standards is a low-key delight. 

Helge Lien

By LinnRecords
Best known for his work with the Helge Lien Trio, ‘Kattenslager' is Helge Lien's first album as a solo artist and as such, he takes full advantage of the freedom that affords him, weaving complex and subtle soundscapes throughout.
The title of Helge Lien's official debut as a solo artist is as eccentric as the music contained in it. While listening to a Danish jazz song from the 60s, Norwegian Lien misheard the lyrics as saying ‘Kattenslager'. In fact, they were referring to a ‘Plattenslager' (‘Pop Record'), but the non-existent term would prove to be perfect for the album's equally subtle, mysterious and at times, disturbing piano sounds. Fans of Lien's lyrical trio work certainly won't be disappointed. And yet this time, his performance is no longer restricted by any preconceived melodic motives. Instead, ideas flow from his fingers with complete ease and unbound by limiting concepts, resulting in a record of remarkable freedom, immediacy and unpredictability.

Kurt Elling
1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project

By Bruce Lindsay
The Brill Building holds a special place in popular music history, not just because of the songs crafted within its walls, but also because of what it has come to represent. The ideal of the Brill Building is associated with songs that soundtrack the lives and loves of millions of people around the world. Singer Kurt Elling's tribute to that ideal, 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project, crackles with life as it connects with the emotions these songs engender.
Elling's position at the top of the male jazz singers' tree has been unassailed for over a decade, topping the DownBeat Critics' Poll for the thirteenth time in 2012, the seventh for the Readers' Poll. His richly expressive voice has much to do with this position, but it's not the whole story. Elling deserves equal praise for the originality of his interpretations and breadth of material. This album is strong on all three counts: Elling selects Songbook classics and pop favorites, throws in a few curveball interpretations and is on top form vocally, although his technical virtuosity threatens, at times, to overwhelm the lyrical message of "Come Fly With Me" and "On Broadway."
"On Broadway" opens with a short spoken word vignette where various "industry people"—played by a cast including Elling's longtime pianist Laurence Hobgood, and singer Dianne Reeves—reject the eager Elling as he attempts to persuade them of his talents. "Have you ever considered law school?" asks one. Of course, once he opens up with "They say the neon lights are bright...," their foolhardiness is exposed.
Elling adds a chunk of cynicsm to the cheeky satire of The Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday" with spoken interjections of which guitarist/composer Frank Zappa would be proud: a terrific reinterpretation made even better by John McLean's crunching guitar. The reworking of "You Send Me" replaces composer Sam Cooke's soulful romance with a smooth '80s R&B vibe, the trade-off adding an air of sophistication, reducing the original's intimacy.
A delightful "Shoppin' For Clothes" features a guest appearance by famed bassist Christian McBride, but rather than his usual role—Clark Sommers does a great job in that department—he's acting. McBride assumes the role of an increasingly frustrated menswear salesman dealing with Elling's attempt to buy a sharp suit. It's a genuinely funny performance—if the bottom ever falls out of the bass playing trade, McBride's second career is assured.
Elling's finest performances are on ballads. Hobgood's arrangement of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "A House Is Not A Home" for the core quartet is exquisitely realized: cool, romantic and heartbreaking. Paul Simon's "An American Tune" gets the simplest arrangement of all, just Hobgood's spacious piano and Elling's soaring voice. It's beautiful.
Were all of these songs written in 1619 Broadway? Probably not, but it doesn't matter. They are all recognizably Brill Building songs in terms of style, subject matter and sheer quality—in terms of the ideal. Great songs are characterized by their openness to fresh interpretations and, on 1619 Broadway, Elling gives them some of the freshest interpretations around.
Track Listing: 
On Broadway; Come Fly With Me; You Send Me; I Only Have Eyes For You; I'm Satisfied; A House Is Not A Home; Shoppin' For Clothes; So Far Away; Pleasant Valley Sunday; American Tune; Tutti For Cootie.
Kurt Elling: vocals; John McLean: guitar; Laurence Hobgood: piano, voice (1, 9); Clark Sommers: bass; Kendrick Scott: drums, congas; Christian McBride: voice (7); Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone (4, 7); Ernie Watts: tenor saxophone (5, 8); Tom Luer: alto saxophone (11), tenor saxophone (2, 4, 11); Kye Palmer: trumpet (11), flugelhorn (2, 4, 11); Luiza Elling: voice (9); Sara Collins: voice (1); Eric Denniston: voice (1); Jennifer Elling: voice (1); Jeff Greenberg: voice (1); Nic Harcourt: voice (1); Chris Hinderaker: voice (1); Vanessa parr: voice (1); Michael Podell: voice (1); Dianne Reeves: voice (1); Jonathan Stuart: voice (1); Daye L Turner: voice (1); Mary Vinci: voice (1); Michael Zettier: voice (1); Dominic Zingone: voice (1); Fred Zollo: voice (1).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Audição Primaveril

By Carlos Couto 
Ouvi três peças que muito me impressionaram:

  CD/DVD Carnival of Jazz II, gravado ao vivo em São Petersburgo, 2010. 

Dois excelentes artistas da atual Federaçãq Russa e Bielorussia, antiga URSS, que fizeram um trabalho de estética musical jazistica irrepreensível. A começar pela big-band composta de 16 excelentes músicos em piano, contrabaixo, bateria, 5 saxofones, 4 trombones, 4 trumpetes. Igor Butman é o arranjador e produtor musical do trabalho e, o sax-alto. Igor Butman foi descoberto por David Fink que o recomendou a Dave Brubeck. e tocou com este por muitos anos. Resalte-se a qualidade da produção expressa pela escolha do repertório composto principalmente de standads do cancioneiro americano, qualidade de audio e pelos arranjos musicais.
  Larissa Dolina :
Larisa Dolina, nascida em 1955 em Baku, capital do Azerbaijão. Começou a cantar jazz ainda adolescente, fazendo parte da banda "We’re Odessians" e, em pouco tempo, tornou-se muito conhecida em seu pais como cantora de jazz. Larissa mostra realmente que é uma excelente cantora de jazz, demonstrando isso através de interpretações maravilhosas com direito a improavisos magnificos daqueles de causar inveja em muitas interpretes americanas (scat singing ).
Larisa Dolina é vencedora de inúmeros concursos de música russa e internacional. Ganhou quatro prêmios nacionais russos, O "Ovatsia" (o equivalente americano do Tony Award), foi eleita a "melhor cantora pop", e ganhou "Melhor Álbum do Ano" na Russia além, de ser uma bela mulher de meia idade.( como o Dr. Leo gosta)
Destaco as músicas: Windmills Of Your Mind - Too Close For Confort, - You Are My Good Old Wagon – Cabaret - How High The Moon - Mr. Paganini e outras mais.

  Cd gravado em 2012 pela Sumit Records 

Este trabalho é simplesmente INCRÍVEL. Uma big band liderada por Rafael Rocha, jovem e talentoso maestro (tem 27 anos) arranjador, e trombonista capixaba. São 18 jovens músicos de muito boa qualidade que compõem a banda, e se revezam na gravação das faixas, cuja origem é a da Orquestra da Igreja Assembléia de Deus do bairro de Aribiri da cidade de Vila Velha no Estado do Espírito - ES.
Estes garotos gravaram este Cd pela SUMMIT records em Miami USA, composto por 12 músicas, das quais, 10 são composições de Rafael (líder do grupo) que, como bom evagelico, nominou-as com títulos bastante sugestivos: “Vem com Josué lutar em Jericó”, “Só o Senhor é Deus”, “O Festim da Glória”, “Como agradecer a Jesus”, “As palavras de Jesus” e etc ,etc.
Dessa forma, parece que o Senhor lhes abençoou de maneira pródiga em relação ao seus talentos. Os garotos ARRAZAM neste CD que considero um dos melhores CD de jazz que ouvi em 2012. Os arranjos perfeitos para o naipe de instrumentos sopro, com destaque para os solos de sax, trombone, trumpetes, flugelhorn. Lembram um pouco as “coisas” do Moacir Santos e também, ao longe, o Stan Kenton ( pedindo ao Marcio permissão para esta comparação). Garanto que este é um trabalho excepcional. Vale à pena escuta-los de cabo a rabo. HALELUIA !
Fazem parte também da banda, dois outros irmãos de Rafael que são Renato Rocha (bacteria) e Roger Rocha( sax e flautas). Daí o nome de 3R big band.

- HECTOR MARTIGNON = ☆☆☆☆☆ (com louvor)
  CD Second Chance, gravação 2011 

Este também fará parte de minha lista dos melhores de 2012. Trata-se do quinteto do maestro e pianista colombiano Hector Martignon e outros excelentes músicos seus conterrâneos, em cuja formação há, além do piano baixo e bacteria, sax, gitarra e, pasmem, uma HARPA COLOMBIANA. Isso mesmo. HARPA. Os meninos começam tocando BALA COM BALA do João Bosco e terminam com a ecologicamente incorreta HATARI do Mancini. Eu só conhecia esta última executada pela orquestra do autor. Trabalho de uma criatividade INCRÍVEL que mostra a força e a saúde do jazz contemporâneo surgindo de um grupo latino. NÃO PERCAM ! ALÔ MARCILIO !

- DIANA KRALL - somente para registrar ↓☹
  CD – Glad Rag Doll, gravação 2012 

“A bela boneca de pano compilou antigos temas jazisticos mas, ao invés de interpreta-los como na época, levou-os a lugar completamente diferente” (The Sun, nov.2012)
NÃO GOSTEI ! Com a palavra nosso Leonardo Barroso (Child is Born).

