Greek guitarist/composer Harry Kapeliaris and his band dish out fiery progressive rock/jazz fusion stylizations, much in the mold of better-known guitar heroes: Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Kapeliaris turns in some killer licks, while also focusing on compositional form. Ultimately, he distinguishes himself from the hordes of guitar wankers who are more content with technical gymnastics in lieu of nurturing tangible ideas and motifs.
Gerald Wilson Orchestra
In My Time
Famed composer/big-band icon Gerald Wilson's latest effort includes a sparkling three-part original composition, jazz standards and brash soloing by trumpeter Jon Faddis, among other luminaries. These blithely swinging arrangements contain plenty of pop, and zing. Featuring an all-world cast, Wilson's enlightening charts only add credence to his stature among the greats. This brilliantly crafted session should not be overlooked. (A top-five pick for 2005).
(CD Baby distribution for Jazzcats
Carol Robbins uses her harp with an uncanny pursuance of the jazz vernacular. With her sextet, Ms Robbins churns out lightly swinging grooves enhanced by her nimble plucking and melodic phrasings. It's silky smooth and a thoroughly enjoyable foray into contemporary jazz, with straight-ahead implications and softly-woven tone poems.
Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra East
Diamonds for Nat
Top-notch trombonist Scott Whitfield leads this little big-band through late, trumpeter Nat Adderley's songbook with vigor, sensitivity and buoyant horn charts. The swing element prevails as the ensemble tackles "Work Song, "Jive Samba, and other Adderley favorites. Special guests, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring and trumpeter Marvin Stamm add to the festivities while appearing on selected tracks. Simply put, Whitfield's upbeat interpretations of these choice works generate a celebratory vibe.
Why Should the Fire Die?
No doubt, this young outfit has been garnering quite a bit of attentionand deservedly so. With its stylistic brand of country-rock-bluegrass to complement memorable compositions that are constructed upon attractive melodies, this trio could seemingly conquer the world. In addition, the musicians' occasionally kick up a hard-core instrumental storm, where they seamlessly fuse Americana-based genres into a distinctly personalized sound and approach. It's music that should appeal to a wide spectrum of listeners, in concurrence with a radio-friendly approach.
Pianist Edsel Gomez's third date as a leader transmits unparalleled development and focus for an artist just getting out of the gate. He complexly morphs Afro-Cuban jazz with a dictum (cubism) that mirrors the creative aspects of portraying an object from simultaneous viewpoints. And with clarinetist Don Byron, saxophonist David Sanchez and others of note, the pianist composed these pieces with multidirectional flows and knotty time signatures. He reformulates melodies into lofty improvisational forums. Gomez is most assuredly one to watch and along with his estimable band-mates, has created a work that looms as one of the more compelling jazz releases of 2006.
Maya HomburgerBarry Guywith guest: Pierre Favre
On paper, Baroque composition coupled with modern jazz improvisation might spur notions of oil and water. Well, such is not the case here. Baroque violinist Maya Homburger and bass great Barry Guy create free-flowing and budding passages, swarming with mood altering overtines. And Swiss drummer Pierre Favre performs on selected tracks. The instrumentalists' perceptive counteractions amid Ms Homburger's soaring and effortlessly rendered melodic phrasings equalize the avant aspects of this wonderful engagement.
Steve Dalachinsky & Matthew Shipp
Phenomena of Interference
New York "downtown poet Steve Dalachinsky recites hipster-like prose atop pianist Matthew Shipp's generally, melodic and animated chord voicings. The poet blends humor, with nods to nature and a few dour musings, to complement his glib demeanor. Overall, Dalachinsky's poetry excites the mind's eye and serves up food-for-thought to counterbalance his enigmatic verse.
Alto/baritone saxophonist Michael Attias and his quartet raises some havoc during these complex and linearly designed compositions. Violinist Sam Bardfeld and French hornist Mark Taylor perform on selected tracks. Attias' rippling lines atop richly harmonic themes equate to a nicely balanced program consisting of hard-hitting modern jazz by way of an attainable presentation. Attias is one of the more exciting instrumentalists within this wide-ranging idiom.
Forgas Band Phenomena