Monday, March 25, 2013

Adolfo's Masters; Art-Inspired Shaw - Bob Stewart

Pianist Antonio Adolfo grew up in a musical family in Rio de Janeiro and was a professional musician by age 17. His teachers included Eumir Deodato and the great Nadia Boulanger in Paris. During the '60s he led his own trio and toured with singers Elis Regina and Milton Nascimento. His compositions have been recorded by the likes of Sergio Mendes, Stevie Wonder, Herb Alpert and Earl Klugh. And a musician and arranger, he's released more that a dozen albums under his name. For his new CD -- "Finas Misturas (Fine Mixtures)" -- Adolfo combines a handful of originals with the compositions of some of his favorite jazz masters, including John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans.

Hailed internationally for his work performing and touring both as a leader and as a long-standing member of the Roy Haynes Quartet (since 2005) and the Mingus Big Band (since 2000), saxophonist Jaleel Shaw is heard at the helm of his current quartet on "The Soundtrack of Things to Come." Some of the music for the disc was written after the Rubin and Brooklyn Museums in New York commissioned Shaw in 2010 to compose music based on artwork in their collections. Other pieces were specifically composed with his new quartet in mind, with recent life experiences both sad and joyous as inspiration.

Monday, March 18, 2013

NY Voices Anniversary; Diehl's Quartet - Bob Stewart

Celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, New York Voices is the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble renowned for their excellence in jazz and the art of group singing. Like the great groups that have come before, such as Lambert, Hendricks and Ross and the Manhattan Transfer, they have learned from the best and taken the art form to new levels. For their new disc -- Live -- they're captured in a 2008 performance with the famed WDR Big Band of Cologne, Germany. The program is a collection of the group's old favorites with a few never recorded and/or new arrangements. There are lots of featured solos from the big band that break up the usual vocal palette and make it an altogether different NYV experience.

Pianist Aaron Diehl is a 2007 graduate of the Julliard School where he studied with Kenny Barron and Eric Reed. He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Hank Jones and Benny Golson, among others, and has been featured on Marian McPartland's "Piano Jazz" radio program. His current quartet initially took shape in 2008 when he was asked to play a concert of John Lewis' music. In April 2011, Diehl states, "I thought it would be wise to use the opportunity to document this ensemble. I decided to compose and arrange music in line with our own sound and conception, while using the strategies of bandleaders like Duke Ellington, who developed their music in line with the abilities of their personnel." The result is his debut release with a quartet, "The Bespoke Man's Narrative."

Wednesday Night Special - Gordon

The Pat Smith Group at Kirkwood

Guitarist Pat Smith grew up in Chicago playing in various blues and rock bands. He attended Coe College for two years and finished his bachelor's degree at Cornell College. After graduating, Smith moved to the San Francisco bay area and played with various blues bands including the fusion band Io. In 1993, he formed the Penguin Jazz Quartet, which recorded two CDs that are available on iTunes. The Penguin's second CD, On Ice, went to No. 6 on Berkeley's KALX FM in 1998, and made KCCK's top 20 for 1999.

Smith was a co-founder of Nossa Bossa, a Brazilian jazz quartet garnering excellent reviews throughout the bay area. The band helped introduce the Bose PAS system, a new kind of amplification system. In 2008, Smith returned to Iowa and teamed with Bassist Richard Wagor. The duo recently released a CD called Iowa Duets.

7 p.m. following JazzSet.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Power Trios of Wolff, Clark and Egan - Bob Stewart

When two of the best musicians around, Michael Wolf and Mike Clark, combine their talents to create a band without boundaries, the result is "The Wolff & Clark Expedition." Pianist Wolff has performed and recorded with several jazz legends, including Nat and Cannonball Adderly and Sonny Rollins, and was exposed to a mass audience as bandleader for The Arsenio Hall Show. Clark has toured the world many times over, appearing with Herbie Hancock, Vince Guaraldi, Chet Baker, Joe Henderson and others, and is recognized as a true innovator on the drum set. Their first release together, also featuring bassist Chip Jackson, navigates tunes from Adderly to Zawinul, deconstructing and reconstructing each composition in their own compelling manner.

"Unit 1" is the debut release from the power trio of Grammy Award-winning bassist Mark Egan, multi-dimensional drummer Karl Latham and master guitarist John Hart. Embracing jazz, rock, Brazilian, funk and world music sensibilities, the trio takes the listener on a highly improvisational jamming journey creating modern interpretations of nine jazz standards reminiscent of Tony Williams Lifetime and Miles Davis' Live Evil.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lloyd/Moran Duo; Hiromi Explores Inner Voices - Bob Stewart

"Hagar's Song" -- the newest release from Charles Lloyd -- is an interactive duo recording with Jason Moran, the star pianist who has been a key member of Lloyd's latter-day quartet. The CD is a collection of intimacy and homage featuring pieces especially dear to Lloyd, ranging from compositions by Strayhorn, Ellington and Gershwin to those by Brian Wilson and Bob Dylan. The centerpiece of the disc is the title suite composed by Lloyd and dedicated to his great-great-grandmother, who was taken from her home in south Mississippi at age 10 and sold to another slave-owner in Tennessee. The disc comes in time to help mark the saxophonist's 75th birthday on March 15.

On her 2011 album, Hiromi sought to capture people's "inner voices" and strove to create what she called a "three-dimensional sound." For that release, the Japanese pianist and composer assembled a trio that included two veteran players-bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips. While on the road, Hiromi started writing music for the follow-up, "Move" "Because I had been playing with Anthony and Simon for quite a bit, I just started to understand their characteristics, and I could find a hidden gem in their playing," she explains. "As a composer, I really wanted to write the songs especially for them, and I wanted to extract the unique beauty of their playing."