Sunday, November 19, 2017

Ben Riley (1933-2017)

By Michael J. West • NOV 18, 2017

Ben Riley, a subtle and versatile jazz drummer best known for his affiliation with Thelonious Monk in the 1960s and Kenny Barron, one of Monk’s pianistic heirs, in all the years since, died on Saturday at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York. He was 84.
His death was confirmed by his daughter Kim, who said the cause of death is not yet known.
Riley enjoyed a six-decade career in jazz, playing on more than 300 albums. Along with Monk and Barron, he backed the pianists Andrew Hill and Abdullah Ibrahim, the tenor saxophonists Johnny Griffin and Stan Getz, and many others.
His drumming was noted for understatement, and for a slightly skewed rhythmic conception that could keep the listener off balance. If these seem contradictory, it was perhaps Riley’s greatest gift that he reconciled them.
“I came up in an era of accompaniment,” he told Modern Drummer magazine in 2005. “I enjoy that more than soloing, because each person I’ve worked with has had different attitudes, songs, and styles of playing.” He added: “I never come on a job thinking, ‘I’m going to play this or play that.’ I wait to see what they’re going to do and then fit into that picture.”
In fact, Riley’s love of accompaniment was so pronounced that he recorded only three times as a bandleader, making his name-above-the title debut at age 60, with called Weaver of Dreams, featuring bassist Buster Williams and saxophonist Ralph Moore.
Prior to joining Monk’s band, Riley’s most widely acclaimed work was with tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, on his 1962 album The Bridge. Riley’s playing on this landmark — Rollins’ first artistic statement since returning from a sabbatical, which he spent practicing almost daily on the Williamsburg Bridge — affirms that sensitivity need not mean the loss of rhythmic oomph.
During Rollins’ solo on “John S.,” he swings hard on his ride cymbal while playing snare-drum accents so softly that they almost sound like brushwork, right up until his solo breaks.
Some of Riley’s more eccentric choices as a drummer were surfacing by the time of his 1960 recordings with Johnny Griffin, but they didn’t come fully to the fore until he joined Monk, a rhythmic eccentric in his own right, in 1964. He made his first appearance on It’s Monk’s Time, having been hired without previously playing or even rehearsing with the band.
But he works with relish and understanding, even on new tunes like “Brake’s Sake.” Riley seems to know instinctively where the accents need to be, hitting them on the head with Monk and saxophonist Charlie Rouse, while slipping in some of his own devices, especially during Rouse’s solo.
Benjamin Alexander Riley, Jr. was born on July 17, 1933 in Savannah, Georgia, and grew up in New York City. Interested in the drums from toddlerhood, he learned from the many musicians who lived or worked near his neighborhood, in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem. His most important early teacher was a little-known drummer named Phil Wright.
But he locked in on a prominent bebop player as his primary influence. “The first time I heard Kenny Clarke… ‘Uh-oh,’ I said, ‘I think that’s it,’” Riley told Ted Panken in 1994. “I love the way he accompanied, and I loved the subtleties that he brought to the table.”
Riley’s early career, after his discharge from the Army in the mid-1950s, found him accompanying Getz, pianist Randy Weston and saxophonist Sonny Stitt. He recorded with Griffin and another rough-edged saxophonist, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis.
Riley’s association with Barron began in the 1970s and continued for decades, including lengthy collaborations first in bassist Ron Carter’s quartet, and then in the Monk tribute band Sphere. Their musical relationship was deeply empathic: on this 1978 recording with Buster Williams, hear how Riley anticipates almost every space and shift in tempo or dynamics in Barron’s solo.
In addition to his daughter Kim, Riley is survived by his wife, Inez Riley; another daughter, Gina; two sons, Corey and Jason Riley; nine grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
Riley’s final years were spent in a nursing home. According to his daughter, he was still making music. “There was another musician in there with him, and every week my father would play with him,” Kim said. “He didn’t have drums, but he would beat on the table, or chairs, or whatever. Playing all the way to the end.”

Sunday, November 12, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Ten

Antonio Adolfo

By Raul da Gama
A marvelous disc this is. Absolutely marvelous. Antonio Adolfo and his music have been congenial bedfellows and the Brazilian’s pianism and his music are compelling on many different levels. There is a sense of sharing the sheer sensuous thrill of Mr. Adolfo’s keyboard writing. This is particularly evident in the more virile movements such as the fierce and brilliant “SamboJazz” that nestles in the centre of this disc. But that is not to say that brilliance does not exemplify the other material on Tema, an enigmatic name for this disc. Common to all is a sense of being fleet, but never breathless, with time enough for textures to tell.
At every turn you get a sense of Antonio Adolfo flexing his compositional muscles in this music that goes back almost fifty-five years. There is a sense of Mr. Adolfo demonstrating just how much variety could be built around a tema of melodies. In Antonio Adolfo’s hands the music occupies its own world of mood and rhythmic delight. This music is also fashioned in Mr. Adolfo’s unique way with counterpoint that is at once strong-jawed and supple. We are always aware of the music’s subject , for instance, as it peeks through the texture in different registers or reappears stood on its head, yet is never exaggerated as is sometimes the tendency with less imaginative musicians.
And how Mr. Adolfo can dance at least at his keyboard – in “SamboJazz”, as it is urged into life through subtle dynamics, voicings, articulation and judicious ornamentation. A very different kind of dance reveals itself in “Sao Paulo Express” a Paulista musical vignette in which he takes a more impish view than many, the sonorous drone effect contrasting delightfully with the tripping upper lines. The way he (and his guitarists Leo Amuedo and Claudio Spiewak) has considered the touch and dynamic of every phrase means that these readings constantly impress with fresh details each time you hear them. This is a classic illustration of the exceptional genius of Antonio Adolfo, as a pianist, composer, arranger and guide of the musicians who have given everything of themselves to follow him.
Even the most unassuming numbers such as “Todo Dia” gain a sense of intrigue as he invites the musicians of the ensemble to re-examine this from every angle, again bringing multifarious shadings to the music. And it all flows effortlessly though a journey might have been anything but that. Highlights abound: in the murmuring “Trem da Serra” the pianist’s reactivity leaves other Brasilians – including some guitarists – sounding a touch unsubtle, which is really saying something. This is followed by one of the most extraordinary of pieces on the disc, “Melos”. While many musicians would revel in echoing harmonies expressed in a piece such as this, Mr. Adolfo draws you daringly into his own world. This whispered intimacy extends into his insertion of an ornamented version of “Variations on a Tema Triste” which proves to be a masterclass in ornamentation, yet never overburdening the melodic lines. Fittingly there are long meditative silences as the piece fades.
You can be in no doubt of the thought that has gone into this enterprise from Mr. Adolfo’s ordering of tema which he explains in his brief liner notes to their devolution into the songs themselves. At every turn he harnesses the possibilities of the piano in the service of his music. The result is a clear labour of love , and one in which he shines new light on older music to mesmerising effect, all of which is captured by a warmly sympathetic recording.
Track List: 
Alegria For All; Natureza; Phrygia Brasileira; SamboJazz; Alem Mares; Sao Paulo Express; Todo Dia; Trem da Serra; Melos; Variations on a Tema Triste.
Antonio Adolfo: piano and electric piano (4); Marcelo Martins: flute, alto flute (2) and soprano saxophone; Leo Amuedo: electric guitar; Claudio Spiewak: acoustic guitar and electric bass; Jorge Helder: double bass; Rafael Barata: drums and percussion; Armando Marçal: percussion; Hugo Sandim: additional Samba percussion.

Laszlo Gardony
Serious Play

By Dan Bilawsky
The beauty of personal expression may be the greatest and most effective balm to soothe our hearts in troubled times. That's the message that pianist Laszlo Gardony gifts us with Serious Play.
Following the approach used on Clarity (Sunnyside, 2013), Gardony delves deep into his own subconscious in real time to create a statement that's both comforting and weighty in tone. The bulk of the material presented herein was spontaneously composed, giving Gardony a chance to allow the moment to guide him, and it all resonates with a deep and profound sense of understanding.
Rather than simply come in with a set of tunes, Gardony sat at the piano, asked renowned recording engineer Paul Wickliffe to keep the tape rolling, and let his perceptive mind and hands do the rest. The album starts and ends on familiar notes, with a soulful and hopeful "Georgia On My Mind" ushering us in and an incredibly moving "Over The Rainbow seeing us out. In between, save for a lengthy excursion through John Coltrane's "Naima" that takes flight off of a "Giant Steps" runway, Gardony offers us his own expository creations. There's the title track, merging his harmonic language with the posture and energy of McCoy Tyner; a starry-eyed glance in miniature, taking its post as "Watchful Through The Night"; a gathering call dubbed "Folk At Heart," speaking to resilience and strength in community; and a dynamic dance in the form of "Truth To Power," simultaneously speaking to salvation and doomsday.
In less than forty minutes, Gardony manages to cycle through a series of thoughts and emotional truths that catalog what we're all experiencing in different ways. It's a statement that's both sobering and heartening in its unfolding.
Track Listing: 
Georgie On My Mind; Naima; Serious Play; Night Light; Forward Motion; Watchful Through The Night; Folk At Heart; Truth To Power; Reverberations; Over The Rainbow.
Personnel: Laszlo Gardony: piano.

