We’ve probably said it before, but there’s nothing like listening a master of his craft and organist Pete Levin certainly fits that description. Jump! is the bodacious, bluesy, groovin’, funky work of his mastery. If this album doesn’t make you wanna move something, you might need to check your pulse. The project is equally comprised of tunes Levin wrote and electrified version of songs by Freddie Hubbard, Fats Waller and Charles Mingus, among others. Helping Levin brew up the groove is an A-list lineup of musicians, which includes guitarist Dave Stryker, drummer Lenny White, and percussionist Manolo Badrena. Levin pays tribute to a departed friend, guitarist Joe Beck, by including a tune they recorded together in 2008, with drums added to track by Danny Gottlieb in 2010. With such fantastic talents and corresponding performances, Jump! is truly a mover and a shaker.
Click here to listen to a clip of “The Big Dog Is Always Right”.
Tracks: Jump!, Exclamation! That Was Then, The Big Dog Is Always Right, Talk To The Animals, Nostalgia In Times Square, Little Sunflower, Candido, Alone Together, Honeysuckle Rose.
The fourth release from bassist Luther Hughes and his Cannonball-Coltrane Project, Things Are Getting Better, is the work of a band at its best. While mining the genius of the greats for which the project was named remains central to this effort, we hear equally as many compositions from members of the veteran West Coast unit. Tenor saxman Glenn Cashman wrote or co-wrote 4 of the tunes and arranged one the standards performed. Alto saxpohonist Bruce Babad penned or 3 tracks and drummer Paul Kriebach also contributed a tune. Pianist Ed Czach rounds out the quartet, which sounds as good as any group of musicians you’ll hear today and well worth checking out.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Jive Samba”.
Tracks: Jive Samba, Glo in the Dark, McCoy, Primrose Star, Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, Sunset at Hermosa, Blue Daniel, Samba Para Um Dia Chuvoso, Trane and Wayne, Things Are Getting Better, Green Bananas, Take The Coltrane.
(Jazz Legacy Productions)
Trombonist Michael Dease was hooked when he heard a J.J. Johnson album from his father’s record collection. What’s resulted is a 28- year old musical progeny who has played on over 50 albums, alongside some of the great names in jazz. Grace is first recording as a leader for Dease, and it is terrific debut. Dease already sounds like a virtuoso on his horn and the selection of material, which wheels from blazing swing to gentle ballads, clearly showcases the great range of his talent. He’s joined on the project by an equally varied array of talent, including trumpeter Roy Hargrove, saxophonist Eric Alexander, flugelhorn master Claudio Roditi, guitarists Mark Whitfield and labelmate Yotam, as well as Sharel Cassity on flute. What’s also interesting is that whole project was recorded without a bassist or drummer, although there is some percussion added to several tunes. This is a great opening for Dease, with tremendous contributions from all involved.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Blues On The Corner”.
Tracks: Discussao, Blues On The Corner, In A Mist, I Talk To The Trees, Four, Tippin’, Setembro, 26-2, Toys, Love Dance, Grace, Salt Song.
While studying at a prestigious performing arts school in Israel, music prodigy and pianist Shimit Shoshan was drafted into the Israeli army as part of its required service. With her commitment fulfilled, she eventually decided to come to New York in 2004 to continue her jazz education. She learned the ropes from the likes of Abraham Burton, Kenny Barron, Reggie Workman and Billy Hart among others. You can hear the benefit of those experiences on her first recording, Keep It Movin’. Shoshan not only incredible virtousity, but is a gifted composer as well, writing all but one of the eight tunes on the project. The recording also features great musicianship from Burton on saxophone, Eric McPherson on saxophone, with John Hebert and Luques Curtiis handling bass duties on altenate tracks. An excellent debut from a wonderful talent.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Shwingin’ “.
Tracks: Shimmy n’ You, Chasma, Secret Identity, Keep It Movin’, Shwingin’, With The Birds, Skippy, Under The Influence.
60 Minutes aired a two-segment piece on Sunday for the New Year on Wynton Marsalis.
Here’s part one of the profile.