Puerto Rico Jazz

Puerto Rico Jazz
Puerto Rico Jazz

miércoles, 29 de agosto de 2018

CD Review Andrea Brachfeld - If not now, when?

CD Review
Andrea Brachfeld - If not now, when?

To play alongside latin Masters, Dave Valentin, and Ray Barretto, a musician must be really good and have an extense knowledge of the latin music language. Flutist Andrea Brachfeld is one of those rare  jazz musicians who feels equally comfortable and is just as good playing either traditional jazz or latin jazz. 

If not now, when? the new Andrea Brachfeld album, a collection of mostly original jazz compositions, wonderfully played by Andrea an company; bassist Harvie S., pianist Bill O' Connell and drummer Jason Tiemann.

The album starts with the hard swinging piece The Listening Song. Harvie S. and Jason Tiemann provide the swing to the impressive trading solos by Bill O'Connell and the Andrea Brachfeld.

The quartet keeps on swinging on Steppin'. O'Connell play mostly chords on this one, leaving more space for Andrea and Harvie improvisations. Creating Space is precisely the tittle of the next piece, a slow, elegant composition where the quartet filled the spaces with pretty notes and melodies.

The piano and flute of Bill and Andrea shine once again with wonderful improvisations in the moderate tempo The Silence. 

In a recording full of musical gems, Anima Mea is one of the brightest. Anima Mea feels more personal and instrospective, and the beauty of Andrea's tone can be appreciated more on this piece.

Movers & Shakers finds the quartet in full swing once again. This one is a drummer Master Class by Tiemann, constantly changing rhythms and taking the piece to a whole new level.

Deeply I Live feels like two compositions in one, starting in a slower tempo part where the flute of Andrea shines with her endless flow of ideas. The second part is more uptempo, with pianist Bill O'Connell and bassist Harvie S. taking over before it gets back to the original theme.

The swing, changing tempos and optimistic feel of Moving Forward is the perfect contrast to the next piece, the beautiful ballad The Opening.

If not now, when? ends with Andrea flawless improvisations and powerful interpretation by the quartet in the a gorgeous rendition of the classic Amazing Grace.  

domingo, 20 de enero de 2013

CD Review: Ithamara Koorax - Got to be Real

CD Review: Ithamara Koorax - Got to be Real

The song selection and the effective use of the synthesizer on Ithamara Koorax new release Got to be real gives the album a vintage 70s feel. The first half of the album starting with the slow, sexy, smooth jazz arrangement of this Disco hit "Got to be real" has a that distinct fusion jazz sound.

Koorax displays her amazing range and sultry, sexy voice all throughout the album and even though all the musicians do a great job on Got to be real, Koorax and her voice are the stars here, especially on the bossa nova arrangements of "Up, up an away", and "Going out of my head".

On the second half of the album, Koorax goes into her brazilian roots in the samba "Toque de cuica", the sublime interpretation of Joao Gilberto "Ho ba la la", and the beautiful ballad "Negue". But two of the highlights of the album are Cole Porter "I get a kick out of you", where Koorax demonstrates she is a true jazz singer capable of swinging with the best, and on the ingenious samba arrangement of "My Favorite Things". On the eclectic blend of styles on Got to be real (bossa nova, samba, jazz, mpb, smooth and fusion jazz) Koorax shows once again why she is recognized as one of the best female jazz singers in recent years.

Tracks: Got to be real, Up up and away, Never can say goodbye, Goin’ out of my head, Can’t take my eyes off of you, Butterfly, I get a out of you, Toque de cuica, Negue, My Favorite Things, Ho ba la la, Pigmaliao 70, Vesti Azul

Musicians: Jose Roberto Bertrami – organs, Rhodes, synthesizer, Jorge Pescara – bass, Haroldo Jobim – drums, Arnaldo DeSouteiro – percussion, Sidinho Moreira – percussion, Paulo Fernando Marcondes Ferraz – percussion, Marcelo Martins – tenor sax, Jesse Sadoc – trumpet, Aldivas Ayres - trombone

CD Review: Denny Zeitlin - Labyrinth

CD Review: Denny Zeitlin - Labyrinth

With an intro that borders the avant-garde ala Cecil Taylor, Denny Zeitlin welcomes the listener to his innovative and gorgeous interpretation of the Wayne Shorter classic, “Footprints”, the first track of his live solo piano album Labyrinth. Zeitlin playing is emotionally and technically intense, even in his beautiful renditions of the lyrical Tom Harrell bossa nova, “Sail Away” and the Irvin Berlin standard “They say it’s wonderful”.

The intensity increase and Zeitlin demonstrates his impeccable technique with dazzling high speed runs in the fast tempo “Lazy Bird”, a composition by John Coltrane. The tempo slows down for the emotional and sublime sound of the ballad “As long as there’s music” and the outstanding Zeitlin original composition, “Labyrinth”, a track with unexpected melodic, rhythmic and harmonic twists and turns.

Zeitlin also embarks in harmonic and tempo explorations on his interpretation of the classic show tune from the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1943 musical Oklahoma and on Arthur Schwartz “Dancing in the Dark”. Zeitlin goes to Brasil on his samba influenced original composition “Brazilian Street Dance”, a piece with dense textures and rhythms. The album close with “Slipstream”, another Zeitlin intense original also reminiscent of Cecil Taylor free improvisations.

CD Review: Deborah De Blasi – Ben Et Nat

CD Review: Deborah De Blasi – Ben Et Nat

Playful with sense of humor, and a lot of sensuality, that is the music of Deborah De Blasi. De Blassi style borrows from lots of places, it has a distinct French feel but with a vintage sound. The rhythm and lead guitar on the songs “Cette Fille Est Un Canon”, “Chemise Swing” and “Vas-Y Swingle Gitani” echoes the sound of the great French jazz guitar player Django Reinhardt. De Blasi slows down on the exquisite Bossa Nova “Mes Petites Chaussures En Daim”.

De Blasi goes back to the French sound on the frantic pace of the album title “Ben Et Nat”, “Mirabelle Swing”, Week-end A Metz” and “Sur Les Routes De France”. De Blasi sensuality is more evident on songs like “Mon Ange” and “Mon Pays”, the lyrics sounds provocative even if one do not understand French. As good as De Blasi is as a singer, she is even better as a composer. These are not French classics, all songs on the release are De Blasi originals, including the two Spanish lyrics, “Que hare de mi” and “Para mis sobrinos”.

CD Review: Janysett Mc Pherson – Tres Almas

CD Review: Janysett Mc Pherson – Tres Almas

Sweet and melodious, Janysett McPherson is an outstanding chanteuse equally comfortable singing in French, “Belle Ile en Mer”, “Jamais Dormir”, “J’ai vu” or Spanish, “Busca tu fe”, Tres Almas”. McPherson voice captives the listener from the first song “Belle Ile in Mer”. Her soulful style shines especially on the pop ballad “Poque tu existes”, the jazz ballad “Alby”, the bolero “Calla” and the bossa “Jamais Dormir”.

Andy Narell brings some Caribbean flavor playing the steel drums on the album title track Tres Almas. One of the jazzier tracks on the album is the composition “La Stella”, where McPherson demonstrates she is just as good as a pianist, playing lyrical lines with brilliance and intensity. Besides Andy Narell, other special guests on Tres Almas are Didier Lockwood, Yannick Socca and Sylvian Gontard.

Tracks: Belle Ile en Mer, Porque tu existes, Busca tu fe, Alby, Tres Almas, Jamais Dormir, Calla, La Stella, Dices, J’ai vu

Cd Review: Alex Diaz – Beyond 145th Street

Cd Review: Alex Diaz – Beyond 145th Street

Dominican Republic is not the first country that comes to mind when thinking about Jazz, even though one of the best jazz pianist in the last couple of decades is from this country, of course I am talking about Michel Camilo. And Jazz, a music style born out of fusion and already fused with almost any other Latin American music style, never has tried to fuse with Dominican folk music. With his album Beyond 145th Street Alex Diaz & his Merengue Jazz is trying the first serious attempt to do just that.

At first I was skeptic about the results and thought this fusion could only works if the merengue rhythms were diluted enough for the jazz melodies and intricate harmonies to shine through. But that is not what these guys did. The merengue rhythmic foundation (merengue is one of various folk rhythms out of Dominican Republic) is pretty accentuated all throughout the album. And the results are quite good. People will be pleasantly surprised when listening to the interesting and danceable versions of Jerome Kern “Yesterdays”, Lawrence and Altman “All or nothing at all” and Sam Jones “Unit Seven”.

Part of the success of this fusion can be attributed to the amazing musicians on this album. Ray Diaz on tambora and guira, Ivan Renta on sax, Nelson Jaime on trumpet, Diego Lopez on drums, Ruben Rodriguez on bass and Pedro Bermudez on piano. Bermudez also contributed two compositions to the release, “El Tigerazo del Bebop” and the album title “Beyond 145th Street”.

Tracks: Yesterdays, Unit Seven, Santo Domingo, Catarey Meren Jam, All or nothing at all, El Tigerazo del Bebop, Ginza Samba, El Comandante, Beyond 145th Street