Monthly Archives: May 2013

Eliane Elias – I Thought About You

(Concord Jazz)

Vocalist/pianist extraordinaire Eliane Elias turns her attention to tunes associated with the great trumpeter and singer Chet Baker. She treats each song with a style and grace fitting any tribute to Baker. Many of the arrangements reflect the influence of Elias’ Brazilian roots and the singer’s and often-sensuous vocals give the tunes a wholly different feel from Baker’s interpretations. Helping to create the musical mood here is an equally notable lineup, which includes guitarists Oscar Castro-Nieves and Steve Cardenas, drummers Victor Lewis and Rafael Barata, percussionist Marivaldo dos Santos, bassist Marc Johnson (Elias’ husband) and trumpeter Randy Brecker (Elias former husband). The project is a wonderful mix of bossa nova and ballads delivered at the high level of artistry we’ve come to expect from an Elias production .

Click to listen to a clip of “Girl Talk”.

Tracks: I Thought About You, There Will Never Be Another You, This Can’t Be Love, Embraceable You, That Old Feeling, Everything Depends Upon You, I’ve Never Been In Love Before, Let’s Get Lost, You Don’t Know What Love Is, Blue Room, Just Friends, Girl Talk, Just in Time , I Get Along Without You Very Well .


Pianist Mulgrew Miller Dies at 57

Mulgrew Miller  photo: Hiroyuki Ito for The New York TimeNATE CHINEN (New York Times)

Mulgrew Miller, a jazz pianist whose soulful erudition, clarity of touch and rhythmic aplomb made him a fixture in the postbop mainstream for more than 30 years, died on Wednesday in Allentown, Pa. He was 57.

The cause was a stroke, said his longtime manager, Mark Gurley. Mr. Miller had been hospitalized since Friday.

Source: News York Times, Photo: Hiroyuki Ito/The New York Times

Joe Locke – Lay Down My Heart: Blues & Ballads Vol.1


Vibraphonist Joe Locke is one of the great mallet men of our time. His latest product, “Lay Down My Heart: Blues & Ballads, Vol.1” delivers a nice mix of contemplative and color-filled performances. The project features Locke’s take on tunes by Bill Withers, Sam Jones, Bobby Troup, Sammy Cahn and Saul Chaplin, as well as, Frank Foster. Locke contributes a couple of beautiful tunes to the set as well. The sound here is soul-soothing. Contributing to the vibe (no pun intended) is a great accompaniment of players which includes Ryan Cohan on piano, Jimeo Brown on drums and David Finck on bass. The four musicians click like clockwork and make every note worth hearing.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Broken Toy”.

Tracks: Ain’t No Sunshine, Broken Toy, Bittersweet, I Can’t Make You Love Me, The Meaning of The Blues, Simone, This New October, Makin’ Whoopee, Dedicated To You .


Denise King & Olivier Hutman – Give Me The High Sign

(Cristal Records)

Vocal Denise King and pianist Olivier Hutman are a formidable musical team. They reunite for their latest project, Give Me The High Sign, and what a wonderful work it is. Hutman, the compositional core of the project, collaborates with King and others, on music and lyrics which provides a fresh sound and perspective on life and love. King’s vocals are dynamic and engaging and the musicianship backing her is fantastic. Providing the musical flooring, along with Hutman on piano and keyboards, are Steve Williams on drums, Darryl Hall on bass, Olivier Temme on tenor saxophone and Stéphane Belmondo on trumpet and flugelhorn. There are nice reworkings of tunes by Ellington and Strayhorn, Levant and Heyman and Gil Scott-Heron, but for the most part this is a recording that offers thoughtful, clever and entertaining new music.

Click here to listen to a clip of “The Things We Don’t Want”.

Tracks: I Lost My Way, Don’t Overact, Mellow Mellow, Night Vision, Night Vision, I Only Have Eyes For You, What Did They Say, The Things We Don’t Want, Can You Do It? Blame It On My Youth, Give Me The High Sign, Save The Children, Daydream.


Seattle-Born Jazz Singer Sara Gazarek Comes Home To Give Back

Hanna Brooks Olsen (

SEATTLE — Singer Sara Gazarek didn’t grow up with a lot of exposure to jazz — after all, Seattle is really known more for grunge (and, recently, hip-hop) than for crooning voices and downtown piano bars. But when she joined the jazz choir in high school, she fell in love with the genre. Now, she’s an award-winning performer with a new album, who’s using her star power to inspire future generations of musicians — or at least help students understand a genre that often feels elusive.


Don Was, Making ‘Authentic’ Music at Blue Note Jazz Label

Dan DeLuca (Philadelphia Inquirer Music Critic)

There’s a jazz man’s adage, attributed variously to Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, that goes something like this: “There are two kinds of music, the good and the bad. I play the good kind.”

Don Was, the bass player, producer, bandleader, songwriter, and now president of the storied jazz label Blue Note Records, divides the world differently.

“There are two kinds of music,” Was says. “Generous music and selfish music.”

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

David Weiss & Point Of Departure – Venture Inward


Trumpeter David Weiss and his band Point of Departure of musical proof that jazz is very much alive. On Venture Inward, the acoustic quartet creates a brand of music that is electric. Weiss and company take on compositions by Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Andrew Hill and Charlie Moore and the band’s performance lives up to the stature of the jazz greats. The sound and synergy here is too engaging to ignore. Weiss is joined by tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen, bassist Luques Curtis, drummer Jamire Williams and guitarist Nir Felder for a lively musical conversation, one which we have the privilege to overhear.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Venture Inward”.

Tracks: I Have A Dream, Black Comedy, Number 4, Venture Inward, Pax, Snuck In .


Caswell Sisters – Alive In The Singing Air

(Turtle Ridge Records)

After many years working seperately, vocalist Rachel Caswell and violinist Sara Caswell decided to work together and the result is heavenly. Alive In The Air , the sisters’ debut recording collaboration, was produced by piano great Fred Hersch. The synthesis of the three musician, along with the talents of bassist Jeremy Allen and drummer Bryson Kern is magical. The singer’s voice is as powerful as the violin is soothing. That the two work so work so well together seems to have more to do with each sibling’s mastery of their respective craft, than familial connection. The musical menu fits the production  with a cross-section of standards, classic and contemporary. The recording is a joyous work from an outstanding duo which re-affirms the fact that inventiveness and brilliance continue to emerge in jazz.

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

Tracks: Song of Life, I Get Along Without You Very Well, Stroll, Poinciana,  Lucky To Be Me, I Sing For You, Bye Bye Blackbird, A Wish, Sweet Adelphi, Sweet Lorriane, Asiatic Raes.

Geof Bradfield – Melba!

(Origin Records)

Saxophonist/composer Geof Bradfield’s Melba is a brassy and powerful tribute to the great arranger and trombonist, Melba Liston. The recording is a work which was commissioned by Chamber Music America for their New Jazz Works programs in 2011, and Bradfield delivers with compositions that are soulful, bluesy, swinging and contemplative, together and apart. The tunes possess depth that come from a skillful blend of past and present. The musical proficiency from every player is truly marvelous to hear. Joining Bradfield on the recording are trombononist Joel Adams, pianist Ryan Cohan, trumpeter Victor Garcia, bassist Clarke Sommers, guitarist Jeff Parker and drummer George Fludas. Singer Maggie Burrell provides beautiful notes for the projects only vocal piece. This is an outstanding homage to Liston and yet another reason to check out the tremendous music being made by Bradfield.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Central Avenue”.

Tracks: Kansas City Child, Central Avenue, Dizzy Gillespie, Randy Weston, Solo Saxophone Introduction, Detroit/Kingston, Homecoming, “let me not lose my dream” .