Billy Strayhorn is widely considered to be one of the great composers of our time, and his three-decade-long collaboration with Duke Ellington furnished the American songbook with a number of timeless classics. Trumpeter Terell Stafford's sense of melody and uniquely expressive sound make him ideal for Strayhorn's repertoire. His new CD -- "This Side of Strayhorn" -- offers unique and refreshing interpretations of a number of Strayhorn's compositions. Stafford enlists his working quintet featuring saxophonist Tim Warfield, pianist and arranger Bruce Barth, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Dana Hall.
The release of "Action-Refraction" marks gifted bassist, composer and bandleader Ben Allison's first collection of music by other artists. He has turned his ear towards the music of some of his favorite artists, creating an inspired, atmospheric, and at times, art-rock mix tape featuring the music of PJ Harvey, Donny Hathaway, Thelonius Monk, Neil Young, Samuel Barber and Roger Nichols. The idea was sparked when Ben wondered how it would sound "to refract some of my favorite tunes through the prism of an electro-acoustic orchestra featuring two electric guitars, bass clarinet, saxophone, analog synthesizer, piano, acoustic bass and drums." Regular band mates Steve Cardenas, Rudy Royston, and Michael Blake are joined by keyboardist Jason Lindner and guitarist Brandon Seabrook.