Christian McBride Big Band
Bringin' It 

By Matt Collar
Christian McBride's second big-band album, 2017's Bringin' It, is a robust, swaggeringly performed set of originals and standards showcasing his deft arranging skills and his ensemble's exuberant virtuosity. The album comes six years after his previous big-band outing, The Good Feeling, and once again finds the bassist conscripting a slew of his talented cohorts (some new, others returning), including saxophonists Steve Wilson and Ron Blake, trumpeters Freddie Hendrix and Brandon Lee, trombonist Steve Davis, pianist Xavier Davis, drummer Quincy Phillips, and others. Together, they make a swinging, dynamic sound that brings to mind the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra of the 1960s and bassist Charles Mingus' various big-band recordings. It should be noted that both of those ensembles continue to live on as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and Mingus Big Band, and McBride's group matches their high artistic legacies. This is partly due to his own virtuosic skill and anchoring presence throughout all of Bringin' It, and is true whether he is laying down a thick, groove-based funk pattern, as on the opening "Gettin' to It," or providing the steady footing for saxophonist Wilson's guttural, bluesy introduction on "Used 'Ta Could." That said, while he certainly takes his share of solos on Bringin' It, McBride's focus as an arranger is clearly trained on providing his bandmates with a solid framework for their own improvisational talents. Fat-toned trumpeter Freddie Hendrix is particularly showcased, launching skyward out of blast of brassy fire on "Gettin' to It" and skillfully surfing the band's angular harmonic waves on Freddie Hubbard's "Thermo." Similarly, pianist Davis emerges from the band's theatrical skronks and ersatz animal noises on McCoy Tyner's "Sahara" with a titanic roil of thickly chorded notes like a ship on a boiling sea. Elsewhere, McBride reveals his more urbane inclinations, showcasing vocalist Melissa Walker on the sparkling bossa nova number "Upside Down" and his sprightly take on Jerry Jeff Walker's "Mr. Bojangles," while "I Thought About You" and "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" are both sweeping, gorgeously arranged ballads. With Bringin' It, McBride has ultimately crafted a big-band album that retains all of his own formidable, exuberant characteristics.
Track Listing: 
Getin' To It; Thermo; Youthful Bliss; I Thought About You; Sahara; Upside Down; Full House; Mr. Bojangles; Used ' Ta; Could; In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning.
Christian McBride: bass; Steve Wilson: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Todd Bashore: alto saxophone, flute, piccolo; Ron Blake: tenor saxophone, flute; Dan Pratt: tenor saxophone, flute; Carl Maraghi: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Frank Greene: trumpet; Freddie Hendrix: trumpet; Brandon Lee: trumpet; Nabate Isles: trumpet; Steve Davis: trombone (11); Michael Dease: trombone; Joe McDonough: trombone (1-10); James Burton: trombone; Douglas Purviance: bass trombone; Xavier Davis: piano; Quincy Phillips: drums; Rodney Jones: guitar; Melissa Walker: vocals (6, 8); Brandee Younger: harp (10).

John Beasley
Monk'estra Vol.2

By MackAvenue
The Grammy nominated volume one won plaudits for its inventive and successful attempt to redefine Monk’s compositions for the twenty-first century in a big band setting, and incorporating a variety of styles not normally associated with Monk. Volume two carries on the pioneering work and does a fine job of re-reading the Monkbook so to speak. Thelonius Monk recorded sparingly in a larger ensemble format and his best known album in this milieu is the 1959 Town Hall album, while a live performance from 1963 was captured at a New York Philharmonic Hall concert.
What impressed this writer was how well researched Beasley has been in listening to previous attempts to interpret Monk and taking from these disparate sources. There is for example a nod to a late 1950’s Steve Lacy tribute to Monk on ‘Played Twice’, with soprano saxophone soloing from Bob Sheppard.
Contemporary funk and rap feature on the opener, ‘Brake’s Sake’, with trumpeter Dontae Winslow then reverting to a rap commentary on Monk, and this clearly indicates that Monk is relevant to a younger audience. An Ellington-inspired big band reading of Monk is illustrated on various pieces, but no better than on ‘Light Blue’, which has a strong 1950’s feel with Beasley this time operating on organ and a fine tenor saxophone solo that is not indicated on the otherwise fine discographical notes.
Guest musicians contribute to the bigger picture with violinist Regina Carter excellent on ‘Crepuscule with Nellie’, which is a a gentle mid-tempo take on the original with contemporary flavours. For some welcome vocal input, singer Dianne Reeves contributes, ‘Dear Ruby’, with a lengthy intro that includes leader Beasley on piano. This writer would like to hear more of John Beasley the soloist on a separate project, but on other pieces he does stretch out on occasion.
One minor disappointment is the muted contribution of Kamasi Washington whose fast-paced soloing on ‘Evidence’ backed by unison reeds, has precious little to distinguish itself and sounds muffled. In contrast, percussionist and bata soloist drummer Pedrito Martinez graces a Latin jazz take on ‘Criss Cross’, and this is, perhaps, a nod on Beasley’s part to the wonderful Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apaché Band album ‘Rumba Para Monk’, that is richly deserving of a second follow up album project. Inner sleeve notes by jazz journalist Neil Tesser place the project in a wider context.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Nine

Diana Krall
Turn Up The Quiet

By Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Diana Krall spent the better part of the 2010s exploring byways of American song -- her 2012 set Glad Rag Doll drew heavily on obscure jazz from the 1920s and '30s, its 2015 sequel Wallflower concentrated on pop and rock tunes -- but 2017's Turn Up the Quiet finds the pianist/singer returning to well-known standards from the Great American Songbook. Reuniting with producer Tommy LiPuma for the first time since 2009's bossa nova-inspired Quiet Nights, Krall works with a trio of lineups on Turn Up the Quiet, alternating between a trio, quartet, and quintet. The album isn't divided into triads but rather gently shifts between these bands, a move that's sometimes imperceptible because the focus is firmly on Krall, the pianist. Her voice often operates at a hushed whisper -- a decision that suits this collection of romantic, dreamy material; it also underscores the importance of the record's title -- and that emphasizes her lithe piano along with the solo spotlights from her featured musicians. Krall gives her three bands plenty of space to shine -- fiddler Stuart Duncan, in particular, stuns with his solo on "I'll See You in My Dreams," but there are nice turns from guitarists Russell Malone, Anthony Wilson, and Marc Ribot, along with supple playing by bassists Christian McBride, Tony Garnier, and Anthony Wilson -- but what impresses is how these ensembles are all united in spirit and attitude, all thanks to their leader. Krall has a definite vision for Turn Up the Quiet -- she wants to keep things smoky and subdued, a record for the wee hours -- and the end result is so elegant, it seems effortless.

Bill Charlap Trio
Uptown Downtown

By George W. Harris
It’s a photo finish as to whether the title of The Most Tasteful Jazz Trio belongs to Kenny Barron or Bill Charlap. This latest album by Charlap’s team of Kenny Washington/dr and Peter Washington/b sure make a good argument for the trophy.
Charlap is in gorgeously lyrical form, and the Washington’s supply deft support whether the jump right in for the fun “Bon Ami” or wait until the last moment before gliding down the staircase for a reflective “Sophisticated Lady.” The mix of soft brushes, patient bass pulse and warm catcher’s mitt hands make for deft handling of pieces like “Spring Can Hang You Up the Most” and “There’s A Small Hotel.” Like all great cooks, Charlap trusts the basic ingredients of the materials, never feeling a need to add too much spice to kill the basic taste. Excellent!

Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau

By Doug Collette 
Brilliant musicians don't always make brilliant music when they collaborate and while that's sometimes been the case with pianist Brad Mehldau and saxophonist Joshua Redman, on the duo concert recordings that make up the appropriately-titled Nearness, they live up to their elevated pedigree. And that's individual as well as shared cachet: Mehldau spent a fair amount of time, some eighteen months to be exact, as a member of Redman's groups in the early Nineties and they formally collaborated on Highway Rider (Nonesuch, 2009).
In fact, the two musicians' time together in the same performing unit acts as a catalyst to their well-grounded musical education and their prodigious technical expertise on Charlie Parker's "Ornithology" and the Mehldau original "Old West (one of the three he and his partner contribute to the six here)." The intricacy of their instrumental involvement(s), in particular each man's ability to anticipate the other as they improvise, remains as fluid and authoritative as when they are actually rendering the changes of "The Nearness of Yo u:" in its near seventeen minutes,this tune of Hoagy Carmichael's receives the deepest exploration of (both implied and stated) rhythmic and melodic nuance on the album.
Within these poised yet freewheeling interactions, there is never a sense other musicians are missing as might otherwise appear in a larger ensemble i,e., a rhythm section or perhaps a guitarist. Both Redman and Mehldau have that experience to draw upon, the former in his groove-oriented projects Elastic (Warner Bros., 2002) and Momentum(Nonesuch, 2005) and the latter in his studio and live collaborations with guitarist/composer extraordinaire Pat Metheny, so they're fully acquainted with how to play in larger lineups, but this also preps them for smaller more intimate setting such as the one captured on Nearness.
Such knowledge of the dichotomy also guides the pianist and saxophonist in knowing what to leave out when they play, whether it's embroidering upon the structure of "Always August" or in the call and response they judiciously partake in during these recordings. Weaving around each other and spiraling up, down and around within Thelonious Monk's "In Walked Bud" only makes the denouement of in their resolution together all that much sweeter when it arrives.
All of which speaks to the expertise of the musicianship on display during Nearness, but overlooks a comparable expertise on the production front exhibited by Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau. Working with performances from July and November of 2011, the discerning ears of recordist and mixer Paul Boothe as well as mastering engineer Greg Calbi insure the maintenance of a sonic quality as sharp as the chemistry of the two artists whose names appear in top billing on the CD package, the black and white design of which belies the multi-colored dynamics of the music enclosed.
Track Listing: 
Ornithology; Always August; In Walked Bud; Melancholy Mode; The Nearness of You; Old West.
Joshua Redman: tenor and soprano saxophones; Brad Mehldau: piano.

Antonio Adolfo
Tropical Infinito

By Raul da Gama

That Antonio Adolfo should be paying homage to the Jazz side of his music should come as no surprise. Like that great Cuban piano master Frank Emilio Flynn, Adolfo’s pianism shows a strong Jazz influence. But more than the fact that he has imbibed the cadence of Jazz it is these arrangements that are so special on Tropical Infinito. They tell of the uniqueness of Adolfo’s genius, which is his ability to tell stories as if he has written them. Few pianists could pounce on these pieces with such joyful momentum. Try Benny Golson’s ‘Killer Joe’ for size. No less intensity marks both meditative lyricism and the agitated outbursts of Horace Silver’s ‘Song for My Father’. Adolfo’s one-beat-to-the-bar treatment of All The Things You Are’ take wing, abetted by clear dynamic and well-shaped imitative writing.
Antonio Adolfo is a prodigiously talented pianist and one of Brasil’s great pedagogues. These are important factors in his life as a musician. It has kept his music fresh and energetic; yet at the same time there is erudition to his pianism that enables him to imbue his music with a profundity that often escapes musicians younger than him. His superb articulation (in Oliver Nelson’s ‘Stolen Moments’ of the central ‘andante’s detached chords and cross-rhythmic accentuation underlines his version of the chart to some of the finest ever played. In fact, throughout the CD he delights with a feast of fine playing excellently recorded (by Roger Freret) and his focus on the music never wavers.
I’ve long had a soft spot for Antonio Adolfo’s playing. Every record he makes sets a new benchmark on the last recording. It is not just the nobility and imperiousness of his playing, or of these works, or the different narrative tones he is able to bring to each of the songs in question. But he has the phrasing of a great singer captured in moments of incredible emotion. Listen to ‘Whisper Not’ and you’ll see what I mean. It is a rare intégrale in which every work is as technically successful and musically convincing as all its companions. But this is certainly the record when Antonio Adolfo proves that to be true. Moreover all of these tunes evoke a glorious world of Jazz at its most compelling. For that we must praise Antonio Adolfo and his terrific ensemble for an extraordinary performance.
Track List: 
Killer Joe; Whisper Not; Cascavel; Yolanda, Yolanda; Stolen Moments; Song for My Father; Partido Leve; All The Things You Are; Luar Da Bahia.
Antonio Adolfo: piano and arrangements; Jessé Sadoc: trumpet and flugelhorn (4, 7, 8, 9); Marcelo Martins: tenor saxophone and soprano saxophone (4, 9); Serginho Trombone: trombone; Leo Amuedo: electric guitar; Jorge Helder: double bass; Rafael Barata: drums, percussion; André Siqueira: percussion. Special Guest: Claudio Spiewak: acoustic guitar (1, 3, 8).

