Oltreoceano is the wonderful self-produced recording debut of bassist Andrea Veneziani. The Italian-born, New York-based musician has a fantastic voice on the instrument and does terrific work as a composer make this a fantastic effort, but add the talents of the great Kenny Werner on piano and you have an even more special product. The trio has a nice chemistry that makes the compositions come alive. Most of the tracks on the package are by the bassist and his musical collaborators here, with a couple of nice renditions of tunes written by Bill Evans, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. Veneziani’s wonderful tone, along with the great selection of material makes this one really worth hearing.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Mark Rothko”.
Tracks: Free Episode #1, Night Flight, Segment, Free Episode #2, Time Remembered, Traffico, Mark Rothko, Free Episode #3, Pannonica, In Viaggo con Te.
After becoming the first artist from the jazz community to receive the Best New Artist Grammy award last year, and achieving yet more notoriety, one might have expected Esperanza Spalding’s much-anticipated new recording to evidence the effect of this deluge of stardom. Instead, Radio Music Society is as deeply reflective as any of the 27-year old bassist, singer and composer’s work to date. In addition to the stories of relationships gone bad and romantic adoration, there’s are deeper tales of cultural misunderstandings and the wrongful conviction of Cornelius Dupree, Jr.. Spalding’s sound interweaves the pop, r&b, rock and other influences that make up her musical DNA, with her jazz sensibilities. She pulled together a diverse musician lineup, which includes saxophonist Joe Lovano,and veteran drummers Jack DeJohnette, Billy Hart and Terri Lyne Carrington, along with guitarists Jef Lee Johnson and Lionel Loueke. Vocalists on the effort include Algebra Blesset, Gretchen Parlato, Leni Stern and Lalah Hathaway in a nice lyrical rendition of Weather Report’s “Endangered Species”. There’s something to be said for an artist who receives the kind of popular praise and remains true to her heart and her art; fusing reverence with inclusivity to make a thoroughly admirable and entertaining production.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Hold on Me”.
Tracks: Radio Song, Cinnamon Tree, Crowned & Kissed, Land of The Free, Black Gold, I Can’t Help It, Hold on Me, Vague Suspicions, Endangered Species, Let Her, City of Roses, Smile Like That.
(Dash Hoffman Publishing)
Singer Cathy Segal-Garcia and pianist Yoonseung Cho weave a wonderful tapestry of sound on Bohemian. The duet recording has a ‘live art’ feel to it and not the sometimes overly-polished sound that you hear on similar collaboration these days. There’s a rawness to the effort, along with the vibe of two people who clearly are a good pairing. Segal-Garcia delivers a lyric beautifully on a project that is a mix of sweet ballads and some gentle swinging compositions. Cho’s playing manages to resonate quite clearly as an equal voice on the project, not simply an accompanist. The song selection here is a nice balance of originals and wonderfully re-worked tunes by composers such as, Pat Metheny, Bob Moses, Sting and others. Listening to the project is like being an ear witness to the beginning of a beautiful musical friendship.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Bohemian”.
Tracks: Bohemian, Her Family, Everyday’s Own Song, Jump Back, One Minute, Embraceable Jew, All The Right Reasons, Like A River, A Timeless Place, Fragile, Touch Her Soft Lips/The Nightingale, The Ironic Waltz.
Grammy-winning, journeyman saxophonist Kenny Garrett is back with his first acoustic studio album since 2006. Seeds From The Underground (due out on April10) picks up where he left off very nicely. The album is highlighted by the kind of powerful, emotive, wailing alto work and gentle soprano tones, we’ve come to expect, as are the African percussion rhythms that have been a central to his recordings for the last 20 years. The set is comprised of completely new compositions built on melodic underpinnings,, around which the solos are developed. The songs themselves are some of the most personal, with tributes to musical mentors, friends and his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Accompanying Garrett on this effort are pianist Benito Gonzalez, bassist Nat Reeves, drummer Ronald Bruner, percussionist Rudy Bird and vocalist Nedelka Prescod, among others. This project is less a “statement” that Garrett is back as a composer, but one that reminds us that he never left.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Seeds From The Underground”.
Tracks: Boogety Boogety, J. Mac, Wiggins, Haynes Here, Detroit, Seeds From The Underground, Du-Wo-Mo, Welcome Earth Song, Ballad Jarrett, Laviso, I Bon?.