Saturday, July 20, 2013

2 Sem 2013 - Part One

Nadje Noordhuis

By CdBaby
An arthouse jazz album combining cinematic sweep, transportive emotion and rich melodic grandeur. Her deeply-felt, clarion tone and evocative compositional gift meld classical rigor, jazz expression, and world music accents.
As the tender opening strains of “Water Crossing” bloom into a symphonic expression of hope and lush grandeur, a virtual film is projected onto the mind’s eye. This musical evocation of a young woman’s voyage over a vast ocean into a new horizon reflects the path taken by trumpeter/composer Nadje Noordhuis, who journeyed from her native Australia to the jazz mecca of New York.

Carol Robbins

By Hrayr Attarian 
The harp is certainly rare in jazz and so its role in a traditional combo is not well defined. Alice Coltrane
, for example used it as a supplement to her keyboards, while Adele Girard, played it like a boogie woogie piano. Others like Janet Putnam and Betty Glamann were relegated to a rhythm guitar role in bands—very few approached it as a frontline instrument. Of those few, perhaps, the most preeminent representative is Dorothy Ashby who revolutionized the harp, taking it out of afternoon tearooms and into nocturnal jazz clubs.
On Carol Robbins' Moraga—her fourth album as a leader— she follows in Ashby's footsteps by bringing a unique voice not only to the harp but also to the music as a whole.
Intense poetry and lyricism permeate the entire album. The gorgeous original ballad "Three Rings" is a lancholic troubadour song with Gary Meek
's clarinet softly whistling the tune over Robbins' complex harmonies that contrast and complement Larry Koonse's flamenco like guitar.
Robbins and Koonse feature also on the intimate Bossa Nova "Caminhos Cruzados" as their strings weave a fragile yet beautiful serenade around the melody. Robbins also duets with pianist Billy Childs on the surreal lullaby "Rotadendron"—a musical fairy tale that ends in a tango and that conjures images of magical beings flying in a starry night's sky. The standard "Every Time We Say Goodbye" transforms into a nocturne with a deep vibe as Robbins' romantic tones mirror Darek Oles' walking bass lines.
Robbins' skills as a composer match her virtuosity as an improviser and interpreter. Her ethereal sound, colored the right amount of blue and peppered by Latin hints, creates a romantic mysticism on the title track. Childs' smooth flowing pianism and Meek's mellifluous saxophone enhance the mood. The up-tempo, boppish "Straight away" is a multifaceted opus where Childs' soulful keys and Robbins' almost Zen like strumming, alternate with Meek's joyous clarinet and Gary Novak's polyrhythmic drumming. The piece ends in an exuberant and angular group play.
This one of a kind record joins the handful of jazz-harp classics, like Ashby's In a Minor Groove and Deborah Henson-Conant 'Round the Corner in transcending both instrument and genre. It is simply delightful and a stimulating disc that should easily stand the test of time.
Track Listing: 
Moraga; The Sand Rover; Three Rings; Dolore; Every Time We Say Goodbye; Hope In The Face Of Despair; Straight Away; Caminhos Cruzados; Rotadendron.
Carol Robbins: harp; Billy Childs: piano; Gary Meek: saxophones, clarinet; Larry Koonse: guitar; Darek Oles: bass; Gary Novak: drums.

Neil Cowley Trio
Radio Silence

By Bruce Lindsay
Since it formed in 2005 the Neil Cowley Trio has developed its distinctive sound across two well-received albums. Displaced (Hide Inside Records, 2006) won the 2007 BBC Jazz Award for Best Album, while the follow-up, Loud, Louder, Stop (Cake, 2008), gained additional plaudits.Radio Silence is album number three and it finds the Trio at the peak of its power, staking a real claim to being one of the most impressive piano trios in contemporary jazz.
The band's line-up is unchanged since its formation—in fact, pianist Cowley and bassist Richard Sadler were housemates around 1998 and got to know drummer Evan Jenkins soon after that. The three musicians have a keen, almost intuitive, understanding of each other's styles and while Cowley is the band's composer, input from Sadler and Jenkins is vital in defining the ultimate sound of each tune. Crucially, the Trio is also well aware of the audience; while the musicians' enthusiasm and enjoyment comes over clearly, there is never any sense that the band is playing just for itself.
The Trio moves elegantly between beautiful, moving tunes such as "Radio Silence"—where Sadler's plaintive bass adds much to the tune's impact—and fast, upbeat compositions like "Gerald," which was inspired by a guitarist friend of Cowley's. In between these extremes lie tracks such as "Vice Skating," with its gorgeously rolling piano line, and "Monoface," which features particularly strident playing from Cowley and Jenkins. One of the loveliest tunes is not even acknowledged on the CD packaging. "Box Lily" is a hidden track, starting up a couple of minutes after "Portal" ends, and has moments of great delicacy and beauty as well as some very emphatic, percussive phrases.
In such exceptional company "Desert to Rabat" is mildly disappointing—lacking a strong central theme it tends to lose focus. But not to worry, because it's followed by the album's highlights. "Stereoface"—a reworking of the opening "Monoface"—flows beautifully from Cowley's piano intro, thanks especially to Jenkins' exceptional percussion. "Hug the Greyhound" sounds like a Vince Guaraldi composition with added funk. It's immediate, insistent and persistent—in Cowley's own words, "It's hooky."
Radio Silence demonstrates that creative musicians can still produce new and exciting music within an acoustic trio setting and that such music can be accessible, joyous, beautiful and danceable. The album artwork is terrific, too. It rarely gets better than this.
Track Listing: 
Monoface; Radio Silence; Vice Skating; A French Lesson; Gerald; Desert to Rabat; Stereoface; Hug the Greyhound; Portal; Box Lily [hidden track].
Neil Cowley: piano; Richard Sadler: bass; Evan Jenkins: drums.

Claudio Filippini Trio
Facing North

By Fabrizio Ciccarelli
Aperture diafane e rilassate, voci di lirismo contemporaneo, ingegno trasparente, abilità nel tradurre emozioni istantanee in spazi solistici ampi e trasparenti.
A nostro avviso sono questi gli elementi portanti di un album dalle squisite cadenze nordiche -ECM, per intendersi - sottolineate dalla presenza di Palle Danielsson, uno dei più sensibili e virtuosi contrabbassisti contemporanei, storico partner del miglior Keith Jarrett, e di Loavi Louhivuori, giovane batterista finlandese, sorprendente per estro ed eleganza. Nel titolo è l’essenza filosofica della ricerca: “rivolto a nord”. E dalle note di copertina apprendiamo il punto d’orientamento, “cercando quel punto che la bussola ci suggerisce quando perdiamo la strada, guardando oltre, puntando in alto”. Certamente, l’Oltre può essere una Pausa, un’interruzione, una parentesi, oppure un ideale continente da dipingere incorrotto, giusto e sereno, nel quale la forza pura dell’emozione, dell’affetto e della passione possano trascolorare in una creazione artistica immediata, in una percezione del suono come dilatarsi dell’anima, in movimenti risonanti di vibrazioni jazzistiche che ne guariscano le “forme” avvertite come stanche e logore. Che sia Bill Evans o Stravinskij a dar luogo all’estetica rivisitata dal pianista poco importa: “Facing North” in qualche modo conduce al “Facing You” di Keith Jarrett (eccellente ed aristocratico suo primo album per l’ECM), all’improvvisazione cameristica rigorosa nelle suites di breve composizione, radiose e vitali, ispirate e scevre da ambigui sperimentalismi.
Breve il passaggio per la mite e introversa chanson d’amour “Nothing To Lose”, rapidamente virata nell’inquieto pindarico di “Scorpion Tail” e nel valzer coltraniano della title track, elegia dal groove di inesauribile energia nella serie di accordi ripetuti quale tela evanescente per disegni melodici sommessi e travolgenti. Tali figure in “Landscape” vengono estese ad un clima ipnotico, immerso nel fondo dell’illuminazione lirica e idilliaca del “canto impalpabile”, e poi esposti in un ritmo binario composto, un 6/8 bachiano leggerissimo nella soave percussività di un drumming aereo e nell’evocazione barocca della Celesta nella “Sonatina”, in cui il tempo si ferma in un danzabile grazioso e alato. L’astensione dal presente, la “ricerca del Nord”, è nell’amletico e tenue divenire del “solo” di “Embraceable You” di Gershwin, in “God Only Knows”, tema dei Beach Boys addirittura pubblicato come B-sides di “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (Capitol 1966), e che il Trio riscopre ed armonizza in poesia primaverile, così come nell’emozionante “Chasing Pavements”, portata al successo dal vocalismo certamente pop ma passionalmente “Black” e “rough” della soul singer Adele, cultrice di Etta James e del blues storico.
Gli ultimi due brani misurano il sentire di Filippini come compositore, maturo e autorevole, venato di autoanalisi e meditazione senza dubbio composta e raffinata. “Soaking and Floating” è sommesso equilibrio per trio in cui Danielsson vira in chiaroscuro la digressione ballad. “Modern Times” appare itinerario eliaco e fiammante: il titolo rimanda all’innovativo album degli Steps Ahead di Mike Mainieri (Elektra, 1984) in cui era alle tastiere un maestro del nuovo jazz come Warren Bernhardt, che in parte sembra ispirare il Nostro, volgendone però il linguaggio elettrico e laconico in una promenade da Michel Petrucciani a Herbie Hancock.
La bellezza della semplicità, potremmo concludere. L’amore per il “meravigliarsi” del proprio stesso entusiasmo, del proprio istinto melodico: Filippini si lascia conoscere, senza esitazioni o riserve.
Emil Cioran nel saggio “De l'inconvénient d'être né” (Gallimard, 1973) osservò con straordinaria ironia e brillante prudenza: “La passione per la musica è già da sola una confessione. Sappiamo di più su uno sconosciuto appassionato di musica che su qualcuno che alla musica è insensibile e che incontriamo ogni giorno”.

