Saturday, November 07, 2015

2 Sem 2015 - Part Six

Jane Ira Bloom
Sixteen Sunsets

By Dan McClenghan
Sidney Bechet pioneered the use of the soprano saxophone in jazz in the early 20s. John Coltrane
saxophone brought that "straight horn" out of a relative dormancy of use in 1959 with his anthem-like take on Rodgers and Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things" on his Atlantic Records album of the same name. Steve Lacy took the soprano "out there," and Dave Liebman continues to stretch its boundaries.
The name Jane Ira Bloom can be added to that list of icons. For thirty years Bloom has used the soprano saxophone to give voice to fertile and uncompromising artistic spirit. She's broken ground on the introduction of live electronics into her music and has created a singular sound on a variety of multi-faceted projects—including a commissioned work by the NASA Art Program. And (talk about "out there") the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid for her: 6083janeirabloom.
Bloom's work in a quartet setting shines the brightest, on 2003's Chasing Paint (Arabesque Records), a nod to painter Jackson Pollock, 2008's Mental Weather (Outline), or the CD at hand, Sixteen Sunsets, an examination of the ballad form.
For such a forward-looking artist, this is something of a surprise. Bloom explores the standards here, along with four of her own standard form songs, with an extraordinary aplomb and patience. Her tone on the soprano is the purest, richest of sounds—as if her horn were made of gold; and her quartet, featuring Matt Wilson on drums, bassist Cameron Brown and pianist Dominic Fallacaro, play with a delicacy and restraint that gives the sound a feeling of depth and a subdued grandeur.
Bloom says she knows the words to all these songs: "I Loves You Porgy," "The Way You Look Tonight," "For All We Know," "Good Morning Heartache." These are tunes that dip down deep into longing, heartache, loneliness, tender love. Bloom's soprano saxophone is her voice. It's a voice that tells these song's stories with an exquisite grace and understanding of the vicissitudes of the human condition.
Bloom's backing trio rolls mostly in the mode of subtle accompaniment, but when she lays back the trio steps out with a jewel- like elegance, as pianist Fallacaro, with the supplest of touches, wrings every teardrop out of the melody of "Good Morning Heartache," or injects a hopeful counterpoint to the angst of the temptations on "I Loves You Porgy."
Sixteen Sunsets is, arguably, Jane Ira Bloom's most compelling recording. It's certainly her loveliest—no argument there. And the sound quality is out of this world. An asteroid is nice, but it seems a rather small celestial body for an artist that can create something as perfect as this disc. Perhaps a star, a bright one, can be found.
Track Listing:
For All We Know; What She Wanted; Gershwin's Skyline/I Loves You Porgy; Darn That Dream; Good Morning Heartache; Out of This World; Ice Dancing; Left Alone; The Way You Look Tonight; But Not For Me; Primary Colors; My Ship; Too Many Reasons; Bird Experiencing Light.
Jane Ira Bloom: soprano saxophone; Dominic Fallacaro: piano; Cameron Brown: bass; Matt Wilson: drums.

Jon Davis Trio
live at the bird's eye

By Challenge
Pianist, composer, Jon Davis from New York has been performing and touring with many of the finest jazz musicians around world for more than 25 years. He has appeared on over 50 recordings. Jon Davis met with Swiss musicians Isla Eckinger and Peter Schmidlin some 15 years ago.
He appeared already on TCB 22142 ‘George Robert-Bobby Shew Quintet’, released in 2002. 
In 2013 he played a few concerts in December 2013 in Switzerland with this trio where the evening at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club in Basel was recorded live.
Jaco Pastorius, longtime friend of Jon, said: ”Jon is my third favorite pianist…after Joe (Zawinul) and Herbie (Hancock)” and Jazz Japan mentioned that: “Jon Davis is the ultimate story teller.”
A relaxed, swinging Session in probably the best Jazz club in Switzerland with a very nice selection of great tunes from the American songbook plus a composition written by Jon Davis. Fans of the piano/bass/drums format will love this CD.

