Monday, September 3, 2012

New Music - Bob Stewart

Debuts From Vega and DeBriano/Ben-Hur and More...

While pianist Donald Vega is beginning to draw attention in jazz circle as Mulgrew Miller's successor in the Ron Carter Trio, he makes a bold statement as a composer and bandleader on "Spiritual Nature." Joined by the regal rhythm tandem of Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash, Vega explores the marriage of jazz, Latin and classical music on his auspicious debut. Classically trained in his native Nicaragua, Vega emigrated to Los Angeles at age 14 and began learning the language of jazz from mentor Billy Higgins and later with John Clayton. Bassist Al McKibbon, a member of Dizzy Gillespie's late-'40s band, subsequently took the young pianist under his wing and schooled him on the bandstand on the finer points of bebop.

The idea and inspiration for "Our Thing" was born last summer within the walls of a 12th century church atop the tiny village of Saint Cezaire, France, where guitarist/composer Roni Ben-Hur and bassist-composer Santi Debriano co-lead a much lauded annual jazz camp. The duo's eagerly awaited annual concert has become the centerpiece event of the festival held there each summer. The new release, featuring these stellar musicians on disc together for the first time along with percussionist Duduka da Fonseca, is , in essence, a continuation of the sublime musical conversations the pair have shared over the years in Saint Cezaire.

Also this week, "Hot House" is the latest duo outing from pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton, this time opting for a repertoire drawn from some of their favorite composers from the '40s through the '60s; singer Kevin Mahogany, a highlight at this summer's Iowa City Jazz Festival, teams up the Dave Stryker Organ Trio on "Next Time You See Me"; and drummer Jae Sinnett offers up his 11th recording as a leader, "Still Standing", containing the first new music he's written in over five years.

No comments: