H. Allen Williams - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://www.jazzreview.com Mon, 22 May 2017 20:03:13 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Jazz Harmony & Improvisation by Herbert Silverstein, MD and Richard Drexler http://www.jazzreview.com/book-reviews/jazz-harmony-improvisation-by-herbert-silverstein-md-and-richard-drexler.html http://www.jazzreview.com/book-reviews/jazz-harmony-improvisation-by-herbert-silverstein-md-and-richard-drexler.html In the endless quest to gain the tools to inspire and educate one to fluently speak the jazz language, Herbert Silverstein, MD and Richard Drexler ...

In the endless quest to gain the tools to inspire and educate one to fluently speak the jazz language, Herbert Silverstein, MD and Richard Drexler have teamed up to add a real gem to the canon of Jazz "how to" books. Jazz Harmony & Improvisation is the title of the one hundred and twenty five paged book and an accompanying CD, containing the tunes discussed in the book. The purpose of the book is described as: "to help the student of jazz piano learn techniques of improvisation and chord voicing using Richard Drexler's scale system. " However, I have found that the book goes far beyond this modest description, in not only conveying Richard Drexler's scale system, but also providing clear compositional techniques, and a true inspirational vehicle to stimulate one's own exploration into the notes of jazz.

Richard Drexler's scale system is meant to allow the student to develop the confidence of knowing all the "correct" notes to play through every chord sound that passes by in a song form. Drexler emphasizes that the student must practice major, minor, the ascending form of the melodic minor, and the diminished (alternate half and whole steps) scales in all twelve keys. Drexler uses several helpful charts to show the scale and chord relationships, applied to C as the root of each chord. Drexler clearly defines how to use the chosen scale to form both melodic and harmonic figures. There is a complete chapter that focuses on the dominant chord and the various scales that can be applied to that chord sound. Here is a little teaser, can you play through a ii-7-V7-I maj7 progression four times in a row and use a deferent scale for the V7 chord?

This book provides a great example for students to start writing "Contrafacts" over their favorite tunes. Many of the tunes contained in the Lead sheet section of the book are "Contrafacts" to famous standards. The accompanying CD will aid in letting the student hear how writing strong "new" melodies through these forms and sonorities is an invaluable exercise, and can lead to some beautiful results, as is the case with many of Silverstein's compositions. This can be an obvious or more subtle approach. It might be the form of a song that is inspiring; "In Your Own Sweet Way" has a form of A-A-B-A-C, which is echoed in "Si Senorita." The harmonic pattern of a song can also serve as an inspiring seed, as with "High Heeled Lady" being based on the Kenny Barron's "Twilight." Anything can be used: forms, harmonic patterns, melodies, bass line figures, shapes, and various feels. Of particular interest is the songs provided by Drexler, his harmonic sense is straight from the David Liebman's (whom Drexler has extensively worked with) book, A Chromatic Approach To Jazz Harmony and Melody.

The book contains several sections that will inspire the student and encourage exploration. The discussion of the scale system between Drexler and Silverstein is very enjoyable and gives insight into not only the scale system, but other musical topics as well. Two transcriptions are provided in the book: Bob Berg's solo on "Mitzvah Waltz" and Christian Jacob's solo on "You Don't Know What Love Is," which has some amazing reharms. Both solos are analyzed and are inspiring examples of the beauty of the language discussed throughout the book. Also, Drexler shares some of his rich experiences and stories with the reader. Do you know where Coltrane might of first heard the harmonic progression he used on his famous tune "Giant Steps?"

The purpose of any "how to" book dealing with the language of jazz is keep the student motivated to keep searching, investigating, and trying to improve the art of self expression through music. To that extent, Jazz Harmony & Improvisation will certainly deliver, this rich text is appropriate for all instrumentalist and all skill levels.

The book contains: 37 original tunes by Silverstein and 13 original tune by Frexler.

