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)