Jazz and Bossa Radio

Jazz and Bossa Radio
Jazz and Bossa Radio

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
Featured Artist: Ava Lemert

CD Title: From My Soul

Year: 2009

Record Label: Ava Lemert Music

Style: Smooth Jazz

Musicians: Ava Lemert (vocals, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone), Cam Perridge (guitar), Blyss (bass), Dante Roberson (drums), Derrick Hall (keyboards), James Davis (guitar)

Review: There is no doubt the music on this album comes from Ava Lemert soul. Ava did all the vocals, plays alto and tenor saxophones and wrote most of the music and lyrics.

Almost all the music on From my Soul can be classified as smooth jazz with touches of funk. Ava singing style can be sexy on songs like You know you got it, Kiss you and Nothing looks the same in the night and soulful on songs like Won't be your plaything. You got something coming to you and Won't be your plaything are the only two tracks where Ava does not play the sax.

Ava Lemert shows she can really play the sax on I wanna funk it up and That 70's girl, funky tracks reminiscent of Candy Dulfer music. Ava plays both alto and tenor sax on most of the tracks, creating some wonderful harmonies.

On Soft and Silky, one may also appreciate Ava nice tone and phrasing on sax. Rhodelea is one of the two instrumental tracks on this album, the first one I had the opportunity to listen to and still one of my favorites. The reason for that is maybe my personal preference for instrumental music, but another reason maybe that Rhodelea was recorded with real instruments, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and of course Ava playing sax.

Ava Lemert From My Soul is a nice album for Smooth Jazz and Funk fans.

Tracks: You Know You Got It, I Wanna Funk It Up, Rhodelea, Won't Be Your Plaything, That 70's Girl, Nothing Looks The Same In The Night, Soft And Silky, You Got Something Coming To You, Kiss You

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

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

Listen or Buy:

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

jueves, 22 de abril de 2010

Gerry Gibbs and the Electric Thrasher Orchestra

Artist: Gerry Gibbs and the Electric Thrasher Orchestra

CD Title: Play the music of Miles Davis 1967-1975

Year: 2010

Record Label: Whaling City Sound

Style: Fusion

Musicians: Gerry Gibbs
(drums), Brian Swartz (trumpet), Doug Webb (saxophone, clarinet), Rob
Hardt (clarinet, flute), Andy Langham (synthesizer), Mike Hoffman
(electric guitar), Brandon Rivas (electric bass), Essiet Okon Essiet
(acoustic bass), Gabriel Herrera (vocals), Dwight Trible (vocals),
Felicia Chery, Nelson Chery, Chrissauna Chery (percussion)

Review: If I have to describe this
CD in one word, that word would be "intensity". Drummer Gerry Gibbs and his
friends do an amazing job capturing the intensity of Miles Davis music.
This is a double CD full of energy and good music.

It is not an easy task to play Miles Davis music, no matter what period of his long career you prefer. Gerry Gibbs chose the years of 1967
-1975. This period in Miles career was his transition from classic Jazz
to fusion Jazz.

For those not familiar with Miles career, he started playing in the
years of Be Bop with Charlie Parker, later he was one of the creators of
the cool jazz style. In the 60's he play hard bop and at the end of the
60's, beginning of the 70's, he was one of the first to mix jazz with
rock, creating a new style called fusion jazz.

On this album you will
find some of the classic Miles from this period, like Directions,
Bitches Brew, In a Silent Way, Pinocchio and Nefertiti. But what Gerry
and these great musicians did here is not a exact copy of Miles music,
it is more like a tribute. You are going to recognized the melodies and
rhythms of Miles band but you will find new improvisations and
interpretations of these classics.

Being a Miles tribute, obviously the trumpet is one of the highlights
and Brian Swartz does a nice job on trumpet, playing great solos with a
similar tone to Miles Davis. But every musician on this album play hard
and keep the energy level up, with powerful guitar improvisations by
Mike Hoffman on Double Image and Miles runs from the Voodoo. Melodic sax
solos by Doug Webb on Bitches Brew, Masqualero and In a Silent Way.
Cool sound effects and solos by Andy Langham on keyboards and the vocals
improvisations are simply wonderful.

But the heroes are
definitely the rhythm section, Gerry Gibbs on drums and the bass
players, Brandon Rivas and Essiet Okon Essiet, playing with the fire
required on tracks like Masqualero, Pinnochio and Travere and keeping
the funky groove on tracks like Black Satin and Right Off. On his CD
notes, Gerry wrote that after the recording session he took a five hours
car ride listening to the music they just recorded. Actually that is
not a bad idea, this album is perfect for a long car ride.

I will not join the discussion on what is and what is not jazz. If you
are one of those who thinks Jazz evolution and history stopped in the
60's, maybe this album is not for you. But if you like good music, no
matter the jazz style, you are going to enjoy this one.

Tracks: Directions, Double
Image/Gemini, Masqualero, Little Church, Bitches Brew, improv. #1, Bass
and percussion improv #1, Nefertiti, Black Satin, Miles Runs The Voodoo
Down, Lonely Fire, Travere (take 1), What I Say/The Theme, Vocal improv,
In a Silent Way, In Concert, Right Off, bass and percussion improv #2,
Pinocchio, Sanctuary, Nem um tal vez, Calypso Freelimo, Travere take 2,
Inamorata, Directions Take 2, The Theme

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

Reviewed by:


miércoles, 14 de abril de 2010

CD Review: Sandra Godoy - Vers Le Haut

Featured Artist: Sandra Godoy

CD Cover - Link to Label

CD Title: Vers Le Haut

Year: 2010

Record Label: AOEDE Production

Style: Folk Jazz

Musicians: Sandra Godoy (vocals), Laurent Tchen-Fo (guitar, bass), Marc Buccafuri (guitar), Djamel Taouacht (percissions), Angelique Chambonneau (vocals), Cyrelle Roux (vocals)

Review: Even though Vers Le Haut is just Sandra Godoy second album (the first was Essencia on 2003), she’s been singing professionally for 30 years now. Sandra’s career started in the late 70's in Sao Paulo, Brasil and in the 90's she was already working on different musical projects all over France and Europe.

Sandra wrote most of the french and portuguese lyrics on Vers Le Haut and co-wrote most of the music with producer/guitarrist/bassist/composer Laurent Tchen-Fo. The other musicians on Vers Le Haut are, Marc Buccafuri on guitars, cavaquinho and arrangements.Djamel Taouacht on percussions, Angelique Chamboneau and Cyrielle Roux on vocals.

Sandra sensual voice and sincere, heartfelt interpretations takes you through a voyage of fascinating and hypnotic melodies and rhythms. In every song you’ll find different influences. The beautiful melodies and vocal harmonies on Samboris, are reminiscent of african chants. The music and arrangements on Venez-Voir are also influenced by african rhythms. Songs like Vers Le Haut and Razoes almost feel like a slow reggae.

Sandra shows her gentle, romantic side in songs like Chez Moi, Fils, Je Suis Malade.and the beautiful Si un Jour. On Deracinee after a lovely acoustic guitar intro, Sandra wonderful voice lead us through a song full of images of her native Brasil.

Moleke, one of the two songs with portuguese lyrics, has more of a brazilian feeling to it and is one of the more upbeats tracks on the album with excellent percussions by Djamel Taouacht and fantastic vocal harmonies by Angelique and Cyrielle. But one of my favorites is Mon Martien, with it’s latin, almost Caribbean rhythms that invites you to dance.

It helps to have some understanding of the french language to truly appreciate Vers Le Haut, but with music of this quality and Sandra’s delightful interpretations you are going to enjoy it anyway.

Tracks: Samboris, Cez Moi, Deracinee, Vers Le Haut, Moleke, Fils, Mon Martien, Razoes, Si Un Jour, Je Suis Malade, Venez Voir

Record Label Website: http://www.aoedeproduction.fr

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre