viernes, 31 de octubre de 2014

The Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra - A Beautiful Friendship (2014)

Sometimes, just when it seems things couldn't possibly get any better, they do. That is certainly the case with A Beautiful Friendship, the spectacular new recording by arranger Gary Urwin's superlative southern California-based Jazz Orchestra. Having released three earlier albums showcasing the exceptional artistry of tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb and / or trombonist Bill Watrous, Urwin has upped the ANTE and pulled out all the stops on this one, not only re-enlisting Christlieb and Watrous for a consistently pleasing encore performance but enlivening the menu with yet another appetizing component, namely Carl Saunders, one of the most versatile and creative jazz trumpeters on the planet.

Saunders employs his awesome talents throughout, SOLOING brightly on five numbers, "dueling" with Wayne Bergeron on Charlie Parker / Dizzy Gillespie's "Shaw 'Nuff" (taken at an agreeable MEDIUM tempo) and with acclaimed guest artist Bobby Shew on Clifford Brown's classic "Joy Spring," while composing two of the album's more endearing themes, "Autumn Sojourn" and "Dear Mr. Florence," the last dedicated to the late great composer / arranger / pianist Bob Florence. As a soloist, Saunders had to bring his A game, as Christlieb and Watrous match him stride for stride and note for note, lending special warmth and charm to their feature numbers, "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" (Watrous) and "Dear Mr. Florence" (Christlieb).

As for Urwin, who describes himself in the liner notes as, among other things, "chief cook and bottle washer," he deftly arranged every selection save the warm-hearted finale, pianist Christian Jacob's unaccompanied rendition of "We'll Be Together Again." Christlieb, Watrous and Saunders are front and center with Jacob on the flag-waving opener, "A Beautiful Friendship," and with drummer Ralph Razze on Bill EVANS' genial "Waltz for Debby." Christlieb and Jacob share blowing space with Saunders (flugelhorn and high-note trumpet) on MichaelColombier's easygoing "Emmanuel." Christlieb, Jacob and Razze sparkle on the seductive standard "It Could Happen to You," Watrous and Christlieb on Luiz Bonfa's "The Gentle Rain," Watrous and Saunders on Antonio Carlos Jobim's sensuous "Look to the Sky."

While heaping praise on the soloists, one should not lose sight of the fact that this is a world-class ensemble with superb craftsmen in every chair. Together they make A Beautiful Friendship one of the more impressive big-band albums in recent memory. A rating of less than five stars? Out of the question.

Gary Urwin: leader, arranger
Wayne Bergeron: trumpet
Rick Baptist: trumpet
Dan Fornero: trumpet
Carl Saunders: trumpet
Jeff Bunnell: trumpet
Kim Richmond: alto sax
Rusty Higgins: alto sax
Pete Christlieb: tenor sax
Dan Higgins: tenor sax
John Mitchell: baritone sax
Bill Watrous: trombone
Charlie Loper: trombone
Alex Iles: trombone
Andy Martin: trombone
Rich Bullock: bass trombone
Craig Gosnell: bass trombone
Christian Jacob: piano
Frank Browne: guitar
Trey Henry: bass
Ralph Razze: drums, percussion
Chris Razze: percussion

On selected tracks
Larry Hall: trumpet
Pete De Siena: trumpet
Ron King: trumpet
Alex Budman, Billy Kerr, Rob Hardt, Joel Peskin: saxophone
Alan Kaplan: trombone
Linda Small: trombone
Dave Woodley: trombone

Guest artists
Bobby Shew: trumpet
Bethany Pflueger: flute

01. A Beautiful Friendship
02. Waltz for Debby
03. Emmanuel
04. Autumn Sojourn
05. Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry
06. It Could Happen to You
07. The Gentle Rain
08. Shaw ‘Nuff
09. Look to the Sky
10. Dear Mr. Florence
11. Joy Spring
12. We’ll Be Together Again

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


jueves, 30 de octubre de 2014

Red Rodney Quintet - One for Bird (1988)

Source: allmusic

Nearing the end of a career that was hampered for a time by drug addiction, Red Rodney had shaken his habit and was in top form on these 1988 live performances recorded at Slukefter in Tivoli, Denmark. Joined by two underrated musicians, alto saxophonist Dick Oatts and pianist Garry Dial, plus bassist Jay Anderson and drummer John Riley, Rodney is heard on both trumpet and flugelhorn, demonstrating that he still had plenty of chops this late in his career. While it is not surprising that a lot of material was previously played or recorded by Charlie Parker, with whom the leader toured and played long stands early in his career, Rodney also delves into later songs, such as an explosive update of his original bop vehicle "Red Arrow 88" (yet another "I Got Rhythm" variation) and a brief sign-off of Thelonious Monk's "Let's Cool One." Another CD of music from these nightclub dates appeared on Red Snapper, while both releases are combined in the later Steeplechase compilation Tivoli Session.

