Jimmy Heath: Langston Hughes Library, Flushing, New York, 30th April 2013 It was impossible to make a choice! This is Charlie Parker with Strings (Mercury Records, 1950)--a compilation of all the Charlie Parker with Strings--not just the one studio performance; there's some live performances. Someone at The Charlie Parker organisation that used to give the benefits for Charlie Parker--the Foundation that his wife started--made this compilation and they gave them out to some of the sponsors and people who came to support that organisation. There are recordings from the Apollo Theatre and different venues. ...read more
Over the past thirty years, vocalist Julie Kelly has established and cemented her sterling reputation via seven highly praised albums. Her eighth, a beauty in every way, is likely to garner her some more rave reviews. After tackling a diverse program with able support from pianist Mike Wofford on Everything I Love (Chase Music Group, 2006), and grafting her own personality onto cool school vocalist June Christy's work with some help from pianist-arranger Tom Garvin on Kelly Sings Christy: Thou Swell (Chase Music Group, 2002), Kelly reunites with pianist Bill Cunliffe for this trip through lesser-known and ...read more
Orbert Davis: Symphony Centre, Buntrock Hall, Chicago. 15th May, 2013 This is Clifford Brown with Strings (EmArcy, 1955). I was a teenager when I first heard this incredible album--the depth is in its subtleties--and Clifford is so perfect with the string writing of Neal Hefti. It's a true blending of classical and jazz. The first thing I knew--this is funny--I recognized the name Neal Hefti from the Batman theme! For me as a trumpet player I study Clifford Brown; as an arranger I study Neal Hefti, so this brings both those worlds together and ...read more
Pioneering trumpeter, composer Cuong Vu and pianist Richard Karpen push the envelope by not releasing a cut and dry tribute to Duke Ellington and his counterpart Billy Strayhorn . With a standard jazz quartet supported by iPad and electronics performers, to say this album follows mainstream jazz guidelines would be a miscue of sorts. Unconventional wisdom and atypical treatments accentuate this production of three Ellington-Strayhorn compositions and several originals by the quartet. According to Vu, the spirit of Ellington and Strayhorn presided during the recording session, amid references to the music taking on the semblance of an extended ...read more
The Alan Evans Trio, nee Alan Evans' Playonbrother, were the first band to formally avail themselves of the resources of Applehead Studios for a live with studio audience session in Woodstock New York in 2013. Patterned to a great degree on Levon Helm's Midnight Rambles at his own barn, ultra contemporary facilities in a rustic setting, these events present a unique opportunity for musicians and fans alike to immerse themselves in the spontaneity of the moment even as the engineers-Michael Birnbaum, Kevin Salem and Chris Bittner-are capturing it all for posterity. Drummer Evans, guitarist Danny Mayer and keyboardist ...read more
January 12, 1969 to October 22, 1969. Two-hundred eighty-three days. That is the length of time between the releases of Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin II. By any estimation, in rock music it defies the space-time continuum. By 21st Century time, it only compares to the incessant leakage of Rap mixtapes pooling on the floor of some unnamed ghetto. If there was ever a rock Twilight of the Gods (Gotterdammerung), this was it. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II, Deluxe Edition (Atlantic Records) 1969/2014 Hey, man, I take it all back! ...read more
Here, Portuguese trumpeter, composer Sei Miguel delves into his stockpile of older compositions that were seldom performed or recorded. And his customary, eccentric mode of operations is structured in an enticingly bizarre approach to jazz and jazz improvisation. On this release comprised of three extended tracks, the artist employs two quartets and a ten-piece ensemble as he crafts his attack with odd sound-sculpting metrics, minimalism, avant-space music, and paints liquescent hues atop placid rhythmic persuasions. Fermata" is the shortest piece on the album at 9:40 and features a strange alignment of instruments, evidenced by Andre Goncalves' Hammond manipulation, ...read more
Meet Mark Egan:Over the past 30 years, Mark Egan's ability to groove, perfectly complement the music in any situation and solo expressively has made him one of the most in-demand bass players on the international music scene. While racking up credits with the likes of the Pat Metheny Group, saxophonists Steve Grossman, Dave Liebman, Stan Getz, Sonny Fortune and Bill Evans, vocalist Michael Franks, guitarists Pat Martino, Larry Coryell, John McLaughlin, Alex De Grassi, John Abercrombie, Chuck Loeb and Vic Juris, the Duran Duran off-shoot group Arcadia, the Gil Evans Orchestra as well as pop stars Sting, Joan Osborne, ...read more
Vocalist Heather Rigdon walks a pop-jazz path here, but her work is anything but fluff. In less than thirty minutes, she delivers songs that chronicle the ups and downs of relationships, the natural wonders of day to day existence, and the insecurities and strengths that live within us all. Almost all of the eight songs that make up this program tend to work around the edges of coupledom in different manners. And So It Goes," for example, opens the album by chronicling the arc of a relationship with upbeat musical backing. When Rigdon sings, this ride's about ...read more
Meet Evan Shay: Evan Shay is a saxophonist and composer based in Montreal. He recently completed his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance at McGill University with the distinction of Outstanding Achievement in Jazz Saxophone. He was also awarded the prestigious four-year Seymour Schulich Scholarship. Evan was a member of the top McGill Jazz Orchestra I for three years, and the McGill Chamber Jazz Ensemble. Evan completed two tours of France, and has performed at the Umbria Jazz Festival, Jazz Ã Vienne, Festi Jazz international de Rimouski, and at major venues across North America. He was awarded ...read more
Multi-reed player and composer Hafez Modirzadeh has created a sweeping global experience with In Convergence Liberation; a further examination of the cross-cultural influences explored on Post-Chromodal Out (PI Recordings, 2012). The earlier recording incorporated elements of multi-regional modalism and chromatics, and these compositional techniques are made even more textural with a significantly deeper line up of players. Modirzadeh--playing five reed instruments plus percussion--string quartet ETHEL, two vocalists and the returning trumpeter Amir ElSaffar join masters of Persian string and percussion instruments to produce a unique and complex tapestry of sounds. Modirzadeh has written extensively on ethnomusicology and in ...read more
Trumpeter Brian Groder distinctive style marks his intelligent versatility and superlative musicianship. This is, of course, not news for those familiar with his work. Whether in electronically tinged improvisational ensembles like Confusion Bleue, large orchestras or intimately small groups Groder's unconventional yet always engaging approach morphs to fit the setting while remaining singularly recognizable.His trio outing Reflexology is a sparse, haunting exploration of hard bop motifs that is simultaneously provocative and endowed with a visceral rhythmic sense. The loosely swinging Hexadox" for instance starts with a catchy head out of which emerges Groder's darkly melodic and intriguing extemporization. ...read more
Meet Kevin Ahart: I'm a native of Austin, Texas but swapped my cowboy boots for a tuxedo when, at age five, I started singing the Great American Songbook--I've been at it ever since. My debut album, Let's Take the World featuring Jane Monheit and Jeff Franzel, and recorded by Phil Ramone, is out June 23--you can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/ahartmusic I'm also pretty excited about playing two London dates on June 17 at the Pheasantry at Pizza Express, King's Rd and June 18 at The Spice of Life, 6 Moor Street, Soho, London, W1D 5NA.read more
Tharapita is a delightful recording that ultimately beguiles the listener through its emotional outlook and sheer gorgeous sound. Ingrid Hagel hails from Estonia and, as she states on her site, Tharapita" is the name of a thirteenth-century northern Estonian tribal god, which has been incorporated into the culture to evoke the unity between man and nature." Living now in Copenhagen, Denmark with its hustle and bustle, the music is Hagel's attempt to recreate the sensations, colours and landscapes of my childhood's country house and its surroundings." It is quite surprising, therefore, to be presented with music ...read more
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