Monthly Archives: May 2015

Doug Webb – Triple Play


Saxophonist Doug Webb brings together brass peers Walt Weiskopf and Joel Frahm for an outstanding music experience. Centered around the three tenor men, Triple Play is the platform for some high energy and engaging sound. The set is balanced between some fantastic original pieces and nicely arranged covers of works by Lou Donaldson, John Coltrane, Cole Porter and Lanny Morgan. Though the horns are out front, the interplay with organist Brian Charette and drummer Rudy Royston is integral the power of this recording from start to finish. Excellent production.

Click to listen to a clip of “The Way Things Are”:

Tracks: Jones, Three’s a Crowd, Giant Steps, The Way Things Are, Avalon, Jazz Car, Your Place or Mine,  I Concentrate on You, Pali Blues, Alligator Boogaloo, Triple Play.


The Dave Miller Trio with Rebecca Dumaine – The Consequences of You

(Summit Records)

The Dave Miller Trio and singer Rebecca Dumaine are back with another excellent recording. The Consequences of You is rich with the seamless musicianship and playful interaction between singer and band that defined their previous efforts. Dumaine vocals are joyful and delightful and the band, which is includes bassist Mario Suraci and drummer Bill Belasco, could not be more on point. Together, the players swing and saunter through a collection of very nicely arranged standards written or co-written by Victor Young, Anthony Newley, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Charles Strouse, Bob Haymes, and Frank Loesser. Yet another thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable production from all involved.

Click to listen to a clip of “Down With Love”:

Tracks: Beautiful Love, Pure Imagination, One Note Samba, Exactly Like You, Down with Love, You’ve Changed, Put on a Happy Face, The Face That I Love, There Will Never Be Another You, They Say It’s Spring, Too Close For Comfort, If I Were a Bell .


Marcus Belgrave, jazz trumpeter, dies at age of 78

Marcus BelgraveMarcus Belgrave, a jazz trumpeter who graced stages and studios with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Cocker and Motown artists galore, has died. He was 78.

Belgrave came to Detroit in 1962 and became a studio musician for Motown Records, playing on hits including My Girl and Dancing in the Street.

Hazelette Crosby-Robinson, a cousin of Belgrave’s wife Joan Belgrave, said the musician died on Sunday at an Ann Arbor care facility. The cause of death was heart failure.

Belgrave remained active on the Detroit and international jazz scenes up until his death. He started playing professionally at 12 and joined the Ray Charles Band in the late 1950s.

Source: The Guardian (UK)

Melissa Tham: The Singlish-speaking jazz singer

Melissa Tham
Photo: Hon Jing Yi

SINGAPORE — When we heard jazz artiste Melissa Tham perform with the Christy Smith Quartet at the Singapore International Jazz Festival earlier this year, the singer’s rich, emotive vocals made jazz music seem far more accessible than one thought possible. Interestingly, while Tham comes across as your regular, endearing Singaporean girl — who is not afraid to flaunt it — with a love of jazz, she likes “all kinds of music, lah”.

“It’s nice sometimes when I listen to something on YouTube, or someone tells me to check some person out,” said the 29-year-old. “But I’ve always felt most at home with jazz or, specifically, swing. I like that feeling when I listen to Frank Sinatra — that swagger. I really like that feeling because it makes me feel so shiok!”

Source: Today Online

Joey Alexander – My Favorite Things


There’s no getting around the fact that pianist Joey Alexander is 11-years old. He is also one of the most phenomenal musical newcomers to ever hit the scene. As his debut recording My Favorite Things aptly demonstrates, the perception is directly attributable to the fact that the young musician simply has chops, and chops well beyond what one might expect of a 30-year old, let alone, a pre-teen. Mr. Alexander plays with a blues feel and awareness that one can not reconcile with his age and life experience. He’s clearly listening, having and leading a conversation with his fellow players here. Joining him on are veteran talents Larry Grenadier on bass and Ulysses Owens Jr. on drums for much of the effort. A trio of young New York-based musicians are also included on the production, with Russell Hall on bass, Sammy Miller on drums and Alphonso Horne on trumpet. The interplay is outstanding and Joey Alexander as well as this recording are just beyond extraordinary.

Click to listen to a clip of “Ma Blues”:

Tracks: Giant Steps, Lush Life, My Favorite Things, It Might As Well Be Spring,  Ma Blues, ‘Round Midnight, I Mean You, Tour De Force, Somewhere Over The Rainbow.


NYT Saxophonist-Composer Bob Belden Dies at 58

Lost-Jazz-Shrines-for-Ticketing-Site-Event-PageBob Belden, a jazz saxophonist, composer, arranger, bandleader and record producer who was both a historian of the music and a force in moving it forward, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 58

He died three days after having a heart attack, said his sister, Beth Belden Harmstone.

Engaged and opinionated, Mr. Belden was part reformist and part conservationist. As a bandleader and record maker, he often looked for ways to connect the jazz tradition to other energies. In February he performed in Tehran with his group Animation, in a concert brought about in part by the American nonprofit organization Search for Common Ground. It was the first time an American musician had played in Iran since 1979.

Source: New York Times

Enoch Smith Jr. – Misfits II

(Misfitme Music)

Pianist-composer Enoch Smith, Jr. is back with another outstanding production. Misfits II is a bit of a departure from its predecessor, which focused primarily on the artist’s own compositions. Here, Smith adds more tunes associated with other artists. The menu includes songs by or associated with The Beatles, Joan Osborne, Amerie, The Roots and gospel singer Shirley Caesar. The beauty of these covers is in the arrangements, which are brilliantly re-worked by the self-taught talent into renditions that could stand along side the originals. The other fantastic element is the presence of Sara Elizabeth Charles who delivers hypnotically captivating vocals throughout most of the project. Nate and Renee Anderson provide a cappella vocals, while hip-hop artist Dee raps on one of the tracks. Bassist Noah Jackson and drummer Sangmin Lee make up the rhythm backbone of the recording. This effort is yet another incredible step forward in the continued emergence of Smith Jr. as an artist of particular note.

Click to listen to a clip of “One Thing”:

Tracks: Yesterday, Everything’s Alright, One of Us, One Thing, A Misfit’s Theme III, Sweepin’ Through The City, You Got Me (Sometimes), Sweepin’ (Stairwell Intro), Sweepin’ Through The City featuring Dee.


Kevin Stout & Brian Booth – Color Country

(Up Creek Music)

Brian Booth and Kevin Stout transform their love of Utah’s wild places into outstanding music on their latest. Color Country marks their 4th recording together, with both musicians contributing the original compositions on the effort. Each of the tunes is dedicated to the southern region of their home states, where Stout and Booth have familial connections, as well as great reverence for the natural landscape. Booth plays saxophone and flute on the production, with Stout on trombone, guitar and percussion. The blend of their horns is fantastic, as are the contributions of the other players on the recording, which include Joey Singer on piano, Tom Warrington on bass, John Abraham on drums and Jobelle Yonley on vocals. Outstanding work by all involved. This is Utah jazz in the truest sense and it is outstanding.

Click to listen to a clip of “Hoodoo Voodoo”:

Tracks: Panorama Point, Aquarius Plateau, Double Arch, Color Country, Weeping Rock, Grand Staircase, Hoodoo Voodoo, Anne of Carol Canyon, Petroglyphs, Confluence, San Rafael Swell, Cataract Canyon, San Rafael Swell Reprise .


David Berkman – Old Friends and New Friends


Pianist David Berkman’s Old Friends and New Friends is one of those recording that is an absolute delight to listen to. Berkman’s playing on the tunes is like watching a painting in progress in its artistry and beauty. The outstanding quality of the writing, all Berkman compositions, provides the great framework for the  performances to shine. Add to this, the talents of a wonderful group of accompanying musical talents and the whole production is elevated higher. The lineup here includes Dayna Stephens on alto and tenor saxophones, Billy Drewes on alto and soprano saxes, Adam Kofker on various saxes and clarinet, Linda Oh on bass and Brian Blade on drums. All these elements collide to make for a truly quality work.

Click to listen to a clip of “No Blues No Really Blues (Piano Trio Version)”:

Tracks: Tribute, No Blues No Really Blues, Past Progressive, Deep High Wide Sky, Strange Attraction Then Birds, No Blues No Really Blues (piano trio version), West 180th Street, Up Jumped Ming, Psalm .


Russ Nolan – Call It What You Want


Saxophonist Russ Nolan is back with an entertaining work of outstanding musicianship. Call It What You Want is comprised almost exclusively of Nola’s own compositions, with a complimentary nod to Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin. The production is a mix uptempo and ballad numbers, with a definitive Latin influence coursing through the effort. Nolan’s playing, on soprano and tenor sax, is top notch, as is that of his studio mates. Joining Nolan on the project are Mike Eckroth on piano, Daniel Foose on bass, Brian Fishler on drum, Yasuyo Kimura on congas and bata drums and Victor Rendon on timbales, bongos and other percussion. Great interplay for yet another solid recording for Nolan.

Click to listen to a clip of “Jazz Is A Four-Letter Word”:

Tracks: Neruda, My Ship, Disjunction, Call It What You Want, Mi Remedio, Jazz Is A Four-Letter Word, Uncommon Air, Cancion Sabrosa, Las Teclas Negras .