Monday, February 7, 2011

Jazz Vocals, Experienced First Recording, Bill Frisell - Bob Stewart

Honest-to-goodness, real-life jazz singing is almost as rare these days as a nickel cup of coffee. There are far too few remaining practitioners of the honorable art of singing good songs with the lift, the swing and the subtle blending of music and emotion that characterizes the work of the best jazz improvisers. Jazz legend Ernestine Anderson is one of those rare beings. On her new release -- "Nightlife: Live at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola" -- she's joined by tenor saxman Houston Person for a set of blues, sultry torch songs and up-tempo cookers.

At 37, bassist/composer Matthew Rybicki may have waited longer that most to make his first recording as a leader. But from a cursory listen to "Driven" -- his auspicious debut -- it would seem that he picked the right time. The long-time New York City resident, who apprenticed with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Terell Stafford and Wycliffe Gordon, is joined on his impressive first outing by such stellar players as pianist Gerald Clayton, trombonist Michael Dease and saxophonist Ron Blake for a program of Rybicki originals and two well-chosen covers.

Meanwhile, guitarist Bill Frisell collaborates with Brazilian singer and composer Vinicius Cantuaria on a new duo release, "Lagrimas Mexicanas."

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