Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sean Jones – No Need For Words

(Mack Avenue)

Trumpeter-extraordinaire Sean Jones’ latest recording, No Need For Words is a contemplation on the various aspects and kinds of love, from romantic to familial. This is no mere collection of ballads, instead each song on the project,all composed by Jones, reflects a different emotional element of relationships, from the good to not so good. The recording is as kinetic, as it is serene. Jones, once again, is as brilliant is ever on the horn. Joining him on this effort is a tremendous collective of musicians, including pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Luques Curtis, drummer Obed Calvaire and organist Corey Henry. An outstanding recording.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Olive Juice”.

Tracks: Look and See, Olive Juice, Momma, Touch and Go,  No Need For Words, Obsession (Cloud Nine), Love’s Fury, Forgiveness (Release).


Jay Ashby / Steve Davis – Mistaken Identity

(MCG Jazz)

Trombonists Jay Ashby and Steve Davis have played together in various jazz ensembles over the years. Their physical, biographical and musical similarities have lead to many instances of being confused for each other, and is the source of the title of their first duet release, Mistaken Identity. The two have a wonderful chemistry that comes across in the recording, whether they’re playing uptempo swing or beautiful ballads. Both musicians play large-bore trombones, so for identification purpose they are positioned in alternate stereo channels, with Davis heard in the left side and Ashby on the right. Whatever the side, they produce wonderful blend of sound. The menu of tunes on the project is primarily the product of their individual or combined contributions, with a sprinkle of compositions by other composers, including those of Benny Golson, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Neal Hefti. They’re accompanied by a solid rhythm section of talents on a project that wonderfully presents the versatility of the trombone by two of its great contemporary practitioners.

Click here to listen to a clip of “One for All”.

Tracks: Mistaken Identity, Double Take, Chega De Saudade, Nina Never Knew, Choices, Tootin’ For Toots, The Odd Couple, Spirit Waltz, Stablemates, One For All .


Chuck Loeb – Plain ‘n’ Simple

(Tweety Records)

Plain ‘n’ Simple, Chuck Loeb’s latest release, harkens back just a bit to his days in the guitar chair with jazz great Stan Getz. This project has the virtuosic Loeb swinging away with friends and family and the whole thing sounds fantastic. Joining Loeb is a solid rhythm section of Harvey Mason, powering the drums and Pat Bianchi providing the bass floor and organissimo on Hammond-B3. The trio plays a selection of mostly uptempo, original compositions by Loeb and Mason respectively. They’re joined by various guests, including bassist Will Lee, and saxophonist Eric Marienthal who delivers some killer solos on a couple of tracks.Vocalist Carmen Cuesta (also Loeb’s wife) provides the vocal on one tune, while daughter Lizzy brings a refreshingly fresh take on Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark”. This superb effort is a joy to hear from beginning to end.

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

Tracks: D.I.G. (Deep Inner Groove), Organeleptic, Red Suede Shoes, The Blues App, Plain ‘n’ Simple, É Com Esse Que Eu Vou, You Got It, Skylark, Bebop Betty, Annie Song, It’s About You.


Tom Harrell -The Time of The Sun

(Highnote Records)

Flugelhorn and trumpet player Tom Harrell delivers again with his latest effort, The Time of The Sun. The project has the veteran musician performing new material with a terrific lineup of talents at every position. Joining Harrell on the session are saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, bassist Ugonna Okegwo, pianist Danny Grissett and drummer Jonathan Blake. Each of the supporting players brings such solid performances to the project that the combination of their talents couldn’t help but result in this great album of music.

Click here to listen to a clip of “The Time of The Sun”.

Tracks: The Time of The Sun, Estuary, Ridin’, The Open Door, Dream Text, Modern Life, River Samba, Cactus, Otra .


