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.
Bassist-composer Miroslav Vitous’s latest is a journey through structured music that sounds incredibly improvised. Ziljabu Nights: Live at Theater Gütersloh features Vitous and his band painting large musical murals before a live audience in Gütersloh, Germany. The other players on the productions are tenor saxophonist Gary Campbell, tenor and soprano saxophonist Robert Bonisolo, keyboard player Aydin Essen and drummer Roberto Gatto. The tunes, almost all originals by Vitous, seem to evolve in each of the compositions, with the band in almost telepathic connection with each other and the music. The recording closes with an interview conducted by Götz Buhler. The whole recording is a truly fascinating listening experience.
Click to listen to a clip of “Stella by Starlight Variations”:
Tracks: Ziljabu, Morning Lake, Ziljabe, Gloria’s Step Variations, Mira Bop, Stella by Starlight Variations, Interview with Miroslav Vitous.
Singer Ron Boustead offers his entertaining take on love stories of songs with this effort. Unlikely Valentine is a nice mix of original tunes and clever twists on some less-traveled standards. Boustead brings a humorous flavor to a number of the tunes on the mostly upbeat production. The ballads are equally nice, including a lovely duet with singer Fabiana Passoni. The recording is enhanced greatly by the producing and arranging talents of both, Bill Cunliffe and Mitchel Forman, each of whom handle the piano and organ duties on the respective tunes which they produced. The band also includes the talents of John Leftwich on bass, Jake Reed on drums, Pat Kelley on acoustic and electric guitars, Bob Sheppard on saxes and flutes, Bob McChesney on trombone and Ron Stout on flugelhorn. This is a thoroughly enjoyable musical excursion.
Click to listen to a clip of “Unlikely Valentine”:
Tracks: Unlikely Valentine, Love Potion #9, Coffee, I Won’t Scat, Til Now, Autumn Leaves, Love’s Carousel, Along Came Betty, I Love My Wife, Love Came on Stealthy Fingers .
The Journey is exquisite debut of The Baylor Project. The husband-wife duo of drummer Marcus Baylor and vocalist Jean Baylor brings a wealth of experience from work with an array of artists, which serves this production incredibly well. The vocal delivery of Jean Baylor is impeccable. The arrangements are the tunes here, a mix of standards and soulful originals, is fresh and engaging. The musicianship here is equally stellar. Among the fantastic talents contributing to this effort are pianist and organist Shedrick Mitchell, pianist Allyn Johnson, percussionist Pablo Batista, guitarist Marvin Sewell, saxophonists Keith Loftis and Bob Mintzer, flugelhorn player Freddie Hendrix, trumpeter Kenyon Harrold, bassists Dezron Douglas, Chris Smith and Corcoran Holt, and harpist Brandee Younger. This is simply an outstanding recording .
Click to listen to a clip of “Our Love is Here To Stay”:
Tracks: Block Party, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Tell M A Story, Tenderly, Our Love Is Here To Stay, Again, Summertime, Voice of The Drum (Interlude), Afro Blue (Dream), Laugh and Move On, Journey .
With The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door, saxophonist Mike Casey makes an impressive debut. The recording puts you right in the room for a set that is brimming with the creative intensity that is enhanced by the presence of a live audience. There’s a gritty and raw improvisational feel in the performances of the band, which includes bassist Matt Dwonszyk and drummer Corey Garcia. Casey leads the tight-knit trio through a set which is comprised of adventurous originals and exploratory covers of tunes by John Coltrane, Kurt Weil, Jackie McLean and Ornette Coleman. Casey is a really impressive up and coming talent with a fantastic tone worth hearing.
Click to listen to a clip of “Dagobah”:
Tracks: Hydraulics, Turnaround, Dagobah, Heartbreak, Mack The Knife, Miles Mode, Little Melonae.
The band Beat Funktion has returned with another foray into jazz and funk. Green Man is a nice continuation of their unique jazz-funk fusion, this time with an array of special vocal guests, as well as great musicianship. The sound is decidedly contemporary with a solid menu of all original jams. The collective’s core lineup consists of Karl Olandersson on trumpet, Johan Öijen on guitar, Daniel Lantz on keyboards, Olle Thunström on tenor sax, Pal Johnson on bass and Jon Ericksson on drums. Guests on the project include singers Alicia Olatuja, Viktoria Tolstoy, Adée, Claes Janson, Damon Elliot, Jasmine Kara and Matilda Gratte, among others. It’s a groove fest from beginning to end.
Click to listen to a clip of “Jack The Ripper”:
Tracks: teampunch, Tomorrow, In Love in Vain, Jack The Ripper, Paper Girl, Rewnd, Over The Ocean, Lorelei, We Are Young, Green Man.
Pianist Bill Anschell returns to the studio scene with a truly outstanding recording. Rumbler is a brilliant showcase of musician virtuosity and solid compositional acumen. Anschell wrote most of the songs on the effort, with nice re-workings of tunes by Thelonious Monk, John Lennon and Paul McCartney and Duke Ellington. The music and performances are superb. The electric guitar, played by Brian Monroney , in conversation with the piano is a really nice element of the production throughout. The rest of the tremendous lineup includes Chris Symer on bass, Jose Martinez on drums, Jeff Busch on percussion, Jeff Coffin on soprano sax, Richard Cole on tenor sax and Hans Teuber heard on flute and various saxes on several tunes. It’s an fantastic production by Anschell and all involved.
Click to listen to a clip of “MBK”:
Tracks: Misterioso, Dark Wind, Captive Light, MBK, No You Go, Rumbler, 39F, Heisenberg’s Fugue State, The Dreaded “E” Word, Reflections in D .
Carol Bach-y-rita is incredibly versatile and engaging singer. On Minha Casa/My House , the singer moves easily between various styles from Brazillian to pop standard with great ease. There’s a clarity and honesty to her delivery combine with lovely tone that’s compelling. The set is comprised of tunes by Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie, Henry Nemo Joni Mitchell and Charles Mingus, as well as tunes by the singer and pianist Bill Cantos who also plays on the production. Also included in the musical lineup are guitarist Larry Koonse, bass John Leftwich, drummer Mike Shapiro and percussionist Dudu Fuentes. This is an outstanding recording from an equally outstanding talent.
Click to listen to a clip of “Morning Coffee”:
Tracks: Morning Coffee, You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To, A Night in Tunisia, T’is Autumn, The Dry Cleaner FromDes Moines, Nature Boy, Trust, PRA Qum Quiser Me Visitar, Gardening with No Pants, Love Look Away, While My Lady Sleeps .
Andrea Claburn has a warm and ear-pleasing voice and style of delivery. Her outstanding recording debut Nightshade is a wonderfully versatile showcase for her dynamic vocal talents. Comprised of a nice blend of standards and enjoyable self-penned originals, the production is top notch. The set includes compositions by Ben Carter, Hoagy Carmichael, Pat Metheny, Duke Ellington and Bill Evans. The excellent music is provided by an outstanding lineup that includes Matt Clark on piano and Fender Rhodes, Sam Bevan on bass, Alan Hall on drums, Erik Jekabson on trumpet and flugelhorn, Mads Tolling on violin and viola and Terrence Brewer on guitars. Andrea Claburn is a captivating and compelling musical soul.
Click to listen to a clip of “Infinite Wisdom (Echoes of Harlem)”:
Tracks: Lionheart, Bird on a Wire, My Favorite Flavor, Infinite Wisdom (Echoes of Harlem), Turn Out The Stars, After You’ve Gone, Skylark, I Can’t HelpIt, The Fall of Man, Daybreak, Colors of Light, Steal Away.