Made in Brazil the latest production from singer-pianist Eliane Elias truly lives up to its name. The project is her first recorded in her native country since she moved to the U.S. in 1981. The result is a truly exquisite, elegant work of art. Co-producing the effort with Steve Rodby and bassist Marc Johnson, Elias sought out and acquired the services of some of Brazil very talented musicians. The cast includes bassist Marcelo Mariano, guitarists Marcus Teixeira and Roberto Menescal, drummers Edu Ribeiro and Rafael Barata, and percussionists Mauro Refosco and Marivaldo dos Santos. The production also includes wonderful guest appearances from Mark Kibble and the vocal group Take 6, Elias’ daughter Amanda Brecker, Brazilian R&B star Ed Motta and bossa nova composer Roberto Menescal. Elias contributes 6 wonderful original songs to a set that is rich with her wonderful vocal delivery and the flavors of her homeland. The addition of Rob Mathes string arrangements performed by members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios takes the production to another level. If it all sounds pretty epic, that’s because it is a truly fantastic recording.
Click to listen to a clip of “Driving Ambition”:
Tracks: Brasil (Aquarela do Brasil), Você, Aguas de Março (Waters of March), Searching, Some Enchanted Place, Incendiando, Vida (If Not You), Este Seau Olhar- Promessas, Driving Ambition, Rio, A Sorte do Amor (The Luck of Love), No Tabuleiro da Baiana.
Trombonist Jiggs Whigham, a Cleveland native, returns to his city of origin for a wonderful set of music. Live at Nighttown: Not So Standards is a recording of Whigham and his international trio putting on a show at the storied Northwest Ohio jazz venue. Pianist Florian Weber from Germany and bassist Decebal Badila from Romania join Whigham on stage and show that jazz really is the international language. Each of the players’ performances is on-point and their work together makes this a thoroughly enjoyable production. The setlist consists of nicely done renditions of tunes by Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins and Henry Mancini, among others. Whigham contributes a particularly contemplative composition to the set as well, adding to the intimate atmosphere of this effort. This is definitely one to check out.
Click to listen to a clip of “Steve”:
Tracks: The Days of Wine and Roses, Autumn Leaves, Steve, Some Day My Prince Will Come, Bags Groove, Saint Thomas.
Singer Nazia Chaudry (Naz) brings a welcomed voice to the vocal jazz scene. On Time After, her recording debut, Chaudry brings breathes new life into a set of classic pop standards, approaching them not as these rigid immovable relics, but as a singer with the influences of her time and generation would approach them. The style of the arrangements reflects this fact as well, with cleverly re-worked covers of tunes written or co-written by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Lorenzo Hart, Ray Noble, Vernon Duke, Betty Comden, Bart Howard and Cyndi Lauper. The musicians on this production are Sergio Pamles on piano, Addison Frel on piano and Rhodes, Gilberto Contreras on acoustic guitar, Matt Horbeck on electric guitar, Brian Ward, Ross Schodek and Tyler Jackson on bass, Sean P.Jones on drums, Alex Fraile on saxophone and Matt Hurley on percussion. Chaudry’s warm and inviting musical presence is sure to win her many new followers and fans. A wonderful new talent.
Click to listen to a clip of “If I Loved You”:
Tracks: If I Should Lose You, Time After Time, Só Danco Samba,If I Loved You, My Romance, Taking a Chance on Love, Never Never Land, Fly Me To The Moon, That’s All, The Very Thought of You .
Drummer Reggie Quinerly takes the inspiration from the famous William Ernest Henley poem he learned as a child to power himself, and ultimately, this project. Invictus is the name of that poem and this production of music. What comes across right away is the quality of the writing, most of which is the product of Quinerly’s hands. The music definitely speaks the classic jazz vernacular, but in a way that feels new. The Houston native is also quite formidable and gifted with the sticks, driving the music as it swing and pacing the more gentle works. Joining him is a fine collection of players, including vibraphonist Warren Wolf, guitarist Yotam Silberstein, pianist Christian Sands and bassist Alan Hampton. The crew sounds great together and really delivers some great performances to make this a truly must-hear, must-have recording.
Click to listen to a clip of “The Child of the 808”:
Tracks: Tavares, Nimza Indian, Light Work, The Child of the 808 Interlude, Variation 24, My Blue Heaven, The Star The Crescent and The Police Captain, Kunst Überlebt, The Child of the 808, Lester Grant.
