Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Playlist for Tom Ossana / Dane Brewer – The Thin Edge – July 20, 2016 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m. ~ Use this link to access the show online

Bill Evans Trio - The Village Vanguard Sessions - (1961) MP424
Bill Evans – piano, Scott LaFaro – bass, Paul Motian – drums
1. Detour Ahead (Carter, Ellis, Freigo)

Andrew Hill - Judgment (Blue Note 1964)
Andrew Hill - Piano, Richard Davis - Bass, Bobby Hutcherson - Vibes, Elvin Jones - Drums 
4. Alfred 7:05 (Hill)

Judgment ! exhibits textured, extended solos and thoughtful That Really mess with the ideas of harmony and melody. A lot of colors show through with this group. Especially in Yokada Yokada , a whimsical take on a blues using the chromatic scale to form the melody while aussi Offering tidbits of modern aspects. For example, INSTEAD of playing the Five-to-Four-to-One turnaround ending the verse, Elvin Jones fills in with a quick solo before the group Enters in on the One chord to finish the break. This reminds me of Sol LeWitt's Incomplete Cube Series. Where the artist Removes sides of the objects, playing on the notion of how viewers can Perceive a shape while parts are lacking. And like in Yokada Yokada , the listener still perceives That bluesy lick to finish the bar-even though it's missing.  ~ Blue Note

Brad Mehldau Trio - Blues and Ballads (Nonesuch 2016) MP595
Brad Mehldau, Larry Grenadier, Jeff Ballard
I Concentrate On You (Cole Porter)

It has been four years since the Brad Mehldau Trio has released an album, but for fans of the Grammy Award-winning pianist, the wait will soon be over. Nonesuch Records will release Blues And Ballads on June 3.

The album—Mehldau’s first with his trio since 2012’sWhere Do You Start—finds the pianist in familiar yet fruitful territory, once again mining deeply through left-field pop and the Great American Songbook, but this time with a focus on blues and ballads.

The program includes Charlie Parker’s “Cheryl,” Cole Porter’s “I Concentrate On You,” The Beatles’ “And I Love Her” and “My Valentine,” which Paul McCartney composed for his 2012 album Kisses On The Bottom.

Mehldau’s bandmates in the trio are bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, who replaced the group’s original drummer, Jorge Rossy, in 2005. The trio’s discography comprises eight albums, including the five critically acclaimed Art Of The Trioalbums with Rossy, which Nonesuch compiled as a boxed set in 2011.

In November 2015, the label released a 4-CD/8-LP collection of Mehldau’s solo performances titled 10 Years Solo Live.

Blues And Ballads is available for pre-order now at iTunes and at the Nonesuch website, where an instant download of the album track “Little Person” (composed by Jon Brion) is included with purchase. — Brian Zimmerman/Downbeat Magazine

Antonio Ciacca Quintet - Volare (Cellar Live 2016)
Antonio Ciacca - piano, Cory Weeds - tenor saxophone, Benny Benack III - trumpet/vocals, Paul Gill - bass, Pete van Nostrand - drums
02 Chick's Tune (Ciacca)

When I was running the Cellar, I was approached by pianist Antonio Ciacca about presenting Italian Jazz Days at the club to showcase the musicians and songs from the great American-Italian songbook. I couldn't make it happen then.. In October 2015 Antonio brought a group to Vancouver: Antonio (the only 100% Italian in the group); bassist Paul Gill; drummer Peter Van Nostrand; and trumpeter/vocalist Benny Benack III. 

The lone non-Italian in the group was yours truly. I call myself an honorary Italian. We performed one night at the Italian Cultural Centre and then went in the studio to make Volare, The Italian American Songbook. We had an absolute ball making music together. The only new name to me in the group was Benny Benack III. He is among the young musicians living in New York who display an abundance of maturity in their playing. Benack III does not sound like a 25 year old. 

He has so much respect for the tradition, which is wonderful and unusual to see these days. Drummer Pete van Nostrand is a mainstay on the New York jazz scene and most recently can be heard playing with Cécile McLorin Savant. His drumming always subtly pushes you and has a very nice feel to it. He isn't a stranger to Cellar Live, having recorded on Steve Einerson's Arrival. Bassist Paul Gill, who also played on that recording, is the bassist of choice for numerous New York musicians. It's no secret why. He has a huge bass sound with that bounce that I love in a bass player. When it's his time to solo Paul displays the technique of a horn player, especially when he's using the bow. 

The leader of this group, Antonio Ciacca, has been living in America for nine years. He is a confident bandleader who knows exactly how he wants the music to sound and isn't afraid to tell you if he's not getting what he wants. That's the way it should be. Although he is a fantastic soloist, it's Antonio's subtle arranging and thoughtful accompaniment that really stand out for me on this recording. ~ MVD

Wolfert Brederode Trio ~ Black Ice (2016 ECM) Serah MP596
Wolfert Brederode   Piano, Gulli Gudmundsson   Double Bass, Jasper van Hulten   Drums
2. OLIVE TREE (Wolfert Brederode) 05:09

Black Ice is a nice image for Dutch pianist Wolfert Brederode’s new trio music, with its gleaming lyricism, transparency, and hint of danger, as well as sleek melodic invention both from the leader and from Icelandic bassist Gulli Gudmundsson. Brederode and Gudmundsson have collaborated often over the last two decades in contexts from free improvisation to theatre music and have a keenly honed intuitive understanding. 

Jasper van Hulten is a resourceful addition to the team, a tone-sensitive drummer adept at embellishing the sensitive musical language and sense of interplay. The album, recorded at Lugano’s Studio RSI in July 2015 and produced by Manfred Eicher, is issued as the Brederode Trio goes on tour in the Netherlands… ECM

Max Roach – Members, Don't Git Weary – Atlantic 1968/Recorded June, 1968 at RCA Studio B, New York City MP480
MAX ROACH drums, GARY BARTZ alto sax, CHARLES TOLLIVER trumpet, JYMIE MERRIT electric bass, STANLEY COWELL piano, ANDY BEY vocals (5)
6. Absolutions (Jymie Merritt)

Although Max Roach was very much a product of the be-bop revolution of the 1940s, he proved to be quite receptive to modal post-bop and avant-garde jazz in the 1960s. One of the finest post-bop dates Roach recorded during that decade was 1968's Members, Don't Git Weary, which finds the drummer leading a cohesive modal quintet that employs Gary Bartz on alto sax, Charles Tolliver on trumpet, Stanley Cowell on acoustic and electric piano, and Jymie Merritt on electric bass.

Despite the use of electric instruments, this isn't an album that emphasizes rock or funk elements or predicts the fusion explosion that was just around the corner -- Members, Don't Git Weary is very much a straight-ahead effort, and the harmonic richness of modal playing is illustrated by such gems as Cowell's "Equipoise," Bartz's "Libra," and Merritt's "Absolutions." Roach's title song boasts a memorable, gospel-influenced vocal by Andy Bey, but all of the other selections are instrumental. Originally released on LP by Atlantic in 1968, this superb album was out of print for many years before finally being reissued on CD by Kock Jazz in 1999. – Alex Henderson, All Music Guide

Cyrus Chestnut - Natural Essence (HighNote 2016) MP596
Cyrus Chestnut - piano, Lenny White - drums, Buster Williams - bass
1. Mamacita (Joe Henderson)

A consummate trio pianist whose stylistic umbra incorporates blues, bop and beyond, Cyrus Chestnut delivers a strong performance with Natural Essence, an album noteworthy for both its infectious groove-making and sweeping balladic beauty. Chestnut, who grew up playing organ in the church, keeps an ember of gospel burning throughout much of the music on this nine-track disc. That ember is often stoked into flames by the gusty encouragement of his bandmates: the articulate drummer Lenny White and the eternally solid bassist Buster Williams. 

Part of the joy in listening to this music is hearing Chestnut and his crew animate familiar standards with a fresh, soul-inspired life-force. They carve a deep, r&b-flavored groove into the Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen classic “It Could Happen To You,” and later add a shiny swing veneer to Rodgers and Hart’s “My Romance.” Even the ballad “Dedication,” a crystalline composition by White, unfolds with a sacred dignity, its elegant melodic lines unfolding with the deliberate momentum of a sermon. Bookending the set are a pair of deep tracks by two acclaimed hard-bop standard-bearers: Joe Henderson, whose “Mamacita” kicks things off with a vivacious Latin flair, and Gigi Gryce, whose “Mintority” brings the album to a roiling close. ~ BRIAN ZIMMERMAN/

Kenny Garrett ~ Do Your Dance (Mack Avenue 2016) Serah
Kenny Garrett - saxophone, flute, shruti box, Instr. percussion, vocals, Vernel Brown, Jr. - Piano, chant, Corcoran Holt - bass, McClenty Hunter, Ronald Bruner, Jr. - Drums, Rudy Bird - Instr. percussion, 
and: Donald "Mista Enz" Brown, Jr. - rap
4. Bossa (Garrett)

The first cut off five-time, Grammy-nominated alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett’s latest Mack Avenue record sounds like something out of a modern-day NWA, if the boys in the hood discovered the second coming of jazz.

“Wheatgrass Shot (Straight To The Head)” opens with a rap by Mista Enz (Donald Brown Jr., from Tennessee) hitting the the smooth jazz/African beats hard. 

The ideal jazz/hip-hop mix deals with adult subject matter, kicking back with adult beverages, dropping the flow and current cultural references (Jay-Z), overlaying an easy groove interrupted at times with an overseas outreach, the sound of a percussive bird slamming on a coconut.

Is this the same Detroit-born artist who scored a Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Instrumental Album” with the 2013 release, Pushing The World Away — his third in a Mack Avenue discography? Sure is.

Due out on July 8, 2016, Do Your Dance! celebrates jazz in all its myriad colors, shapes, and styles — the way jazz should be. While “Wheatgrass” initially sounds like a stretch, the groove’s always there and in the other original new tracks Garrett and his band present for the ultimate dance party.

People experiencing the insatiable, infectious groove of Garrett’s music have been known to literally jump to their feet and up from a balcony down to the stage to jam with the band. In the streets of Philly, at the concert halls of Spain, Barbados, Poland (the site of the balcony jumper), everywhere Garrett takes his show, the spirit of the dance groove compels people to move. It is that spirit Garrett focuses on in his fourth Mack Avenue release.

“I look out and see people waiting for the songs that they can party to and express themselves,” Garrett explained in a recent DL Media press release. “Do Your Dance! was inspired by audiences moved to rise from their seats and ‘lift a foot!’ Some are reluctant to participate because they think that others are better than they are. I tell them, ‘Do your dance.’ That means even if you have to ‘stay pocket,’ do the Funky Four Corners or the Nae-Nae, don't worry about what the other person is doing. Let it all hang out and ‘do your dance!’ On the title track we combine the spirit of a ‘70s-style beach get down with just a touch of hip-hop — ever in search of the link between the two. I had it playing while I was talking to my daughter on FaceTime. When it got to the end with that new vibe, she smiled and I thought, ‘Uh huh--gotcha!’”

Garrett inserts gotchas all over this lively dance album. But it is no simple dance. It is a celebratory, global experience, featuring Calypso, Brazilian bossa-nova rhythms, triple-time bop, and a Philly “Backyard Groove” everyone in the States can identify with.
The most modern of the tunes, “Wheatgrass,” came about after Garrett tried the natural elixir on the advice of a nurse he knew. He tried it straight, and BAM! found himself doing “contortions (another form of dance),” when the bitterness got to him. “Later, I was at the piano messing with this minor 2nd interval. 

I recognized it as a musical metaphor for that wheatgrass going upside my head! As the music took shape, I felt it needed a rap.” After the saxophonist sought names, co-producer Donald Brown (Jazz Messengers) brought up his son who raps.

