Sunday, January 13, 2013

1 Sem 2013 - Part One

George Cables
My Muse

By Ken Dryden
Not long after going through a serious illness of his own, George Cables lost the love of his life, Helen Wray, to pancreatic cancer. His partner of 28 years inspired him over much of his career, as he wrote several pieces in her honor. Bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Victor Lewis are two veterans who are a welcome addition to any record date. The lush "Lullaby," sometimes played by the pianist as an opening and closing theme song (it was also a favorite of his the late alto saxophonist Frank Morgan), is the perfect way to open this heartfelt album, played as a whispering solo. The second is the joyful "Helen's Song," an understated samba that buoys the spirits. The third piece honoring Helen is the funky, infectious "My Muse," which blends the perfect mix of soul and Latin flavor. Although many of the other songs were written by other composers, there is little doubt that the pianist was thinking of his late spouse when he performed them. Cables puts a different stamp on McCoy Tyner's gorgeous "You Taught My Heart to Sing" by adding a compelling improvised introduction, while he gets a bit mischievous in his interpretation of the old chestnut "My Old Flame" by adding a few Tatum-like flourishes. Lewis, long an underrated composer, penned and previously recorded his potent post-bop piece "Hey, It's Me You're Talkin' To," as the trio dives full force into its conversational-like theme. My Muse is easily one of George Cables' outstanding releases in his extensive discography.

Lisa Wahlandt
Stay A While

By EastWind
Lisa Wahlandt is a German jazz singer who is already very popular and well-respected in her home country. She has studied singing, piano and composition in a conservatory in Austria as well as the New School in New York. She has an attractive voice that is sweet and tart at the same time. Her coquettishness reminds me of Blossom Dearie while her solid vocal skills reminds me of Tierney Sutton.
This new CD, with all English songs except for Schubert's "Gute Nacht" sung in German, will surely boost her popularity in the international arena. Backed by the first-rate pianist Walter Lang and his Trio ELF (also quite famous in Germany, with bassist Sven Faller and drummer Gerwin Eisenhauer).
Wahlandt serves unexpected pop tunes with jazzy arrangements with a decidedly contemporary feel. Prince's "Kiss" and The Doors' "Light My Fire" are transformed into ennui ballads. While containing surprising elements, the arrangements are intelligent and tasteful. Music fans will enjoy these surprises. Recommended to jazz vocal fans who are looking for something new and contemporary!
Recorded December 2009 at Pirouet Studio, Munich, Germany.
Lisa Wahlandt - vocals
Walter Lang - piano
Sven Faller - bass
Gerwin Eisenhauer - drums
1. Kiss 2. Light My Fire 3. Stay A While 4. My Funny Valentine 5. Here There AndEverywhe
6. As Tears Go By 7. Enjoy The Silence 8. Gute Nacht 9. I Will Survive 10. Inner City Blues

Karel Boehlee Trio

By EastWind
Pianist from The Netherlands, Karel Boehlee is well-known and very popular in Japan. He was a founding member of the anonymous-sounding European Jazz Trio, which helped ignite the "European jazz boom" in Japan over two decades ago. More recently, Boehlee has been releasing wonderful CDs with his regular trio from the Poly Canyon label, roughly at a pace of one album a year, without ever failing to captivate the Japanese fans. Boehlee is also a renowned jazz educator in the Amsterdam Conservatory, where the present recording took place.
The Trio's latest release, first in two years, is their foray into the wonderful world of Brazilian music. Casting his net beyond the usual Jobim repertory (of which, though, he selected four relatively less known gems), Boehlee found beautiful melodies written by Chico Buarque, Djavan, Ivan Lins, and Caetano Veloso. The sole American composer, George Duke, is represented with his "Brazilian Sugar". The exception to the Brazilian theme is "Besame Muchi" with Mexican roots, but it fits the program perfectly.
The approach, the sound and the aesthetic of this trio remain constant regardless of the material: Elegant, understated, quiet, and achingly beautiful. When these qualities meet the exquisite Brazilian melodies, something magical happens. Recommended!
Produced by Makoto Kimata.
Recorded at Amsterdam Conservatory Studio 2, March 20 and 21, 2012.
Karel Boehlee (piano)
Hein Van de Geyn (bass)
Hans van Oosterhout (drums)
1. Atras Da Porta; 2. Bouquet 3. Madalena 4. Besame Mucho 5. Luiza
6. Por Toda Minha Vida  7. Favela   8. Coracao Vagabundo 9. Bilhete  
10. Corcovado 11. Brazilian Sugar  

