Jazz and Bossa Radio

Jazz and Bossa Radio
Jazz and Bossa Radio

lunes, 11 de octubre de 2010

CD Review: San Juan Collective

Norberto Ortiz, Gabriel Rodriguez, Raúl Maldonado

Even though the members of San Juan Collective are young musicians, they play with the maturity and music knowledge of veteran Jazz players. One can tell their jazz vocabulary comes from years of listening and studying all the legends of jazz and other music styles.

They also have the experience of playing and recording with Puerto Rican master trumpet player, Charlie Sepulveda on both of his grammy nominated albums.

All that music knowledge and experience are fused perfectly to create the sound of San Juan Collective, a jazz trio with three of the best jazz musicians from Puerto Rico. Norberto Ortiz with his inventive improvisations on the tenor sax, reminiscent of other great sax players from Puerto Rico like Miguel Zenón and David Sanchez, Gabriel Rodriguez flawless melodic solos on bass and Raúl Maldonado energetic rhythms on drums.

The music of San Juan Collective is challenging, full of surprises and always interesting with tempo changes and creative, both melodically and harmonically.

In their music you’ll find diverse influences. The lullaby like intro of Child’s Play, before changing into a classic Bebop tempo. The Funk/fusion style of A mis maestros with virtuosic bass runs and a powerful drum solo. The ballads Melisa, Beauty Bar and Esperanza, the last one reminiscent of jazz classics like In a Sentimental Mood. The Bossa bass chords on Cycles. And of course the contagious Bomba and Plena rhythms of Sueño Despierto and Calle 6, showing the great fusion possibilities of native Puerto Rico rhythms with Jazz.

Tracks: The Beautiful, Child’s Play, A mis Maestros, Esperanza, Sueño Despierto, Cycles, Calle 6, Beauty Bar, El Tata, Melisa, El Hobito

Artist's Website: http://sanjuancollective.com/

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD review: Loren Daniels & Reggie Pittman - Point A to Point A

Point A to Point A is a Classic Jazz style collaboration between trumpet player Reggie Pittman and pianist Loren Daniels. The album start with On the B.T. a bebop piece dedicated to composer Bobby Timmons.

Clarion Call is an odd but interesting composition with the always powerful trumpet playing of Reggie Pittman and a superb swinging groove by the rhythm section, Loren Daniels, bassist Bill Moringand Tim Horner on drums.

The beautiful melodies of the ballad Fall, brings images of the change of season. The next track is a funky, cool version of the Charlie Parker classic, Ornithology, that changes back and forth between funk and bebop. Shaw is Woody, is a fast bebop piece in homage to the great trumpet player Woody Shaw.

Loren explained on the promo notes that the structure of Point A to Point, ABACA, is a Rondo and the reason for the title. On Waterwind percussive sounds gives way to the trumpet melodies of Reggie Pittman over a slow latin rhythm. The album ends with It's all Thelonious a fun tribute to genious Theloniuos Monk, this one includes Loren Daniels on vocals.

On th B.T., Clarion Call, Fall, Ornithology, Shaw is Woody, Reflection, Point A to Point A, Waterwind, Prose and Consequence, It's all Thelonious

Reggie Pittman (trumpet, flugelhorn), Loren Daniels (piano, vocals), Bill Moring (bass), Tim Horner (drums, percussion)

CD Review: Fernandez & Wright - Unsung

Vanessa Fernandez (vocals), Steve Wright (guitar), Sam Keevers (piano), Ben Robertson (bass), Dave Beck (drums), Alex Pertout (percussion), Chong Lim (Hammond)

Unsung is a music collaboration between vocalist Vanessa Fernandez and guitarist Steve Wright. Wright sound have influences of smooth jazz guitar players like George Benson. Vanessa’s voice sounds at time like singer Sade especially on songs like Thinkin it lately, an interesting composition with African percussive rhythms of Steve Wright on guitar and If Only with Bossa influences.

In the first track I’ve been there too there is definitely an influence of the rock group The Police and his legendary singer Sting. The music reminds me, melodically of the song It’s probably me, but with funkier rhythms. That funk influence is also present in the song New Knack, starting in a Bossa style and changing into funky rhythms halfway through the song.

But is on the blues songs that Vanessa’s voice and feeling really shines. Ain’t love cruel, Leave it to me with the organ sounds adding a spiritual feel and Why is it always, a classic rock/blues reminiscent of Bonnie Rait.

I’ve been there too, Fairy dust, Thinkin it lately, If only, Ain’t ove cruel, Seasons, New Knack, Leave with me, Why is it always, New years Day

Vanessa Fernandez (vocals), Steve Wright (guitar), Sam Keevers (piano), Ben Robertson (bass), Dave Beck (drums), Alex Pertout (percussion), Chong Lim (Hammond)

Tracks: I’ve been there too, Fairy dust, Thinkin it lately, If only, Ain’t love cruel, Seasons, New Knack, Leave with me, Why is it always, New years Day

Artist's Website: http://www.fernandezandwright.com.au

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

martes, 28 de septiembre de 2010

CD Review: Leslie Lewis - Keeper of the Flame

CD Review: Leslie Lewis - Keeper of the Flame

Featured Artist: Leslie Lewis

CD Title: Keeper of the Fame

Year: 2010

Record Label: Surf Cove Jazz

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Leslie Lewis (vocals), Gerard Hagen (piano), Domenis Genova (bass), Jerry Kalaf (drums, percussions)

Leslie Lewis is all a good jazz singer should be. Her beautiful tone and classy phrasing on tracks like Day by day, You don't know what love is and Speak Low evokes the sound of the classic jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.

On the title track Keeper of the Flame Leslie soulful voice plays beautifully with the melodies and tempo changes with Jerry Kalaf adding a powerful drums solo. And her silky, smooth vocals on the jazzy version of Ivan Lins The Island hits you full of emotion.

The brazilian influence can be heard all through this album, especially on the tracks Day by day, the jazzy arrangements of Antonio Carlos Jobim A Felicidade, Chega de Saudade and the sublime version of Fotografia. On these tracks at times one may hear echoes of the Ella Fitzgerald sings Jobim album, both in tone and phrasing.

As a puertorrican I always enjoy listening to Juan Tizol Caravan, one of the most recorded jazz classics. Leslie vocals are just perfect on one of the best version I have heard recently, with interesting rhythmic and harmonic choices.

Leslie Lewis vocals are complimented perfectly by her husband, Gerard Hagen Trio, and special guest Gary Foster on sax.

Tracks: Keeper of the Flame, The Island, Spring is here, Day by day, A Felicidade, You don't know what love is, Fotografia, Chega de Saudade (No more blues), Speak Low, Caravan

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Dual Rhythm Big Band

CD Review: Dual Rhythm Big BandFeatured Artist: Dual Rhythm

CD Title: Big Band

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Various Jazz Styles

Musicians: Ernest Bland (percussion), Paul Rosenberg (piano), John Lee (guitar), Dan Hall (bass), Lawrence Dean (drums), Perry Contichio (sax)

Dual Rhythm goal is to sound like a quartet in a duo setting. Well, mission accomplished. This guys definitly sound bigger, more like a Big Band, even though they are just two, Ernest "Ebongo" Bland on percussions and Paul Rosenberg on piano. That big sound hits you since the first track, Shoreline.

Dual Rhythm cited influences by Gillespie, Jerry Gonzalez and Tito Puente, there is no doubt all this and more may be heard on the fusion of latin, jaz and R&B sounds. Gillespie influence is present for sure in the track Sligo Bop.

Ernest provides the vocals on the Beatles medley, the bluesy sounds of I don't know what love is, and the soul style of Mariposa and These arms of mine.

The organ like sound and guitar solo combined with the percussions gives the track Absence of Excess a 70's rock feeling, similar to Santana. Summer End starts like a ballad and then change into infectious latin/cuban rhythms.

Paul and Ernest chose two jazz classics to close an album of mostly originals, Ellington African Flower and a Medley of Shorter Night Dreamer and Mongo Santamaria Afro Blue. The album includes some guest artists, John Lee on guitar, Dan Hall on bass, Lawrence Dean on drums and Perry Contichio on sax.

Tracks: Shoreline, Sun Medley (Beatles Medley), Absence of Excess, I don't know what love is, Mariposa, Summer's end, Alice dances the Bossa Nova, Desire, Sligo Bop, These arms of mine, African Flower, Night Dreamer/Afro Blue

Artist's Website: http://www.myspace.com/dualrhythm

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

jueves, 23 de septiembre de 2010

CD Review: Kenia Celebrates Dorival Caymmi

CD Review: Kenia Celebrates Dorival Caymmi

Featured Artist: Kenia Ashby

CD Title: Kenia Celebrates Dorival Caymmi

Year: 2010

Record Label: Kenia

Style: World Music

Musicians: Kenia Ashby (vocals), Fernando Merlino (piano), Leo Traversa (bass), Airto Moreira (percussion), Jay Ashby (percussion, trombone, vocals), Lucas Ashby (percussion), Ian Ashby (percussion, vocals), Thomas Wendt (drums), Eric Sussoef (guitar), Marty Ashby (guitar), Tatjana Chamis, Fabiana Chamis (vocals)

Review: Dorival Caymmi, one of the best brazilian songwriters, is to samba what Tom Jobim is to Bossa Nova. Some of the best sambas ever written are from Dorival Caymmi, and I can not think of a better singer to do an homage to Caymmi than Kenia Ashby. Kenia melodious voice and elegant phrasing is a perfect match to Caymmi fun lyrics and infectious rhythms.

You will find classics on this CD like Voce ja foi a Bahia?, Doralice, Eu vou pra Maracangalha and the beautiful interpretation of Sabado em Copacabana. Kenia Ashby is a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, currently living in Pittsburgh. For sure most of these songs were part of Kenia childhood in Brasil. And you can hear an almost nostalgic feeling on Kenia voice singing about Copacabana.

All the songs arrangements have a jazzy touch, without losing the samba feeling. Kenia voice is powerful and with the flavor required for the more upbeat sambas like Eu nao tenho onde morar, Samba da minha terra and Vatapa. Subtle and sweet in the slow ballads like Nunca mais and Marina, recorded with just voice and piano. Playful on O dengo que a nega tem, Acontece que sou Baiano and Requebre que eu dou um doce, the last one with nice scats harmonies by Kenia and Jay Ashby trombone.

The rhythm section of Fernando Merlino on piano, Leo Traversa on bass, and Jay Ashby, Lucas Ashby and Ian Ashby on percussion is superb. But there is another surprise on this album, the great Airto Moreira also plays percussion in most of the tracks.

This album is definitely a must have for fans of brazilian music. Like Kenia says on her CD notes, Dorival repertoire is so vast that it might warrant a second album. I will be waiting for that sequel.

Tracks: Eu nao tenho onde morar, Roda Piao, And roses and roses, Samba da minha terra, Vatapa, Requebre que eu dou um doce, Voce ja foi a Bahia, Sabado em Copacabana, O dengo que nega tem, Acontece que eu sou baiano, Nunca mais, Doralice, Eu vou pra Maracangalha, A vizinha do lado, Marina

Record Label Website: http://www.officialkenia.com

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Jackson Garrett - Speechless

CD Review: Jackson Garrett - Speechless

Featured Artist: Jackson Garrett

CD Title: Speechless

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Various Jazz Styles

Musicians: Steve Madaio (trumpet), Kenny Meier (trombone), Pat Rizzo (sax), Steve Neilen (drums), John Pagels (guitar), Marty Steele (piano), Jeff Stover (bass)

Review: Jackson Garrett Speechless is a unique album in the sense that the artist featured in the title is not the one playing the music. Jackson Garrett wrote all twelve compositions on Speechless but the music is performed by a group of talented musicians. Steve Madaio (trumpet), Kenny Meier (trombone), Pat Rizzo (sax), Steve Neilen (drums), John Pagels (guitar), Marty Steele (piano), Jeff Stover (bass).

The music on this album is diverse. There is the contemporary feel of Just one more time, with horn harmonies reminiscent of the rock group Chicago and nice piano runs by Marty Steele. You may also find the latin feel of the tracks Around and around or Slowdown with rhythms that invites you to dance.

Tracks like Cool and easy has a more classic jazz feel to it, and even the melody reminds me of standards like Round Midnight. We gotta go also feels like classic jazz, this time the arrangements are reminiscent of the Big Band sound era.

The bass and piano intro lead us to the bossa feel of Kisses all around and Downtown with you sounds like vintage blues with Steve Madaio superb bluesy feeling on trumpet. Speechless is a collection of enjoyable, well written compositions in a diversity of styles.

Tracks: Just one more time, Slow down boy, Back in time, Cool and easy, Kisses all around, Downtown with you, Give a little bit to me, Champagne tower, Big baby, I don’t wanna see you, Around and around, We gotta go

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Michael C. Lewis - Reflection

CD Review: Michael C. Lewis - Reflection

Featured Artist: Michael C. Lewis

CD Title: Reflection

Year: 2010

Style: Smooth Jazz

Musicians: Michael C. Lewis (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals), William Heagy (keyboards), Alva Nelson (piano), William Patterson (guitar), Jeanne Ricks (guitar), Rakiem Walker (tenor sax), Wendell Brooks (programming), Gerald Trottman (programming)

Review: I am not usually a big fan of rhythm programming in music but a good musician with a handful of nice compositions could make overlook it. That is the case with Michael C. Lewis new CD Reflection.

Almost all tracks on this album are originals, in a smooth jazz style, where Michael shows his sensitivity, great tone and technique. The album starts with Reflection (Sunrise), a ballad that perfectly reflects the tranquility of the morning hours. But you will also find upbeat, funky music like In the night time and Gulf Breeze with Wendell Brooks providing some interesting rhythms patterns for Michael melodies and the R&B style of I dedicate my heart. Miles to go, a funk track mixed with a little bit of hip hop.

Michael shows his romantic side on the ballad I need your love and the sensuality of the night on Night Fall. Reflection (Sunset) ends up the album in a relaxing mood, with ideal melodies to listen to after a long stressful day.

Tracks: Reflection (Sunrise), Gulf Breeze, I need your love, I dedicate my heart, Cloud Parade, In the night time, Night fall, Miles to go, We’ve only just begun, Kid time, Reflection (Sunset)

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Henry Darragh - Tell her for me

CD Review: Henry Darragh - Tell her for me

Featured Artist: Henry Darragh

CD Title: Tell her for me

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Henry Darragh (vocals, piano, trombone), Seth Paynter (sax), Carol Morgan (trumpet), Erin Wright (guitar, bass), Glen Ackerman (bass), Chuck Payne (drums)

Review: There are some great male singers in the history of jazz like Louis Armsrong Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and more recently Harry Connick Jr. but male jazz singers have always been a minority. Well there’s a new name to add to the list, talented singer, composer, piano and trombone player Henry Darragh.

Usually jazz singers prefer to record recognized jazz standards instead of original compositions. Henry Darragh chose the hard way, recording mostly originals on his album Tell her for me.

Tell her for me have a perfect balance between swinging tunes like Tell her for me and Hey there and slower, romantic tunes like Dream boxes, Missing you and Everything happens to me.

Henry strength as a composer is his ability to write about situations everyone can identify with. For example Regret is a song about the regrets of being afraid to talk to a woman you like, just to ask yourself later, what if?

Once in a while lyrics are another good example, this time the question “is that special person thinking about even if it is just once in a while?” Master trumpet player Carol Morgan plays a great solo on this one.

As a singer, Darragh voice is similar in tone and phrasing to Harry Connick Jr. The album also includes the instrumental piece Early, where everyone has a chance to show their improvisation skills, including Henry Darragh on trombone.

Tell her for me is an excellent debut album for this multitalented singer/musician/composer.

Tracks: Hey there, Regret, Everything happens to me, Once in a while, Early, Dream boxes, Missing you, Tell her for me, Wrong ending, Look for the silver lining, The Harvard dictionary of music song

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Matt Garrison - Familiar Places

CD Review: Matt Garrison - Familiar Places

Featured Artist: Matt Garrison

CD Title: Familiar Places

Year: 2010

Record Label: DClef

Style: Various Jazz Styles

Musicians: Mat Garrison (sax), Bruce Harris (trumpet), Claudio Roditi (trumpet, flugelhorn), Thomas Barber (flugelhorn), Michael Dease (trombone), Sharel Cassity (flute), Don Braden (alto flute), Mark Whitfield (guitar), Zaccai Curtis (piano, fender rhodes), Luques Curtis (bass), Rodney Green (drums)

Review: The music on Matt Garrison new album Familiar Places is as impressive as the group of musicians playing in it. Besides Garrison, this album features Claudio Roditi on trumpet and Mark Whitfield on guitar among other amazing musicians.

The opening track Try another day starts with amazing harmonies by Matt Garrison on sax and Bruce Harris on trumpet. Garrison, Harris and Zaccai Curtis take turns with good improvisations before getting back to the starting harmonies.

A thoughtful attempt has a bossa feel with melodies reminiscent of the classic Speak Low. In contrast, Convergence has a modern feel to it with interesting time signatures and rhythms. The notes cascades out of the piano in Curtis flawless solo on this one.

Michael Dease composition, You know I love you includes the cool sounds of the fender rhodes and Garrison original You’ll know when you see her is a Bebop track with sax and trumpet harmonies that reminds me of Bird and Dizzy duets.

Familiar Places is another track with nice harmonies and a groove that makes you feel good. Kind of sounds like Vice Guaraldi compositions for Peanuts.

Matt warm tone works perfect on the track Left Behind, his improvisations flow easily out of his horn and yet his ideas sound well organized. In Without you, dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie, the band effortless changes between Cuban/latin and swingin rhythms. The album closes with the funky groove of A Clear Path.

Tracks: Try another day, A thoughtful attempt, Convergence, You know I love you, You’ll know when you see her, Familiar Places, Left behind, Without you no me (To Dizzy), A clear path

Artist's Website: http://mattgarrisonmusic.com/

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Kristine Mills

CD Review: Kristine Mills

Featured Artist: Kristine Mills

CD Title: Bossanovafied

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Kristine Mills (vocals), Paulo Midosi (piano), Haroldo Cazes (bass, guitar), Rubinho Moreira (drums, percussion), Jose Carlos Bigorna (sax, flute)

Review: Besides having a beautiful, sexy voice, and a nice phrasing influenced by jazz, pop and Bossa Nova, Kristine Mills is a wonderful composer. Her new album Bossanovafied is wonderful collection of original, romantic songs, heavily influenced by brazilian music. She even recorded most of the CD in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil with a group of talented musicians.

The brazilian feel may be heard all over the album, like the Bossa harmonies on I Wish or the flute intro on That was yesterday. Jose Carlos Bigorna on sax and Paulo Midosi on piano have most of the melodic responsabilities while Rubinho on drums and Haroldo on bass provide the bossa and samba contagious rhythms, especially on tracks like Sasha’s Lullaby and Burden of Choice.

Paulo and Haroldo cleverly quote some of the brazilian classics on their improvisations. Like the first part of Paulo solo on Fallin in Love, harmonically reminiscent of Jobim Garota de Ipanema. And Haroldo quoting of Menescal O Barquinho with his guitar solo on the track You are.