Performers on the included companion CD: Bob Berg, Peter Erskine, David Friesen, Danny Gotlieb, David Hardman, Tom Harrell, Christian Jacob, Jim Langlois, Steve LaSpina, Dave Liebman, the Lobster String Quartet, Bob Lunergan, Steve Moretti, George Neidorf, Larue Nickelson, John Patitucci, Dann Reno, Paul Richardson, Courtney Smith III, Joel Spencer, John Stowell, Jack Wilkins.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (H. Allen Williams) Book Reviews Fri, 04 Jan 2008 18:00:00 -0600
Hummingville by Ellen Honert http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/hummingville-by-ellen-honert.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/hummingville-by-ellen-honert.html Ellen Honert’s new CD, Hummingville, is a testament to the growth and artistic development that this native of the Netherlands has experienced since her 2006 rele…

Ellen Honert’s new CD, Hummingville, is a testament to the growth and artistic development that this native of the Netherlands has experienced since her 2006 release entitled, Breath of the Soul. Honert and renowned Bay Area producer Frank Martin teamed up again to compile six original selections (all co-authored with Martin) and seven covers with musical arrangements by Martin. The mood of the CD is best described by Honert’s statement; "I want my music to convey the essence of what it’s like to be fully alive...that complex bitter-sweet feeling when you truly open your heart to living." Drawing upon her culturally diverse background of growing up in the Netherlands and traveling with her parents in early childhood to Spain, Greece, France, North Africa and South America, Honert conveys a variety of musical influences and interest throughout Hummingville.

The title track is an excellent example of Honert’s vocal diversity. Set to a swinging samba beat, Honert’s full voice executes the wide spanning melody with great intonation, diction, and rhythmic clarity. Honert’s lyrics flow and convey an interesting storyline of love and its transforming emotions. From fast sixteenth note passages, to long sustaining notes, Honert’s vocal control is always evident and musical. After the initial statement of the melody, a beautifully crafted interlude melody with Honert’s voice singing only syllables (ala "Spain") is introduced. The listener really gets to hear the full range of Honert’s vocal quality in this selection, I really enjoyed the high notes, slightly stressed, but totally in control and fully voiced. John Pena’s bass work on this selection is very nice and seems to truly inspire flautist Pedro Eustache fills and solos.

"Le Phare" is a hauntingly beautiful melody sung in French that displays the symbiotic relation of Honert and Martin, both as songwriters and performers. Martin’s accompaniment is always supportive and musical, allowing the listener to enjoy Honert’s elegant voice in a well voiced and creative setting. Martin’s solo work is full of long motivic developments and fluid fast runs. We are treated to another great orchestration of Honert’s voice singing syllables with Martin adding well placed fills until a second contrapuntal vocal line is added to build the selection to a cadence.

Hummingville is a well crafted second CD for vocalist Ellen Honert and collaborator Frank Martin. The music is creative and refreshing. The sound quality is excellent and the musical chemistry of the players is evident throughout the project. Hummingville, conveys many musical styles and textures; the common tone throughout the project is that it is sung with the emotion from an open heart.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (H. Allen Williams) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Sun, 17 Jan 2010 12:00:00 -0600
Zollar Systems by James Zollar http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/zollar-systems-by-james-zollar.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/zollar-systems-by-james-zollar.html From the very first notes of the new James Zollar CD, Zollar Systems, you know you are going to experience musical greatness. Zollar moved to New York City in 198…

From the very first notes of the new James Zollar CD, Zollar Systems, you know you are going to experience musical greatness. Zollar moved to New York City in 1984 and subsequently played with the Cecil McBee Quintet for five years and then recorded with Tom Harrell, Weldon Erving and Sam Rivers. Zollar was featured in Robert Altman’s motion picture, "Kansas City," Madonna’s music video, "My Baby’s Got a Secret," as well as Malcolm Lee’s film, "The Best Man." He played on the sound track of "The Perez Family" and is proud to be included in The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (Oxford University Press 1999.). James was also a featured soloist with Jon Faddis and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, as well as with Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Resulting in Zollar having a firm confidence and self assuredness in his playing that only comes with the previous experiences and musical friendships.