Red Rodney, trumpet
Dick Oatts, piano
Jay Anderson, bass
John Riley, drums

01. Little Willie Leaps
02. My Little Suede Shoes
03. Embraceable You
04. Blues For Alice
05. My Foolish Heart
06. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
07. Red Arrow 88
08. Ladybird
09. Buzzy
10. Let's Cool One

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Romero Lubambo - Só - Brazilian Essence (2014)

Source & Label: Sunnyside Records

The guitar is an instrument that is indelibly linked to the music of Brazil. At once a melodic, harmonic, and percussive instrument, the guitar is the perfect vehicle for a musical culture that has blended the elements of the European and African musical traditions for over five centuries, giving birth to the choro, samba and bossa nova.

The modern Brazilian guitarist is expected to understand and respect the tradition but he is also expected to bring something new in performance. Romero Lubambo provides a perfect example of a musician who has absorbed the legacy of his forebears, and then developed into the standard bearer of Brazilian guitar playing.

Lubambo’s new recording Só – Brazilian Essence is an effervescent musical statement of solo guitar playing, bridging the gap between preserving the tradition of Brazilian song and the evolution of the art.

Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Lubambo moved to the United States in 1985 where he quickly established himself as an important interpreter of jazz and Brazilian music. He became a first call musician for a coterie of the world’s best jazz and Brazilian artists, including Dianne Reeves, Diana Krall, Herbie Mann and Luciana Souza. Along with his solo projects and sideman work, Lubambo has also been a member of the collaborative group Trio Da Paz with bassist Nilson Matta and Duduka da Fonseca since 1990.

Though he has performed in many different musical combinations, the solo guitar concert has been a mainstay of Lubambo’s. On Só, he wanted to recreate the sound and intimacy of a solo guitar performance. Lubambo approached his friend and recording engineer David Darlington and recorded thirteen spontaneous tracks that feature his own original compositions along with a generous helping of compositions by legendary Brazilian composers, including Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes.

The recording begins with an intricate, up-tempo reading of Ary Barroso’s “Aquarela” which leads to a lovingly nuanced rendition of Jobim and de Moraes’s “Brigas Nunca Mais.” Lubambo’s “Paquito In Bremen,” written for the guitarist’s good friend, the legendary Cuban woodwind player Paquito D’Rivera, follows in a ruminative vein while Mario Adnet’s “Pedra Bonita” is shifty, with its harmonic intricacy. Carlos Lyra and de Moraes’s “Você e eu” is at once subtle and spicy, while Lubambo’s “Song for Kaya” is a heart lilting bossa nova. The poignant “Luisa” is a bittersweet tune written for Lubambo’s daughter.

Carlos Lyra and de Moraes’s “Coisa Mais Linda” continues the program in typical Brazilian saudade fashion and even includes a moving vocal from Lubambo. Jobim and de Moraes’s chestnut “Insensatez” is slowed down for a resonant rendering. Cesar Camargo Mariano’s “Samambaia” is a tempered samba with unique call and response pattern. “By the Stream” is a moving ballad by Lubambo and Pamela Driggs, which presages another Jobim and de Moraes classic, “A Felicidade.” The recording concludes with the only non-Brazilian composition, “Laura,” written by David Raksin and Johnny Mercer, performed in a way that complements the Brazilian esthetic perfectly.

Romero Lubambo has proven his expertise in the field of Brazilian music and jazz. His new recording Só – Brazilian Essence is a wonderful reminder of Lubambo’s talent not only as a guitarist but as a valuable interpreter of his native land’s musical output.

1. Aquarela Do Brasil 04:18
2. Brigas Nunca Mais 03:35
3. Paquito in Bremen 04:19
4. Pedra Bonita 04:05
5. Você E Eli 04:01
6. Song For Kaya 04:56
7. Luisa 03:03
8. Coisa Mais Linda 03:43
9. Insensatez 05:56
10.Samambaia 05:39
11.By The Stream 05:13
12.A Felicidade 04:01
13.Laura 04:12  

Romero Lubambo - guitar 

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


Peter Rosendal / Old Man's Kitchen - Love For Snail (2012)

