Seattle-based vocalist Greta Matassa has been a dues-paying jazz singer since she was 17 years old. Her latest recording, I Wanna Be Loved, is a portrait of the artist at the top of her game. She belts on the swing tunes and bring just the right amount of pathos to a tender ballad, the balance of which is the basis for this recording. Matassa’s vocal talents are matched by outstanding arrangements by pianist Tamir Handleman, brought to life by great musicianship from Bruce Forman on guitar, Clipper Anderson on bass, and Bob Leatherbarrow on drums, among many others. This is the work of a full-fledged jazz singer that simply will not disappoint.
Thanks to camps like this one in Birmingham, Alabama, some teen musicians will have a chance to continue their musical training and education, in jazz and other forms of music. We just need funding for more of them:
Virtuoso pianist Keith Jarrett and bassist Charlie Haden last recorded together some 30 years ago, but their new release sounds as if they’ve been playing together forever. Jasmine, a duo take on standard ballads, was recorded in Jarrett’s New Jersey-based home studio on an old Steinway that he uses mostly for practice.Though each of the eight tunes have been interpreted a million times, Haden and Jarrett bring something invigorating to their rendering of the music. The sound is clean and perfect for the sparseness of instrumentation and what’s heard is a beautiful musical conversation between two old friends and masters of their respective crafts.
Tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf has a bright ‘big city’ sound that takes a over room and makes a statement not to be missed. Though this is his 17th year with Criss Cross Jazz, and his eleventh recording as a leader, See The Pyramid marks only his second recorded exploration into the tenor-piano-bass-drums quartet scenario favored by so many of his heroes. Joining Weiskopf in this endeavor are pianist Peter Zak, bassist Doug Weiss, and drummmer Quincy Davis. The four have a chemistry that make this 10-track set a quality work. Weiskopf wrote five of the album’s compositions, with other selections coming from the songbooks of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Johnny Mandel, among others. The New York-based Weiskopf is an artist who definitely has something to say and a powerful way of saying that something.
Our Conversations series will resume with John Comerford, producer of Icons Among Us: Jazz In The Present Tense on Thursday, July 22nd at 3PMEST/12PM PST. The 30-minute interview will broadcast live on our BlogTalkRadio Channel. A podcast of the program will be available within 10 minutes after the conclusion of the live broadcast. You can listen by going here.
We’ll have a review up for the film very soon. The DVD is available is now available at AllAboutJazz , among other outlets.
Here’s a look at the trailer for the documentary Icons Among Us: Jazz In The Present Tense:
The MacArthur Genius Award, which violinist Regina Carter won in 2006, afforded her the opportunity to explore new sources of creative fuel. Reverse Thread was inspired by field recordings of songs by Ugandan worshippers of the Jewish faith which the Detroit native was able to discover in her search. The project can best be described as a tapestry of folk music that sounds as if it’s somewhere between Senegal, Paris and the Appalachian mountains. She’s joined on this journey by Yacouba Sissiko playing the kora, a West African harp, bassist Mamadou Ba and accordion players Will Holshouser and Gary Versace. They’re accompanied by Carter’s band of Adam Rogers on guitar, Alvester Garnett on drums and Chris Lightcap on bass. With such diverse colors and sources, the result could easily be musical chaos, but Carter and her violin are the thread which beautifully tie this soul-soothing and joyous piece together, absolutely soaring with every note she plays.
The Groover, the latest from Hammond B-3 organist Mike LeDonne, truly lives up to its name, with plenty of swinging grooves from start to finish. The project is a showcase for some truly exquisite musicianship, as provided by LeDonne and his cohorts, Eric Alexander on tenor saxophone, Peter Bernstein on guitar and Joe Farnsworth on drums. The sound here is big and rich and every solo from each member of the quartet is outstanding. LeDonne’s excellent compostions comprise the bulk of the recording, with covers of tunes made famous by Learner and Lowe, Michael Jackson and The Temptations given a complete groove makeover. The Groover is truly one for the collection.
Los Angeles-born, Brooklyn-based vocalist Gregory Porter is a musical force. From the very first note of Water, his debut recording, Porter’s powerhouse sound grabs your ear. A frequent guest with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, he moves between uptempo burners and contemplative ballads with equivalent ease. Porter’s 11-track excursion is a mix of mostly original works, along with compositions by Wayne Shorter and Burke and Van Heusen. Porter is aided by magnificent musicianship from pianist Chip Crawford, drummer Emanuel Harold and bassist Aaron James, as well as a horn section on several tracks, that includes trumpeter Curtis Taylor and saxophonist James Spaulding, among others. This is a stellar debut from a voice much too good to miss.