Friday, December 1, 2017

John Zorn - Cobra (2017)

Disc 1

01. Opening (00:59)
02. Allegro (04:31)
03. Largo (06:13)
04. Moderato (07:41)
05. Fantasia (03:44)
06. Presto (01:39)
07. Adagio maestoso (02:39)
08. Violento (04:16)
09. Allegro scorrevole (02:35)
10. Capriccio con gusto (04:40)
11. False Start / Giocoso (00:51)
12. Scherzo (05:46)
13. Maestroso meccanico (01:21)
14. Variations / Furioso (08:40)
15. Epilogue (03:43)

Disc 2

01. Prologue / Maestoso (Live) (06:05)
02. Capriccio (Live) (13:23)
03. Prestissimo (Live) (14:03)
04. Lento / Mysterioso (Live) (09:29)
05. Allegro (Live) (10:24)

Bernat Font Trio - _Storytellers (feat. Martí Elías & Joan Motera) SWIT RECORDS 2017

This album of mostly original songs by Bernat Font brings an exciting new sound  to the jazz world. I was extremely impressed when I saw Bernat live with his trio recently in Barcelona. They have managed to capture that feeling and good vibe on this recording.

Bernat plays with great swing and technique but is also a unique and original voice on the piano. His compositions delight with their often mysterious twists and turns and never leave the listener feeling bored or unchallenged! He also is a master at using space, allowing the music to breath. Bernat Font is a welcome voice on today’s jazz scene and this recording manages to avoid licks and cliches. This is a delight in today’s music world.

Review by Ray Gelato

1. Take-off  5:16
2. Flapping Birds Dance  7:26
3. The Whole Thing  6:43
4. The Everyday Sublime  4:58
5. Up Above The Sky  4:52
6. Fire Alchemy  6:54
7. Entering A Dream  5:47
8. Like Someone In Love (piano solo)  3:49
9. K’s Tune  4:50
10. Disoriented  5:14
11. Adventures Of A Wolf Dog On A Full Moon Night  4:22

Joan Motera, double bass
Martí Elías, drums

All songs composed by Bernat Font except #8 by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen.
Recorded on September 12, 13 & 14, 2016 at Espai Sonor Montoliu. Recorded, mixed and mastered by David Casamitjana.

Fabio Zeppetella / Emmanuel Bex / Roberto Gatto / Geraldine Laurent - Chansons! (2017)

Chansons! is a musical conception similar to a diplomatic treaty or melodious embrace between cousins. Essentially, it's an innovative exchange between two neighboring worlds that have always eyed and inspired one other with reciprocal curiosity. Italy and France unite as allies on the musical front, gathering on the field four extraordinary talents: Fabio Zeppetella, Roberto Gatto, Géraldine Laurent, and Emmanuel Bex. This original quartet uniquely interprets eleven songs that best reflect the musical tradition of singer-songwriters belonging to these two countries. Starting from the highly popular jazz composer Bruno Martino, passing through the ever-present Fabrizio De André and Francesco De Gregori and arriving to Pino Daniele, another milestone; on the French scene are idols such as Jacques Brel, Leo Ferré, Yves Montand, and Joe Dassin. The quartet's interpretation is extraordinary and the songs on Chansons! enchant from beginning to end. While the harmonious complicity of Gatto, Bex, and Zeppetella is a well-known fact, the musical fluency added by the involvement of Laurent is unexpected, further enriching this innovative project.

01 E La Chiamano Estate 05:38
02 Bocca Di Rosa 05:15
03 Buonanotte Fiorellino 01:14
04 A Me Me Piace O' Blues 04:05
05 Napule È 05:09
06 Luna Rossa 06:11
07 Avec Le Temp 03:29
08 C'est Si Bon 05:03
09 L'été Indien 07:02
10 Les Temps Des Cerises 04:36
11 Le Bon Dieu 04:40

Fabio Zeppetella - guitar
Emmanuel Bex - organ, voice
Géraldine Laurent - alto sax
Roberto Gatto - drums

Rossy & Kannan Quartet (feat. Putter Smith & Jimmy Wormworth) - _play the music of Harold Arlen (SWIT RECORDS 2017)

During the decade from the mid 1920s through the mid 1930s, American popular music found its own identity, distinct from European roots. Tin Pan Allrhythm, Broadway. and later, Hollywood, began to capture the energy and rhythm of the burgeoning streets of America.

Composers like Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin. Richard Rodgers and Harold Arlen collectively created what we now refer to as the Great American Song-book. They wrote music that so profoundly resonated with the public that it was the soundtrack for the lives of people all across the country and in some cases, around the globe.

In this pantheon of great writers, Arlen is unique. He and Gershwin were far moere influenced by jazz than their compatriots. But Aelen's melodies often had a more bluesy, melancholic feeling to them, even in the uptempo numbers. And his ethereal harmonies seem to come from some other world. His compositions are singular and follow their own distinct inner logic. And yet his songs are popular songs -hit songs- with memorable melodies that want to be sung and swung.

Our quartet tries to honor the original melodies and structure of these song while offering our own interpretations. As always, our masterful rhythm players -bassist Putter Smith and drummer Jimmy Wormworth- imbue every note with a swing that is at once driving, joyful, and full of mistery. Jorge Rossy proves again that he has truly found his voice on the vibraphone. He digs into these songs with abandon and delight, constantly finding new melodies and directions.

The group maintains a strong connection to the jazz tradition that still allows each member to express his own identity fully. Of course, this IS tradition of jazz for players to swing together, cach with their own voice.

Michael Kanan

1 It's Only A Paper Moon 6:12
2 I'll Wind 6:23
3 Let's Fall In Love 4:53
4 I've Got The World On A String 5:15
5 Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive 4:42
6 Come Rain Or Come Shine 6:40
7 If I Only Had A Brain 5:03
8 The Man That Got Away 8:43
9 Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead 4:49

Van Morrison - Versatile (2017)

Written By Hal Horowitz //

No one would accuse the prolific Van Morrison of being stingy with his recorded output, but this, his 38th album, comes just over two months after his previous release.

Granted both are dominated by covers — September 2017’s Roll With The Punches tackles blues and soul classics, Versatile from November of the same year revisits jazz and vocal standards — but they also include a handful of newly penned originals. And even if he’s not singing with the unbridled passion of his younger years, evident on 1973’s career highpoint It’s Too Late To Stop Now tour recordings, neither is he phoning it in.

Here, he mixes swinging versions of George and Ira Gershwin’s “A Foggy Day” and Cole Porter’s “I Get A Kick Out Of You” with more contemplative, but no less inspired readings of “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” and a bluesy “Making’ Whoopee.” While nothing will make you forget performances of these chestnuts from crooners that made them famous (Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Nat King Cole), it’s clear Morrison isn’t coasting just to grab some late-career cash from his aging fan base, likely the only ones willing to spring for this collection composed predominantly of Rat Pack-era standards. Perhaps he could have dug a little deeper instead of adding yet another version of the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” to the existing boatload of versions that already exist, but Morrison commits himself to the tune as if he’s just discovering it, maintaining the structure while scatting around lyrics with reverence and reserve.

Better still are the six new tunes Morrison penned for this set. The easy jazz of “I Forgot That Love Existed,” the spirited kick of “Only A Dream” and the finger popping sashay of “Take it Easy Baby” may not be new standards but they aren’t lame imitations either. Van and his horn-propelled small combo capture a sure sense of sassy energy that pushes even the most laid back of these performances into compelling, if not exactly edgy territory.

This is worlds away from Rod Stewart’s often overblown, undercooked and somewhat schlocky explorations into similar material. Morrison has always been influenced by this style of music and his interpretations maintain the vitality and effervescent qualities that make them withstand decades of social, and musical, changes.  Versatile may ultimately be a minor addition to the Irish icon’s swollen catalog, yet it’s another example of Van Morrison’s inimitable flair as an interpreter and arranger. It’s hard to imagine spending over an hour with these 16 tunes and not coming away with an appreciative grin and an acknowledgement of the singer’s timeless talents.