Sunday, January 14, 2018

1 Sem 2018 - Part Two

Harold Mabern
Afro Blue

By Christopher Loudon

Though elder statesman Harold Mabern’s blocky, aggressive piano style may seem better suited to the small army of horn players he’s worked with-from Miles, Ornette and Freddie Hubbard to George Coleman and Eric Alexander-it’s worth remembering that Mabern’s early career also placed him with Betty Carter, Johnny Hartman, Sarah Vaughan and Joe Williams. At age 78 he remains a sterling vocal accompanist, as demonstrated across this album featuring five of the finest singers around: Kurt Elling, Gregory Porter, Jane Monheit, Norah Jones and Alexis Cole.
Alongside regular trio mates John Webber (bass) and Joe Farnsworth (drums), Mabern bookends the album with original instrumental tributes, opening with the propulsive “The Chief,” for John Coltrane, with guests Alexander (on tenor) and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, and closing with the ice-cool swinger “Bobby, Benny, Jymie, Lee, Bu.”
Porter steps in for another salute, the Mabern-penned “The Man From Hyde Park,” for Herbie Hancock, and a blistering treatment of the title track. Jones shines on “Fools Rush In” and the misty “Don’t Misunderstand.” Monheit’s kittenish allure is gorgeously realized on a lilting “I’ll Take Romance” and a satiny “My One and Only Love.” Evincing strong echoes of Chris Connor, Cole traverses another original, Mabern’s breezily philosophic “Such Is Life.” And Elling, distinctive as ever, helps define three widely diverse tracks: a sizzling, scat-fueled “Billie’s Bounce”; a tenderly reflective “Portrait of Jennie”; and this project’s biggest surprise, a near-anthemic rendering of the Anne Murray hit “You Needed Me.”

Jimmy Cobb
The Original Mob

By C. Andrew Hovan
As the Smoke Sessions list of titles continues to grow, so too do we get to check out some of the country's greatest drummer. The much in-demand Joe Farnsworth has been featured on the label's releases by Harold Mabern and David Hazeltine. Furthermore, one of the most recent titles is a headlining date for the legendary Louis Hayes. Now, comes along a new set that puts the spotlight on renowned drummer Jimmy Cobb, a gentleman that for most of his career worked almost exclusively as a sideman. However, since the late '90s, Cobb has had more than several occasions to step out as a leader with several versions of an ensemble he calls Cobb's Mob.
So the story goes, the original line up of Cobb's Mob mentioned in the title goes back some 20 years when the drummer worked with pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist John Webber, and guitarist Peter Bernstein at The Village Gate. Since each musician is a leader in their own right and quite busy, it's no surprise that the opportunities to work with Cobb have been limited in the ensuing years. That's what makes this album so special.
It should be noted that unlike all the previous releases from Smoke Sessions, this date was not recorded before a live audience. Instead, the tables were removed and things were set up like a studio session. Cobb mentions in the liners that it reminded him of recording in the home of Rudy Van Gelder back in the '50s when the living room served as the studio. The overall sound seems lazar etched, but with a sense of warmth and just the right amount of reverberation to make things sound natural. In fact, Cobb's drums have rarely sounded better.
The repertoire is nicely balanced between choice standards and originals by Cobb, Bernstein, Mehldau, and Webber. There are also some fine solos from Cobb and he trades fours on occasion, sounding particularly musical on "Sunday in New York." It is also a treat to hear Mehldau away from the introverted type of performances that constitute much of his work as a leader. On his original piece, "Unrequited," Bernstein drops out and the pianist delivers a piquant bossa that ever so tastefully integrates bebop lines with classically-inspired runs.
Bernstein finds his own time in the spotlight, sounding particularly fine on "Composition 101," where he delivers the melody in the Blue Note style of Grant Green, then goes on to weave some wonderful lines that span the upper and lower registers of the guitar. The guitarist's own "Minor Blues" is the type of engaging waltz tempo that has become somewhat of his own trademark. It is set off nicely against the rest of the program, which is made up of medium to brisk swingers.
Much has been made lately of the idea that jazz has to somehow eschew key elements of its identity to mature and advance itself. Cobb and crew create the kind of timeless and rewarding jazz that satisfies on so many levels and yet is accessible enough for even the most neophyte listeners. If that isn't advancing the art form, then I don't know what is.
Track Listing: 
Old Devil Moon; Amsterdam After Dark; Sunday in New York; Stranger in Paradise; Unrequited; Composition 101; Remembering U; Nobody Else But Me; Minor Blues; Lickety Split.
Peter Bernstein: guitar; Brad Mehldau: piano; John Webber: bass; Jimmy Cobb: drums.

João Bosco
Mano Que Zuera

By SomLivre
Depois de 8 anos sem lançar nenhum projeto inédito, o cantor e violonista mineiro João Bosco traz ao público ‘Mano Que Zuera’, um álbum composto de 11 belas canções, entre elas algumas parcerias inéditas com o filho Chico Bosco, que também assina a produção musical do álbum. Dessas parcerias o single ‘Onde Estiver’, que nasceu de conversas entre pai e filho, merece destaque pela força poética e arranjo primoroso, que já toca nas principais rádios do Brasil. Além das inúmeras parcerias com o filho, o projeto conta ainda com clássicos como ‘Sinhá’ (parceria com Chico Buarque), ‘Duro na Queda’ e ‘João do Pulo’ (Parcerias com Aldir Blanc), esta última contando com uma fusão sonora com a canção ‘Clube da Esquina No 2’, e o encontro inédito com a composição de Arnaldo Antunes em ‘Ultraleve’, onde a filha Júlia Bosco faz uma participação mais que especial com sua voz doce e potente. Trata-se de um clássico da MPB que acabou de nascer!

Dado Moroni/ Eddie Gomez/ Joe La Barbera
Kind Of Bill - Live At Casino Di Sanremo

By Michael Scullin
What's to like about this album? This is a tremendous album and perhaps his best (and he has many really good albums). Accompanied by Eddie Gomez (a jazz gold standard for years – going back to accompanying Bill Evans) and Joe La Barbera who has likewise been around for years and is, as always, in top form. They swing like mad and sound as though they had been playing together for years. Their choice of music lends itself to great listening. I would go six stars were it possible - and this after listening to it once. Furthermore it is relatively inexpensive and comes in a nice slim cardboard case. All together I found all three to be in top form and to be a musical team that would be tough to beat. Don't know Moroni? this is a really good place to start.

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