Sunday Night at the Vanguard is a stagefront seat to a masterful performance led by a true virtuoso of the keys. On this production recorded at venerable New York City jazz mecca, The Village Vanguard, Fred Hersch leads his trio through a free-wheeling, gear-shifting set. Drummer Eric McPherson and bassist John Hébert help paint the canvas with almost telepathic synchronicity. The menu of music is a fresh and eclectic mix of Hersch compositions and tunes by Kenny Wheeler, Lennon and McCartney, and Thelonious Monk. It’s truly a nice balance of swinging grooves and tender ballads in a thoroughly entertaining and excellent recording.
Click to listen to a clip of “Blackwing Palomino”:
Tracks: A Cockeyed Optimist, Serpentine, The Optimum Thing, Calligram, Blackwing Palomino, For No One, Everybody’s Song But My Own, The Peacocks, We See, Valentine (Encore).
The latest from singer Rebecca Dumaine, along with the Dave Miller Trio, is yet another great outing from the wonderful unit. Happy Madness leans heavily towards the former in a set of jubilant spirited tunes. Compositions by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer, Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke, Paul McCartney and Kenny Rankin, among others, comprise the bulk of the recording. Dumaine’s joyful, empathic delivery is aided by the solid virtuosity of the band. Into addition to Miller on piano, Bill Belasco joins in on drums and Perry Thoorsell handles the bass duties. Both band and singer are impressive in their own right, jointly, they — and this effort are simply outstanding.
Click to listen to a clip of “Destination Moon”:
Tracks: Nobody Else But Me. Samba Saravah, Like Someone In Love, Take a Chance, So Nice, It’s Alright with Me, I’m Old Fashioned, This Happy Madness, Here, There and Everywhere, The More I See You, Destination Moon, Haven’t We Met, Spider Man .
Alyssa Allgood’s latest effort is a triumphant homage. Out of The Blue is the Chicago-based singer’s tribute to some of the most iconic Blue Note recordings of the 1950’s and 60’s.In addition to her solid vocal work on the effort, Allgood composed quite fitting lyrics for 4 of the instrumental compositions, and she arranged or co-arranged the tunes with Dan Chase, who also provides the spectacular Hammond Organ handiwork. The set includes nicely-crafted takes on the works of Horace Silver, Wayne Shorter Sam Rivers, Joe Henderson and Hank Mobley, among others. The outstanding musician lineup includes Tim Fitzgerald on guitar, Chris Madsen on saxophone and Matt Plaskota on drums. Just a fantastic production from beginning to end.
Click to listen to a clip of “Only a Memory (Ceora)”:
Tracks: Watch Me Walk Away (Dig Dis), Noticing the Moment (Moment’s Notice), It’s You or No One, Speak No Evil, Beatrice, Peace, If, Only a Memory (Ceora), Moanin’, Mirrors.
Throw It Away by singer Barbara Dane, along with pianist and arranger Tammy Hall, is exceptionally good. A veteran of various musical world, Dane delivers a lyric in a way that truly captures the spirit of each song. The warmth in her voice and in the sound quality of the production makes if truly engaging. Hall’s performance is that of a collaborator and is stellar in its own right, along with the outstanding arrangements she created for the project. The setlist here is a mix of blues, pop and more recent standards by the likes of Paul Simon, Abbey Lincoln, Lennon and McCartney, Leonard Cohen and Memphis Minnie. Dane also wrote or co-wrote lyrics for several of the tunes. Rounding out the musician lineup are bassist Ruth Davies and drummer Bill Maginnis, joined by guests Pablo Menéndez and Richard Hadlock on blues harp and saxophone respectively. It’s hard to believe that this is the first recording in 14 years for Dane, who is 89 years young, but we’re clearly dealing with real pros here. This effort is about as good as music gets .
Click to listen to a clip of “I’m Sellin’ My Porkchops”:
Tracks: I’m Sellin’ My Porkchops, Slow, Throw It Away, American Tune, Blues Over Bodega, The Kugelsburg Bank, King Salmon Blues, All Too Soon, Tell Me How Long Blues, How Can You Face Me? In My Life, What Kind of Country, My Brain .