Craig W. Hurst - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://www.jazzreview.com Mon, 22 May 2017 14:53:29 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Sinister Heights by The Remote Viewers http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/other-cd-reviews/sinister-heights-by-the-remote-viewers.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/other-cd-reviews/sinister-heights-by-the-remote-viewers.html Sinister Heights is the most recent collection of new sounds by the The Remote Viewers. The collection comes on two CDs each entitled Time Flats and Mirror Mean…

Sinister Heights is the most recent collection of new sounds by the The Remote Viewers. The collection comes on two CDs each entitled Time Flats and Mirror Meanings, respectively. Time Flats contains musical environments that will be familiar to listeners of this avant garde jazz ensemble. The compositions of saxophonist David Petts provided this listener an ingenious soundtrack to a variety of mental images conjured while listening.

Two that stand out include the opening composition "Souls and Cities." This piece provides a stark almost cold soundscape of various saxophone textures played by Petts and collaborator Adrian Northover dynamically and timbrally contrasted with a velvety low and ethereal sounding flute played by Susan Lynch. The piece "Terminal City" conjures images of being overwhelmed in an unfamiliar environment. The textures of low pitched sustained electronic tones serve as a textural ostinato that contrasts with what may best be described as twisted and wrenched scraping sounds. All make for a delightfully horrific, sound sculpture. The concluding piece on the CD is the appropriately titled "Black Thoughts in a Black Mood." Again The Remote Viewers using both saxophone and electronic sounds construct an intriguing soundscape that incites one’s imagination with a delightfully provocative starkness of sound and mood. In contrast to the first CD Mirror Meanings takes a direction divergent from the ethereal sounds of Time Flats. The opening piece, "Spring Flood" begins with a driving bass line to which is added a chorus of saxophones playing back ground figurations for John Edwards’ evocative double bass. "Spring Flood" is quite a departure from what this listener has been exposed to before by The Remote Viewers and it is a welcome contrast that is quite fun listening when contrasted with the darker and more serious material of Time Flats. "No More Adventures, No More Perfect Moments," the third selection on Mirror Meanings confirms a more rhythmic orientation of Mirror Meanings.

The piece is very reminiscent of the work Miles Davis in the early 1970’s with funky rhythmic grooves providing a foundation for adventurous improvisation floating above in the saxophones. The Crowd Accuses is a tasty musical sorbet featuring percussion that shines with a variety of inventive textures and timbres. "And Then The Moors Came" is an interesting piece in that there is an apparent role reversal in that the saxophones are providing a "rhythm section" of consistent rhythm patterns while the drummer improvises freely. "Between Certainties" the final selection on Mirror Meanings returns to more familiar The Remote Viewers territory with another collage of various saxophone and electronic sounds in a sparse and ethereal background to other electronically generated or enhanced scraping and twisting sounds more in the foreground. With their past CD releases, The Remote Viewers have provided this listener with a welcome departure from a mainstream sound palette with thought provoking and cerebrally challenging pieces with which to encounter. Sinister Heights is no less a delightful challenge for the listener and will be welcomed by one seeking new and different sounds and listening adventures.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Craig W. Hurst) Other - CD Reviews Sun, 29 Mar 2009 01:00:00 -0500
Control Room by The Remote Viewers http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/control-room-by-the-remote-viewers.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/control-room-by-the-remote-viewers.html Control Room is a five CD set by London based avant garde jazz group The Remote Viewers. In this collection of unique and intriguing music, The Remote Viewers t…

Control Room is a five CD set by London based avant garde jazz group The Remote Viewers. In this collection of unique and intriguing music, The Remote Viewers take the listener through a variety of soundscapes that typically emphasize a variety of musical textures employing a number of acoustic, electro-acoustic and electronic resources. The 1st CD of the set comprises a single 38:16 composition entitled "October Rush."

The work is a thought provoking patchwork of sounds derived from a number of musical sources. The piece opens with a series of arpeggiated sound masses played on piano, flute and electronic instruments leading to a solo on acoustic bass. This is followed by what might be construed as a series of "nature sounds" as a background to chord structures played on piano. This leads to a more active electronically generated bass line that serves as foundation to panoply of sounds generated by electronic, acoustic and electronically enhanced acoustic instruments. The composition achieves contrast of interest by juxtaposing more active mechanical type sounds with those one may perceive as more placid and akin to nature-like. The creators of the music also seem to employ pre-recorded segments played on acoustic and electro-acoustic or electronically modified acoustic instruments further modified in the manner of the early electronic musique concrete.

Not to be overlooked is an extended solo by the group's saxophonist Adrian Northover that seems to serve as the centerpiece of the music that seamlessly morphs to sounds that range from those resembling sonar pings to acoustic bass to muffled jet engines. An interesting patchwork indeed! The second and third CDs of the set respectively titled The Art of Empire and An Affair of Cyphers in addition to other material each contain different versions of the same compositions. In some cases the pieces are for predominantly saxophone ensemble and in other cases saxophone ensemble with electronically generated music. The pieces "Hollow Stems," "Distant Intruder," and "Silent Weapons for a Quiet War" on The Art of the Empire are for an ensemble of saxophones, while the versions of these pieces on An Affair of Cyphers are for saxophones juxtaposed against a backdrop of electronically generated sounds. "Perspective Weaved Into the Night" and Priere (based on the composition by Erik Satie) from The Art of the Empire and "Glamour Cast by Idleness," from An Affair of Cyphers are for saxophone ensemble and electronics. The fourth CD Fiction Department is predominantly electronically generated sounds and the vocals of Louise Petts with sounds that resemble those one might find in a Science Fiction film. The combination of Petts' haunting vocals combined with the variety of acoustic, electro-acoustic and electronic sounds woven around her voice creates a soundscape that is delightfully eerie bringing to this listener's mind Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire.

The fifth CD of the set entitled Situations features the compositions and solo saxophone work of Adrian Northover. A highlight for this listener was Northover’s version of the Cole Porter standard "What Is This Thing Called Love?" His use of echo and looping devices aided in creating a swirling soundscape based on the basic melodic lines of Porter’s tune that presented an inventive approach to re-creating a standard. The music of The Remote Viewers will certainly appeal to the listener seeking uniquely different sounds. While the music on this 5 CD set will be challenging to many listeners, for those who delight in avant garde approaches to music making and seek music that is provocative and thoughtful, this set will delight.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Craig W. Hurst) Free Jazz / Avante Garde - CD Reviews Sun, 20 Apr 2008 07:00:00 -0500
Open Up by Jeff Barone http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/open-up-by-jeff-barone.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/open-up-by-jeff-barone.html Jeff Barone’s new CD Open Up is a collection of eleven tunes (with one alternate take) comprised of finely crafted original compositions, virtuoso jazz guitar performanc…

Jeff Barone’s new CD Open Up is a collection of eleven tunes (with one alternate take) comprised of finely crafted original compositions, virtuoso jazz guitar performance, musically tight ensemble work and creative improvisation. The recording includes standards from the Great American Songbook, four originals by Barone and an excellent arrangement of Herbie Hancock’s tune "Toys."

In addition to Barone’s melodically driving guitar, an instrument that dominant in the ensemble sound is the Hammond B-3 played by Ron Oswanski. The sound of the organ lends to the full ensemble pieces a somewhat soulful jazz sound reminiscent of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Not to be outdone are the two horn players on the recording Joe Magnarelli on Trumpet and Mike Dubaniewicz on alto. On the first cut of the CD, "Duban’s Groove" a strongly bop oriented piece written by Jeff Barone, Dubaniewicz shines as the first soloist with an intense and harmonically inventive solo. On the tune "New Samba" also a Barone original, trumpeter Magnarelli demonstrates a magnetic melodic quality that draws in the listener to some great improvisational ideas.

Jeff Barone’ guitar artistry is particularly displayed on the pieces where the ensemble is pared down to a pair of guitars, Barone and fellow guitarist Jack Wilkins. "Jenna’s Song" a very tender sounding ballad penned by Barone and inspired by his daughter, finds the two guitarists weaving an almost classical guitar sounding texture while delivering a very touching melody. A Latin sounding accompaniment played by one guitar aptly accompanies wonderfully melodic improvisation by the other. The two sound like two friendly musical sparring partners working together making great sounds. Another composition that features the twin guitarists is the Danny Zeitlin composition "Quiet Now." "Quiet Now" was recorded by pianist Bill Evans on a number of occasions and in the liner notes to Open Up Barone indicates that his version on the CD is akin to Evans’ interpretation. Regardless, Barone’s playing is sensitive and quietly beautiful. This listener had the privilege of reviewing Barone’s earlier work Crazy Talk. His newest recording is of no less musical import or significance. Barone is fine guitarist who plays great jazz and is a wonderfully creative musician and composer. For fans of superb jazz guitar, super tight ensemble, inventive improvisation and catchy tunes and arrangements Jeff Barone’s Open Up would be a most welcome addition to any jazz aficionado’s collection.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Craig W. Hurst) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Mon, 11 Feb 2008 06:00:00 -0600
Quartet by Joel Moore http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/quartet-by-joel-moore.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/quartet-by-joel-moore.html On the self produced CD Quartet, Chicago based tenor saxophonist Joel Moore has assembled a virtuoso ensemble to perform six original tunes, either penned by himself…
On the self produced CD Quartet, Chicago based tenor saxophonist Joel Moore has assembled a virtuoso ensemble to perform six original tunes, either penned by himself or in collaboration with pianist Jakub Rojek. The recording is an example of driving straight-ahead jazz that showcases not only Moore’s talent as a composer and arranger, but also talented musicians working together like a well-oiled machine, in creating some exciting modern jazz.

The opening cut "Fireside," brings to this listener’s ear a sound similar to recordings made in the 1970’s (Stan Getz’s Captain Marvel album comes to mind) perhaps due to Rojek’s use of a Fender Rhodes sound for his keyboard. Moore’s saxophone sound, however, is nothing like Getz’s. He plays with a John Coltrane inspired sound that is throaty and aggressive. Moore’s further homage to Coltrane may be heard on the final cut on the CD, "Chasing the Trane" which is Coltrane’s "Giant Steps" with a new head penned by Moore. While Moore is not John Coltrane, he none-the-less possesses monster jazz chops and tosses to the listener, many innovative ideas while improvising over the challenging chord changes of the tune.

The pieces, "Longing" and "November" showcase Moore’s melodicism; a tasteful vibrato and expressive musicianship. The third cut on the CD, "Hat Trick" begins with a funky groove with a head that is filled with angular twists and turns. When Moore’s solo begins, however, the combo shifts into a hard swinging groove that provides a perfect foundation for soloing. The work of the other members of the quartet, Paul Townsend on drums and Bob Ferraris on bass, also deserve mention as they play their supportive role and solo with exquisite timing and tastefulness.

For jazz aficionados who enjoy well played, excellently recorded, creatively nuanced and performed music, Quartet by the Joel Moore Quartet will certainly be a welcome addition to any jazz CD collection.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Craig W. Hurst) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Tue, 22 Aug 2006 01:00:00 -0500
A Spirit Free Abbey Lincoln Songbook by Kendra Shank http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/a-spirit-free-abbey-lincoln-songbook-by-kendra-shank.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/a-spirit-free-abbey-lincoln-songbook-by-kendra-shank.html A challenge to any jazz musician is a competent and plausible yet inventive interpretation of music from the familiar canon of jazz standards. Certainly that challenge d…

A challenge to any jazz musician is a competent and plausible yet inventive interpretation of music from the familiar canon of jazz standards. Certainly that challenge doubles for a jazz vocalist reinterpreting the songs of another jazz singer/songwriter. That challenge triples when that singer/songwriter is one as revered as Abbey Lincoln. On her new CD, A Spirit Free: Abbey Lincoln Songbook on the Challenge Records label, Kendra Shank and her band masterfully meet these challenges and present Lincoln’s music with a new and unique perspective. A Spirit Free: Abbey Lincoln Songbook creates not only a tribute to Abbey Lincoln’s music, but Shank’s level of vocal expression and the creative work of the highly skilled instrumentalists accompanying Shank indicate a familiarity with Abbey Lincoln well beyond her musical opera. Effectively what Kendra Shank and her sidemen create goes beyond a mere tribute and is effectively a portrait of this iconic creative artist via her music.

The recording takes the listener through a variety of emotional settings. The opening song "The Music is the Magic" is set with an opening filled with sounds of an African kalimba and Shank’s chanting. Along with a rhythmic 5/4 groove, these musical devices enhance the exotic and mysteriousness of the magic of music. For this listener, a highlight of the recording is the song "Down Here Below." The sad tint of the song reflective in Shank’s plaintive vocal supported by Dean Johnson’s spare bass and the accompaniment performed on Gary Versace’s accordion. The down low component of the song is enhanced by Billy Drewe’s breathy bass clarinet played down below.

The seriousness of "Down Here Below" is immediately contrasted by the subsequent medium tempo "A Circle of Love." The hopeful spirit of the song is uplifted by the lilting voice of Shank accompanied by the very tasteful instrumental fills by pianist Frank Kimbrough’s and guitarist Ben Monder. Billy Drewe’s contributes another inventive solo this time on tenor saxophone. Continuing an upbeat mood is the simple and playful song "Natas (A/K/A Playmate)." Accompanied only by the accordion of Gary Versace, Shank’s voice bounces along in her scat solo in a mood of fun childlike discovery. The bitter sweet sentimentality of the reflective ballad that closes the recording, "Being Me" compels one to ponder the creative spirit and personality of Abbey Lincoln.

From beginning to end, A Spirit Free: Abbey Lincoln Songbook is a wonderful listening experience. The recording contains well written songs, very highly honed musical craftsmanship and artistic creativity that would make the CD an excellent addition to anyone’s jazz recording collection.
]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Craig W. Hurst) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Fri, 28 Jul 2006 01:00:00 -0500
Old Thoughts for a New Day by Ben Adams Quintet http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/old-thoughts-for-a-new-day-by-ben-adams-quintet.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/old-thoughts-for-a-new-day-by-ben-adams-quintet.html Old Thoughts for a New Day is the most recent release by the San Francisco Bay Area based Ben Adams quintet. The recording consists of nine original tunes penned …

Old Thoughts for a New Day is the most recent release by the San Francisco Bay Area based Ben Adams quintet. The recording consists of nine original tunes penned by leader and vibraphonist Ben Adams. The music is a straight ahead set of similarly mellow yet swinging compositions. The tune titles seem to represent a consistent musical theme throughout the recording of a somewhat serene, intimate and reflective mood--sort of a Modern Jazz Quartet meets Sonny Rollins Plus 4 meets Horace Silver Quintet. At the center of the quintet's sound is Ben Adams' vibraphone. His style is reflective of other previous great players including Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson and Adams' teacher at the Berklee School of Music, Gary Burton. Variety on the recording is achieved by featuring various members of the quintet as soloists. Without the presence of a piano in the ensemble, Adams’ vibraphone serves not only in a soloistic role but also as a constant harmonic backdrop.

"Avery’s Bedtime Song" certainly sets the pace for Old Thoughts for a New Day. This mellow opener features the trumpeter/flugelhornist Erik Jekabson as first soloist followed by an improvisation by Adams. The more upbeat "Conversation With Martin" again features Adams following a throaty tenor solo by Mitch Marcus. Bassist Fred Randolph and drummer Sameer Gupta maintain good time underpinning the solos, and Randolph also contributes a solo right before the return to the tune’s head. We hear the group stretch their straight ahead boundaries just a bit during Adams' solo on "Patron Saint of Lost Causes." Likewise Jekabson (on flugelhorn) takes some of his improvisational approaches "outside" with some interesting roughening and buzzing in his sound. The most "outside" improvised solo on this tune is provided by saxophonist Mitch Marcus, who clearly sounds as though he is juxtaposing his melodic creations against rather then within the established chord changes of the tune.

On the tune "The Actual" after a solo by Adams, saxophonist Marcus again begins his improvisation with some "outside" techniques making his tenor sound like a low moan. Once he begins to let the notes fly, bassist Randolph and drummer Gupta seemingly make time stand still with repetitive pedal points and rhythms. The group shifts back to a more straight ahead vein with the entrance of Jekabson's trumpet solo. "Sheltered Circle" is another upbeat tune that begins with a drum solo by Sameer Gupta leading into an up tempo bop inspired head played by trumpet and tenor. The title cut "Old Thoughts for a New Day" returns the quintet to the slower paced mellow mood that opened the recording. "Pocket Fiction" and "Ghost at Infancy" are both whimsical more upbeat sounding compositions, while the CD's final cut "Sea of Cortez" brings the set to a close again with the mellow and reflective mood with which it began.

The musicianship on Old Thoughts for a New Day is superb and the sound quality, balance and mix on the recording are excellent. Ben Adams and his sidemen are very capable and competent musicians and their product here is quite good. Old Thoughts for a New Day would be a welcome addition to anyone's jazz CD collection.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Craig W. Hurst) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Mon, 17 Apr 2006 19:00:00 -0500
Il Bello Del Jazz by Roberto Magris Europlane http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/il-bello-del-jazz-by-roberto-magris-europlane.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/il-bello-del-jazz-by-roberto-magris-europlane.html Il Bello Del Jazz, the newest release by Italian pianist Roberto Magris is a swinging collection of eleven tunes (three penned or co-written by leader Magris) an…

Il Bello Del Jazz, the newest release by Italian pianist Roberto Magris is a swinging collection of eleven tunes (three penned or co-written by leader Magris) and features the talents of veteran American alto saxophonist Herb Geller. Geller is in great form on all the cuts on the recording. His vibrant tone and tasteful vibrato certainly shine best on the medium and slower tunes. His buoyant swinging feel and fresh musical inventions while improvising are a delight to the ear filled with enough surprises to keep the listener captivated. Magris and his quartet provide ample evidence that the seduction of swing has for some time transcended the shores of the United States. These musicians play jazz on a very high musical level. They demonstrate not only excellent technique but an ability to swing with a feeling exemplifying that our European musical kin have listened keenly and studied well the subtleties of America’s original art form.

As an example, on the CD’s third tune "Some Other Spring" a bluesy, boozy, "its closing time" sounding piece, Magris demonstrates a deft approach to stride piano style in accompaniment to Geller’s saxophone that clearly brings to mind the elegant approach of Fats Waller. On the tune "Key Largo" Magris’ improvisation gets into a groove that includes some funky passages reminiscent of pianist Ramsey Lewis. Drummer Gabriele Centis also digs in on this tune driving the swing in high gear. The CD's title cut "Il Bello Del Jazz" the eighth tune on the recording is a straight ahead Magris original. The tune swings with upbeat abandon with the head played by Geller. The first soloist is guitarist Darko Jurkovic. Jurkovic posses a light fleeting approach on the guitar and creates a fun and inventive solo. Also featured is bassist Rudi Engel who likewise demonstrates a mastery of his instrument and a creative inventiveness in his musical ideas.

On the down tempo tune, "A New Town is a Blue Town," Magris demonstrates his familiarity with jazz repertoire during his improvised solo with a quote from Charlie Parker’s "K.C. Blues." Bassist Rudi Engel stretches out a bit with a nice solo and as on all the cuts on this CD, Herb Geller sounds great. Another homage to bebop is the Magris tune with a witty double entendre for a title, "Parker's Pen." The tune definitely sounds as though it could have been written by the pen of Charlie Parker as the head is full of sounds strongly reminiscent of Bird's saxophone. Guitarist Jurkovic, alto saxophonist Geller and pianist/leader Roberto Magris contribute strong solos on this bopping romp. The set concludes with a Herb Geller original "Deception." The tune has a certain melancholy tone to it and seems to bring a bit of a nostalgic close to the recording. As on all previous 10 tunes, the musicianship is superb, with great solos and clean and precise backgrounds provided by the rhythm section.

For lovers of straight ahead jazz and a recording of excellent music Il Bello Del Jazz by Roberto Magris Europlane would certainly make an excellent addition to a jazz CD collection.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Craig W. Hurst) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Sun, 16 Apr 2006 01:00:00 -0500
Check In by Roberto Magris Europlane http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/check-in-by-roberto-magris-europlane.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/check-in-by-roberto-magris-europlane.html The recording Check In fronted by Italian pianist and composer Roberto Magris is a magnificent collection of original compositions "book ended" with standards by…

The recording Check In fronted by Italian pianist and composer Roberto Magris is a magnificent collection of original compositions "book ended" with standards by Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer. Recorded in September of 2003, Check In comprises 8 tunes covering nearly an hour of wonderfully swinging straight ahead jazz.

The CD kicks off with an up tempo free form improvisation between the two tenors trading 8s accompanied only by the drums. This mix leads right into a burning rendition of the Johnny Mercer classic "I Remember You." Each of the saxophonists plays neatly off each other in an intricate counterpoint of melodic invention. The head played by the two saxophonists leads right into a piano solo by leader Roberto Magris. Magris wastes no time demonstrating his solid technique at the keyboard as he winds deftly from one end to the other in creating an exciting solo. Not to be outdone tenor saxophonist Michael Erian also contributes a buoyant invention.

Stand out original tunes on Check In includes the Magris’ "Blues for my Sleeping Baby" and "African Mood." With both tenors playing the head in unison, "Blues for my Sleeping Baby" sounds strongly reminiscent of Charles Mingus’ writing. This is even more strongly evident with occasional stop time measures catching the listener’s ear momentarily off guard as part of developing melodic interest. "African Mood" is a modal vamp that brings to mind the modal work of McCoy Tyner and especially Herbie Hancock’s "Maiden Voyage." The soprano saxophone solos are both soothing melodic forays that weave trance-like lines over the slow moving harmonies below.

"Luci Lontane" is a slower more laid back tune that again provides an excellent vehicle for the dual saxophonists as they demonstrate their abilities to create interesting lines of counterpoint around each other’s melodies. "What Blues," another modal tune is laid out with a simple 4 bar riff played in harmony by the two saxes. Both saxophonists stretch right out in very comfortable sounding solos, letting it all hang out with hanging it out over the edge.

The three standards that close the recording are excellent examples of the fine musicianship on Check In. "Why Did I Choose You" provides the ensemble an opportunity to play a lush ballad and create musical statements that are meaningful and profound. Cole Porter’s "I Concentrate on You" is another fun romp with tenor and soprano saxes playing the head with a smooth and refined delivery. Solos likewise flow like fine wine from the saxophones of Lakatos and Erian and there is no lack of swing anywhere in the ensemble. Magris again demonstrates his improvisational artistry creating a compelling solo. The final tune "Che Cosa C’E’" played only by Magris, bassist Robert Balzar and drummer Gabriele Centis is delightful coda to the previous set of tunes, and allows leader Magris to truly have the last word on this recording.

Check In by Roberto Magris Europlane is a CD that packs a lot of listening delight. The musicianship is superb, the original tunes are inventive, and the interpretations of standards are refreshing. For lovers of good straight ahead jazz, Check In would be a most welcome addition to a jazz CD collection.
]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Craig W. Hurst) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Tue, 04 Oct 2005 13:00:00 -0500
It's A Good Thing by Jamie Davis http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/it-s-a-good-thing-by-jamie-davis.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/it-s-a-good-thing-by-jamie-davis.html Take one burnished Lou Rawls/Joe Williams-inspired baritone voice, an incredibly swinging big band that includes drummer Butch Miles and other members of the current Cou…

Take one burnished Lou Rawls/Joe Williams-inspired baritone voice, an incredibly swinging big band that includes drummer Butch Miles and other members of the current Count Basie Band, great arrangements that provide refreshing new interpretations of old and new standards, solid soloing by members of the band and what you have is a certain formula for a swinging, finger-snapping, foot-tapping great time of listening. The new Jamie Davis CD It's A Good Thing on the Unity Music Label is 54 plus minutes of pure swinging and singing pleasure. Davis, who has sung with the Basie Band since 2000, has a voice that carries a song with drive and warmth all rolled into one. His rich baritone voice is dark and concomitantly agile as he winds his way through songs by Stevie Wonder, George Harrison, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart and other songwriting notables. The musicians backing Davis likewise wend their way powerfully and easily through arrangements that sound as though they are falling easily and perfectly into place as each tune unfolds.