Source: Sundance
Label: Stunt Records

In 2013, The Danish Arts Foundation awarded pianist and composer Peter Rosendal’s latest release with his boundary-expanding group Old Man’s Kitchen (Stunt Records).
An obvious and correct choice, because Rosendal’s deep well of imagination seems bottomless. Erik Bach, chairman of the foundation’s music committee, said the following of the recipient: “ of the most unique and original talents of our times”.
In Old Man’s Kitchen, Rosendal has found the perfect playground to combine all his various inspirational sources free of any inhibiting genre labels. He continues to surprise us with the original
and extremely personal world of catchy tunes and colorful and adventurous musical imagery of his composed work as well as in the improvised passages.
The adventure continues in the “sequel” LOVE FOR SNAIL, where
countless ingredients are combined to create deeply pleasing, imaginative and universal music.
One moment you feel secure in your musical comfort zone and the next, he pulls the carpet out from under your feet, and Old Man’s Kitchen is on toward new destinations. The album is full of
cocky, subtle, devil-may-care ideas – a virtuoso’s play with expression and inspiration.
The line-up in Old Man’s Kitchen is unorthodox and features a handful of Denmark’s finest musicians handpicked from the Danish jazz elite. The bandleader, Peter Rosendal, plays piano,
Wurlitzer, melodica and flugabone (a rare instrument reminiscent of an overgrown flugelhorn). The rest of the band includes violinist Kristian Jørgensen, clarinetist Peter Fuglsang, trombonist Peter Jensen, bassist Kaspar Vadsholt and drummer Jeppe Gram.
LOVE FOR SNAIL is a humorous, original and extremely musical mixture of this, that and everything  performed with warmth and virtuosity.

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


Collier & Dean - Sleek Buick (2014)

Source: Tom Collier

Seattle-based vibist Tom Collier and bassist Dan Dean have been playing music together since they were teens back in the '60s. Here, they gather with long-time friends, pianist Don Grusin, saxophonist Ernie Watts, and drummer Alex Acuna, to revisit the energy & spirit of their 1980 LP, "Whistling Midgets." With tight, fleet lines and rollicking grooves, the duo's time-earned telepathic musical connection makes "Sleek Buick" a festive treat. Also featured are drummer Ted Poor, trumpeter Allen Vizzutti, and saxophonist Gary Herbig.

"Totally controlled awesome! With tight, fleet lines and rollicking grooves, the duo's time-earned telepathic musical connection makes "Sleek Buick" a festive treat."  - editors, All About Jazz magazine
"Hip, creative but still accessible, everybody here is playing like they are having a good time..." - Chris Spector, Midwest Record
Several significant musicians appear on the album including saxophonists Ernie Watts and Gary Herbig, trumpeter Allen Vizzutti, keyboardist Don Grusin, guitarist John Morton, fiddle and mandolin player Andy Leftwich, and drummers Alex Acuña and Ted Poor.

1. Sleek Buick 4:10
2. California Avenue 4:58
3. WMB's 6:52
4. Touching 8:15
5. Lettercollum/Paris 6:25
6. A Corona Haze 3:57
7. Playas de Rosarito 3:59
8. Mallet Tech 5:31
9. Ethiopian 5:24
10. Walking In My Old Shoes 5:27  

Tom Collier - Vibes, Marimba, Xylophone, Keyboards
Dan Dean - Bass, Percussion, Keyboards, Ukelele, Classical Guitar
Don Grusin - Piano, Rhodes, Keyboards
Alex Acuna - Drums
Ernie Watts - Tenor Saxophone
Gary Herbig - Alto & Baritone Saxophones
Ted Poor - Drums
Andy Leftwich - Mandolin, Fiddle
John Morton - Acoustic Guitar, Papoose Guitar, Dobro, Electric Guitar
Allen Vizzutti - Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet
Jon Goforth - Alto & Baritone Saxophones 

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


Red Rodney Quartet - Red Giant (1988)

Red Rodney's comeback in the late '70s was quite inspiring and found the veteran bebop trumpeter playing even better than he had during his legendary period with Charlie Parker. He started his professional career by performing with Jerry Wald's orchestra when he was 15, and he passed through a lot of big bands, including those of Jimmy Dorsey (during which Rodney closely emulated his early idol Harry James), Elliot Lawrence, Georgie Auld, Benny Goodman, and Les Brown. He totally changed his style after hearing Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, becoming one of the brighter young voices in bebop. Rodney made strong contributions to the bands of Gene Krupa (1946), Claude Thornhill, and Woody Herman's Second Herd (1948-1949).

