The collaboration of pianist Rachel Z and drummer Omar Hakim is a potent musical marriage. Both Z, whose family name is Nicolazzo, and Hakim play with a wonderfully colorful, lyrical feel and energy, so it’s not a wonder that their styles would fit together. The now-husband and wife team are joined on this project by bassist Maeve Royce who handles the bass work with great virtuosity, as well. What adds even more heft to the recording is not only the outstanding musicianship, but the quality of the album’s 10 tracks, which are terrifically re-imagined covers of tunes associated with Coldplay, Sting, Duke Ellington, Peter Gabriel and Depeche Mode, among others. The unit boldly ventures out and listening to them explore the grooves of these compositions is an incredibly engaging experience. On every level, The Trio of OZ is a match made in heaven.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Det Tar Tid”.
Tracks: Angry Chair, Sour Girl, Det Tar Tid, I Will Possess Your Heart, Lost, When You Were Young, In Your Room, Bizarre Love Triangle, There Is A Light, King of Pain.
Benito Gonzalez’s debut recording was released in 2004. His recently released sophomore effort, Circles, proves to be well worth the wait. Gonzalez has a golden touch on the piano,whether he’s playing a ballad or swinging for the fences. Gonzalez proves to be an accomplished composer as well, writing eight of the album’s nine tunes. He’s joined by a solid lineup of musical accomplices in Myron Walden on alto and soprano saxohones, Ron Blake and Aza Lawrence on tenor saxophones, Christian McBride on bass and Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums. Circles is a welcomed returned from an outstanding talent in his own right.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Taurus”.
Tracks: Circles, Taurus, Elvin’s Sight, Lets Talk About You and Me, Faces, Blues On The Corner, Elise, The Movements, Journey’s End.
Singer Cassandra Wilson’s newest recording is a collection of performances that catches her in a Mississippi state of mind. The title of her Silver Pony comes from Wilson’s memory of being allowed to sit atop a pony at the age of four, in her Jackson neighborhood, decked in cowboy hat and chaps, to pose for a photo, which is the basis the album’s cover art. For the most part, the project has the strong blues feel and sound associated with the Delta region of the south. Some of the performances are from live shows in Spain, while others are completely in studio, with the band featured as much as Wilson’s on some tunes. The musical lineup includes Marvin Sewell on guitar, Jonathan Batiste on piano, Reginald Veal on bass, Herlin Riley on drums and Lekan Babalola on percussion. Ravi Coltrane guests on two tracks, including Wilson’s duet with popular singer-songwriter, John Legend. This is a fantastic showcase, which further demonstrates that Cassandra Wilson is a great artist in every sense of the word.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Forty Days and Forty Nights”.
Tracks: Lover Come Back to Me, Went Down to St. James Infirmary, A Night in Seville, Beaneath The Silver Moon, Saddle Up My Pony, If It’s Magic, Forty Days and Forty Nights, Silver Pony, A Day in the Life of Fool, Blackbird, Watch the Sunrise.
Houston Person is a big league jazz musician. On his latest recording, Moment To Moment, the 75-year old saxophonist proves that he’s still at the top of his game. The album is a blend of swing and ballads from a menu of jazz standards, with a couple of pop favorites as well, as re-created through Person’s sound filter. He’s backed in this effort by a solid lineup of Terrell Stafford on trumpet, Randy Johnston on guitar John Di Martino on piano, Ray Drummond on bass and Willie Johnson on drums, for yet another stellar work.
Click here to listen to a clip of “I Cover The Waterfront”.
Tracks: Bleeker Street, I Cover The Waterfront, Moment to Moment, Freight Dance, Don’t Take Your Love From Me, E Nada Mais, Just The Way You Are, Back In New Orleans, All My Life, Love Won’t Let Me Wait, Nina Never Knew.
From 1975 to 1985, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, who studied medicine at Howard University, took a job at a small San Francisco clinic with the understanding that he could only practice medicine 4 hours a day allowing him time to tend to his passion for music. Henderson’s latest, For All We Know, is the 21st recording in his storied career. The package is a mix of self-written tunes and creative takes on standards by Fats Waller and Herbie Hancock, among others. Henderson is joined by an outstanding group comprised of guitarist John Scofield on guitar, bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Billy Drummond. The blend with Henderson wonderful tone on the horn makes for a truly mesmerizing, swinging and beautiful work.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Be Cool”.
Tracks: Jitterbug Waltz, Be Cool, For All We Know, Sand Storm, By Myself, Cantaloupe Island, Missing Miles, Popo.
In recent years, pianist Tamir Hendelman has become highly sought-after talent. He’s been heard in person and on recordings with everyone from Barbara Streisand to Jackie Ryan. Destinations is Hendelman’s own fantastic musical journey. The Israel-born musician deftly handles a cross-section of standards by Lerner and Lowe and moves into more contemporary works by Makoto Ozone and Fred Hersh, demonstrating in the process that he can swing as hard as he can play with touch on a ballad. He’s joined in this effort by drummer Lewis Nash and bassist Marco Panascia who have a chemistry with Hendelman that is irresistable to the ear.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Passarim”.
Tracks: Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams, Passarim, Soft Winds, Le Tombeau de Couperin, My Song, You Stepped Out of a Dream, Israeli Waltz, Anthropology, Babushka, On the Street Where You Live, BQE, Valentine.