Jim Santella joined All About Jazz in 1997
Jim Santella has been contributing CD reviews, concert reviews and DVD reviews to AAJ since 1997. His work has also appeared in Southland Blues, The L.A. Jazz Scene, and Cadence Magazine.
These three artists are quite young (the oldest is 22). While we all know that musicians have to pay their dues before they can be fully legitimized, it's surprising to see how far each of these leaders has already come.
What Love Is
Singing her own songs and several familiar favorites, Erin Boheme interprets from the heart. She's got a beautiful vocal timbre to match her sincere delivery. Preferring romantic ballads with strings and a lush studio orchestra for her debut album, she has a message for everyone. Her "Teach Me Tonight" smokes with a sultry ambience as she joins trumpeter Christian Scott and pianist Taylor Eigsti in a musical partnership that extends to several other selections as well. Together, they persuade with a timeless jazz feeling that lasts. Soulful blues seeps through on "Make You Happy," while Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason" provides an opportunity for Boheme to pose provocative questions that relate to our everyday experiences.
Most of the singer's debut album is presented with a slow, romantic texture that emphasizes her sincere approach and her love of the ballad. She interprets lyrics with a genuine cabaret persuasion, capturing all the essential inflections. "One Night with Frank" swings lightly and represents the album's high point. "I Love Being Here with You" provides a similar landscape and gets to the point.
But the remainder of the program moves casually on slow, romantic slippers and cries out for something with more pizzazz. "Let's Make the Most of a Beautiful Thing" features a lovely guitar solo by Larry Koonse, and two selections feature Tom Scott's soulful tenor. She's updated the standards and interprets them her own way. Her originals, especially "Don't Be Something You Ain't," come with built-in inspirational tools. We'll be hearing a lot from this new voice on the jazz horizon.
Trumpeter Christian Scott brings his electric sextet into the studio with guest Donald Harrison for a session that captures the heart of modern mainstream jazz. Most of the selections are originals: fresh, creative originals that provide new fuel for the fire. While his horn opens up with a pure sound and a big, fat tone, the band surrounds him with sounds from the '70s.
The electric piano ambience and plain vanilla wrappings give the session a laid-back spirit that relies on a tangible edge for its focus. Scott, tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III and guitarist Matt Stevens stake out the front line for melodic interaction, while drums provide a back beat. The others join them for a hip rhythmic experience. This allows the trumpeter considerable freedom to explore and to share with his front line partners.
Scott is at his best with the romantic ballad, where his gorgeous tone fills the room and his relaxed attitude sweeps away the tension. Even Miles Davis' "So What" is interpreted with hugs all around and a kiss on the cheek for tradition. Acoustic bass gives this one a familiar texture, but Harrison injects an Eddie Harris groove that changes the formula. Scott and Smith share a deep appreciation for beautiful tone quality in their ballad reflections. "Suicide" drives with serious intensity, while "She" meanders solemnly and "Kiel" rocks with a casual, fun-loving presence. Scott brings a new spirit to the forum with original ideas and a heartfelt appreciation for what moves us.
Lucky To Be Me
Pianist Taylor Eigsti opened for David Benoit when he was only eight years old. He's been on jazz stages ever since, showing the world his chops. He's been on Marian McPartland's radio show, and he's already got four albums out. This one makes five. Not bad for a guy who's barely old enough to appear in most nightclub jazz venues as a patron.
He interprets standards and several originals on this program with authority, using his piano keyboard clarity to give each piece a superb outlook. He's able to express drama as well as romantic innuendo with equal ease. His duet with guitarist Julian Lage stands out for its delicate nature, placing both artists in a classical music envelope and weaving strands of the New Adult Contemporary persona into their collaboration. It's fragile. "Woke Up This Morning," on the other hand, lets the pianist walk the walk and talk the talk, as he works with an eight-piece funk band to tie one on.
Eigsti is at his best when working with a trio. "Love for Sale" romps with an enthusiastic strut that allows room for a bit of funk in its interpretation. "Darn That Dream" features the pianist's delicate keyboard caresses in a slow interpretation, while his "Adventure One" stands out for its dynamism and creative harmonic textures. "Freedom Jazz Dance," a personal favorite, lets the pianist show off his incredible technique in a soulful romp. Eigsti closes the program with a somber, solo interpretation of "Lucky To Be Me," which floats gently on wings of silk. He's expressive in many ways, making sure that he communicates with his audience coherently throughout the program.
Tracks and Personnel
What Love Is
Tracks: Someone to Love; One Night with Frank; Let's Make the Most of a Beautiful Thing; What Love Is; Teach Me Tonight; Make You Happy; Give Me One Reason; Anything; Let's Do It; I Love Being Here with You; Don't Be Something You Ain't.
Personnel: Erin Boheme: vocal; Taylor Eigsti, Mike Melvoin, David Foster, Billy Childs: piano; Kevin Axt, Chuck Berghofer, Brian Bromberg, Harish Raghavan: bass; Gregg Field, Vinnie Colaiuta, Joe La Barbera, Aaron McClendon: drums; Joel Taylor: brushes; Larry Koonse, George Doering: guitar; Tom Scott: tenor saxophone; Christian Scott: trumpet; Jorge Calandrelli, Richard Kaufman, Corey Allen: conductor; Endre Granat, Susan Chatman, Charles Everett, Ron Folsom, Larry Greenfield, Sharon Jackson, Robert Matsuda, Susan Rishik, Tereza Stanislav, Margaret Wooten: violin; Carole Mukogawa, Karen Elaine: viola; Erika Duke Kirkpatrick, Martha Lippi: cello.
Tracks: Rewind That; Say It; Like This; So What; Rejection; Lay in Vein; She; Suicide; Caught Up; Paradise Found; Kiel.
Personnel: Christian Scott: trumpet; Donald Harrison: alto saxophone; Walter Smith III: tenor saxophone; Matt Stevens: guitar; Zaccai Curtis: electric piano; Luques Curtis: acoustic bass, electric bass; Thomas Pridgen: drums.
Lucky To Be Me
Tracks: Giant Steps; Get Your Hopes Up; Love for Sale; I've Seen it All; Argument; True Colors; Woke Up This Morning; Promenade; Adventure One; Darn That Dream; Freedom Jazz Dance; Lucky To Be Me.
Personnel: Taylor Eigsti: piano; James Genus, Christian McBride: bass; Billy Kilson, Lewis Nash: drums; Julian Lage: guitar; Eric Marienthal: tenor saxophone; Ben Wendel: tenor saxophone; Adam Schroeder: baritone saxophone; Greg Adams, Brian Swartz: trumpet; Garrett Smith: trombone.
Visit Erin Boheme, Christian Scott, and Taylor Eigsti on the web.
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