viernes, 11 de diciembre de 2015

Claudio Ottaviano Quartet - Aurora (2015)


Anyone familiar with Charlie Haden's 2001 CD Nocturne (which won a Grammy for the best Latin jazz CD of 2002) and subsequent romantic, melodic, ballad-heavy albums will recognise the template for this second album from Sicily-born, Milan-based 30-year old bassist Claudio Ottaviano, recorded in Biella in July 2014. 

Only Cretinetti somewhat awkwardly breaks the spell - as you might expect cretins to do. Other than that, there's much beauty to enjoy in the compositions and the (mostly) tender soloing of tenor and soprano saxophonist Tino Tracanna and, especially, pianist Antonio Zambrini. Ottaviano - like Haden -lets others take the spotlight but his and drummer Roberto Paglieri's support of the soloists is supple and tasteful. 

Anyone seeking searing excitement should look elsewhere, but if you're a fan of the aforementioned Haden CDs and are seeking more music in that vein, this free digital download should bring pleasure. Read more...


Antonio Zambrini, piano
Tino Tracanna, saxes
Roberto Paglieri, drums
Claudio Ottaviano, double bass

01. Modigliani
02. Luci di Milano
03. Sideman Stories
04. Nello
05. Cabaret Noir
06. Private Eyes
07. Pavoni
08. Amy
09. Cretinetti
10. Private Eyes (Alternate Take)


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Robert Kennedy Trio - Big Shoes (2015)


Robert Kennedy is a Hammond organist and pianist born and raised in the American South who has lived and worked in the San Francisco bay area since 1988. He played piano in the Stanford University Jazz Band and studied jazz piano with the great jazz pianist, band director, and educator Bill Bell.

Robert was a founding member of the groups Hip Pocket Jazz Quintet and Double Funk Crunch, and has shared San Francisco stages such as Yoshi’s, the Boom Boom Room, Doc’s Lab, the Agenda Lounge (back in the day), and the SFJAZZ Miner Auditorium with renowned players such as Nancy Wright, Calvin Keys, Will Weston, Terrence Brewer, and many more, playing jazz, blues, R&B, and rock and roll.

On his recent release Big Shoes, he debuts as a leader playing Hammond B-3 organ.

Among his many inspirations Robert counts the playing of Jack McDuff, Billy Childs, Larry Goldings, Herbie Hancock, and Tony Monaco. Read more...


Released March 24, 2015 

Hammond B-3 Organ: Robert Kennedy 
Guitar: Mason Razavi 
Drums: Cody Rhodes 

Produced by Robert Kennedy 
Recorded by Monte Vallier at Ruminator Audio, San Francisco, November 22-23, 2014 
Mixed by Robert Kennedy at Ten Ones Studio, San Francisco 
Mastered by Ken Lee, Oakland, January 14, 2015 
Front cover photo © 2015 by Linda A. Cicero 
Graphic Design and Layout by Rainer Gembalczyk, Sienna Digital


1. Long Strides 05:39
2. Pleasant Company Expected 07:03
3. Root Bound 06:23
4. Radio Blues 06:17
5. Upper Market 04:59
6. Big Shoes 06:27
7. Never Speak Your Name 06:31
8. Love and Youth and Spring 06:10
9. Lambadame 07:12


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Dennis Rollins' Velocity Trio - Symbiosis (2015)


For many UK trombonists Dennis Rollins’ Badbone & Co defined the sound of the early noughties. Rollins was the funkiest trombonist around, blending drum and bass, soul and funk. Having set the bar high, Rollins evolved again in 2011 founding his Velocity Trio with Ross Stanley on Hammond organ and Pedro Segundo on drums, and 2015 sees this line-up release their second album Symbiosis.

The opening track, Utopia, offers a reminder - if one were needed - of just how technically gifted Rollins is. Soaring up to the extremes of the register with ease, Rollins still commands a vibrant tone and agile style, and his complete control allows him to somehow squeeze extra feeling out of choice notes before twisting and turning to somewhere different.

The album’s title track is taut and well crafted, with the pedals of Stanley’s Hammond organ creating a syncopated contrapuntal bass line which cleverly clicks with Segundo’s pared-back playing. Before long, this initial funk is placed to one side for a series of breakneck swing solos. Stanley demonstrates incredible separation of hands and feet here, providing bass in the pedals whilst storming through the changes on the manuals. A whiff of New Orleans is in the air in Boneyard, with purring snare rolls and solos which are left to hang perilously in the gaps between choruses before being caught again by the strutting groove. 

There are, however, issues with the album’s pacing as consecutive tracks Hark!, Senhora Do Almortão and Walk in Their Shoes are devoted to solo organ, an organ and drums feature and a drum solo respectively. Rollins joins for the last head of Senhora do Almortão, but given his absence for the first four minutes of the track it rather feels like an afterthought. 

These structural niggles aside, there is still a great deal of fun to be had here. Rollins has always had an ear for reworking well-known songs (Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car on his 2003 disc Make Your Move for example) and this album sees a funky take on Pink Floyd’s classic Money, as well as a rendition of Bette Midler’s The Rose. The latter would likely be a saccharin dud in almost anyone else’s hands, but Rollins crafts it into a thoroughly soulful gospel ballad. Read more...


01. Utopia (06:50)
02. Reverence (04:53)
03. Symbiosis (06:48)
04. Hark! (03:07)
05. Senhora Do Almortao (06:00)
06. Walk in Their Shoes (02:17)
07. Money (05:19)
08. Boneyard (05:25)
09. Bakkra (01:11)
10. The Rose (05:09)

Dennis Rollins: trombone
Ross Stanley: Hammond B3 organ
Pedro Segundo: drums


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