Monthly Archives: June 2014

Elias Haslanger – Live at The Gallery

(Cherrywood Records)

Saxophonist Elias Haslanger really puts on a show on his sixth and latest recording. Live at The Gallery finds Haslanger and a few of his musical friends in full swing before an appreciative audience at the Austin, Texas spot. Haslanger has big time chops and can play the full spectrum of moods in music. Joining him is a first-rate band of players, including Dr. James Polk on B3 organ, Jake Langley on guitar, Daniel Durham on bass and Scott Laningham on drums. The sound is bluesy and jazzy with the group covering an array of standards by Herbie Hancock, Nat Adderley, Errol Garner, Horace Silver and Duke Ellington, among others. The music is outstanding, the band is incredible and Haslanger is a true powerhouse.

Click to listen to a clip of “Watermelon Man”:

Tracks: One For Daddy, Watermelon Man, I Thought About You, Goin’ Down, Song For My Father, Misty, Adam’s Apple, In a Sentimental Mood .

NYT: Horace Silver 85, Master of Earthy Jazz Dies

horace_silverPeter Keepnews
NY Times

(June 18, 2014) Horace Silver, a pianist, composer and bandleader who was one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians of the 1950s and ’60s, died on Wednesday at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 85.

His death was announced by Blue Note Records, the company for which he recorded from 1952 to 1979.

After a high-profile apprenticeship with some of the biggest names in jazz, Mr. Silver began leading his own group in the mid-1950s and quickly became a big name himself, celebrated for his clever compositions and his infectious, bluesy playing. At a time when the refined, quiet and, to some, bloodless style known as cool jazz was all the rage, he was hailed as a leader of the back-to-basics movement that came to be called hard bop.

Source: New York Times

Margie Baker – Sings With So Many Stars

(Consolidated Artists Productions)

Margie Baker started her career as a jazz and blues singer at the age of 39, encouraged by a longtime friend, the great Dizzy Gillespie. Dr. Baker, who served as an educator for 48 years, is now in her 80’s and releasing her 4th recording, Margie Baker Sings With So Many Stars . The project is a double cd showcase of Baker’s straight-forward delivery that is truly refreshing in its honesty and playfulness at times. Covered here are a great array of standards of written or co-written by Thelonius Monk, Duke Ellington, Sergio Mendes, Memphis Slim and Horace Silver. The singer also penned a tune for the project in tribute to the late James Moody. Baker is backed by a fantastic band of talents, which include trombonist Danny Armstrong, saxophonist Jules Broussard, guitarists Duncan James and Rodney Jones. drummers Jerry Pannone and Rhoyalbaib Foston, percussionist John Santos and keyboardist Shota Osabe. This is a such thoroughly enjoyable work from a wonderfully gifted talent.

Click to listen to a clip of “Chains of Love”:

Tracks: [Disc 1] Deed I Do, Round Midnight, Mais Que Nada, So Many Stars, Gee Baby, In A Mellow Tone, Go Away Little Boy,  Everyday U Gave The Blues, You’ve Changed, Señor Blues. [Disc 2]: Lazy Afternoon, Mood For Mr. Moody, Initation, Lucky So and So, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Chains of Love, I Wanta Little Boy, Nightinggale, There Will Never Be Another You, Come Sunday.


Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band – Mother’s Touch


Pianist-composer Orrin Evans take the big band jazz genre to a new level with his cooly-branded Captain Black Big Band. A Mother’s Touch is the first studio recording of the 20-plus member ensemble. The project primarily features nicely crafted originals by Evans, along with fine covers of great work by Wayne Shorter, Eric Revis and Donald Edwards, with various members of the band arranging the compositions. Some of the incredible contributors to this effort include Duane Eubanks, Tatum Greenblatt and Fabio Morgera on trumpets, Conrad Herwig, Stafford Hunter and David Gibson on trombones, Todd Bashore, Marcus Strickland and Stacy Dillard on saxophones, Luques Curtis on bass, and Anwar Marshall and Ralph Peterson on drums. The recording is a fresh and exciting perspective that is really worth hearing.

Click to listen to a clip of “Water Babies”:

Tracks: In My Soul, Explain It To Me, Mother’s Touch- Part I, Dita (For Karen Warren), Tickle, Maestra, Water Babies, Mother’s Touch Part II, Prayer For Columbine .


NYT: Jimmy Scott Dies At Age 88

jimmy_scottBy Peter Keepnews, NY Times

Jimmy Scott, a jazz singer whose distinctively plaintive delivery and unusually high-pitched voice earned him a loyal following and, late in life, a taste of bona fide stardom, died on Thursday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 88.

The cause was cardiac arrest, his wife, Jeanie Scott, said.

Mr. Scott’s career finished on a high note, with steady work from the early 1990s on, as well as a Grammy nomination, glowing reviews and praise from well-known fellow performers like Madonna, who called him “the only singer who makes me cry.” But the first four decades of his career were checkered, with long periods of inactivity and more lows than highs.

Source: New York Times


Jim Wilke To Step Down As Jazz After Hours Host

Photo: Mark Harrison
Photo: Mark Harrison

Jim Wilke and his radio program Jazz After Hours have been an institution on the jazz radio landscape for more than 30 years.

Jim recently announced that he will be stepping down as the host of the program. The show will continue with former KJZZ music director Jeff Hanley stepping into Jim’s big shoes.

On an editor’s note, I grew up with this show and it had a great deal to do with shaping my appreciation of this incredible music. The thing I most appreciate about Jim and the program he provides is the fact that he really seemed to make it a point to do a fresh and interesting show each time he was one the air. I spent many a late night with Jim, starting in college, and always came away from the show with the names of at least 10 to 15 recordings I needed to purchase as a result of listening to the show.

It was a truly an honor  when I got the opportunity to interview Jim several years ago. I will miss Jim’s great voice on the program, but I will cherish the education in music that he provided me for so many years.


Don Cheadle Looks To Crowdfund Miles Davis Film

Actor-director Don Cheadle recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to finance the making of his upcoming project “Miles Ahead”. Cheadle joins a number of directors, including Zach Braff and Spike Lee, who have launched internet-based crowdfunding efforts to raise the capital needed to complete their. Cheadle is set to direct and star as Miles Davis in the film.

More on the campaign can be found here.

Eric Alexander – Chicago Fire

(High Note)

When tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander blows his horn it sounds as big as the city of Chicago. So the fact that his latest recording is titled Chicago Fire is more than fitting. Alexander’s playing here is blazing, and the set is decidedly uptempo. The menu on this effort is a mix of originals and nicely re-worked compositions by Cole Porter, Buddy Johnson and Henry Nemo. This fantastic endeavor is further enhanced by an outstanding lineup, including Harold Mabern, who contributed two songs to the project, on piano, Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, Joe Farnsworth on drums and John Webber on bass. It’s absolutely one of Alexander’s best productions. Top shelf all the way.

Click to listen to a clip of “Mr. Stitt”:

Tracks: Save Your Love For Me, The Bee Hive, Eddie Harris, Just One Of Those Things, Blueski for Vonski, Mr. Stitt, You Talk That Talk, Don’t Talk Your Love From Me .


Bill Coté – Where Do You Start

(Bill Cote)

From the very first note, you can hear that Bill Coté is a remarkable singer. Where Do You Start is the debut for the baritone vocalist and what a debut it is. Coté’s delivery is at once relaxing and engaging as he winds his way through many of the standards he’s sung for more than 50 years. Featured are the songs of Sammy Cahn and Gene De Paul, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Jay Livingston, and Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. The musicians joining the singer in this effort are top-notch. The lineup includes Tamir Hendelman on piano, Martin Wind on bass, Joe LaBarbera on drums, Bob Sheppard on sax and flue and Graham Dechter playing guitar. Bill Coté is such a true discovery, that it’s hard to believe we haven’t heard his amazing voice before now.

Click to listen to a clip of “Never Let Me Go”:

Tracks: Where or When?, When Do the Bells Ring for Me, Teach Me Tonight, What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life, L.A. State of Mind, Who Can I Turn To, Satin Doll, Satin Doll, Where Do You Start, Sunday in New York, My Funny Vealentine, When Sunny Gets Blue, Never Let Me Go, On a Clear Day, Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most, IJust Found About Love, Indian Summer .