Monthly Archives: April 2010

Jerry Bergonzi

Three For All
(Savant Records)

Three For All, the latest recording from saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi is a snapshot of trio work at its finest. Bergonzi, who comes out of a generation of New York brass men heavily influenced by the energy of the great John Coltrane, continues to uphold that flag and tradition in this setting. He’s joined in this endeavor by bassist Dave Santoro and drummer Andrea Michuletti. Bergonzi wrote all 13 of the album’s  compositions and often doubles himself on soprano and tenor sax on this fine showcase of musicianship.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Horus”.

Tracks: Crop Circles, Obama, End of The Mayan Calendar, Between The Lines, Demolition Mode, Bluebonics, Horus, Tectonic Plates, FIDH.

Tia Fuller

Decisive Steps
(Mack Avenue Records)

Saxophonist Tia Fuller proves that her sophomore recording was no fluke. On Decisive Steps she goes deeper into the tradition than on her previous efforts, perhaps swinging a bit harder and more intently. Her skills as a composer have not waned either, as she wrote eight of the albums 10 tunes, along with brilliant covers of “I Can’t Get Started” and “My Shining Hour”. Fuller is backed once again by a line of all-female rhythm section and they are solid unit, with Miriam Sullivan on acoustic bass, Kim Thompson on drums, and Shamie Royston on piano and Fender Rhodes. She’s also is joined by vibraphonist Warren Wolf, as well as labelmates bassist Christian McBride and trumpeter Sean Jones for several pieces. With Fuller having spent some time touring with R&B star Beyonce, it might be tempting for some critics take her lightly, but this project further establishes the fact that Tia Fuller is a jazz musician of significant calibur.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Decisive Steps”.

Tracks: Decisive Steps, Windsoar, Ebb & Flow, I Can’t Get Started, Kissed By The Sun, Steppin’, Shades of McBride, Clear Mind, Night Glow, My Shining Hour.

Pat Metheny

(Nonesuch Records)

One of guitarist Pat Metheny’s treasured memories as a child was watching his grandfather’s player piano, a 19th-century invention which played on its own using metallic music rolls. The machine sparked such an interest, that over the years Metheny has commissioned technicians and inventors around the globe to produce mechanical devices that might be used to play other instruments. The latest advances in solenoid and other technologies has made it possible to power fairly primative devices in new ways. In 2009, while taking his first hiatus from the touring since he was 17, Metheny had time to indulge his growing obsession these with the robotics devices and eventually record an entire album with these mechanized musical instruments. The result is his latest recording Orchestrion, an adventurous 5-track expedition into new acoustic territory by one of the music world’s intrepid explorers.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Orchestrion”.

Tracks: Orchestrion, Entry Point, Expansion, Soul Search, Spirit Of The Air.

The Ian Carey Quintet

(Kaboocha Records)

Contextualizin’, the latest from the Ian Carey Quintet, is the stuff that great jazz is made of, a blend of solid musicianship and writing. Carey’s trumpet and fluegelhorn work has an inviting tone that can attract of jazz aficianados and novices alike. The quintet is a terrific assemblage of talented players. Pianist and Fender Rhodes man, Adam Shulman contributes excellent solos throughout. Saxophonist Evan Francis nicely compliments Carey’s horn, while drummer Jon Arkin and bassist Fred Randolph provide a solid rhythmic backbone. Carey wrote eight of the nine of the project’s engaging compositions. The combination of all of the above make this recording and this band exciting to hear.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Contextualizin'”.

Tracks: Tom/Tom, Questions, Leap Year, Contextualizin’, Just Friends, Disinvited, No You, Sockdolager, Shake and Joe.

Mort Weiss

Raising The Bar: The Definitive Mort Weiss
(SMS Jazz)

For his latest recording, Raising The Bar, clarinetist Mort Weiss accomplishes just that, recording a solo album, something he says has never been done on a horned instrument in jazz. Now 75 years old, Weiss sounds as strong as ever, due in part to a regimen of 2-3 hour daily practices, one mile walks and exercise six days per week. Flying without a net, Weiss aptly demonstrates that he is still a true virtuoso of his trade with interpretations of classics like, “My Shining Hour”, “Dear Old Stockholm” and “Just Friends”. On his version of “My Way”, Weiss shares a bit of sage advice on life. It’s a nice addition and one more reason not to miss this opportunity to hear the full sonic capability of an instrument in the hands of one of its master craftsmen.

Click here to listen to a clip of “It Might As Well Be Spring”.

Tracks: My Shining Hour, Smile, Tea for Two, Alfie, Sketches, Dear Old Stockholm. Everything Happens To Me, Without a Song, Blues for Hakan, Lunch in Navasota, Just Friends, What’s New?, Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, As Time Goes By, It Could Happen To You, It Might As Well Be Spring, My Way.

Cindy Blackman

Another Lifetime
(Four Quarters Entertainment)

Drummer Cindy Blackman returns from her more rock-oriented work with Lenny Kravitz to the inspiration of a mentor, the late, great Tony Williams. Another Lifetime is primarily a clash of fusion and jazz driven by Blackman’s powerhouse drumming style and blazing guitar work by Mike Stern,Vernon Reid and Fionn O Lochlainn. Featuring 5 songs written by Williams, a suite of Carly Bley compositions meld right into the feel of the project. Blackman also wrote 3 of the tracks, including a spoken word piece titled, “Forty Years of Innovation”. The lineup of musicianship for the sessions includes saxophonist Joe Lovano, pianist Patrice Rushen, Doug Carn on organ, along with Benny Rietveld and David Santos on bass, among others. The envelope-pushing electricity of music and musicians makes this recording an outstanding work of art and reverence.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Wildlife”.

Tracks: Vashkar, Where, Beyond Games, Vashkar Reprise, 40 Years of Innovation, The Game Theory, Vashkar-The Alternate Dimension, Love Song, And Heaven Welcomed A King, There Comes A Time, Wildlife.