Tracks: I wish, That was yesterday, Sweet sorrow, Sasha’s Lullaby, Burden of Choice, Fallin in Love, You are, Inspiracao

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Sylvia Bennett - Smile

CD Review: Sylvia Bennett - Smile

Featured Artist: Sylvia Bennett

CD Title: Smile

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Sylvia Bennett (vocals), Mike Levine (piano), Chuck Bergeron (bass), Richard Bravo (drums, percussions), Sammy Figueroa (shaker), Hal S. Batt (guitar), Mike Lewis (vienna strings), Geremy Miller (violin overdubs)

Review: Elegance is the first word that comes to mind when listening to Sylvia Bennett. Her beautiful voice can be romantic and sexy but always classy and elegant.

Sylvia CD Smile is a delightful collection of jazz standards masterfully interpreted by Sylvia Bennett and a group of great musicians.

Smile starts with Bacharach Look of love, with Mike Levine piano intro, Hal S. Batt fills on guitar and the beautiful strings arrangements providing the perfect backup to Sylvia vocals.

The positive message of Chaplin Smile shines on Sylvia voice with a bossa arrangement version. There is also a touch of bossa nova on The shadow of your smile.

The very thought of you has a vintage jazz feeling even in Sylvia phrasing that at times reminds me of the legendary Billie Holiday.

The CD also includes danceable arrangements of tracks like Witchcraft, Make someone happy, Where or when and What a difference a day makes. Or romantic tracks like I’ll be seeing you, Gerswin Love is here to stay and two classics most people remember in the voice of Frank Sinatra, Fly me to the moon and Porter Night and day.

Tracks: Look of love, Smile, Witchcraft, Shadow of your smile, The very thought of you, Make someone happy, I’ll be seeing you, When or when, Love is here to stay, Night and day, Fly me to the moon, What a difference a day makes, Sonrie, Look of love (pop version)

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Robin Aleman - In your eyes

CD Review: Robin Aleman - In your eyes
Featured Artist: Robin Aleman

CD Title: In your eyes

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Robin Aleman (vocals), David Epstein (piano), Bob Sabin (bass), Brian Adler (drums), Nathan Childers (sax)

Review: Robin Aleman new album In your eyes starts with a bang with the cool version of Irving Berlin Steppin out with my baby. Most of the song is just drums and Robin voice with impressive piano and drums solos by David Epstein and Brian Adler.

In almost all the tracks Robin is accompanied by a trio of just piano, bass and drums. This format allows the listener to appreciate Robin beautiful tone and unique phrasing. Listen to the wonderful version of All or nothing at all or the bass and voice arrangement of the The way you look tonight.

Robin voice and feeling truly shines in the slow ballads like Something in your smile, When I look in your eyes and Some other time. But she is a versatile singer, showing her latin heritage in the salsa rhythms of I have eyes with a nice montuno on piano, singing perfectly in Portuguese in the Blue bossa/ Triste medley, or the kind of Irish phrasing on It never was you and Corea Crystal Silence.

Robin cleverly does a medley of two songs, I fall in love too easily and The next time it happens with similar lyrics about being careful when falling in love. In your eyes also includes the waltz like rhythms of Lover and a funk version of Ellington Do nothing till you hear from me.

Tracks: Steppin out with my baby, Something in your smile, The way you look tonight, I fall in love too easily/The next time it happens, All or nothing at all, I have eyes, Lover, Crystal Silence, It never was you, Come on strong, Blue bossa/Triste, When I look in your eyes, Do nothing till you hear from me, Some other time

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Annie Kozuch - Here with you

Here With You
Annie KozuchFeatured Artist: Annie Kozuch

CD Title: Here with you

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Frank Ponzio (piano), Saadi Zain (bass), Vito Lesczak (drums), Samuel Torres (percussion), Richard Padron (guitar), Cecilia Tenconi (flute, sax), Jose Gallegos (electric piano)

Annie Kozuch surrounded herself with a group of great musicians for this album, but there is no doubt who is the star here. Annie is not just another beautiful voice, she is a versatile singer capable of singing in different styles and languages.

Annie sings Jobim Chega de saudade and Corcovado in perfect portuguese, and with the perfect feel for Bossa Nova.

In I love being here with you Annie vocals are powerful and playful with the addition of some exquisite scats. In I'm through with love, You've changed and Irving Berlin How deep is the ocean, the music slow down so we can appreciate Annie feeling and different voice textures.

Annie is a singer full of surprises, not only she sings in portuguese and english. She also sings perfectly in spanish, there is an explanation for that, Annie grew up in Mexico. So she must be familar with boleros like Nosotros and Armando Manzanero Somos novios. Being from Puerto Rico I also grew up listening to this kind of music. And Annie versions are as good as any other I've heard.

Here with you also includes the enjoyable jazzy arrangement of Carinhoso, one of my favorites songs from brazilian composer Pixinguinha.

Tracks: Chage de saudade, I love being here with you, How deep is the ocean, Corcovado/Quiet Nights, You've changed, I'm through with love, Nosotros, Carinhoso, You're gettin to be a habit with me, Who can I turn to, Somos novios

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

domingo, 19 de septiembre de 2010

CD Review: Alex Levin Trio - New York Portraits

Featured Artist: Alex Levin Trio

CD Title: New York Portraits

Year: 2010

Record Label: Alex Levin Jazz

Style: Straight-Ahead / Classic

Musicians: Alex Levin (piano), Michael Bates (bass), Brian Floody (drums)

The music of this trio sounds so full and powerful. Since the first notes of the first track, My heart stood still, everyone shine without getting in each others way, just like a group shuld be.

Some of the music is relaxing but intense at the same time like the music of the second track, Who can I turn to. Michael Bates shows his great technique on the bass intro of Last train to Brooklyn, giving way to the wonderful piano melodies on this Alex Levin original piece.

Is the first time I listen to these great musicians, but from now on I sure will keep an eye on them. Their playing is instictive and flawless. These guys just don't know how not to swing. They are in full swing in the classics Cheek to cheek and I remember you, the Alex original Blues for Charley and even the slow swing of Like someone in love.

Alex melodic and harmonic choices are always interesting. One can fully appreciate this on the piano solo interpretation of Gershwin I loves you Porgy and and the not so recognizable Gershwin piece, Isn't it a pity this time accompany by Michael on bass and Brian on drums.

All the music on this album definetly gives you that New York vibe, including the wonderful version of Body and Soul.

Tracks: My heart stood still, Who can I turn to, Last train to Brooklyn, Cheek to cheek, I remember you, I loves you Prgy, Isn't it a pity, Like somone in love, Blues for Charley, Body and Soul

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Martin Loyato - Syncretism

Featured Artist: Martin Loyato

CD Title: Syncretism

Year: 2010

Record Label: Syncretism Records

Style: World Music

Musicians: Martin Loyato (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals, huaca), Jim Mansfield (percussion), Michael Zadok (vocals), Keven Brennan (clarinet, vocals, sax), Gary Fukushima (piano), Joel Peloquin (guitars), Nat McIntosh (tuba, trombone), Damion Corideo (congas, shekere), Tomas Mohr (drums), Nicholas Chase (turntables), Mark Menzies (violin), Justin DeHart (tablas), Severin Behnen (accordion), Howie Shear (trumpet), Andrew Carrig (sax), Petros Sakelliou (piano), Jonah Rosenberg (synthesizer), Tonatiuh Avila (drums, congas), Diego Ripoll (vocals), Davey Chegwidden (congas), Dennis Sullivan (percussion), Katelyn Kenney (vocals) Isaac Lausell (guitar)

In the world of Jazz some artists dedicate their careers to keep the tradition recording new versions of jazz classics. Others, like Martin Loyato keep pushing the genre forward creating new sounds and style fusions.

The title of Martin new album is Syncretism. Syncretism is the union or fusion of different systems of thought or belief. Martin does just that with music on this album.The first track, To free minds starts with arabian melodies and rhythms mixed interesting compuer effects. A cool combination of old and futuristic sounds.

Song for Bunny is more in the tradition of latin jazz, fused with the rock sounds of the electric guitar and the flamenco flavor with the claps sounds.

Martin Loyato is from Argentina so of course the tango is present on this album. Following in the tradition of the great Astor Piazzolla, Mi Tango de hoy is an innovative tango with the addition of turntables and Indian tables on percussion. And Martin trumpet providing the jazz sound.

Demons and Seraphs is fascinating, kind of a cinematic piece with uncommon melodies, harmonies and musical instruments from Bali, Central Java and Sunda.

La ciudad de los angeles is a dance tune that at times sounds like a big band but with a modern feel and latin rhythms. Syncretism has a latin influence also, this time fused with electronic effects and Matin Loyato doing the vocals. In his trumpet solos sounds like Martin is quoting the melodies of Bobby Capo El Negrito Bembon, a song famous in the voice of puertorrican salsa singer Ismael Rivera.

A little stone in the way is a musicalized poem where Martin plays the huaca, a multi-chambered flute. Algo para dar is the more traditional piece on the album. No sound effects here, just Martin horns, the beautiful voice of Katelyn Kenney and the great acoustic sound of of puertorrican guitarrist Isaac Lausell in a track with influences of Bossa Nova.

Tracks: To free minds, Song for Bunny, Mi tango de hoy, Demons and Seraphs, La ciudad de los angeles, Syncretism, A little stone in the way, Algo para dar, For free minds

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

lunes, 6 de septiembre de 2010

CD Review: Alva Nelson - Soul Eyes

Featured Artist: Alva Nelson

CD Title: Soul Eyes

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Straight-Ahead / Classic

Musicians: Alva Nelson (piano), Harry Anderson, Chris White (bass), Cecil Brooks III (drums), Larry Washington (percussion)

Review: Alva Nelson new album, Soul Eyes is a combination of mostly original compositions with some jazz classics. Nelson is a pianist with great technique equally good playing the fast tunes like Synonymous Dichotomy or the slow ballads like Soul Eyes, Some other time and Song for Keisha.

