New Music Monday for August 25, 2014
New Music Monday for August 18, 2014
Six-time Grammy winner Dr. John is New Orleans’ most prominent living musical icon. The embodiment of his hometown’s freewheeling creative spirit and multiple traditions, he’s built a visionary, idiosyncratic body of work that’s deeply rooted in the Crescent City’s myriad blues, R&B, jazz and rock traditions. So it’s fitting that his new CD, “Ske-Dat-De-Dat…The Spirit of Satch,” pays heartfelt tribute to another larger-than-life New Orleans legend: the seminal trumpeter and vocalist Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong, who musical innovations created the template for 20th century jazz. The disc honors Armstrong’s musical genius as well as his effervescent personality with 13 quintessential numbers drawn from various phases of his five-decade career, with Dr. John joined by a stellar supporting cast including Terence Blanchard, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Bonnie Raitt, Blind Boys of Alabama and Shemekia Copeland.
Few people would fit the ‘jazz hero’ mold less than Tom Harrell, whose modesty and lack of pretense in in direct inverse proportion to his talent. And yet, Harrell is revered, not for playing fast, high or loudly, but for his supremacy at fashioning astonishingly beautiful aural shapes with a tone of immense gentleness and depth. Many listeners may be familiar with his compositions and his superb arrangements, while many will have remembered his fine work in the ‘70s alongside Bob Berg in Horace Silver’s band, and a decade later with Phil Woods. His essence, however, is most apparent in the small groups that he leads. For his new CD, “Trip,” Harrell is featured with saxophonist Mark Turner in his ‘experimental’ quartet, which also features drummer Adam Cruz and bassist Ugonna Okegwo. Together they explore some of Tom’s most recent and most stimulating compositions.
Also this week, pianist Orrin Evans debuts one of his most impressive projects yet, a new quintet lineup that includes Sean Jones, JD Allen, Luques Curtis and Bill Stewart, on “Liberation Blues,” recorded live at Smoke in New York City; guitarist and composer Mark Elf unveils his first release in eight years, “Mark Elf Returns 2014”; and trumpeter Walter White pares down his 11-piece Small Medium @ Large ensemble to a quartet for “Most Triumphant.”
“Broom has one of the few truly recognizable styles among modern guitarists, and one of the most satisfying solo concepts in mainstream jazz.” That’s writer Neil Tesser talking about Chicago-based guitarist Bobby Broom who, with his trio mates Dennis Carroll on bass and Makaya McCraven on drums, presents a program of striking musical Americana on his new disc, “My Shining Hour.” Recorded direct to ¼” tape—live in-studio, without headphones, instrument isolation or overdubbing—this first-step analog recording offers a delightful sonic experience for audiophiles. Breathing shimmering meaning into tunes that go as far back as the 1920s, the trio lends new life to timeless classics from Fats Waller, Cole Porter, Frederick Loewe, Richard Whiting and others.
Few contemporary CDs bare as particular a narrative as “The Lagos Music Salon.” The new disc by the superb chanteuse Somi finds her breaking new ground with a hybrid style of music that organically integrates the essence of jazz and soul with the musical depth of her African heritage. She decided to move to Lagos, Nigeria, from her New York home base without a game plan but with a passionate desire to find a new direction for her vision and voice. While there, she kept a journal of her observations and collaborated with a community of musicians, writers and artists who helped her to envision what would become the new recording.
Also this week, drummer Jae Sinnett presents a program of new originals on his twelfth release as a leader, “Subject to Change”; Ukrainian émigré composer and bassist Ark Ovrutski features pianist David Berkman and trombonist Michael Dease on his third release, “44:33”; and pianist and vocalist Mark Meadows is joined by guitarist Paul Bollenback and vibraphonist Warren Wolf for “Somethin’ Good.”