Tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton and drummer Jeff Hamilton may not be brothers, but musically they are kindred spirits. Live in Bern catches the two seasoned vets, each with four decades of experience in their belt, on their first recording together. The session was produced at Marians Jazzroom in Bern Switzerland where they performed with their quartet as part of the jazz festival there. Joining in are the tremendous talents of Tamir Hendelman on piano and Christoph Luty on bass. The unit is truly dynamic. The set which ranges from high-powered swing to lush ballads features wonderfully-arranged compositions by Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Edison, Benny Carter, Mal Waldron and Billy Strayhorn to name a few. Jeff Hamilton adds one of his own pieces to the mix. This is just an outstanding work of musical artistry.
Click to listen to a clip of “Sybille’s Day”:
Tracks: September in The Rain, All Through The Night, Watch What Happens, Soul Eyes, This Can’t Be Love, They’ll Be Some Changes Made, Sybille’s Day, Key Largo, Woody ‘n You, The Champ, Ballad for Very Tired and Very Sad Lotus Eaters, You and The Night and The Music, Centerpiece .
Kristine Mills, the wonderful Houston-based singer and guitarist, is an engaging and bright talent. BossaToois a very cool mix of Brazil-inspired originals and covers. Mills, who won the Houston Press Music award for Best Vocalist and Best Songwriter, has a captivating, contemporary voice that blends musical genres very nicely. Her guitar talents are likewise superb. The production is aided by Klaus Mueller on keyboards, Itaiguara Brandão on bass and acoustic guitars, Porthino on drums and Rafael Barata on percussion. Mills is a gifted artist worth hearing .
Click to listen to a clip of “Meditation”:
Tracks: Hold Fast, Journey Back Home, Breather Your Kiss, It’s Over, Meditation, Silhouette, Last First Glance, It’s Probably Me, Intuil Paisagem, waiting For Maybe, Burden of Choice.
Master pianist Chucho Valdés delivers a true gem live at the Marciac Jazz Festival in Marciac, France this past August. Tribute to Ikarere is an homage to the Cuban band by the same name, co-founded by Valdés, that fused the Afro-Cuban sound with jazz, rock to become legendary in the Latin jazz genre. For this purpose, Valdés assembled a lineup of talented musicians across generations who were influenced by the seminal band. Joining him on the effort are Rodney Barreto on drums, Gaston Joya on bass, Yaroldy Abreu on percussion, Dreiser Durruthy on batás and vocals, along with Manuel Nachado, Carlos Sarduy and Reinaldo Melian on trumpets and Ariel Bringuez and Rafael Àguila on tenor and alto saxophones respectively. The high-performance unit generates some serious electricity and the audience definitely responds in kind. A true must-hear performance.
Saxophonist-composer John Wojciechowski has made a name for himself on the Chicago jazz scene since his arrival from Detroit in 2002. Focus, his second effort as a leader and first for Origin Records features outstanding composing and musicianship throughout. Additionally, Wojciechowski (woy-cha-KOW-ski) possesses a big league tone on his axe that is a pleasure to hear. Likewise, his writing is first-rate, having penned seven of the recording’s tunes. The production also includes well-done nods to compositions by Thelonious Monk and Dave Brubeck. Helping turn the notes into outstanding sound are pianist Ryan Cohan, bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Dana Hall. The quartet is great together. This is a truly fantastic collection of music.
Click to listen to a clip of “Divided Man”:
Tracks: Focus, Call of The Kingdom, Summon of The Elders, Ternary, Elegy, Twirl, Evidence, Divided Man, The Listener, In Your Own Sweet Way.
Kim Nazarian has been most known as a founding member of the vocal group New York Voices. She’s finally out with her debut solo project and it is well worth the wait. Some Morning is an outstanding showcase of Nazarian’s voice and ability to deliver a song. The range of material allows the singer to really display the depth of her artistry, whether she’s swinging or bringing a moody ballad. In addition to tunes she co-wrote with arranger Jay Ashby, there are nice renditions of compositions by Irving Berlin, Sunny Skylar, Ivan Lins, Stevie Wonder, and Illinois Jacquet, among others. The fantastic musicianship on the production includes the talents of Mark Soskin and Mark Shilansky on piano, Leo Traversa and Dwayne Dolphin on bass, Roger Humphries on drums, and Marty Ashby and Jim Yoshida on guitar. Special guests on the effort include Gary Burton on vibraphone, John Pizzarelli on guitar and vocals, Paquito D’Rivera on clarinet and Sean Jones on trumpet. A most excellent debut recording.
Click to listen to a clip of “Gotta Be This or That”:
Tracks: Robbin’s Nest/Boneology, Tell Him I Said Hello, Gotta Be This or That, All In My Heart, What I’ll Do, Still Life, Some Morning, So In Love, If It’s Magic, Que Sera Sera, Road to Kursk .