Pianist-composer Roberta Piket turns in one of our favorites of the year with this recording. One for Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland is indeed a colorful celebration of the late musician and radio show host. The production is primarily based around McPartland’s composition with Piket’s wonderful arrangement of the project’s rich source material. Piket’s compositional contributions to the effort fit right into the vibe of the overall project. Add to this goodness, the tremendous musician roster on the session, which includes Steve Wilson on alto saxophone and flute, Virginia Mayhew on tenor sax and clarinet, Bill Mobley on trumpet and flugelhorn, Harvie S on bass, Billy Mintz on drums/percussion and Karrin Allyson on vocals, and what you have is a beautiful and wonderfully fitting tribute by a very talented artist in her own right .
Click to listen to a clip of “Kaleidoscope”:
Tracks: Ambiance, One for Marian, In the Days of Our Love, Twilight World, Threnody, Time and Time Again, Saying Goodbye, Kaleidoscope.
Bassist Mimi Jones’ latest is a beautifully contemplative work. With melodic compositions and solid musicianship, Feet In The Mud is an engaging sonic tapestry. The music is at times straight-ahead swing, and at others, a blend of haunting vocal and mood that changes the ambience of wherever one is listening, and yet, the eclectic collection works. Jones wrote most of songs, with the exception of works by Wayne Shorter, Lennon and McCartney and Luis Perdomo, the producer of the recording. In addition to Jones on bass and vocals, the production is enhanced by the outstanding contributions of Jon Cowherd on piano and Rhodes, Samir Zarif on saxophone and Jonathan Barber on drums. A truly entertaining and enjoyable effort.
Click to listen to a clip of “Lyman Place”:
Tracks: Mr. Poo Poo, American, Elevate, The-Min-Or Way, Fall, Lyman Place, Applause, One 4JB, The Grinder, Happy, Feet in the Mud, Blackbird .
Live in Athens, Greece is a fantastic documentation of the late, great singer Mark Murphy recorded at the Gazarte Club, one of the city’s hottest night clubs in 2008. Once things gets rolling, Murphy clearly demonstrates why he is revered by so many singers who followed his path. In addition to his stellar command of his craft, Murphy’s joy and generosity is palpable and clearly charms and captivates the audience. Featured on the singer’s first show in Greece is guitarist Spiros Exaras, whose accompaniment and solos further enhance the overall production. The rhythm section on effort is rounded out by Thomas Rueckert on piano, Alex Drakos on drums and George Georgiadis on acoustic bass.The show consist of a set list comprised of standards by Richard Rogers, Lorenz Hart, Miles Davis, Oscar Brown Jr., and Victor Young among others. Murphy is one of revered as one of our most dynamic singers in the modern era and this recording stands as a testament to that ideal.
Click to listen to a clip of “On The Red Clay”:
Tracks: My Funny Valentine, All Blues, On Green Dolphin Street, Summertime, Autumn Leaves, When I Fall In Love/My One and Only Love, Bye Bye Blackbird, Miles, Milestones, On the Red Clay, Intuil Paisagem / Dindi .
Pops, the second recording from Joe Policastro and his trio, takes its name from the Chicago-based Pops for Champagne venue where the band has performed since 2011. The project’s name also references the pop standards which are the centerpiece of this production. With Policastro on bass, Dave Miller on guitar and Mikel Avery on drums, the unit delivers wonderfully cool renditions of compositions of tunes by Burt Bacharach, Stevie Wonder, NeilYoung, Tom Waits and Pink Floyd. There’s also a nice medley of the late artist Prince’s tunes, recorded well before his death in April. Guitarists Andy Brown and Andy Pratt also guest on the project as well. A very steady work of musicianship.
Click to listen to a clip of “Take It With Me”:
Tracks: Wives and Lovers, Harvest Moon, Creepin’, Wave of Mutilation, More Than a Woman, Prince Medley: Condition of the Heart, Diamonds and Pearls, Me and Mrs. Jones, Us and Them, Take It With Me, Drive.