Gemini Baby has sort of a slow samba feeling, a track with rhythms that invites you to dance. In contrast, Sanctified blues like the title suggest is a classic blues. Both are great compositions, proving Alva ability to write music in a diversity of styles.

Alva piano style with his fast melody runs, reminds me at times of the great Art Tatum. But in A la Jarrett, like the title suggest, Alva piano playing is similar in style to Keith Jarrett music, with that classical music feel.

The album also includes masterful versions of the jazz classics, Body and Soul and Monk Round Midnight.

Tracks: Synonymous Dichotomy, Soul eyes, Gemini baby, Sanctified blues, Body and soul, Sweetcake, Some other time, A la Jarrett, Song for Keisha, Buster’s Bounce, Round Midnight

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

martes, 24 de agosto de 2010

CD Review: Black Olive Jazz - View from telegraph hill

Featured Artist: Black Olive Jazz
CD Title: View from telegraph hill

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Kay Andreas Kostopoulos (vocals), Larry Vuckovich (piano), Bill Douglass (bass), Noel Jewkes (sax), Ron Borelli (accordion), Eddie Marshall (drums), Ian Dogole (percussion)

Review: Caravan is the first track on Black Olive Jazz project View from telegraph hill. The arrangement of this classic, one of the most recognized and recorded in jazz history, has some interesting tempo changes with scats with Arabian influences by Kay Andreas. Caravan is a composition of Juan Tizol, Puerto Rican trombonist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and even though Caravan is regarded as one of the first latin jazz compositions, the original music already has an Arabian feeling.

The second track, View from telegraph hill, is an original by Kay Andreas with sexy vocals and good improvisations on piano and bass. And Street of Dreams is a duo with nice melodies exchanges between Kay and sax player Noel Jewkes.

There are two wonderful versions on this CD of Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer Out of this World, in a duo and quartet format.

Kay shows once again her scats abilities in the medley of Gershwin I got rhythm and Ellington Cotton Tail. Kay scats here are reminiscent in tone and phrasing of the ones by the great Ella Fitzgerald. Ella was the master of scats a technique use by jazz singers, improvising melodies with the voice.

The arrangement and Kay phrasing on East of the sun, sounds almost like a lullaby with a touch of swing. Kay is a singer with good technique and beautiful tone, and sings with lot of feeling in the slow version of Get out of town.

The accordion by Ron Bordelli in the ballad Dancing in the dark made it sounds almost like a tango. The last two tracks, Something to live for and A flower is a lovesome thing are from Ellington musical partner, pianist Billy Strayhorn. The CD also includes the less recognized Ellington piece, Warm Valley and a nice version of the classic Estate with Kay singing in Italian.

Tracks: Caravan, View from telegraph hill, Street of dreams, Out of this world, I got rhythm/Cottontail, Warm Valley, East of the sun, Get out of town, Dancing in the dark, Estate, Something to live for, A flower is a lovesome thing

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

miércoles, 28 de julio de 2010

CD Review: Kathryn Smith - With Every Breath I Take

Featured Artist: Smith Kathryn

CD Title: With every breath I take

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Kathryn Smith (vocals), Brian Conigliaro (guitar, harmonica, mandolin), Michael Goetz (bass), Dave Samuels (vibraphone), Ron Vincent (percussion), Ed Xiques (saxophone)

Review: With every breath I take is the debut CD from singer Kathryn Smith. But this album is not just another collection of jazz standards. Kathryn unique phrasing brings a new fresh sound to some of the American Songbook classics.

At first I could not identify what was so unique and different about Kathryn phrasing, until I read her CD notes. Kathryn toured England and Ireland for some time, and there is a touch of Irish accent in the way she sings. One may also hear that Irish folksy influence on the enchanting, lovely version of Joni Mitchell Urge for going.

Besides that European experience, Kathryn also studied theater and it shows on her clear voice and phrasing on the track So many stars, recorded with only voice and guitar and in the classic You go to my head.

The band swings on Hoagy Carmichael I get along you very well and the track My attorney Bernie provides the fun side to this CD with samba rhythms and the sexy but always classy Kathryn vocals.

A wonderful, elegant intro by Dave Samuels on the vibraphone takes you into For now (Time to strut), a swinging tune written by guitarist Brian Conigliaro. Guitar and vibraphone provide the perfect background to Kathryn delightful vocals on the slow arrangement of Ellington jazz standard Squeeze me.

Nothing beats the memories is another original by Brian, this time a nice Bossa. Kathryn shows her vocal range on this one with the elegance required for this music style, featuring Ed Xiques on sax providing the romantic mood. The album close in a relaxing mood with the beautiful title track, With every breath I take.

Tracks: So many stars, I get along without you very well, You go to my head, For now (Time to strut), Will you still love me tomorrow, My attorney Bernie, Urge for going, Squeeze me, Little white lies, Nothing beats the memories, With every breath I take

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Dave Anderson and Mike Wingo - Coversations

Featured Artist: Dave Anderson & Mike Wingo

CD Title: Conversations

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Straight-Ahead / Classic

Musicians: Dave Anderson (piano), Mike Wingo (percussion)

Review: Dave Anderson new album Conversations is a collection of jazz standards and some originals arrange for a duo of piano and percussion. I only remember another album recorded with this format, Michel Camilo and Giovanni Hidalgo Hands of Rhythm. This duo setting gives the pianist more space and freedom to play.

The percussion played by Mike Wingo on the first track, It might as well be spring sounds like a tap dancer, dancing to Dave piano playing and Dave style reminds me at times of the great pianist Bob James.

Dave cascades of melodies feels like raindrops on Gentle Rain one of the most beautiful songs by Bossa Nova pioneer, Luiz Bonfa. Dave gets you in a romantic mood with the lovely version of I’ve grown accustomed to her face and his nice harmonic and melodic arrangement puts a more upbeat, positive twist to Autumn Leaves.

La Fiesta is one of those Chick Corea compositions with a clear Spain influence. This is a piece that sounds great on this piano/percussion duo format. Well played by Mike and Dave capturing that flamenco feeling.

In a sentimental mood is maybe my favorite Ellington composition and Dave beautifully played version is one of the best I’ve heard.

This album also includes some of Dave originals like Song of you, with nice tempo and intensity changes, the beautiful ballad Sunrise and the classical feel of Light of darkness and Spring is here.

Conversations ends up with a wonderful version of Tom Jobim If you never come to me (Inutil Paisagem).

Tracks: It might as well be spring, Gentle Rain, I’ve grown accustomed to her face, Lucky Southern, Song of you, Autumn Leaves, Spring is here, La Fiesta, Sunrise, In a sentimental mood, Light of darkness, If you never come to me

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Chris Graham Trio - After Birth of Cool

Featured Artist: Chris Graham Trio

CD Title: After Birth of Cool

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Straight-Ahead / Classic

Musicians: Chris Graham (vibraphone), Alex Austin (bass), Oliver Hunt (drums)

Review: The vibraphone is not the first instrument people think about when talking about Jazz music. But the history of jazz is full with great vibraphonists, legends like Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson. More recently musicians like Gary Burton and Dave Samuels. And in latin jazz, of course, Cal Tjader and Tito Puente.

Chris Graham is a young vibraphonist following in the steps of those great musicians. Chris has developed a technique where he grips five mallets, creating music rich in harmonies and interesting melodies.

Chris melodies and improvisations are always elegant like in the first track 471 LB. Little Girl or Salt ‘n Ice, a piece that starts with a cool, calm mood before moving into full swing. Alex Austin on bass and Oliver Hunt on drums provide the rhythmic energy to Chris flawless, graceful melodies, especially in the tracks Punchin Trout, Sirabhorn, Our Time and Icarus.

The music on this CD varies from the more traditional swinging of the track 1957, a piece reminiscent of the Modern Jazz Quartet, to the modern sounds of Sirabhorn. With his impressive technique and good compositions Chris Graham is for sure a true heir to carry on the tradition of the vibraphone in jazz music.

Tracks: 471 LB. Little Girl, Punchin Trout, 1957, Sirabhorn, Our Time, Icarus, Salt ‘n Ice

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

viernes, 16 de julio de 2010

CD Review: Harvie S - Cocolamus Bridge

Featured Artist: Harvie S

CD Title: Cocolamus Bridge

Year: 2010

Record Label: Blue Bamboo Music

Style: Various Jazz Styles

Musicians: Harvie S (bass), Chris Cortez (guitar), Woody Witt (sax), Jose Miguel Yamal (piano), Joel Fulgham (drums), James Metcalfe (Percussion)

Review: Harvie S is a master bass player, composer, arranger, producer and educator. His experience includes recordings with jazz greats like Chick Corea, Anat Cohen, Mike Stern and John Scofield.

Cocolamus Bridge starts with a bass solo track. It is hard to keep the listener attention in a seven minutes piece with only bass. Harvie does just that with a very interesting arrangement of the Irish folk song Eili Gheal Chiuin. On this track Harvie shows his virtuosity, creativity and impressive technique.

Cocolamus Bridge is a fascinating melodic tune with nice harmonies by Harvie on bass and Woody Witt on sax.

Chris Cortez on guitar joins Harvie and Witt providing some cool improvisations on Courage, a fun, rhythmic, challenging tune. Harvie learning experience on Cuba comes out in the latin flavors of Coco Loco, a latin jazz with great contributions by the rhythm section, Chris on guitar, José Mangual Yamal on piano, Joel Fulgham on drums and James Metcalfe on percussion.

Night Dreamer is a bass and sax duet with Woody playing some powerful solos on sax. Chris and José Miguel play most of the melodies on To Bea, a beautiful samba dedicated to Harvie mother.

Ike (take a hike) is another latin influenced piece where you can clearly hear the “clave”, a rhythmic figure typical of Cuban music and also essential in Salsa music. Truth and Beauty gentle melodies slow downs the tempo to end this CD in a nice, relaxing mood.

Tracks: Eili Gheal Chiuin, Cocolamus Bridge, Courage, Coco Loco, Night Dreamer, To Bea, Ike (take a hike), Truth and Beauty

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

domingo, 11 de julio de 2010

CD Review: Lawrence Lebo - Don't call her Larry

Featured Artist: Lawrence Lebo

CD Title: Don't Call Her Larry, Volume 3 American Roots

Year: 2010

Record Label: On the Air Records

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Lawrence Lebo (vocals), Denny Croy (bass), Rick Cunha (guitar), Nicholas Kirgo (guitar, dobro) Tony Mandracchia (guitar), Phil Parlapiano (accordion), Steve Mugalian (drums), Larry David (piano), Mike Acosta (sax), David Strother (violin), Craig Fundyga (vibes)

Review: Lawrence Lebo new CD is a collection of mostly original songs that takes you through the roots of American music, blues, jazz and folk. Add to that Lawrence voice tone, reminiscent of the classic blues and jazz singers. I guess that is why this album is called American Roots.

On bluesy songs like On Time, Lawrence delivers the lyrics with the right feeling and attitude. The danceable Cowboy Swinging Boogie Woogie takes the listener back to the swing era with a fun, well played arrangement and playful Lawrence vocals.

It’s not the first time is a jazz tune with a touch of Broadway on the arrangement and especially on Lawrence powerful vocals. Denny Croy bass and Lawrence voice is all that is needed to swing on this one and on the tune Was that love.

It is impressive how these new singers can move easily and convincingly between music styles. Take for example Rose Rose , a folk almost country tune, beautifully interpreted by Lawrence. Nicholas Kirgo cool dobro playing gives this tune kind of a nostalgic feel.

Lawrence’s working blues and Walking the back streets had a classic blues feeling with Phil Parlapiano joining on the accordion.

Six out of the nine wonderful songs on this album are Lebo originals, including the dreamy music and vocals on A promise that I can keep.

Tracks: On time, Cowboy Swinging Boogie Woogie, It's not the first time, Rose Rose, Lawrence's Working Blues, Was that Love, Walking the back streets, I should care, A promise that I can keep

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

lunes, 5 de julio de 2010

CD Review: Rebecca Coupe Franks - Check the Box

Featured Artist: Rebecca Coupe Franks
CD Title: Check the box

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Various Jazz Styles

Musicians: Rebecca Coupe Franks (trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone, vocals, percussion), Luis Perdomo (piano, organ), Mary Ann McSweeney (bass), Richie Morales (drums), Summer Corrie (vocals)

Review: Rebecca Coupe Franks is a master trumpet player with the ability to mix different influences and create wonderful, interesting music. Exposure is one example of several tunes on this album with a clear latin flavor. Some of that latin feeling is provided by Pianist Luis Perdomo and drummer Richie Morales.

Besides playing trumpet, Rebecca shares lead vocals responsibilities with singer Summer Corrie. Rebecca sings in the latin tune Check the box with some nice “montunos” on piano by Luis Perdomo, on Next to me, a tune with nice voice/trumpet harmonies and the funky tune New & Now. Rebecca is also the singer in the blues Starting Over, so yes, she can sing and play the blues too.

Summer Corrie provide the hip hop style on Be the people and the modern vocals on Love Storm and Life has just begun, all of them with cool trumpet fills by Rebecca Coupe.

Chase is a tune with hard bop influences and one of my favorites on this album. On this track Rebecca shows her improvisational creativity and great technique. The rhythm section is fantastic on this one with Luis Perdomo on piano with his Monk like harmonies and impressive solos, Mary Ann McSweeney on bass and Richie Morales on drums.

The organ playing by Luis on the tracks Distraction and Thursday give them an almost gospel feel. Rebecca and Luis share the melodies on the intro of Mass before changing into a fast bebop groove and exchanging some cool solos.

This album and especially the slow, beautiful instrumental PAJ, is dedicated to Rebecca’s father.

Tracks: Exposure,Check the box, Be the people, Starting all over, Chase, Love Storm, Mass, New & Now, PaJ, Distraction, Next to me, Life has just begun, Thursday, Exposure Duo

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Anne-Florence Schneider - Donaflor

Featured Artist: Anne Florence Schneider

CD Title: Donaflor

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Anne-Florence Schneider (vocals), Dudu Penz (bass, guitar, percussion, vocals), Chris Wiesendanger (piano), Floriano Inácio (piano), Claude Schneider (guitar), Ademir Candido (guitar), Eduardo Costa (drums), Mauro Martins (drums), Alejandro Panetta (percussion), Rodrigo Botter Maio (flutes), Thomas Silvestri (piano), Daniel Pezzotti (cellos), Jonathan Allen (violin)

Review: Anne is a singer from Switzerland but listening to songs like Em frente ao mar from her new CD Donaflor is hard to believe she is not brazilian. There is even a little bit of the great singers from Brasil on her phrasing and tone. Donaflor starts with the delicious samba, Sambou tá novo. Her scats harmonies with the bass are fabulous. Floriano Inácio and Claude Schneider play elegant solos on piano and guitar.

The cellos on the lovely French ballad, Voyelles & Noits D’amour gets you in a romantic mood. Jazz and samba music blends perfectly on Amor Platonico with some more great scats by Anne-Florence.

Boa Noite is an enchanting ballad that feels almost like a waltz. Inacio piano on this one is superb. Sabía is one of the most beautiful songs from the father of bossa, Tom Jobim. This excellent arrangement is a little bit faster, more like a slow samba.

A rainha dos mares has kind of a nostalgic feel on the music and Schneider vocals with nice arrangements of cellos and violins. Ann soft and sensual vocals on Pegaso has a classy bossa feel that takes you to the beaches of Rio.

Canto Triste is another brazilian classic, this time from the legend Vinicius de Moraes, beautifully interpreted by Anne. The album ends up with the jazz tune Frevo de quarto folhas and more nice scats and vocals by Anne-Florence.

Anne is another one of those multi-talented singers that not only sings in more than one language, in this case, Portuguese, French and English. She is also a good songwriter and wrote the beautiful lyrics on L’Inespere and the jazzy tune My Boulevard.

Tracks: Sambou tá novo, Voyelles & Nuits D’Amour, Amor Platónico, Boa Noite, Sabiá, A Rainha dos Mares, Em frente ao mar, L’Inespere, My Boulevard, Pegaso, Canto Triste, Frevo de quarto folhas

Artist's Website: http://www.myspace.com/donaflormusic

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

domingo, 27 de junio de 2010

CD Review: Ellen Honert - Hummingville

Featured Artist: Ellen Honert

CD Title: Hummingville

Year: 2010

Record Label: Mill Station Records

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Ellen Honert (vocals), Frank Martin (piano and hammond organ), Jose Neto (guitar), Pedro Eustache (flute), John Peña (bass), Alex Acuña (drums and percussion).

Review: When a vocalist surround herself with quality musicians like pianist Frank Martin, guitarist José Neto, flutist Pedro Eustache, bassist John Peña and drummer, percussionist extraordinaire Alex Acuña, you got the feeling she must be good. And Ellen Honert is really good. Hummingville, the second album from this Netherlands native is a collection of good songs and amazing musicians.

Honert fine vocals and elegant phrasing captivates you from the first track, the samba like, Hummingville, A Honert delightful original song about the excitement of falling in love. The music style of Storylines, another Ellen original, is reminiscent of the jazz influenced singer, Basia.

Ellen wrote four additional songs on this CD, Restless, Tall Trees, the French lyrics of Le Phare and Two Steps, a track with a reggae groove, showing her versatility as a composer. Frank Martin classy piano intro in the song Life Talks leads to one of Ellen most heartfelt interpretations.

Hummingville includes also a nice version of Sting I was brought to my senses and a lovely interpretation of Chiara Civello Here is everything. But is on Milton Nascimento Bridges where Ellen shows her vocal range moving with ease between those high and low notes.

Tracks: Hummingville, I Was Brought To My Senses, Storylines, Intro Life Talks, Life Talks,Here is Everything, Restless, Bridges, Intro Le Phare, Le Phare, Two Steps, Some Time Ago, Tall Trees.

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Jennifer Zarine - Fresh Made Cuppa Tea

Featured Artist: Jennifer Zarine

CD Title: Fresh Made Cuppa Tea

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Jennifer Zarine (vocals), Ben Gallina (bass), Brady Miller (drums), Eric Lindberg (guitar), Eric Stephenson (cello), Josh Rutner (sax), Red Wierenga (piano, accordion)

Review: With the first notes of the first track Orange Colored Sky, you got the feeling that Fresh made cuppa tea, the new album from singer Jennifer Zarine, is going to be a fun ride. Fresh made cuppa tea is a delightful mix of Jazz standards with jazzy arrangements of Rock classics.

Jennifer Zarine vocals are playful, sexy and funny but always sincere. No doubt she enjoyed working on this album. The funny lyrics and folksy arrangements of The Kinks' Have a Cuppa Tea and the playful vocals on the French song, Boum will surely bring a smile to your face.

There is something for everyone on Fresh made cuppa tea. The swinging, vintage Jazz sounds of Orange Colored Sky. The beautiful, heartfelt vocals and classy phrasing of Something Cool, You’re my thrill, Smiles, Bye bye baby and That’s all. The entertaining version of The way you do the things you do and the cool, modern jazz arrangements of the Rolling Stones Paint it Black.

