domingo, 19 de octubre de 2014

Jim Head - Zoetrope (2014)

Source: Cdbaby

On his latest recording jazz guitarist/composer Jim Head explores new ground alongside New York modern jazz heavyweights John O'Gallagher on alto saxophone (The Anton Webern Project, Joe Henderson Big Band), bassist Johannes Weidenmueller (Kenny Werner Trio), and Juno award nominated drummer Owen Howard (Drum Lore, Benedikt Jahnel Trio), as well as acclaimed Canadian pianist Chris Andrew (2013 Montreal TD Grand Prize winner).

Recorded in New York at renowned Systems Two Studios, Zoetrope showcases Head's richly detailed, lush, unpredictable, and adventurously melodic compositions. In a decided move away from the guitar-centric writing style that characterizes much jazz guitar music, Head’s compositions explore the possibilities of the ensemble as a whole. While building on influences like masters Lennie Tristano and Wayne Shorter, contemporaries such as Aaron Parks, Mark Turner, and Jonathon Kreisberg, and classical composers including Bartok and Brahms, Head has forged a style and sound that is forward looking and distinctly personal.

Highlights include the high energy title track, Zoetrope, the gradual unfolding of melody and form in Shambhala (featuring a memorable solo by altoist John O’Gallagher), the ballad For The Grace Of You, and the driving, shifting rhythms of Hairbender.

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


Brian Charette - Good Tipper (2014)

Barely six months after issuing his for album for Posi-Tone Records, B3 maestro Brian Charette returns with Good Tipper, another small-combo excursion expected out October 7, 2014 from Posi-Tone Records. Returning with Yotam Silberstein (guitar) and Mark Ferber (drums) for four tracks, Charette works with another guitar/drums combo of Avi Rothbard and Jordan Young for the remaining eight.

Charette doesn’t slow down for this one, he hops to it right out the gate with his original, the title song, a lively tune with the leader playing bop sax lines on his B3. And on “Standing Still,” another one of his compositions, he takes this waltz and manages to make it groove.

Rothbard does more than play guitar, contributing two tunes (“Another Quarter” and “One And Nine”). “Another Quarter” is a 60s-style boogaloo, where Charette’s stinging tone for his solo is another instance of him doing a something a little unexpected. Joe Sucato guests on “One And Nine,” a Brazilian shuffle, and his tenor sax portrays Stan Getz’s own approach to this style. Rothbard’s guitar is no slouch, either; his clean and supple lines makes a good better (check out Richard Rodgers’ “Spring Is Here” for proof).

The covers, which comprise of more than half of the album, makes Charette’s interpretive skills a major focus on this album, and interestingly, he draws heavily from the mid-to-late 60s pop canon. Yep, “Wichita Lineman” is in here, as is another Jimmy Webb classic, “Up Up and Away.” On the former, the song begins to truly soar when Rothbard takes over in the last two and a half minutes, and Silberstein and Charette harmonize well together on the latter. The Zombies hit “Time Of The Season” was also a good choice because it’s an organ-heavy Rod Argent song. Argent is nearly as key of the development or the organ in rock as Jimmy Smith in jazz, and Charette sets himself apart from most jazz organists by drawing from that important influence in equal measure.

Charette adds pizzazz to the Al Martino Brazilian ditty “Cuando Cuando Cuando,” but Silverstein steals the show with his funky technique and comping that is very perceptive of what Charette is doing on organ. The hard swinging “The Kicker” makes it two albums in a row where Charette tips his hat to the later tenor sax giant Joe Henderson. On this one, the last track, Charette sets the place on fire with his right hand runs, and the proceedings are capped off by Young’s hard driving drum solo.

Good Tipper is a return back to organ jazz basics for Brian Charette, who still can’t help putting a refreshingly different spin on things. Nevertheless, he demonstrates here that he’s got the fundamentals down, as he roots down for yet another satisfying outing.

Brian Charette - organ
Avi Rothbard - guitar
Jordan Young - drums
Joe Sucato - tenor sax on 10
Yotam Silberstein - guitar on tracks 2, 4, 7 & 9
Mark Ferber - drums on tracks 2, 4, 7 & 9

01. Good Tipper (3:24)
02. Time Of The Season (4:31)
03. Spring Is Here (3:53)
04. Cuando Cuando Cuando (4:18)
05. Another Quarter (4:11)
06. Standing Still (4:08)
07. You Only Live Twice (3:55)
08. Wichita Lineman (6:28)
09. Up Up And Away (4:49)
10. One And Nine (7:17)
11. To Live In Your Life (5:24)
12. The Kicker (5:13)


Mace Francis New York Nonet - Land Speed Record (2012)


We all love big band jazz. We all love small group jazz. But I also have a very soft spot for those little-big bands in between – those eight, nine, ten piece outfits (which go by the beautifully alien appellations of octet, nonet, decet).
In many ways the smaller ensembles produce a more ‘jazz’ sound than the big bands. The contrasts between solo and ensemble passages is not as jarring as in a big band – the whole thing seems cut from the same cloth. Just by dint of pure logistics, the medium sized group is going to breathe better as a unit and allow for more telepathy and magic to happen. (Look at Birth of The Cool for a place where the medium is the message).
There is a lot of magic on Mace Francis’ recent album Land Speed Record recorded with his New York Nonet – named for the NY natives and Oz ex-pats that make up the nine.
In his liner notes, alto player Jon Gordon mentions that the group only had a short time to rehearse prior to recording in New York. In one way, you can’t tell (it is as tight as you would want). in another, you can; each piece leaps from the speakers with an immediacy and life that shows all players had their antennae right out. Gordon also writes of the ‘depth and searching quality’ in Francis’ music – and he is right-on there.
Opener ‘Rosé’ sets up an impressionistic veil of horn textures over a languid ostinato groove. Tenor player Dan Pratt solos in and out of horn groupings (or are they moving in and out of his solo?) The whole thing lattices and meshes beautifully – this is smart horn writing, and the transparency in sound of the smaller group allows all the voices to stand out in high relief.
The organic nature – the ‘breathing’ of the group – is evident on the title piece, ‘Land Speed Record’. A suspended Mat Jodrell trumpet intro leads into a thicket of time-signatures, the band accelerating and moving as one until a free-blown section opens up into a typically inventive and astringent Sean Wayland solo. It sounds like a lot is going on, but Francis’ writing never spends too much time gazing at its own navel. It flows instinctively because the writing and the playing have a lot of humanity – a lot of soul.
The moody ‘Pandora’s Mood’, the gorgeous brass choir intro to ‘Samsara’, the driving mutant bossa of ‘Orla’ all show the heart in this music, which extends to the soloists; Alan Ferber’s joyous trombone solo on ‘Orla’, Jon Gordon’s bopalicious alto fun on ‘Samsara’ (big kudos to the rhythm of Matt Clohesy on bass and drummer Mark Ferber, too!), the surreal bass clarinet of Doug Yates on the resigned ‘Well… Maybe Someday’.
The track that leaped out to me was ‘Why A?’ which features guitarist Nate Radley. (I am guessing the title is a question from the Bb and Eb horn guys, the answer being that A is guitar friendly, dudes). Over an A pedal, descending guitar chords are soon reflected by the horns before a snap, crackle and popping swinging solo from Radley. He is one to watch.
Mace Francis is one to watch too. On the strength of Land Speed Record, I will be watching (and listening) – I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next.

1. Rosé 06:10
2. Land Speed Record 07:05
3. Pandora's Mood 08:19
4. Samsara 07:11
5. Orla 06:04
6.Why A? 08:03
7. Well, Maybe Someday 08:19

Jon Gordon - Alto Saxophone
Dan Pratt – Tenor Saxophone
Douglas Yates – Bass Clarinet
Mat Jodrell – Trumpet
Alan Ferber – Trombone
Nate Radley – Guitar
Sean Wayland – Piano
Matt Clohesy – Bass
Mark Ferber - Drums

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



Samo Salamon, Manu Codjia & Mikkel Ploug - Ives (2014)

featuring 14 compositions and 3 amazing guitarists!!!!

The project Ives by SAMO SALAMON, MANU CODJIA & MIKKEL PLOUG features some of the best young jazz guitarists in the world. The leader of the group is according to the magazine Guitar Player one of the hottest 10 new guitarists in the world - SAMO SALAMON (SLOVENIA), accompanied by two amazing guitarists – MANU CODJIA (FRANCE) and MIKKEL PLOUG (DENMARK), both amazing composers and leaders on their own. The music is all originals written mainly by Samo Salamon, but also by Mikkel Ploug and Manu Codjia. The music is a mixture of composed music and improvisation, modern jazz at its best! Samo Salamon is »one of the most talented young guitarists and composers to emerge on today's jazz scene« ( So far he has recorded and played with many great jazz musicians like John Scofield, Paul McCandless, John Hollenbeck, Mark Turner, MichelGodard, Tim Berne, Dominique Pifarely, Donny McCaslin, Nguyen Le, Drew Gress, Tony Malaby, Mark Helias, Tom Rainey, Dave Binney, Josh Roseman, Gerald Cleaver, Julian Arguelles, John Hebert, Loren Stillman, John O'Gallagher, Carlo DeRosa, Tyshawn Sorey, Bruno Chevillon, Manu Codjia, Mikkel Ploug, Alex Machacek, Matt Brewer, Luciano Biondini, Dejan Terzic, Roberto Dani, Rudi Mahall, and others. So far he has recorded more than 160 original compositions that were released on 16 albums as a leader for labels, such asSteeplechase, Fresh Sound New Talent and Splasch Records.SOME CRITICS:"An adventurous guitarist who continues to find new ways to challenge his instrument by providing new contexts that expand his sound and compositions." (Jakob Baekgaard, AllAboutJazz 2014)"One of the most interesting guitarists in modern jazz who continues to stretch the boundaries of music." (AllAboutJazz 2013)"Much like his contemporaries Kurt Rosenwinkel and Ben Monder, Salamon is forging ahead with a new standard of jazz guitar that is accessible and beyond established categorizations." (John Barron, Jazz Word 2011)"Salamon's music is expanding the framework of the modern guitar trio, whereby Salamon is one of the most interesting guitarists in Europe."

Samo Salamon - guitar
Manu Codjia - guitar
Mikkel Ploug - guitar

01. Ives (take 1) (Salamon)
02. Devil's Darling (Salamon)
03. Barren (Salamon)
04. 1000 Bears (Short Version) (Salamon)
05. There's a Gheko In the House (Salamon)
06. Perplexity 1 (Salamon)
07. Seagulls In Maine (Salamon)
08. Ives (take 2) (Salamon) 
09. Kei's Secret Revealed (Salamon)
10. Al Blade (Codjia)
11. 1000 Bears (Long Version) (Salamon)
12. Duo (Salamon)
13. Logicunlogic (Ploug)
14. Perplexity 2 (Salamon)

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins