Saturday, February 13, 2016

Ed Cherry - Soul Tree (2016)

Label: Posi-Tone

Ed Cherry is a veteran jazz guitarist with a bagful of bonafides. He was a student at Berklee in ’72, toured with Jimmy McGriff and Tim Hardin (among other jazz luminaries) and played in Dizzy Gillespie’s band for the last fifteen years of the iconic trumpeter’s life. Along the way, Cherry’s worked with a wide range of heavies, from Henry Threadgill and Oliver Lake to John Patton and Steve Coleman. His indispensability as a sideman may have curtailed his solo output, but Soul Tree (February 12, 2016, Posi-Tone Records) is his second for Posi-Tone four years after It’s All Good, his first for the label (and fifth overall).
This one’s another organ trio setup like Good but it’s got Kyle Koehler on the Hammond B3 and Anwar Marshall on drums, and these guys aren’t slouches. Cherry himself is firmly in the old school of soul-jazz guitarists and his precise, understated style is smoky, cool and sweet. Kenny Burrell is the guy I think most of when I hear Cherry play.
The fare for Soul Tree covers the gambit from Kool & The Gang’s “Let The Music Take Your Mind,” where jazz and RnB hand in hand, to the soulful swing put into Horace Silver’s “Peace.” In-between, Cherry and his own gang take on tunes that offer a different angle than the originals. A 2/4 swing caresses John Coltrane’s “Central Park West,” while Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes” is made into a mellow bossa nova with a heaping helping of octaves.
The trio simmers on “A New Blue” a blues-based tune from Jimmy Heath tune and Cherry delivers tasty, relaxed single line notes. He’s got only two of his own songs here, enough to show he’s a serious composer in his own right. For the dynamic boogaloo “Rachel’s Step” Cherry gets funky, and Koehler puts in work on the organ like Dr. Lonnie Smith. “Little Girl Big Girl” has a fetching, soulful melody and Cherry shows off nice rhythm chops.
Soul Tree is that kind of fundamentally solid, guitar/organ/drums record that you’d expect from a seasoned hand like Ed Cherry. You won’t go wrong here.



André Fernandes - Dream Keeper (2016)

Source & Label: Edition Records

‘Dream Keeper’ is a high-class and innovative set of originals that marks the first major international release from Portuguese guitarist and composer Andre Fernandes.
Since 2002 Lisbon-born Fernandes has generated a wave of glowing reviews for appearances with some of the finest international musicians. As a beacon of inspirational energy and determined spirit in his native Portugal, Fernandes has been described by Portuguese music critic, Rui Eduardo Paes, as ‘one of the most important Portuguese jazz musicians today, with credits that largely surpass the field of jazz and a continuous ability to surprise us’.
‘Dream Keeper’ is a career defining album that draws together Andre’s strengths as composer, player and bandleader, with the help of a stellar cast of musicians, into one coherent and well-executed album. ‘Dream Keeper’ confirms Andre’s promise and offers him an opportunity to approach a global audience and ignite a glowing international career.
Born in Lisbon in 1976, Andre Fernandes is a natural leader with an entrepreneurial spirit. In 2002, he formed T.O.A.P. (Tone of A Pitch), his own imprint, as a way to take control of his own destiny and as a vehicle for his talented cohorts. Driven by the desire to collaborate and an empathy and respect for his band mates, Andre has plenty to give. Compositionally, the music is bold with a determined spirit drawing on a wide array of influences and colours. As a player, Andre has a commanding sound with inventive use of pedals, tones and colour. As a bandleader, he leaves space for others to shine and is able to bring the best performances from his musicians. There’s obvious mutual respect and friendship on offer and the music is the better for it.

If ‘Dream Keeper’ is a sign of what is to come for this young, incredibly talented guitarist, then the next few years look very exciting.

“I always look forward to hearing what Andre is doing. He’s a great guitarist and composer. I have also had the pleasure of playing with Andre many times and that has always been a blast. MOTOR continues his fine musical journey” DAVID BINNEY
“What great music!! Beautiful and imaginative. It could be no less coming from some of my favorite musicians.” PERICO SAMBEAT

1. Chifre
2. Rabbit Hole
3. Snakes and Lizards
4. Anti Hero
5. Jack
6. Abarat
7. Dream Keeper

PERICO SAMBEAT alto and soprano saxophone, flute
MARCELO ARAUJO percussion on 2 and 6
PAULO GASPAR bass Clarinet on 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6
DESIDERIO LAZARO tenor Saxophone on 2 and 6
GONCALO MARQUES trumpet and flugelhorn on 2 and 6



Ainavisti - Ainavisti (2016)

Label: Self released
Source: Ainavisti

In year 2013, three great musicians met for the first time and played a musical suite - Ainavas (Landscapes) composed by Edgars Cirulis. Thusly Edgars Cirulis Trio was born, which later became Lark's Landscapers and finally just Landscapers.

