Each year the autumnal solstice arrives faster and faster and each year we look ruefully back at the restful summer days and mourn their quicker-than-ever passing. Actually, not quite everyone has rested; in the recording studios activity hums along and more and more artists, producers, and technicians are at it day and night. The result is a plethora of new CDs, some of which will definitely reward our autumn listening.
Here's a fall preview of some tempting lineups:
From Telarc we get the first studio album in four years from The Manhattan Transfer. Vibrate is a highly imaginative effort that contains a host of new compositions and some standards-all arranged with intriguing rhythm motifs. Cheryl Bentyne and company get a chance to perform some rangy pyrotechnics and deliver nicely. With outstanding work by sidemen Lou Soloff and Frank Colon and a cascade of newcomers this album takes off and should prove to be a successful follow-up to their 2003 Grammy-winner Telarc debut.
Next comes Saxophone Summit , featuring Joe Lovano, Michael Brecker and Dave Liebman. This latter saxophonist is still expanding his post- bop vocabulary and these statements work well with Lovano's retorts. A welcome visit is made by pianist Phil Markowitz whose presence is too rare in recording these days. Tunes such as "Tricycle" expose the virtuosity of these veteran saxists.
Another return-from-extended-hiatus Telarc release comes from Geri Allen. Busy teaching at Howard University, the talented pianist produced this effort and captured legendary rhythmists Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette for the date. The session starts off with "LWB's House (The Remix)" which is reminiscent of the signature motifs Allen imprimatured on her first recordings. Later, with Bud Powell's "Dance of the Infidels" Allen's imagination kicks in with some playful single note lines-perhaps in memory of the tune's composer. Hornmen Marcus Belgrave, Dwight Andrews and Clifton Anderson drop by for a visit. Welcome back to Geri Allen and the new CD The Life of a Song.
Adventure Music producers have been busy this summer and we receive the bounty this fall in two Latino CDs. Hailing from Caracas Venezuela, vocalist Maria Marquez has produced her third effort since leaving Berkley years ago and moving to the San Francisco Bay area. Nature's Princess is a thoughtfully arranged outing that features Omar Sosa and some talented sidemen. Best track "Es Decir"
Brazilian veteran Ricardo Silveira returns for his second date on Adventure after receiving a Latin Grammy nomination for Clear Night. This new CD, Live: Play The Music of Milton Nascimento features Silveira interpreting some memorable compositions in understated sober fashion. "Gypsy Cloud" epitomizes the mood of the recording and reminds that the corpus of Brazilian music continue to grow in legend.
Finally from the Koch label, comes the music of guitarist Steve Oliver. Playful and accessible, 3-D embraces a wad of studio environment in this effort which certainly crosses over from Jazz to "Smooth Jazz" as the broadcasting moguls prefer it. Well publicized, it will be interesting to see how audiences respond and airplay resonates.