Award-winning soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom has always had a special feeling for ballad performances. Her love for melody comes directly from her earliest exposure to American standards. A few years ago, she noticed that the two or three ballads she would regularly include in live settings attracted special attention from the audience. This led to the idea of ‘all ballads’ programs in her concert and club performances, and is what ultimately informed the concept for her CD, “Sixteen Sunsets.” The beautiful new recording features expressive interpretations from the American Songbook along with five original compositions. Her 15th CD as leader teams her up with long-time colleagues Cameron Brown on bass and Matt Wilson on drums and the exciting new pianist Dominic Fallacaro.
Picture a giant New Orleans brass big band playing wild funk-jazz with some wild odd meters and twisted melodies. Add in a dollop of whacky lyrics and you have Frank Macchia’s “Grease Mechanix. Jazziz magazine describes the three-time Grammy nominated composer and saxophonist as “an inventive composer and arranger who deserves comparison to Gil Evans and Pat Metheny.” Macchia, who composed and arranged the project, is joined by some of Los Angeles’ best jazz players including Peter Erskine, Eric Marienthal, Bob Shepard, Bill Reichenbach and Wayne Bergeron.
Also this week, drummer Matt Wilson and his quartet are joined by special guest keyboardist John Medeski for “Gathering Call”; alto saxophonist Matt Criscuolo is joined by veteran pianist Larry Willis for his fourth CD as a leader, “Blippity Blat”; and pianist Larry Gelb offers up a new trio recording, “The Love Songs of Ian Ops.”