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Bill Evans - Another Time: The Hilversum Concert

By Fred Kaplan
Resonance Records is emerging as the most vital jazz reissue house around—or, rather, not "reissue," for the music they put out has never been issued before: the producer Zev Feldman (or someone who contacts him) has found it in an unexamined vault, back room, or collectors' cove. The material is top-flight, the sound very good to excellent, and he often releases the albums on CD and LP. So far he has delivered some of the best albums ever by Larry Young, Sarah Vaughan, Shirley Horn, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, but Feldman holds a special regard for Bill Evans.
The final few years of Evans, who died in 1980 at age 51 of complications from drug addiction and other ailments, have been preserved entirely by posthumous discoveries: The Paris Concert (Elektra Musician), The Last Waltz and (Milestone), Turn Out the Stars (Nonesuch)—without these sunset gems, all live sessions, we'd think that Evans faded out with a string of dreary studio albums, some of them with electric piano. (For a sad but fascinating documentary of Evans' life and music, including many rare films clips, see Bruce Siegel's Time Remembered.)
Resonance is now filling in some blanks from Evans' middle years, the late 1960s, for which there's also a paucity of albums, or at least of very good ones. The best of the new stack is the latest, Another Time, recorded before a live audience in the studio of Netherlands Radio Union in Hilversum, outside Amsterdam, on June 22, 1968. Until this release, no one ever knew the tapes of this performance existed.
It is also one of just three albums featuring his trio with Eddie Gomez on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums—the others being The Montreux Concert (which was released by Verve at the time) and another Resonance discovery, put out two years ago, Some Other Time: The Lost Session in the Black Forest. The Hiversum set was the climax of the trio's three sessions we now know of—recorded two days after Some Other Time, five days after Montreux.
The Montreux Concert is widely considered one of Evans' best albums; some place it just behind his wondrous back-to-back 1961 sessions, Waltz for Debby and Sunday Afternoon at the Village Vanguard. I would put Another Time on the same level as Montreux, and the sound quality is nearly as good.
The Gomez-DeJohnette trio was by far his best since the '61 band with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian, which was disrupted when LaFaro, 10 days after the Vanguard sets, died in a car accident, a tragedy from which Evans never quite recovered. (The '68 trio didn't last long either: soon after these sets, DeJohnette was recruited by Miles Davis; Gomez stayed on, but the subsequent drummers weren't quite as polyrhythmically sublime.) Evans himself, who'd dipped deeper into addiction after that event, is in fine form: elegiac, romantic, lyrical—all the adjectives usually attached to his pianism, but there's also a buoyancy and sometimes a fervent swing that his name doesn't so commonly evoke. And it's a joyous fervency, not the cocaine-fueled frenzy one hears on some of his last albums (eg, his 1980 Vanguard set, Turn Out the Stars).
Evans' most energetic albums seem to be the live ones. Some Other Time, the Resonance album recorded in a Black Forest studio, though mainly quite good, has passages of rote playing.
The sound quality on Another Time, the Hilversum concert (the similarity in titles is unfortunate), is superb on CD and better still on LP, unmatched by any other Evans albums except for Montreux and the better Riversides. Many years ago, the long-lamented Classic Records released an excellent limited-edition 45rpm remastering of Montreux, which sounded better than the original pressing; someone should think about a re-release.
Meanwhile, there's this, and Feldman tells me there are more excavated treasures to come.
Read more at:
Track Listing: 
You're Gonna Hear from Me; Very Early; Who Can I Turn To?; Alfie; Embraceable You; Emily; Nardis; Turn Out the Stars; Five.
Bill Evans: piano; Eddie Gomez: bass; Jack DeJohnette: drums.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Muhal Richard Abrams (1930 - 2017)

By Howard Reich Contact Reporter Chicago Tribune
In 1965, Chicago pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and colleagues formed an organization that would change the course of jazz and much more.
The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians dramatically redefined how individuals and ensembles could compose and improvise their works, and how they could take control of their own performances and recordings.
Abrams was integral to those achievements and influenced generations as composer, teacher, organizer and scholar. He died Sunday evening in his New York home with his wife, Peggy Abrams, and daughter, Richarda Abrams, at his side, they said. Muhal Richard Abrams, who was born in Chicago and launched his career here, was 87.
In co-founding the AACM, “He was able to create a community of artists who all respected each other, all shared the responsibility of playing with each other and all actually taught each other,” said Wadada Leo Smith, an early AACM member whose “Ten Freedom Summers” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2013.
“Muhal spent his life in service to us, his fellow musicians, composers and the world,” said George Lewis, a MacArthur Fellowship winner and author of the definitive study “A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music.”
“He was a great teacher, but he also taught us to teach ourselves and to teach other people. … Now all four of the (AACM) founders have passed away, and we are on our own,” added Lewis, referring to AACM co-founders Abrams, drummer Steve McCall, multi-instrumentalist Kelan Phil Cohran and pianist Jodie Christian. (Recording secretary Sandra Lashley also signed the AACM’s articles of incorporation on May 8, 1965.)
Abrams attended DuSable and Wendell Phillips high schools and took classes at Roosevelt University and Governors State University, but he considered himself a mostly self-taught musician.
“He used to come to the Roosevelt sessions,” remembered Joe Segal, who organized jazz performances at the school starting in 1947.
“He was one of many very fine pianists. He was straight-ahead,” added Segal, meaning that Abrams was playing in the bebop manner of the day.
“In fact, I have some cuts of him playing. If I didn’t tell you who it was, you’d never guess.”
Abrams’ keyboard prowess won him engagements accompanying major figures who played Chicago, including Max Roach, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Ray Nance and Sonny Stitt.
But by the late 1950s and early ’60s, the jazz landscape in Chicago was imploding because of changing musical tastes, the rise of rock ’n’ roll, disappearing clubs and urban renewal.
Unwilling to give up on music even as opportunities for work were evaporating, Abrams in 1962 formed the Experimental Band, inviting fellow free thinkers to expand stylistic and expressive boundaries. Staffed by such rising figures as saxophonist Fred Anderson, woodwinds masters Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell, and drummers McCall and Jack DeJohnette, the Experimental Band drew inspiration from Sun Ra’s Arkestra and set the stage for the emergence of the AACM in 1965.
“Not only did Muhal cultivate this community, but we were able to practice a discipline that the world has never seen from a musical organization,” said trumpeter-composer Smith.
“During those times we never received a single grant, never had any deep pockets from private donors. We walked the streets, posted signs, made mimeographed announcements.”
Within a few years, the AACM was gaining fame and admiration in Europe and beyond, thanks to the travels of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Anthony Braxton’s trio. Early AACM bands such as Cohran’s Artistic Heritage Ensemble and units led by Abrams, Christian, Jarman and Mitchell opened up new sonic possibilities. Freewheeling ensemble interplay, ancient and invented instruments, age-old New Orleans musical traditions, unabashed dissonance and Afro-centric musical rituals were behind the AACM’s motto: “Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future.”
“We had no idea the AACM would catch on as it did,” Abrams said in a 1990 Tribune interview. “We certainly didn’t establish it to be some kind of important institution.
“We weren’t looking for notoriety, or anything. If we had, it probably wouldn’t have turned out that way.
“We simply were turning to each other for support, and that was all it took. The resources were within us.”
In the late 1960s, Abrams also emerged as a co-founder of the nonprofit Jazz Institute of Chicago, which to this day programs the Chicago Jazz Festival and organizes educational events across the city.
“He came to the meetings, though he wouldn’t let us put his name on as a board member … but he was very much part of it,” said Harriet Choice, a co-founder of the organization and a former Tribune jazz critic.
Abrams also was involved in planning the massive Grant Park jazz concerts of the mid-1970s that led to the creation of the Chicago Jazz Festival, in 1979.
By 1977, Abrams had moved to New York, establishing a chapter of the AACM there and developing into one of the most uncategorizable composer-pianists of the late 20th century. Jazz, classical, blues, avant-garde, folkloric and other musical languages coursed through his work — some meticulously composed, some invented spontaneously at the piano.
“He was a student of esoteric knowledge,” said Lewis. “He went far beyond the standards of academically acceptable modes of thinking and of knowledge production and transmission.
“He was a tireless inventor, constantly searching for new information — voracious appetite and curiosity and love of learning.”
Abrams’ enormously wide view of music was unmistakable when he sat down at the piano, unfurling an epic sweep of sound and ideas. Strands of melody and harmony intertwined, orchestral splashes of color emerged from his fingertips, shades of Alban Berg and Claude Debussy met up with jazz riffs and blue-note figurations. It all attested to Abrams’ vast knowledge of the breadth of Western and non-Western music.
“Muhal, in his later years as a pianist, he had this sort of hypertranscendental mode of performance,” observed Lewis.
“It was meditative, and it was long-form, and it built up very slowly over time — the emotional fervor of it. And you just had to go with it. It was unpredictable, but it wasn’t dictatorial.”
Meaning that his music welcomed anyone open to its far-flung influences.
Abrams was widely recognized for his achievements. He was the first winner of the Danish JAZZPAR Award, in 1990; won a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship, the United States’ highest jazz honor, in 2010; and received an honorary doctoral degree from Columbia University in 2012.
And he never stopped championing bold new ideas in music, leading a new version of Muhal Richard Abrams’ Experimental Band at the Chicago Jazz Festival in Millennium Park in 2015, to celebrate the AACM’s 50th anniversary.
“The major issue is still reaching the public,” he said in the 1990 Tribune interview, on the eve of the AACM’s silver anniversary.
“Many musics have been exposed to the public over the past 25 years, so the situation is a little different, but not very much.
“In a way, it’s the same as when we began.”
Memorials for Abrams are being planned for Chicago and New York.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Eight

Ahmad Jamal

By Roger Farbey
There are few true jazz legends left alive now let alone still recording albums of the calibre of Marseille. Ahmad Jamal is one such venerable figure and the octogenarian (born July 2, 1930) has recorded an album of consistent brilliance. Jamal prefers to refer to his playing as American classical music rather than jazz and he's been regarded as a "mainstream" pianist but to stylistically stereotype him in this fashion is to do him an injustice.
The title track is afforded three different versions, the first being a mesmeric modally-inspired instrumental foray. The title is also a paean to a country that has enthusiastically supported Jamal throughout his long career culminating in the French government awarding him the prestigious Chevalier De L'Ordre Des Arts Et De Lettres in 2007. The album itself was recorded in Malakoff, a suburb on the outskirts of Paris.
It's well-known that Miles Davis was a fan of Jamal's and admitted to being influenced by the pianist. Miles and Jamal became friends in the 1950s and Davis recorded Jamal's "Ahmad's Blues" on Workin' and "New Rhumba" on Miles Ahead. So on one level, it's not too surprising that on "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" Jamal includes a funky quote from Davis's "Jean Pierre" from We Want Miles, released in 1982. But on another level the inclusion of this vamp, which bookends the track, demonstrates how versatile is Jamal's approach, and how a standard can be completely transformed so seamlessly.
The quoting continues on "Pots En Verre" with a repetition of two tantalisingly familiar chords from Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder." The French rapper Abd Al Malik contributes tersely spoken words in French on the next beguiling version of "Marseille" on which Jamal evinces an alternative chordal interpretation.
"Autumn Leaves" is given a rich makeover, with percussionist Manolo Badrena and drummer Herlin Riley adding a Latin-esque feel and all underpinned by James Cammack's resonant double bass. There's even a micro-quote from Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" here too. The languid "I Came To See You / You Were Not There" and the more vibrant "Baalbeck" almost conclude this set but for the addition of a sumptuous third version of "Marseille," adorned by Mina Agossi's mellifluous vocals.
It's undoubtedly Jamal's use of space and deft light and shade which characterise his playing and this proves that frenetic pyrotechnics are not necessary to make a huge impact on an audience.
This extraordinarily beautiful album, simultaneously released on CD and double vinyl, demonstrates how age alone does not diminish an artist's musical ability and creativity. This superb album's appeal will be undoubtedly very wide indeed.
Track Listing:
Marseille (instrumental); Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child; Pots En Verre; Marseille (vocal #1); Autumn Leaves; I Came Back To See You / You Were Not There; Baalbeck; Marseille (vocal #2).
Ahmad Jamal: piano; James Cammack: double bass; Herlin Riley: drums; Manolo Badrena: percussion; Abd Al Malik (4), Mina Agossi (8): vocals.

David Kikoski

By CrissCross
Since his first appearance on record (Randy Brecker's album In the Idiom), pianist David Kikoski has demonstrated an infinite capacity to swing, a rare sensitivity as a ballad interpreter and genuine harmonic savvy as a composer. He delivers once again on all counts on Kayemode.
Kikoski says:
"I'm very proud and lucky to have 2 new collaborators in my trio. I met Justin Faulkner on a Monday night at "the Jazz Standard" where I play with the Charles Mingus Big Band and was very impressed. Soon after we really hooked up on a gig with Branford Marsalis and I remember thinking I would love to try and use him on my own project. We had a ball hanging at my house and shedding and listening to music.
Joe Martin was someone we both agreed on to be the perfect bassist for the session. I recently heard him at "Mezzrow" with Spike Wilner and was blown away. His use of harmony and counterpoint is more advanced than most bass players I've known. I knew he could get inside of my concept.
We are using 1st or 2nd takes with no fixing or editing, because I wanted the freshness and honesty to be there".
Total Time: 62:15
Recorded September 20, 2016 in Brooklyn, NY, USA by Michael Marciano
David Kikoski (P), Joe Martin (B), Justin Faulkner (D)

Benedikt Jahnell Trio
The Invariant

By Karl Ackermann 
The Invariant, as in a "constant," is a fitting title for Benedikt Jahnel Trio who have recorded as a unit since their debut Modular Concepts (Material label, 2008) and later moving on to the ECM label with Equilibrium (2012). Jahnel, a musician and mathematician in Berlin, has a deep appreciation for complex similarities between the two disciplines and he reveals an ability to peel away the superficial elements to tinker with the inner workings of the music.
Canadian native—now Brooklyn resident—drummer Owen Howard has led his own group as well as playing with Dave Holland, Joe Lovano, John Abercrombie, Dave Liebman and a host of other well-known artists. The Spanish bassist Antonio Miguel has been performing professionally since the age of sixteen. He had studied with Chick Corea, Christian McBride, John Patitucci and Francois Moutin and—like Howard—has performed with Liebman and Abercrombie as well as Fred Hersch and Paquito D'Rivera.
Knowing his trio-mates as well as he does allows Jahnel to tailor his compositions to match their strengths. He continues to develop creative concepts around irregular meters and layering of sounds as on the opening piece "Further Consequences." Jahnel's lightning-fast piano propels "Mirrors" initially, before the piece takes a precipitous drop in tempo with Miguel's deep, woody bass solo. Accented by a superb solo from Howard, the appealingly off-kilter "Part of the Game" opens with a torrent of piano notes, in a piece that is in direct contrast to the gentle balladry of "For the Encore." "Interpolation One" has Miguel and Jahnel working independently, knit together by Howard's intricate direction.
The compositions on The Invariant include pieces the Jahnel has developed over the past five years though there is a consistency across the program that points toward a more focused pattern of creativity. As dominant as the pianist's play can be—and often is—the album is clearly a democratic model where all the artists have the opportunity to display their considerable talents.
Track Listing:
Further Consequences; The Circuit; Mirrors; Mono Lake; Part Of The Game; For The Encore; Interpolation One; En passant.
Benedikt Jahnel: piano; Antonio Miguel: bass; Owen Howard: drums.

Yamandu Costa

By Biscoito Fino

Um belíssimo álbum instrumental, que vai do choro ao samba, passando pelo tango, em performances virtuosas e intensas de Yamandu Costa. Assim é o álbum Mafuá, primeiro projeto solo de Yamandú, que chega ao Brasil quatro anos depois de lançado na Europa. Gravado na cidade de Osnabruck, na Alemanha, em outubro de 2007, o álbum Mafuá ganha agora sua primeira edição brasileira, via Biscoito Fino. Apenas três das 13 canções de Mafuá não são de autoria de Yamandu Costa nesse projeto, gravado em dois dias no estúdio alemão Wonderland.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Grady Tate (1932-2017)

By Richard Sandomir-The NewYorkTimes
Grady Tate, a jazz drummer who was known for his work with Peggy Lee, Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald and many others and whose warm baritone led to a second career as a singer, died on Oct. 8 at his home in Manhattan. He was 85.
His wife, Vivian, confirmed the death and said he had had dementia.
Mr. Tate started drumming professionally in the late 1950s and eventually became one of the busiest sidemen in jazz, recording with stars like Jimmy Smith, Stan Getz, Clark Terry and Billy Taylor.
“Listen to Quincy Jones’s famous recording of ‘Killer Joe,’” Loren Schoenberg, a saxophonist and founding director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, said in a telephone interview. “Listen to Grady’s drums. It’s just phenomenal timing and rhythm that’s almost transparent. He was there to serve the music without the imposition of a defined personality or style.”
The bassist Christian McBride recalled the first time he saw Mr. Tate perform, at the Manhattan nightclub Indigo Blues with the pianist Sir Roland Hanna. “Mr. Tate is one of those rare, unsung heroes of the drums who you rarely kept your eye on when he played because you were busy dancing, moving and grooving,” Mr. McBride said in an email. “Like a truly great rhythm section player, you noticed his absence more than his presence.”
On records, Mr. Tate accompanied a wide range of singers, from Lena Horne and Aretha Franklin to Bette Midler and Paul Simon. He was also heard on the soundtrack to both the original “Twin Peaks” series and the 2017 reboot. The All Music website lists more than a thousand recording credits for him.
Peggy Lee, whom he accompanied on tour and on recordings, was a favorite of his. Mr. Tate told one of her biographers, Peter Richmond, that the real shows began after their nightclub gigs had ended, when the band jammed with her in her hotel suite.
“There were some performances you wouldn’t believe,” he was quoted as saying in “Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee” (2006). One night, he recalled, “I heard this voice, and the song that she was singing, whatever it was, she sounded more like Billie Holiday than Billie ever sounded.”
Miss Lee encouraged Mr. Tate’s desire to sing publicly. She had him sing “The Windmills of Your Mind” in 1968 as part of her set at the Copacabana in Manhattan.
“You know, that was not only a great thing Peggy did for me, it was also unprecedented,” Mr. Tate told Downbeat magazine in 1971. “Singers are a funny lot. The stage is all theirs and as a result, quite often they don’t want anything that has the remotest chance of upstaging them. That’s why the music is geared just so, the lights just so. But Peggy is a beautiful lady.”
He released several albums as a vocalist, starting in 1968 with “Windmills of My Mind.” He also sang “I Got Six” and “Naughty Number Nine” on “Schoolhouse Rock,” ABC’s long-running series of short educational cartoons.
“When you’re playing as a drummer, everybody’s playing and nobody cares a thing about you,” he told the pianist Marian McPartland on her NPR show “Piano Jazz” in 2009. “Everybody’s out front and the drummer’s in the back and you don’t get the play you should get.”
In contrast, he said, singing “is something that gets directly to the person.”
Grady Bernard Tate was born on Jan. 14, 1932, in Durham, N.C. His father, also named Grady, was a stonemason. His mother, Elizabeth, was the dean of women at a local business school. He played drums and sang, but when his voice changed he stopped singing.
At 13, he had an odd if inspiring experience watching the jazz drummer Jo Jones perform at the Durham Armory, he told the website All About Jazz in 2008.
He recalled being mesmerized as Mr. Jones, “the craziest man I’ve ever seen in my life,” played with unalloyed joy. Afterward, Mr. Jones invited him onto the stage and asked if he had brought his drumsticks with him.
“No, sir,” Mr. Tate said, and Mr. Jones offered his own pair but whacked one of his hands with them. “That’s just a tiny bit of the pain that you’re going to get,” Mr. Jones said, “if you’re gonna pick these damn things up and use ’em.”
In the Air Force, Mr. Tate played in a 21-piece stateside band, where he worked with the trumpeter and arranger Bill Berry. After his discharge, he graduated from North Carolina Central University with a bachelor’s degree in English and drama and then moved to Washington, where he briefly taught at a high school and worked in the post office.
One musician he knew in Washington, the saxophonist Herschel McGinnis, took him to see the organist Wild Bill Davis play. Emboldened, Mr. Tate asked Mr. Davis if he could sit in for one number. It proved to be an epiphany.
“I hadn’t played drums in so long,” Mr. Tate said in a 2005 interview with the newspaper Port Folio Weekly. “I just exploded. When we finished, it was like the cleansing of my life, everything was out.
“The next day the phone rang. My wife said, ‘It’s Wild Bill Davis!’ He said: ‘I was wondering. Would you like to work with my band? We’re opening in Pittsburgh Tuesday night. Are you in?’”
He stayed with Mr. Davis for a few years and then took a detour, moving to New York City to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Ultimately, he said, although he loved acting, he did not pursue it because he felt that the instructors and other actors were insincere.
In 1962 another saxophonist, Jerome Richardson, intervened to bring Mr. Tate back to music; he was with Quincy Jones’s big band, which had lost its drummer as it prepared to go on tour. Would Mr. Tate play with the band for a while? He went to a rehearsal, where Mr. Jones “seemed to call all the tunes that I knew,” he recalled.
Working with Mr. Jones led Mr. Tate to decades of studio work. He was also a member of the “Tonight Show” band for several years before the show moved from New York to California in 1972.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Grady Jr.
In his later years, Mr. Tate sang more and played the drums less.
“I had never thought of singing as a career, which it is for me now,” he said in 2005. “I don’t know how it happened; I just go with the flow. And I find that to be totally acceptable.”
- Correction: October 18, 2017:
Because of an editing error, an obituary on Sunday about the drummer and vocalist Grady Tate referred incompletely to his work on the television series “Twin Peaks.” He played drums on the soundtrack of both the original series and the recent “Twin Peaks: The Return” — not just the original series.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Seven

