Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Music Monday for March 30, 2015

New Music Monday Playlist on YouTube and Spotify.

     Jazz innovator Marc Cary, voted Rising Star-Keyboardist in this year’s annual DownBeat Critics Poll, updates one of the most adventurous concepts of his career with the release of “Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2.” Cary’s breakthrough disc of 1999 incorporated elements of drum n’ bass, electronic funk, house, Afro-Cuban, ethnic, and the ‘go-go’ music of his teenage bands in Washington, D.C. The result was a savvy, exotic mix that crossed rhythmic bridges between generations. “Vol. 2” brings Cary’s vision forward into the heart of today’s urban-centric and digital environment, adding trumpet, violin, guitar and percussion to his core trio mates drummer Terreon Gully and bassist Taurus Mateen. 

     “Messin’ with Mr. T” is guitarist Dave Stryker’s personal homage to the late Stanley Turrentine, with whom he toured for over a decade and recorded with twice. Stryker says that being hired by Turrentine was a “real validation” of his playing, and he’s had it in mind “ever since he passed to do something like this tribute.” Joining his organ trio are ten of the world’s finest tenor players, including Houston Person, Jimmy Heath, Chris Potter, Bob Mintzer, Eric Alexander and Steve Slagle. The material basically reflects Turrentine’s set lists from the years Stryker toured with him.
      Also this week, saxophonist Doug Webb leads a classic blowing session with fellow tenor men Walt Weiskopf and Joel Frahm on “Triple Play”; contemporary jazz guitarist Ray Obiedo offers up his first recording in over fifteen years with “There Goes That”; and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Matthewman, who wrote many of Sade’s best-loved songs, and vocalist Vanessa Bley join forces as “Twin Danger” on their self-titled debut album.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New Music Monday for March 23, 2015

New Music Monday Playlist on YouTube and Spotify.

     “Afrodeezia” was inspired by bassist Marcus Miller’s role as a UNESCO Artist for Peace and spokesman for the organization’s Slave Route Project. It was recorded in locations around the world including Paris, Morocco, Rio, New Orleans and Los Angeles, and features a wide range of guests including vocalist Lalah Hathaway, keyboardist Robert Glasper, trumpeters Ambrose Akinmusire and Etienne Charles, and guitarist Keb’ Mo’.  “For this project, I collaborated with musicians from West Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the southern U.S. and the large northern cities of the U.S.,” Miller explains. “This is my way of paying tribute to the long journey of my African ancestors who became African-Americans.”
     “Ernestine Anderson Swings the Penthouse” is a previously unreleased set featuring the great singer in the full bloom of youth as you may have never heard her before—live in front of an appreciative audience. It’s the 34-year-old Anderson singing with exuberance and spontaneity in the intimate setting of Seattle’s legendary jazz club, the Penthouse, in 1962. Her first record had come out just a few years prior to this performance, Time Magazine had touted her as the “best new voice in the business…perhaps the best-kept jazz secret in the land” and Down Beat’s Critics Poll had named her the New Star of the Year.
     Also this week, Denver-based trumpeter Al Hood and pianist Dave Hanson lead their H2 Big Band, with special guest vocalist Rene Marie, on “It Could Happen”; saxophonist Jovan Alexandre, a product of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music, makes his debut as a leader with “Collective Consciousness”; and trombonist Steve Turre unveils his first release for the new Smoke Sessions label with “Spiritman.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Music Monday for March 16, 20115

New Music Monday Playlist on YouTube and Spotify.

     There have been pivotal locales which were the nurturing ground for the vanguard of many art forms. Jazz music has had a number of these spots, from New Orleans up to Kansas City and Chicago, then to New York and outward. It would not be hard to argue that the great city of Philadelphia should be recognized with these others as a wellspring of talented musicians. One of its prominent sons is drummer Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath. He, like so many other Philly natives including his brothers Jimmy and Percy, grew up in the music, as the city was ripe with musicians of the first order and an important stop for many of the progenitors of the music. On his new recording, “Philadelphia Beat,” Heath returns to his native ground to catch the spirit and preserve it. Joining him in this endeavor, for their third recording as a trio, are pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Ben Street.
     Russell Malone first worked with master organist Jimmy Smith in 1988 and between 1990 and 1994 toured with Harry Connick, Jr. During the late ‘90s Malone toured internationally with Diana Krall, receiving critical acclaim in his role as her right hand both in concert and on her recordings.  The guitarist has also worked with such diverse artists as Branford Marsalis, Bucky Pizzarelli, Mulgrew Miller, Roy Hargrove and Patti Austin. Malone is added to the roster of High Note Records for his new CD, “Love Looks Good on You.”
     Also this week, Katie Thiroux, an exceptional bassist, captivating singer and gifted composer, debuts with “Introducing Katie Thiroux”; drummer Mike Clark and pianist Michael Wolff return with “Wolff and Clark Expedition 2”; and pianist Jon Davis unveils his second trio recording for Posi-Tone Records, “Moving Right Along.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New Music Monday for March 9, 2015

New Music Monday Playlist on YouTube and Spotify

     Sure-footed swing, sweet-toned harmonies and ever-insouciant charm are embodied in the new jazz vocal trio Duchess, featuring notable New York singers Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou. The group’s self-titled debut album channels the 1930s inspiration of the virtuosic Boswell Sisters into a wonderfully entertaining and contemporary package. The songs, blending the vintage and the fresh, range from Peggy Lee to Johnny Mercer to Gershwin.
     With his monthly residency at Small’s Jazz Club in New York, saxophonist Lucas Pino has developed his No Net Nonet into an exciting and deeply musical improvising ensemble. Performing all original compositions, the group forges new ground while maintaining a rich, organic, swinging center. Pino attended the Brubeck Institute, the New School and Julliard, where he received his Masters in 2011. The Villager says, “that feeling of navigating the unexpected is probably the most exciting part of watching a group like the No Net Nonet perform…with all of its members sonically bouncing around, building and expanding upon each other’s ideas until a greater sum bursts forth…”
     Also this week, drummer Manu Katche unveils the first live recording with his quartet, “Live in Concert”; alto saxophonist Matt Criscuolo exemplifies that he is a staying force on the scene, offering up his sixth disc as leader, “Headin’ Out”; and Brooklyn-based saxophonist and composer Michael Eaton is joined by special guest Dave Liebman for his debut release, “Individuation.”