Tonight, before Los Angeles jazz adventurer Terrace Martin hit The Pour House stage in Raleigh for The Art of Cool Project and 9th Wonder’s monthly soul series Caramel City, Art of Cool president Cicely Mitchell announced the full lineup for next year’s third annual Art of Cool Music Festival, scheduled May 6–8, 2016, in Durham.
On Live Plus One, pianist-composer Michael Gallant presents the trio in a way that is less traditional and more edgy. Gallant is joined by Rob Mitzner on drums along with Dmitry Ishenko and Pepe Gonzalez on electric and acoustic basses respectively, on alternating tracks. This is definitely not your grandfather’s jazz trio (though he may like much of what he hears), but a unit that incorporates a jazz-meets-grunge attitude to its approach. Gallant, who composed all of the album’s tunes, switches easily from grand piano, to electric keyboard and melodica, as needed, with ease on this effort recorded live at Levine Music in Washington, D.C. The energized set is truly engaging and thoroughly musically-satisfying.
Click to listen to a clip of “Greens”:
Tracks: Returned, Greens, Interlude I, Follow Me, City Never Seen, Interlude II, Completely, Borrowed, Sandra and Michel, The Real Maria, Love You Better .
Lorraine Feather weaves more great musical tales on her latest release. Flirting With Disaster plays much like a good book of short stories. The literary songs covering various moments in relationships and love among other things in colorful modern vernacular. Feather teams again with pianists Russell Ferrante, Shelly Berg, and Dave Gruisin, as well as guitarist Eddie Arkin to join music with words. The effort also includes the talents of guitarist Grant Geissman, drummer Greg Field and violinist Charles Bisharat, among others. Once again, Feather dares to go to her own musical with wonderfully entertaining results.
Click to listen to a clip of “Flirting With Disaster”:
Tracks: Flirting With Disaster, Feels Like Snow, I’d Be Down With That, Off-Center, Be My Muse, Later, The Last Wave, Disastrous Consequences, Big-Time, Wait For It, The Staircase.
Guitarist Frank Kohl convenes a first-rate lineup to produce this fantastic assemblage of music. Invisible Man is a nice collection of mostly originals compositions buoyed by his artistry on six strings. Kohl has a tone on the instrument that grabs your ear quite easily and the interplay between he and his sidemen here is wonderful. Joining Kohl are bassist Steve LaSpina, pianist Tom Kohl on piano and drummer Jon Doty. This is a very cool and worthwhile listening.
Click to listen to a clip of “Born Again”:
Tracks: Invisible Man, In Your Arms, Born Again, Falling Sky, My Funny Valentine, Round About, My One and Only Love, Alone Together .
Don Cheadle flails about trying to channel the spirit of late jazz-trumpeting legend Miles Davis in “Miles Ahead,” a biopic that rejects typical genre conventions to the point of chasing itself down lame, tangential paths. A passion project for its star, who also directed, co-wrote and co-produced the feature, this portrait aims for insight by striving to match its own form to that of its subject’s music, whose inspired improvisational tunes repeatedly defined the course of modern jazz. A wild, and wildly uneven, free-form investigation of Davis’ turbulent personal and professional life that’s bolstered by an outsized lead performance, the film — premiering as the closing-night selection of this year’s New York Film Festival — is set to open next year through Sony Classics, though its all-over-the-place style will temper mainstream theatrical interest.
Three On Two, the latest release from trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, could serve as a textbook example of a professional jazz quartet recording. The level of performance is incredibly high and all the players complement each other incredibly well, whether they’re swinging away or easing into a beautiful ballad. The recording features wonderful originals by Magnarelli and Mike DiRubbo, the fantastic alto saxophonist on the project and trombonist Steve Davis , along with nicely delivered renditions of tunes by John Coltrane, Cedar Walton and Claude Debussy. The brass unit is backed outstandingly by Brian Charette on organ and Rudy Royston on drums. Truly a top-notch work.
Click to listen to a clip of “The Step Up”:
Tracks: Three on Two, Easy, The Step Up, NYC-J-Funk, 26-2 Clockwise, Paris, Central Park West, Outlet Pass, My Reverie.
On Speaking In Tongues, Luciana Souza absolutely paints with her voice. Produced with Larry Klein, the singer weaves together a wonderful tapestry of moods that is ethereal and captivating. The sound is a mix of jazz, classical and the beauty and color of Brazil, the country where she grew up. Souza wrote most of the tunes on the production and infuses the words of the iconic Leonard Cohen into a couple of album’s tracks. Some outstanding players help bring this effort to life, including Lionel Loueke on guitar and voice, Gregoire Maret on harmonica, Massimo Biolcati on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. Souza is an extraordinary artist and this recording is a true work of art.
Click to listen to a clip of “A Pebble In Still Water”:
Tracks: At The Fair, Hymn, Straw Hat, Split, Filhos De Gandhi, A Pebble In Still Water, Free At Last, A.M., No One To Follow .
Dan Trudell made a name for himself as an organist for many years but decided it was time to return the piano, and with great result. Trudell’s playing is, at once, both artistic and engaging. The very creative arrangements on Dan Trudell Plays The Piano are a wonderful adventure and musical ride. The interplay between Trudell and his very capable crew is outstanding. The trio includes Matt Wilson on drums and Joe Saunders on bass. The recording features the unit covering works by Duke Ellington, Horace Silver, Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys, alongside a couple of Trudell originals paying homage to McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones. The tremendous performances on this one makes it too good miss.
Click to listen to a clip of “If I Ever I Would Leave You”:
Tracks: Isn’t She Lovely, I Let A Song Out of My Heart, McCoy for Now, Jonesin’, That Old Black Magic, If Ever I Would Leave You, A Woman’s Worth, Soulville.