Off and on during 1949-1951, Rodney was a regular member of the Charlie Parker Quintet, playing brilliantly at Bird's recorded Carnegie Hall concert of 1949. But drugs cut short that association, and Rodney spent most of the 1950s in and out of jail. After he kicked heroin, almost as damaging to his jazz chops was a long period playing for shows in Las Vegas. When he returned to New York in 1972, it took Rodney several years to regain his former form. However, he hooked up with multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan in 1980 and the musical partnership benefited both of the veterans; Sullivan's inquisitive style inspired Rodney to play post-bop music (rather than continually stick to bop) and sometimes their quintet (which also featured Garry Dial) sounded like the Ornette Coleman Quartet, amazingly. After Sullivan went back to Florida a few years later, Rodney continued leading his own quintet which in later years featured the talented young saxophonist Chris Potter. Red Rodney, who was portrayed quite sympathetically in the Clint Eastwood film Bird (during which he played his own solos), stands as proof that for the most open-minded veterans there is life beyond bop.

“… this excellent and restrained session will bring more accolades to this little giant of jazz, Red Rodney .” ( Jazznews )

“ Here is one of the most listenable Red Rodney records to come along in years….It is Rodney’s superbly lyrical work that makes this an essential record .” ( Jazz Journal )

01. Red Giant (Red Rodney)
02. Greensleeves/Giant Steps (John Traditional/Coltrane)
03. You Leave Me Breathless (Frederick Hollander)
04. Love Letters (Victor Young)
05. Helene (Red Rodney)
06. Sun Child (Ron Miller)
07. Everytime We Say Goodbye (Cole Porter)
08. Jitterbug Waltz (Fats Waller)
09. For All We Know (S/Coots Lewis)
10. Invitation (Bronislav Kaper)

Red Rodney, trumpet
Butch Lacy, piano
Hugo Rasmussen, bass
Aage Tanggaard, drums

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


miércoles, 29 de octubre de 2014

Joan Margarit & Pere Rovira, Perico Sambeat, Xavier Monge, David Mengual - Paraula de Jazz (1998)

Fuente: sedajazz

Encuentro de tres músicos y dos poetas, la palabra y la música unida de forma muy sensible, una maravilla de disco.

Fué el querido Josep Ramon Jové quien me puso rumbo a la aventura. Me habló de "Paraula de Jazz", el encuentro de tres músicos y dos poetas, la palabra y la música unidas en escena. Algo ciertamente atractivo y, siguiendo el método del agente 86, había dos posibilidades: aquello sólo podía salir o muy mal o muy bien. Porque uno puede temer que unos toquen por un lado y los otros se marquen su discurso por su cuenta. Pero también se puede acariciar el sueño de que funcione, de que se logre el espacio común, de que música y palabra poética, aliadas, disparen un dardo de ambrosía en nuestro corazón. Así desembarqué en Torroella de Montgrí dispuesto a sumarme a la troupe , bien singular, de este comando poético-musical. Y ya antes de que subieran a escena pude ver que se trataba de un verdadero quinteto. Dos de los más valiosos músicos de nuestra Costa Este, Perico Sambeat, su devoción y entrega únicas (sólamente así se puede ser músico, ciertamente lo creo), y David Mengual, el sabio que da lo mejor de sí mismo tocando a Monk, el humor del contrabajista, se encontraban con el joven valor de Balaguer, Xavier Monge, una apuesta fuerte, la cordialidad del pianista.

Voz barítona de Joan Margarit, la voz de sus versos, el conocimiento de los más diversos saberes, el sabio evidente (ante el humilde discípulo), el gran ulema que va de paisano. Voz tenor de Pere Rovira, la palabra que reclama la experiencia y la experiencia que convoca a la palabra, la distinción sin afección, el embajador de Baudelaire después del crepúsculo. Ambos han inscrito ya su nombre en el panorama de la actual poesía catalana (dentro de la corriente de la "Poesía de la Experiencia") y también, cuantos hemos podido tratarles, en el espacio natural de la vida.Como yo andaba continuamente por allí sin ocuparme mucho de nada, Margarit me asignó el papel de "El Teòric", razón por la cual intento mantener un cierto tonillo en estas líneas. Y ya es hora de subir a escena y los puros vuelan en labios de Rovira y Margarit puede sentir la emoción "más cercana al cuello" y la música del trío precede a la palabra que, en su turno, tendrá el espacio del solo, "la llibertat", coro tras coro, la música de los estándares del jazz que se enlazan con el mundo de la emoción de Margarit y de Rovira. En su poesía aparecen Charlie Parker y Bud Powell, Art Blakey y George Gershwin, Chelsea Bridge y una pequeña plaza de Girona, el silencio y la escritura, la experiencia y la melancolía de lo que nunca fue (siguiendo el método Elliot de Four Quartets) y el gran riesgo, la gran valentía de expresar la emoción desnuda. Sí que hay mucho de jazz en sus palabras, en sus convicciones, en su actitud. Y bastaba ver, en escena, cómo los músicos escuchaban a los poetas, cómo en éstos latía la música que escuchaban. Hasta ser ese verdadero quinteto que se puede escuchar en esta grabación. Si me permitís, esto sí que es hablar catalán (y jazz) en la intimidad. Espero que quienes me hicicieron partícipe de esta aventura (en Torroella, Girona y Lleida) sean capaces de soportar mi entusiasmo. Paraula de Jazz. Javier de Cambra

Pere Rovira, poemas, voz
Joan Margarit, poemas, voz

Rovira Perico Sambeat, alto sax
Xavier Monge, piano
David Mengual, bass

01 Laura "Una separació" "Primer Amor"
02 Night and Day "Parker conversa amb la mort" "Mentides"
03 These Foolish Things "La llibertat" "La vaga"
04 Autumn in New York "Coses en comú" "Poders"
05 Chelsea Bridge "Plaça Rovira" "Temps"
06 Everything Happens To Me / Green Chimneys "L"Oracle" "Blues de la Rosie Roberts"
07 Embraceable You "Embraceable You"
08 Lover Man "Lover Man" "Charles Baudelaire i els savis"
09 Strange Fruit "Una fruita estranya"
10 Bye Bye Blackbird "La partida" "Bye Bye Blackbird" "Tendresa de fons"


martes, 28 de octubre de 2014


Source: Criticalijazz
Label: Sunnyside Records

 November 1st may seem a bit far away in the calendar to begin touting a new release but sometimes there are those that are simply too good to wait on, god bless pre-ordering(on iTunes now!). Peace is the fifth release for Stephens as a leader and experience working with artists such as Kenny Barron and Ambrose Akinmusire has catapulted him to the top of the improvisational food chain.

There is an all star collective to allow Stephens to fully explore his own lyrical interpretation of some of the more iconic ballad players in jazz. Brad Mehldau handles the piano duties while guitar phenom Julian Lage adds some texture which is further complimented from premier bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Eric Harland. The intimate Horace Silver tune "Peace" is an emotive composition that finds Stephens working the old adage that one must sing through their horn, Stephens plays it predominately straight yet there is a subtle emotional warmth smoldering just below the surface. "The Good Life" is more of a deconstructed trio with Stephens, Julian Lage and Larry Grenadier yet the lyrical sense of purpose never waivers. "Body and Soul" is reharmed for baritone and this perhaps may be the harmonic wheelhouse for Stephens.

A ballad player can face the daunting task of having to overcome every possible chink in their lyrical armor. Dayna Stephens seems to have no weaknesses but instead shows a formidable maturity and seasoned lyrical grasp that some players twice his senior are still searching for.

Virtually flawless..

1. Peace 06:34
2. I Left My Heart In San Francisco
3. Zingaro
4. The Good Life
5. The Duke
6. Brothers (From The Mission)
7. Deborah's Theme (From Once Upon a Time In America)
8. Oblivion
9. Body and Soul 06:32
10.Two for the Road

Dayna Stephens - saxophones
Brad Mehldau - piano
Julian Lage - guitar
Larry Grenadier - bass
Eric Harland - drums

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


Louis Smith - Smithville (Digital Remaster) 1958

Louis Smith was one of the most vital jazz trumpeters of the late 1950s. His beautiful tone, fluent style and exciting solos competed with Lee Morgan and even Miles Davis. Smithville, from 1958, features him at the peak of his powers. Recorded the same year as Smith's heated appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival with Horace Silver, Smithville features the trumpeter interacting with tenor-saxophonist Charlie Rouse and pianist Sonny Clark on some stunning performances. The title cut, a lengthy themeless blues, is full of creative solos, "Wetu" is explosive (with Rouse challenging Smith), and "Embraceable You" contains emotional solos that make the George Gershwin ballad sound brand new. Louis Smith proves to be a masterful player whose solos are full of surprises and honest emotions. Smithville is a gem that all hard bop collectors will cherish.

Louis Smith, trumpet
Charlie Rouse, tenor sax
Sonny Clark, piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Art Taylor, drums

1. Smithville 11:04
2. Wetu 9:00
3. Embraceable You 7:06
4. There Will Never Be Another You 5:33
5. Later 6:26
6. Au Privave 6:31
7. Bakin' 6:22
8. There Will Never Be Another You [Mono Take] 5:32


Gorka Benítez Trío - Fabou (1999)

Spanish tenorman Gorka Benítez has long been one of his country's leading jazz lights. His main contribution to the Barcelona scene has been as the filling the tenor chair in drummer David Xirgu's quartet (and Xirgu returns the favor here). With Raimon Ferrer rounding out the rhythm section and guitarists Ben Monder and Dani Perez guesting, Benítez gets an opportunity to reveal his considerable skills not only as a soloist and a bandleader, but as a composer as well. Benítez has a big, fat tenor tone that stands somewhere between the edginess of Gato Barbieri's and the warmth and resonance of Sonny Rollins'. His compositions are straight from the post-bop book, with a few interesting modal and rhythmic twists. On "Blue Note Singes Again," Xirgu plays a straight 4/4 that gets augmented in the middle section with a 7/ and then a 9/8. The blowing is easy and lyrical with everybody soloing on every track, which can be trying. Benítez's solos are filled with long, loping lines and limited chromatic range, but straight out of the blues. When the guitarists interact with the trio, as they do in one form or another on three tracks, the feeling is completely different. Monder and Perez add a fullness of texture and depth of color and sonance that is missing elsewhere. Benítez, too, seems more confident in blowing harder, letting his legato come to the surface more as well whenever there is a fourth or fifth person present, as on "De Romeria." As Monder plays a wild, high-string drone reminiscent of bagpipes, Perez moves into steep arpeggios and tonal shifting. Benítez waits his turn and comes out stomping, blowing through the guitars in the mix, turning them into one another contrapuntally. This isn't a perfect date by any means, but it is a useful one that provides great listening pleasure in laces; plus, it would be interesting to compare this to the other albums that come from Benítez. -Thom Jurek

Gorka Benítez (ts, vocals)
Daniel Pérez (g)
Joan Abril (g)
Carme Canela(vocals)
Ben Monder (g)

01. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life (S.Wonder)
02. Black and Blues (A.Jarreau-T.Cannish-J.Graydon)
03. Fabou (G.Benítez)
04. Good Life (O.Coleman)
05. Leaving (R.Beirach)
06. Nada sin tu voz (G.Benítez)
07. Txitxiriko (G.Benítez)
08. My Heart Belongs To Daddy (C.Porter)
09. Time After Time (C.Lauper)
10.Spiritual (Traditional)



lunes, 27 de octubre de 2014

Tara Davidson - Duets (2014)

Source: jazzdagama

In the very best duets, there is intimacy and even a degree of secrecy. Two musicians are in such close proximity musically that there is barely enough space for the proverbial ray of sunlight and yet it is there—that ray of sunlight. The musicians move ever so close; their instruments and their music touching, intersecting and then drawing apart just far enough to let that sunlight in. Belabouring that point is meant to suggest the blinding light that breaks where Tara Davidson plays her Duets with musicians she loves. It suggests the blinding lightness of being in the intertwining of her alto and soprano saxophones with the tenor saxophones with Mike Murley and Trevor Hogg; the utterly heartwarming brightness of the piano of David Braid and Laila Biali as it flutters between the notes that Ms. Davidson plays on her woodwinds, the rumbling roar of bass and cello of Andrew Downing crackling spark of David Occhipinti’s guitar that lights up her now smoldering saxophones. And this is mostly Tara Davidson’s doing as she ignites the dialogue, inviting the other instrumentalist to do the same. Together the two create a roaring campfire for two seemingly waking up the crepuscular union.

If it has not already, this recording will garner enthusiastic reviews for their series of musical tête-à-têtes, which enterprisingly encompasses the warmth of duo music rather than mere casual conversations. These are soli that morph into duo performances. They have been well recorded with plenty of visceral and at times robust quality of their playing. For instance in the two parts of “Lele’s Tune” there is a raw feeling in the main body of the work—where the two musicians are on song—and that has a kind of no-nonsense appeal. If there is a sort yearning for more clarity in the individual lines this is conveyed wonderfully when each of the musicians lays back to allow the other space to announce a signature motif. “For Glenda” a distinctive portrait and “The Good Earth” sound brilliantly ruminative and hugely spontaneous respectively. “Kontrabas Semaisi” and “130 E, 39th St.” are mysterious and the performances capture the intrigue of the compositions with bustling energy in each finale. And particularly effective in the hands of the winds—Ms. Davidson with Mike Murley and Trevor Hogg—the tautness of intent is exquisitely expressed by pitting the higher register horns with the lower register ones and the sound of each is focused, tart and more precise.

Tara Davidson is still young and this bodes well for her unions with musicians in the near and far future. Her performances are truly impressive. The warmth of tone and total understanding of texture and timbre of both instruments that she plays is superlative. She is thus able to “paint” her music in a variety of colours this recording has its ethereal moments as well as some earthbound ones. All this is a result of the bristling ingenuity of its principal character in this musical tableaux, which gets more finely textured as the music progresses, especially in the duets with her strings partners; not that the piano and horn duets are not as finely hewn as the strings ones. It is just that the brilliant ray of sunshine is pronounced as strings part to reveal the singing horn of Ms. Davidson.