The CD contains a superb selection of tunes. Starting with James’ big trumpet sound paired with Stacy Dillard’s tenor sax on the opening number entitled, "Chicago Preferred." Zollar’s sound and articulation is from the Lee Morgan camp, but make no mistake, Zollar is his own man and he has full command over his own unique vocabulary. This hard bop number is a great vehicle that showcases his command of rhythmic articulation and playing through the bop era changes. Stacy Dillard takes a fine solo on the same selection to drive home the fact that this CD is a great example of jazz. Zollar demonstrates that he is an accomplished composer as well with his counterpoint laden hard swingin’ original, "Slick." Pianist Rick Germanson accompaniment follows Zollars creative solo lines superbly. Zollar’s lines flow through altered colors and substitutions while telling a musicals story that is continually building interest and speaking from the heart. This is the most exemplary performance of the CD, with Zollar’s growling, superimposing, rhythmically building, and weaving lines making a clear musical statement; this is swingin’!

The disc of ten tunes is a great CD and is highly recommended. The tunes are certainly a reflection of both James’ years of perfecting his high art form and his deep spiritual connection to the music. The center of this system is certainly swingin’; come experience the Zollar Systems for yourself!

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (H. Allen Williams) BeBop / Hard Bop - CD Reviews Mon, 11 Jan 2010 00:00:00 -0600
Winter Fruits by Loren Stillman http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/winter-fruits-by-loren-stillman.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/winter-fruits-by-loren-stillman.html Alto saxophonist and composer Loren Stillman follows up his 2007 debut release, Blind Date with his new Pirouet Records release, Winter Fruits. Blind Date …

Alto saxophonist and composer Loren Stillman follows up his 2007 debut release, Blind Date with his new Pirouet Records release, Winter Fruits. Blind Date garnered Stillman such catchwords as: "expect a great career," "unique compositional feel," "Marvelous," "very deep," and "a stroke of genius." Stillman has compiled a new group of musicians and a unique set of compositions to deliver a surprising and creative 51:09 worth of music.

Winter Fruits features the collaborative approach of Bad Touch - a band comprised of Nate Radley (guitar), Ted Poor (drums), Gary Versace (organ), and Loren Stillman. "Winter Fruits" is a great example of the ability of these musicians to develop and convey a musical storyline. The composition begins with alto and guitar playing the angular theme in unison accompanied only by Poor’s rolling set work. The theme is developed with the addition of Versace’s organ, leading to a cadence and Versace setting the feel for the solos. The solo is entirely a group affair; although Stillman takes the melodic lead, each member joins the conversation and the interaction builds to a full conversational statement, with each player listening to and responding to the other.

"Man of Mystery" begins with a beautiful chordal opening by Radley. The musicians take their time in developing the theme, layering each unique contrapuntal voice in, building the story, suspense, and interplay. This is the case throughout Winter Fruits, each composition seems to be built on a central melodic figure instead of a series of chords that a melody weaves through. Each composition is built on a melodic theme with a network of contrapuntal voices that interact to cadences, after-which yet another variation of the theme is introduced and developed to tell the compositional story.

Stillman’s alto playing is very creative throughout Winter Fruits. His big warm tone is always conveying interesting textures, colors, and is free of cliches. A great example of this is Stillman’s playing on "With You." The Stillman penned composition has melodic fragments that reminds one of "Ask Me Now" and "Darn That Dream" over a progression that conjures up thoughts of "Round Midnight." Stillman masterfully develops the theme with warm tones and musical care. Aways listening and interacting with the other members to start the next musical thread. Versace does a great job of accompanying, providing an interesting color to each phrase and making positive comments throughout the developing conversation.