Mista Enz wound up rapping on two songs, including the title track and the memorable “Wheatgrass.” “The first track Kenny emailed me sounded like they turned on a tape recorder mid-session,” Enz said, also from the press release. “I thought it was gonna be impossible to write to, but it was an honor for Kenny to consider me, so I had to make it work. I didn't have time to try the wheatgrass, so I typed it in on the Internet. Kenny told me the effect it had on him was like a ‘shot to the brain.’ I equated that to euphoria...the way a woman makes you feel. I did part of it freestyle and part of it written to stay on subject. Kenny called back and said it was exactly what he was looking for.”

Kenny Garrett’s band includes drummers Ronald Bruner Jr. and McClenty Hunter, percussionist Rudy Bird, bassist Corcoran Holt, and pianist Vernell Brown Jr.

Besides those five Grammy nominations, Garrett won one with Chick Corea and John McLaughlin’s Five Peace Band in 2010.
“It's been a whirlwind,” Garrett said of his inspiring time on the road. “Records and concerts are about me taking people on the ride I want to take them on. It can be pretty ballads, some intensity, and then we can party! When they leave, I hope they feel like we took them on a journey. 

And when they come back to see us or put that CD in the player years later, I hope people have a deeper perspective on the music than the first time.” ~ Carol Banks Weber/

Ernie Watts Quartet ~ Wheel of Time (Flying Dolphin Records 2016) MP595
Ernie Watts: tenor saxophone; Christof Saenger: piano; Rudi Engel: bass; Heinrich Koebberling: drums
1. Inner Urge (Joe Henderson)

On the Buddy Rich band's album Big Swing Face (circa 1967),Ernie Watts unleashes a blazing alto sax solo on the title track that is guaranteed to send chills up and down the spine and leave listeners wondering, "How did he do that?" Now, almost half a century later, the seventy-year-old Watts continues to weave those mind-bending solos, this time on tenor sax, onWheel of Time, a quartet date whose nine selections include four written by the leader himself and one each by the other members of the group. 

If time has tempered Watts' spirit or abraded his technical skills, it's not apparent here. He plays much as he has since his tenure with Rich or, later, bassist Charlie Haden's celebrated Quartet West, which Watts joined as a founding member in 1986. To erase any doubt of that, listen to Watts' aptly named "Velocity" or Joe Henderson's aggressive "Inner Urge." This is Watts' working quartet, European version, with whom he has been playing for more than fifteen years (Wheel of Time was recorded in Darmstadt, Germany). Unsheathing their talents while covering Watts' back are pianistChristof Saenger (versatile), bassist Rudi Engel (unwavering) and drummerHeinrich Koebberling (resourceful). 

Saenger wrote the lyrical, Latin-flavored "L'Agua Azul," Engel the easygoing "Andi's Blues," Koebberling the undulating "You and You." Completing the program are Watts' "Letter from Home," "A Distant Light" and "Wheel of Time" (the last an earnest tribute to friend and colleague Haden who died in July 2014) and Canadian pianist Adrean Farrugia's light-hearted calypso, "Goose Dance." Engel delivers an engaging solo on "Wheel," as he does on ""A Distant Light" and "Andi's Blues." Koebberling flexes his chops on "Inner Urge," and as for Saenger, he shines whenever his impressive talents are required, as they are on most numbers. 

Even so, it is Watts on whose shoulders the album essentially is borne, and they are brawny shoulders indeed. After more than half a century of sharp and spirited blowing, the maestro shows no sign that he is easing back on the throttle. In other words, Wheel of Time is vintage Watts, moderated only by wisdom and experience. ~ Jack Bowers/AAJ

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – The Jazz Messengers – Columbia 1956 MP469
Horace, Mobley, Byrd, Doug Watkins
01 Nica's Dream (Silver)

The Jazz Messengers is a 1956 album by the Jazz Messengers, released by Columbia Records. It was the last recording by the Jazz Messengers lineup featuring pianist Horace Silver.
In 1968 Columbia reissued the LP in their Jazz Odyssey Series with a new cover under the title Art Blakey with the Original Jazz Messengers. In 1997 the album was digitally remastered and released on CD, again with its original title and cover, featuring all the tracks from the original LP along with five additional tracks drawn from the same recording sessions but previously released only on foreign imports.

Wes Montgomery ~ Echoes of Indiana Avenue ~ Resonance Records 2012/Recorded 1957/58 MP537
Wes Montgomery: guitar; Monk Montgomery: bass (3); Buddy Montgomery: piano (3); Mingo Jones: bass (6-9); Earl Van Riper: piano (6-9); Sonny Johnson: drums (6--8); Melvin Rhyne: piano (1, 4), organ (2, 5); Paul Parker: drums (1, 2, 4, 5); Unknown bassist (1, 4). 
1. Darn That Dream (Delange/Van Heusen)

Not since the discovery of the Voice of America tapes of the 1957 Carnegie Hall concert by Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane has there been an event as exciting as the surfacing of this rare first recording by guitar-maestro Wes Montgomery. The Echoes of Indiana Avenue masters, procured by Montgomery fan Jim Greeninger, were offered to producer Michael Cuscuna who, in turn, brought in Zev Feldman of Resonance Records to unravel the mystery of the lost Montgomery tapes. It required a remarkable level of sleuthing in Montgomery's hometown of Indiana as well as among surviving family members, friends and musical associates to uncover the personnel. Feldman, together with George Klabin and Fran Gala—who restored the sound (with Klabin) and digitally mastered the tapes—then produced what is now, quite literally the latest, oldest-known Wes Montgomery masterpiece.

That word, "masterpiece" appears to be the only word to describe this album. The reasons: it contains nine spectacular tracks by the guitarist including a selection of remarkable live recordings from 1957/58, which precede Montgomery's hitherto first-known Riverside album; and liner notes from the likes of historians, Dan Morgenstern, the brothers—Monk and Buddy Montgomery—as well as recollections by David Baker and Pat Martino, and an excellent dissertation on the music itself by Bill Milkowski. Perhaps the only missing aspect is a blow-by-blow recording history.

