Two Ray Charles
covers, the rocking, gospel-tinged "Ain't That Love" and the simmering blues "Hard Times" showcase Mooney's vocal range, though his peppery solo on the latter provides a mini-album highlight. Mooney's quartet of versatile pianist Johnny Taylor, bassist Dan Bodwell and drummer Dominic Mullan is excellent throughout, though saxophonist Michael Buckley on "April in Paris" and trumpeter Linley Hamilton on Count Basie guitarist Freddie Green
's swinging "Down for Double" take the main solo plaudits. On the latter, R&B legend Georgie Fame
doubles on vocals. Another veteran, guitarist Louis Stewart
adds rhythm guitar on several tracks, including a breezy take on the eternally popular "C'est Si Bon."
Though Mooney mixes it up stylistically, he's at his most compelling the bluesier he gets, and on the traditional blues "Hellhound on My Trail" with a nod to pianist Ahmad Jamal
's "Ahmad's Blues"and "How Blue Can You Get?," with Fame contributing wonderful vocal harmonies, the Dublin bluesman is in top form. Hopefully, it won't be another eight years before Mooney hits the studio again. More of the same would do just fine.
John Moriarty Echoes
Guitarist John Moriarty's debut album was recorded in a single day in New York with renowned local musicians. It's often the case that such in-and-out sessions produce music of a spontaneous, fluid nature and that's certainly the feeling that these eight selections conjure. Moriarty has one foot firmly in the tradition, interpreting timeless jazz standards like Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays," Billy Strayhorn's "A Flower is a Lonesome Thing" and the much covered John Blackburn/Karl Suessdorf tune "Moonlight in Vermont." The guitarist's lyrical, melodic improvisations are a joynuanced and non-flashy. Bassist Matt Clohesy, pianist Randy Ingram and drummer Adam Pache are empathetic partners.
The quartet treads lightly on saxophonist Wayne Shorter
's striking composition "Fall" and in general the vibe of Echoes
is reminiscent of classic-era Blue Note. Moriarty's original compositions blend in well but have a slightly more contemporary edge than the older standards. There's plenty of collective energy on the boppish "Echoes of the Future," whereas "Ninety Six" is a delightfully intimate trio statement, with Ingram sitting out. The standout original number, however, is the infectious "Delerium," with the guitarist in more expansive mood. Moriarty's acoustic rendition of "Midnight in Vermont" is heartfelt, and closes the album on a beautifully hushed note.
Jason Rebello Anything But Look
1999 seems like a long time ago but believe it or not that was when pianist/keyboard player Jason Rebello last recorded a session as leader, that is if you discount Jazz Rainbow
(Jumby Records, 2007)children's songs/themes reworked and jazzed up. Jazz-fusion/crossover sums up the vibe of Rebello's upbeat comeback album, and in this sense it's not unlike his early career recordings. Rebello surrounds himself with singers Omar, Joy Rose, Sumudu Jayatilaka, Wil Downing, Alicia Carroll and Xantoné Blacq, creating a groove cocktail that is soulful, funky and sexy.
Melodic wordless song, Latin tinges, driving percussion and neo-soul are all in the exotic mix. There are significant contributions from bassist Pino Palladino and saxophonist Tim Garland
though bar a few dazzling though brief improvisations from Rebello soloing takes a back seat to groove and melodic hooks. If you can get beyond the "Is it jazz?" labyrinth and go straight to "Is it any good?" then the rewards are there in abundance. Hugely enjoyable and undeniably soulful tunes.
Andreas Varady/David LyttleQuestions
Tracks: A Day In New York; Donna Lee; Blues For Edward; Festival 48; True Story; Giant Steps; Swing Thing; Softly As in A Morning Sunrise; The Shadow Of Your Smile.
Personnel: Andreas Varady: electric & acoustic guitar; David Lyttle: drums; Bandi Varady: guitar; Michael Janisch: bass.
Gay McIntyreThe Music Within Me
Tracks: Days of Wine and Roses; Darn That Dream; My Foolish Heart; Shadow of Your Smile; Body and Soul; Some Day My Prince Will Come; My Romance.
Personnel: Gay McIntyre: alto saxophone & clarinet; Linley Hamilton: trumpet; Johnny Taylor: piano; David Redmond: bass; Dominic Mullan: drums.
Jon LeightonDramatic Life
Tracks: Married The Messenger; Ameltie; Precious Life; For Keats; The Dress; Nothing to Gain; Whin Bush; A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever.
Personnel: John Leighton: piano; Anna Stott: vocal; Michael Buckley: tenor & alto saxophone, flute; Mark McKnight: guitar; Michael Janisch: bass; David Lyttle: drums.
The Lloyd Ryan Big BandDrivin' Force
Tracks: Moondance; I Wish I Knew; Norwegian Wood; Funtime; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy; You Gotta Try; Ice Castles; The Creep; Groovin Hard; Big Swing Face; Cute; One For Monk.