Winter Fruits is another fine project by Stillman. Stillman lives in Brooklyn and has an active career as an sideman, teacher, band leader, and composer. The CD is excellently mixed and mastered; as are all Pirouet releases. Winter Fruits is highly recommended if your collection contains artist such as: Chris Potter, David Binney, or either of the Strickland brothers. Set back and enjoy the Winter Fruits; they are well worth the effort.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (H. Allen Williams) Progressive - CD Reviews Fri, 01 May 2009 13:00:00 -0500
Come Togeather by George Colligan http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/ http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/ Pianist George Colligan (New York/ Canadian-based) CD Come Together, is a lively modern trio exploration of ten selections; eight originals by Colligan and two ar…

Pianist George Colligan (New York/ Canadian-based) CD Come Together, is a lively modern trio exploration of ten selections; eight originals by Colligan and two arrangements; "Come Together" and "The Shadow of Your Smile," that is full of moving musical chemistry.

Opening with the title song, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Donald Edwards provide a straight eight funk undercurrent for Colligan’s colorful voicings and melodic fragments to glide over. Colligan does a great job of harmonizing the melody with dense colorful voicings. Colligan’s solo is energetic and building; using motivic development and nice voicings through-out. Kozlov’s fretless electric bass work is very interactive with Colligan’s statements. The two originally met on a gig with the Mingus Big Band in the early part of this decade and have obviously developed a strong chemistry ever since.

"Venom," one of eight Colligan originals has an energetic descending melodic figure with hits that develops through-out this creatively crafted melody and continues into the solos. Colligan’s approach is reminiscent of a cross between Kenny Kirkland and Joey Calderazzo, but he certainly has his own vocabulary and touch. Again, the interaction between the three players is outstanding, check out the new tempo for the last statement of the melody.

"Reaction" finds the trio exploring the possibilities of complex time signatures. Colligan’s lines course through the changing accents and harmony, while Edwards is both supportive and interactive with his drumming input. Kozlov acoustic bass playing is very enjoyable too, spinning a fine solo that displays he is equally at home on both the eclectic and acoustic bass.

Come Together is a superior trio outing full of great chemistry; the chemistry between the three is the corner stone of this CD. The three are always listening to each other and answering only when needed, creating an enjoyable feel that is an easy listen full of musical surprises.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (H. Allen Williams) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Sun, 26 Apr 2009 01:00:00 -0500
Entre Cuerdas by Edmar Castaneda http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/entre-cuerdas-by-edmar-castaneda.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/entre-cuerdas-by-edmar-castaneda.html This album is a mixture of influences: Columbian, Latin American, and the United States (mainly New York City where Castaneda now resides). The rhythmic sounds on the CD…

This album is a mixture of influences: Columbian, Latin American, and the United States (mainly New York City where Castaneda now resides). The rhythmic sounds on the CD are derived from Flamenco, Joropo, Afro-Cuban, and funk. "Sabro Son" opens with a percussive array of plucks, slaps, and pops, leading to flamenco guitar like strums and piano like montuno figures from the harp, before the drums of Dave Silliman and the trombone of Marshall Gilkes enter to state the melody. The selection switches between various feels and ensemble passage before settling in on a nice Joropo, Afro-Cuban, and funk groove for the solo section. The bass line is syncopated and Castaneda builds his solo with long musical statements leading to a rhythmic frenzy (smiles). Special guest, guitarist John Schofield, provides a great musical statement with his solo over the ever evolving support of Castaneda and Silliman.

The ending of Castaneda‘s solo on "Entre Cuerdas" is remarkable. His use of rhythmic motifs that build to a logical conclusion is excellent. Gilkes trombone work throughout the CD is of the highest caliber, his use of colors and tone is inspiring, check out "Colombian Dixie." Joe Locke’s guest appearance on "Colibri" was one of the many highlights of this session. Of course, all these array of soundscapes is possible with the rhythmic support of drummer Dave Silliman.

