Sunday, March 10, 2013

1 Sem 2013 - Part Ten

The Dave Shank Quintet

By David Whiteis
If further proof were needed that purism among jazz musicians is a thing of the past, this lineup should seal the argument. Vibraphonist Dave Shank and his colleagues—saxophonist Mike Migliore, pianist Barry Miles, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Terry Silverlight—have worked with everyone from Maynard Ferguson and the Basie Orchestra through Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea to John Scofield, David Sanborn and even Spyro Gyra (to say nothing of Shank’s gigs with Frank Sinatra and pop idols like Luther Vandross and Linda Ronstadt).
What they deliver here, though, is straight-ahead swing, often tautened by astringent harmonies and bop-like rhythmic risk-taking. “Muscular delicacy” might be the appropriate term to describe the feel: There’s plenty of ensemble playing, both unison and improvised, but so unerring is the communication that things never sound cluttered or overly busy. Migliore employs gnarled, George Adams-like flurries on his tenor; on soprano, he avoids both syrup and new-agey preciousness, crafting sharply delineated lines that impel through, over and under the frameworks his compatriots provide. Shank and Miles emphasize their instruments’ dual melodic and rhythmic roles, as does bassist Patitucci, both when soloing and when establishing a rhythmic foundation. Silverlight coaxes as much as he goads or impels; his brushwork (as on the arresting ballad “Darkening”) is simultaneously enveloping and propulsive.
The playfulness of offerings like “Fair or Foul” (a reimagined “Come Rain or Come Shine”) and the boppish “Alla Brevity” contrasts more meditative (but no less uplifting) fare such as the aforementioned “Darkening” and the closing piano/bass/drums trio outing, “Miss M,” which invokes a Bill Evans-like romanticism but is realized with so much improvisational focus that it’s bracing instead of cloying. This set is accessible yet challenging enough, both musically and emotionally, to satisfy listeners of diverse tastes.

Matt Baker

By CDBaby
Australian / New York Jazz Pianist and Composer, Matt Baker has traveled far with his career, performing at festivals, clubs and concert halls in Australia, Europe, USA and the Pacific. He is now proud to call New York City his home, moving there in mid 2010.
In March 2011, Baker recorded a new album in New York featuring Gregory Hutchinson, Joe Sanders, Jeremy Pelt and Dayna Stephens. The album entitled ‘Underground’ features a selection of brand new original work alongside some classic jazz standards in a fresh new sound for Baker, inspired from living the New York underground jazz scene: endless nights of clubs & jam sessions.
He has played engagements at noted NY Jazz venues Smalls Jazz Club, Miles Café, The Zinc Bar, Tomi Jazz, The Garage and Cleopatra’s Needle, and has played professionally with some of New York’s top musicians including drummer Gregory Hutchinson, saxophonist Dayna Stephens and an impromptu set at Smalls Jazz Club in duo with trumpet legend Roy Hargrove.
Matt's first album project in New York as an Assistant Producer was released in May 2011, and features Aaron Goldberg, Rueben Rogers, Ambrose Akinmusire, Mike Moreno and Gregory Hutchinson.
Matt Baker tied fifth place in the 2003 Montreux International Solo Jazz Piano competition and was a semi-finalist in 2004 and 2005. The Montreux Jazz Festival also engaged The Matt Baker Trio as their exclusive in-house band 2 years straight, where they performed 17 nights in the Montreux Festival Jazz Club, accompanying and supporting many of the festivals headlining artists.
A serious student of Jazz, he’s spent time watching piano legend Oscar Peterson perform, as well as studying with Mulgrew Miller, Benny Green, Taylor Eigsti, Aaron Goldberg, Jacky Terrasson, James Williams and Ella Fitzgerald’s life-long accompanist Paul Smith.
In Montreux 2004, Matt spent some one-on-one time with Jazz legend Herbie Hancock and Latin American pianist Michel Camilo, studying their music, concepts and approaches to modern jazz. He has performed privately for Quincy Jones and played in support of Jazz legends Tony Bennett and Al Jarreau. Matt has now four albums as a leader.

Dee Bell
Sagacious Grace

By CDBaby
Featuring Al Plank, piano.
With Houston Person . John Stowell . Michael Spiro . Colin Bailey. John Wiitala
Praised by critics both abroad and in the United States for her “gorgeous phrasing” and “clear and easy delivery (Stereo Review)” of the lyrics of a song, West Coast diva Dee Bell again delivers her warmth, clarity, and impeccable intonation on Sagacious Grace, her first release for the Laser label. “She knows just how to bring the best out in a song. She does her own thing; lazy, hazy, smoky singing (Jazz Journal, England).” Dee’s Concord Jazz recordings with Stan Getz, Eddie Duran and Tom Harrell made the jazz world “sit up and listen (Jesse Hamlin, SF Jazz Critic)” garnering top twenty rotations on the jazz charts.
With this latest release dedicated to the late pianist, Al Plank, there are three songs with Dee’s original lyrics and two that she has arranged. The swinging, elegant pianist influenced the balance of the riveting musical adaptations on this CD. Al was a major part of the San Francisco jazz scene for over 40 years, following an earlier musical career with the Mastersounds (the Montgomery brothers: Wes, Monk, and Buddy), as well as time on stage with Woody Herman, Chet Baker and Anita O’Day.
Houston Person on saxophone, John Stowell on guitar, and Michael Spiro on percussion round out a stellar roster of the Bay Area’s top musicians on this long-awaited CD. Interpreted with heartfelt nuances, this beautiful and diverse collection of songs will provide hours of entertainment for your delight.You can read more about Dee Bell at Laser Records website.

Christof Sanger
Live At The Montreal Jazz Festival 

By Ken Dryden
Christof Sanger performs a solo piano concert at the 1996 Montreal Jazz Festival, sticking mostly to standards and jazz compositions of the '30s through the '50s. Although Sanger obviously has plenty of technique, he often tends to hold back until he is well into a performance. His four-song Duke Ellingtonmedley is inventive at times, but it goes on a little too long and opens the CD in an understated manner. The best part of it is the fresh, abstract approach to "Caravan" rather than trying to rush through the piece as so many pianists have done on record. Likewise, he tackles "Stella by Starlight" and "Body and Soul" in a lush, indirect manner. After a meandering introduction, he finally dives headlong into an inventive romp through the Latin favorite "Tico Tico." His two originals include the playful "Security Blues" and the Mexican-flavored "Condorito." The inauspicious closer is another medley, this time of a trio of Gershwin songs.

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