Mark Winkler & Cheryl Bentyne
West Coast Cool

By C. Michael Bailey
In 2010, jazz vocal specialists Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler began a collaboration that resulted in a live show entitled West Coast Cool that they presented at different venues on the West Coast and beyond. Summit Records commits this show to digital with an album of the same title that is something special. While programming a recording is always a major production responsibility, that responsibility is lessened when the recital is one well practiced and part of a previously conceived show. Such is West Coast Cool, and this collection is the better for it.
Cheryl Bentyne is best known as the soprano voice of the Janis Siegel, Tim Hauser and Alan Paul. She has several solo recordings to her credit, her most recent being: Let Me Off Uptown (Telarc, 2005), The Book of Love (Telarc, 2006), The Gershwin Songbook (ArtistShare, 2010) and Let's Misbehave: The Cole Porter Songbook (Summit, 2012).
Mark Winkler has been a West Coast fixture for the past thirty years, releasing eleven recordings and composing dozens of songs recorded by himself and the likes of Liza Minnelli, Randy Crawford, David Basse, Jackie Ryan and Dianne Reeves. Winkler's most recent recording, The Laura Nyro Project (Cafe Pacific Records, 2013) was well received in critical corners. Together, the pair have rekindled the fire of cool circa the Eisenhower '50s, when the songwriting was exceptionally smart and stylistically razor sharp, martinis were cold and cigarettes filterless.
Some very sharp programming is employed in pairing songs in audio diptychs. The recording opens with a mash up of Paul Desmond's and Iola Brubeck's "Take 5" and Winkler's wonderfully off-kilter "Drinks On The Patio." The piece(s) are introduced with a straight salvo from pianist Rich Eames
and tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard. Then the groove changes decidedly into the 5/4 time made famous by Dave Brubeck and his quartet in 1959. The piece transforms into Winkler's aural photograph of hipsters listening to jazz while mixing martinis, smooth ones if we judge by the precise admixture of Bentyne's and Winkler's pipes.
This same programming intelligence brought together "Talk Of The Town" and "Girl Talk" from the respective Bentyne and Winkler songbooks: drawing from Bentyne's Talk Of the Town (Telarc, 2003) and Winkler's Sings Bobby Troup (Rhombus Records, 2003). Bentyne displays her exquisite treatment of ballads juxtaposed against Winkler's perfect presentation of 1950s too cool. The two are sexy beyond belief.
The vocal pair demonstrate their potent vocal styles on the Nat King Cole medley of "Route 66/Alright, Okay, You Win/Straighten Up And Fly Right." Bentyne and Winkler weave these three classics together into a finely wrought cloth. Bentyne's smooth, perfectly balanced soprano mixes with Winkler's friendly, approachable and playful voice like cream stirs into coffee, rich and aromatic. The two skillfully slide song lyrics over one another, juxtaposing melodies until the music is ataxic with the shared joy of being sung by these voices. The duet highlight of the collection is the semi-original "West Coast Cool." Winkler shows off his lyrical wares by penning words to Neal Hefti's classic "Lil' Darlin.'" The pair pay homage to a who's who of West Coast Jazzers while their accompanying quartet lay down the Hefti silk beneath their words.
Each singer also gets solo space. Bentyne purrs on the infrequently heard "An Occasional Man" where she dances with Sheppard's slippery tenor. Bentyne brings together "All About Ronnie" and "Trouble With A Man" in a jaded lament of love lost, while drawing the sensual humidity from Horace Silver's "Senor Blues." Winkler recalls two more Troup pieces in "Lemon Twist" and "Hungry Man." He updates these pieces with his trademark user-friendly delivery, sense of humor, and exemplary musicianship. Pianist Jon Mayer kills on "Hungry Man" while organist Joel Bragg and guitarist Anthony Wilson lay out an organ jazz red carpet.
West Coast Cool is artistry that is beyond words. Wow. Just Wow.
Track Listing: 
Take 5/Drinks On The Patio; The Occasional Man; Let’s Get Lost; Talk Of The Town/Girl Talk; West Coast Cool; Something Cool; Route 66/Alright, Okay, You Win/Straighten Up And Fly Right; Senor Blues; Lemon Twist; This Could Be The Start Of Something Big; Hungry Man; All About Ronnie/Trouble Is A Man; In A Lonely Place; Cool.
Cheryl Bentyne: vocals; Mark Winkler: vocals; Rich Eames: piano (1, 2, 4-8, 10); Tim Emmons: bass (1, 2, 4-8, 10); Dave Tull: drums (1, 2, 4- 8, 10); Bob Sheppard: saxophones, flute (1, 2, 4-8, 10, 11); Nolan Shahead: trumpet (3); Anthony Wilson: guitar (9); Joe Bragg: Hammond B3 organ (9); Mark Ferber: drums (9); John Mayer: piano (11); Kevin Axt: bass (11); Ron McCurdy: drums (11); Eli Brueggeman: piano: (14); George Koller: bass (14); Mark Kelso: drums (14). 

Tina May

By Dave Gelly, The Observer
"Tina May waited a long time to record this collection of songs associated with great female singers of the last century - Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Lotte Lenya, Edith Piaf et al - but it was worth it. Not only has her own singing matured, she has found the perfect arranger for the job in Frank Griffiths. To each of these dozen pieces she succeeds in imparting a delicate flavour of the original while remaining her inimitable self. Her version of Peggy Lee's Why Don't You Do Right? is particularly good, aided by Griffiths's beautifully poised clarinet."
Track list:
1. Why Don't You Do Right; 2. There's A Lull In My Life; 3. Forgetful
4. Can't Get Out Of This Mood; 5. When The World WAs Young
6. Where You At; 7. Surabaya Johnny; 8. Baltimore Oriole; 9. Let's Get Lost
10. You Don't Know What Love Is; 11. All Through The Night
Tina May - vocals; Winston Clifford - vocals; John Pearce - piano
Dave Cliff - guitar; Freddie Gavita - trumpet; Adrian Fry - trombone
Frank Griffith - tenor sax, clarinet; Bob Martin - alto saxophone
Andy Cleyndert - double bass; Bobby Worth - drums

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