Winter & Winter
Drummer Jim Black's latest solo effort, featuring woodwind ace Chris Speed, bassist Skuli Sverrisson and guitarist Hilmar Jensson, represents a continuation of previous applied concepts. Think of classic, grunge rock coexisting with memorable melodies and intense soloing. A solid and entertaining effort from the heralded drummer!
The Rob Levit Trio
Symbol System Records
New England guitarist Rob Levit conveys gobs of diversity during this luminously recorded trio date. He effectively bridges the gap between classic guitar-bass-drums jazz trio fare, while also cranking his electric up for jaunts into the stratosphere. Regardless, it's a nicely balanced production, highlighting this artist's divergent muse and enviable chops.
Ouro Negro Black Gold
Composer/conductor/arranger Moacir Santos is a time-honored and altogether influential Brazilian musician. His modern jazz roots come to fruition here throughout this enormously attractive tribute set, featuring legendary Brazilian crooner Milton Nascimento, guitarist Ricardo Silviera and others. Nonetheless, the palate is several inches deep and miles wide. Marked by lush horn parts, bustling rhythms and delicately fabricated arrangements, this package should find its way into many critics' top ten lists for 2004.
Paolo Angeli/Antonello Salis
These improvisations by Paolo Angeli (prepared Sardinian guitar) and Antonello Salis (piano & accordion) were recorded live in Europe. There are many highlights, yet one of the more interesting aspects here resides within the duo's unorthodox rhythmic enactments and colorific sound shaping exercises. The instrumentalists maintain a vibrant and rather bouncy flow during the preponderance of these five tracks.
Barcelona In 48 Hours
Edward Ratliff Strudelmedia
Multi-instrumentalist Edward Ratliff is affiliated with the New York "downtown" scene, where jazz music remains an unbounded musical idiom. This outing brings together drummer Kevin Norton, accordionist Chris Kelly, and others for a program based on a short film. Ratliff's blithely executed works contain a world music vibe, shaded with Spanish themes, quaintly arranged dance grooves and peppery soloing by his "Rhapsodalia" ensemble.
Rosie Solves The Swingin' Riddle!
One of two 1960 sessions featuring singer Rosemary Clooney, swinging the American Songbook atop legendary orchestra leader Nelson Riddle's perky arrangements. A very pleasant recording indeed! Ms. Clooney is in full stride during these vivacious arrangements, while Riddle's signature style blend of camp, schmaltz, and jazz rekindles memories of a bygone era. A worthwhile reissue, complete with the original album artwork and liners.
Wide Hive Records
Trombonist Phil Ranelin commandeers a power-packed series of modern jazz stylizations with support from a four-man horn section. Ranelin's dexterous articulations are firmed up by a brawny sound as the musicians delve into post bop territory and bustling swing grooves.
Bassist/cellist Paolo Damiani leads a jazz octet; showcasing Diana Torto's whispery vocals intermixed with horns, guitar, percussion, and a standard rhythm section. And of course, this Italian record label's superior sound engineering offers additional benefits to the entire listening experience, rooted within jazz and Mediterranean motifs.