And then there is the music. It is positively magical to hear Montgomery get in the groove. It is wonderful to hear the guitarist softly pluck his way through loping lines that swoop and curve in wide parabolas; leap and sweep in swinging, dancing inversions, and flutter and glide like a regal albatross hanging on a hot thermal, way above frothing and foaming harmonies from his cohorts who are also cooking up a polyrhythmic storm on piano, organ, bass and drums. There is that first breathtaking experience of Montgomery's path-breaking solo architecture that is a combination of single-note glissandi and dramatically enunciated octaves that build edifices in a grand manner. This is a first look at the legend who went from copying Charlie Christian soli note for note to the ingenious innovator who influenced every succeeding generation of guitarists, from Joe Pass, Pat Martino and George Benson to Pat Metheny, Russell Malone and Kurt Rosenwinkel. 

The charts themselves are all classic renditions, from the Latin rhythm-inflected "Diablo's Dance" through the Monk standards "Round Midnight" and "Straight No Chaser." But the most alluring of them are the trio recordings with future organ acolyte Melvin Rhyne: "Darn That Dream"; and an aching ballad and the truly noirish version of "Round Midnight." There are also unforgettable versions of "Misty," "Body and Soul" and "After Hours Blues"—which features the guitarist as never before, flexing his sinewy musical muscles on a completely improvised blues. 

This is a priceless recording that will leave the Montgomery fan and music historian breathless; both can only hope for more musical miracles like this in future. 

Stefan Karl Schmid / Philipp Brämswig - Anima (Meta Records 2015) MP596
Stefan Karl Schmid - tenor & soprano saxophones, Philipp Brämswig - guitar, Robert Landfermann - bass, Jonas Burgwinkel - drums 
10.Dream Logic (Schmid) 6:21 [deducated to Roberta O]

Stefan Karl Schmid and Philipp Brämswig poured their heart and soul into their new release, “Anima”. Recorded at the Deutschlandfunk Studios, the album draws from their long experience together as performers, which results in a clear and direct sound.

The quartet is completed by bass player Robert Landfermann and drummer Jonas Burgwinkel. All four know each other from Germany's Youth Jazz Orchestra and are now active together in several projects in Cologne's vibrant Jazz scene.

Schmid's and Brämswig's compositions are reminiscent of the exciting creations of Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner on “Heartcore”. Schmid and Brämswig, however, create this sound aesthetic acoustically. A sonic field of beautiful melodies interchanging with witty sound explorations emerges. Expect to hear more exciting music from this band in the future.

Gregory Porter ~ Take Me to the Alley (Blue Note 2016) MP595
Gregory Porter: vocals; Alicia Olatuja: vocals; Chip Crawford: piano; Aaron James: bass; Emanuel Harrold: drums; Keyon Harrold: trumpet; Yosuke Sato: alto saxophone; Tivon Pennicott: tenor saxophone; Ondrej Pivec: organ, Kim Owens, best known by his stage name Kem is a R&B/soul singer, songwriter, and producer. He was raised in Detroit, Michigan.
1. Insanity featuring Lalah Hathaway (Gregory Porter)

The ineffable charms of Gregory Porter can't help but woo and win over the ear. He's the epitome of soulful sophistication—part tender poet, part cogent preacher, fully a man of the people—and he has a voice that can make the angels weep. While we often bemoan the choices that fame's fickle index finger makes, it pointed in the correct direction this time. Gregory Porter is everything he's cracked up to be and more. 

Take Me To The Alley, Porter's follow-up to the Grammy-winning Liquid Spirit (Blue Note, 2013) and his fourth album in total, is a passion-fueled collection of music filled with inspired heart-on-sleeve meditations, from-the-mountain-top sermons, glimpses at what could've been, and musical testimonials. It's completely in keeping with his previous work—full of emotional highs and lows, built on a blend of the earthy and cosmopolitan—and just as addictive. It only takes one listen to get hooked. 

Each one of Porter's earlier albums produced a number of earworms and emotional wallops. Water (Motéma Music, 2010) gave us politically-charged fire and brimstone in the form of "1960 What?" and introspective gold in the shape of the title track; Be Good(Motéma Music, 2012) had more than its fair share of winners, from the enthusiastic, history-tracing "On My Way To Harlem" to the familial reassurances of "Real Good Hands"; and Liquid Spirit boasted a seemingly endless array of treasures—the fragile-turned-resolute "No Love Dying," the exhilarating "Liquid Spirit," the love-stricken "Water Under Bridges," and so on and so on. Take Me To The Alley, likewise, traffics in the eminently lyrical and memorable. 

Three of this album's choicest cuts come right at the top of the program. The opener—"Holding On"—finds Porter sorting out his feelings in an understated setting that's enriched by Keyon Harrold's muted trumpet. It's worlds away from the dance-friendly version of the song that he recorded with British electronic duo Disclosure. Second up is the swoon-inducing "Don't Lose Your Steam," a Stevie Wonder-worthy original with R&B, soul, funk, and rock in its DNA. Porter testifies and brings the thunder, the horns riff, the rhythm section locks in the groove, and organist Ondrej Pivec adds the glissandos and the grease. And then comes the title track, a sedate presentation that finds Porter harmonizing with Alicia Olatuja and exploring the topics of healing and spiritual renewal. 

Those three numbers, near-perfect as they are, make the album a bit top-heavy. But there are more gems to be found further on. "In Fashion," an irresistible number underscored by Chip Crawford's marcato quarter note chords and focused on a man's paranoia and obsession surrounding the dressings-up and goings-on of a woman, is one; the gospel-inflected, love-concerned "Don't Be A Fool" is another. Those looking for an explanation behind the meteoric rise and continually growing popularity of Gregory Porter need look no further. The explanation is right here in that voice and the songs it sings. ~ Dan Bilawski/AAJ

Stefano Bollani - Napoli Trip (Decca Records 2016) MP596
Ian Bang - D, Daniele Sepe - sax, Hamilton de Holanda - mandolin, Manu Katche - drums, Nico Gori - clarinette
01. 'Nu Quarto' E Luna (Nino Oliviero/Tito Manlio)

Stefano Bollani (Milan, 1972) is one of the most personal and irreverent pianists of the current European jazz scene. The Italian pianist, with a record catalog of over thirty titles, will release his new album on Saturday June 4 at the Auditorio Conde Duque, 'Napoli Trip', a tribute to the city of Naples that will prolong the activities of music, theater and dance scheduled in the series 'Solstice in Conde Duque', to be held during the month of June. the new album by composer and Milan interpreter is the first to be published in Spain, hand Decca-Universal. the performance will place from 20pm, with free entrance until full capacity after removing invitation an hour before at the box office center. 

