Monthly Archives: May 2011

Karrin Allyson – ‘Round Midnight

(Concord Records)

Karrin Allyson has become one of the most respected vocalists on the modern jazz scene. Her latest production ‘Round Midnight is a study in why this is the case. The project is  a collection of beautifully-arranged standard pop and jazz favorites from the likes of Paul Simon, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington and Stephen Sondheim. As much as Allyson’s vocal are impeccable, so to is her pianissimo. The inclusion of Rod Fleeman on guitar, Ed Howard on bass, Matt Wilson on drums, Bob Sheppard on saxophones and Randy Weinstein on harmonica contribute to making this recording even more fantastic.

Click here to listen to a clip of “April She Will Come”.

Tracks: Turn Out The Stars, April Come She Will, Goodbye, I’m Always Chasing Rainbows, Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most, Smile, Sophisticated Lady, There’s No Such Thing As Love, The Shadow of You Smile, Send In The Clowns, ‘Round Midnight.


Rebirth Brass Brand – Rebirth of New Orleans

(Basin Street Records)

Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to go to the Crescent City when you check out the latest effort from the Rebirth Brass Brand. Rebirth of New Orleans is the bands’ jubilant homage to their hometown. Featuring a mix of lively stompers, this project is like a musical Mardi Gras and all about having a good time. The band’s artistry, as well as chemistry, cannot be missed. The group is anchored by Glen Andrews on trumpet, Phil Frazier on tuba, Keith Frazier on bass drums, Vincent Broussard on sax and Corey Henry on trombone, among many others. The spirit of New Orleans is alive and well in Rebirth Brass Brand and in this fantastic recording.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Do It Again”.

Tracks: Exactly Like You, I Like it Like That, You Know You Know, The Dilemma, AP Touro, What Goes Around Comes Around, Do It Again, Why Your Feet Hurt, Shrimp and Gumbo Feelin’ Free, Let’s Go Get ‘Em.


Carmen Cuesta – Mi Bossa Nova

(Tweety Records)

Mi Bossa Nova , the latest release from vocalist Carmen Cuesta is an appropriately sultry, soothing and sensuous tribute to music of the great Antonio Carlos Jobim. Joining Cuesta is guitarist Chuck Loeb, her husband, whom she met in 1979 in her native Madrid, Spain, while he was performing with legendary sax great Stan Getz, whose recording with Astrud Gilberto introduced her to Jobim’s genius. The result of this interesting twist of fate is pure magic. Cuesta hits all the right notes and the outstanding selection of instrumental talents which, include Loeb, Chris Diener on bass, Matt King on piano David Mann on flute, Brian Dunn on drums and Howard Levy playing harmonica is perfection. Great project.

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

Tracks: Triste, Fotografia, Retrato em Branco e Preto, O Barquinho, Pois É, Jobim, Modnha, Tormenta, Manha de Carnaval, Chega de Saudade, Mediçao.


Judy Wexler – Under A Painted Sky

(Jazzed Media)

Singer Judy Wexler and her mesmerizing voice take on the tunes by some great composers on her latest recording. Under A Painted Sky is a foray through the songbooks of Benny Golson, Leonard Feather, Gary McFarland, Carmen McRae and Abbey Lincoln among others.The songs are wonderfully arranged by Alan Pasqua who plays piano on the project and worked with Wexler on her two previous efforts. The album is also graced by the talents of Bob Mintzer and and Bob Sheppard on tenor and soprano saxes, respectively. Alex Acuna is featured on percussion, Darek Oles on bass Steve Hass on drums, Larry Koonse on guitar and Walter Fowler on trumpet and flugelhorn. Another fantastic outing for Wexler that is worth hearing. 

Click here to listen to a clip of “The Great City”.

Tracks: Wonderful, Wonderful, And How I Hoped For Your Love, An Occasional Man, Don’t Wait Too Long, The Great City, Avec le Temps, A Little Tear, Last Time for Love, Cafë, Whisper Not, Till There Was You, Sack Full of Dreams.


Terell Stafford – This Side of Strayhorn


After perfoming as part of a tribute to the great American songwriter Billy Strayhorn, trumpeter Terell Stafford decided to make his next project a showcase of the genius of the composer. The result of Stafford’s reverence is This Side of Strayhorn. Pianist Bruce Barth arranged the gems selected  and the great bassist John Clayton was tapped to the produce the project. Further enhancing this effort are the tremendous talents of Peter Washington on bass, Tim Warfield on saxophones and Dana Hall on drums. Stafford not only honors admirably the compositions of Strayhorn on this recording, but reveals his own brilliance as a master practitioner of his instrument.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Multicolored Blue”.

Tracks: Raincheck, Smada, My Little Brown Book, Lush Life, Multicolored Blue, U.M.M.G, Lana Turner, Johnny Come Lately .


Andy Snitzer – The Traveler

(Native Language)

During his almost 12-year absence from recording his own music, saxophonist Andy Snitzer was mostly on the road blowing audiences away while working with Paul Simon, among others. The Traveler makes clear that Snitzer still has the soul and fire that earned his previous recordings much acclaim at a time when the contemporary genre was on the way to becoming formulaic and predictable. Joining Snitzer on this project is a top-notch lineup of talents, including bassist James Genus, trumpeter Chris Botti, keyboardist Alain Mallet and guitarist Chuck Loeb. The supporting cast provides a cool melodic vibe, through which Snitzer shines brightly on the horn.

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

Tracks: Marseille, Bohemia, Lausanne, Love Song, Taking Off, Traveler, Mystique, Veru, Earth from Above, Covenant.


Gretchen Parlato

gretchenparlatoA conversation with vocalist Gretchen Parlato about her career and latest recording.


Roseanna Vitro – The Music of Randy Newman


On vocalist Roseanna Vitro’s latest, The Music of Randy Newman, she adeptly takes on the music of one of America’s most unique contemporary songwriters. Vitro provides a wonderful straight ahead interpretation of the songs chosen for the effort. The selection is diverse in representing various eras of Newman’s career. Violinist Sara Caswell’s inclusion on the recording adds something special to pianist Mark Soskin’s arrangements. Drummer Tim Horner and bassist Dean Johnson are solid players, as are guests Steve Cardenas and Jamey Haddad on guitar and percussion respectively. Excellent work on the part of all involved. 

Click here to listen to a clip of “Last Night I Had A Dream”.

Tracks: Last Night I Had a Dream, Sail Away, If I Didn’t Have You, Everytime it Rains, Baltimore, In Germany Before The War, Mama Told Me Not To Come, I Will Go Sailing No More, Feels Like Home, Losing You .