A new Clayton Brothers release is always a family affair-not only due to the actual blood ties of siblings John and Jeff Clayton and son/nephew Gerald, but in the sense that quintet-mates Terell Stafford and Obed Calvaire have become part of the Claytons' extended family through years of touring and recording. On their new CD -- The Gathering" -- that family extends even further with the addition of trombone great Wycliffe Gordon and vibraphone wizard Stefon Harris. Using various configurations of this expanded line-up, the Claytons offer up raucous hard bop, tender ballads, deep blues and soul-stirring funk to create a typically wide-ranging and moving experience.
"Distants" is the third studio release for Eastern Iowa's own Koplant No. Comprised of talented musicians trained in the University of Iowa Jazz Department, the band continues to shatter musical boundaries by unleashing jazz chops in combination with electronica and progressive rock. The horn harmonies of saxophonist Joel Vanderheyden and trumpeter Brian Lewis Smith conjure images of Miles Davis' second great quintet, while bassist Drew Morton and drummer Rob Baner propel the band forward with throbbing sub-bass grooves, ambient textures, and drum machine loops. The maturity of their compositions, the depth of their improvisations, and the strange twists present in Koplant No's music make it truly unique.