This is an excellent collection of compositions inspired by the rhythms of Flamenco, Joropo, Afro-Cuban, and funk. The playing is wonderful and Castaneda is amazing! Go ahead, change your mood, improve your health, lower your stress level, and increase your attractiveness- get Edmar Castaneda’s CD Entre Cuerdas into your life, you will not regret it.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (H. Allen Williams) Latin Jazz / Latin Funk - CD Reviews Sat, 28 Feb 2009 00:00:00 -0600
Very Early by Octobop Octobop http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/cool-jazz-cd-reviews/very-early-by-octobop-octobop.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/cool-jazz-cd-reviews/very-early-by-octobop-octobop.html Inspired by an affection for the mid-sized bands led by the likes of Shorty Rogers, Marty Paich, Dave Pell, and the piano-less group led by Gerry Mulligan, Geoff Roach e…

Inspired by an affection for the mid-sized bands led by the likes of Shorty Rogers, Marty Paich, Dave Pell, and the piano-less group led by Gerry Mulligan, Geoff Roach explores his passion for composing and arranging for four horns. Combining the heritage of rich voicings and effective use of instrumental colors with the relaxed charm of West-Coast swing, Roach offers the octet know as Octobop.

The new CD, Very Early, follows in the footsteps of Octobop's three previous releases by focusing on a simple message of accessibility with an emphasis on swinging tunes from the great American songbook. The core of Octobop’s sound comes from the well-penned arrangements by leader Geoff Roach, who also plays baritone sax and alto flute, and guitarist Jack Conway.

The album springs into action with a Marty Paich arrangement of "Love Me or Leave Me," featuring tenor sax work by Matt Kesner, who shows his ability to create melodic and playful lines that weave through the rich harmonic background pads of the ensemble. After Kenser’s solo, Octobop clearly demonstrates their long time chemistry by displaying their cohesive ensemble work throughout the shout chorus, which features various uses of dynamics, nice motific development of the melody and rich Basie-esque voicings.

"Very Early" displays Conway’s arranging abilities. The arrangement is a statement in controlling and developing the harmonic movement of the multi-tonal composition with rich horn voicings, that holds true to Pianist Bill Evans complex voicing style. After playing the melody in a slow relaxed waltz tempo, Conway transitions the tempo to a nice mid-tempo walking waltz for the solos, which all clearly state the moving harmony as well as develop the melody.

Roach provides a fine arrangement of the Charles Mingus tune "Good Bye Pork Pie Hat," Mingus’s homage to Lester "Prez"Young. Brockhouse’s electric bass kicks off the selection followed by the haunting melody being cleverly dispersed between the various instruments in the ensemble. The ensemble work is tight and the arrangement always keeps the mood swinging and accessible to the listener, which is the theme throughout the entire CD.

Very Early’s production is fidelically well rounded. The ensemble is well balanced in the stereo field with a clear focused sound for the audiophile. The selections have a nice flow and the various instrumentations and styles keep the CD pleasing for the duration.

Overall, the CD is enjoyable; there is nothing groundbreaking here, not to say that Very Early is boring, the emphasis is just on presenting a selection of standards with a focus on well-written arrangements. The result is a nice tribute to the West-Coast "Cool Jazz" sound that Octobop is truly committed to producing with their exceedingly accessible latest offering.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (H. Allen Williams) Cool Jazz - CD Reviews Thu, 17 Aug 2006 13:00:00 -0500
Power of Nine by Anthony Wilson http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/power-of-nine-by-anthony-wilson.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/power-of-nine-by-anthony-wilson.html We have all heard the old adage, "if walls could only talk.... " Perhaps in music they do! Almost everyone has heard the classic Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven," or at…

We have all heard the old adage, "if walls could only talk.... " Perhaps in music they do! Almost everyone has heard the classic Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven," or at least one cut off Prince’s Purple Rain release. No! What about James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James? OK, the Who, Elton John, The Doors and for a more current name, what about Beck’s Odelay? My point is that all of these artists have recorded at Sunset Sound Studios and we have been hearing those four wall influence and reverberate in the music for many years. Guitarist and composer Anthony Wilson recently added his vibrations to those walls while recording his new release entitled, Power of Nine.