Jaimee Paul
Bonded: A Salute To The Music Of James Bond

Powerhouse jazz vocalist, Jaimee Paul, shows her range both stylistically and technically, as she impressively steps into the shoes of the vocal luminaries of the original recordings with stunning results. BONDED is Jaimee Paul’s 4th recording on the Green Hill Music label and certainly her crowning achievement thus far in her young career. This album is very different than all the other tribute albums. It has a very own and unique style as well as new and interesting orchestrations that make a Bond Fans heart beat faster. As Halle Berry said at the Oscars "Bond Music is a Genre of it´s own" - and Jaimee Paul pays perfect hommage to it.
1. Skyfall
2. Nobody Does It Better
3. Diamonds Are Forever
4. Goldeneye
5. From Russia With Love
6. For Your Eyes Only
7. A View To A Kill
8. Goldfinger
9. Moonraker
10. Live And Let Die
11. Tomorrow Never Dies
12. You Only Live Twice
13. James Bond Theme (feat. Jack Jezzro)

Riccardo Arrighini Trio
Cambio Di Marcia

By Egea
L’etichetta Incipit, nata quest’anno con il disco di Rita Marcotulli & Andy Sheppard, si distingue per la particolare attenzione verso i nuovi talenti della scena jazzistica italiana. Riccardo Arrighini è uno di questi che dopo le esperienze con Cafiso al Birdland di New York e Umbria Jazz mette su un trio a suo nome insieme a Stefano Bagnoli alla batteria ed Ettore Fioravanti al contrabbasso.
Come molti pianisti italiani che stanno trovando il successo sulla scena jazzistica internazionale, la preparazione di Arrighini viene dalla musica classica. Se gli si domanda cosa l’abbia spinto a 24 a dedicarsi al jazz per lasciare la classica egli risponderebbe senza indugio: “Oscar Peterson”. Molti pianisti sono stati impressionati da Peterson. Solo pochi hanno il dono di poter davvero assecondare l’ispirazione di Peterson ovunque li conduca. Arrighini è uno di questi.

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