Backlog is guitarist Steve Khan’s fifth recording since his return from a decade-long absence and a real pleasure to hear. The production filters the work of some of jazz’s great players through Latin-rhythm and percussive rhythms. The body-moving grooves are derived from compositions by Thelonious Monk, Greg Osby, Bobby Hutcherson Stevie Wonder and Ornette Coleman. On the more laidback side are compositions by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, as well as Johnny Mandel and Johnny Mercer. The band, like the music on this effort, is stellar. The lineup includes Mark Walker on drums, Rubén Rodriguez on bass, Marc Quiñones and Bobby Allende on bongos and other percussion. Guests on the set include Rob Mounsey on keyboards, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Mark Mainieri on vibraphone and vocalist Tatiana Parra. Fantastic performances by all involved in an outstanding package of music .
Click to listen to a clip of Head Start:
Tracks: Criss Cross, Concepticus in C, Latin Genetics, Our Town, Head Start, Rojo, Invisible, Emily, Go Home, Catta.
Vocalist Sidney Jacobs brings a contemporary flair to an approach that has a connection to the great vocal improvisers of our time. First Man, his second recorded outing, is an eclectic showcase for his talents as a singer, composer and producer. There’s a compelling freshness to his approach, with a nice mix of original compositions and custom tailored re-workings of classic and modern standards. Joining Jacobs on this effort are Josh Nelson on piano, Michael Jarvey on viola, electric and acoustic pianos, Zephyr Avalon on basses, Efa Etoroma on drums an percussion, Greg Poree on guitars, Josh Johnson on alto sax, Justin Thomas on vibraphone and marimaba, Nolan Shaheed on trumpet, Wendell Kelly on trombone and Francesco Canas on violin. Cathy Segal-Garcia delivers backing vocals on the production. Jacobs is a modern singer with a fitting style who definitely should be heard.
Click to listen to a clip of “Fly”:
Tracks: First, First Man, Last Night, Undercurrent, My Favorite Things, Sabine’s Grind, Fly, The Story Teller, Lonely Town Lonely Street, Say WhatYou Will, You Aint Gotta Lie, The Good Life, The Love Within You, Long Walk, Secret O’ Life .
Finding one’s calling in life is never easy, and for jazz saxophonist, pianist, flutist, and clarinet player Carol Sudhalter, that proved to be an exceptionally rocky path, despite growing up in a family of jazz musicians.
“It’s a funny thing. I didn’t even think that I would be a jazz musician,” said Sudhalter. “I grew up on jazz. I loved it. I followed bands around … [but] I was a biology major in college. Then all of a sudden, in the summer before my last year, I started therapy because I was in a depression. After therapy, I realized I didn’t want to be a biologist.”
Even though she still loved biology, Sudhalter knew that she had to pick up an instrument.
When Rus Perry arrived at WTJU in 1972, he was really into rock ’n’ roll. But the more he hung out at the station, the more he expanded his musical horizons, playing the latest Bruce Springsteen or Elvis Costello cut next to Ornette Coleman or Blind Lemon Jefferson.
“We learned from each other,” Perry recalls, reading liner notes that led from one artist to another. “My introduction to jazz was curated by friends and acquaintances who knew the music. That’s the way it’s supposed to be,” he says.
With his “Jazz at 100” series now airing Fridays on WTJU, Perry introduces listeners to the history of recorded jazz—which began 100 years ago, on February 26, 1917, with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band’s “Livery Stable Blues”/“Dixie Jazz Band One-Step” recording.
Singer Virginia Schenck’s latest is a wonderful homage to the great Abbey Lincoln. Aminata Moseka: An Abbey Lincoln Tribute avoids the attempt at evoking the spirit of Abbey’s approach, but instead presents her compositions from a different perspective with a new voice. Clever arrangements and Schenck’s own way into a song lend themselves in a very engaging way. The singer and band work well together here. The band on the recording is comprised of Kevin Bales on piano, Rodney Jordan on bass and Marlon Patton on drums, with a guest performance by Kebbi Williams on alto sax. A really solid production from Schenck.
Click to listen to a clip of “Bird Alone”:
Tracks: Talking to the Sun, Another World, Bird Alone, The River, Learning How to Listen, Blue Monk, Caged Bird, Being Me, Throw It Away, The Music Is The Magic, When I;m Called Home, Wholly Earth.
Organist Greg Hatza’s latest is a fantastic tribute to the music he grew up hearing as a child in Reading, PA. Diggin Up My Roots is Hatza’s take on some classic r&b and blues he heard on a jukebox in the restaurant owned by his father. The band does the classics by the likes of Ray Charles, Percy Mayfield, Jimmy Smith and Johnny Otis, among others, a great service. The music is smoking and the musicianship is stellar. The members of the group are Robert Shahid on drums, Brain Kooken on guitar and Peter Fraize on saxophone. Hatza wrote several of the tracks on the production and provides the vocals on a number of the tunes as well. A thoroughly entertaining recording.
Click to listen to a clip of “Headin on Down South”:
Tracks: Baltimore Strut, Big Big Back, High Heel Sneakers, Headin on Down South, I Got A Woman, Back At The Chicken Shack, Night Train, Please Send Me Someone To Love, Hand Jive, Something You Got, Stagger Lee.