Wilson, probably best know for his accompaniment and solo’s on Diana Krall’s CDs and DVDs, is also an accomplished composer and arranger. Wilson won the Thelonious Monk International Composers’ Composition in 1995 and has been commissioned to compose works by the Gil Evans Fellowship from the International Association of Jazz Educators, Kuumbwa Jazz Center and Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. Wilson includes selections from those commissions with the addition of some new compositions paired with two standards to total the 11 selections contained on Power of Nine. Diana Krall provides the vocals for a beautiful arrangement of "Looking Back," again displaying her prowess as a balladeer.

The CD is full of rich thematic developments and beautiful voiced ensemble colors, bringing to mind the colors of Gil Evans and Maria Schneider. "Make It Good" is perhaps the most traditional selection, with Wilson providing the arrangement and some nice "Freddie Green" chunking. This selection has a more Bob Brookmeyer, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis flavor than the rest of the selections and does a nice job of easing the listener into the program. "I And Thou," from Tokyo Wednesday, one of the movements from the commission written for The Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, California, features an intro of Wilson’s rich clear unaccompanied guitar leading to an introspective ballad that is full of gorgeous ensemble colors and thoughtful space. Wilson’s "Quadra 3" contains some very nice improvised lines from mandolinist Eva Scow and Wilson as the two trade 16’s in the beginning and again later in the piece after Wilson has craftily flowed the composition from a straight eight sixteenth note pulse feel to a nice Samba feel.

Anthony Wilson’s Power of Nine has a very even and enjoyable flow and coming from Sunset Sound Studios means the sound quality is excellent. The CD has a wide range of colors and feels. The playing is all top shell with the compositions and arrangements being extremely inventive and thematic in nature. However, they should be very accessible by a wide audience with varying degrees of both jazz and non-jazz musical tastes. Furthermore, this CD is a must have if you are into the power of the pen in jazz.
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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (H. Allen Williams) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Sat, 10 Jun 2006 07:00:00 -0500
Dream by Aimee Allen http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/dream-by-aimee-allen.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/dream-by-aimee-allen.html Dreams, we all have them, but what are they and what do the mean? Many experts disagree on exactly what the purpose of our dreams is and how they relate to our awaken st…

Dreams, we all have them, but what are they and what do the mean? Many experts disagree on exactly what the purpose of our dreams is and how they relate to our awaken state. Are they strictly random brain impulses, or are our brains actually working through various issues from our daily lives while we sleep -- as a sort of coping mechanism or time to assimilate various stimuli?

Should we even bother to interpret our dreams? Many say yes, we have a great deal to learn from our dreams and their symbolisms. Our dreams combine verbal, visual and emotional stimuli into various broken, nonsensical but often entertaining story lines. We can sometimes even solve problems in our sleep. We can also envision the future and in or awaken states we daydream of the many possibilities that life can offer. Vocalist Aimee Allen has compiled eleven very enjoyable songs on her latest CD entitled Dream, which will give our brain more to dream about while asleep and create a more enjoyable atmosphere for us to daydream in when awake.

Allen first began to sing professionally as a college student while at Yale University, were she was an active member and soloist with two jazz a cappella singing groups. After graduation, Allen lived in Paris and performed regularly in the clubs and music festivals. It was there she said she found her, "understanding of the place of jazz in the world deepened and my interpretive style began to flourish."

Allen’s warm soprano voice sings ten standards and one original, a slow swingin blues entitled "Solitude Blues," which Allen penned. Although the songs are very familiar the arrangements and styles help breath fresh air into the collection of standards. Allen also sings three of the songs in their native language and in English, giving a nice "world" flavor to the release.

The CD starts with "My Favorite Things," with Allen singing a syllabic melody line with pianist Dave Cook and bassist Ben Campbell which leads into the familiar melody. The band keeps the style flowing and in a modern jazz style with nice voicing and lines from Cook and a toe tapping swing groove from Campbell and drummer Brian Woodruff. Allen matches the texture set beneath by the band with nice interpretive twist and turns with the melody.

