Monthly Archives: April 2011

Jeff Tain Watts – Family

(Dark Key Music)

Family from drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts is truly a work that lives up to the title. All of the compositions on the project were inspired by members of his immediate and adopted family. Also, in the process of working on this project Watts got married. But it’s the marriage of four great musicians that makes this recording really special. Watts is join on the effort by pianist Dave Kikoski, bassist James Genus and saxophonist Steve Wilson. Musicians of this calibur can’t help but cook up something great and that is definitely what happens here. The music is high energy for most of the project, with some fantastic balladry as well. Count this among the great repetoire of music that Watts has built.

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

Tracks: Family, Of August Moon, Möbius, Little Michael, Goldaze, Edwardian Overture, Jonesin’ (for Elvin), A Wreath for John T. Smith, Torch E-Ternal .


New Tricks – Alternate Side

(New Tricks Records)

What started out as a jam session in the basement of saxophonist Mike Lee soon evolved into a full-fledged jazz band called New Tricks. To listen to Alternate Side, the band’s second release, is to hear the art of the jazz quartet. Joining Lee is the ensemble’s co-founder Ted Chubb on trumpet, Shawn Baltazor on drums and Kellen Harrison on bass. The group swings through a spirited collection of original compostions by the band’s co-leaders. From the very first note of the recording, it’s clear that the band is steeped in the jazz tradition, but what’s also evident is the energy of young musicians looking to explore new territory. Long may they journey and continue to make great music.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Long Road Home”.

Tracks: Alternate Side Parking, Optimistic-Lee, Shellen vs Chee, Vicenza Days, Back to Work, Long Road Home, New Dog, Short Stops, Skeltazor .


Lynne Arriale – Convergence


Pianist-extraordinaire Lynne Arriale’s latest recording Convergence lives up to its name on many level. It’s a convergence of formidable music talents, but it’s also a covergence of various genres of music, all connected by Arriale’s able hands. The project is a collection of songs made famous by artists like The Beatles, Sting, and The Rolling Stones, along with several tunes which Arriale composed. You won’t find  mere replications of the original harmonies here, instead what’s heard are re-crafted gems. A lineup of fantastic talents, which includes drummer Anthony Pinciotti, bassist Omar Avital and tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry, assists Arriale in making the musical magic that makes this recording one worth hearing.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Sister Moon”.

Tracks: Elements, Here and Now, Here Comes The Sun, Sister Moon, Call Me, Dance of The Rain, For Peace, Paint It Black, Something I Can Never Have, Convergence, The Simple Things.


Jeremy Pelt – The Talented Mr. Pelt

(HighNote Records)

Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt has a sound that is attention-getting and inviting. The Talented Mr. Pelt, his lastest recording, is an engaging musical conversation between Pelt and his ensemble that brims with energy and life. The project features the band that Pelt assembled and has kept together since 2007, no small feat in these times. The band is comprised of Gerald Cleaver on drums, Danny Grissett on piano, J.D. Allen on tenor sax and Dwayne Burno on bass. The music, captured in 24-bit brilliance at the famed Rudy Velder Studios, consists mostly of original compositions by the talented Mr. Pelt. This is another of his efforts par excellence.

Click here to listen to a clip of “In Love Again”.

Tracks: Pandora’s Box, All My Thoughs Are of You, Paradise Lost, When The Time Is Right, Pulse, In Love Again Only, David and Golaith .


Gretchen Parlato – The Lost and Found

(Obliq Sound)

With her gentle, soulful, resonant tone and unique blend of jazz, urban and Brazilian elements, Gretchen Parlato has a sound and vibe all her own. Her latest recording The Lost and Found, the followup to her critically-acclaimed sophomore effort, is a journey into the colors and textures that comprise Parlato’s musical persona. For this effort, the singer teamed with heralded pianist Robert Glasper to create wonderfully inventive arrangements of the songs, most of which are her own compositions of poetic, lyrical depth. Parlato also takes on tunes made famous by Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Mick Hucknall and Lauryn Hill. Surrounding herself with outstanding talent, the album features Derrick Hoddge on bass, Kendrick Scott on drums, Dayna Stephens, Alan Hampton on guitar and vocals, Taylor Eigsti on piano and Glasper on Fender Rhodes. This project makes yet another case for Parlato being one of the most creative and outstanding vocalists of the modern jazz era.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Holding Back The Years”.

Tracks: Holding Back The Years, Winter Wind, How We Love, Juju, Still, Better Than, Alô, Circling, Henya, In A Dream Remix, All That I Can Say, Me and You, Blue In Green, The Lost and Found, Without A Sound.


Ralph Peterson’s Unity Project – Outer Reaches

(Onyx Music)

Drumming great Ralph Peterson’s Unity Project is a tribute to the classic Larry Young Unity album. Outer Reaches pushes the musical envelope with incredible energy and swing. Peterson, whose mentorship has launched the careers of many of today notable jazz talents, features a great team of exciting young musical talents on this effort. Joining the session is Josh Evans on trumpet, Pat Bianchi on organ and Jovan Alexandre on tenor saxophone. The collective re-visits music by Woody Shaw, Monk and John McLaughlin, as well as three compositions written by Peterson, The performances take the music to places that live up to album’s title. This is one outstanding recording.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Outer Reaches (For Dad)”.

Tracks: The MoonTrane, Monk’s Dream, Outer Reaches (For Dad), Katrina Ballerina, Beyond All Limits, On My Side, An Inside Job, Beyond My Wildest Dream,  Ritha, Zoltan, We Three Kings, Spectrum  .


Ernestine Anderson – Nightlife

(HighNote Records)

Singer Ernestine Anderson knows how to have a good time and make sure an audience has a good time as well. This is exactly what you hear on her latest release, Nightlife, the product of several live performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. Ms. Anderson’s ebullient spirit is contagious and she’s seems as ‘at home’ on the stage, as she would be in own her living room. The music has a decidely bluesy flavor that is made thoroughly enjoyable by the singer and an outstanding collection of talents, which includes, the great Houston Person on tenor saxophone, Lafayette Harris, Jr. on piano, Jerome Jennings on drums, with Lonnie Plaxico and Chip Jackson handling bass duties on alternate tracks. Add this recording to your collection and like the audiences that were witness to these fantastic performances, you are sure to get more than your money’s worth .

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

Tracks: I Love Being Here With You, Since I Fell For You, All Blues, Goin’ to Chicago Blues, Nightlife, Only Trust Your Heart, Falling In Love With Love, Never Make Your Move Too Soon.