Yaniv Taubenhouse Trio
Here From There

By Edward Blanco 
Young New York-based and Israeli-born pianist Yaniv Taubenhouse, who pursued an advanced musical education at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music after having previously studied under acclaimed Israeli and European instructors, is essentially a classically-trained pianist. Since moving to Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2010 to study at the University of Arkansas, jazz has been his professional pursuit and the classic piano trio, his preferred format. The Yaniv Taubenhouse Trio delivers their debut album with an audacious date on Here from There, perhaps a personal reference from the jazz pianist in describing his musical journey from Israel to the U.S. culminating in this first solo album as leader.
Though now performing throughout New York since moving there in 2013, this debut was recorded in Fayetteville with bassist Garrett Jones and drummer Darren Novotny—two Arkansas natives the pianist met during his stay there—with whom he collaborated with and led to the formation of this new trio and recording. Except for two standards, the eleven-track project provides all-new material from Taubenhouse beginning with the brief "Prelude of the Ozarks," a solo piano offering from the leader displaying his excellent classical skills as he introduces his new music.
The hard-driving contemporary-sounding "Coming Back" offers the first glimpse of the pianist's compositional talents on a nine-minute musical statements that essentially states "I'm not coming back, I've just arrived." Well the new kid on the block has indeed arrived and the beautiful title track demonstrates the leader's warm side with soft touches on the keys accompanied well by Novotny's brushes and Jones's laid back upright bass lines. "Joey Boy" however, is another story, as it contains a bluesy-tinged melody with nice bass and drum solos giving this piece, a night club groove to it.
The Walter Gross piece "Tenderly" and Sammy Cahn's classic "Time After Time," are the two jazz standards reimagined here by Taubenhouse, who pens cleaver new arrangements making these time-honored songs sound almost new. The fresh new sound keeps coming on the superb "Uncle Robert," the swinging slightly Latin-tinged "Train to a Green Mountain," and the dark-toned finale, "Hope."
Not very well know yet, but jazz pianist Yaniv Taubenhouse is definitely poised to be one of the new young lions of jazz to watch out for and his impressive Here from There debut, is a serious musical statement sure to shine some light on the young pianist who's current musical obscurity is certain to be brief. A technician on the keys and a talented writer, Taubenhouse provides an enjoyable session of music where jazz and classical merge to forge one of the finest trio performances found on today's jazz landscape.
Track Listing: 
Prelude of the Ozarks; Coming Back; Here from There; Joey Boy; Sunrise Fantasy; Time and Place; Tenderly; Uncle Robert; Train to a Green Mountain; Time After Time; Hope.
Yaniv Taubenhouse: piano; Garrett Jones: bass; Darren Novotny: drums.


By Bruce Lindsay 

It's been a while, four years to be precise, but Australian piano trio Trichotomy is back. Known-Unknown appears after a break during which the band's members have been busy with numerous other projects and sees the first appearance of a new bassist, but it takes just a few bars of "Five" to reassure fans that this cohesive, exciting trio is back and on track.
Pianist Sean Foran and drummer John Parker are joined by bassist Samuel Vincent and all three musicians contribute compositions—Foran getting the lion's share of writing credits with six tunes. On the band's previous release, Fact Finding Mission (Naim Label, 2013), the trio was augmented by various guest musicians. Known-Unknown eschews this approach, returning to the core trio with no additional players.
All three band members are credited with electronics, used live to alter the acoustic instruments and hence to expand the tonal variation in the music. Such alteration is subtly done, on the hypnotic "Reverie Of Lack" for example.
Foran's "Five" opens proceedings in a fairly straight-ahead style, the trio establishing a muscularity in its playing before calming things down somewhat. It's a fine example of the band's sense of dynamics and drama. "Cells," by Parker, has more of a narrative feel: a melancholy story courtesy of melodic opening and closing passages that bookend some group improvisation. "Past Tense" is Vincent's first composition for the trio and features his mournful arco bass. On this evidence, the new member will further strengthen the band's writing abilities.
Trichotomy's powerful, muscular, playing style is again in evidence on "Asset Or Liability"—especially Parker's drums and percussion. "It's Strange Coming Back" is another Parker number, its title perhaps a nod to the band's extended absence. It's another showcase for the quieter and more reflective side of things and the album's prettiest tune. The repetitive "Semi-Quasars" hangs around a little too long but with "Hemmingways" Known-Unknown closes on a fluid and upbeat tone.
Track Listing: 
Five; Cells; Junk; Imaginary Limits; Past Tense; Asset Or Liability; It’s Strange Coming Back; Reverie Of Lack; Semi-Quasars; Hemmingways.
Sean Foran: piano, electronics; Samuel Vincent: double bass, electronics; John Parker: drums, percussion, electronics.

Yaniv Taubenhouse
Moments In Trio-Voluma One

By Raul Da Gama
"The range of atmospheres and emotions in the poetry of Yaniv Taubenhouse’s music is astounding. Rarely and only once or twice in a lifetime do you get to hear a musician and a pianist who is as sensitive as Taubenhouse to the voice of the heart, the breadth of human emotion and its relationship with the whisper of nature, and its roar as well. Not surprisingly therefore Moments In Trio captures and coddles the whimsical and the tortured, the sensual and the affectionate in these vignettes, these delicate songs that appear on this programme. What invigorating motion, what exultation and what utter delicacy and earthiness in each and every song. This is not simply a talent worthy of recognition, this is one that every pianist – every aspiring musician – must listen to and even learn from.
Yaniv Taubenhouse has truly mastered his instrument to the extent that it, as Charlie Parker once said, has become an extension of his body. Thus it seems to be controlled by neurological energy and impulses rather than voluntary movements. This has a magical effect, for example, on his use of pedalling, the myriad of ways in which he applies pressure on the keys and the energy transferred from his body to the piano. His music stands out for its intelligently parsed dynamics and long singing lines. Each repeated note in ‘Sunshine in Pain’ and ‘Prelude of the Ozarks’ has a different colour, while chromatic such as ‘All the Figs’ and ‘Migrations’ radiate inner strength and ravishing nuance. Yaniv Taubenhouse also employs subtle tempo fluctuations and strategic accents that help give shape and dimension to the music’s harmonic richness.
The pleasures of the music of Moments in Trio can be attributed as much to Taubenhouse’s playing of his colourful arrangements as it can be to the virtuosity and excellence of bassist Rick Rosato, whose beautiful, dark tone and sinuous harmonies provide an exquisite backdrop to the sound and silence of the music. And we cannot ignore the masterful drumming and percussion colouring of Jerad Lippi. Both the accompanists acquit themselves with poise. There are wonderful mixes of sound between Taubenhouse, Rosato and Lippi, a crack ensemble who play with feeling, depth and sonority and the rhythmic dalliance that this music demands. The warm and realistically defined engineering by Robert L. Smith does full justice to Yaniv Taubenhouse’s now-seasoned mastery."
Track Listing: 
After the Storm; All the Figs; With You; Sunshine in Pain; Conversation; Migrations; Prelude of the Ozarks; Unknown; Imaginary Darkness; How About You.
Yaniv Taubenhouse: piano; Jerad Lippi: drums; Rick Rosato: bass.

