Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Joe Haider Trio - Waltz for Ever (DOUBLE MOON RECORDS 2018)

Worth Listening to Again and Again!

If you did not know better, you would shake your head in disbelief: Joe Haider was actually born in 1936. In other words, he was born in Darmstadt three years before the outbreak of the Second World War. During that World War, he danced waltz with his mother – his father was busy elsewhere. Later, the pianist Haider, who became familiar with European music tradition at a conservatory and African-American jazz aesthetics thanks to working with countless US luminaries, composed waltzes for all his wives; he was married a total of three times. Now, he is continuing to “waltz further” into the end of time. At any rate, this is suggested by the title of his sixth trio album, Waltz For Ever, which oscillates between wisdom and power.

Haider, a Swiss national by choice, is accompanied on this wonderfully varied album by two Swiss jazz musicians, who were born in 1980 (Claudio Strüby) and 1982 respectively (Raffaele Bossard). Bassist Raffaele Bossard is already a longtime companion of Haider and has already recorded four albums alongside the pianist.

As a companion, Bossard acts at the same time solidly and with agility, and his improvisatory digressions are characterized by a wonderful balance of gravity and virtuosity. For Bossard, the bass is a bass and not an oversized guitar. Bossard is omnipresent on the Swiss scene; among others, he is active in the groups Pilgrim of saxophonist Christoph Irniger, Mats-Up of trumpeter Matthias Spillmann and Plurism of drummer Dominic Egli. This is the first recording with Haider for the very busy drummer Claudio Strüby. Strüby has become known in recent years through his work in the crossover trio Rusconi, but has also cooperated with “elder statesman” Andy Scherrer. Strüby’s supple, punchy playing style, full of surprising accents, fits optimally into a piano-trio context.

The majority of the pieces on Waltz For Ever were composed by Haider. When composing, Haider is initially inspired by people, situations and stories. However, composing craftsmanship is required when working out the pieces, for example, in the choice of keys or in the thematic fine tuning. Katy’s Katzenvilla actually existed, and Haider remembers vividly even today how one day two cats carried a whole sack of sausages from the dining table over a fence into a nearby forest. Haider is a gifted narrator of anecdotes. Much of his lovely storytelling can also be found in his piano playing. Haider does not want to amaze his listeners, but instead enchant them. If you ask Haider about pianists who have influenced him, he first mentions two rather unfamiliar names: Claude Williams and Dick Twardzik. He also mentions Dave Brubeck, Sonny Clark, Tommy Flanagan and Bill Evans. Then there was McCoy Tyner as later influence. Actually, Haider is a forgiving type, and yet he remains unforgiving on some points. Consequently, a question mark can be added to the title The Reconciliation, Haider said. In fact, it is not a love, peace and harmony piece, but a rather attacking number.

When selecting the three pieces from the “Great American Songbook”, Haider was guided by personal reminiscences. He learned to love the ballad Darn that Dream listening to a version by the blind Spanish pianist Tete Montoliu. Haider used to play the song Nature Boy, which was made famous by Nat King Cole, in duo performances with the trumpeter Charlie Shavers. And Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye was on his wish list after hearing a touching version by Ray Charles. Of course, the fact that this piece with the lines Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye /I die a little receives an additional dimension at Haider’s age goes without saying.

But for now, his motto is: Now more than ever!

Tom Gsteiger

Joe Haider, piano
Raffaele Bossard, bass
Claudio Strüby, drums

1 Waltz For Ever  06:19
2 Inspirations  05:19
3 Katys Katzenvilla  06:44
4 Nature Boy  04:12
5 Dance Of The Flames  06:43
6 Darn That Dream  07:00
7 The Reconciliation  04:43
8 Every Time We Say Goodbye  05:43

Pat Bianchi - In The Moment (SAVANT RECORDS November 2018)

Capable of everything from vibrato-laden intimate murmurings to sermonizing at a roaring volume, the jazz organ can sometimes be strangely dispiriting - like being stuck at a bar with a non-stop talker. Pat Bianchi will have none of that, eschewing all the clichés and displaying the instrument's versatility with a set list that ranges from Chick Corea to Patsy Cline to Monk and Billy Eckstine. 

For this, Bianchi's first recording on Savant, the leader has brought along a number of friends and colleagues including Pat Martino, Joe Locke, Carmen Intorre, Jr. the late, lamented Kevin Mahogany and others making for an extra-special debut recording.

