Monthly Archives: November 2011

Enoch Smith, Jr. – Misfits

(Music 4 My People Entertainment)

Misfits is the fascinating sophomore recording from pianist/composer Enoch Smith, Jr. Smith’s engagingly melodic compositional work centers around a hauntingly beautiful theme, sung by Sarah Elizabeth Charles, who is featured on six of the albums tunes. Saunders Sermons and Mavis Poole provide the vocals for other tunes on the effort. Smith is backed bassist Noah Jackson and drummer Sangmin Lee and a string trio adds depth and color to one of the album’s ballads. The project also includes covers of music by Juan Tizol, Sade, Lennon and McCartney and the Rev. Paul Jones. Even so, the vernacular spoken here is fresh and original and thoroughly enjoyable music.

Click here to listen to a clip of “I Won’t Complain”.

Tracks: A Misfit’s Theme, Wise Man, Hush, Side Door, Caravan, Blackbird, A Misfit’s Theme 2, I Want You, Bring It On Home, She Move Me, I Won’t Complain, Love Is Stronger, Alright.


Paul Motian Passes Away at Age 80

By BEN RATLIFF, New York Times

Paul Motian, a drummer, bandleader, composer and one of the most influential jazz musicians of the last 50 years, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 80 and lived in Manhattan.

The cause was complications of myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone-marrow disorder, said his niece, Cindy McGuirl.

Mr. Motian was a link to groups of the past that informed what jazz sounds like today. He had been in the pianist Bill Evans’s great trio of the late 1950s and early 1960s and in Keith Jarrett’s so-called American quartet during the 1970s. But it was in the second half of his life that Mr. Motian found himself as a composer and bandleader, with work that could be counterintuitive or straightforward, runic or crowd-pleasing.

Read More From The Profile

Mitchel Forman – Sing Along with Mitch

(Marsis Jazz)

There’s something powerful about the marriage of piano and the human voice, and Mitchel Forman’s latest recording captures this magic so incredibly well. Sing Along With Mitch has the fantastic pianist playing along with 7 incredible voices in interpreting  wonderful contemporary standards. Featured are the talents of vocalists Arnold McCuller, Lizzy Loeb, Steven Santoro, Joy Burnworth, Giulietta Ciambotti, Tierney Sutton and Robbie Wyckoff. It’s hard to single any one of the singers’ performances, as every single one is incredibly strong and emotive. Forman’s playing is equally powerful and perfect, serving not as an accompaniment, but the ring of the piano becoming a duet with the vocals. Incredibly well done. This is one comes highly recommended. Bravo.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Celebrate Me Home”.

Tracks: Dear Prudence, Celebrate Me Home, Peace Train, Turning into Blue, People Get Ready, A Sleepin’ Bee, And So It Goes, True Colors, God Bless The Child, What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life?, Close Your Eyes, I Won’t Last A Day Without You .


Sonny Rollins – Road Shows 2

(Doxy Records)

Road Shows 2, is a snapshot of a legend who remains as dedicated to his craft as ever. Recorded in 2010 during a couple of his 80th birthday concerts shows in New York and Tokyo, tenor sax giant Sonny Rollins is the centerpiece turned-Master of Ceremonies for a star-studded production featuring other current and future legends. Among his guest performers is guitarist Russell Malone, bassists Christian McBride and Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Kobie Watkins. Also notable are performances from trumpeter Roy Hargrove, guitar great Jim Hall and alto sax stalwart Ornette Coleman. If that’s not enough, the drum master Roy Haynes, five years senior to the birthday guest, joins the party as well. The musical menu of standards is augmented nicely by a couple signature Rollins compositions and the result of all the above a fantastic recording and wonderful performance. What a wonderful way to celebrate the genius and enduring flame of one of jazz’s great lights.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Rain Check”.

Tracks: They Say It’s Wonderful, In A Sentimental Mood, Sonnymoon For Two, I Can’t Get Started, Rain Check, St. Thomas .


Trombone Shorty – For True

(Verve Records)

Some critics have said that jazz declined when it lost its emphasis on dance, well New Orleans’ Troy Andrews, a.k.a., Trombone Shorty’s music brings back the dance in a way that is connecting with new and older generation of listeners alike. For True is the follow-up to Shorty’s widely recognized debut, which earned him tremendous praise and a Grammy-nomination. The music here is jazzy, funky, hard-rocking, soulful and even hip-hop-ish at times and sure to his further appeal to a growing audience of loyal fans. As evidence of his broad appeal, Andrews is joined by an equally diverse guest lineup of serious talent appearing on various selections, including the legendary Jeff Beck on guitar, Lenny Kravitz on bass, Ledisi, Ivan and Cyril Neville on vocals, Stanton Moore on drums and Rebirth Brass Band, led by Shorty’s older brother, Glen Andrews on trumpet. All of the tunes of written by Andrew and members of his talented band, Orleans Avenue. The end result of all this energy is a product that will continue to elevate Trombone Shorty as one of the music’s shining lights, whose luminance is reaching well beyond the jazz perimeter.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Dumaine Street”.

Tracks: Buckjump, Encore, For True, Do To Me, Lagniappe Part I, The Craziest Thing, Dumaine Street, Mrs. Orleans, Nervis, Roses, Big, Unc, Then There Was You, Lagniappe Part II .


Poncho Sanchez | Terence Blanchard – Chano y Dizzy!

(Concord Picante)

Percussionist-composer Poncho Sanchez and trumpeter-composer Terence Blanchard pay tribute to legendary percussionist Chano Pozo and the great trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, whom Sanchez credits as being the creators of Latin jazz. Chano y Dizzy! is lushness meets latin groove, with Blanchard and Sanchez blending wonderfully on this collection of tunes associated with and inspired by their instrumental predecessors. The project is further enhanced by an outstanding backing unit, which includes pianist David Torres, saxophonist Rob Hardt, trumpeter Ron Blake, trombonist/vocalist Francisco Torres, bassist Tony Banda, timbalist George Ortiz, and percussionist Joey De Leon, Jr. .

Click here to listen to a clip of “Jack’s Dilemma”.

Tracks: Chano Pozo Medley: Tin Tin Deo / Manteca / Guachi Guaro, Con Alma, Wandering Wonder, Siboney, Dizzy’s Dashiki, Groovin’ High, Nocturna, Harris’ Walk, Promenade, Jack’s Dilemma, Ariñañara.


JC Stylles – Exhilaration and Other States


JC Stylles is a fantastic jazz guitarist in the tradition of some of jazz’s great six string players. On his new release, he demonstrates this connection. Exhilaration and Other States is, much like its name, an exploration of various musical moods. Joined on Hammond-B3 organ by Pat Bianchi and on drums by Lawrence Leathers, Stylles lays down some serious hot and cool guitar licks. The three-man unit produces a big sound, covering compositions by Billie Holiday, Cole Porter, Wayne Shorter and Stevie Wonder, among others in their diverse selection. Stylles’ arranging and instrument mastery make him a standout player in a sea of great talents on the guitar.

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

Tracks: Knucklebean, I Can’t Help It, I Want To Talk About You, Love for Sale, Don’t Explain, Time for Roger, Pinnochio, It seems like You’re Ready, Samba Steps.


Joan Stiles – Three Musicians


For her third album release, pianist Joan Stiles teams with drummer Matt Wilson and saxophonist Joel Frahm for an engaging musical exploration titled Three Musicians. There’s a rawness to the interplay that feels completely live and not overproduced. Instead, what you hear are three great talents who are very accomplished with their chosen instruments and the combination of three is terrific.The songs selected here are mostly covers, including tunes by Thelonious Monk, Billy Strayhorn and Jerome Kern, but the arrangements that Stiles brings to them gives them freshness. This is a great musical ride, one that is well worth the trip .

Click here to listen to a clip of “O.W.”.

Tracks: Everything’s Coming Up Roses, In The Sunshine of My Funny Valentine’s Love, West End Boogie, You Don’t Know What Love Is, Lucky To Be Me, All The Things You Are, Blood Count, O.W., Introspection, Brother, Can You Spare a Dime/Can’t Buy Me Love, Bebopicity.