Bassist Marcus Miller’s latest recording, his first with Blue Note Records, was heavily influenced by his experiences as UNESCO Artist of Peace and spokesperson for its Slave Route Project. Afrodeezia is rich with the rhythmic influences of his travels. Recorded in cities around the world, including Morocco, Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans and Los Angeles, Miller pays homage not only to his time and travels, but also to his father who is dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s, as well as the memory of friends and musical colleagues George Duke, Joe Sample and Wayman Tisdale who have all passed away within the last few years. The music is as adventurous and powerful as we’ve come to expect from Miller over his recording career, with a heavy dose of his virtuosic brilliance. Guests on the recording include keyboardist Robert Glasper, trumpeters Etienne Charles and Ambrose Akinmusire, guitarists Keb’ Mo’ and Wah Wah Watson, bassist/producer Mocean Worker, vocalist Lalah Hathaway, rapper Chuck D. and cellist Ben Hong. This production is a tour de force ripe with musical imagery of the many miles Miller has journeyed as an artist and a man.
Click to listen to a clip of “B’s River”:
Tracks: Hylife, B’s River, Preacher’s Kid (Song for William H), We Were There, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, I Still Believe I Hear (Je Crois Entendre Encore), Son of Macbeth, Prism (Interlude), Xtraordinary, Water Dancer, I Can’t Breathe. .
Born in New York City, but raised in Croatia, vocalist Thana Alexa discovered her interest in jazz at an outdoor café in Dubrovnik. On her debut recording Ode to Heroes, Alexa demonstrates the universal reach of jazz through her highly impressive chops as singer, writer and arranger. The project’s title aptly describes the project which pays homage to her influences in her life and music. In addition to her own quality compositions, which comprise most of the recording, Alexa delivers inventive lyrics and great arrangements for signature tunes by Wayne Shorter, Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond. The band here is excellent as well, with co-producer (and co-writer on several songs) Antonio Sanchez on drums, Sergio Salvatore on piano, Jorge Roeder and Scott Colley on bass, Lenart Krecic and Donny McCaslin on tenor saxophone and Christos Rafalides on vibraphone, among other players. Alexa is an outstanding talent that we look forward to hearing more from in the future.
Click to listen to a clip of “Trace Back Your Footprints”:
Tracks: Ode to Heroes, Trace Back Your Footprints, Ghost Hawk, Groove Tune, Siena, In a Mode, When Evening Comes, The Wanderer, Take Five, M’s Lullaby, You Are Not Alone.
Pianist Jon Davis’ own gentle, cool style of swing is at the heart of his latest effort. Moving Right Along finds Davis leading a trio through a nice set of his own originals and a great selection of covers by John Coltrane, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Thelonious Monk, Jaco Pastorious and Harold Arlen. As eclectic as that list might be, there is a consistency to Davis’ tone which threads it all together quite pleasantly. The rhythm section of Yasushi Nakamura on bass and Shinnosuke Takahashi on drums provide a nice structure underneath the keys that really works well with the top notes. A thoroughly entertaining recording.
Click to listen to a clip of “Just In Case”:
Tracks: Moving Right Along, Under The Stairway, Moment’s Notice, Beauty and The Blues, I’ve Never Been In Love Before, Reflections, She’s Leaving Home, Portait of Tracy, Dania, Just In Case, Pensive Puff, I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues.
Lew Soloff, a trumpet player who was an early member of Blood, Sweat and Tears and whose jazz career included performances with his own ensembles and with Gil Evans, Ornette Coleman, Chuck Mangione, Maynard Ferguson and other giants of the genre, has died. He was 71.
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Soloff suffered an apparent heart attack as he walked down a New York City street Saturday night with his daughter Laura Solomon, her husband, and their children. He died early Sunday, Solomon said.
Composer Ted Howe pushes the big band sound forward on his latest release. Pinnacle features Howe’s excellent compositions in a large ensemble setting making the music swing, groove and bend in ways that you don’t expect in this genre. The tunes and the arrangements are fresh and engaging. Bassist John Patitucci is featured among the outstanding talents on this effort. Howe plays piano on a couple of the tracks and gives way to Geoff Haydon who plays piano and Rhodes throughout most of the recording. Other talents in the rhythm section include Marlon Patton on drums, Dan Baraszu on guitars and Jose Ramirez on percussion. The outstanding brass and reed players include Sam Skelton, Mike Barry, Don Erdman, Lester Walker, Melvin Jones, Lester Walker, Wes Funderburk, Tom Gibson, Andy Martin, Seth Keuhn and Francisco Torres. A top notch effort from start to finish.
Click to listen to a clip of “Suite #1 for Jazz Orchestra: Movement 3”:
Tracks: Presto for Two Trombones, Impromptu for Trumpet, Suite#1 for Jazz Orchestra: Movement 1, Movement 2, Movement 3, Adagio for Piano, Jazz Étude for Three Clarinets.
SINGAPORE – Late last year, organisers of the Singapore International Jazz Festival (SingJazz) said they hoped this festival would build “an ecosystem for jazz music and jazz-inspired music in Singapore”. To that end, SingJazz put together a diverse list of artistes for the festival, which begins on Thursday.