Think you know every aspect of Tierney Sutton's artistic persona? Think again. Hearing the Paris Sessions is to hear Sutton anew. Sure, it's that same one-of-a-kind voice, but there's no Tierney Sutton Band here, incredibly novel arrangements aren't a priority on this one, and there's no grand umbrella theme to contend with. This is simply a captivating listen-by-candlelight album that strikes to the heart of Tierney Sutton. Paris Sessions is easily the most informal item in Sutton's discography, but the idea of informality shouldn't carry a negative connotation; quite the opposite, in fact. This is a work ...read more
Meet Ana Velinova: Jazz vocalist and songwriter Ana Velinova has inspired audiences around the world with her wide range arstistic talents. With repertoire extending from Mozart and Stravinsky to Ellington, Dorsey and Jobim, Ana has shared the stage with many accomplished jazz artists including Bob Moses, Neil Swainson, Don Thompson, Brad Turner, Willard Dyson and Miles Black to name a few. A native of Sofia, Bulgaria, Ana has lived and performed in major US and Canadian cities. A highlight of Ana's Spring 2014 Season is the second release of her album The Thief and the ...read more
The maternal influence on a musician should never be underestimated. There's a degree of love, guidance, nurturing and support that only a mother can provide, and plenty of jazz artists have taken the time to express their appreciation for this fact: violinist Regina Carter did so with the touching I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey (Verve, 2006), trumpeter Dave Douglas explored the hymns and folk songs that his mother had asked to be played at her funeral on Be Still (Greenleaf, 2012), and plenty of others haven't been shy about expressing their feelings about dear old mom in song ...read more
Few vocalists are as elegant and eloquent as Claire Martin. She's been dubbed The First Lady of British Jazz," but she doesn't simply belong to her own people; she's one of the crown jewels of the jazz world, contributing classy and intelligent music via her steady flow of albums on the Linn imprint. In the past, Martin has tried plenty of different things. She collaborated with pianist-composer Richard Rodney Bennett, tipped her cap to Shirley Horn, visited the Great American Songbook, connected with pianist Kenny Barron, and forged alliances with a variety of other musicians in various ...read more
Meet Rhenda Fearrington: Rhenda Fearrington is considered New York Soul in the Heart of Philly Jazz, which produces a warm and soulful presentation when singing from the Great American Songbook. When she's performing her original music, her authentic delivery is so engaging that even the largest venue becomes as intimate as her living room and each member of the audience feels she's speaking just to them! Originally from New York, she started singing in local bands throughout Queens, NY, when a bandleader named Reginald Budd" Ellison asked if she'd sing in his band, Jack's Bird." Year later, ...read more
If you want to hear the best Annie Ross, listen to King Pleasure Sings / Annie Ross Sings (Fantasy, 1952). If you want to hear the most empathic and honest Annie Ross, listen to To Lady with Love. Ross is in her early to mid-80s and her voice is not what it was in the 50s and '60s, but her passion, grace and intelligence surpasses all previous recordings. This is a late autumn--early winter voice, to be sure. This recording belongs with Lady Day's Lady In Satin, (Columbia, 1958), Johnny Cash's American Recordings IV: The Man Comes Around (American Recordings, ...read more
Cassandra Wilson Lincoln Center Out of Doors August 8, 2014 New York, NY Playing before an outdoor capacity audience, Cassandra Wilson performed a concert to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Blue Night 'till Dawn (Blue Note, 1993), featuring many of the musicians who originally performed on the studio version. Wilson kicked off a soulful rendition of You Don't Know What Love Is" with incredible subtlety, feeling every verse deeply while the musicians played with incredible feeling. The audience was mostly silent, something that almost never happens at ...read more
Wild is the Wind" opens with a graceful flugelhorn solo by Angeleisha Trumpetess" Rodgers, a welcome change of tack for a vocal-based album with the singularly-named Kosi only entering three minutes into the number. I Already Know" continues the slow ballad tempo of the opener, but with the added benefit of a magnetic hook line of the repeated angst-ridden title, at once moving and extremely effective. Brianna," a soulful ballad, is both musically and lyrically haunting. In Duke Ellington's The Star Crossed Lovers," Kosi demonstrates an ethereal quality with echoey wordless vocals and engaging guitar from Aron Marchak. ...read more
One night, six Norwegian artists--three of them together in a group for a decade. Such ideas can look great on paper, but turn out less than inspiring in reality. Fortunately, beyond the individual talents involved, there's been enough interconnectivity between singer Solveig Slettahjell, keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft, guitarist Knut Reiersrud and the members of In the Country--keyboardist Morten Qvenild, bassist Roger Arntzen and drummer Pål Hausken--that Norwegian Woods-Jazz at the Berlin Philharmonic II doesn't just work...it soars. Slettahjell--bringing a very personal vision to both her own music and her many interpretations of songwriters ranging from Cole Porter to Tom ...read more
54th Jazz à Juan Juan-les-Pins, Antibes France On the sunny Côte d'Azur, Juan-les-Pins offers a jazz festival every year by mixing all-stars bands, and daring to take risks in offering new artists not exclusively from the jazz sphere. Jazz à Juan (Jazz in Juan) is first of all a wonderful site, the timeless decor of the Gould pine grove a unique place with the Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop. As Booker T. Jones said after his concert, It's quite difficult to stay focused on the music itself when you have such a beautiful view on ...read more
This is an album whose authenticity and directness of expression is matched only by its underlying artistic complexity and conceptual nuances. Kosi Gyebi Sorensen (Akosua Gyebi) is a New York-based singer and composer whose vocal persona on this album is that of a young woman of humble origins struggling with the trials of intimacy and love, the apotheosis of Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The Facebook pages of the singer herself, however, reveal a sophisticated, intellectually gifted African American woman who thinks deeply about such literature as Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Divine Comedy. Since she ...read more
Bay Area vocalist Laurie Antonioli has been performing and recording for more than 30 years. Early on she mixed paints with the likes of Joe Henderson, Mark Murphy and Pony Poindexter with whom she undertook an 8-month European junket in 1980, quickening her already impressive jazz chops. Antonioli's discography is a slim yet intense affair that is full of brilliant pathos and musicianship. She has had much time pass between releases resulting in a sonic career where her evolution as an artist is experienced in fits and starts. That was, until the release of American Dreams (Intrinsic Music, 2010) when ...read more
Stacy Kent The Changing Lights Warner Bros. Records 2013 Stacey Kent has had an impressive musical run: Breakfast on the Morning Tram (Blue Note, 2007, for which she was nominated for a Grammy Award), Raconte- moi... (Blue Note, 2010), Dreamer In Concert (Blue Note, 2011) just being her previous three recordings of her ten releases as a leader. She is intelligent, polyglot and capable of performing in any genre or language. Her voice is one of soft evenness, it has a delicate density that extend over her impressive range. ...read more
Those of us who know better laughed, snickered, recently, when we read that Harlem-based vocalist extraordinaire Mansur Scott was a rising star." We will agree that he is definitely a star" because he always shines when he sings. His first album, Sometimes Forgotten Sometimes Remembered (Pao Records, 2010), was excellent and caught the attention of a great deal of music lovers. His latest recording, Great Voices Of Harlem (Pao Records) includes two other singers, Gregory Porter and Donald Smith, who shine, too. Porter, he of the velvety-heavily- church influenced chops, who is one of hottest acts ...read more
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