Hammond-B3 player Brian Charette is back with another great effort. Good Tipper is a solid work from start to finish, with Charette and company creating a vibe that makes listening an absolute necessity. Charette’s playing is warm and funky and that’s the feel of the production here. The recording is a nice balance of fresh originals and clever selections of cover tunes. The band of supporting players really helps keep the music hopping, with Avi Rothbard and Yotam Silberstein on guitars, Jordan Young and Mark Ferber on drums, and Joe Sucato on saxophone for one tune. This is definitely a must-hear effort .
Click to listen to a clip of “Another Quarter”:
Tracks: Good Tipper, Time of the Season, Spring is Here, Cuando, Cuando, Cuando, Another Quarter, Standing Still, You Only Live Twice, Wichita Lineman, Up Up and Away, One and Nine, To Live in Your Life, The Kicker .
Claire Martin is a sophisticated singer in her own right, but add a string quartet and a terrific selection of tunes and you’ve got a truly high caliber production. On Time & Place, Martin truly delivers with the wonderful talents of the Montpellier Cello Quartet elevating the endeavor. Also contributing this fantastic effort are pianists Joe Stilgoe and Gareth Williams, bassists Jeremy Brown and Laurence Cottle and drummer Ben Reynolds. The song selection are wonderfully imagined arrangements of compositions by Ira Gershwin, Kurt Weill, Lennon and McCartney, David Bowie, Geoffrey Keezer and Joni Mitchell. The quartet, which is clearly not-your-father’s string quartet, delivers on the diverse set list with great acuity. Martin gracefully leads the whole effort with confidence. An excellent, excellent recording.
Click to listen to a clip of “The Man Who Sold The World”:
Tracks: My Ship, Catch Me If You Can, She’s Leaving Home, Early To Bed, Featherfall, The Man Who Sold The World, Lost for Words, Round Midnight, My Man’s Gone Now, Two Grey Rooms, Goodbye For Now .
The belief that jazz is not marginal but essential drove the success of the fabled 75-year-old Blue Note label, which attracted geniuses such as Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis, and made jazz seem ineffably cool. A thrilling Blue Note at 75 celebration at the London jazz festival showed how well the label’s current guardians and players measure up.
Pianist Mike Longo’s latest effort is a tribute to piano and jazz great Oscar Peterson. A teenaged Longo saw Peterson and years later and was fortunate enough to be taken under the wing of the legendary pianist for six months of intense training. The Mike Longo Trio Celebrates Oscar Peterson Live was recorded live before in John Birks Gillespie Auditorium of the New York City Baha’i Center. Longo is joined by bassist Paul West and drummer Ray Mosca for a lively set. The trio, which hit the stage with no rehearsal, clicks together like a Lego blocks. The trio nicely covers tunes by Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk, Thad Jones and Clifford Brown to name a few and does it with great chemistry and camaraderie. The recording stands an outstanding homage to Peterson and his lessons, but also as a great documentation of another wonderful live performance in Longo’s storied career.
Click to listen to a clip of “Honeysuckle Rose”:
Tracks: Love You Madly, Sweet Georgia Brown, A Child is Born, Always, Fascinatin’ Rhythm, Love For Sale, Tenderly, Honeysuckle Rose, Yesterdays, Work Song, 52 Street Theme, I Remember You, Daahoud .
Sometimes great music come in unexpected packages, this is definitely case with violinist Chelsey Green and the Green Project. While the outer cover of The Green Room may not convey the kaleidoscope of music inside the Houston native’s 2nd recording, it is definitely there. Green is an outstanding player with a fantastic lyrical flair and the ability to make music of various shades and do it in a way that really captures your ear. The violin truly sings in her hands. The production is a nice blend of original compositions, which alternate with equally wonderfully arranged covers. The supporting cast of players contribute greatly to the quality of the work as well. Joining Green are Ignatius Perry, Lorenzo Johnson and Daryl Hunt or various keyboards, Kevin Powe Jr. on bass, Brian Wheatley on drums, Steven Walker and Matthew Chase on guitar, Joshua Thomas on clavier and Monique Brooks-Roberts on additional violin. The horn section of saxophonist Marvin Thompson, saxophonist Will Spence and trumpeter Theljon Allen also enhance the tunes with their contributions. Green is a versatile talent who can truly go in any direction she wants musically, with this effort, her trajectory is most certainly upwards.
Click to listen to a clip of “Pizzicato Part III”:
Tracks: Dr. Funk, Road Trip, Cheryl Ann, People Make The World Go Round, Autmn Leaves, Party Song, 1 AM, My Favorite Things, Pizzicato Part III, My Tribute (To God Be The Glory) .
Guitarist Jimmy McIntosh spins an all-star line-up of talents into an equally impressive recording. On Jimmy McIntosh and… the Las Vegas based talent gets by with a little help from some notable musical friends. Sometimes such assemblages don’t live up to the billing, this is not one of those times. The music here is as bluesy and smoking as a Memphis barbecue joint. The song list is weighted towards the lead’s own compositions, with some nice takes on compositions by Duke Ellington and Keith Richards. McIntosh is joined by fellow guitarists John Scofield, Mike Stern and Ronnie Wood (of The Rolling Stones), each on various tracks. Ivan Neville (of the Neville Brothers, The Meters and others) plays organ. Drummer Toss Panos along with bassists Keith Hubacher, John Humphrey and Dan Lutz round out the outstanding roster of musicians. When an artist can gather an array of talents of this much heft, it generally is a statement of their own musical acumen, and that clearly is the case here..
Click to listen to a clip of “The Logue”:
Tracks: Slow Blues, The Logue, Letsco, Ju Ju, PM Blues, Sophisticated Lady, Lavona’s Boogie, I Gotta See, Demon, 32 20 Blues, Back2Cali, Fast Blues.
The saxophonist Ian Hendrickson-Smith has caught his share of deflected stardust: as a former foot soldier with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, as a hired gun for the likes of Al Green and as a member of “The Tonight Show” band (which is to say, the Roots). For the rest of this year, as part of the Loston Harris Trio, he’ll appear Thursday through Saturday nights at Bemelmans Bar, the hobnobby lounge in the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.
“Live at Smalls,” Mr. Hendrickson-Smith’s new album, belongs to a different scale of accomplishment. It’s a sturdy, uncomplicated set of vintage-style soul jazz, recorded in one of New York’s least pretentious clubs, possibly as an afterthought. If it’s a token of artistic independence, it’s a modest one. But the welcoming gleam in Mr. Hendrickson-Smith’s playing, and the assertive support of a rhythm section with David Hazeltine on piano, are worth the trouble. The album has a spark of life, a reason for being.
It happens to be one of several albums out in physical form this week on SmallsLive, a record label associated with that Greenwich Village jazz haunt. And SmallsLive, in turn, is one of several notable labels to have grown out of the New York club scene. Half Note, affiliated with the Blue Note Jazz Club (but, it should be said, not Blue Note Records), has been in business for years. Smoke Sessions, the imprint of the Upper West Side club Smoke, started up just this year, proving itself right out of the gate.
Herbie Hancock, Kevin Spacey, Quincy Jones and a litany of major jazz musicians saluted President Bill Clinton on Sunday at L.A.’s Dolby Theater for his efforts in using jazz as a diplomatic force over the last 25 years.
Clinton, whom Hancock introduced as “the commander in chief of swing,” received the Thelonious Monk Institute’s Maria Fisher Founder’s Award for his contributions to the perpetuation of jazz music and the global expansion of jazz and music education in schools. Clinton chronicled his own relationship with jazz as a saxophonist, starting at age 6 and ending around 16 when he decided he could not follow in John Coltrane’s footsteps. In addition to praising the underpaid pioneers of jazz culture, Clinton said the teamwork learned in jazz education could play out in other areas.
“Sometimes a frustrated jazz musician,” Clinton said, “winds up in another field and it works out well.”
Saxophonist Kenny Shanker returns with an outstanding follow-up to his debut effort. Action City is quite fitting of the name for this effort and a great showcase of Shanker’s wonderful tone. The project is also an outstanding exposition of the writing chops that won the California native an ASCAP award for composition in recent years. The tunes are a nice blend of uptempo swing and bluesy ballads, and everything in-between. A fantastic lineup of players on this effort include Mike Eckroth on piano, Daisuke Abe on guitar, Brian Fishler on drums and Yoshi Waki on bass. The playing is tight and on the mark all the way through and Shanker is a truly talented musician worth checking out.
Click to listen to a clip of “Action City”:
Tracks: Time Square, Another Morning, Summer Siesta, Action City, Punch, Prelude, Shadow Dance, Midnight, Marble Hill, The Tortoise and the Hare, Riverbank at Dawn, Snow Paws.
Around 8 p.m. on a recent Saturday, a few dozen people were gathered in a narrow, dimly lit Harlem brownstone. Couples smoked in the backyard beneath Christmas lights; a group of Chilean expats sought a corkscrew; a man and his young son searched for seats.
From the basement downstairs, Bill Saxton, a bebop saxophonist, could hear the anticipatory chatter. All these people had come to his place. A few minutes later, standing with his band in the tiny parlor, he honked his sax loudly. The track lights dimmed.