Jasper Somsen Trio
A New Episode In Life Pt.1

By Challenge
Dutch double bassist & composer Jasper Somsen (1973) studied Jazz and Classical double bass at the conservatories of Utrecht and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. During his career Jasper has performed with some of the very best musicians at the (inter)national jazz scene, a.o.: Enrico Pieranunzi, Joey Calderazzo, Jeff Ballard, John Beasley, Jean-Michel Pilc, Bob Sheppard, Justin Faulkner, André Ceccarelli, Gabriele Mirabassi, Bert Joris, Bert van den Brink, Ramón Valle, Toon Roos, Karel Boehlee, John Engels, Yuri Honing and Eric Vloeimans.
It’s no coincidence Jasper Somsen’s third album as a leader features an internationalpiano trio line up. Recently performing and/or recording with a.o. Enrico Pieranunzi, Joey Calderazzo, Jeff Ballard, Justin Faulkner & André Ceccarelli, he is much sought after by (in particular) pianists. The former New York, now Montreal based French master pianist & composer Jean-Michel Pilc and one of Jasper's all time favorite French drummers André Ceccarelli joined him. The music is an intriguing and exciting exploration in the hearts and minds of these three wonderful musicians.
On July 11 and 12, 2016 the Jasper Somsen Trio went into the MotorMusic Studios, Mechelen (Belgium). Their entire album was recorded in less than one recording day. The same night Challenge Records decided to have the trio record their second album on day two. And just so happened. The first album is an all new original compositions album by Jasper Somsen. The second album contains a mix of free improvisations and some freely approached standards and was recorded in less than 6 hours. Most of the tracks of the second album were recorded in just one or two takes.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Six

The Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra
Garden Of Delights

By Michael J. West
Israels doesn’t go for rhythmic gymnastics. One of Garden‘s 10 tunes is in 6/8, the others swinging away in 4/4. He likes a touch of harmonic complexity: Songs like the woozy “Speed Bumps” and sly “Warming Trend” put ever-so-slight warpage on the chords, especially in Dan Gaynor’s piano intros. (In the case of “Warming Trend,” that off-kilter harmony makes a surprise of the song’s ultimate traditionalism; it’s based on “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise”). He meshes the orchestral voices with sympathetic beauty. The warm wash of reed and trombone backgrounds on “Natural Beauty” is undeniable, as are the leads-turned-obbligati that John Moak’s trombone, David Evans’ clarinet and Robert Crowell’s bass clarinet share on “Chaconne a Son Gout.”
But the melodies have priority, and there Israels shines brightest. It’s impossible not to smile at trumpeter Charlie Porter’s line on the opening “The Skipping Tune.” Better still is the relaxed do-re-mi-fa of “Chaconne a Son Gout,” and the tender Porter-led waltz “Natural Beauty” is best of all. Other tunes are launch pads for improvisation, and that works too. The title track makes a neat trick of the solos, having Porter, Moak and vocalist Jessica Israels sing blues licks for the first eight bars, then zip into bebop lines for what would seem to be the blues’ resolution.
The flaw in Garden‘s design is that Israels sometimes introduces secondary ensemble melodies into his charts-“The Skipping Tune,” “Garden of Delights”-that are not only extraneous, but detract from the solid main melodies. Perhaps Israels doesn’t know how good he is.

Alan Broadbent
Developing Story

By Edward Blanco
During the late '70s, now multi-Grammy Award-winning pianist Alan Broadbent, birthed the idea of merging the music of a jazz trio with a full orchestra and strings ..."in a complete phrase for woodwind soli, counterpoint..." in telling a musical story that is still unfolding today. This ongoing musical journey begins with Developing Story as Broadbent and his world-class trio of drummer Peter Erskine and bassist Harvie S, collaborates with the multimedia Hollywood industry London Metropolitan Orchestra (LMO) in presenting one of the most stunningly-gorgeous symphonically-styled jazz musical statements ever recorded.
Performing and conducting for orchestras is not a new thing for the pianist, evidenced by his many recordings in a large ensemble setting, and is currently the orchestra conductor for Diana Krall when in concert on occasion and, when not teaching at NYU. Peter Erskine is a multi-Grammy Award winner himself who has also performed with giants during his, over 600 appearances on albums and film scores throughout his career. Then there is legendary bassist Harvie S, former Jazz ambassador for the U.S. and long-time educator with the Manhattan School of Music, together, this piano trio is unmatched and though playing splendidly throughout the album, they sometimes seem overlooked, musically smothered by the awesome powerful play of the LMO and their strings.
The center-piece of the album is the title song suite performed in series of three separate movements beginning with "Movement 1," which has the orchestra starting off strong then withdrawing as Broadbent engages playing solo piano followed by brief interlude by the trio and settling into gentle musical expressions by the orchestra. "Movement 2" is a delightful slow waltz dedicated to the pianist's wife leading to "Movement 3" featuring an Erskine drum solo among solid horn section phrasings before subsiding and submitting to the pianists humbling chords.
The four jazz ballads for trio and orchestra include Tadd Dameron's classic "If You Could See Me Now," John Coltrane's well-travelled "Naima," the Miles Davis immortal "Blue in Green," and Broadbent's own "Lady in the Lake." Of standards, the pianist writes ..."have always been a gateway to expressing some feeling of the moment," and through his unique arrangements here, succeeds in conveying a musical message, a feeling that words cannot describe but an orchestra and warm keys, do so well.
The story continues and completes with a distinctly different arrangement of another Davis standard "Milestones," and the finale and last original "Children of Lima," penned for the great Woody Herman in the early 70s and around the time of a major earthquake in Peru, thus the dedication to the Children. The arrangement is the same as originally composed with changes for the orchestration. A continuing musical tale, Developing Storyis a superb production and may be Alan Broadbent's finest musical moments, a treasure of symphonic jazz and a definite for anyone's personal collection of favorites, well done!
Track Listing: 
Movement 1; Movement 2; Movement 3; If You Could See Me Now; Naima; Blue in Green; Lady in the Lake; Milestones; Children of Lima.
Alan Broadbent: piano; Peter Erskine: drums; Harvie S: bass; London Metropolitan Orchestra: Andy Brown: Musical Director; David Juritz: violin/leader; Ralph De Souza: violin; Garfield Jackson: cello; Caroline Dale: cello; Chris Laurence: double bass; Anna Noakes: flute; John Anderson: oboe; Anthony Pike: clarinet; Alan Andrews: bass clarinet; Gavin McNaughton: bassoon; Martin Owen: horn; John Barclay: trumpet; Chris Dean: tenor trombone; Owen Slade: tuba; Christine Pendrill: English Horn; Gill Tingay: harp; Gary Kettel: percussion; Tristin Fry: timps.


By Karl Ackermann
One of the most widely popular piano trios in modern memory, e.s.t. combined jazz, classical, rock, and extended techniques in an organic and original way that hasn't been heard before. Since the tragic, accidental death of the visionary pianist/composer Esbjorn Svensson in 2008, there have been a handful of piano trios that provided a glimmer of hope that the "next e.s.t." was near at hand. Releases such as The Tingvall Trio Skagerrak (Skip Records/Soulfood), Sebastian Liedke Trio To Walk in the Past (Gema, 2010) and the PLS.trio East River(Echo Chamber, 2015) come to mind but it has always been an arbitrary and capricious comparison despite the high quality of those groups. Svensson's trio has always been best appreciated on its own terms, or at least on some relevant extension of their work as here with E.S.T. Symphony.There are a number of elements that are key to the overwhelming success of this album. The presence of e.s.t. bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Ostrom can't be understated. Scandinavian conductor and arranger Hans Ek has an inimitable, yet respectful approach to his reinvention of e.s.t. favorites; it breathes new life into each while maintaining their original essence. More importantly he manages the collaboration between the ninety-piece Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and a mere sextet in a manner that diminishes neither and steers clear of orchestrated jazz clichés. Lastly, the remarkable Finnish pianist Iiro Rantala and Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset add familiarity and freshness, respectively.
The album opens with the homage "e.s.t. Prelude," the most overtly orchestrated piece in the collection and then quickly moves on to "From Gagarin's Point of View," which like "Serenade for the Renegade" fall somewhere between third stream and classical/jazz fusion. "Seven Days of Falling" is a strikingly beautiful arrangement while "Dodge the Dodo" retains the substantial rock rhythm of the original. Extended compilations provide creative variations to originals from the namesakes of "Wonderland Suite" and "Viaticum Suite." The driving grandeur of one of the most popular e.s.t. pieces, "Behind the Yashmak" closes the album as a fittingly expressive tribute.
There is, perhaps, a bit of the rawness in the original e.s.t. recordings that is smoothed over with the number and types of instruments involved here, but that is a minor nitpick. E.S.T. Symphony reminds fans of the endless potential that the trio had. e.s.t. became edgier as it moved through its final ACT releases Viaticum (2005), Tuesday Wonderland(2006) and especially Leucocyte (2008). 301 (2012) added to their story as these unreleased numbers—originally from the Leucocyte sessions—were clearly head and shoulders above the quality that one might expect in a posthumous release. E.S.T. Symphony wisely avoids any attempt to entirely reproduce the e.s.t. sound while adding a welcome collection to the legend of the group.
Track Listing: 
e.s.t. Prelude; From Gagarin’s Point of View; When God Created the Coffeebreak; Seven Days of Falling; Wonderland Suite; Serenade for the Renegade; Dodge the Dodo; Eighthundred Streets by Feet; Viaticum Suite; Behind the Yashmak.
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra; Hans Ek: conductor/arranger; Marius Neset: saxophone; Verneri Pohjola: trumpet; Johan Lindström: pedal steel; Iiro Rantala: piano; Dan Berglund: bass; Magnus Öström: drums.

Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim

By Nate Chinen
Frank Sinatra was well into his Rat Pack era, the reigning American embodiment of masculine suavity and aplomb, when he teamed up with a maestro of Brazilian music to make one of the most exquisitely tender albums of his career. That album, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, has lost none of its luster since it was first released 50 years ago. In fact, a newly remastered anniversary edition extracts additional depth from Claus Ogerman's orchestrations, which frame Sinatra's voice like a Rolex on a velvet cushion.
Jobim, a pianist and guitarist as well as a composer, was the beating heart at the center of a worldwide bossa nova craze, following the success of Getz/Gilberto. A joint effort of the American tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and the Brazilian guitarist and singer João Gilberto, that album also served as a showcase for Jobim's songs, including "The Girl From Ipanema," a runaway smash.The album, recorded in Hollywood in the winter of 1967, captures both Sinatra and Jobim at an apex, flush with creative and popular success. Sinatra was coming off a knockout run of albums on his Reprise label — including Sinatra at the Sands, recorded with the Count Basie Orchestra; That's Life, a Top 10; and Strangers in the Night, whose title track became an unstoppable hit.
The 50th anniversary edition of Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim has just been released in various formats, including two vinyl packages. And along with the music from the original album, it includes two previously unreleased tracks: A live medley from a television special, and part of a session reel for "The Girl From Ipanema," which Sinatra and Jobim sing as a duet.
"Don't let it run away, fellas, with the tempo," Sinatra cautions at the top of the first take. "Just hold it down, let it settle down. Because it's got a lot of — it's got a gang of words." After the take is finished, he calls for another one, "right away." His decisive brusqueness strikes a jarring contrast to the singing, which is as delectably airy as a soufflé.
The commercial relevancy of bossa nova is one way to explain Sinatra's keen interest in Jobim: He was aware of his tenuous position within a cultural moment increasingly defined by The Beatles. But his treatment of this music belies any charge of opportunism. While bossa nova presented a new angle for him as a singer — "I haven't sung so soft since I had the laryngitis," he quipped during the sessions — he clearly regarded the style as something more than a novelty.
"No other American pop star would so thoroughly immerse himself in the world of bossa," writes Will Friedwald in his fine critical biography Sinatra! The Song is You: A Singer's Art. "He not only recorded two whole albums' worth of the stuff but sacrificed his signature stylistics in order to more smoothly fit into the new vernacular."
Consider the sensitivity of Sinatra's phrasing on "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars," a version of Jobim's "Corcovado" with English lyrics by the critic Gene Lees.
The balance of voice and orchestration is so impeccably calibrated that it has effectively been canonized: When Diana Krall made her own bossa nova album in 2009, she named it Quiet Nights, enlisting Ogerman as arranger (who won a Grammy for his efforts).
In its original iteration, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim broke into the Top 20 and spent 28 consecutive weeks on the Billboard album chart. According to Michael Bourne, the host of Singers Unlimited on WBGO, it marked another layer of validation for bossa nova in the American pop mainstream. "Even after the album Getz/Gilberto won a Grammy as album of the year," said Bourne, "the Sinatra/Jobim album was a musical apotheosis, a blessing of Jobim's songs from America's musical Pope."
There was, however, one distinction that eluded the album. Sinatra had won album of the year at the previous two Grammy Awards — for September of My Years (1965) and A Man and His Music (1966) — but he wasn't destined for a threepeat. While Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim was nominated, and perhaps even the frontrunner, the top honor went to another album that has stood the test of time: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

John Abercrombie 1944 - 2017

By Sam Sodomsky Associate Staff
Jazz Guitarist John Abercrombie Dead at 72!
The innovative composer and bandleader worked with Gil Evans, Jack DeJohnette, and more.
John Abercrombie, the influential jazz guitarist, has died. The cause of death was heart failure, according to Ottawa Citizen. He was 72. Abercrombie’s innovative approach to guitar touched on multiple genres, including rock, folk, and avant-garde music. After attending Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Abercrombie moved to New York in the late ’60s, where he gained prominence as a session musician for Gil Evans, Gato Barbieri, Barry Miles, and more. In 1975, he released his debut album as a bandleader, Timeless, which was recorded with drummer Jack DeJohnette and keyboardist Jan Hammer. The record began Abercrombie’s career-long relationship with ECM Records. His final LP, Up and Coming, was released through the label earlier this year.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Five

Alberto Luccas
Horizontes Farpados

By Tratore
Integrante de dois clássicos trios, Nelson Ayres Trio e Nenê Trio, o renomado contrabaixista Alberto Luccas lança seu 2º album “Horizontes Farpados”, onde explora a formação contrabaixo, sax e bateria. Com composições próprias, Alberto divide a execução com Vitor Alcântara e Rodrigo Digão Braz, formação elogiada pelo grande contrabaixista Sizão Machado em texto presente na obra.

Sari Kessler
Do Right

By Dan Bilawsky 
In just under five minutes—the running time for producer/percussionist James Shipp's album-opening arrangement of "Walk On By"—Sari Kessler successfully makes the case that jazz singing is her real métier. That particular truth may not have materialized until recent times, as Kessler walked away from a career as a clinical psychologist to pursue a life in music only a short while ago, but it's as clear as day now. And with no less an authority on the art of vocal jazz than the great Kate McGarry singing her praises and co-producing this album, it's obvious that those on the inside agree.
Do Right does right in so many ways. For starters there's the playlist, containing a classics-dominated assortment of shrewdly arranged numbers that perfectly balance intelligence and modesty. Then there are the musicians to admire. Kessler works with a crew of top-notch players here—veteran saxophonist Houston Person, rising star trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis, ace piano accompanist John di Martino, and sophisticated drummer Willard Dyson among them—and they all manage to complement her. By keeping such heavy company Kessler risks being overshadowed, but that risk never becomes reality. Instead, she simply thrives, carrying the program without issue. Whether due to her background in psychology, her work ethic, her God-given talents and intuition, or a combination of all of it, she proves to be a first-rate interpreter and dissector of songs. Her previous career likely contributes to her ability to tap into the marrow of a lyric and bring its essence into the foreground, her intonation is spot-on and her diction is something that other newcomers should take note of, and her phrasing is oh-so-natural and flexible. In short, she's the real deal.
While the large majority of this material will be familiar to listeners, these aren't the same old, same old versions. The aforementioned "Walk On By," for example, exists in a much different space than Dionne Warwick's take, built on an attractively laid-back framework and colored with vibrant cobalt commentary from Noordhuis' muted trumpet. Then there's Randy Porter's arrangement of "Sunny," which may just be the best version of the song to emerge in years. It's incredibly impressive without being showy, what with the sly metric twists, clever riffs, hip feel, and post-solo modulation there to lure the ears in. Other highlights include a haunting and hazy take on Duke Ellington's infrequently performed "The Gal From Joe's," a swinging "Why Don't You Do Right" that pairs Kessler's controlled sass with the bluesy tenor work of Person, a semi-swampy taste of "The Frim Fram Sauce" that becomes more flavorful as it plays on, and an all-too-brief goodbye in the form of an intimate "Moonglow." But to be fair and truthful, it should be noted that every performance on this album could really be classified as a highlight. There's not a weak track in the bunch on Do Right.
Track Listing: 
Walk On By; After You've Gone; Why Don't You Do Right; The Gal From Joe's; Sunny; It's A Wonderful World; I Thought About You; The Frim Fram Sauce; Feeling Good; My Empty Bed Blues; Too Close For Comfort; Moonglow.
Sari Kessler: vocals; John di Martino: piano; Ron Affif: guitar; Steve Whipple: bass; Willard Dyson: drums; James Shipp: percussion (1, 5, 7, 9); Houston Person: tenor saxophone (2, 3, 10); Nadje Noordhuis: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 5, 7).

Vitor Gonçalves Quartet

By BirdIsTheWorm
The debut from pianist Vitor Gonçalves keeps to a nice chatter. It’s talkative music. There is a strong sense of dialog directed from musician to listener, and the tone is frequently one of a sunny disposition. But the arresting quality of Vitor Gonçalves Quartet is how the pianist plants little pockets of introspection throughout the upbeat tunes. It’s not so apparent on opening track “Sem Nome,” which is plenty contemplative, but there are moments on tracks like “Cortelyou Road” and “Samba Do Perdão” that enter a quieter state in between passages when the quartet lights a fire under things. Those shifts in tone, though subtle, change the atmosphere dramatically, and it’s what gives enjoyable tunes a touch of intrigue.
A Brazilian expat now living in NYC, Gonçalves brings some influences from both home turfs, old and new. Renditions of “Samba Do Perdão” and “Se É Por Falta De Adeus” fall nicely into line with modern straight-ahead originals like “Winter Landscapes” and “De Cazadero Ao Recife,” and all of it radiates the charm and warmth of an enjoyable jazz piano session.
You really can’t go wrong with this one.
Vitor Gonçalves (piano), Todd Neufeld (guitar), Thomas Morgan (bass) and Dan Weiss (drums).

Sara Gazarek & Josh Nelson
Dream In The Blue

By Dan Bilawsky 
The success of a story often hinges on the art of the telling. Listen to vocalist Sara Gazarek with pianist Josh Nelson and you immediately see that to be true. These two use ripples of inflection to elicit tidal waves of emotion, uncover new wrinkles in the oldest of thematic fabrics, paint scenes and/or inhabit characters so deeply and convincingly that they blur or erase the lines separating true self from role, and willingly reveal all that this world has to offer—blessings, drama, and slings and arrows included. On Dream In The Blue, Gazarek and Nelson alternately elicit tears of joy and sorrow by moving from escape to reality, heaven to earth, and mirth to melancholy, reaffirming their collective position as one of the most arresting voice-and-piano pairings out there in the process.
While their musical relationship is at the heart of all four of Gazarek's previous albums, it's never been highlighted to this degree before. Through duo work these two have discovered an even deeper bond than those formed over their many years of collaboration; it's a bond built on the mutual acceptance of art as a reflection of life.
There's certainly more darkness and woe here than usual for Gazarek and Nelson, but there's no lack of light. The triptych that introduces the album makes that clear. First up is their signature marriage of "Blackbird" and "Bye Bye Blackbird," a beautiful medley filled with hopefulness and reflection. A perky performance of "O Pato" follows. Gazarek moves effortlessly from Portuguese to English, shades of "Take The 'A' Train" materialize in the harmonic framework of the song, and effervescence rules the day. Then optimism continues to shine through with a version of "On The Sunny Side Of The Street" that finds Gazarek matching moves with Nelson on some daring, wordless, well-choreographed maneuvers.
Everything is looking up at this point in the album, but then the realization that nobody rides life's highs forever is swiftly set upon the listener. With "All Again," a radio-worthy Nelson original, a balance point is achieved between darkness and hope; a poignant and nuanced performance of the Bonnie Raitt-associated "I Can't Make You Love Me" tears the heart apart; and a highly personalized rendition of "Mood Indigo," harmonically tweaked and rooted to sixteenth notes, brings out the dark blue meaning in the title better than most.
The second half of the album is no less intriguing in its emotional and musical blend. The seductive "No Moon At All" swings and sings just as it should, demonstrating a straightforward approach that still offers a few surprises. An amalgamation of musical lightness and subject heaviness appears with "Petit Papillon," a Gazarek-Nelson work that uses the plight of a captured and damaged butterfly as an analogue for a woman snared in love, wounded by its daggers, and left in the dust. Then there's "I Don't Love You Anymore," a collaboration between these two and songwriter Cliff Goldmacher that's built around an emotional wallop of a post-breakup encounter. It comes softly but hits hard. This is the point where heartbreak is piled upon heartbreak.
The album then moves toward its conclusion with Laura Mvula's hymn-like "Father Father," Nelson's "Behind Me" (with new lyrics from Gazarek), and a medley of Nick Drake's "Cello Song" and "Without A Song." That last entry, bridging two distinctly different forms of popular music from different eras, conceptually complements the album's opening number and brings things to an ideal conclusion.
Convincingly selling this wide variety of material in such an intimate setting is no easy feat, but Sara Gazarek and Josh Nelson are uncommonly gifted communicators who have no problem getting these stories across in just the right way(s). Dream In The Blue is a testament to the strength of their relationship. It's an album that's likely to endure in hearts and minds.
Track Listing: 
Blackbird/Bye Bye Blackbird; O Pato; Sunny Side Of The Street; All Again; I Can't Make You Love Me; Mood Indigo; No Moon At All; Petit Papillon; I Don't Love You Anymore; Father Father; Behind Me; Cello Song/Without A Song.
Sara Gazarek: vocals; Josh Nelson: piano.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

2 Sem 2017 - Part Four

Barbara Carroll
Sentimental Mood

By Oldnslowon 
Barbara Carroll remains at the top of her game at age 80. This wonderful program of standards shows her at her swinging best. If her voice has lost a little of its bloom (she sings, or rather speaks, on a couple of numbers) her fingers certainly have not. Very few jazz pianists get a truly individual sound from the piano, but Carroll's full , two handed style is unique, and has been for decades. Her octave runs are instantly recognizable. An excellent rhythm section and the usual fine sound from Venus make this a winner. Barbara Carroll is an American treasure.
1. Lady Be Good; 2. Autumn in New York; 3. You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to
4. Here's That Rainy Day; 5. Fly Me to the Moon; 6. Last Night When We Were Young
7. On a Clear Day; 8. My Funny Valentine; 9. In a Sentimental Mood
10. Yesterdays; 11. I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plans; 12. As Long As I Live

Renee Rosnes
Written In The Rocks

By C. Andrew Hovan 
Always a major talent who has transcended the hokum that usually accompanies the precept of women jazz musicians, pianist Renee Rosnes offers a mature and individualistic touch that has been recorded on far too few occasions over the years. In fact, prior to this fabulous session, Rosnes' last U.S. release was a 2010 duo set with husband Bill Charlap on Blue Note. Around the same time she gathered together Steve Nelson, Peter Washington, and Bill Stewart for the Japanese only session Manhattan Rain. Even though some five years have passed, there must have been something about that ensemble that struck a chord with Rosnes, the quartet gathering together again with saxophonist Steve Wilson added for further good measure.
The centerpiece of this set are the seven pieces that make up the 45-minute "Galapagos Suite," penned by Rosnes herself. Touching on historic text and various theories, the idea was to compose music that represents the evolution of the planet Earth. Though this probably sounds like some heady, programmatic material for a grant or other educational purpose, nothing could be farther from the truth in application. Rosnes sets a mood with each piece that suits the overarching premise, yet each piece functions equally fine on its own.
"The KT Boundary" finds Stewart's colorful cymbal splashes setting the mood alongside some thick chordal work by Nelson in tandem with Wilson's soprano sax. Over the course of the next two pieces, Wilson adds his flute to the mix and the results are bright and optimistic. "So Simple a Beginning" recalls Ron Carter's "Little Waltz" with its lilting melody and ¾ meter. Some heat comes in the form of "Deep in the Blue" where Nelson steals the show with one of his typically fluid statements, only then to be matched for intensity by Washington's solo statement.
The Suite wraps up with "Cambrian Explosion," the most programmatic of the bunch, replete with rumbling bass and collective improvisation that recalls the budding of new life back some 600 million years ago. And if the preceding hadn't been fodder enough, Rosnes augments the program with two more trinkets. "From Here to a Star" is a medium tempo blowing vehicle based on the chord changes of "How Deep Is the Ocean?," while "Goodbye Mumbai" serves as a frisky send off.
This would be quite a different recording had Rosnes hired someone else to fill the drum chair. Stewart seems especially attuned to the purposes of the pianist's originals. He relies less on typical patterns and riffs and more on spontaneous interaction with his musical compadres. Like Rosnes, Nelson is criminally underrated and his appearance here is a major coup. The whole being greater than the sum of its parts, this unit gels with the common purpose of putting Rosnes' work into the best possible light. They wholeheartedly succeed.
Track Listing: 
The Galapagos Suite: The KT Boundary; Galapagos; So Simple a Beginning; Lucy from Afar; Written in the Rocks; Deep in the Blue (Tiktaalik); Cambrian Explosion; From Here to a Star; Goodbye Mumbai.
Renee Rosnes: piano; Steve Wilson: saxophone and flute; Steve Nelson: vibraphone; Peter Washington: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.

Moonlight Serenade

1. Tea For Two《 I. Caesar – V. Youmans 》(5:51); 2. Fragile《 Sting 》(4:50)
3. L-O-V-E《 B. Kaempfert 》(3:39); 4. For No One《 J. Lennon, P McCortney 》(3:43)
5. Save your love for me 《 B. Johnson 》(5:04); 
6. I’ve grown accustomed to his face 《 A. Jay Lerner – F. Loewe 》(6:01)
7. I’m through with love 《 G. Kahn – M. Malneck, H. Carmichael 》(4:00)
8. Autumn Leaves《 J. Mercer, J. Kosma 》(4:15); 
9. What a diff’rence a day made 《 S. Adams, M. Grever 》(4:15)
10. The nearness of you 《 N. Washington – H. Carmichael 》(5:27)
11. Besame Mucho《 C. Velazquez 》(5:04)
12. Like someone in love 《 J. Burke – J. Van Heusen 》(4:08)
13. Peace《 H. Silver 》(4:19)
14. Moonlight Serenade 《 M. Parish – G. Miller 》(6:03)
15. Stompin’ at the Savoy 《 A. Razaf – B. Goodman, C. Webb, E. Sampson 》(3:26)

Clare Fischer Latin Jazz

By Roger Farbey 
What better way to pay tribute to your father than, over the course of several years, painstakingly capturing his keyboard playing (and sometimes singing) and at a later date adding superb big band arrangements? Bandleader and keyboardist Clare Fischer died in 2012 aged 83 but left a legacy of work that his son, bandleader and bassist Brent Fischer, has faithfully recorded, using his father's archived keyboard playing on most, but not all, of the tracks. Brent Fischer did a similar legacy job using his late father's compositions and keyboard work on the 2014 release Pacific Jazz.
The opener, Dizzy Gillespie's "Algo Bueno (Something Good)" also known as "Woody 'n'You" is an upbeat piece alternating between an Afro-Cuba 6/8 and a Mambo. "Gaviota (Seagull)" by Clare Fischer with lyrics by Weaver Copeland, features the inestimable vocal talent of Roberta Gambarini who delivers an enticing scat solo into the bargain. Duke Ellington's "Rockin' In Rhythm" is given a sophisticated big band makeover successfully adding to the piquancy of the original.
Clare Fischer's vibrant "Solar Patrol" features Sheila Escovedo (also known as Sheila E) on timbales. Also by Clare Fischer with lyrics penned by Darlene Koldenhoven, "The Butterfly Samba" again features Roberta Gambarini exuberantly duetting with Scott Whitfield, who also contributes brief bursts of trombone soloing too.
Another Clare Fischer number, the ambitious and immensely satisfying "Renacimiento," represents a slight departure from the other pieces in that it opens in a neo-classical vein and transmutes into a kind of blues adorned with a highly imaginative, tonally colourfully arrangement utilising a wide range of instrumentation.
On "O Canto," again composed by Clare Fischer, Carl Saunders turns in a terrific trumpet solo and Clare Fischer is heard scat singing along to his keyboard playing. "Tres Palabras," written by the Cuban composer Osvaldo Farrés, has a bossa nova feel to it, not unlike Jobim's classic "Insensatez," but with an extra warmth imbued to it by the horns. The lively finale, "Play Time (A Gozar)" is both the last track recorded by Fischer Senior and the first time it's appeared on an album, with Francisco Torres here soloing on trombone.
Herbie Hancock has famously spoken of his indebtedness to Clare Fischer as a major influence on him and judging by this excellent album it's not surprising. This meticulously crafted album is simply a must for all big band fans.
Track Listing: 
Algo Bueno; Gaviota; Rockin’ In Rhythm; Solar Patrol; The Butterfly Samba; Renacimiento; O Canto; La Mucura; Tres Palabras; Play Time.
Clare Fischer: keyboards; Brent Fischer: percussion, electric bass, “guitar” sounding parts; Alex Budman: soprano & alto sax, flute, piccolo, clarinet; Kirsten Edkins: soprano & alto sax, flute, clarinet; Don Shelton: soprano sax, flute; Brian Clancy: tenor sax, flute, alto flute, clarinet, recorder; Sean Franz: tenor sax, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, recorder; Rob Hardt: tenor sax, flute, alto flute, clarinet; Lee Callet: baritone sax, flute, alto flute, clarinet, recorder; Bob Carr: bass sax, flute, piccolo, Eb contrabass clarinet; Carl Saunder, Ron Stout, Rob Schaer, James Blackwell, Brian Mantz, Michael Stever, Anthony Bonsera: trumpet; Scott Whitfield, Francisco Torres, Philip Menchaca, Jacques Voyement: trombone; Steve Hughes: bass trombone; Quinn Johnson: keyboards (tracks 4,5,6); Ron Manaog: drums (tracks 5 & 6); Ken Wild: electric bass (tracks 5 & 6); Luis Conte, Kevin Ricard: percussion; plus Sheila E: timbales (on track 4); Robert Gambarini: vocals (tracks 2 & 5); Scott Whitfield: vocals (track 5); Walfredo Reyes: drums (track 10); Tris Imboden: drums (track 4).

Cheryl Fisher
Quietly There

By OA2 Records
For her sixth CD, Canadian vocalist Cheryl Fisher has recorded an album unique in both its repertoire and her approach. Purposefully chosen to be on the quieter side, Fisher puts a personal stamp on these beautiful, rarely heard songs, applying her musicianship and gift for vocal interpretation in celebration of love, or the mourning of love lost. Although they come from the era of the Great American Songbook, Fisher has given them a modern jazz treatment with the brilliant accompaniment of pianist/arranger John Toomey, the singular Portland guitarist John Stowell, the bass & drum team of Jeff Johnson & John Bishop, and acclaimed woodwind artist Eric Allison. "Concept albums aren't what I usually do, but sometimes you just want to sit by the fireplace, have a glass of wine, put on an album and let it play right through, letting its mellow mood merge with your own."
1 Quietly There 5:30; 2 Let There Be Love 3:35; 3 It Amazes Me 4:19
4 Flowers In The Sink 4:28; 5 I Never Went Away 4:12; 6 You're Looking At Me 3:46
7 He Never Mentioned Love 5:05; 8 You Go To My Head 5:00
9 Some Other Time 5:28; 10 You Taught My Heart To Sing 3:46
11 I'm In Love Again 3:42; 12 Here's To Life 5:08
CHERYL FISHER - vocals; ERIC ALLISON - woodwinds ; JOHN TOOMEY - piano, keyboards
JOHN STOWELL - guitars; JEFF JOHNSON - bass; JOHN BISHOP - drums
BURNIS STUBBS - percussion; BOB TILDESLEY - trumpet & flugelhorn