The soothing voice of singer Sherri Roberts is a perfect antidote to the high-speed, high stress world we live in, and her latest production, Lovely Days, is a recommended prescription for the modern music listener. The San Francisco-based Roberts is joined in duet by pianist Bliss Rodriguez, whose keyboard work is perfectly in tune with the singer’s approach to the songs. Together, singer and pianist weave a magic hour of music that is spellbinding. The song menu is classic cabaret fare, including tunes from Irving Berlin, Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer and Sammy Cohn, as well as Rodgers and Hammerstein. The result of singer, musician and great song here is a brand of musical rapture that is heavenly.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Our Love Rolls On”.
Tracks: It’s A Lovely Day Today/Isn’t It A Lovely Day, What’ll I Do, Nice ‘N’ Easy, Soon It’s Gonna Rain, Heart and Soul, We Kiss In A Shadow/I Have Dreamed, Our Love Rolls On, I’m All Smiles, Come Dance With Me, Like A Lover, Moon River, Hit The Road To Dreamland .
Guitarist Lee Ritenour is a master at blending varies styles and collaborations and making them work. His latest product Rhythm Sessions is an excellent case study. On this effort, Ritenour mixes all-star lineups of musicians into an electic array of tunes to create a thoroughly enjoyable album. Joining him on the project are the likes of George Duke, Dave Gruisin, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Marcus Miller, Nathan East, Alan Pasqua, Peter Erskine, Christian McBride and too many others to name. Ritenour’s ability to mesh all these talents and a diverse collection of tunes is amazing, but so too is his playing, which is top shelf. The material is mostly instrumental, and mostly original, with two of the three excellently done vocals featuring Kurt Elling and South African vocalist Zamajobe. This is another outstanding work from Ritenour.
Click here to listen to a clip of “The Village”.
Tracks: The Village, River Man, Fat Albert Rotunda, 800 Streets by Feet, Children’s Song #1, LA by Bike, Maybe Tomorrow, Spam-Boo-Limbo, July, Rose Pedals, Dolphins Don’t Dance, Punta Del Soul.
Singer Jackie Ryan always seem to push the quality of her work with each new project, and her latest, Listen Here, is no exception. Teaming with producer and bassist John Clayton on this effort, she delivers yet another stunning work of excellence. The material here is mix of styles, from jazz standards, to samba, to gospel, to a Spanish love song, and everything in between. Covered are tunes by Johnny Mercer, George Gershwin, Abbey Lincoln and Dave Frishberg, among others. We’ve heard most of the tunes on this setlist, but not in the way Clayton arranged them or the way Ryan sings them. Much credit too must go to the quality lineup of musicians on the project, which includes Gerald Clayton on piano and organ, Gilbert Castellanos on trumpet, Graham Dechter on guitar, Obed Calvaire on drums and Rickey Woodard on saxophone. This is another exceptional recording from Ryan that should not be missed.
Click here to listen to a clip of “How Little We Know”.
Tracks: Comin’ Home Baby, The Gypsy In My Soul, Throw It Away, Accentuate The Positive, Anytime, Any Day, Anywhere, I Loves You Porgy, How Little We Know (How Little It Matters), La Puerta, Rip Van Winkle, A Time For Love, No One Ever Tells You, Before We Fall In Love, To The Ends of The Earth, Listen Here .
St. Louis native Joel Behrman is a terrific trumpeter and composer who delivers a serious product that is truly worth hearing on his debut, Steppin’ Back. It doesn’t take long in listening to this effort to know that you hearing the work of a professional musician of formidable skill and training. The song arrangement are tight as the performances. What’s particularly great is to hear the synchronicity between Behrman and the tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens, along with Danny Armstrong on trombone. They sound and swing like a bigtime brass section should. Joining them on the project, with equally great contributions, are pianist Matt Clark, drummer Howard Wiley and bassist Marcus Shelby. The recording features 3 covers, including tunes by Louis Armstrong and Joe Henderson, but Behrman composed most of the album’s tunes, including a suite. With this introductory effort, Behrman establishes himself as a talent of considerable note.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Nickname”.
Tracks: Cover The Waterfront, Nickname, L.I B. (Life Is Beautiful), Justice Suite: Sin, Justice Suite: Righteous, Justice Suite: Evolution, Mood To Be Wooed, Inner Urge, Whatever, The Delicate One, The Faithful Hussar .