Pat Bianchi (organ)
Paul Bollenback (guitar)
Byron Landham (drums)

With special guests:
Peter Bernstein (guitar)
Carmen Intorre Jr (drums)
Joe Locke (vibes)
Kevin Mahogany (vocal)
Pat Martino, (guitar)

1. Humpty Dumpty
2. Blue Gardenia
3. Don't You Worry 'bout A Thing
4. Mr. PM
5. Barracudas (General Assembly)
6. Crazy
7. No Expectations
8. I Want To Talk About You
9. Fall
10. Four In One

Burak Bedikyan - New Beginning (SteepleChase Productions ApS 2018)

Since his CD debut “Circle Of Life“(SCCD 33109) in 2013 followed by two more albums on SteepleChase LookOut label, Turkish/Armenian pianist-composer Bedikyan has been highly acclaimed by the international critics and public alike. New Beginning marks his recent relocation from Istanbul to New York where he feels blessed to be a part of the big jazz scene.

“For improvisational music fans there is very little here not to like, flawless. An elegant yet diverse exploration of melodic possibilities. Burak Bedikyan is one of the finest artists on the horizon.” (Brent Black – on 33119 Leap of Faith)


1 NO COMPLAINTS (Burak Bedikyan) 3:53
2 SURYA (Burak Bedikyan) 9:20
3 INTERLUDE (Burak Bedikyan) 1:12
4 EPILOGUE (Burak Bedikyan) 3:51
5 AYÇA (Burak Bedikyan) 8:50
6 PRELUDE (Burak Bedikyan) 1:36
7 RUE Dauphin (Burak Bedikyan) 9:05
8 LEO (Burak Bedikyan) 2:51
9 BLUES ME UP (Burak Bedikyan) 5:06
10 THINGS WE ARE (Burak Bedikyan) 9:41
11 STELLA BY STARLIGHT (Victor Young) 7:56
12 MAGIC CARPET (Burak Bedikyan) 5:55

Kirk Knuffke - Witness (SteepleChase Productions ApS 2018)

Two extraordinary talents from the two totally independent discipline of art forms are meeting here to create a genuinely unique musical experience for us.

Kirk Knuffke one of the most prominent of jazz cornetist and New York’s up and coming operatic baritone singer Steven Herring present here, to quote the liner-note author Neil Tesser, “an album that juxtaposes conservatory and nightclub, improvisation and spoken word, the sacred and the secular, into one of the most unusual and inventive projects of Knuffke’s career”

Knuffke’s previous release “Cherryco” SCCD 31832 was awarded National Public Radio (USA)’s Jazz Album of the Year 2017.

BEN GOLDBERG contra alto clarinet, clarinet

1 WITNESS (traditional) 6:34
2 LUSH LIFE (Billy Strayhorn) 9:30
3 RIDE ON, KING JESUS (traditional) 4:58
5 IAGO’S CREDO (Guiseppe Verdi) 5:54
6 SUBWAY (Kirk Knuffke / Carl Sandburg) 2:34
7 ARIA MUSTAFA (Gioachino Rossini) 6:21
8 CHARADE (Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer) 7:50
9 STORM (Kirk Knuffke / Kirby Congdon) 3:40
10 THE VOICE (Ellen Mandel /Thomas Hardy) 4:51
11 QUESTO AMOR (Giacomo Puccini) 5:10
12 A CITY CALLED HEAVEN (traditional) 4:50

Mike Richmond - Tones For Joan’s Bones (SteepleChase Productions ApS 2018)

As some of the critics have predicted, Richmond put together another quality cello album here again.

Mike Richmond the Philadelphia-born award-winning bass player with vast experience including playing with Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Horace Silver, to mention a few is also a dedicated educator receiving a Teacher of the Year Award from New York University (1994). After the release of his previous album “The Pendulum” SCCD 31826 Richmond has been frequently performing cello as his main instrument.

