Monthly Archives: April 2014

Curtis Stigers – Hooray For Love

(Concord Jazz)

Vocalist Curtis Stigers knows his way around a song, something he makes quite clear with his latest effort. Hooray For Love finds Stigers creating an album of songs, from or inspired by the American Songbook tradition and defining with his sensibilities and cool style. Covered are tunes by George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields and Frank Loesser, among others. Stigers wrote or co-wrote 3 originals tunes that fit right in with the mood. The singer also pulls a bit of double duty, picking up the tenor saxophone on a number tunes. The rest of the dynamic musician lineup includes Matthew Fries on piano, Keith Hall on drums, Cliff Schmitt on bass, Matt Munisteri on guitar, and John Sneider on trumpet. Cyril Aimée joins in on the project’s only duet. The arrangements and performances create a fantastic canvas for Stigers to paint a great work of art and he delivers.

Click to listen to a clip of “A Matter of Time”:

Tracks: Love Is Here To Stay, Valentine’s Day, You Make Me Feel So Young, Hooray For Love, The Way You Look Tonight, Give Your Heart To Me, That’s All, A Matter of time, If I Were a Bell, You Don’t Know What Love Is.


Jared Gold – JG3 + 3


On his 7th release, Hammond B3 organist Jared Gold augments a core organ trio with a three piece brass section and the result is outstanding. JG3 + 3 sounds the way a big league jazz recording is supposed to sound. Joining Gold are Dave Stryker on guitar and Sylvia Cuenca on drums, along with Patrick Cornelius on alto sax, Jason Marshall on baritone sax and Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet. The musicianship here is top shelf. The selection of material is a nice balance of traditional and contemporary, original and covers, upswinging and contemplative. Gold composed two of the compositions with Stryker contributing one his own, and there nice renditions of songs by Wayne Shorter, Michael Jackson, Cannonball Adderley and James Taylor, among others. This is just a fantastic effort from beginning to end.

Click to listen to a clip of “Pendulum”:

Tracks: Pendulum, Spirits, Sermonette, Shower The People, No Moon at All, I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, Fantified, Cubano Chant, Charcoal Blues.


Steve Picataggio – Two Feet On The Ground

(Steve Picataggio)

Two Feet on The Ground marks the impressive recording debut of drummer Steve Picataggio.  With solid chops and an ear for swing, Picataggio teams with the album’s producer Ulysses Owens, Jr. to lead a talented quartet through a fantastic set of tunes. The band includes Mike Rodriguez on trumpet, Daan Kleijin on guitar, Joe Alterman on piano, Martin Wind on bass. The group has the great chemistry of a group of musicians who’ve played together for awhile. The playlist here is a mix of originals from the project’s leader and other members of the band, as well as nice takes on compositions by Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk and the Gershwin Brothers. This is a tremendous production by all involved. Great stuff.

Click to listen to a clip of “Soon”:

Tracks: Suttonly, For This, Three Colors, Early Bird, Solitude, Waltz for Debby, Monk’s Dream, Soon.


Dee Bell-Marcos Silva – Silva.Bell.Elation

(Laser Records)

Vocalist Dee Bell teams with pianist Marcos Silva for a wonderful new showcase of music. Silva.Bell.Elation, Bell’s fourth recording is something of a return for the the Bay Area vocalist, having been off the music scene while raising a son and teaching. Joining forces with  Silva, who is from Brazil, was a natural pairing as, samba and bossa nova rhythms had been a part of Bell’s repertoire for years. The two work incredibly well together on this effort and have produced, along with James Becker, a warm and inviting recording. Joining them in the creation of this wonderful endeavor are the great talents of steel pan master Andy Narell, guitarist Barry Finnerty, bassist Scott Thompson, drummer Phil Thompson and saxophonist Chris Sullivan. The menu of tunes includes compositions by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Lennon and McCartney, Joni Mitchell and Abbey Lincoln , among others. This is a really smooth re-entry into the jazz atmosphere for Bell.

Click to listen to a clip of “S’ Wonderful”:

Tracks: Harvest Moon, I’ve Got The World On A String, Beijo Partido/Broken Kiss, Night In The City, I Will, The Face I Love, Nature Boy, Dreamer, The World Is Falling Down, S’ Wonderful, Midnight Mood .


Mike Longo – Step On It

(Consolidated Artists Productions)

Pianist Mike Longo has had a storied career which goes back to his work as a sideman to the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody and Paul Chambers among others. Longo’s story continues with his latest work Step On It , which finds him leading an outstanding trio of Bob Cranshaw on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. The trio performs together like the parts in fine Swiss watch. This is a band that knows their stuff and each other. Listening to them work through swing and ballads is hearing sheer artistry on display. Longo and company cover standards of a more recent vintage, with tunes by John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Joe Henderson, among others, featuring nicely done arrangements. Longo’s compositional contribution to the mix, as well as the entire recording, is really worth checking out .

Click to listen to a clip of “Step On It”:

Tracks: Impressions, Poinciana, Step On It, Nefertiti, Ana Maria, Cantoloupe Island, Black Narcissis, Black Nile, My Ship, Blue N Boogie, Tico Tico .