After two years of playing together, rehearsing and performing Ainavisti boldly stepped into the Sound Division studios and under the supervision of Ivars Ozols to record their debut album "Ainavisti -".

Ainavisti perform original compositions which contain influences from very wide variety of music dialects and languages. Landscapes are written as a musical suite, where every piece has an independent meaning, but together they form a picture/landscape. The goal of Ainavisti is to introduce Latvian colors and identity to the world music language. 

1. Full Moon Chronicles 08:11
2. Walking 06:08
3. Starry Night 07:03
4. Wanderer I 06:02
5. Wanderer II 06:09
6. When The Common Path Takes Apart 03:59
7. Dali's Clocks 06:26
8. A Dream Returning 03:36
9. Parquet Polishers 08:51
10.Aadya (Beginning) 08:57
11.Home 06:25   

Edgars Cīrulis - piano
Reinis Puriņš - trumpet
Dita Belicka - vocals
Ēriks Miezis - marimba
Andris Grunte - bass
Mareks Logins - drums



Cristian Andrada - Detrás del Aire (2016)

Label: Self Released

Double bass player Cristian Andrada received a scholarship to complete his studies at the Rotterdam Conservatory, with Hans Roelofsen. Stefen Lievestro and Victor Kaiatu were two of his jazz teachers. He recorded Yuyos as a quintet leader. In a duo with Eduardo Elia, they play standards and original repertoire.

1. Sumergidos 06:08
2. Cosas Solas 04:34
3. Diez Doce 06:57
4. Arcos 05:29
5. Cerro Colorado 04:50
6. Obrero 03:37
7. Detrás del Aire 08:37
8. Ju Ju 04:51
9. Las Pocas Palabras 04:59

Cristian Andrada / contrabajo, composiciones
Martin Dellavedova / saxo tenor
Eduardo Elia / piano
Lucas Acuña / guitarra
Gonzalo Chayle / batería  



Yuval Amihai - Longing (2015)

Label: Mouzikali
Source: Citizen Jazz

Trois ans après le remarquable premier disque de son Ensemble, le guitariste Yuval Amihai réduit la voilure et se présente cette fois en trio : il conserve à ses côtés le batteur Gautier Garrigue et intègre à sa formation le contrebassiste Damien Varaillon. Longing – un titre qu’on pourrait traduire par désir – frappe d’emblée par l’impression de paix qui s’en dégage et par la lumière qui l’irrigue tout au long des neuf thèmes qui le composent. Le lyrisme mémoriel qui caractérisait l’album précédent et le faisait chanter cède la place à une évocation intimiste, comme une confidence glissée au creux de l’oreille.
Tout est douceur et élégance dans ce Longing dont la volonté de proximité est soulignée par une instrumentation épurée et l’exposition des mélodies sous forme de ballades au rythme d’un matin calme : fluidité du son de la guitare qui jamais ne recourt aux effets, comme pour mieux perpétuer l’héritage d’un Wes Montgomery ou d’un Jim Hall, pulsion feutrée de la contrebasse, caresse des balais ou swing souriant des baguettes. Un disque classique en quelque sorte, au sens le plus intemporel du mot, mais certainement pas une évocation passéiste. Et comme pour mieux abattre les barrières du temps, les rendre imperceptibles et en démontrer la vanité, Yuval Amihai choisit un répertoire mêlant standards et compositions originales. Si les premiers sont les plus nombreux (six titres sur neuf), la musique jouée est ici une et indivisible. « Skylark », « Lover Man », « Sandu » ou « My Romance » ont le même âge – l’éternelle jeunesse – que les petits nouveaux, « Longing » et « I Understand Now », signés par Yuval Amihai, ou encore le magnifique « Forest, Forgive Them », longue composition (plus de dix minutes) de Gautier Garrigue, peut-être le moment le plus émouvant d’un album dont on ne peut que constater avec ravissement les beautés formelles.
Avec Longing, le guitariste veut à la fois célébrer le chant de son enfance en Israël et cette musique qu’il aime par-delà les frontières et qui le nourrit depuis toujours, ce jazz puisé aux sources de l’Amérique qui, loin d’être mort comme on ne cesse de l’annoncer depuis des décennies, est bien vivant. Yuval Amihai en fait ici la démonstration scintillante.

1. Skylark 05:04
2. Questar 04:50
3. Lover Man 08:16   
4. Sandu 05:14
5. Forest, Forgive Them 10:03
6. Longing 05:15
7. I Understand Now 04:47
8. My Romance 03:26
9. Without a Song 05:05  

Yuval Aminhai - guitar
Damien Varaillon - bass
Gautier Garrigue - drums


Baptiste Herbin - Interferences (2016)

Label: JL Prod

"Après « Brother Stoon », « Interférences » le deuxième album en leader de Baptiste Herbin qui paraît chez Just Looking, confirme son exceptionnel talent. Le son de son alto a encore pris de l’ampleur, de la profondeur. Son phrasé, plus limpide s’il en était besoin, vous embarque irrésistiblement dans une histoire passionnante à chacun des quatorze morceaux. Du moderne Pour la mie, au vertigineux neobop Parker 51 de Jimmy Raney, de la belle ballade Malala au soprano au Ask Me Now de Thelonious Monk, en passant par l’incursion free de Interférences, Baptiste Herbin nous prend fermement par la main et nous emmène dans sa vision du jazz et au-delà… Ses compagnons sont de merveilleux musiciens. Ils sont brillants, et il faut l’être pour s’élever à la hauteur de l’exigence du projet. Nous pouvons être fiers d’avoir, tout proche de nous, un musicien de la valeur de Baptiste Herbin; et bien sûr d’avoir « Interférences » à écouter et réécouter". (Aldo Romano)

01. Pour l'amie
02. Reflets
03. My Friends
04. Loulou
05. Il Moi Vicino
06. Parker 51
07. Appointment in Ghana
08. Ballad for Jackie
09. Bedex
10. J'ai envie d'te dire
11. Malala
12. Mafana Be
13. Ask Me Now
14. Interférences

Sylvain Gontard – trompette
Baptiste Herbin – sax alto
Maxime Fougères – guitare
Geraud Portal – contrebasse
Benjamin Henocq – batterie



Drew Paralic - Lyrics Without Words: Music Of Drew Paralic (2016)

Label: Filter Label
Source: Blog Critics

As composer arranger Drew Paralic puts it, although he began studying the piano over 25 years ago, he soon realized that he had started too late to play at the same level as the jazz pianists he most admired—Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans—so perhaps he’d be better off sticking to the composing and leaving the playing to others. The latest result of this realization is his self-released album of what appear to be new arrangements of at least some of his previously recorded original compositions, Wintertime Tunes of Drew Paralic, featuring an ensemble of some very fine musical talent, sans Paralic.
The CD includes four tracks of straight-ahead instrumental jazz with a blues vibe, bookended by a jaunty Christmas vocal and a lyrically uninspired love song. The four instrumentals are the heart of the album. There is one solo piano piece, “Steps,” played by James Newman. It is a melodic tour de force that would likely have appealed to any of the Paralic piano heroes.
The other three instrumentals are in the hands of a quartet. Mike McGinnis handles tenor sax and clarinet. Elias Bailey is on upright bass and Vinnie Sperrazza is on drums. David Pearl plays piano on two, and Bennett Paster takes over on one track, “Down in Soho,” a mellow bluesy tune that showcases some sweet interaction between Bailey and Sperrazza. “Finally 2001” is a swinging blues number that has some creative work on the clarinet from McGinnis. He and Pearl work magic together here and on the song “(On the Occasion) of Wet Snow.”
While Laura Kenyon, who does the vocals on “My Wintertime Sky” and “How Bill’s Heart Sings,” is a gifted songstress, I was less impressed with the songs themselves. “My Wintertime Sky” is a pleasant bauble to hang on someone’s Christmas tree; the lyrics from John Raymond Pollard are a bit too cute for my taste. “How Bill’s Heart Sings” is a little disappointing, more than likely because any song with Bill in the title has to compete in my head with Wodehouse and Kern. That’s probably not fair to Paralic and lyricist Thomas Raniszewski, but it is what it is.
You have to admire an artist willing to put aside his own ego to recognize what he considers his own inadequacies. I haven’t heard Paralic play so I wouldn’t know if he means it or he’s just being coy. I do know that there aren’t many jazz pianists who can measure up to the mark he feels he fell short of. That said, the talent he has gathered together for this album makes his music sparkle.  Jack Goodstein

01. Down in Soho [00:06:40]
02. Sweet Standard [00:04:46]
03. When Midnight Rolls Around [00:05:57]
04. The Sweetest Crime [00:04:48]
05. Too Much Joyce [00:07:31]
06. Twilight at Noon [00:05:44]
07. Drew's Blues [00:04:27]
08. Finally 2001 [00:05:00]
09. (On the Occasion of) Wet Snow [00:04:01]
10. The Arrival [00:05:43]
11. Prelude d'Ennui [00:04:20]

Drew Paralic - piano, composition
Mike McGinnis - tenor sax
Elias Bailey - bass
Vinnie Sperrazza - drums
David Pearl - piano
Bennett Paster - one track


Matt Parker Trio - Present Time (2016)

Label: Self Released

I don’t select a Best New Artist every year like they do at the Grammies, but if I were to do that, Matt Parker would have easily taken the prize in 2013 for his standout debut album Worlds Put Together. The tenor sax maestro strikes me as a Joe Lovano with the gumption of Rahsaan Roland Kirk or Eric Dolphy, a fun combination of qualities that is so mindful of the jazz saxophone’s soulful past while giving in to impulse, an oft-forgotten tenant of what jazz is about, too.
For Present Time (February 12, 2016 by Bynk Records), Parker puts his horn into even sharper focus by paring down his band to just the rhythm section of Alan Hampton (bass) and Reggie Quinerly (drums). It means that every note blown by Parker carries a heavier load and the revelation of Present Time is that he can not only handle it, he shines brighter as the spotlight gets hotter.
Part of the secret to delivering when there’s no one there behind him handling the chord changes is being more personable in the delivery. Parker doesn’t fuss over whether he’s leaving behind too many notes or too few, as long as they carry out the right passion. No where can that be more evident than on blues numbers like “Noah’s Arc” and here he conjures up Coleman Hawkins in a particularly gruff mood. Contrast that with the cheerfulness of “Present Time,” a throwback melody played over Quinerly’s modern, almost drum ‘n’ bass beat that vacillates between 7/8 and 7/4.
Parker is fond of stretching out toward avant-garde while maintaining a connection to tradition, as “New Horizons” makes clear. His wailing notes on soprano sax with an improvising Quinerly beside him is mindful of Coltrane/Ali’s Interstellar Space except that Parker is too melodically inclined to let it get that far outside. Halfway in he ushers in a new figure with Hampton, and pours out fills of trills with Hampton pulling out the bow. He goes without any accompaniment at all for “The Gong,” making exhortations first on soprano and then tenor sax (sounding as brawny as a baritone) punctuated by strikes to a gong. On his final note, he blows through both horns in a nod to Kirk.
Parker showcases his facility for playing alongside a vocalist on a handful of songs performed with Emily Braden. Most of her performances are wordless, assuming a co-lead part that supplements Parker, but for the standard “I’m Confession’ (That I Love You)” she sings the lyrics while Parker goes into Lester Young mode. He proves to be a fine accompanist behind Braden, acting almost as a harmonizing voice, and amps up the energy level a notch for his solo turn.
The only other non-original is a Charles Mingus composition that has never been fully recorded. “Song To Keki” is a pretty reading of Mingus’ melody, but when he enters the solo portion he flies off into orbit, returning still feelin’ jaunty and improvising like no one in particular.
The days when a teenaged Parker was just getting started playing in New Orleans are alluded to in the second line pulse of “Sixteen,” with Jerome Jennings (Sonny Rollins, Christian McBride) adding tambourine. Parker cuts loose on tenor in a funky aside that surely would have filled up his saxophone case on a French Quarter street corner. It’s a nice and tidy wrap up of the whole album.
Present Time confirms the resourcefulness and playfulness of Matt Parker’s saxophone that’s so engaging and so lively. These are qualities that shine through whether he’s playing in an orchestra, sextet or this trio. Show me someone who says jazz is no fun to listen to and I’ll show them Matt Parker. S. Victor Aaron

1. Noah's Arc 04:52
2. New Horizons 06:07
3. Winter's Gone 04:11
4. One For Duke 06:05
5. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You) 04:18
6. Song To Keki 04:08
7. Present Time 07:10
8. The Gong 02:38
9. Sixteen 03:07

Matt Parker, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone and gong
Alan Hampton, bass (all but 8)
Reggie Quinerly, drums (all but 8)

Special Guest
Emily Braden, vocals (3,5,7)
Jerome Jennings, tambourine (9)