The Italian pianist Stefano Bollani belongs to that generation of young European musicians who feels equally identified with American jazz, European music and folk music, contributing to their shows large doses of humor. throughout his career he has worked with stars like Pat Metheny, Michel Portal, Paolo Fresu, Richard Galliano, Phil Woods, Caetano Veloso, Chick Corea and , especially with his mentor, trumpeter Enrico Rava Bollani is a real star in Italy; when he is not acting in the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, at La Scala in Milan or the Orchestre National de Paris, writes books, plays or offers jam sessions television in its program 'Holds Bollani' of Rai3. A prolific, eclectic, fun ... Stefano Bollani reinvents stereotypes in their live for twelve years, obsessed with the idea of conveying to the public the same feeling of joy he experiences playing, because as he himself points out, "is cheaper than going to a psychoanalyst". ~ Republic of Jazz

Jane Monheit - The Songbook Sessions - Ella Fitzgerald (Emerald City Records 2016) MP594
Jane Monheit: vocals; Nicholas Payton: trumpet (1-5, 6-11), piano (11), organ (11, 12); Michael Kanan: piano (1-11); Neal Miner: bass (1-11); Rich Montalbano: drums (1-11); Daniel Sadowrick: percussion (1-11); Brandee Younger: harp (5,12)
4. Something's Gotta Give (4:53) [Johnny Mercer]

"Something's Gotta Give" is a popular song with words and music by Johnny Mercer in 1954.[1] It was published in 1955. It was written for and first performed by Fred Astaire in the 1955 musical film Daddy Long Legs, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1955 as Best Original Song, losing to Love is a Many Splendored Thing.

The song playfully uses the irresistible force paradox – which asks what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object – as a metaphor for a relationship between a vivacious woman and an older, world-weary man. The man, it is implied, will give in to temptation and kiss the woman. The song's lyrics echo the plot of Daddy Long Legs, in which a reserved man in his 50s (Astaire) falls in love with a woman in her early 20s (Leslie Caron). ~ Wiki

Jazz, like any art, is a rich loam of inspiration and direction. A given contemporary artist has many options for smartly programmed recordings centered on paying tribute. It may be homage to a repertoire, a selected composer, or a particular peer within their own musical neighborhood.Cassandra Wilson's recent Coming Forth By Day (Sony Legacy, 2015) is only one of the most recent such recording addressing the music of Billie Holiday. Holiday has been the focus of many homage recordings. Certainly, she cannot be considered a stylistic black hole robbing equal talent of similar recognition. 

Composer and writer Chris Becker, in his book Freedom of Expression: Interviews with Women in Jazz (Beckeresque, 2015) gave a brief history of jazz in general and of women in jazz, in particular. When beginning, to address the singers, he entitled the section, "Lady Day, Ella, and Others..." 

Lady Day and Ella. 

Billie Holiday has already been mentioned. But what of Ella Fitzgerald? Becker mentions only her in the same breath as Holiday. That both were giants is beyond question. Do the two compare? Holiday was a firebrand iconoclast with a singing style so unique, she was, like Louis Armstrong, to influence all vocalist who came after them. Fitzgerald possessed a natural technical ability she honed to a perfection other singers are still chasing. She shares Armstrong with Holiday in that Fitzgerald bettered "scat" singing, setting the bar higher than even its creator. One can scarcely think of jazz singing without either of them. 

Gratefully, we are entering a period where the great Ella Fitzgerald and her legacy are beginning to realize their just desserts. There has been a notable spate of recent releases with Ms. Fitzgerald as the focus. One of the first of these recordings is Jane Monheit'sSongbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald. Monheit re-inaugurates Fitzgerald's own very popular songbook series, those recordings where Fitzgerald featured the likes of Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Duke Ellington, and Irving Berlin on a single release, with her own dedication to the "First Lady of Song." A slightly different endeavor than honoring the composer, honoring the interpretive artist is every bit as justifiable if not more so, particularly in the case of a talent as supreme has Fitzgerald's. 

Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald is a tale of two titans, Monheit and Nicholas Payton, who arranged and played trumpet on a majority of the selections. Payton, through is svelte arranging, created an accurate picture of what jazz is supposed to sound like in the near future. Compare the 1960s television show Lost in Space to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (Warner Brothers, 1982). Lost in Space's vision of the future was foolish hyperbole to the point of being campy. The "futuristic" clothing and technology was overwrought and inaccurate. In Blade Runner, there existed remnants of things that would have been familiar to anyone living 100 years before (Harrison Ford's noir trench coat, fedora, earth tone shirt and tie, for example). Payton's deft touch is similar to that of Scott's in that he makes the songs performed here sound out of the present ordinary while not jettisoning them into unrecognizability. 

Monheit's elastic voice is comparable only to that of Betty Carter. A contemporary specialist with the Great American Songbook, Monheit is an aural encyclopedia of singing styles blended into her own vision. In the same way that Payton quotes Sonny Rollin's "Sonnymoon for Two" on "All of You," Monheit quotes the style of Phoebe Snow from 1975's "Poetry Man." There are examples of this synergy between Monheit and Payton throughout this recording. On the lengthy medley "I Was Doing All Right/Know Your Now," Payton quotes "he Girl from Ipanema" and "If I Only Had a Brain" in the same solo phrase. Monheit, for her part, combines the diction of Fitzgerald with the occasional slurred, dragging phrasing of Holiday to approximate Sarah Vaughan in Heaven, all the while sounding like only Monheit can. 