“Mike Richmond’s beautiful new recording – his 11th as a leader – is the first on which he plays cello exclusively .… Richmond and his quartet of seasoned players give the music a ‘singing’ quality something Richmond seeks in all his playing.” (Donald Elfman – New York City Jazz Record on The Pendulum SCCD 31826)


1 BE MY LOVE (Nicolas Brodzsky) 7:43
3 DOLPHIN DANCE (Herbie Hancock) 9:02
4 SOUL EYES (Mal Waldron) 5:48
5 I’VE NEVER BEEN IN LOVE BEFORE (Frank Loesser) 7:40
6 I LOVE PARIS (Cole Porter) 7:24
7 BREA’S LULLABY (Luciano Salvatore) 7:31
8 TONES FOR JOAN’S BONES (Chick Corea) 6:56

Stephen Riley - Hold ‘Em Joe (SteepleChase Productions ApS 2018)

Since Stephen Riley made his recording debut as a leader on SteepleChase with piano-less trio SCCD 31584 Inside Out (2005), this trimmed down format has stayed with Riley on many recordings including this latest album, which pays tribute to the great Sonny Rollins who first recorded this format in 1957.

STEPHEN RILEY tenor saxophone

1 I Never Knew (Ted Fio Rito) 4:59
2 Where Or When (Richard Rodgers) 5:21
3 Hold ‘Em Joe (Harry Belafonte) 5:18
4 Darn That Dream (Jimmy Van Heusen) 7:37
5 Three Little Words (Harry Ruby / Burt Kalmar) 4:00
6 Woody ‘n’ You (Dizzy Gillespie) 7:18
7 Almost Like Being In Love (Frederick Loewe) 7:00
8 You’ve Changed (Carl Fischer) 7:32
9 I’m An Old Cowhand (Johnny Mercer) 3:59
10 I Don’t Stand A Ghost Of A Chance (Victor Young) 7:02
11 The Song Is You (Jerome Kern) 6:29

Andy Fusco - Turmoil (SteepleChase Productions ApS 2018)

During the five decades of his career alto saxophonist Andy Fusco has been regarded a musicians’ musician and he has played with numerous artists and led various combination of instrumentation except an ensemble with guitarist. So here’s Andy Fusco’s first ever guitar (pianoless) quartet with venerable veteran John Hart who gives Andy and the group a new space to explore.

ANDY FUSCO alto saxophone
JOHN HART guitar

1 MINOR LEAGUE (Grant Green) 8:35
2 POLKADOTS AND MOONBEAMS (Jimmy Van Heusen) 7:44
4 RHAPSODIA (John Hart) 6:22
5 HACKENSACK (Thelonious Monk) 9:46
6 TURMOIL (John Hart) 7:47
7 THE GYPSY (Jule Styne) 9:13
8 BELLA’S BURN (Andy Fusco) 7:34

Gene Segal - Transformation (SteepleChase Productions ApS 2018)

Guitarist/composer Gene Segal has released three albums on SteepleChase LookOut:

Mental Images (SCCD 33114), Matter (SCCD 33121) and Spiral (SCCD 33132) during the period from 2014 to 2017, all of which received critical and public acclaims. Always being adventurous, unpredictable, inventive Segal showcases his new and in a way debut album here for the SteepleChase’s main label with a little bit more jazz-bound material.

“… rich and exciting chops from Segal’s axe make for a blues jamming delight.” (George W. Harris – The Jazz Weekly on Mental Images)

“… The band has a joyful swing…Music that grows and grows.” (The Jazz Weekly on Matter)

ADAM NIEWOOD tenor & soprano saxophone, ewi

1 EXOSPHERE (Gene Segal) 6:11
2 TRANSFORMATION (Gene Segal) 9:00
3 SANDY’S DANCE (Gene Perla) 5:45
4 THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON (Gene Segal) 7:28
5 DARN THAT DREAM (Jimmy van Heusen) 7:28
6 TWO TIRED SOULS (Gene Segal) 5:58
7 UGLY BEAUTY (Thelonious Monk) 2:11
8 TAURUS PEOPLE (Faruk Dawud) 6:17
9 MYSTERIOSO (Thelonious Monk) 08:05

Laura Dickinson 17 - Auld Lang Syne (November 2018)


LAURA DICKINSON is a Grammy®-winning music producer, vocal contractor, studio singer and multi-instrumentalist whose voice is heard daily on television, in movies and commercials. Her newest album, AULD LANG SYNE, is a program of songs centered on the holiday season. The record features lush big band arrangements by some of the top names in the music firmament, along with her big band full of Los Angeles’ first-call studio instrumentalists.

One of the busiest music professionals in Southern California, Dickinson’s stunning voice has been featured in Ralph Breaks The Internet, Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4, American Horror Story, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, War for The Planet of The Apes, Sing, the Pitch Perfect franchise, A Christmas Story Live, Justin Timberlake & Chris Stapleton’s Say Something music video, and Paul McCartney’s 2018 release, Egypt Station. She’s sung on commercials for KFC, Maybelline, Target, and Priceline (“Priceline Negotiator!”) as well as hit shows Modern Family, Son of Zorn, and Supernatural. But she’s perhaps most well known for her work as vocal director and vocal contractor for Disney TV Animation, which has earned her an Emmy® award, millions of views on YouTube, and worldwide acclaim for Disney Channel's animated hits Phineas and Ferb, Jake and The Never Land Pirates, and Sofia The First. Dickinson is also the principal vocalist and vocal contractor for The Pageant of the Masters, the elaborate art and music festival held every year in Laguna Beach, California.

Laura has been Michael Bublé's vocal contractor since 2015. She contracted and directed a gospel choir for his 2016 release Nobody But Me, which was nominated for a Grammy® in the Traditional Pop category. Laura’s voice is also featured on the first track, I Believe In You. Upcoming and current projects include contracting Mr. Bublé’s promotional tour for his November 2018 release entitled love, The Christmas Chronicles with Kurt Russell, vocal contracting Englebert Humperdinck’s 2018 Christmas album, along with her recurring roles and vocal contracting responsibilities on Elena Of Avalor, Milo Murphy’s Law, and The Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening’s Disenchantment.

In 2017, Laura won three Grammy® awards for her work as a music producer on the Ted Nash Big Band: Presidential Suite album and vocal contractor on Summertime: Willie Nelson sings Gershwin.

Dickinson grew up on the border of Los Angeles and Orange County, California in a household filled with music. Her father was a musician who founded revival group Buffalo Springfield Again with original members Dewey Martin and Bruce Palmer, while her mother was a classical pianist who also sang and played guitar. Dickinson studied classical piano from a very young age and credits her successful career and ability to move effortlessly between diverse musical styles today with the disparate musical influences of her youth.

AULD LANG SYNE is Dickinson’s sophomore outing. Her first project, One For My Baby – To Frank Sinatra With Love, was released in 2014 to glowing reviews. All About Jazz said of the album, “Dickinson brings to the task a pitch-perfect voice, clear articulation, impeccable timing, a healthy respect for a lyric and a supporting cast comprised of many of the Los Angeles area's foremost jazz musicians, with arrangements by a Who's Who of dependable craftsmen.” JazzTimes said “One for My Baby is more than a mere tribute. It is both a musical biography and an autobiography... What we heard from Sinatra — the breathing, pacing, control — is heard on this album but they are not applied in the same way. She has taken Sinatra’s palette and his brushes but she paints a different picture. It is a self-portrait of someone extraordinary and lovely." Rather than just celebrating the Christmas holiday with AULD LANG SYNE, the album is a loving tribute to a time of year when people sincerely open their hearts to family and friends counting their blessings, while reflecting on the year gone by.


Besides being the producer, contractor, and leading her own 17-piece big band, Dickinson brought onboard a 24-voice SAG-AFTRA choir including her vocal contractor colleagues Jasper Randall, Bobbi Page, and Sally Stevens. She’s also featuring her instrumentalists, with solos by bass trombonist STEVE TRAPANI, a busy studio musician who also performs with several orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony; trumpet player KYE PALMER, a studio musician and a former member of The Tonight Show Band who has recorded on several Grammy®-winning projects; and Grammy®-winning guitarist ANDREW SYNOWIEC, a multi-faceted studio musician who has countless film and television credits in addition to recording for artists ranging from Barbra Streisand to Rob Zombie.

Dickinson culled songs for AULD LANG SYNE from holiday movie classics like “Happy Holiday / The Holiday Season” and “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me,” to songs like “Christmas Is Starting Now” and “Peace and Joy” from Phineas and Ferb and Sofia The First, two of the Disney Channel shows she is best known for. Other perennial hits like “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” get a Baden Powell meets Earth, Wind and Fire treatment from Grammy®-winner Brent Fischer, and a New Orleans party in James A. McMillen's “Let it Snow!” Dickinson even covers the Mariah Carey tune “Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)” with Bill Liston’s new arrangement concept featuring her lush string ensemble.

Laura Dickinson is a dynamo of musical talent who is well known to music industry insiders. Now with the release of AULD LANG SYNE, her second self-produced album, she is well on the way to a stellar solo career.

AULD LANG SYNE is available on Amazon, iTunes and everywhere online.

Playlist for Tom Ossana ~ The Thin Edge ~ November 28, 2018 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m. ~ Use this link to access the show online.