Monday, December 31, 2012

A World of Jazz - Bob Stewart

"What's up, San Francisco? Are you ready to have a good time?" asks the timbales player and band leader Pete Escovedo at the beginning of "Live From Stern Grove Festival", his new CD capturing a live show he played earlier this year at the legendary 75-year-old San Francisco cultural venue and institution. Early in his career, Escovedo toured with Carlos Santana for three years before starting the Latin band Azteca, a group that established Escovedo as a major Latin jazz artist. He's collaborated with many of jazz's best players over the years, including Herbie Hancock, Cal Tjader, George Duke and Chick Corea. Special guests featured on this new disc include trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, guitarist Ray Obiedo, and Pete's daughter Sheila E on percussion and vocals.

Born in 1963, trumpeter Walter White grew up in a musical family in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park. Over the years, his chops enabled him to work with such top names in jazz as Maynard Ferguson, Dave Holland, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Woody Herman and the Mingus Big Band. His new CD, "Breaking Good", not only showcases with authority White's virtuosity as an instrumentalist and improviser, but his skills as a talented composer and an innovative arranger as well. Together he and the dynamic 11-piece ensemble Walter White & Small Medium @ Large deliver a brassy program of music that, in addition to four distinctive originals, features inspired interpretations of modern jazz classics by Horace Silver and John Coltrane and some big band favorites.

Also this week, Australian-born trumpeter and composer Nadje Noordhuis unveils her long-awaited self-titled debut with a stellar line-up including pianist Geoffrey Keezer, violinist Sara Caswell and drummer Obed Calvaire; the Hammer Klavier Trio, one of Germany's premiere jazz piano trios, offers up their new disc, "Rocket in the Pocket"; and saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart, born in Guadeloupe and raised in France, launches his new quartet project, "The Art of Dreaming."

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