Jazz and Bossa Radio

Jazz and Bossa Radio
Jazz and Bossa Radio

sábado, 28 de noviembre de 2009

Ken Aldcroft's Convergence Ensemble

Featured Artist: Ken Aldcroft's Convergence Ensemble

CD Cover - Buy CD CD Title: Our Hospitality

Year: 2008

Record Label: Trio Records

Style: Free Jazz / Avante Garde

Musicians: Ken Aldcroft (guitar), Evan Shaw (alto saxophone), Nicole Rampersaud (trumpet), Scott Thomson (trombone), Wes Neal (bass), Joe Sorbara (drums)

Review: Part composition and a lot of improvisation, the music of the Convergence Ensemble is not for everyone. Especially if you are accostumed to listen to music with repetitive melodies and a steady beat. Almost all compositions are from the leader and guitar player Ken Aldcroft, but in reality the music on this CD is an spontaneous arrangement by all members of the group. An excellent horn section with Nicole Rampersaud on trumpet, Evan Shaw on alto saxophone, and Scott Thomson on Trombone. In the rhythm section, Joe Sorbara on drums and Wes Neal on bass.

The first piece, Our Hospitality, starts with a collective dissonant improvisation that sounds almost like an argument. All instruments negotiate for a resolution and four minutes passed before the band gets into a nice funky groove with expressive, powerful melodies and harmonies on horns.

The moaning horns at the beginning of Study In are followed by a group improvisation. Then bass and drums guide the transition to Directions IV with some nice guitar chords and harmonies improvised by Aldcroft, closing with swingin melodies on horns.

Just a Hint sounds almost like slow march. Evan delivers energetic solos on sax, followed by harmonized melodies on horns and impressive trumpet playing by Nicole Rampersaud.

Beautiful, melancholic sax intro on Work Song, then trombone and sax exchange bluesy melodies until the end of the piece. The next track, Study In, belongs to Joe Sorbara and Wes Neal with masterful improvisations on drums and bass before the horns enter halfway, to end in a collective improvisation.

Like the tittle suggest, Dialoguing is like a dialogue between the instruments, and Evan Shaw sax solo is like a speech in the middle of that dialogue. Cheeky is the most melodic piece on this CD. The rhythm at the middle of this piece has a nice latin feeling and once again Wes Neal bass lines provides the groove that ties together this group of talented improvisers.

Tracks: Our Hospitality (version I), Study In / Directions IV, Just a Hint, Work Song, Study In, Dialoguing, Cheeky, Our Hospitality (version II)

Artist's Website: http://www.kenaldcroft.com

Listen or Buy: Aldcroft's Convergence Ensemble

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

viernes, 20 de noviembre de 2009

CD Review: Pauline Jean - A Musical Offering

CD Review: Pauline Jean - A Musical Offering

Featured Artist: Pauline Jean

CD Cover - Buy CD CD Title: A Musical Offering

Year: 2009

Record Label: Sekonsa Jazz Records

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Pauline Jean (vocals), Sharp Radway (piano), Corcoran Holt (bass), Alvin Atkinson, Jr. ( Drums), McClenty Hunter (drums, tracks 2, 10, 11), Markus Schwartz (percussion, tracks 7, 8), Marcelo Woloski (percussion, tracks 5, 6, 13), Jean Caze (trumpet), Thaddeus Hogarth (harmonica)

Review: Pauline’s voice is going to captures you from the first note. Beautiful and powerful, her voice has being compared to Cassandra Wilson, Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughn. There is some truth to those comparisons; Pauline takes the best of all those amazing singers, the tone of Cassandra Wilson, the energy of Nina Simone and the feeling of Sarah Vaughn. With all these ingredients she's creating her own style and delivers a wonderful debut album.

There’s another difference in Pauline’s music; being of Haitian descent, she sings in both English and her parents native tongue, kreyol. Her rendition of the classic Blue Skies (first part in English and second part in kreyol) is amazingly beautiful. The song starts with a funky bass intro that later change into a more traditional jazzy arrangement.

There’s no doubt Pauline and her band can swing, A Musical Offering starts with an excellent, swinging version of Love must be catchin. Corcoran Holt on Bass, Sharp Radway on Piano and Alvin Atkinson on drums are in full swing also on Exactly like you and Forget me. Sharp’s arrangements and piano playing are some of the highlights on this album.

If Pauline is good in the swinging tracks, she’s even better singing ballads, with lovely and soulful renditions on I thought about you and Little did we know. Something in Pauline’s phrasing and the arrangements on songs like Plain Gold Ring is probably what brings comparisons with Cassandra Wilson.

Pauline is also a good songwriter. Listen to the very nice lyrics and music on her compositions, Searchin and Signature. Searchin have a nice funky bass rhythm that at times reminds me of the singer Sade.

Dey/Rasenbleman is a chant of hope with lyrics completely in the kreyol language. On this song one can appreciate the range, power and beauty of Pauline’s voice. Ayiti Remember is almost a Jazz version of Dey/Rasenbleman, same hopeful message but with a jazzier feeling.

On Beautiful Friendship the band is back into a swingin mood, this time McClenty Hunter on drums provides the rhythm with yet another swinging bass and piano by Corcoran Holt and Sharp Radway.

Pauline deep and classy delivery on Tell me more and more and then some, reminiscent of Nina Simone version, proves this lady can sing the blues too. A Musical Offering is a promising debut for this fresh new voice in the Jazz scene.

Tracks: Love Must Be Catchin', Blue Skies/Ciel Bleu, Exactly Like You, I Thought About You, Plain Gold Ring, Searchin', Dey/Rasenbleman, Ayiti Remember, Forget Me, Tel Me More And More And Then Some, Beautiful Friendship, Little Did We Know, Signature

Artist's Website: http://www.paulinejean.com

Listen or Buy:

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre