Sunday, August 25, 2013

“Live Today” signals a new journey for bassist and composer Derrick Hodge as he embarks on a solo recording career. Even though Hodge has played with such jazz titans as Mulgrew Miller and Terence Blanchard, as well as R&B stars Jill Scott and Maxwell, he’s probably best known for anchoring the Grammy-winning Robert Glasper Experiment. Similar to how Glasper concocts a distinctive mélange of modern jazz, hip-hop, and R&B, the new CD too integrates those genres and more into something potent and personal.  “This whole album was putting on my composer’s hat, but letting go and making sure that I’m giving people raw examples of how I feel on any given day,” Hodge explains.
Pianist Joe Davidian has taken the jazz world by storm. Audiences revere his technical proficiency, inventive arrangements, and outstanding improvisational skills. His new release, “Live at the Jazz Cave: Volume One,” confirms his reputation as a leading voice in the jazz piano world.  Throughout college, he performed with jazz legends Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Bob Mintzer and Kevin Mahogany. While earning his Master’s Degree at the University of Miami, he met two musicians for whom he discerned an immediate affinity: bassist Jamie Ousley and drummer Austin McMahon. In 2008 the trio recorded its debut CD and has since been performing internationally at jazz clubs, universities and festivals.
Also this week, the San Francisco Bay-area octet Resonance, featuring an interesting fusion of instruments including a string trio, offers up “Introductions”; guitarist and composer PJ Rasmussen combines the contemporary with the old school hard bop vibe on his debut disc, “Adventures in Flight”; and veteran keyboardist  Mike Wofford’s latest is a solo piano effort, “It’s Personal.”

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