Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bob Kenmotsu Quartet - I'm in Love with You (2015)

Bob Kenmotsu, tenor sax
David Hazeltine, piano
David Wong, bass
Billy Drummond, drums

A superior tenor saxophonist, Bob Kenmotsu has long been a soulful bop-oriented player. In his career, in addition to leading his own groups, he has worked with the likes of Jack McDuff and Ruth Brown and recorded with Billy Hart and Pat Martino. On I’m In Love With You, he leads an all-star quartet through nine of his originals and two standards.

While some of the songs on this CD utilize chord changes from vintage tunes, Bob gives each of them fresh and inventive new melodies. And although his tenor playing is a logical extension of his roots in straight ahead jazz, his tone and choice of notes are unlike anyone else’s.
Bob’s rhythm section includes David Hazeltine (one of New York’s finest pianists) and two musicians (bassist David Wong and drummer Billy Drummond) who, like Hazeltine, have an endless amount of credits. The reason is obvious for they not only take concise and purposeful solos that fit the songs but are always tasteful and quietly stimulating in support of the saxophonist.

The opener, “I'm In Love With You,” has a particularly likable and memorable melody. Bob Kenmotsu’s solo is thoughtful and logical with each spontaneous phrase logically leading to the next one. One could imagine this song being outfitted with lyrics and becoming a standard. “What Is This” is an intense revival of “What Is This Thing Called Love” while “I Like Someone” has a new lyrical melody over the chords of “Like Someone In Love.” “BK Blues” features a classic piano solo worthy of Wynton Kelly. The program also includes three ballads (“Jun-Ko,” “Archipelago” and “Sachan’s Lullaby”), two cookers (“RCB3” and “Brilliant Bicycle”) and warm renditions of “Monk’s Dream” and Gershwin’s “But Not For Me.” Each performance is strong, swinging and contains subtle surprises.

Throughout I’m In Love With You, Bob Kenmotsu and his quartet revitalize straight ahead jazz with consistently creative ideas, resulting in one of his finest recordings.

SCOTT YANOW, author of 11 books including Bebop, The Jazz Singers and Jazz On Film 1917-76

01. I'm in Love With You
02. What Is This
03. I Like Someone
04. Bk Blues
05. Jun-Ko
06. RCB3
07. Archipelago
08. Brilliant Bicycle
09. Sachan's Lullaby
10. Monk's Dream
11. But Not for Me


Ian Tordella - The Lost Weekend (2016)

Ian Tordella is from a new breed of modern tenor saxophonists who are willing to explore the upper reaches of the instruments range. As a composer, he draws from a spectrum of different influences and styleseverything from modern jazz and electronic music to artists as diverse as Stereolab, Joe Henderson, and Me'Shell N'Degeocello.

Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, Tordella cut his teeth in jazz and funk-oriented groups, and by performing and sitting in with local veterans like Blue Note bassist Butch Warren and former Miles Davis drummer Ricky Wellman. Tordella accepted a full-scholarship to study classical and jazz saxophone at the University of North Texas where he had the opportunity to play with Norah Jones (then a jazz piano major) and others. Upon finishing his degree, Tordella made the move from Texas to the West Coast. In San Diego, Tordella honed his composition skills with pianist Rick Helzer and studied improvisation with legendary Mingus saxophonist Charles McPherson. Since relocating to California in 2002, Tordella has been active in the local scene frequently leading his own trios and quartets, and collaborating with other artist like bassist Rob Thorsen, altoist David Negrete, guitarist Joey Carano, and pianist Joshua White. He has performed at jazz festivals in the U.S., Mexico, and Colombia.

1. Anna Street 08:01
2. Staten Island 07:50
3. Sir Edward's Lament 05:39
4. Moya 10:46
5. This Was 07:13
6. Coalition of the Willing 07:04

All compositions by Ian Tordella (SESAC) except Moya (Jeff Miles) 

Released December 15, 2015 

Ian Tordella - tenor and alto saxophone 
Jeff Miles - electric guitar 
Rob Thorsen - upright bass 
Charles Weller - drums 
Ed Kornhauser - Fender Rhodes (1, 4) 

Produced by Ian Tordella 
Recorded by Chris Hobson 
Mixed by Jordan Andreen 
Mastered by Bob Olhsson 

Recorded at Audio Design 
in San Diego, CA 
This album was recorded entirely 
on 16 track 2” analog tape 

Cover photography by Robert Sanchez

(son of Domi)

Orange Julius - Introducing Orange Julius and The Big Beat (2015)

All my life I've only known music.

My name is Julius and I am 17 years old. I've been playing music all my life and love it. I began studying classical piano while teaching myself drums at the age of 4, began playing regularly in my church at 9, and was enrolled into the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division where I have previously studied classical piano, and currently study jazz piano, drums, and composition.

My hard work has earned me recognition from the Charles Mingus High School Festival & Competition, Downbeat Student Music Awards, NAACP ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Science Olympics), the Next Generation Jazz Festival High School Competition, and NFAA's YoungArts.

I have had the wonderful priviledge to study under and work with many great musicians and teachers including: John Senakwami, Ubaldo Díaz-Acosta, Jeremy Mansia, Richard Huntley, Kenny Washington, Craig Weinrib, Sean Nowell, Ku-umba Frank Lacy, Wycliffe Gordon, Terrell Stafford, Dayna Stephens, Terri-Lyne Carrington, Jay Azzolina, Benny Green, Javon Jackson, Don Sickler, Ted Nash, Curtis Fuller, Marcus Printup, Jimmy Heath, Jason Moran, Todd Coolman, the Mingus Big Band, and many more.

My debut album, Introducing Orange Julius and the Big Beat, us now available on iTunes. Spotify, and Bandcamp.

1. New Road 06:11
2. Orion 06:41
3. Fantasy In G 05:23
4. Cruzin' Hughes 06:27
5. Never Been 05:34
6. Phase One 04:37
7. Cedar Street 06:56

Released September 27, 2015 

Wallace Roney Jr.-Trumpet 
Coleman Hughes-Trombone 
Ryan Park-Chan-Tenor Saxophone 
Isaiah J. Thompson-Piano 
Nick Dunston-Bass 
Julius Rodriguez-Drums 

Recorded by Tom Tedesco at Tedesco Studios, Paramus, NJ 
Produced by Don Sickler and Julius Rodriguez 
Mixed by Julius Rodriguez 
Photos by Chioma Nwana 

"New Road," "Fantasy In G," "Cruzin' Hughes," and "Cedar Street" written by Julius Rodriguez ©OrangeJuliusMusic 

"Orion," Never Been," and "Phase One," written by Isaiah J. Thompson ©SecondFloorMusic

(son of Domi)