martes, 10 de marzo de 2015

James Muller - Neurotica (2015)

Source: Ausjazz
Label: Cluster-J Records
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆       

Australian guitarist James Muller is one of the most exciting and innovative musician on the Australian music scene today. His distinctive sound, coupled with masterful improvisation and breathtaking virtuosity, has made him one of the most respected and most significant young musicians in the country.

Born in Adelaide in 1974, James began teaching himself the guitar at age 12. Initially inspired by the rock guitar legends of the sixties & seventies, the harmonic complexities of jazz soon caught his ear. Armed with the Jim Hall records from his parents’ collection and the support of his high school music teacher, James had discovered jazz and for him there was no looking back.
He has been awarded a fellowship to create new work for an upcoming solo release and trio album, develop new artistic collaborations during a six-month residency in New York, and undertake a national tour with the James Muller Trio.

An ARIA award winner and a recipient of a National Jazz Award, Muller has collaborated with musicians in Australia including Paul Grabowsky, James Morrison, Mike Nock, Renee Geyer, and Scott Tinkler, as well as international artists such as Chad Wackerman, Bill Stewart, Maria Schneider and Nigel Kennedy. He has toured to critical acclaim in the US, Europe and Asia.

1. KLM 05:10
2. Aquium 06:29
3. Neurotica 01:37
4. Trane Plus Molly Equals Countdown 05:58
5. Dogs In Calcutta 04:57
6. Tina's Tune 07:44
7. The Moon And You 05:59
8. Neurotica II 00:28
9. Mitch 06:07  the US, Europe and Asia.

James Muller - gtr
Alex Boneham, Desmond White - bass
Ben Vanderwal - drums
special guest Sean Wayland - keys

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -


Gil Evans project - Lines of Color (2015)

Label: Artistshare
Source: London Jazz
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆      

The Gil Evans Project is the brainchild of composer, conductor and producer Ryan Truesdell, who has been working for several years to keep Gil Evans’ unique sound in the public eye. Lines of Color was recorded two years after the orchestra’s début CD marking its subject’s centennial in 2012, an album which was nominated for two Grammys and won one.

Unlike those who rely on transcriptions, Truesdell uses original manuscripts to guarantee correct instrumentation and orchestration, and this – together with the skill of top-notch players - results in music that is as genuine as possible. If you fear that this meticulous attention to detail might be a recipe for studious sterility, don’t worry. The 25-strong band produces potent music - captured over six nights at the Manhattan club Jazz Standard - and the audience is suitably responsive and appreciative.

Bix Beiderbecke’s Davenport Blues is an early highlight in the set: Evans’ peerless 1959 arrangement leaps out at you with a slow, stately majesty, and the young Australian trumpeter Mat Jodrell creates great excitement.

During the course of his painstaking research, Truesdell discovered over 50 “new” compositions and arrangements in addition to Evans’ known discography, and six of them are presented here. Just One of Those Things gets a lively treatment, with fine soprano sax from Steve Wilson. Evans’ tune Gypsy Jump has an arresting brass fanfare and a bouncy interlude for the reed section before the soloists - including Donny McCaslin on tenor – take centre stage. This would have made people sit up and listen when it was written in 1941. Even the less successful pieces Avalon Town and How High the Moon have noteworthy touches, and benefit from hand-picked players including pianist Frank Kimbrough and saxists Scott Robinson and Dave Pietro.

Evans arranged for singers at various times during his career, and the vocal tracks have a somewhat old fashioned feel that befits their 1947 vintage. Wendy Gilles is showcased on Can’t We Talk It Over and Sunday Drivin’. She also sings on Everything Happens to Me which, alongside the sumptuously-textured Moon Dreams, forms a seamless Easy Living Medley.

The downside to Truesdell’s use of authentic arrangements is that the more familiar tunes do not sound very different from the originals. However, two fabulous creations from 1964 - Time of the Barracudas and the canonical Concorde - were rarely performed during the last 20 years of Evans' life, so it’s particularly good to hear them "live". The former has a startling trombone solo by Marshall Gilkes; the latter, a surprise in the form of Lois Martin's viola.

Few things match the unfettered excitement of the “real” Gil Evans Orchestra, and those of us who witnessed the band in full cry will surely never forget it. Truesdell and his cohorts are much more than a repertory band, and they have a damn good shot at evoking the spirit of one of the icons of 20th century jazz.
Andy Boeckstaens

1. Time of the Barracudas 8:54
2. Davenport Blues 6:19
3. Avalon Town 4:13
4. Concorde 7:49
5. Cant We Talk It Over 4:13
6. Gypsy Jump 3:19
7. Greensleeves 4:35
8. Easy Living Medley 9:41
9. Just One of Those Things 5:26
10.Sunday Drivin 3:24
11.How High the Moon 3:48   

 Ryan Truesdell
Frank Kimbrough
Mat Jodrell
Steve Wilson
Scott Robinson
Dave Pietro
Ryan Keberle
James Chirillo
Marshall Gilkes
Donny McCaslin
Lewis Nash

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -


Charles McPherson - The Journey (2015)

In an era where the fast-moving waters of change always threaten to wash away tradition, it’s comforting to find a moment of constancy. Charles McPherson is a stone at the bottom of that river, surrounded by water, but unyielding, immoveable, untouched at his core by the currents of time and fashion.

This title tune from McPherson’s forthcoming album The Journey, due February 17, 2015 via Capri Records, underscores his thrilling fixedness — even as it affords us another opportunity to embrace what made McPherson’s bedrock influences matter in the first place.

Though best known as a member of Charles Mingus’ band from 1960-72, McPherson is at his foundation an acolyte and proselytizer of the bebop language constructed by Charlie Parker. Not a copycat, though that’s easy enough to convince yourself of, what with their shared horn. But someone whose muse built up from the phonetics, the basic structure, we’ve come to associate with Bird.

That’s the magic, and the enduring mystery, here. “The Journey” doesn’t attempt any sleight of hand, doesn’t get cute. At the same time, it’s also never boring.

This is four and a half minutes or so of straight-ahead jazz, performed with the deceptively convoluted simplicity that speaks to mid-century masters. Expressive, but not over-emotive; passionate, but not desultory, Charles McPherson knows enough about the rules to break them with finesse — and enough about music to make it all brand new, no matter the depth of his musical roots system.

1. The Decathexis From Youth (For Cole)
2. Elena
3. Spring Is Here
4. Manhattan Nocturne
5. Au Privave
6. I Should Care
7. The Journey
8. Tami's Tune
9. Bud Like

Charles McPherson: alto saxophone
Keith Oxman: tenor saxophone
Chip Stephens: piano
Ken Walker: bass
Todd Reid: drums

E.J. Strickland Quintet - The Undying Spirit (2015)

Label: Strick Muzik
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆       

The Undying Spirit lives up to its name as the sophomore release from drummer & composer E.J. Strickland.  On this album we are witness to the evolving sound of his quintet - with more spirit, more groove, and more spotlight on its leader.  The Undying Spirit features a familiar quintet - E.J. Strickland on drums, Jaleel Shaw on alto sax, Marcus Strickland on tenor & soprano saxes, Luis Perdomo on piano, and new addition to the group, Linda Oh on bass. 
The very first note of this musical journey is the captivating start of E.J.'s explorative solo on the tune "Ride". With his gripping opening statement, the drummer sets the tone for the first track and ultimately for the entire album.  "Ride" continues with a playful theme beautifully executed by Marcus Strickland & Jaleel Shaw, with a joyful and articulate piano solo by Luis Perdomo, containing many rhythmic gems. Also on "Ride", bassist Linda Oh effortlessly maintains the shape of the ostinato while demonstrating great interplay with E.J., as if she has been a member of the quintet for years. Tunes like "Ride" and the album's closer "Impromptivity" display the group's innate ability to build a story on top of a groove; bouncing off one another's phrases while maintaining the overall sway throughout.  
A strong characteristic of Strickland's compositions is the re-introduction of themes and melodies thatlead to multiple atmospheres for improvisation throughout any particular tune.  For example, on "For My Home Folks", the group demonstrates their ability to capture the sentiment of a song, as heard through the soulful cries of Marcus & Shaw's horns followed by E.J.'s emotional drum solo.  This ability is also showcased on "Ballad For All Mankind" which features a beautifully lyricized bass solo by Oh which flows into a contemplative exchange between Marcus & Shaw. Also on this track, Marcus' award-winning playing sings alluringly over its theme. Although ballads are a rare platform for a drum solo, E.J. masterfully constructs a moving piece over the softness of the rhythm section.  "Transcendence" shows off the band's sophistication as they weave in and out of the tune's 3-bar 5/4 structure with great ease and expression.  In addition to E.J.'s compelling original compositions, the quintet takes on the great Cedar Walton's "Hindsight", which also serves as a feature for the leader.  
Throughout the various time feels on this album the band displays true versatility. With their lively swing feel on "Hindsight", they offer a refreshing contrast.  On "Bomba For Leel & Max" a weaving horn line flies over a complex basso continuo in the rhythm section with a brisk-paced Latin groove.  Both of the horn players, whose nicknames are mentioned in the song's title, get a very intense sax exchange feature over a vamp following Perdomo's energetic solo.  The most quiet and subtle moments of the album can be found on "Midnight's Clearing" which starts out almost free of time but, never without pulse as Oh plays it's eerie bass line that starts off dark and drifts into a more upbeat tone.  The saxophonists blend and compliment each other gorgeously as they explore their counter-melodies, as they also do on "A Dance For Mojo's Return", which is set-up beautifully by Perdomo's opening cadenza.  On this composition the group makes a meal of the different time feels - a driving force on all four beats, and a half-time backbeat lilt.  This all gives way to an astonishing drum shout section on which E.J. improvises.  "Tune For S.C." is a simple and pretty melody overlaying a magical upbeat bass line and features very endearing solos by Marcus and Perdomo. 
With this recording, one of E.J.'s goals was to provide an album that would prove to be uplifting to the listener, as it's title, The Undying Spirit, suggests.  The drummer/composer also wanted to capture the quintet's growth, the refinement in his composing, and his ever-evolving ability to standout as a leader; mission accomplished! 

1. Ride
2. For My Home Folks
3. Transcendence
4. Ballad for All Mankind
5. Hindsight   
6. Bomba for Leel and Max
7. Midnight's Clearing
8. A Dance for Mojo's Return
9. Tune for S.C.
10. Impromptivity

E.J. Strickland
Marcus Strickland
Jaleel Shaw
Linda Oh
Luis Perdomo

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -