Sunday, May 30, 2010

KCCK Relatives Remembered

With the coming of Memorial Day 2010, some KCCK staffers' fathers, who are no longer with us, are being remembered for their service during war-time.

George Dorman's father, Jack Dorman, was in the U.S. Army for nearly four years during World War II. Most of that time was spent in northern Africa, where he was a crytopgrapher, encoding and decoding secret messages.

Bob Stewart's dad, Allan, served in the Army in Panama during WWII.

And Craig Kessler's father, Donald F. Kessler, was a bombardier in the 15th Air Force in WWII (Italy, Germany).

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Music: Fusion Redux, Trumpet Summit - Bob

More than three decades after his earliest recordings, keyboardist and composer Jeff Lorber has come full circle. His new CD, "Now is the Time", delves back into his early catalog and reinvents some of the most compelling compositions from the Jeff Lorber Fusion heyday. This new incarnation of the Fusion includes luminaries like bassist Jimmy Haslip, saxophonist Eric Marienthal, trumpeter Randy Brecker, and drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl. Lorber points to a recent European tour with many of these same musicians-and the positive response that resulted from it-as the primary catalyst for the disc.

Continuing the tradition of fabled trumpet duo sessions that have included Fats Navarro & Howard McGhee, and Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw, two of the more dynamic and versatile trumpeters anywhere, New Yorker Ray Vega and Thomas Marriott from Seattle, make up the front line of a power-packed quintet taking a joyous ride through a collection of jazz classics and original compositions on "East-West Trumpet Summit." Far from a cutting session, the recording showcases the sensibilities and styles of both coasts of the U.S. and how they can partner to cover a good deal of stylistic territory while remaining both lyrical and exciting.

Also new, "Chiaroscuro" introduces a new duo and a rare instrumental combination--the guitar of Ralph Towner and the trumpet of Paolo Fresu--on a program of old and new Towner compositions and duo improvisations; after eight years of immersing herself in the vocal jazz tradition through study with inspired mentors and performing throughout the West, vocalist Carrie Wicks gathers some of Seattle's finest musicians for her debut recording, "I'll Get Around to It"; and vibraphonist and percussionist Marc Wagnon returns to his own musical vision, combining great jazz-rock with thought provoking themes, for "Earth is a Cruel Master."

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Music - Jazz: American, French and Serbian - Bob

Joe Chambers is one of the drummers from the Fifties and Sixties who, along with Max Roach and Art Blakey, has influenced an entire generation of drummers. Archie Shepp, in fact, compared Chambers' qualities as a sensitive yet dynamic drummer to another influential drummer, Roy Haynes. For his new CD, "Horace to Max", Chambers has assembled an ensemble that includes stalwarts Eric Alexander on tenor sax, Xavier Davis on piano, and the colorful percussion effects of Steve Berrios. Playing both drums and exhibiting his considerable chops on vibes, he breathes fresh life into a number of well-known jazz classics by the likes of Roach, Horace Silver, Wayne Shorter, and Thelonius Monk.

Born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia, guitarist and composer Rale Micic has, over the past two years, established himself as one of the most inventive voices in jazz, leading a quintet featuring jazz great Tom Harrell. Jim Santella of All About Jazz says, "The New York jazz scene, and by extension jazz's modern mainstream, has Rale Micic to thank for a portion of its continued growth." On his new CD, "3", featuring one of New York's top rhythm sections, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, the guitarist continues to explore the interaction between his cultural roots in Serbia and his extensive knowledge of jazz.

Also this week, twin French brothers Francois and Louis Moutin offer up the fourth release from their Reunion Quartet, "Soul Dancers", featuring saxophonist Rick Margitza; pianist Aaron Goldberg is joined by longstanding trio mates Eric Harland on drums and Reuben Rogers on bass, augmented by their masterful colleague Mark Turner on the tenor sax on Home; and Toronto-born drummer Ernesto Cervini features saxophonist Joel Frahm on his sophomore release as a leader, Little Black Bird.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Music: Britos, One for All, Ray Blue - Bob

Imagine a violinist, born in South America, equally adept at playing classical, jazz, Latin idioms and music for films; a musician with a sound that is at home in a symphony hall or on 52nd Street; an artist who has worked with a staggering array of far-flung superstars, such as Duke Ellington, Astor Piazzolla, Bebo Valdes, and Charlie Haden. The legendary Uruguayan-born/Florida-based violinist Federico Britos has had an unbelievably prolific career for fifty years. His new CD, "Voyage", is a star-studded celebration of that five-decade brilliance, featuring Bucky Pizzarelli, Kenny Barron, Eddie Gomez, Ignacio Berroa and others.

After more than 13 years together as a working sextet, the members of One For All have forged an uncanny chemistry and camaraderie both on and off the bandstand. The indelible tightness and like-minded pursuit of swing is readily apparent on their new CD, "Incorrigible." "When we play, there's a lot of fire on the bandstand and everybody loves the music to be swinging hard," says trombonist Steve Davis. "That's not necessarily the norm these days, but it's a style we all feel great playing in." Joining Davis are sax man Eric Alexander, trumpeter Jim Rotondi, pianist David Hazeltine, drummer Joe Farnsworth and bassist John Webber.

Also this week, talented tenor man Brandon Wright serves the music up hot and tasty on his debut release, "Boiling Point", with trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, drummer Mat Wilson, bassist Hans Glawischnig and pianist Davis Kikoski; University of Iowa alumnus and saxophonist Ray Blue unveils his latest disc, "Berries and Blues"; and Nashville-based pianist and composer Beegie Adair offers up a collection of solo and duo songs from composers and friends she's come to admire on "Into Somethin'".

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Music from Terrasson, HCOD, Others - Bob

Ever since Jacky Terrasson burst onto the jazz scene in 1993 by winning the Thelonius Monk Piano Competition, the Berlin-born, Paris-raised, New York-based pianist extraordinaire has consistently recorded richly refined and remarkably free-spirited music. His new disc, "Push", features a new working trio that includes recent Monk Competition winner Ben Williams on bass, Jamire Williams on drums, and a handful of special guests including Gregoire Maret on harmonica and Jacques Schwarz-Bart on sax. It includes seven new Terrasson compositions as well as a sampling of fresh spins on standards, including two Monk tunes and a Cole Porter beauty.

Hot Club of Detroit may be inspired by the spirit of Django Reinhardt, but with the release of "It's About That Time", the band pushes the boundaries of what was once just called Gypsy Jazz. From the blistering fretwork of their homage to Pat Martino and Miles Davis, to their subtle reworking of Chopin's "Tristesse," it's obvious that HCOD is widening its influences, and forging ahead to carve out their own niche in the jazz world and beyond. As well, in this Centennial year of Django's birth, everything from local appreciation societies to larger national music magazines and shows-on and offline-are certain to mark the Django heritage.

Also this week, guitarist John Basile presents a soulful organ-based collection of standards, originals, Latin, and '70s pop tunes with "No Apologies"; award-winning singer Catherine Russell, the daughter of Louis Armstrong's music director Luis Russell, releases her third CD as leader, "Inside This Heart of Mine"; and Indianapolis-born, Chicago-based trumpeter, composer and educator Pharez Whitted assembled a stellar sextet comprised of his favorite musicians from both cities for his long-awaited third release, "Transient Journey."