Tara Davidson: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
Mike Murley: tenor saxophone (6, 9)
Trevor Hogg: tenor saxophone (4, 12)
Andrew Downing: acoustic bass (10), cello (5)
Laila Biali: piano (7, 11)
David Braid: piano (1, 2, 13)
David Occhipinti: guitar (3, 8)

01. Lele's Tune Part 1
02. Lele's Tune Part 2
03. Silver Skates
04. Train To Tarrytown
05. Kontrbas Semaisi
06. 130 E. 39th Street
07. For Glenda
08. Murphy's Law
09. Sheep Walking
10. The Halcyonian Years
11. The Good Earth
12. The Neigh-Sayers
13. Colebourn M.D

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Louis Smith - The Bopsmith (2000)

Because most of his recordings in the final two decades of the 20th century were made for the European label Steeplechase, trumpeter Louis Smith has been overlooked by jazz critics and fans in his homeland. But the Memphis native still has plenty of bop chops, as he proves on this exciting session. The musicians accompanying him include the talented alto saxophonist Jon Gordon (winner of the 1996 Thelonious Monk competition), pianist Michael Weiss, bassist Jay Anderson, and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Smith and Gordon navigate the tricky changes to the leader's intricate up-tempo "Val's Blues," while the long but enjoyable interpretation of "A Ghost of a Chance" finds Smith at his most lyrical. Clifford Brown's "Sweet Clifford," a reworking of the perennial favorite "Sweet Georgia Brown," serves as a furious set closer. The Bopsmith is still quite a craftsman as he approaches the age of 70.

Louis Smith, trumpet
Jon Gordon, alto sax
Michael Weiss, piano
Jay Anderson, bass
Joe Farnsworth, drums

1. Val's Blues
2. For Heaven's
3. The Way You Look Tonight
4. I Love You
5. Ed's Love
6. A Ghost of a Chance
7. Sweet Clifford

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


domingo, 26 de octubre de 2014

Conrad Herwig - The Latin Side Of Joe Henderson (2014)

Label: Half Note
Source: Allaboutjazz

So what makes The Latin Side Of Joe Henderson different from trombonist Conrad Herwig's previous Latin Side albums? Well, for starters, Herwig played with Henderson for several years, an experience which gave him great insight into the music and the man who made it. Then there's the material itself. Henderson's music, more so than that of previous Latin Side honorees like Herbie Hancock or John Coltrane, is tailor-made for this type of project, as some of the songs already lean toward the Latin side.

This album, recorded live at New York's Blue Note in July of 2012, gives Herwig and some other A-list musicians—featured guest Joe Lovano and trumpeter Alex Sipiagin chief among them—a chance to cut loose on six spicy numbers. Stellar arrangements, feisty percussive tides, and strong solos are all here, as expected, but that doesn't mean things are predictable. Plenty of surprises await.

Herwig and company cook right out of the gate with a sizzling "Recorda Me." Hot saxophone work, fun exchanges between Herwig and Sipiagin, winning piano work from Bill O'Connell, and over-a-vamp soloing from drummer Robby Ameen and percussionist Richie Flores all help to make this a memorable one. Next comes the Latin hard bop blues of "Mamacita," which proves to be another album highlight, followed by "Afro-Centric," which features some tight ensemble work and memorable soloing. The gentler flow of "Black Narcissus" serves as a brief respite from the heat, but the temperature rises again with the musical one-two punch that brings the album to its end. First up is "Blue Bossa," which finds Sipiagin in fiery form and features a thrilling percussion breakdown over a vamp in seven. Then the group finishes off with "Inner Urge," which may be the best showcase for Herwig's writing; the band sounds like it's twice its true size here.

Herwig finished a stint at the Blue Note with his Latin Side Of Horace Silver project shortly before this review went to press, so it's fairly certain that this won't be the final Latin Side release. This will, however, be hard to top. - Dan Bilawsky -

Recorda Me
Black Narcissus
Blue Bossa
Inner Urge

Conrad Herwig: trombone
Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone
Ronnie Cuber: baritone saxophone
Alex Sipiagin: trumpet
Bill O'Connell: piano
Ruben Rodriguez: bass
Robby Ameen: drums
Richie Flores: percussion 

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


sábado, 25 de octubre de 2014


Fantástico menú nos sirve RONALDO ALBENZIO, productor, director y presentador de JAZZ by JAZZ. Magistral introducción al fagot, Jazz maridado con Música Clásica, vocalistas e instrumentistas de diferentes perfiles. Muy buena edición musical, digna de una atenta escucha.



de la mano de


Todos los Domingos a las 19:00h. (hora Brasil)


Kenny Shanker - Action City (2014)

It’s fairly uncommon for a mainstream jazz record to contain nothing but originals, especially since playing standards seem nearly as important to jazz as being able to swing. Perhaps it’s because so few jazz musicians are strong enough composers to fill an entire album of their songs. That may or may not be the case, but it’s definitely not the case for saxophonist Kenny Shanker.

Shanker’s been playing the sax since he was ten years old, but he has a flair for writing tunes, too, confirmed by his ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award in 2003. So, it’s no surprise that the dozen tunes for his second album Action City (October 21, 2014 by Posi-Tone Records) are all his, and they’re all good.

With a solid base rhythm section of Brian Fishler (drums), Mike Eckroth (piano) and Yoshi Waki (bass), Shanker mixes things up with guest instrumentation from the guitar of Daisuke Abe, and also his own instrumentation: he plays both tenor and alto saxes with equal proficiency, depending on the tune. Shanker’s style sometimes evokes Joe Henderson, sometimes Kenny Garrett, sometimes Cannonball Adderley, but all with his own, refined twists to their styles. Eckroth gets plenty of solo time, too, proving himself to be a rather tasteful pianist (“Times Square” is one of several spotlights).

The Abe spots are well utilized; he harmonizes with Shanker’s alto on the Brazilian groove of “summer Siesta” and again on “Action City,” where the guitarists goes low and Shanker goes high. Shanker puts his tenor sax up against the guitar on “Marble Hill,” where the high-low roles are reversed.

Ultimately, it’s Shanker’s songs that make Action City a gratifying listen from start to finish; he avoids the sameness syndrome by varying the styles from smooth swings (“Times Square”, “Action City”), to breezy Brazilian flourishes (“Marble Hill, “Summer Siesta”), to searing bebop (“The Tortoise And The Hare”) to tender ballads (“Riverbank At Dawn”) to even pop shuffles (“Punch”, “Snow Paws”). Most of these songs contain interesting chord changes, usually at the bridge, a tipoff that Shanker is not your ordinary composer.

Choice songwriting and choice means of bringing them to life make Action City another strong offering from the talented Kenny Shanker.

Kenny Shanker, alto saxophone
Mike Eckroth, piano
Daisuke Abe, guitar
Yoshi Waki, bass
Brian Fishler, drums
Peyman Samghabadi, trombone (1)
Matt Blostein, glockenspiel (5)
Daniel "Conga" Valdez, percussion (2, 3, 9, 11)
Maximo Vasquez, percussion (3, 12)

01. Times Square
02. Another Morning
03. Summer Siesta
04. Action City
05. Punch
06. Prelude
07. Shadow Dance
08. Midnight
09. Marble Hill
10. The Tortoise and the Hare
11. Riverbank at Dawn
12. Snow Paws

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Walter Smith III - Still Casual (2014)

Source: Allaboutjazz

There are countless musicians who perform but few that can make their instruments breathe as melodically as saxophonist Walter Smith III. In the opening track "Foretold You" from his release Still Casual, it's as if his horn is an extension of his thoughts and will—notes burning, graceful and flowing like a stream of ideas. Yet with these obvious abilities Smith is a diligent craftsman whose arduous schedule includes education, tours, and performances within a rotation of rising jazz leaders that includes trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and Eric Harland's Voyager ensemble.

Since his debut Casually Introducing (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2006), Smith continues to refine his voice balancing the roots of tradition and the pulse of today. Still Casual, his fourth release, is an effervescent work of original music. There's the powerful blast of "Something New" as Smith and Akinmusire lay down solo fireworks while bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Kendrick Scott create the rhythmic tension. A cradle of spaciousness envelops "Apollo" with its reiterating emotive theme and undulant chords from pianist Taylor Eigsti and guitarist Matt Stevens. The band's chemistry is flawless.

Smith's writing is also evolving. "Fing Fast" churns through a swinging tempo yet ends with Eigsti's harmonious piano and keyboard hook. The circuitous "About 360" is as intense as swing can get, a grueling workout driven by the rhythm section and elevated by the soloists. As in his previous releases Smith demonstrates a proclivity for intricate ballads in the compelling "Greene" dedicated to saxophonist Jimmy Greene who lost his daughter in the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. Smith's tenor is deep, full of sentiment and resonance.

There are numerous answers to the question of what jazz sounds like today with countless self-expressions being played out across the world. But a microcosmic view can be heard in the music and excellent young musicians in Smith's Still Casual.   - Mark F. Turner -

Foretold You
Something New
Fing Fast
About 360
Goodnight Now

Walter Smith III: tenor saxophone
Taylor Eigsti: piano, Fender Rhodes
Matt Stevens: guitar
Harish Raghavan: bass
Kendrick Scott: drums
Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet (3, 7, 9) 

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington -