Monthly Archives: September 2014

Freda Payne – Come Back To Me Love

(Mack Avenue)

While many people know of vocalist Freda Payne from her 1970’s pop hits, she is, in fact, a singer with a history in steeped in jazz, including her time touring with the Quincy Jones Big Band. Her latest recording, Come Back To Me Love, co-produced and arranged by Bill Cunliffe provides Payne wonderful canvas to paint the words and she delivers. The set is a nice collection of standards with the singer’s quality, Ella-tinged voice adding some a contemporary flair to the tunes, like working a Marvin Gaye vamp nicely into one of the tunes. Cunliffe assembles an impressive supporting cast of players to create the music for this effort to include himself on piano, Bob McChesney on trombone, David Stone on bass, Carl Saunders on trumpet and Bob Sheppard on saxophones, among many others. With music and vocals being first rate, this production can’t help but be as terrific as it is .

Click to listen to a clip of “You Don’t Know”:

Tracks: You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To, Haven’t We Met, Lately, Come Back To Me Love, Whatever Happened To Me, You Don’t Know, Save Your Love For Me, Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry, The Island, I Should Have Told Him, I Just Have To Know, Midnight Sun, Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most, I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water.


Wynton Marsalis To Christen St. Louis Jazz Center

AP Photo/Jazz St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis will help christen a new St. Louis jazz center that organizers hope will serve as a venue worthy of the genre’s top acts while inspiring the next generation of jazz greats from an area that has produced Miles Davis, Clark Terry and David Sanborn, among others.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will join Marsalis for the grand opening Thursday of the Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz. Other big-name performers will follow, said Gene Dobbs Bradford, executive director of Jazz St. Louis.

Source: NOLA / AP

Arizona jazz figure Charles Lewis celebrates 81st birthday with party, intimate concert

Photo: Courtney Pedroza/DD
Photo: Courtney Pedroza/DD

David Marino
Downtown Devil

Renowned jazz pianist Charles Lewis may be 81 years old, but he is still highly energized and smooth on stage as he pounds out jazz tunes.

“I’ve reached a point in my life where I can just enjoy being involved, with music and with playing,” Lewis said. “I haven’t lost my enthusiasm for music. I can’t see that ever happening.”

Source: Downtown Devil

Jason Jackson – Inspiration

(Jack & Hill Music)

Inspiration from trombonist/composer Jason Jackson is as inspired as the title implies. Releasing on October 14th, this endeavor comes 13 years after his previous recording and it is a welcomed arrival. Jackson leads an outstanding ensemble through a set of originals and wonderfully fresh takes on hallowed standards. In addition to Jackson fantastic performance, there are tremendous contributions from trumpeters Terrell Stafford and Roy Hargrove, trombonist Slide Hampton, saxophonists Pete Christlieb, Dick Oatts, Steve Wilson and Rich Perry, as well as pianists  Roger Jones II, Michael Melvoin, bassist Rufus Reid and too many other notable talents to document here.  Jackson brings a rich, refreshing voice to the genre with this fine effort.

Click to listen to a clip of “Wake Up Election 2000”:

Tracks: Brazilian Bop, Burnin’, Spring is Here, Salute to Mandela, El Huesero, April in Paris, Tenderly, Wake Up Election 2000, My Friend Sam.


Dan Moretti & The Hammond Boys – Live at Chan’s

(Roots Grooves Records )

Saxophonist Dan Moretti and The Hammond Boys have released one of the best live records we’ve heard this year. Right from the top on Live at Chan’s, they hit you. This is not just music you hear, it’s music you feel. It’s head-shaking, foot-moving soul. Recorded live at the Rhode Island venue, this effort is a great revival of the soul-jazz sound of the 1960s and shows the enduring quality of that brand. The quartet consists of an outstanding lineup of players, including Duke Robillard on guitar, Dave Limina on the Hammond, Lorne Entress on drums and Jesse Williams on acoustic and electric basses. The unit really does honor to the compositions of Reuben Wilson, Stanley Turrentine, Bobby Timmons Gene Ammons, King Curtis and other legends of the groove. An outstanding effort from beginning to end.

Click to listen to a clip of “Twistin’ The Jug”:

Tracks: Introduction, Moanin’, Shuffle Twist, Da Du Duh, Free for All, Soul Underneath, No. Green Street, Twistin The Jug, Ronnie’s Bonnies, Low Down, Soul Shoutin’ .


Remembrance: Kenny Wheeler , Influential Sound In Jazz


Kenny Wheeler, a jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist and composer who was as comfortable improvising with uncompromising avant-gardists like the saxophonist Anthony Braxton as he was writing challenging arrangements for a big band, died on Thursday in London. He was 84.

His death was announced by the Royal Academy of Music in London, where Mr. Wheeler was the founding patron of Junior Jazz, a course of study for teenagers. He had been in failing health for several months.

Source: New York Times

Medeski Scofield Martin Wood – Juice

(Indirecto Records)

The quartert of keyboardist John Medeski, guitarist John Scofield, drummer Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood is back for another fun and funky musical romp. Juice is the third studio recording of their musical fellowship. The very electric set of music has the kind of synchronous, improvisational feeling that is the result of the hours this band has spent playing together in recent years. The set list is mostly comprised of songs written by each of the players, with nice renditions of compositions written or co-written by Eddie Harris, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. The genius of the effort is to hear these gentleman produce something that is wonderfully edgy and musically compelling.

Click to listen to a clip of “Sham Time”:

Tracks: Sham Time, North London, Louis The Shoplifter, Juicy Lucy, I know You, Helium, Light My Fire, Sunshine of Your Love, Stovetop, The Times They Are A-Changin’ .


Joe Sample, Pianist Fused Jazz, R&B, Acoustic and Electric, Dies at 75

Photo: Tom Beetz

Maane Khatchatourian

Legendary jazz pianist Joe Sample died on Friday morning in Houston. He was 75.

Sample, who revolutionized jazz fusion in the ’60s and ’70s, was also a keyboardist and composer for more than five decades, having worked with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Anita Baker, Joni Mitchell and Canned Heat.

Sample’s family announced the news on Facebook, but didn’t mention the cause of death. The pianist was hospitalized last year with pneumonia after suffering from ongoing health issues, including heart attacks in 1994 and 2009.

Source: Variety

Mark Turner Quartet – Lathe of Heaven


Lathe of Heaven by saxophonist Mark Turner is a deep, winding exploration of the bounds of musical composition. Structurally, the music seems to ebb and flow with moments of dissonance and synchronicity, touching on the blues base of jazz without being capture by it; somewhat like a sonic abstract painting. Turner is joined on this expedition by an outstanding group of talented players, whose individual talents contribute immensely to the quality of this endeavor. The quartet includes Avishai Cohen on trumpet, Joe Martin on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums. The unit finds a core here that makes it work and produces an effort that is as much an experience as work of recorded art.

Click to listen to a clip of “The Edenist”:

Tracks: Lathe of Heaven, Year of the Rabbit, Ethan’s Line, Sonnet for Stevie, Brother Sister 2 .


Julie Kelly – Happy To Be

(Jazzed Media)

Julie Kelly has a voice and delivery that is timeless and thoroughly engaging. The West Coast singer, who can swing as nicely as she delivers a ballad, offers up a thoroughly enjoyable production with her latest effort Happy To Be. The menu of music is a nice mix of mostly off-the-beaten-path standards and clever original compositions. Kelly’s talents are enhanced wonderfully by a top-notch lineup including pianist and arranger Bill Cunliffe, guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist Tom Warrington, drummer Joe LaBarbera and vibraphonist Nick Mancini. The equally impressive horn ensemble includes saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Kim Richmond, trumpeter Clay Jenkins, trombonist Bob McChesney and Ron Stout on flugelhorn. Kelly’s vocals are like a warm embrace and this is a recording that compels listening from start to finish.

Click to listen to a clip of “Our Love Rolls On”:

Tracks: Harpo Blues, Happy To Be, Our Love Rolls On, Corcovado, I Have The Feeling I’ve Been Here Before, The Blues According to Orpheus, I Wish I Could Go Traveling Again, I Never Went Away, High In The Sky, For Joni .