A supremely lyrical guitarist and award-winning composer with a deep love of literature, Ken Hatfield is always on the lookout for texts ripe for musical interpretation. He found an ideal muse in poet Langston Hughes (1902-1967), whose rhythmically agile verse, marked by penetrating observations about love, life and politics, takes flight on "For Langston." A chamber jazz work featuring a stellar cast of improvisers and the startling beautiful voice of Hilary Gardner, the disc is a deeply soulful achievement by a veteran jazz master.
Paul Carr may have left Texas many years back, but the soulful, big-toned tenor saxophone sound associated with the state never left the way he blows his horn. The Houston native is a mainstay on the Washington, D.C. jazz scene and a key figure nationally, both as a player and as an educator. "Standard Domain" is Carr's fifth recording as a leader. His quintet features bassist Michael Bowie and trumpeter Terell Stafford, both with whom Carr has done a lot of playing, and drummer Lewis Nash, with whom he's also played and recorded. The newest member of the ensemble is pianist Joey Calderazzo, best known for his work with Branford Marsalis and Michael Brecker. The program includes an engaging mix of the classic American songbook, jazz standards, and one of Paul's own compositions.