Walking Dark

By Bruce Lindsay 
As the pile of talented and exciting piano trios continues to grow ever higher, it takes a very talented and exciting threesome to rise to the top and stay there. Enter Phronesis. Up on the peak with its third album—the award-winning Alive (Edition Records, 2010), Jazz Album Of The Year in both Jazzwise and Mojomagazines—the trio is emphatically still there with album number four, Walking Dark.
Danish bassist Jasper Høiby leads the band, which he formed in 2005 after moving to London. On Walking Dark he's joined by British pianist Ivo Neame and Swedish drummer Anton Eger. If the term piano trio suggests a dominant instrument or musician, then it's the wrong description for Phronesis. Like its European counterparts Michael Wollny's [em] or the Kit Downes Trio, no one musical personality overwhelms the others. All three musicians make dynamic, creative contributions to the sound as well as to the writing.
Eger wasn't available for Alive so Mark Guiliana was on drums. Guiliana was a key part of the album's success, matching Eger's lightness of touch and ability to use the entire drum kit to full advantage. Eger is more playful, frenetic and unpredictable than Guiliana, bringing an added edge to the overall sound—Høiby's gentle "Eight Hours," which appears on both albums, allows a direct comparison of the two players' styles.
Eger's sound as he skitters across his drums and cymbals presents a fascinating counterpoint to Høiby's powerful, fat-toned double bass. Neame takes full advantage of the interplay between bass and drums, sometimes matching Høiby's powerful rhythm, sometimes darting around the keyboard in emulation of Eger's percussive patterns. At times, the musicians give the distinct impression that if they swapped instruments the sound would be just as strong, just as intricate and imaginative.
Høiby's "Suede Trees" is almost infuriatingly catchy: a simple groove which all three players lock into with ease sets up a mood of upbeat jollity which is compounded by Høiby's bouncy bass solo. "Upside Down," another Høiby tune, revisits this positivity. Neame's "Passing Clouds" is more reflective and melancholy, a mood which he takes further on the lovely "Charm Defensive." Eger's three compositions all have a jagged urgency about them. "The Economist" in particular fairly races away, filled with pent-up energy.
Rather than describing a set of downbeat, pessimistic tunes, Walking Dark refers to a series of shows known as the Pitch Black concerts. Played in total darkness, they were a dedication to Høiby's visually impaired sister. This is music that reflects many moods, but never loses its optimism. Phronesis creates music from the heart and soul, and makes the world just that little bit better.
Track Listing: 
Walking Dark; Passing Clouds; Democracy; Suede Trees; Upside Down; Charm Defensive; Lipwash-part I; Lipwash-part II; Zieding; The Economist; American Jesus; Eight Hours.
Jasper Høiby: double bass; Ivo Neame: piano; Anton Eger: drums.

Max De Aloe Quartet
Bjork On The Moon

By IraBox
A visionary and eclectic project in which this harmonious jazz quartet engages in the compositions of Björk's musical universe, an all-round artist, able to fascinate as a singer, musician, composer and even as an actress. Björk and her music, fluctuating among so different, apparently incompatible genres, are re-intepreted in this project embrancing a contemporary jazz that will enchant all listeners, even those less accustomed to jazz and to the Icelandinc singer's music Björk on the moon has the charm and the magic that always characterize the musical projects of Max De Aloe and his quartet The sound of the group is enriched by the talent of the Brazilian violoncellist Marlise Goidanich, guest in the album and in concerts
Max De Aloe - armonica cromatica
Roberto Olzer - pianoforte
Marco - Mistrangelo contrabbasso
Nicola Stranieri - batteria
e con Marlise Goidanich violoncello barocco
1 Björk on the moon (Max De Aloe) 6.11
2 I’ve seen it all (Björk, Sjon Sigurdsson & Lars Von Trier) 5.42
3 Hyper ballad (Björk) 5.46
4 Cosmogony (Björk) 5.30
5 Overture (Björk) 3.48
6 Come to me (Björk) 5.11
7 Joga (Björk) 5.35
8 Askja (Max De Aloe) 1.55
9 Il bosco che chiamano Respiro (Max De Aloe) 6.47
10 Bachelorette (Björk) 1.37
11 Gloomy Sunday (Rezső Seress) 4.06
12 Aurora (Björk) 2.54

Alexis Cole
Someday My Prince Will Come

By EastWind
Swing Journal Gold Disc!
Another debut CD of a talented female vocalist released by Venus records! Alexis Cole, born into a musical family in New York and raised in Miami, began her professional career after obtaining a master's degree from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. She has performed with Slide Hampton, Rufus Reid and Harry Pickens among others, and so far released four CDs on independent labels.
With a voice praised as a deep contralto as smooth and dark as the richest espresso (Jazz Times, November 2007,) Cole tackles a very special set of Disney tunes on this stunning CD. It is not an easy thing for a jazz singer to do, considering such classic Disney-meets-jazz albums as Satchmo Sings Disney and Dave Digs Disney, but Cole pulls it off beautifully.
The success of this album is due to several factors. First, Cole chose the songs wisely, avoiding obvious choices (except for the obligatory title track and "When You Wish Upon A Star") and digging deep into the Disney's catalog of films and TV programs. Second, she was surrounded by New York's first call musicians including Fred Hersch, Matt Wilson and Don Braden. Harmonica player Gregoire Maret appears on severl tunes and adds unique sonic textures. Lastly but not least, Cole's singing is phenomenal! Her voice is rich and strong. She has impeccable technique and control, and a confident jazz style that hints an influence from Carmen McRae. Recommended!
Produced by Tetsuo Hara and Todd Barkan.
Recorded at Avatar Studio in New York on May 9 & 10, 2009. 
Engineered by Katherine Miller. Mixed and mastered by Tetsuo Hara.
Performed by:  
Alexis Cole (vocal)
Fred Hersch (piano)
Steve LaSpina (bass)
Matt Wilson (drums)
Gregoire Maret (harmonica)
Don Braden (flute,soprano sax,tenor sax)
1. For Now For Always
2. Home Is Where The Heart Is
3. If I Never Knew You
4. La La Lu
5. Let Me Be Good To You
6. Love
7. Once Upon A Dream
8. Remember When
9. So This Is Love
10. Someday My Prince Will Come
11. The Second Star To The Right
12. When You Wish Upon A Star

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