The recording begins with a wide open, swinging Aaron Lington arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely," followed by an interesting twist on George Harrison's "Something" also arranged by Lington. Instead of a down tempo ballad approach on the song, Davis and the band take the tune much more "up" as a medium tempo swinger. Davis draws upon music of the Great American Songbook with "I've Got the World on a String," arranged by Allyn Ferguson, Tom Hart's arrangements of Cole Porter's "Night and Day," and "Besame Mucho" and a medium tempo version of a classic ballad--"My Funny Valentine"--arranged by Bob Ojeda. Davis also pays tribute to singer Joe Williams with two songs strongly affiliated with him, "Every Day I Have the Blues" and "Alright Okay You Win." Davis also demonstrates his scatting ability on a very rhythmically hip sounding Marcus Shelby arrangement of Thelonious Monk's "Straight No Chaser."

Without a doubt Jamie Davis' It's A Good Thing is a GREAT thing. It has everything a lover of great swinging jazz and vocals could want: Great arrangements, consummate musicianship, clear and distinct delivery of tried and true songs, and a sound engineered by Grammy Award Winning sound engineer Woody Woodruff. Also of great interest is the companion DVD included with the CD with Davis and members of the band and production staff weighing in on the experience of this great recording project. It's A Good Thing certainly would be of great interest to fans of big band jazz and a welcome addition to any jazz CD collection.

]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Craig W. Hurst) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Sat, 10 Sep 2005 19:00:00 -0500
Taste by Karen Lane http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/taste-by-karen-lane.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/taste-by-karen-lane.html Taste the new CD by U.K. based Australian Karen Lane could be more appropriately entitled Tasteful. Tasteful in the Brazilian Bossa Nova inspired music on the r…

Taste the new CD by U.K. based Australian Karen Lane could be more appropriately entitled Tasteful. Tasteful in the Brazilian Bossa Nova inspired music on the recording and that Lane has a voice that one could easily fall in love with and a very musical and tasteful delivery. Her delicate bell - like voice and clear diction draws the listener close and is nicely juxtaposed with light and sometimes very lush accompaniment. The 12 tunes on the CD include three compositions by Antonio Carlos Jobim, three original compositions by Lane, and standards by Sammy Kahn, Victor Young and Henry Mancini. Lane is also responsible for 10 of the 12 arrangements on Taste.

Lane opens by easily romancing the listener’s ear with the with a very mellow and laid back version of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s "Photograph." Also of note is the Stan Getz inspired sound of tenor saxophonist Theo Travis. A good follow up is another bossa nova styled tune "I Wanna Be Loved" which has Lane accompanied by strings. Her original tune "Nothing More than You" is a beautiful love song that continues the Latin rhythmic feel and combines a wonderful lyric with a sensuous alto flute played behind Lanes vocals. Lane’s other original composition "Just the Same" is another very beautiful love song very similar in style to "Nothing More Than You." The title cut "Taste" another Lane original however, is quite different. The piece begins with a violinist Julian Ferraretto creating some interesting sound effects on his instrument and Lane’s lyric this time is more cautionary about being unable to avoid a romantic encounter.

Her treatment of the standard "My Foolish Heart" is a driving upbeat approach, and her interpretation of Sammy Kahn’s "I Fall In Love Too Easily" is a more down tempo Latin feel with Nathan Haines’ tenor saxophone commenting and accompanying Lane’s every phrase. Her version of Henry Mancini’s "Slow Hot Wind" incorporates overdubs of her voice to create a contrapuntal line with the melody and choral texture in her delivery of the song. Also of note are the ethereal guitar solo by Dave Colton and the violin solo of Julian Ferraretto.

Karen Lane’s CD Taste provides a wonderfully romantic, mellow and tasteful listening experience. While the recording certainly would delight fans of Brazilian inspired music, her recording would make an excellent addition to anyone’s collection.
]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Craig W. Hurst) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Fri, 30 Jul 2004 03:09:38 -0500