The repertoire is classic Ella. Superbly articulated Ellington-Strayhorn, "Chelsea Mood" rubs up against an insistent and sexy "Something's Gotta Give." This performance of "I've Got You Under My Skin" competes with Beat Kaestli's performance of the same on his 2010 Invitation (Chesky Records) for best original arrangement while Monheit's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" is as emotionally wrenching as any song could be sung. Perhaps the best thing about Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald is the title, one that promised more of the same. And that is good...very good. ~ C. Michael Bailey/AAJ

Branford Marsalis Quartet - Upward Spiral (Marsalis Music 2016) MP596
Branford Marsalis: saxophones; Joey Calderazzo: piano; Eric Revis: bass; Justin Faulkner: drums; Kurt Elling: vocals
12. The Return (Upward Spiral) (Joey Calderazzo (music), Kurt Elling (lyrics)

To one extent or another, jazz has always maintained a discriminatory dividing line between vocalists and instrumentalists. Instead of being viewed as equals—artists on par with all the rest, possessing the same good sense, skill, and stake in an artistic outcome—vocalists have often been unfairly stigmatized and interned in a separate category. But all of that has slowly been changing, due in no small part to a large and continually growing crop of vocalists who are consistently raising the bar. 

For the past two decades, the one and only Kurt Elling has been a central figure in that category. He's both world-wise and street smart in his moves, able to touch on highbrow topics and base emotions with equal success. There's been a hint of vanity in some of his fine art, but it's never there without just cause. The man acknowledges his influences but remains a school of one, a force of nature who's capable of covering more ground than almost anybody. There's simply nobody else who's better suited to enter into an artistic agreement with one of jazz's most outspoken personalities—saxophonist Branford Marsalis.

Whether on or off the bandstand, Marsalis doesn't mince words or ideas. Due to that fact, few vocalists are really up to the challenge of entering his orbit and thriving in such a climate. In Elling, however, Marsalis has found one who's every bit his match. The saxophonist and his quartet mates are able to telescope focus toward Elling's warm, strong, and pliant voice, and Elling is able to accentuate the inherently melodic and lyrical qualities in this group's work. The beauty in Marsalis' music isn't cited often enough, as many tend to focus exclusively on the edgier side of his sound. This project rectifies that problem. 

This playlist is as eclectic as one might expect given the architects at the drawing board. Everybody from saxophonist Sonny Rollins to vocalist Elis Regina and pianist Fred Herschto poet Calvin Forbes is referenced in one way or another, and the music is suffused with graciousness, beauty, and, on occasion, heartbreak. Elling dons the face of Mr. Charisma on "There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York," maintains his status as the heir toMark Murphy's throne of hip on "Doxy," delves into modern jazz Americana on Hersch's "West Virginia Rose," and plays it cool as the breeze on "Só Tinha De Ser Com Você." Through every one of those turns, Marsalis and company are right there with him, exploring every little and large event with the utmost respect for the music and the contributions of one another. 

Understatement serves as a source of strength in much of this music, and fragility is as strong a lure as any of the aforementioned qualities. Case in point is Sting's "Practical Arrangement," a song that elicits an incredibly strong emotional response. That number alone is worth the price of admission, and it's not the only tearjerker. The Marsalis-Elling duo take on "I'm A Fool To Want You," while delivered with more poise and less vulnerability, belongs in the same category. 

While there are far more ambitious outings in the respective discographies of both of these marquee names, there's nothing more arresting in either man's portfolio. Beauty becomes these musicians. They carry the torch of grace to the heavens in their own inimitable upward spiral. ~ Dan Bilawski/AAJ

Bill Evans ~ Some Other Time (1968/2016 Resonance HCD) ~ Juan Duran Uña MP594
Bill Evans ~ piano, Eddie Gomez ~ bass, Jack DeJohnette ~ drums
1. You’re Gonna Hear From Me (3:32) [André Previn and Dory Previn]

Los Angeles, March 8, 2016 - Resonance Records is pleased to announce the release of Bill EvansSome Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest, a previously unknown and extremely rare studio album by the Bill Evans Trio recorded on June 20, 1968 by legendary German jazz producers Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer and Joachim-Ernst Berendt. Resonance will release this album — which has never before been issued in any form — on Saturday April 16, 2016 in a special limited-edition hand-numbered two-LP set on Record Store Day, and will release a deluxe two-CD set and a digital edition on April 22, 2016.
Zev Feldman of Resonance Records may just be the world's greatest jazz detective. He is quickly developing a reputation as the Indiana Jones of jazz. 

His uncanny ability to unearth hidden treasures — recordings no one has heard; indeed, recordings that no one imagined existed — is unmatched today. Once again, Feldman's dogged determination in the pursuit of great jazz recordings combined with label head George Klabin's unstinting support and guidance has borne fruit in the discovery and release of this remarkable new Bill Evans album, Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest.

Resonance Records is thrilled to bring this important addition to Bill Evans's legacy to the world, a recording that constitutes the only extant studio recording of the Bill Evans Trio in the iteration that featured drummer Jack DeJohnette together with bassist Eddie Gomez, a version of Evans's trio that only existed for six months in 1968.

Feldman discovered this previously unknown recording by chance. In April, 2013 in Bremen, Germany at the JazzAhead trade conference, he happened to meet a son of late great German jazz producer, Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer (familiarly known as HGBS), the founder of the legendary jazz label, MPS. While comparing notes with the younger Mr. Brunner-Schwer, Feldman discovered that HGBS's family had in its archive an unreleased studio album by the Bill Evans Trio featuring Eddie Gomez and Jack DeJohnette.

After hearing one track on a car stereo in the parking lot outside the convention hall, Feldman was bound and determined to acquire the album for Resonance. He was convinced the world had to hear this music, which represents an under-documented chapter in Bill Evans's creative journey. Bill Evans studio albums are rare in themselves and this particular make-up of the Evans trio, which was only together for six months, had never recorded in the studio; the only recording of this particular group that's been available is a live concert recording made at the Montreux Jazz Festival five days earlier that was released on Verve.

This album sat virtually unnoticed for nearly fifty years in part because of the way it came into existence in the first place. It had been recorded on the spur of the moment. Noted German Jazz producer and writer Joachim-Ernst Berendt had heard the Evans Trio's performance at the Montreux Festival and was so impressed, he urged both HGBS and Bill Evans's manager, Helen Keane, to bring the trio to HGBS's MPS studio in Villingen in the Black Forest to record between tour stops during June of 1968. The hastily thrown-together recording agreement provided that no release could be made without certain approvals. After all, Bill Evans was under contract to another label. As time passed, contractually, no one seemed to have picked up the ball, so nothing happened. So the tapes sat. And they sat out-of-sight, out-of-mind in an archive in the Black Forest, a location far from Bill Evans's and Helen Keane's normal ambit. After some years with the tapes all but forgotten, the principals all died. Evans, Helen Keane and Berendt were all gone by 2000, and HGBS passed away in 2004. By then, the album had become, in effect, a forgotten historical relic.

Fast forward to 2013 and enter premier jazz detective Zev Feldman, who never loses an opportunity to explore what unknown recordings may exist when he meets someone with a connection to jazz. He met a member of the Brunner-Schwer family and with a little digging and a lot of determination, he found himself on the trail of another historically significant unknown jazz recording begging to be released.

It wasn't a simple matter to bring this music to the public, but once Feldman knew this album existed, he was unflagging in his determination to make it happen. When he finally heard the entire album, he describes the experience as revelatory: "It blew my mind to hear it. THIS was why George [Klabin] sent me half way around the world to Germany: to search out rare recordings like THIS." After several trips to Europe to shepherd the project forward, in 2015, deals were finally struck with all the necessary parties and Resonance was able to move forward with the release.

Bill Evans is one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz. In his essay for the album package, journalist, author and jazz historian Marc Myers describes Evans's career as comprising four distinct periods or stylistic phases. 

The first of these Myers describes as Evans's "jazz apprentice years," a period that extended from 1953 to 1961, during which time, he performed often as a sideman, but also began recording as a leader. 

The second period, which Myers styles Evans's "swinging romantic" period spanned from 1961 through 1966, where he began to come into his own as a force in jazz. This was followed by a period Myers calls Evans's "percussive poet" phase, which Myers maintains was propelled by the introduction of bassist Eddie Gomez into Evans's musical milieu. 

The percussive poet period lasted until 1978. Myers refers to Evans's artistic phase during the last four years of his life from 1978 to 1982  as his "lost soul" years.

This album captures Bill Evans at an important, yet relatively under-recorded time in his career. Myers describes it as an important document that sheds light on Evans’s transition from swinging romantic to percussive poet. And although Eddie Gomez was to remain a colleague of Bill Evans's for many years and a collaborator with him on numerous recordings, because of the discovery of this album featuring the Evans trio with the addition of Jack DeJohnette, Myers believes that there is now a much more solid basis for considering this brief association as an important chapter in the Evans saga. Myers writes:
The material also brings into relief Evans’s all-too-brief encounter with Mr. DeJohnette, a member of Evans's trio for just six months in 1968. During that time, his tender, kinetic drum­ming style caught Evans' ear, educating him on the interplay possible when percussive fig­ures are feathery and challenging.

[Up until now, the only commercially available recordings of Evans and DeJohnette have been scarce]; hardly enough to evaluate Mr. DeJohnette's contribution to the trio or his influence.

With the addition of The Lost Session From the Black Forest, we have a more complete pic­ture of Mr. DeJohnette’s impact. During the musical discourse between Mr. DeJohnette and Evans, we hear clearly the sound that Evans wanted on drums going forward. 

In short, Mr. DeJohnette's swarm of gentle, abstract snare figures and pesky cymbal rustlings created a dramatic and provocative backdrop without encroaching on Evans' lyrical narrative.

In his essay included in the album package, Friedhelm Schulz, the current managing director of HGBS Studios, makes some observations regarding the significance of Bill Evans recording in MPS's Villingen studio with HGBS. 

Schulz writes: "In 1968 Bill Evans already had the delicate, sophisticated, searching approach that was his trademark and which established his reputation as an exceptional pianist and a star on the piano jazz horizon. No pianist before him had such expressive power and such varied moods and feelings as Evans. Perfectly and appropriately complementing his sensitivity were bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Jack DeJohnette. 

Now Evans was in the Black Forest, where beginning in the early 60s, Oscar Peterson played regularly in the living room of producer Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer, a man who had a reputation for innovative recording tech­niques. Even Duke Ellington had come there and was persuaded to record a spontaneous session in 1965 in the same living room."

Bill Evans Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest, was produced by Zev Feldman along with executive producer George Klabin. Sound restoration is by Fran Gala and Klabin. The exceptional package was designed by Burton Yount.
On behalf of the Resonance Records family, Producer Zev Feldman adds, "We at Resonance are thrilled to be able to share this important new document with the world, one that sheds light on a previously little-known phase in Bill Evans's career. 

That it was recorded at the historic MPS studio by the great Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer makes it all the more special for me, because I've been a big fan of MPS and HGBS for as long as I've been collecting records. And I want to thank everyone who made it happen — the Bill Evans Estate, the Brunner-Schwer family, Friedhelm Schulz, Eddie Gomez, Jack DeJohnette, Marc Myers, all the photographers and their representatives, Burton Yount, everyone at Universal Music Group and JazzInstitut Darmstadt, everyone at Resonance Records who helped shape this release, and finally above all, I want to thank George Klabin who made it all possible."

2. Woman's Intuition (Ned Washington)

Kenney worked early in life for Western Union as a telephone birthday singer. After moving to New York City, she recorded a demo in 1954 with Tony Tamburello; the demo was released in its entirety in 2006 by SSJ Records in 2006 under the title Snuggled on Your Shoulder. By the end of the year she had moved to Miami, where she landed a recurring engagement at the Black Magic Room. Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey heard her and took her on tour in the orchestra they co-led; she worked with them for several months before breaking off to move back to New York. Upon her return, she worked in clubs with George Shearing, Don Elliott, and Kai Winding; After a short tour of the Midwest with Larry Sonn, she signed to Roost Records and released her first album in 1956. This recording, Beverly Kenney Sings for Johnny Smith with the quartet of the legendary jazz guitarist Johnny Smith, was a substantial success and as a result she was awarded a residency at the infamous Birdland jazz club, where she was accompanied by theLester Young Quintet.[1] Her second release was Come Swing with Me, and Jimmy Jones led an ensemble behind her for her third and final release for Roost in 1957.[citation needed]

She moved to Decca Records, and released three further LPs with them, including Beverly Kenney Sings For Playboys (1958), Born to Be Blue (1959), and Like Yesterday (1959). Beverly Kenney Sings For Playboys featured liner notes by Steve Allen, which praised Kenney's vocal style and stated, "A word to Playboys: I would not recommend this album as Music to Make the Romantic Approach By. You’re apt to get more interested in Beverly than the girl you’re trying to impress."[2]

Kenney was a critically acclaimed musician, but she saw little widespread acceptance, due at least in part to the burgeoning rock & roll movement. She had an intense personal dislike for this music, even going so far as to compose a song called "I Hate Rock and Roll", which she performed on The Steve Allen Show on May 18, 1958.

On April 13, 1960, Kenney committed suicide by an overdose of alcohol and seconal. She was 28 years old. ~ Wiki

Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette : Setting Standards (Standards I+II, Changes) – ECM 2008 MP387
Keith Jarrett :  piano, Gary Peacock: double-bass,  Jack DeJohnette: drums
Meaning Of The Blues (Bobby Troup/Leah Worth)


You could say I was using good judgment returning to pianist Andrew Hill's 1964 Blue Note Judgment. Bobby Hutcherson, Richard Davis and Elvin Jones join Hill in a performance of Hill's "Alfred." I don't think he was thinking of Alfred Hitchcock. New from Nonesuch, Brad Mehldau Trio's Blues and Ballads follows with a cover of Cole Porter's "I Concentrate on You." Antonio Ciacca Quintet - Volare (Cellar Live 2016) is next with "Chick's Tune" a Ciacca penned tribute to Chick Corea. Wolfert Brederode Trio's Black Ice bring this half to a close with Wolfert's "Olive Tree."

Max Roach's 1968 Atlantic Members, Don't Git Wary kicks off the second half with a cover of Jymie Merrit's "Absolutions." Gary Bartz, a personal favorite, joins Charles Tolliver (tr), Jymie Merrit (b) and Stanley Cowell (p). New from High Note comes Cyrus Chestnut's Natural Essence in a cover of Joe Henderson's "Mamacita." Alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett's Do Your Dance, new from Mack Avenue, follows in a performance of "Bossa" featuring Vernel Brown Jr. on the piano. Speaking of Joe Henderson, tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts Quartet's Wheel of Time closes this half covering Mr. Henderson's "Inner Urge" with help from Christof Saenger's piano trio.

My first experience with Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream" [(The Jazz Messengers – The Jazz Messengers) Columbia 1956] occurred when I was watching, goggles in place, thermonuclear explosions in the Marshall Islands (Eniwetok). The soloists - Horace, Donald Byrd and Hank Mobley - were divine. I'm dedicating this third-half to "Dreams," a subject my sister, Roberta, spent a quarter century publishing Dream Network, a dream magazine. Next comes a J. D. Moffat favorite, Wes Montgomery, and his previously unreleased 1957/58 recording Echoes of Indiana Avenue, brought up from the basement by our friends at Resonance Records. The guitarist is joined by brothers Monk (b) and Buddy (p), among others, in a cover of Delange/Van Heusen's "Darn that Dream." Stefan Karl Schmid/Philipp Brämswig - Anima (Meta Records 2015) closes this dreamy half-hour with Schmid's "Dream Logic" with Stefan's tenor, Philipp's guitar and Robert Landfermann - bass, Jonas Burgwinkel - drums.


Gregory Porter informs us of the complexity of Romance with his composition, "Insanity," from his new Blue Note Take Me to the Alley. Gregory sings in an ensemble backed duet with Lalah Hathaway. Our favorite Italian pianist, Stefano Bollani, is next with "'Nu Quarto' E Luna" ("The Quarter-Moon) from his Decca Records 2016 release Napoli Trip. 

Backing Bollani are Jan Bang - D, Daniele Sepe - sax, Hamilton de Holanda - mandolin, Manu Katché - drums, Nico Gori - clarinet. Jane Monheit's The Songbook Sessions - Ella Fitzgerald (Emerald City Records 2016) follows with an Ella tinged "Something's Gotta Give" with Nicholas Payton's trumpet leaning in the direction of the early 40s. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis' Quartet recruits Kurt Elling's voice in a performance of Joey Calderazzo/Kurt Elling's "The Return (Upward Spiral)" from the Marsalis Music Upward Spiral. Joey Calderazzo: piano; Eric Revis: bass; Justin Faulkner: drums round out the quartet. 

Also from our friends at Resonance Records we get the previously unreleased 1968 Some other Time from the hugely influential piano of Bill Evans. The trio features Bill's piano, Eddie Gomez's bass and Jack DeJohnette's drums covering André and Dory Previn's "You're Gonna Hear from Me." Bringing this romantic love-fest to a close is Beverly Kenney's 1958 Decca Sings for Playboys covering Ned Washington's "Woman's Intuition." On April 13, 1960, Kenney committed suicide by an overdose of alcohol and seconal. She was 28 years old. 

She remains a cult figure in Japan, where all of her albums have been reissued to CD and have remained in print steadily. The "Playboys" and Las Vegas/Hollywood culture unraveled the innocence of this wonderfully naïve jazz singer.

Aside from that doleful rambling, let's have some fun!

Thanks to Music Director Serah and friends around the world for the program's content.