Sunday, November 04, 2012


By Claudio Botelho
Denny Zetlin’s soporific “Wherever You Are – Midnight Moods for Solo Piano” was, in a way, some kind of a shock for me. I’ve been a long fan of him a he’d never done such a linear outing. The unwritten golden rule of alternating moods was miserably disrupted. I confess I was not able to listen to more than about 40% of it, even on the second and third trials. I’m certain I’ll never spin it again.
Zeitlin is a consolidated artist for long now and has nothing more to prove to anyone. Of course, his intent was to make a record this way, as its subtitle unquestionably shows. As an important part of the American jazz scenario for so long, given the musical stature of someone who has gained twice Down Beat’s International jazz Critics Poll, he’s allowed to record whatever he wants and those who, like me, dare to criticize his works must do it with some reservations.
Ok, Ok, he wanted, for a long time, as per his own sayings in the liner notes of the CD, to make a recording like that: something to calm down the spirits; to pay homage to some well known ballads which have long been adopted by the jazz player community…
If his aim was to make some sleep-inductive music, I have nothing more to say, except that his goal was fully achieved. As I don’t think Zeitlin is that kind of musician and that nobody would ask him to do so, I’d rather think he’d done a wrong choice by forgetting the necessary contrast that should exist in any sequence of music renderings.
This was a one-man show, as he was arranger, engineer, master, mixer, producer and studio owner and recorded it at home. The album is full of long-running songs. You can choose a song which takes 9m16s, for instance (Last Night When We Were Young), or another which runs 9m28s (The Meaning of the Blues). Still, some other with 8m49s (You Don’t Know What Love Is) or a Jobim medley which can take from you 7m10s (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars/How Insensitive) if you decide to listen to it. This hassles the whole issue!
Time to use his own words (as seen in Wikpedia): “…, communication is utterly paramount. There has to be a depth of empathy that allows you to really inhabit the other person's world ..."
I join unreservedly his saying and complement it by stating that, in art, the “paramountness” is even more paramount. What is the value of art, if it doesn’t communicate?
So, it was with a great feeling of frustration that I, after listening to his memorable “Precipice” and “Labyrinth” works, I came across to such an insipid outing. This is really a lone effort; some ruminating selfish work filled with indifference for all of us, played with lead hands…
The “human factor” was altogether dismissed this time, and it gets especially intriguing if you take into account his main occupation as a clinical professor of psychiatry…
(As I counterpoint, allow me to suggest the listening of another recording which follows a similar path, but has around “fifty shades” of darkness, ensuring, therefore, a delightful promenade into the night: Vince Mendoza’s “Nights on Earth”. This is a fabulously arranged album, which is so easy-going that may mislead some to think it’s not a major work of art. In tune to the intended calmness it should infuse in the spirit of the listener, the arrangements seem understated. Far from it, they’re rich and varied, making the prick up of one’s ears a joy).
But, as much as I was annoyed by Mr. Zeitlin (who will go on being one of my heroes), I was mesmerized by a young Cuban piano player named Alfredo Rodriguez: a common name for a great artist! His “Sound of Space” CD (named very accordingly considering its musical architecture) was the greatest surprise for me in this year. This young artist is a musical stalwart and this was spotted by Mr. Quincy Jones who, with advice from his keen eyes (or ears), didn’t let him slip through his hands: he coproduced this work. He plays piano and melodic and is helped by Gaston Joya who alternates with Peter Slavov on bass, Michael Oliveira on drums and percussion, also taking turns with Francisco Merla, Ernesto Vega on clarinet and bass clarinet and a quartet named Santa Cecilia comprising flute, oboe and French horn.
In the beginning, Rodriguez, when caught crossing the border to get into the United States, stated candidly to the authorities he wanted to live in that country and would try to get in it over and over again, if deported. All he wanted was to play his music and that country could give him all he needed. On this issue, he’s come out winning.
At 26 years old, he already has an impressive portfolio, having worked with an inordinate number of important musicians worldwide.
I think a good front cover graphics helps to sell a CD. A focused photograph properly done with sharp color contrasts, some good taste letterings, clear informations, etc. should be considered an important commercial asset. Unfortunately, many don’t think this way. The norm is to prioritize “artistry” over information. So, many times, we come across CD’s booklets which degrade the work of the artist or treats information as a secondary matter, or both. Ask Mr. Ahmad Jamal, for instance, to read the authors’ credits of the musics he plays on the back of his “Blue Moon” album…
About this, let me quote myself on something I wrote in these pages some moons ago:
“We, jazz listeners, who are always striving to know all about the performers (as it should be, as jazz is mainly a product from them) don’t have received the same treatment: many, many times, the art mixes with the information just to make it less clear, sometimes on the verge of making it unreadable! Aficionados like me, who are not teenagers anymore and, so, are kinda shortsighted, have all the difficulties in the world to distinguish a black letter in a dark blue background, or to read a multicolored written word made this way to help (help?) the reader, as it is foreground to a colorful mixed scenery.”
Why do I talk about this subject? Because the cover art of Gonzalez’s CD is nothing short of lousy. And I tell you: I missed it entirely when browsing in Amazon the other day. His name was unknown to me; as I said above, it is a very common one and the cover photo seemed like something from the fifties. To worsen things, the pictured piano he was playing is an upright one. I despise upright pianos. I hate their woody sound!
How could I think Mr. Rodriguez was such a maven with that almost childish face he sports, Mr. Quincy Jones? How could I gather that a work completely filled with strange musical themes would let many albums I’ve listened in this year in the dust? After all, I haven’t learned yet to tell the future…
At odds on all this counterproductive side work is Rodriguez musicianship: full, varied, instigating, intoxicatingly complex, filled with a multitude of rhythms linked with his short past life in his homeland, but with a strong contemporaneity, resembling, at the same time, the Caribs and the best of the occident music! A full package, with a multitude of rhythms and moods in a package as varied as life itself. 


To round out, let me quote a statement I’ve read these days, which is a little out of the reach of this blog, but that may help some two friends of mine:
“…Most modern recordings, for better or worse, never existed in real space. Therefore, the goal is to accurately reproduce what is in the final mix. Which is a long way around to stating my preference is for equipment that doesn’t embellish, but seeks accuracy and to reveal what went into the mix…”
(Jon Iverson, Streophile, Oct. 2012 issue, p. 153)
I like them closely miked…

2 Sem 2012 - Part Eighteen

Roni Ben-Hur, Santi Debriano & Duduka da Fonseca
Our Thing

By Ernest Barteldes
Recorded in early 2011, Our Thing marks the first studio collaboration of guitarist Roni Ben-Hur and bassist Santi Debriano. They have worked together in a live setting on numerous occasions and are joined, in this endeavor, by drummer/percussionist Duduka Da Fonseca, who brings an extra flavor to the music.
The CD opens with Thelonious Monk's "Green Chimneys," a complex track that allows the musicians to fully stretch their chops. Da Fonseca and Debriano begin with a samba-like groove, and are immediately joined by Ben-Hur, who mimics the Brazilian percussive instrument agogo, before turning to the melody. Da Fonseca's overdubbed triangle (in addition to a few more percussive instruments) leads to an Egberto Gismonti-like feel.
Debriano's title song lifts a few notes from Joe Henderson's "Blue Bossa" to indicate its Brazilian influences, but the resemblance end there. It quickly evolves into a fast-paced tune that mostly features Ben-Hur's fluid guitar but also finds plenty of space for Debriano and Da Fonseca to exercise their creativity. The disc features two Antonio Carlos Jobim compositions: "Fotografia," which features Debriano, is a slow bossa and he uses the song's tempo to explore its nuances, as well as his instrument's low tones. "Ela e Carioca" is played more like a samba and is a vehicle for Ben-Hur's electric guitar.
A final highlight is Da Fonseca's "Isabella," a slow ballad that begins with Ben-Hur's solo guitar and then shifts tempos to allow the drummer's cleverly placed accents and Debriano's grooves.
Our Thing provides a great backdrop and inspiration for the featured musicians and Ben-Hur's improvisations.
Track Listing:
Green Chimneys; Milonga For Mami; Fotografia; Afroscopic; Anna's Dance; Isabella; Earl's Key; Suave; Ela e Carioca; Let's Face The Music and Dance.
Roni Ben-Hur: guitar; Santi Debriano: acoustic bass; Duduka Da Fonseca: drums, percussion.

Romain Collin
The Calling

By Ian Patterson
In the dense jungle of the jazz piano trio, unearthing and successfully making heard an original voice is no small feat. Romain Collin caught the attention of many with his debut, The Rise and Fall of Pipokhun (Fresh Sound, New Talent, 2009), a mellow yet ambitious conceptual suite that marked the New York-based Frenchman as a pianist and composer of note. Collin's innate lyricism shone through from his keys, as did a rare delicacy of touch that conveyed emotional power in even the quietest moments. The Calling bears many of the same hallmarks, though post-production work—or sound design as Collin refers to it—brings greater textural depth and moods to these 12 striking compositions.
The punchy dynamics of the short opener, "Storm," provide something of a statement of intent. Eschewing conventional jazz idioms, the song is an atmospheric power-piece built upon Collin's grand, spacious motif. Recorded newsreel, barely voiced guitar and subtly layered drone-like electronics lend an urbane tone. That Collin spent two weeks in post-production sculpting the sounds—compared to just two days of recording— not only says much about Collin's modernistic approach to making music, it also speaks volumes for the care invested in the sonic presentation. Such attention to detail has paid handsome dividends, as clarity, depth and warmth of sound are constants throughout.
Collin's classical leanings color much of the music. The elegant title track has a quietly stated baroque grandeur which never fully concedes ground during Collin's free-falling improvisation. The elegiac, almost hymnal quality of "Greyshot" and the moody "Aftermath" point more directly to European church music as a source of melodic inspiration, though both pieces are equally informed by subtle layers of cello, guitar and programming. However, a decade in New York has also left its mark, and the limber "Runner's High" features intuitive, mid-tempo interplay between the pianist, bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Kendrick Scott. Similarly, "Burn Down" bristles with invention and small-club energy and features a powerhouse solo from Scott.
Collin's interpretive skills shine on singer/guitarist John Mayer's "Stop This Train," a beautifully delicate reading given sympathetic support by Scott's deft hand percussion. Pianist Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream" seems tailor-made for Collin's light, caressing touch. On both these tunes Collin is faithful to the composers' melodies, embellishing just enough to leave his own delectable stamp without hijacking the mood of the originals. Collin exhibits broad compositional vision, gliding from the bustling, straight-ahead "Pennywise the Clown" and the lilting "Strange" to the extended, more linear "Airborne." The achingly beautiful "One Last Try" closes the CD with exquisite solo piano, and makes for a sharply contrasting bookend with the opening dramatics of "Storm."
With The Calling Collin has raised his own bar. Touch, compositional flair and technique all seduce, but are trumped by the emotional strength in Collin's writing and playing. Still in his early 30s and immersed in a plethora of widely varying collaborations and projects that can only further broaden his musical palette, the possibilities now seem endless.
Track Listing:
Storm; The Calling; Runner’s High; Stop This Train; Burn Down; Pennywise the Clown; Greyshot; Strange; Nica’s Dream; Airborne; Aftermath; One Last Try.
Romain Collin: piano, programming; Luques Curtis: bass; Kendrick Scott: drums; John Shannon: guitar (1, 5, 7); Adrian Daurov: cello (1, 5).

Marc Johnson & Eliane Elias
Swept Away

by Rick Anderson
No one familiar with the past work of bassist Marc Johnson and pianist Eliane Elias will be surprised to find that this album finds them working in an exploratory mode; Johnson has long been one of the most interesting bassists on the modern jazz scene, and Elias' résumé is all over the place. But the sweetness, the quiet, and the sometimes deeply haunting melancholy of Swept Away may catch listeners unawares. Elias and Johnson are joined here by the two musicians who are more perfectly suited to this type of project than any others on the scene today: saxophonist Joe Lovano (currently the go-to player for virtually every serious jazz session in New York) and the preternaturally sensitive drummer Joey Baron, a man who has made more session leaders sound wonderful over the past 20 years than any other. Baron and Johnson face a serious challenge on this program: the tempos are generally slow, the sense of swing sometimes nearly subliminal, and that puts bassists and drummers in an awkward position. But on tracks like "It's Time" and the lovely "B Is for Butterfly," they keep the thread steady and reliable without dictating a beat or drawing undue attention; when the time comes to lay down a solid groove (as on the wonderful "B Is for Butterfly"), they do so elegantly and seemingly without effort. Swept Away is the best example of what has come to be called "ECM jazz" -- quiet, spacious, and friendly, but complex as well and easily able to stand up to close listening.

Bobby Broom
Upper West Side Story

by Ken Dryden
One of the top guitarists of his generation, Bobby Broom's preferred setting is a small group, while he excels in the demanding trio setting with bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins (with Makaya McCraven replacing him on three songs). Upper West Side Story includes nine originals, none of which is likely to become a jazz standard, but all of which are stimulating. "D's Blues" has an engaging hard bop hook that pulls the listener in immediately, while "Upper West Side Story" suggests a walk in Manhattan on a breezy spring day, with an infectious Latin undercurrent. The loping "Minor Major Mishap" takes its time to develop, though Broom's intricate solo bustles with energy. "Fambrosicous" is dedicated to the late bassist Charles Fambrough, an engaging vehicle that starts as bop but detours into some wild improvising. "When the Falling Leaves..." is a subdued ballad with a melancholy air, with the rhythm section providing soft, spacious accompaniment that completes the mood that Broom seeks. Recommended.

Fred Hersch Trio
Alive At The Vanguard

By Mark Corroto
Tradition is served well on this Fred Hersch Trio live recording from New York's Village Vanguard. The pianist's covers of the American songbook, like Cole Porter's "From This Moment On" and jazz classics such as Miles Davis' "Nardis" and Thelonious Monk's "Played Twice," animate and energize every moment of this club date.
Hersch, whose touring and output has been rejuvenated since he survived a two-month coma caused by complications of HIV, released two previous discs—Whirl (Palmetto, 2010) (a trio session) and the solo effort, Alone At The Village Vanguard (Palmetto, 2011).
One of the marks of a true master is always his sidemen. Hersch's longstanding trio of Drew Gress and Nasheet Waits, last heard on Whirl, are replaced here with the strong rhythm section of bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson. Like trading apples for apples, the bassist, drummer and Hersch are the definition of simpatico.
That feeling carries through the authentic Vanguard experience. Hersch's take on Sonny Rollins' 1957 date at the club includes the classic "Softly As A Morning Sunrise," played with a light dancing touch over McPherson's brushwork, and the piece increases in complexity without forsaking the melody. The trio also plays around with Rollins' "Doxy" by taking it at a much slower pace, its irony here is admirable. The same goes for his original ballad "Tristesse," written for the late Paul Motian, who was the monarch of the Vanguard during last ten years of his life. Hersch has a way of reinvesting in legends and their work, such as with Charlie Parker's "Segment" and his mash-up of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" and Davis' "Nardis." Hersch also created the tune "Sartorial" for Coleman, with the free jazz progenitor's leaps and gestures, and "Dream of Monk" portioned in Monk-speak.
The thrill of a live date at The Village Vanguard is to create something that stands tall next to all the history of the place, and Hersch certainly manages to accomplish that.
Track Listing:
CD1: Havana; Tristesse; Segment; Lonely Woman/Nardis; Dream of Monk; Rising, Falling; Softly As In a Morning Sunrise; Doxy. 
CD2: Opener; I Fall in Love Too Easily; Jackalope; The Wind/Moon and Sand; Sartorial; From This Moment On; The Song is You/Played Twice.
Fred Hersch: piano; John Hébert: bass; Eric McPherson: drums.

Mike LeDonne & The Groover Quartet 
Keep The Faith

By Jack Bowers
Connecticut-born / New York-based Mike LeDonne, who divides his time these days between piano and organ, has begun to record more frequently on the Hammond B3, especially with his suitably named Groover Quartet which, according to Owen Cordle's liner notes to Keep the Faith, has been together now for more than a decade. And that's a good thing, as these gentlemen certainly know how to groove, and do so with abandon on an album recorded roughly a year after the quartet's well-received The Groover (Savant 2100, 2010).
The organ trio has, of course, been a staple of small-group jazz for more than half a century, but LeDonne has expanded its range and power by adding another voice, that of the superlative tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, who earned his spurs with organist Charles Earland's group nearly two decades ago and, since then, has risen steadily to the top rank among contemporary tenors. LeDonne and Alexander are bolstered by a brace of seasoned pros, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Joe Farnsworth. On the other hand, perhaps "bolstered" isn't the proper word, as this is above all a quartet of equals, and Bernstein and Farnsworth's voices are no less decisive (or incisive) than LeDonne's or Alexander's.
Even so, it is the organ that enriches the groove, regardless of tempo, and LeDonne is impressively immersed in its tradition, echoing and saluting such eminent predecessors / role models as Earland, Jimmy Smith, Don Patterson and Jimmy McGriff, among others. LeDonne pays homage to another groove-based organist, the late John Patton, with "Big John," while Earland wrote the impulsive title selection. LeDonne also composed "Scratchin,'" "Burner's Idea" and "Waiting for You" (the last for his daughter, Mary) to complement "The Backstabbers," Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel," Donny Hathaway's ballad "Someday We'll All Be Free" and Horace Silver's slow-cooked finale, "Sweet Sweetie Dee."
No matter the setting, Alexander is always a pleasure to hear, while Bernstein affirms on every solo that the blues are in his soul. As for Farnsworth, he does what drummers do best, and that means keeping immaculate time and making sure his teammates are always in the spotlight. LeDonne, for his part, solos with enthusiasm and intelligence and comps the same way. Keep the Faith embodies another persuasive hour of well-grooved jazz by LeDonne's admirable quartet.
Track Listing:
The Backstabbers; Keep the Faith; Big John; The Way You Make Me Feel; Someday We'll All Be Free; Scratchin'; Waiting for You; Burner's Idea; Sweet Sweetie Dee.
Mike LeDonne: Hammond B3 organ; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

2 Sem 2012 - Part Seventeen

Brian Bromberg
In The Spirit of Jobim

By Stanton Lawrence( )
Presented as a simultaneous release with “Bromberg Plays Hendrix”, Brian Bromberg continues to deliver the goods with “In The Spirit of Jobim”. Paying tribute to the great Brazilian Bossa Nova Master, Antonio Jobim, Bromberg offers seven original Jobim inspired songs, alongside five Jobim classics. To stay true to the music, Bromberg has brought together a stellar line up of Brazilian musicians as well as The Rising Sun Orchestra. To further enhance the authenticity, Bromberg had a nylon-stringed acoustic bass made with piccolo tuning to emulate the sound of a nylon string guitar. Don’t let his foray into the higher octaves fool you, Bromberg’s deep, rich upright tones are ever present, steadily holding down the low end.
Well produced and filled with breezy, lush arrangements Bromberg truly does manage to capture the spirit of Jobim. One can’t help but feel the depth and thoughtfulness that is put into each track, faithfully delivering Jobim’s original treasures; “One Note Samba”, “Wave”, “Tristefinado”, “Corcovado” and “The Girl From Ipanema” with both style and grace. The additional Bromberg penned tracks, stay true to the genre, capturing the soul of Jobim’s music, once again proving Bromberg’s virtuosity. 10/10.

Brad Mehldau Trio
Where Do You Start

By John Kelman
Hot on the heels of Brad Mehldau's Ode (Nonesuch, 2012)—the pianist's first all-original set with his current trio—comes Where Do You Start, culled from the same recording sessions but, with the exception of one Mehldau tune, all cover material. This isn't the first time Mehldau has split a particularly fruitful session down the same compositional line: Anything Goes (Warner Bros.) and House on Hill (Nonesuch) were both same from the same sessions, recorded with original drummer Jorge Rossy before he left the trio to return to Spain. But the two were released two years apart—the cover-song Anything in 2004 and all-original House in 2006—whereas Where Do You Start comes a mere six months after Ode.
For some, this kind of accelerated release schedule can be a problem, but if guitarist Bill Frisell has proven anything, with four albums in the space of less than thirty months—from Beautiful Dreamers (Savoy Jazz, 2010) through Floratone II (Savoy Jazz, 2012)—it's that if you've established a strong fan base, you can be more aggressive with your release schedule. Despite being literally a generation apart, Mehldau's similarly rapid ascension—since first appearing in the early 1990s, to a rarefied space occupied, in his case, by living pianists including Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock—has been the direct result of a discography with plenty of hits and really no misses of which to speak.
Of course there's a difference when Mehldau, longtime bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard tackle cover material rather than a set of originals, although Where Do You Start's eclectic song selection—ranging from well-worn standards like saxophonist Sonny Rollins' "Airegin" (taken at a fast clip, with the familiar melody skewed ever so slightly) to Billy Roberts' near- Jungian hit for Jimi Hendrix, "Hey Joe" (surprisingly literal, even leading to the psychedelic guitar legend's familiar power riff)—provides and encourages the same flexibility and freedom as Mehldau's own writing. The sole Mehldau piece, "Jam," is really just a vamp that is tagged to the end of a gentle reading of Chico Buarque's "Samba E Amor," featuring a lengthy but wonderfully restrained solo that reaffirms the pianist is now in a place where he's nothing left to prove.
Of course, Mehldau burns aplenty elsewhere, with the kind of frightening two-hand technique that has distinguished him from so many others. His "Hey Joe" may be relatively faithful, as is "Got Me Wrong," but the Alice in Chains hit provides a chance, in his impressive opening solo, for the pianist to set a very high bar for the rest of the set. From a soft look at Sufjan Stevens' "Holland," that is as much a feature for Grenadier's spare but perfect choices, to a more straight-ahead take on trumpeter Clifford Brown's "Brownie Speaks" (but still, with Mehldau's fugue-like approach), and a particularly lyrical close with the Mandel/Bergman/Bergman title track, Where Do You Start isn't so much an alternative as it is further evidence—as if any were needed—of this tremendous trio's ability to take any material—old, new, borrowed or original—and make it firmly its own.
Brad Mehldau: piano; Larry Grenadier: bass; Jeff Ballard: drums.
Got Me Wrong (Jerry Cantrell); Holland (Sufjan Stevens); Brownie Speaks (Clifford Brown);
Baby Plays Around (Elvis Costello & Cait O’Riordan); Airegin (Sonny Rollins); Hey Joe (Billy Roberts);
Samba e Amor (Chico Buarque); Jam (Brad Mehldau); Time Has Told Me (Nick Drake)
Aquelas Coisas Todas (Toninho Horta); Where Do You Start? (Johnny Mandel, Marilyn Bergman & Alan Bergman) 

Vince Mendoza
Nights On Earth

by William Ruhlmann
The idea of "jazz composing" can seem a contradiction in terms, since the essence of jazz is improvisation, while composing is by definition planning in advance what music will sound like. Yet Vince Mendoza is very much a jazz composer (in addition to being an arranger and conductor), and Nights on Earth is his first album of original compositions in 13 years, since 1997's Epiphany. Mendoza recorded that album with the London Symphony Orchestra; here, he employs members of the Metropole Orkest on five of 12 tracks, but for the most part, he uses jazz musicians. (Mendoza himself actually performs on only two tracks, playing keyboards on "Shekere" and "The Night We Met.") The album title suggests a lot about the contents, since the reference to night signals that the music is low-key, set at slow tempos as if anticipating the wind-down to sleep (the last track is even called "Lullaby"), and the reference to earth is fulfilled by the world music elements, with styles ranging from South American to African, with instrumentation to match. Mendoza tends to set up a loose musical structure and then bring in a series of soloists to play over it, as he does in "Poem of the Moon," for instance, which has a piano theme played by Kenny Werner, followed by Jim Walker's flute and John Abercrombie's electric guitar. The jazz musicians have a lot of freedom to solo as they please, even as the frame set by the composer contextualizes their efforts. This is particularly striking when Mendoza uses unusual juxtapositions of instruments, such as the bandoneon of Hector del Curto contrasted with Arnaud Sussmann's violin on "Addio." The difficulty in defining the genre of music increases toward the end of the album, with the overt classical influences in "Everything Is You," particularly with Alan Pasqua's piano work, and Fred Sherry's cello solo in "Lullaby." Maybe the overall term must be "jazz" for lack of a better one, but by the end it doesn't really matter, as Mendoza has created his own night-time musical world.
Track Listing:
Otoño; Poem Of The Moon; Ao Mar; Conchita; The Stars You Saw; Addio; Shekere; Beauty and Sadness; The Night We Met; Gracias; Everything Is You; Lullaby.
Vince Mendoza: composer, conductor, arranger, keyboards (7, 9); Lorraine Perry: vocals (10); Luciana Souza: vocals (3); Tom Diakite: kora and vocals (7); Jim Walker: flute (2, 11); Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone (5, 8); Bob Mintzer: tenor saxophone and bass clarinet (3, 11); Stephane Guillaume: tenor and soprano saxophone (4, 7); Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet (3); Rick Todd: french horn (1, 4, 11); Jim Self: tuba (1, 4); John Abercrombie: electric guitar (2, 5, 8); John Scofield: electric guitar (3, 10); Nguyên Lê: electric guitar (1, 4, 7); Romero Lubambo: acoustic guitar (3); Louis Winsberg: acoustic guitar (1); Alan Pasqua: piano (1, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11); Kenny Werner: piano (2, 5, 8); Larry Goldings: organ (1, 4, 10); Michel Alibo: electric bass (7); Jimmy Johnson: electric bass (1, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11); Christian McBride: acoustic bass (2, 5, 8); Peter Erskine: drums (1, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11); Greg Hutchinson: drums (2, 5, 8); Karim Ziad: drums (7); Alex Acuna: percussion (1, 3, 11); Luis Conte: percussion (4, 9, 10); Christo Cortez: palmas (1); Rhani Krija: percussion ( 7); Miguel Sanchez: palmas and cajon (1); Hector del Curto: bandoneon (6, 9, 12); Marcia Dickstein: harp (2, 11); Andy Narrell: steel drums (4); Jesse Mills: violin (6, 9); Arnaud Sussman: violin (6, 9); Dov Sheindlin: viola (6, 9); Fred Sherry: cello (6, 9, 12); Gregg August: contrabass (6, 9); Judd Miller: synthesizer programming (7, 9); Sarah Koch: concert master (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Erica Korthals Altes: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); David Peijnenborgh: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Pauline Terlouw: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Giles Francis: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Petra Griffioen: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Doesjka de Leu: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Seija Teeuwen: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Merijn Rombout: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Herman van Haaren: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Lucja Domski: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Wim Kok: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Elizabeth Liefkes-Cats: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Marianne van den Heuvel: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Laurie Vreeken-Bos: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8);: Mieke Honingh: viola (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Norman Jansen: viola (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Julia Jowet: viola (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Isabella Petersen: viola (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Alex Welch: viola (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Bastiaan van der Werf: cello (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Maarten Jansen: cello (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Wim Grin: cello (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Annie Tangberg: cello (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Erik Winkelmann: contrabass (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Arend Liefkes: contrabass (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Tjerk de Vos: contrabass (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Eddy Koopman: percussion (2, 3, 5, 7, 8);: Joke Schonewille: harp (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); Hans Vroomans: piano (2, 3, 5, 7, 8).

Tigran Hamasyan
A Fable

By Charles Walker
The young, Armenian-born pianist Tigran Hamasyan possesses an almost intimidating virtuosity, a style that owes as much to Art Tatum's two-handed volubility and the sweeping refinement of Impressionist composers as it does to the spiraling, East-meets-West melodies of his homeland. Winner of the 2006 Thelonious Monk Institute's piano competition, New Era (2008, Nocturne) found Hamasyan settling into a familiar, if impressive trio aesthetic, mining the angular vernacular of modern jazz piano on now-standard vehicles like "Well, You Needn't" or "Solar," as well as on some of his own lovely compositions. So it is a welcome surprise to hear the dreamlike, tinkling sustain of the minute-long "Rain Shadow" that opens this new disc almost like a lullaby, an otherworldly state that A Fable, by and large, maintains across its length. For Hamasyan's first solo album, gone are the walking bass, the stabs at jazz-based legitimacy, or any outright forays into the typical jazz canon. Instead, he produces his first fully mature work, in an individual style utterly unlike anything else on the market.
Folklore certainly seems to be on the pianist's mind. Both the titles of tunes ("A Fable," "Kakavik (The Little Partridge)," or "The Legend of the Moon") and the way many of the tracks build themselves around simple, almost childlike melodies attest to this return to roots. "Longing" is perhaps the finest example of this on the album: the melody, sentimental but not cloying, is rendered in a haunting pianissimo with minimal improvisation, as the pianist recites two quatrains about exile and homecoming from the Armenian poet Hovhannes Tumanyan in a beautifully unadorned singing voice. These fragile, touching moments are plentiful on A Fable, "The Legend of the Moon" or "Mother, Where Are You?" introducing a rich body of balladic work that eschews technical fireworks in favor of powerful emotional connection.
The pianist is still capable of raising the tempo when needed, however, which gives the set a much needed sense of variety. With equally evocative melodies, both "What the Waves Brought" and "Samsara" launch into dense, fleet-fingered territory, ricocheting from one arpeggiated cluster to the next with centrifugal force. A touch of Liszt's Rhapsodies, Debussy's Arabesques or even Jacques Ibert's "Little White Donkey" collide with the modal melodic sense of his Armenian heritage, and are then allowed to evolve freely through his improviser's sensibility. In the faster sections, the precision of Hamasyan's touch, his volume control and the independence of his hands are absolutely breathtaking. How impressive, that even during these showpieces for his technique, he still manages to tether himself to an unimpeachable emotional core.
"Someday My Prince Will Come" is the album's sole nod to jazz music proper, but even it is filtered through the prism of what is obviously an increasingly confident, individual voice. If A Fable is Hamsyan's method of coming home, we are lucky that he invites us along for the ride. His world is a stirring place to spend an hour.
Track Listing:
Rain Shadow; What The Waves Brought; The Spinners; Illusion; Samsara; Longing; Carnaval; The Legend of the Moon; Someday My Prince Will Come; Kakavik (The Little Partridge); A Memory That Became A Dream; A Fable; Mother, Where Are You?
Personnel: Tigran Hamasyan: piano, voice.

Alfredo Rodriguez
Sounds Of Space

By flossfarmer
It's amazing to me that a person so young could write and play music this accomplished. Coming from Cuba, Alfredo Rodriguez plays a wonderful style of jazz with Latin influences. Classically trained, he lays down blazing fast riffs that are complex and extremely well written. However these accolades are the same reasons I take issue with the work. He plays with such intensity and so fast, much of the emotion is lost. The crescendos are muted and there are no soft melodic parts of consequence. Still it's a brilliant effort. I look forward to hearing much more from Alfredo Rodriguez. If you like technically complex music, this is for you.
Mack Avenue label.
Recording information: 
Downtown Studios, New York, NY; Westlake Studios, Hollywood, CA. Sounds of Space
Photographer: Anna Webber.
Release Date Mar 26, 2012
Producer Maria Ehrenreich; Alfredo Rodriguez; Quincy Jones
Engineer Humberto Gatica; Adolfo Martinez "Fito"; Hector Castillo
Recording Time 58 minutes
Personnel: Alfredo Rodriguez (piano) Sounds of Space album.
Audio Mixers: Dave Way; Cristián Robles; Humberto Gatica Sounds of Space CD music.
1 Qbafrica; 2 Sueno De Paseo ; 3 Silence ; 4 Cu-Bop ; 5 April ; 6 Oxygen; 7 Sounds of Space;
8 Crossing the Border ;9 ...Y Bailaria La Negra? (a Ernesto Lecuona) ; 10 Transculturation ;
11 Fog

Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio
What A Wonderful Trio !

By Nedbank Classic Credit
My first encounter with Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio was when I acquired the Trio's Midnight Sugar CD by chance in a Record Shop (La ViVa)in Benoni(South Africa). The CD was recommended to me by the shop owner after I requested him for "something fresh and swinging" - I never regretted the purchase because there is a huge scarcity of Imported CD silmilar to this one and by Asian jazz giants in these shores. I am in fact one of a very few collectors in the country to own these gems of trio swing CD.(I am saying this with my tongue knotted because there may be other collectors in S.A. owning this discs.
Having acquired "WHAT A WONDERFUL TRIO" the wonder of MIDNIGHT SUGAR is here continued with aplomp by this piano self-taught genius - Tsuyoshi. The accompaniment he receives from his bassist and drummist compatriots puts a cherry on the top of this WONDER....
The crystal clarity sound emitting from this disc is impeccably engineered - a futuristic sound I hope and pray can be heard from all good jazz CDs. I am proud to own this DISC.
Consisting of some beautiful standards such as Smoke Gets into Your Eyes, Star Dust, Sunflower, plus some terrific new pieces created by Yamamoto, the music and sonic excellence has definitely surpassed his last album
Recorded in Tokyo on July 6 2008
In DXD digital format, the details of the music are just awesome, the dynamics are scary and the musicality is so rich
This explains why extreme high definition is so important - once you've heard it, you cannot go back!
RECORDING July 6 2008
Tsuyoshi Yamamoto – piano
Hiroshi Kagawa – bass
Toshio Osumi - drums
another holiday; stardust; happy soccer striker; smoke gets into your eyes; autumn leaves; 
sunflower (solo piano); slow blues; obsession; dark eyes - Total running time – 60:22.