"Honeysuckle Rose" is given a new harmonic framework and played in a slow moody open Latin tinged straight eighths fashion that makes the song much more interesting. Allen’s voice again matches the band and conveys the new mood with her vocal interpretation, making the whole presentation of this old and usually "bubble gum happy" standard have more meaning and musical depth.

The project has a nice flow with a wide variety of styles and instrument colors. The selections, although out of the usual vocal song book, are given new life and result in an enjoyable listen.

Allen expresses, when asked what message she hopes the CD conveys to the listener that; "Dream is a collection of songs, many of which make explicit reference to dreams, others which only refer to the act of dreaming obliquely. It could be thought of as a command to the listener. Or just a simple reminder, I think that is a part of what we do when we make music, we dream into existence things that otherwise could not be." The music on the CD certainly creates an atmosphere in which daydreaming is more pleasant. My recommendation is, Allen will create pleasant dreams.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (H. Allen Williams) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Fri, 19 May 2006 07:00:00 -0500
Cities and Desire by David Binney http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/cities-and-desire-by-david-binney.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/cities-and-desire-by-david-binney.html As technology increasingly makes gathering information faster and easier than ever, it also has allowed the many people of the world to connect and communicate as never …

As technology increasingly makes gathering information faster and easier than ever, it also has allowed the many people of the world to connect and communicate as never before. Perhaps one day there will truly be a "one world" concept where meeting new people, learning different ideas, and freely traveling throughout the globe will be as common and natural as traveling and walking the streets of New York City. What better way to start this natural evolution than with music? David Binney is on the edge of this movement by traveling the world and assimilating the sights and sounds of the various places traveled and sharing them musically with the next listener.

David Binney’s second Criss Cross Records release entitled, Cites and Desire; is a suite of thirteen original compositions informed by the sounds and signals he has absorbed while traveling through such cities as; Lisbon, London, Toronto, Rome, Montreal, Miami, as well as his hometown to Los Angeles, and his present home in New York City. The resulting music is creative and modern, Binney says. "In my music, the rock feel might be even more prevalent than the swing feel, which is true of a lot of the music that the generation I came up with is creating."

Binney moved to New York City at the age of 19 where he was mentored by saxophonist Dave Liebman and played in the big bands of Gil Evans and Maria Schneider, as well as the smaller groups of Jim Hall, Bobby Previte and the Cecil McBee quintet. Binney was also a co-founder of the hard-edged quintet "Lost Tribe" and the open-form collective quartet "Lan Xang." With these groups and on his own, he has recorded a dozen albums as leader or co-leader.

Binney's alto saxophone sound is very warm and focused; his playing arsenal is full of long angular lines, expansive arpeggiations, and a strong rhythmic sense. Compositionally, Binney draws from various pan-American idioms, modern classical music, and pop. The music is laden with odd-metered rhythms that flow organically, rock beats, and rhythmic vamps that all support strong melodies. Binney states, "I think of the improvisations as the important thing here, and that’s how I conceived this record."

"Miami" is a tender ballad that is a fine example of Binney’s unobtrusive approach to composing. Binney says, "Something about it feels very relaxed to me. But this tune is also sad, with a longing sound, perhaps because my father was there before he passed away." There is a great feeling on this piece, which is heightened by the affective use of space and breath by all the players.

"New York City," as one would expect, is framed by a complex chord sequence and various odd time signatures. This is where Binney really is at home, navigating the terrain with a natural sense of style. Building upon a fine solo by pianist Craig Taborn, Binney develops a melodic motif through the chordal framework that builds to a flurried climax supported by the strong undercurrent of Thomas Morgan (bass) and Dan Weiss (drums).

If you like to underscore your world with the sounds of modern jazz, than David Binney’s new CD Cities and Desire will definitely be a great find. This collection of modern "musicscapes" from various cities around the world would be the perfect inspiration to go check out a new neighborhood in our ever evolving "one world" city.
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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (H. Allen Williams) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Thu, 11 May 2006 13:00:00 -0500