Big John Patton was a staple of the Blue Note Records roster during the heyday of soul jazz in the 1960s. The link between the bluesy hard bop of Jimmy Smith and the modal free-jazz explorations of Larry Young, Patton had a style that was funky and raw, emotional and honest and thrillingly visceral. In addition to being a respected and in-demand sideman, the keyboardist also made a name for himself as a bandleader and composer, defining the sound of acid jazz for decades to come. Jim Alfredson’s playing and writing for the trio Organissimo has been heavily influenced by Patton. His new project, “A Tribute to Big John Patton,” is his way of honoring the man and his music. The band he’s put together, Jim Alfredson’s Dirty Fingers, includes drummer Randy Gelispie, who performed many times with Patton as well as Jack McDuff, Don Patterson and Larry Young.
Never before has there been a vocal recording tipping the hat to the divine Ms. Eartha Kitt and her fiery, sensual and clever interpretations of songs. With her incredible range of vocal ability, her powerful emotional resonance and strong independent streak, Rene Marie is the right artist to conceive of this historic project. “I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt” burnishes Rene’s reputation as the most provocative risk-taker among today’s jazz divas. It features star turns by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, trumpeter Etienne Charles and Australia’s Adrian Cunningham on saxophone, clarinet and flute.
Also this week, pianist and singer Ariel Pocock, who has performed numerous times over the past few years in The Corridor, unveils her debut recording, “Touchstone,” featuring Eric Harland on drums, Julian Lage on guitar and Larry Grenadier on bass; young guitar slinger Jake Hertzog, whom Guitar Player magazine calls a “blazing wunderkind,” offers up his four disc as a leader, “Throwback”; and pianist Mike Jones is joined by the great Jeff Hamilton on drums on “Plays Well With Others.”