The inventive and bold pianist Orrin Evans is back with a new project called Flip The Script. On this effort, Evans heads a fantastic trio, which includes Ben Wolfe on bass and Donald Edwards on drums. The adventurous combo stretches out on mostly Evans’ originals or less-traveled works by other composers and presents it in its own refreshingly different way. The unit moves together through grooves, swings and ballads with the precision of a Swiss watch. This isn’t background music, but decidedly front and center in a way that you can not ignore for its sheer artistry. Great stuff.
Click here to listen to a clip of “The Answer”.
Tracks: Question, Clean House, Flip The Script, When, Big Small, A Brand New Day, TC’s Blues, Someday My Prince Will Come, The Answer, The Sound of Philadelphia .
Among the numerous bossa nova-flavored recordings released this year, Connie Evingson’s Sweet Happy Life definitely stands out. The Minneapolis-based vocalist distinctive, honey-toned voice and warm delivery of a lyric makes listening to this production thoroughly enjoyable. Adding to the uniqueness of this project is the fact that the musical menu consists of the wonderful songs of the great composer Norman Gimbel, the first recorded album comprised entirely of his compositions. The arrangements are top notch as are the musician performances from a vast array of musiciains. Gimbel compliments Evingson for “tasteful compilation” of his songs and we concur.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Canadian Sunset”.
Tracks: Agua De Beber, Meditation, Slow Hot Wind, Sweet Happy Life, Killing Me Softly With His Song, Canadian Sunset, Watch What Happens, The Girl from Ipanema, Sway, Bluesette, How Insensitive, Take Me to Aruanda, So Nice, Adventure, I Will Wait for You, Tristeza .
In a year that has seen the creation of some great recordings, the latest release by Branford Marsalis stands as one of our favorites of 2012, and perhaps, a favorite of all of Marsalis’ productions. On Four MFs Playin’ Tunes, the saxophonist and his solid quartet sound as cohesive as any band can sound. The dynamic lineup includes Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Harland on bass, and Justin Faulkner on drums. The compositions on the project have fantastic range and depth, with swinging numbers and a beautifully contemplative down tempo numbers. This is a work of incredible musical virtuosity and a presentation of high artistry.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Teo”.
Tracks: The Might Sword, Brews, Maestra, Teo, Whiplash, As Summer Into Autumn Slips, Endymion, My Ideal, (Bonus Track) Treat It Gentle.
Marcus Miller is first and foremost a true musician–one with an ear for what works musically, as his latest release, Renaissance, does quite well. The project which pays homage to several generations and genres of music has all the circuit-blowing kinetics we’ve come to expect from the dynamic bassist, but also an emphasis high-quality musicianship at every level. Joining Miller on the effort is a stellar lineup, including saxophonist Alex Han, trumpeters Sean Jones and Maurice Brown, drummer Louis Cato, guitarists Adam Agati and Adam Rogers, as well as keyboardists Kris Bowers and Bobby Sparks, among others. There are also wonderful vocal contributions from Gretchen Parlato, Dr, John and Reuben Blades. The recording is comprised mostly of engaging original compositions and nicely re-constructed covers of tunes made famous by WAR, Ivan Lins, The Jackson 5 and Janelle Monaé. This color-filled sweep of musical styles and cultures is another work of art from Miller which attests his standing as one of the true renaissance men in all of music today.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Redemption”.
Tracks: Detroit, Redemption, February, Slippin’ into Darkness, Setembro (Brazilian Wedding Song), Jekyll & Hyde, Interlude: Nocturnal Mist, Revelation, Mr. Clean, Goree, CEE-TEE-EYE, Tightrope, I’ll Be There.
Veteran saxophonist Michael Pedicin delivers a fantastic tribute to musical heroes and friends on his latest effort, Live @ The Loft. Recorded at the Sandi Pointe Bistro in Somers Point, NJ, Pedicin is in top form, working with a terrific quintet, which includes Johnnie Valentino on guitar, Jimi Ridi on piano, Andy Lalasis on bass and Bob Shomo on drums. The musical menu includes songs composed or made famous by John Coltrane, Michael Brecker, Walt Weiskopf. With over 40 years of experience under his belt, Pedicin says he feels as comfortable as ever with respect to his instrument of choice. This tremendous recording bears witness to his statement.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Midnight Voyage”.
Tracks: Theme for Ernie, Impressions, Midnight Voyage, Say It (Over and Over Again), Like Sonny, Song for My Mother, I Want To Talk About You, Africa.