Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band - Beautiful Sunshine (2016)

Source: Jazz Police
Genre: Avant-garde / Modern Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

It was a chilly night in late April 2014 when drummer Cory Healey brought a new band to Studio Z. This was following the most recent “polar vortex winter” and Cory thought the band should have a name like “Unique Beautiful Snowflake.” Tired of snow, however, an audience member requested “sunshine”, and the ensemble became Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band. It’s been a milder winter but Beautiful Sunshine, Healey’s debut recording, is nevertheless most welcome, especially given the talents of Healey and his cohorts, Brandon Wozniak on sax, Jake Baldwin on trumpet, Zacc Harris on guitar, and Erik Fratzke on electric bass.

With his “Beautiful Sunshine Band,” drummer Cory “The Healer” Healey expanded his original 4-Tet, adding saxophone to the trumpet/guitar/bass/drum ensemble. The Iowa native moved to the Twin Cities about 3 years ago after stints in Chicago and New York. His unique and versatile style of drumming led to performance opportunities in a wide range of genres and touring extensively in North America and Europe. While in Chicago, Cory performed regularly with Windy City ensembles, including Fareed Haque’s Flat Earth Ensemble, neopsychodelic-post rock jazz group Algernon, and W.W. Lowman. Healey also has performed with a number of leading international artists, including Kenny Wheeler, Dr. Lonnie Smith, John Abercrombie, and David Berkman. In addition to fronting his own bands, Cory has appeared locally with the Bryan Nichols Quartet, Adam Linz’s Le Percheron, Chris Bates Trio, the Jon Pemberton Trio, and more.  Read more...

1. Ubiquitous Condiments 03:15
2. Ralphy 06:31
3. Cheerleader 05:33
4. Aragon 04:03
5. Wintry Mix 05:22
6. Wheel 05:03
7. Omens 07:31
8. Jerry's DX 01:25
9. Last Thursday 10:43
10.With God On Our Side 06:59
11.Wheel Remix 01:41

Cory Healey (drums & electronics)
Erik Fratzke (bass)
Zacc Harris (guitar & effects)
Jake Baldwin (trumpet)
Brandon Wozniak (tenor saxophone)




Jason Palmer & Cédric Hanriot - City of Poets (2016)

Source: Allaboutjazz
Genre: Modern Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

The formal structure of this album recorded live at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club on September 23, 2014, centres around Olivier Messiaen's Seven modes of limited transposition, musical modes or scales that fulfil specific criteria relating to their symmetry and the repetition of their interval groups. As with George Russell's Lydian chromatic concept of tonal organization much has been written about this, so this review will confine itself exclusively to the music.

The titles of the nine pieces take their origins from US author Dan Simmons' four-novel science fiction series Hyperion Cantos, reflecting Simmons' literary themes of pilgrimage, not unlike a modern day or futuristic Canterbury Tales.

Co-leader Jason Palmer has been a ubiquitous name on the jazz scene for 15 years, working with names such as Herbie Hancock and Jack DeJohnette. He also played on virtuoso bassist and producer Michael Janisch's highly acclaimed CD Paradigm Shift (2015) and Janisch's 2009 debut album Purpose Built both released on Whirlwind Recordings. City Of Poets also acts as a follow-up to French pianist and co-leader Cédric Hanriot's 2011 album French Stories which featured Terri Lyne Carrington and John Patitucci.

The opener, "The Priest's Tale (Mode II)" with a backdrop of pulsating rhythm including Michael Janisch on bass guitar, Donny McCaslin's fiery tenor saxophone solo borders on late-period John Coltrane such is its ferocity. The mood calms down for "The Soldier's Tale (Mode IV)" with Janisch reverting to double bass and Cédric Hanriot producing a keenly absorbing piano solo, his stylistic influences seemingly ranging from (but not limited to) Bill Evans to Ahmad Jamal. A Palmer trumpet solo follows and he is heard again, soloing alone on the brief "The Poet's Tale (Intro)" which naturally segues into "The Poet's Tale" and here Donny McCaslin gives another serpentine tenor solo. It's also here that in-demand percussionist Clarence Penn is heard employing fractured call and response bursts of dramatic drumming.

The languid "The Scholar's Tale (Mode III)" sees Janisch back on bass guitar and Palmer evincing a mellifluous solo. On the short "The Detective's Tale (Intro)" it's Janisch's turn to solo, here on pizzicato double bass, which serves as an introduction to "The Detective's Tale" in which its elegant ensemble opening is pursued by another strident Hanriot solo (and given due appreciation by the audience). "The Consul's Tale (Mode VI)" opens with wistful piano and trumpet and continues in that ruminative vein via solos from McCaslin and Palmer. The set concludes with a robust "The Shrike" again with Penn producing some more melodramatically staccato-like drumming and Palmer leading the solos with forcefully vibrant trumpet, followed by rapidly alternating McCaslin and Hanriot solos.

It surely must have been a great gig to witness, because with the combination of excellent compositions, outstanding solos and a band of internationally renowned musicians performing on absolutely top form, the enthusiastic audience response heard occasionally between tracks was clear confirmation of the unequivocal success of the performance.  Roger Farbey

1. The Priest’s Tale (Mode II)
2. The Soldier’s Tale (Mode IV)
3. The Poet’s Tale (Intro)
4. The Poet’s Tale (Mode V)
5. The Scholar’s Tale (Mode III)
6. The Detective’s Tale (Intro)
7. The Detective’s Tale (Mode VII)
8. The Consul’s Tale (Mode VI)
9. The Shrike (Mode I)

Cédric Hanriot - piano
Jason Palmer - trumpet
Donny McCaslin - tenor saxophone
Michael Janisch - double & electric bass
Clarence Penn - drums



Jasper Høiby - Fellow Creatures (2016)


Source: Allaboutjazz
Genre: Modern Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★☆

Taking a break from his highly (and justifiably) praised trio Phronesis, virtuoso bassist Jasper Hoiby described the rationale for Fellow Creatures thus: "it's been a dream of mine for a while to start a larger ensemble and to have the option of writing for two melody instruments as well as the trio."

Høiby also regards the album in three ways; first he wanted to tell a story with a whole album, establishing a relationship between the album and its listeners by enticing them to play it over and over again so that they became intimately familiar with the music. Secondly, the titles are inspired by author Naomi Klein's 2014 best-selling book "This Changes Everything," whose politically-charged environmental propositions are shared by Høiby. Finally the album is dedicated to Høiby's sister Janette who passed away earlier this year.

Høiby describes the music presented here as "less explosive" (than Phronesis), which it certainly is. From the start, the pastoral "Folk Song" is nearer the writing of Jan Garbarek with its delicate melody introduced by Polar Bear's Mark Lockheart on tenor saxophone and rising British jazz star Laura Jurd, heard here on flugelhorn. By contrast, the ensuing title track gathers pace, with Jurd here producing some feisty trumpet runs interspersed by Lockheart's brazen tenor.

On "World Of Contradictions" the melody evinced by the two horns is played over Will Barry's deft piano line which dominates the piece. Again Barry is heard leading "Little Song For Mankind" over an inexorably building ensemble and the piece is enhanced by Corrie Dick's subtle drumming. "Song For The Bees" signals a heart- warming break from previous numbers with Jasper Hoiby's pizzicato bass vamp evincing an almost Calypso-like rhythm. Corrie Dick's drums create a vital backdrop to the hypnotic "Tangible" whereas the shorter "Collective Spaces," led by the twin horns, is imbued by a contrapuntal pre-electric Ornette Coleman feel.

The tranquil "Suddenly, Everyone" affords ample soloing opportunities for Lockheart, Jurd and Høiby, whereas "Before" beginning with a staccato riff, is a lithe double bass and tenor sax duet breaking down into a more regular rhythmic pattern courtesy of Høiby's obligato bass line over which Lockheart solos before both instruments erratically take up the riff once more, slowing to a conclusion.

The final track "Plastic Island," beginning with laughing and growling voices, is the most strident of all the numbers, an ensemble riff played over a contrasting piano melody and insistent rhythm. Jasper Hoiby's wistful yet vibrant compositions are uniformly irresistible and with excellent performances all round, this seductively addictive album is going to yield frequent and satisfying plays. So, measured by that criterion, Høiby's intentions have been most definitely realised.  Roger Farbey

Folk Song
Fellow Creatures
World Of Contradictions
Little Song For Mankind
Song For The Bees
Collective Spaces
Suddenly Everyone
Plastic Island

JASPER HØIBY double bass, composer
LAURA JURD trumpet






Gabriel Vicéns - Days (2015)

Source: Cdbaby
Genre: Modern Creative
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

A recording that features energetic, rock-influenced Jazz by one of Puerto Rico’s leading guitarists and his top-flight band; featuring musicians such as Alex Sipiagin, David Sanchez and Paoli Mejias.

Some musicians hone their craft slowly and patiently. Others move in leaps and bounds. Puerto Rican-born Gabriel Vicéns belongs in the latter group, as his second album, “Days”, clearly shows.

The guitarist’s “Point In Time”, was warmly received by critics upon its release in 2012, garnering five-star reviews. “Days”, however, marks the young musician’s further evolution, both as a guitar player and as a composer of powerful rock- and Latin- influenced Jazz tunes.

“Days” will be release under Inner Circle Music, the label created by influential saxophonist Greg Osby to promote creative art produced by idealist thinkers.

A distinguished graduate from Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, Vicéns is nowadays Professor at Universidad Interamericana in San Juan. He is widely viewed as one of the leading lights of the young generation of Puerto Rican jazz players.

"When I write, I’m moved by a particular emotion or something that´s happening in my life”, says the musician, born in the Guaynabo municipality. “Obviously, I also do it thinking about the musicians that will play my tunes and the roles each one of them will have in the final product”. But emotion comes first.

True to its concept, “Days” mirrors the day-to-day experiences that shape Vicéns life as a human being. And as the music makes explicit, that day-to-day is full of jubilant, expansive and vibrant moments, which are also shared by other great musicians with a particular affinity to Vicéns’ view.

The album boasts no less than three world-famous invitees, Russian trumpet titan Alex Sipiagin (who co-produced “Days”), Puerto Rican tenor sax star David Sánchez and percussionist Paoli Mejías, a full-time member of Santana’s band. It also includes a veritable “who’s who” of young Puerto Rican jazz masters: Jonathan Suazo on alto sax, Bienvenido Dinzey on piano, Dan Martínez on bass and Leonardo Osuna on drums.

“Days” features modern jazz that is based on tradition, but never copies it; in any case, tradition works in this album as the starting point for Vicéns’ personal explorations. And there are many delights to savor here, from the strong personality of the compositions to the constantly high level of creativity in the solos, the total commitment of the musicians, a really tight band and, perhaps most importantly, the assertive, positive vibe of the whole session.

That vibe can be felt from the first cut, “El Teatro”, a tune slightly reminiscent of Wayne Shorter’s “Yes or No”. A fiery and fluid solo by Sipiagin, followed by Sánchez and Vicéns wise ideas, launch the magnificent improvisations contained in this recording. On the second, namesake tune, Vicéns shows he has developed his own voice on the guitar, with attractive, sinewy lines that grab the listener´s ear.

Other highlights include “Amintiri”, a timeless guitar-piano duo; the deep melodic imagination of “Doing Circles”; and the intense, expert solos on “Breaking Through Shadows” and “Justice”.

“Jazz gives you freedom to do as you please”, says Gabriel Vicéns. “It’s not just a style. It´s real freedom of expression. It´s in constant evolution as a genre. It´s the constant search of new things”.

With the release of “Days”, this outstanding musician shows he embodies that continuous evolution, as he finds new ways of expressing his ideas with wit, creativity and passion. It´s an album destined to become a landmark of Jazz made in Puerto Rico –or anywhere else.

El Teatro
Prelude to Amintiri
Doing Circles
Breaking Through Shadows

Gabriel Vicéns: guitar
Jonathan Suazo: alto saxophone
David Sanchez: tenor saxophone
Alex Sipiagin: trumpet and flugelhorn
Bienvenido Dinzey: piano
Dan Martinez: bass
Leonardo Osuna: drums
Paoli Mejias: congas and shaker