But besides being a wonderful singer, Jennifer is also a good songwriter. Listen to the enchanting music and vocals of Sleep, a lovely song that feel almost like a lullaby. Jennifer Zarine voice and music is definitely cool and fresh just like a fresh made cup of tea.

Tracks: Orange Colored Sky, The Way You Do The Things You Do, Something Cool, Have a Cuppa Tea, You're My Thrill, I need you to turn to, Boum, Paint it Black, Smile/I'm all smiles, Sleep, Bye bye baby, That's all

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

Listen or Buy:

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

viernes, 25 de junio de 2010

CD Review: Carol Morgan Trio - Opening

Featured Artist: Carol Morgan Trio

CD Cover
CD Title: Opening

Year: 2010

Record Label: Blue Bamboo Music

Style: BeBop / Hard Bop

Musicians: Carol Morgan (trumpet), Harvie S (bass), Rich DeRosa (drums), Woody Witt (sax)

Review: Carol Morgan is a fabulous trumpet player with great tone and technique. She is also a composer, author and college professor. A Julliard graduate, Carol discography includes two CDs as a leader, Classic Morgana and Passing Time with the Carol Morgan Quintet. On this album Carol leads his own trio, featuring bassist Harvie S and drummer Rich DeRosa.

The first track, Opening Line is a Carol original composition in a Bebop style with impressive fast runs on trumpet. Carol shows her nice tone on Horace Silver Nica’s Dream a piece that feels like a bolero, but then changes into a swinging tempo. Bud Powell's Celia is another Bebop style piece that takes you back to the Bird and Dizzy era. Carol, Harvie and Rich swing hard on this one.

Dark Continent is an original by drummer Rich DeRosa with a nice groove a la Afro Blue and good harmonies on trumpet with special guest Woody Witt on sax. Like someone in love is a ballad played beautifully by Carol. There are similarities in tone and phrasing with Miles Davis on these slow pieces. But then again which trumpet player has not been influenced by Miles?

Kenny Dorham Prince Albert is another swinging track with the best bass solo by Harvie S. Carol. Woody exchange some nice improvisations with Carol and both play good harmonies on Harvie original Sizzle. Rich DeRosa Calypso Blue ends up this wonderful CD with a combination of Calypso rhythms and bebop melodies.

Tracks: Opening Line, Nica's Dream, Celia, Dark Continent, Like Someone in Love, Prince Albert, Sizzle, Calypso Blue

Record Label Website: http://www.bluebamboomusic.com

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Fred Fried -Core 3.0

Featured Artist: Fred Fried

CD Cover
Title: Core 3.0

Year: 2010

Record Label: Ballet Tree Jazz Productions

Style: Contemporary Jazz

Musicians: Fred Fried (guitar), Michael Lavoie (bass), Miki Matsuki (drums)

Review: On his new album Core 3.0, Fred Fried take full advantage, harmonically and melodically of his new custom 8-string guitar. This guitar has a low A string below the low E and a high A string above the high E. These additional strings enable Fred “to produce chord voicings on the high end without sacrificing the bass”.

Jazz is improvised music so even though all compositions are by Fred Fried, all three musicians contribute equally to the wonderful music on this album. Miki Matsuki on drums and Michael Lavoie on bass provide a solid rhythm background to Fred Fried compositions and piano like phrasing.

Some of the music on Core 3.0 has a strong Bebop influence, including Leanne’s Number, a piece with interesting changes in tempo and powerful bass playing by Michael Lavoie. The track Henry reminds me harmonically and melodically of Coltrane My Favorite Things.

The ballad Mycha’s Labyrinth starts with beautiful arpeggios on guitar followed by good melodic improvisations. On Cloud Dancer the intro sounds like a lullaby and then change into a nice swinging groove. Michael Lavoie plays the main melody and also plays the first solo on the track Melody Four, another swinging piece with Fred exchanging improvisations with Miki Matsuki on drums.

A brazilian influence may be heard on Weather Changes with a cool Bossa feeling and April’s March reminiscent of Jobim classic Chovendo na Roseira. For these amazing musicians the composition is the most important thing and it surely shows all through this album.

Tracks: Leanne's Number, Henry, Mischa's Labyrinth, Cloud Dancer, Melody Four, Sadie, Weather Changes, April's March, The things you do

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

Listen or Buy:

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

jueves, 10 de junio de 2010

CD Review: The Odd Get Even

Featured Artist: The Odd Get Even

CD Title: The Odd Get Even

Year: 2009

Record Label: Independent

Style: Fusion

Musicians: Bill Ray (drums), Bill Cornish (keyboards, percussion), Christopher Michael Hale (bass), Anthony Sarain

Review: The Odd Get Even The Odd Get Even is a Funk/Jazz fusion collaboration between keyboardist, composer Bill Cornish and drummer Bill Ray.

The album starts with a funky track, an energetic keyboard playing by Bill Cornish and Christopher Michael Hale playing bass. On Kinetics the keyboard sound like an electric guitar and the music dance groove is reminiscent of the disco era.

On Eccentric Circles the violin sounds on keyboard is backed up with funk rhythms on drums. The track slow down with beautiful piano melodies and then goes back to the violin main theme. The keyboard sound effects on Tibetan Boogaloo are reminiscent of Tibetan Chants in a sort of psychedelic way.

Life of Leisure is a reggae with nice jazz, bluesy keyboard solos by Bill. Attention Deficit brings us back to the Rock/Jazz fusion of the 70’s with an Egyptian feel in the melodies. Anthony Sarain on sax plays the main melodies in the soul, bluesy track, Down Home. The xylophone effects on the track On the Run gives the sensation of being on a trip.

Iconoclast is another reggae with more xylophones effects on keyboards. Precipice is a gorgeous solo piano piece that proves Cornish can play slow and sensitive melodies. The last track is Psychlone, another fusion with an almost mystical feel.

Tracks: Esperanto, Kinetics, Eccentric Circles, Tibetan Boogaloo, Life of Leisure, Attention Deficit, Down Home, On the run, Iconoclast, Precipice, Psychlone

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

lunes, 24 de mayo de 2010

CD Review: Kere Buchanan - Starting Over

Featured Artist: Kere Buchanan

CD Cover

CD Title: Starting Over

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Other

Musicians: Steve Clisby, Michelle Martinez, Glenn Bidmead, Kimi Tupaea, Geoff Robertson (vocals), Bill Risby (organ, piano, keyboards), Alexander Hewetson (bass), James Muller (electric guitar), Chris Kamzelas (electric guitar), Tony azzopardi (percussion), Kere Buchanan (drums, keyboards, vocals), Leon Gaer (bass), Angus Gomm, Stewart Kirwan (flugelhorns, trumpet), Brendan St. Ledger (organ), John Bettison (electric guitars, vocals), Sarina Jennings (vocals), Anthony Kable (trombone), Andy Bickers (saxophone), Craig Walters (saxophone)

Review: Kere Buchanan received a little help from a lot of good musicians, but Starting over is definitely his project. Kere is not only the producer, but he also wrote or co-wrote most of the songs on this album. Additionally he plays drums, keyboards and does backing vocals.

The first song, Never be another next time, starts with powerful licks by Chris Kamzelas on electric guitar. Bass and guitar provides a nice groove to this is a song, a little bit alternative with touches of southern rock.

Some of the songs like Love’s Stronger, Starting Over and the instrumental Hymn for Anders have kind of a modern jazz influence, similar to groups like Fourplay. But most of the music on this album takes me back to 70’s and 80’s, like the soul, disco music feeling of Waiting for Love. The music arrangement, the sound of the Hammond organ and even Glenn Bidmead voice tone on the tracks Heartbreaker and Through the tears, reminds me of one of my favorite groups from the 80’s, Foreigner.

There is a lot of singers on this album, everyone matched perfectly with each song. Glenn sings the rock songs, Steve Clisby deep voice provide the soul to the songs, Love's stronger and Trust. Geoff Robertson sings in the title track of the album, Starting Over. But my favorite, maybe because of my preference for female singers, is Michelle Martinez. She has a beautiful voice with lot of feeling and nice phrasing. Michelle sings in Waiting for Love and on one of the jazzier track, Easy does it.

Kere Buchanan Starting Over is a CD with good songs in a diversity of styles.

Tracks: Never be another next time, More than you know, Waiting for love, Heartbreaker, Love's stronger, Starting Over, Trust, Easy does it, Through the tears, Prelude, Hymn for Anders

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

miércoles, 19 de mayo de 2010

CD Review: Antonio Adolfo & Carol Saboya - Lá e cá

Featured Artist: Antonio Adolfo & Carol Saboya

CD Cover

CD Title: Here and There

Year: 2010

Record Label: Antonio Adolfo Music

Style: Brazilian Jazz / Brazilian Pop Jazz

Musicians: Antonio Adolfo (piano), Carol Saboya (vocals), Leo Amuedo (guitar), Jorge Helder (bass), Rafael Barata (drums), Sergio Trombone (trombone)

Review: The interaction of Brazilian music and Jazz was a perfect marriage since the beginning. The jazz influence was essential on the musicians that created Bossa Nova in the late 50’s. And when jazz musicians first heard Bossa Nova, they fell in love instantly. Brazilian pianist Antonio Adolfo was one of those young musicians deeply influenced by both, jazz and of course the music from his native Brasil.

On his new album, Lá e cá, Antonio continues this long interactive history between Jazz and Brazilian music. On his CD notes Antonio says, “Lá e cá showcases our Brazilian phrasing, as we interpreted tunes from the American Songbook and Brazilian songs”. That is exactly what he did, Lá e cá is collection of Jazz classics and Brazilian songs beautifully played by Antonio and a group of amazing musicians, including his daughter, singer Carol Saboya.

Antonio music selection could not have been better, four Cole Porter tunes, Easy to Love, So in Love, Night and Day and Every time we say goodbye, three songs from one of the fathers of Bossa, Tom Jobim, Sabia, Garoto and Nuvens Douradas and three of Antonio Adolfo compositions, Cascavel, Minor Chord and Toada Jazz.

The samba arrangements of A Night in Tunisia and Easy to Love and the Bossa feeling of Time after time are fantastic and show the affinity of Jazz and Brazilian music. Antonio piano phrasing is elegant and rich melodically, interesting in the use of harmonies and always with that touch of Brasil flavor.

On this album Carol sings in five tracks, one in portuguese, Sabia, and the others in English. Carol Saboya heavenly, crystal clear voice is perfect for the slow romantic songs All the things you are, Time after time and So in love. Listening to her wonderful phrasing on these tracks and on Gillespie A Night in Tunisia, you would not believe this is the first time she records American standards. Her version of Sabia is sublime, one of the best I have heard of this Jobim classic.

I fell in love with Carol Saboya voice when I heard Janelas Abertas her 1999 album with guitarist Nelson Faria. I did not know Antonio Adolfo was Carol Saboya father, until I heard Antonio and Carol 2007 album Ao Vivo. Today I am a fan of both of them. Just listen to Lá e cá and you will be a fan too.

Tracks: Cascavel, All the things you are, Minor chord, A night in Tunisia, Time after time, Easy to Love, Sabia, Lullaby of Birdland/Garoto, So in love, Round Midnight, Every time we say goodbye/Nuvens Douradas, Toada Jazz/Night and Day

Artist's Website: http://www.antonioadolfo.com.br

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

lunes, 17 de mayo de 2010

CD Review: Nu-Drop

Featured Artist: Nu Drop

CD cover 3 CD Title: Nu Drop

Year: 2010

Record Label: Music Center

Style: Various Jazz Styles

Musicians: Lia Invernizzi (vocals), Piera Quirico (guitar), Silvia Cucchi (piano), Claudia Natili (bass), Barbara D'Alessio (drums), Max De Aloe (harmonica), Alfredo Ponissi (flute, tenor sax), Claudi Allifranchini (soprano sax, alto sax)

Review: The history of Jazz music is full of great female musicians. But rarely you will have the opportunity to listen to an all female jazz band.

Nu Drop is an all female jazz band. True, they got a little help from some male musicians friends, Max De Aloe on harmonica, Alfredo Ponissi on flute and tenor sax, and Claudio Allifranchini on soprano and alto sax. But the rhythm section, the essence of a jazz band, it is all women. Piera Quirico on guitars, Claudia Natili on bass, Silvia Cucchi on piano, Barbara D’Alessio on drums and singer Lia Invernizzi.

Lia is an excellent singer with a powerful, versatile voice. Her style is strongly influenced by Bebop but she can sing the blues too. On tracks like Camel’s Blues and A shadow of solitude there is a touch of Broadway on her phrasing and her scats are fabulous on The day of your return, How Sarah Thrills and Who’s crying for the man. But that’s not all, Lia is also a great composer, she wrote or co-wrote eight of the songs on this album, including the interesting changes in tempo on the tracks Who’s crying for the man, Love is over matter, You did you don’t and the french song Le Port de Beaulieu.

The amazing playing of bassist Claudia Natili and drummer Barbara D’Alessio keep the band swinging. Piera rhythmic guitar and Silvia subtle piano playing provides the harmonic background to most of the sax, flute and harmonica solos, but on tracks like The day of your return and How Sarah thrills they have the chance to show their abilities as improvisers. Listen to Piera and Silvia graceful solos on the bossa Sohraia.

If you think only men can play jazz, listen to Nu Drop, these Italian ladies can really play and swing.

Tracks: Black moon, Camel's Blues, A shadow of solitude, How Sarah Thrills, Le Port de Beaulieu, The day of your return, Sohraia, Who's crying for the man, Love is over matter, You did you don't, Nothing by chance

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

John Stein & Ron Gill - Turn up the quiet

Featured Artist: John Stein & Ron Gill

CD Cover
CD Title: Turn up the quiet

Year: 2009

Record Label: whaling city sound

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: John Stein (guitar), Ron Gill (vocals), Gilad Barkan (piano)

Review: Turn up the quiet is a collection of romantic songs beautifully interpreted by guitarrist John Stein and vocalist Ron Gill. The subtlety of John guitar playing provides the perfect background to Ron sensitive interpretations. There is also a coolness in Ron Gill phrasing reminiscent of singers like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.

On half of the songs of this album is just Ron Gill on vocals and John Stein on guitars. This fact, along with the romantic songs selection gives the album an intimate feeling. John has the task of playing the harmonies, keep the tempo and fill the spaces between Ron Gill vocals. On Weaver of dreams, Our love will see us through, and So this is love Ron and John manage to swing with just voice and guitar.

On Detour Ahead, Something in your smile, Gentle Rain and Wonder why, John switch to the bass and Gilad Barkan plays the piano, creating a trio. John now keeps the swinging groove on bass and Gilad plays some nice piano solos on My flaming heart and Wonder why.

This is an album dedicated to love and romance. A line from one of the songs sum up the feeling of this CD, “turn up the quiet, love wants to dance”.

Tracks: A weaver of dreams, Be my all, Detour ahead, My flaming heart, Love Dance, Our love will see us through, If it's magic/Too shy to say, Something in your smile/I'll be easy to find, So this is love, In a sentimental mood, Gentle Rain, My foolish heart, When I fall in love, Wonder why

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

Listen or Buy:

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

jueves, 13 de mayo de 2010

CD Review: Ligia Saavedra - Além dos Muros

Featured Artist: Ligia Saavedra

CD Title: Além dos Muros

Year: 2010

Record Label: Independent

Style: Brazilian Jazz / Brazilian Pop Jazz

Musicians: Ligia Saavedra (vocals), Betinho Taynara (bass), Bruno Mendes (percussion), Pedrinho Cavaleiro (vocals), Alcyr Guimaraes (vocals), Jeremias Progenio (vocals), Tatyana Araujo (vocals), Ruth Silva (vocals), Lenilson Albuquerque (piano), Andre do Cavaco (banjo), Harley Bichara (sax), Ziza Padilha (guitar)

Review: Brasil music scene is so rich and diverse in rhythms and talented musicians it is impossible to know them or hear them all. Ligia Saavedra is one of those good but not so famous brazilian artists. Ligia is a wonderful singer following in the tradition of so many greats female brazilian singers. Even her phrasing on No balanco no mar is reminiscent of the great Elis Regina.

Ligia always soulful voice takes us through a musical journey of sambas, bossas and other rhythms from Brasil. In some tracks like Alem dos muros, Tuas maos, Alem do olhar and Cristais de Saudade, dedicated to her son, Ligia shows us her soft, tender side with beautiful, heartfelt interpretations. Her festive side shines on the danceable tracks, Tem do, Cabano, Guajara and Cobra Grande.

Every musician does an amazing job on this album, especially the rhythm section of Betinho Taynara on bass and Bruno Mendes on percussion, but some deserve a special mention. Pedrinho Cavaleiro and Alcyr Guimaraes duos with Ligia on Alem dos muros and Tem do. Jeremias Progenio, Pedrinho Cavaleiro, Tatyana Araujo and Ruth Silva fantastic vocal harmonies on Vento, Cobra Grande and No balance do mar. The excellent piano playing of Lenilson Albuquerque on Alem do Olhar, No balance do mar and Cristais de Saudade. The folksy banjo of Andre do Cavaco and the jazzy sax of Harley Bichara on Guajara and Cobra Grande, and the classy guitar of Ziza Padilha on Alem dos muros.

Tracks: Além dos Muros, Vento, Me Permitto, Tem Do, Tuas Maos, Cabano, Guajara, Além do Olhar, Cobra Grande, No Balanço do Mar, Cristais de Saudade

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review: Larry Franco - 3 for Nat

Featured Artist: Larry Franco

CD Cover - Link to Artist's Site CD Title: 3 for Nat

Year: 2009

Record Label: Philology

Style: Straight-Ahead / Classic

Musicians: Larry Franco (vocals), Guido Di Leone (guitar), Ilario De Marinis (bass)

Review: Larry Franco 3 for Nat is a tribute to one of the best jazz singers, the great Nat King Cole. Before he was a famous ballad singer, Nat led one of best jazz trios and recorded songs like Route 66 and Straighten up and fly right, that later became jazz classics.

This CD was recorded live, so if you don’t mind the people clapping you will enjoy great interpretations of some of the best Nat King Cole songs. This is a drumless trio, just like the Nat King Cole Trio, Larry Franco on piano and vocals, Guido Di Leone on guitar, Ilario De Marinis on bass.

Ilario have the responsibility of keeping the swinging groove but also improvise some good bass solos on I’ve got the world on a string and Route 66. Larry soft touch and elegant phrasing both on piano and vocals goes along perfectly with Guido instinctive, flawless improvisations on guitar.

These guys are from Italy, so even though Larry sings most of the songs in English, there are some songs with Italian lyrics on this album, like Capuccina Permettete Signorina, Four Brothers and Nat King Cole. Four Brothers includes fabulous scats by Larry Franco and Nat King Cole lyrics are of course an homage to the gentle man himself. 3 for Nat also includes classy versions of Sweet Lorraine, It’s only paper moon, Straighten up and fly right, I’m in the mood for love and Charlie Parker Yardbird Suite.

Tracks: I've got the world on a string, Route 66, Nat King Cole, Capuccina Permettete Signorina, Sweet Lorraine, Four Brothers, It's only paper moon, Yardbird Suite, I'm in the mood for love, Straighten up and fly right, Orange colored sky, Unforgettable

Artist's Website: http://www.larryfranco.it/

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

CD Review of Larry Franco - A crooner in the land of Dixie Jazz Society

Featured Artist: Larry Franco

CD Cover - Link to Artist's Site CD Title: A crooner in the Land of Dixie Jazz Society

Year: 2008

Record Label: Philology

Style: Traditional / New Orleans

Musicians: Larry Franco (vocals), Michael Supnick (trumpet, trombone), Bepi D’Amato (clarinet), Michele Carrabba (tenor sax), Renzo Bagorda (banjo), Ilario De Marinis (bass), Enzo Lanzo (drums), Giacomo Desiante (accordion)

Review: Crooner is a singer that sings popular songs in a soft, sentimental manner. On Larry Franco other projects like his album 3 for Nat, one might call him a crooner, but on this CD Larry leads a group of fantastic musicians through an album full of energetic and fun music, Dixieland music. These guys can really swing and their amazing improvisations will remind you of jazz pioneers like Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong.

Dixieland Jazz was one of the earlier jazz styles played in New Orleans. It is rare to hear this kind of music even on jazz radio stations, unless you live in New Orleans. In fact, listening to this album you’ll swear this is a New Orleans band. All the characteristics that distinguish Dixieland jazz are there. The clarinet playing those high notes counter melodies dancing around the trumpet melody, the trombone playing the long notes, the breaks and stops and the polyphonic collective improvisations.

However, what makes this album unique is the fact that the musicians are Italians. Larry Franco on vocals, Michael Supnick on trumpet and trombone, Bepi D’Amato on clarinet, Michele Carrabba on tenor sax, Renzo Bagorda on banjo, Ilario De Marinis on bass, Enzo Lanzo on drums and Giacomo Desiante on accordion. But that is not all, most of the lyrics are written in Italian. So here's an chance to listen to good classic jazz music and learn a new language.

Tracks: Non Sparate Sul Pianista, Caro Natalino, Oh Baby Kiss Me, Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans, In Cerca Di Te, Marilu, China Boy, Boccuccia Di Rosa, Permettete Signorina, Ho Un Sassolino Nella Scarpa, The Sheik of Araby

Artist's Website: http://www.larryfranco.eu/

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

martes, 4 de mayo de 2010

CD Review: Giampaolo Ascolese - Le it Be...atles

Featured Artist: Giampaolo Ascolese

CD Title: Le it Be...atles

Year: 2009

Record Label: Lake Records

Style: Various Jazz Styles

Musicians: Giampaolo Ascolese (drums, vibraphone, marimba, percussion, vibes, xylophone, glockenspiel), Gerardo Iacoucci (piano, accordion), Elio Tatti (bass), Filiberto Palermini (alto sax, soprano sax), Rodolfo Rossi (marimba, glockenspiel, xylophone, steel drums, tubular bells, percussion), Vittorio Iue (piano), Roberto Forlini (drums), Rino Vernizzi (bassoon), Michele Ascolese (guitar)

Review: Let it Be...atles is an interesting CD and DVD homage to the legendary British group The Beatles. Part of what makes this project different to other homages is the reproduction through paintings by artist Marie Reine Levrat of some of the classic Beatles songs. These paintings are included in the booklet and the DVD. For some of the songs, there are a number of drawings that describe each verse. The DVD also includes interviews and live performances.

The CD contains some of the Beatles classics played wonderfully by Giampaolo Ascolese and his group. What distinguish this CD from others, is the arrangements and the unusual instruments chosen for each song.

Giampaolo play vibraphone on For no one, I feel fine, Strawberry fields, And your bird can sing, Martha my dear, Within you Without you, Tomorrow never knows, Here comes the sun and When I'm sixty four. In almost every track Elio Tati played an acoustic instead of an electric bass, giving the songs a more jazzy feeling.

Rodolfo Rossi and Giampaolo Ascolese even play the marimba on And I love her, Eleanor Rigby, Here comes the sun and When I'm sixty four. The lovely sound of the bassoon played by Rino Vernizzi carries the melody on Don't pass me by, Yellow Submarine and Octopus's Garden. But is Filiberto Palermini who does an amazing job playing almost all the song melodies either on alto or soprano sax.

Giampaolo Ascolese, Gerardo Iacoucci, and Rino Vernizzi did most of the arrangements. Some of the arrangements had more of a classical feel and some feel like jazz, with more room for improvisations. A wonderful project for either Beatles and Jazz fans.

Tracks: For no one, And I love her, I feel fine, Strawberry fields forever, Day Tripper, And your bird can sing, Martha my dear, Blackbird, Don't pass me by, Within you without you, Eleanor Rigby, Yellow Submarine, Tomorrow never comes, Here comes the sun, When I'm sixty four, Let it be, Octopus's Garden, Yellow Submarine 2

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

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

viernes, 30 de abril de 2010

CD Review: Lissy Walker - Life is Sweet

Featured Artist: Lissy Walker

CD Title: Life is Sweet

Year: 2010

Record Label: Strawberry Canyon Records

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Lissy Walker (vocals), John R. Burr (piano), Scott Nygaard (guitar), Jon Evans (bass), Scott Amendola (drums), Steven Bernstein (trumpet, Philip Worman (cello), Dave Ellis (sax)

Review: Is Lissy Walker a jazz singer with folk influences? Or is she a folk singer with jazz influences? Who cares, as long as she is good. And Lissy Walker is really good.

Jazz, folk and country music are fused beautifully on Lissy Walker debut album, Life is Sweet. Lissy moves convincingly among these music genres with her sweet voice and deeply emotional interpretations.

Life is Sweet starts with the classy arrangement of the Johnny Mercer I Remember You. Lissy shows her jazzy side on this one, singing behind the beat, a phrasing style used by Billie Holiday and other great jazz singers.

The arrangement of Irving Berlin How Deep is the Ocean is definitely Jazz but with a touch of country. Lissy phrasing although show some country influences but the bluesy piano fills and solos by John Burr are pure jazz.

I love how Lissy plays with the melodies on Waters of March. I must have heard a hundred versions of this Jobim classic, both english and portuguese, but this is without a doubt one of my favorites english versions.

I have never been a big fan of country music, but Lissy might change my mind with her wonderful interpretation of What'll I do, I wish you love and In the wee small hours. Emotional, lovely, dreamy, sweet, Lissy vocals are simply beautiful.

With folk vocals and arrangements and a ragtime piano, Let me go reminds me at times the music Madeleine Peyroux. Moonbeam Song and Celluloid Heroes are also folk songs, but this time the arrangements and Lissy phrasing are reminiscent of one of my favorites folk band and singer, Margo Timmins of the Cowboys Junkies.

Nothing country or folk about More than you know and Irving Berlin Isn't this a lovely day. The arrangements and vocals sound like classic old jazz, proving Lissy and her band really can swing.

There is a gospel feel in John Burr piano playing and Lissy soulful vocals on Saturday Sun, adding yet another influence to Lissy Walker impressive debut album.

Tracks: I Remember You, How Deep is the Ocean, Waters of March, What'll I do?, Let me go, Moonbeam Song, More than you know, In the wee small hours, Isn't this a lovely day, I wish you love, Celluloid Heroes, Saturday Sun

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

Listen or Buy:

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

domingo, 25 de abril de 2010

Wen Mew - Sunday Morning Santa Monica

Featured Artist: Wen Mew

CD Title: Sunday Morning Santa Monica

Year: 2009

Record Label: Talented Production

Style: Various Jazz Styles

Musicians: Wen Mew (saxello), Michael Parlett (piccolo, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone)

Review: One of the rewards of writing reviews is to discover good artists like Wen Mew. Sunday Morning Santa Monica is a fabulous collection of Jazz and Bossa Nova tunes, all written by Wen Mew.

Since it’s birth in 1958, Bossa Nova became a favorite of Jazz musicians all over the world. Fifty years later that fascination is still going on. Four of the tracks on this album are Bossas, Sue’s Sunrise, Lady B’s Bossa, Bossalero and Lovely You. Compositions even the great Jobim would be proud of.

Wen and partner Michael Parlett have the feeling, tone and perfect phrasing to play Bossa Nova. Michael plays piccolo on Sue’s Sunrise, alto saxophone on Lady B’s Bossa and baritone sax on Bossalero(a combination of Bossa Nova with Bolero). Wen plays the saxello, essentially a straight Bb soprano, but with a slightly curved neck and tipped bell

Wen and Michael play perfectly together, with nice solo exchanges also on the jazz tracks, Living with Lady Haig and Mew’s mood for love. Michael plays alto sax on Lady Haig and Groovin with Kim and baritone sax on Mew’s mood.

On the rest of the album is all Wen playing the saxello and some of the most beautiful melodies on the ballads, Sunday Morning Santa Monica, Embrace Sal, dedicated to his aunt, and May Jan Mew, dedicated to his mother.

Ruby’s Waltz is dedicated to one of my favorites jazz singers, Roberta Gambarini and First Lady Michele Obama is obviously dedicated to the United States first lady. A classic Jazz ballad with classy melodies, as classy as the first lady herself.

Wen Mew’s Sunday Morning Santa Monica is perfect for a romantic evening or just to listen to it watching a sunrise.

Tracks: Sues Sunrise, Sunday Morning Santa Monica, Lady Bs Bossa, Embrace Sal, Bossalero, First Lady Michelle Obama, Groovin with Kim, May Jan Mew, Lovely You, Living with Lady Haig, Robys Waltz, Mews Mood for Love

Record Label Website: http://www.talentedproductions.com

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre