Merge Quintet was formed in Chicago during the early months of 2013 to
perform the original jazz compositions of saxophonist Alex Beltran and
bassist Joel Kelsey. Merge Quintet plays a variety of styles from swing
to modern jazz to odd-meter grooves and a little bit of funk. The
quintet’s compositions blend lyrical melodies with sophisticated
harmonies and organic grooves, making the music accessible to musicians
and non-musicians alike. The quintet features Alex Beltran on saxophone,
Joel Kelsey on bass, Tom Vaitsas on piano, Jon Deitemyer on drums and
Dan Bruce on guitar. Merge Quintet’s debut album, Delays, will be released on Ears and Eyes Records in October of 2014.
1. Brite Moments 07:43 2. Her 07:13 3. Cabin Fever 05:57 4. Strange Days 08:20 5. Mixed Bag 06:07 6. Delays 12:15 7. Interlude 01:01 8. Paper Mullet 05:34 9. Sytosis 07:58
Alex Beltran - saxophone/compositions Joel Kelsey - acoustic bass/compositions Tom Vaitsas - piano Dan Bruce - guitar Jon Deitemyer - drums
"The most important thing I look for in a musician, is whether he knows how to listen."- Duke Ellington -
"Simply Loftis" is the latest recording by tenor jazz saxophonist, Keith Loftis. The album showcases not only an amazing performance by Keith Loftis, but also highlights his amazing composing skills. The album features several original compositions, and Loftis is joined on the album by long-time friend and Grammy Award winner Jazz Trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Simply Loftis was produced by Master Drummer Michael Carvin, and features Anthony Wonsey on Piano, Donald Edwards on Drums and Dezron Douglas on Bass.
LINER NOTES by Rufus Reid, jazz bassist & composer
If you love the music of the maestro Duke Ellington, the name Billy Strayhorn is quite familiar as his musical partner. Billy Strayhorn, as a composer, stands tall amongst the great composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. When one hears the music of Billy Strayhorn played well, high level musical credentials are there for everyone to witness. All of us who are jazz players want to be thought of as mature musicians. Billy Strayhorn’s compositions are well crafted and unique as performed by this mature ensemble - the Jax Jazz Collective.
What is the Jax Jazz Collective anyway? One would think this group is at a definite disadvantage. One, they are recording extremely well documented material and two, they are not based in New York. Expectations are sky high! If they don’t engage the listener quickly, they likely won’t have much of a life expectancy. That being said, the Jax Jazz Collective is an outstanding musical unit that delivers their musical goods at a world-class level! This group hails from Jacksonville, Florida. The performance on this recording engaged me immediately and was full of wonderful surprises with intriguing arrangements. On the classic “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing”, the music became unexpectedly deep with emotion. I loved the pulsating groove of “Raincheck” and the gritty bluesy mood of “The Intimacy of the Blues.”
The JJC swings throughout their varied program. “Take the ‘A’ Train” gets you moving right away. The group’s musical savvy is refreshing and is certainly not predictable. They possess a dynamic breadth that is full-bodied with sonic, melodic, and harmonic clarity. The soloists are excellent and each player displays prowess and astute harmonic awareness for each composition. I can hear that this is a unit that enjoys playing together. I also hear clear interaction within the rhythm section and with the soloist. How novel is that? The JJC is not content to just simply state these tunes, but succeeded by giving a satisfyingly great presentation of great compositions. For now, the best compliment I have is the need to listen to this program once again. I will also be waiting impatiently for the next album, and so will you.
I feel very privileged to be asked to write a few comments about The Jax Jazz Collective and their debut recording Lotus Blossom: The Music of Billy Strayhorn. Billy Strayhorn would be smiling and proud to hear how hismusic is beautifully caressed, as am I. BRAVO, GENTLEMEN!