Gerald Wilson Orchestra – Legacy

(Mack Avenue Records)

Gerald Wilson’s latest recording, Legacy, is most aptly named. On this effort, the legendary composer works with his son, the gifted guitarist, Anthony Wilson, and grandson, Eric Otis, who writes down the notes for the soon-to-be 93-year old, whose sight is affected by a macular degeneration condition. The album’s title also reflects the Mississippi native’s long association with his adopted hometown of Chicago, where he was first stationed during World War II. In fact, eight of the albums 12 track are part of the “Yes Chicago Is…” Suite, which Wilson was commissioned to write for the 2008 Chicago Jazz Festival. Other tracks on the album find him re-harmonizing works by Debussy, Stravinsky, and Puccini. The orchestra making all this sound so good is an assemblage of a who’s-who of great talents, including Rene Rosnes on piano, Lewis Nash on drums, Ron Blake and Dick Oatts on saxophones, Sean Jones and Jeremy Pelt on trumpets and Luis Bonilla and Alan Ferber as part of the trombone section. The music is rich with melody and a beautiful alchemy under Wilson’s direction that makes it a great listen from the first to very last note.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Variation On A Theme by Giacomo Puccini”.

Tracks: Variation On A Theme by Igor Stravinsky, Virgo, Variation On Clair DeLune, Variation On A Theme by Giacomo Puccini, September Sky [Yes Chicago Is…Suite] A Jazz Mecca, A Night At The El Grotto, Riffin’ At The Regal, Cubs Bears, Bulls and White Sox, 47th St. Blues, Blowin’ In The Windy City, A Great Place To Be.


Terri Lyne Carrington – The Mosaic Project

(Concord Jazz)

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington’s The Mosaic Project, her fifth recording as a leader, has her convening a ‘dream team’ lineup of musical talents, all of whom are women. The wow-inducing roster includes the likes of vocalists Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Nona Hendryx, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gretchen Parlato and Carmen Lundy. The instrumentalists include pianists Gerri Allen and Helen Sung, guitarist Linda Taylor, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, saxophonist Tineke Postma, percussionist Sheila E. and bassist Esperanza Spalding, who also sings on a couple tunes. The recording features fresh takes on a couple classic compositions, along with contributions from Carrington, Allen, Spalding and Lundy, among others. What’s more important than the concept of an “all-female recording” is that it works so incredible well musically on every level.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Unconditional Love”.

Tracks: Transformation, I Got Lost In His Arms, Michelle, Magic and Music, Echo, Simply Beautiful, Unconditional Love, Wistful, Crayola, Soul Talk, Mosaic Triad, Insomniac, Show Me A Sign, Sister On The Rise (A Transformation).


Brad Mehldau – Live In Marciac

(Nonesuch Records)

Watching Brad Mehldau play piano is like watching a performance artist on a highwire–with every part of his body, from head to toe, working together to produce a genuinely amazing result. On Live in Marciac, we see and hear Mehldau in a solo performance in Marciac, France on this 2-CD/DVD set. The widely-acclaimed pianist interprets a mix of self-penned compositions and works by range of a songwriters from Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hammerstein to Kurt Cobain and Radiohead. Mehldau’s mesmerizing total immersion into his artistry produces a stunningly beautiful combination of sound and wizardry.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Exit Music (for a Film)”.

Tracks: CD One: Storm, It’sAll Right With Me, Secret Love, Unrequited, Resignation, Trailer Park Ghost, Goodbye Storytelle (for Fred Myrow) Exit Music (for a Film) .

Tracks: CD Two: Things Behind The Sun, Lithium, Lilac Wine, Martha My Dear, My Favorite Things, Dat Dere.


Brian Anthony | Gary Norian Trio – A Night Like This

(Mercator Media)

Featuring vocalist Brian Anthony, one of the really great young crooners to come along in quite some time, in combination with solid trio of musicians in the Gary Norian Trio, makes A Night Like This a truly pleasurable listening experience. The album is a nice mix of originals (mostly penned by Norian) and standards and moves nicely among swing and ballad arrangements. Anthony sounds like a singer who really put in the time to become the confident lead vocalist that we hear on this project. The band which is comprised of Gary Norian on piano, Thomas Helton on bass and Joel Fulgham on drums and percussion is in top form as well. This is a recording to check out — and thoroughly enjoy.

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

Tracks: I’m In The Mood For Love, A Night Like This, Secret Love, They Can’t Take That Away, April in Paris, I’m Confessin’  Stardust, This is All I Ask, How Deep Is The Ocean, Your Dreams Are On Their Way,, The Song Is Ended, What I’ll Do, So In Love, The One I Most Adore, Falling In Love Again, Sleep Warm, A Night Like This (Encore)  .