John Vincent Barron - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://www.jazzreview.com Tue, 23 May 2017 20:08:40 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb All Wrapped Up by Jared Gold http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/all-wrapped-up-by-jared-gold.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/all-wrapped-up-by-jared-gold.html New York-based organist Jared Gold leads a no-nonsense set of original progressive jazz compositions on All Wrapped Up, his fourth release for Posi Tone Records. Along with a trio of acclaimed sidemen—tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen, trumpeter Jim Rotundi and drummer Quincy Davis—Gold draws deep into the well of organ-led jazz, preserving the styles of some of the genre's more intricate pioneers, particularly Don Patterson and Larry Young.The disc's high flying opener, "My Sentiments Exactly," features a twisting melody, deftly pronounced by Gold, Bowen and Rotundi. All three soloists careen through the tunes' clever changes and boisterous bebop tempo. The angular…
New York-based organist Jared Gold leads a no-nonsense set of original progressive jazz compositions on All Wrapped Up, his fourth release for Posi Tone Records. Along with a trio of acclaimed sidemen—tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen, trumpeter Jim Rotundi and drummer Quincy Davis—Gold draws deep into the well of organ-led jazz, preserving the styles of some of the genre's more intricate pioneers, particularly Don Patterson and Larry Young.The disc's high flying opener, "My Sentiments Exactly," features a twisting melody, deftly pronounced by Gold, Bowen and Rotundi. All three soloists careen through the tunes' clever changes and boisterous bebop tempo. The angular stride and soulful bounce of "Get out of My Sandbox" inspires swinging rounds by all. Here, Gold stands out with his hard-driving, aggressive approach.

The medium-tempo groove of "Piece of Mine," along with the melding of Afro Cuban and swing on "Midnight Snack" entice both Beldin and Rotundi into displays of technical brilliance. There's a noticeable difference in musical personalities between the two that leads to interesting and welcomed contrasts. Rotundi's lyrical, hard bop phrasing fits like a glove over the walking ballad "Dark Blue," while Bowen's take-no-prisoners approach adds a layer of thickness to the funky "Mama Said."

Gold masterfully manipulates the organ's draw bars to enhance clustered harmonic textures on his moody ballad "Saudades," a compositional highlight featuring colorful percussive strokes from Davis. "Just a Suggestion," a tune with a spirited contemporary gospel vibe, closes the session with a slightly more greasy side to Gold's capacity and blistering lines from Bowen.

All Wrapped Up is a first-rate affair, combining tradition with a spirit of adventure.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (John Vincent Barron) Progressive - CD Reviews Fri, 03 Jun 2011 19:05:22 -0500
Slipstream by Noah Haidu http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/slipstream-by-noah-haidu.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/bebop-hard-bop-cd-reviews/slipstream-by-noah-haidu.html Pianist Noah Haidu composes and plays with a genuine approach to blending the sounds of hard-bop, soul and Latin-tinged jazz. Slipstream, his debut release for Posi-Tone records, effortlessly melds varying styles into an accessible mix of sleek melodic themes and contagious rhythms. Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon make up the front-line of the quintet, capturing seven of Haidu's original pieces and a swinging piano trio version of Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things."
Pianist Noah Haidu composes and plays with a genuine approach to blending the sounds of hard-bop, soul and Latin-tinged jazz. Slipstream, his debut release for Posi-Tone records, effortlessly melds varying styles into an accessible mix of sleek melodic themes and contagious rhythms. Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon make up the front-line of the quintet, capturing seven of Haidu's original pieces and a swinging piano trio version of Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things."

Haidu demonstrates an abundance of chops, at times harkening the fluidity of Chick Corea and the rhythmic incessancy of Horace Silver. His solo lines on the simmering title track and the buoyant waltz of "Floating" are indicators of a pianist with a firm grasp of the instrument's history, especially that of the last half of the 20th century. A light touch, full of intensity, can be felt on the mellow, R & B-flavored "Take Your Time."

The wild ride of "Break Tune," traversing the landscape of funk and free-jazz, features inspired blowing from Pelt and Irabagon, who trade back forth with heightened awareness. Other disc highlights include the radio friendly groove and catchy melody of "Soulstep" and the closing "The Trouble Makers," featuring the hard driving swinging pulse of drummer John Davis and bassist Chris Haney.

Slipstream is a welcome addition to the Posi-Tone catalogue. With the right combination of first-rate players and above-average material, Haidu has the potential for widespread appeal.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (John Vincent Barron) BeBop / Hard Bop - CD Reviews Tue, 22 Mar 2011 01:00:00 -0500
Imaginary Sketches by Chad McCullough & Bram Weijters http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/imaginary-sketches-by-chad-mccullough-bram-weijters.html?-bram-weijters= http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/imaginary-sketches-by-chad-mccullough-bram-weijters.html?-bram-weijters= Adding to his growing body of work for Seattle's Origin Records, trumpeter Chad McCullough teams up with Belgian pianist Bram Weijters for Imaginary Sketches, a compelling set of original compositions, full of lyricism and harmonic delight. Along with bassist Chuck Deardorf and drummer John Bishop, the works as a showcase for thoughtful improvising and subtle, yet convincing compositional ideas. McCullough and Weijters are a fitting pair as both build upon a strong technical foundation to develo
Adding to his growing body of work for Seattle's Origin Records, trumpeter Chad McCullough teams up with Belgian pianist Bram Weijters for Imaginary Sketches, a compelling set of original compositions, full of lyricism and harmonic delight. Along with bassist Chuck Deardorf and drummer John Bishop, the works as a showcase for thoughtful improvising and subtle, yet convincing compositional ideas.

McCullough and Weijters are a fitting pair as both build upon a strong technical foundation to develop finely phrased lines, shifting shape to accommodate the session's varied moods. A slow, at times brooding pace permeates much of the proceedings, creating a wide expanse of solo space for trumpet, piano, and bass—Deadorf is prominently featured throughout. Weijters' "Burning Question," "Another Dark Ballad" and "Restless," as well as McCullough's "Imaginary Folk Song" and "Late Night, Long Drive" are all examples of the disc's contemplative nature.

Standing in stark contrast is the overt funk of "Free as Poetry" and burning swing of "Speeding," featuring some of the disc's most exemplary blowing, including that of Bishop who lets loose over an ostinato vamp on the tune's tail end.

Imaginary Sketches is one of those hard-to-categorize works; perhaps best described as intriguing. The vitality put forth by McCullough and Weijters makes this disc worthy of multiple listens.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (John Vincent Barron) Progressive - CD Reviews Mon, 21 Mar 2011 19:00:00 -0500
All Things Must Converge by Al Garcia http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/all-things-must-converge-by-al-garcia.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/all-things-must-converge-by-al-garcia.html The Captain Black Big Band, led by pianist Orrin Evans, is a high-intensity, swinging affair featuring a number of top soloists from the jazz scenes of New York and Philadelphia. Recorded during three different live performances in 2010, the group features a rotating cast of thirty-eight musicians over seven tracks. Despite the lack of a cohesive unit, the disc maintains stunning consistency with undeniable spirit and musical drive. From the opening "Art of War," a blistering, boppish piece feat
The Captain Black Big Band, led by pianist Orrin Evans, is a high-intensity, swinging affair featuring a number of top soloists from the jazz scenes of New York and Philadelphia. Recorded during three different live performances in 2010, the group features a rotating cast of thirty-eight musicians over seven tracks. Despite the lack of a cohesive unit, the disc maintains stunning consistency with undeniable spirit and musical drive.

From the opening "Art of War," a blistering, boppish piece featuring a jaw-dropping solo by alto saxophonist Rob Landham, the bands tight ensemble passages and intuitive use of dynamics creates an unrelenting high-energy vibe. The band is propelled by lead trumpeter Walter White, who, as a soloist, navigates through the up-tempo maze of Evans' "Big Jimmy" with strength and cleverness. Veteran saxophonist Ralph Bowen follows White on "Big Jimmy" with flowing soprano lines.

Evans contributes as a composer on four tracks and arranger on the closing "Jena 6," a Mingus-like anthem-of-a-piece with an impressive opening piano cadenza by Neal Podgurski and other-worldly, emotive wailing from alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw. The presence of Podgurski and pianist Jim Holton on the title track allows Evans the freedom to leave the piano bench and take on a director's role. Perhaps the ability to stand out in front of the band and keep all involved motivated is the key to Evans' success. The results here are fresh, forward thinking and a cut above the typical big band fare.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (John Vincent Barron) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Sun, 20 Mar 2011 13:00:00 -0500
Backatcha! by Walter Beasley http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/backatcha-by-walter-beasley.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/backatcha-by-walter-beasley.html Acclaimed vocalist Gretchen Parlato presents an ambitious follow-up to 2009's In a Dream with The Lost and Found, a smorgasbord of vocal jazz styling over a diverse set of tracks. Along with associate producer Robert Glasper, Parlato reaches far and wide with the aid of a first rate band. Pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott create ultra-hip grooves while maintaining a sensitive rapport with Parlato's soft-spoken approach. Bassist Alan Hampton—who does a convin
Acclaimed vocalist Gretchen Parlato presents an ambitious follow-up to 2009's In a Dream with The Lost and Found, a smorgasbord of vocal jazz styling over a diverse set of tracks. Along with associate producer Robert Glasper, Parlato reaches far and wide with the aid of a first rate band. Pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott create ultra-hip grooves while maintaining a sensitive rapport with Parlato's soft-spoken approach. Bassist Alan Hampton—who does a convincing turn on acoustic guitar and background vocals on "Still"—and saxophonist Dayna Stephens add to the disc's contemporary flair.

along with pop covers such as Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years" and Mary J. Blige's "All That I Can Say," The fifteen track disc includes a handful of impressive Parlato originals, most notably the sensual, R & B flavored "Better Than," with light-as-air phrasing and hypnotic syncopated rim shots from Scott. A fondness for Brazilian music is heard on a cover of Paulinho's "Alo Alo," with a dance-like vocal line over multiple percussion parts, all performed by Parlato. Wayne Shorter's classic jazz waltz "Juju" stands out strong with Parlato's original lyrics and Stephens' soaring tenor sax.

An in demand artist, having recorded with the likes of Terence Blanchard and Esperanza Spalding, Parlato is on her way to becoming a mainstay in the field of jazz vocalists. The Lost and Found is sure to add to her growing allure.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (John Vincent Barron) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Sun, 20 Mar 2011 01:00:00 -0500
Looking Up by Mill City Trio http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/looking-up-by-mill-city-trio.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/looking-up-by-mill-city-trio.html The Massachusetts-based Mill City Trio stirs up a quiet brand of intensity on Looking Up, with the somewhat unusual instrumentation of drums and two guitars. Drummer Anthony D'Anna provides a delicate, yet driving foundation for guitarists Jamie Dunphy and Greg Passler who display a like-minded approach to jazz guitar. Exchanging solo lines full of quick wit and swinging exuberance, the two revive the spirit of celebrated guitar duo outings with the likes Herb Ellis and Joe Pass on original piec

The Massachusetts-based Mill City Trio stirs up a quiet brand of intensity on Looking Up, with the somewhat unusual instrumentation of drums and two guitars. Drummer Anthony D'Anna provides a delicate, yet driving foundation for guitarists Jamie Dunphy and Greg Passler who display a like-minded approach to jazz guitar.

Exchanging solo lines full of quick wit and swinging exuberance, the two revive the spirit of celebrated guitar duo outings with the likes Herb Ellis and Joe Pass on original pieces such as "What to Do If You Miss the Rapture" and "125th and Amsterdam." Guitaristic-voicings and arpeggios make for unique flavors on the bluesy "Hevilo," and the straight pulse of "Come Up For Air." When Passler takes up the electric bass on "Looks Like Rain," Dunphy digs in to a punchy Kenny Burrell vibe. The switch to acoustic guitars helps create a Spanish flavor on "Whirlpool." The soloing is technically proficient throughout without being over indulgent.

With an all original set of tunes, including Dunphy's arrangement of a traditional Korean melody, Mill City Trio succeeds at being both inventive and accessible with a mellow sound, heavy on lyricism. The listener-friendly grooves, spurred by D'Anna's skillful brush work encourage rapt attention and repeated listening.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (John Vincent Barron) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Fri, 18 Mar 2011 07:00:00 -0500
G.R.A.S.S. On Fire by G.R.A.S.S. http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/world-music-cd-reviews/g.r.a.s.s.-on-fire-by-g.r.a.s.s.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/world-music-cd-reviews/g.r.a.s.s.-on-fire-by-g.r.a.s.s.html Featuring a stellar cast of Brooklyn-based musicians, G.R.A.S.S.—the Gowanus Reggae and Ska Society—take on the challenge of reworking the classic sounds of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Their self produced release, G.R.A.S.S. on Fire brings an instrumental, jazz leaning perspective to Marley's 1973 major label debut Catch a Fire. Although void of lyrical content, the ensemble, led by electric bassist J.A. Granelli and keyboardist Nate Shaw, captures the essence of Marley's politically charged mes
Featuring a stellar cast of Brooklyn-based musicians, G.R.A.S.S.—the Gowanus Reggae and Ska Society—take on the challenge of reworking the classic sounds of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Their self produced release, G.R.A.S.S. on Fire brings an instrumental, jazz leaning perspective to Marley's 1973 major label debut Catch a Fire.

Although void of lyrical content, the ensemble, led by electric bassist J.A. Granelli and keyboardist Nate Shaw, captures the essence of Marley's politically charged message. Trombonist Mark Miller puts forth strong lyricism on the opening "Concrete Jungle," as do saxophonists Ohad Talmor and Paul Carlon in tight harmony on "Slave Driver." The three horn men get into a New Orleans-type mood toward the end of "Stop That Train."

A disc highlight occurs in the middle of "400 Years," with a free-form, high-speed chase featuring guest saxophonist Michael Blake. Other memorable moments come from special guest David Barnes as he kicks up a flurry of excitement with his harmonica on "Baby We've Got a Date" and the household Marley anthem "Stir it Up."

Positive vibes abound from this one-of-a-kind society of kindred spirits. Liberties are taken without sacrificing an ounce of groove. If anything, the results showcase the timeless spirit of Marley's music.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (John Vincent Barron) World Music - CD Reviews Thu, 17 Mar 2011 07:00:00 -0500
Inner Flights by Benjamin Drazen http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/inner-flights-by-benjamin-drazen.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/inner-flights-by-benjamin-drazen.html New York saxophonist Benjamin Drazen doesn't waste any time letting a listener know what his musical intent is all about. From the opening moments of Inner Flights, his debut release as a leader, the fiery alto and soprano saxophonist swings unrepentantly with blistering lines and a bold, Jackie McLean-inspired sounds. Along with a high-energy rhythm section, Drazen delivers a sturdy set of his straight-ahead originals and a couple of standards. At ease with fast tempos, Drazen careens effortles
New York saxophonist Benjamin Drazen doesn't waste any time letting a listener know what his musical intent is all about. From the opening moments of Inner Flights, his debut release as a leader, the fiery alto and soprano saxophonist swings unrepentantly with blistering lines and a bold, Jackie McLean-inspired sounds. Along with a high-energy rhythm section, Drazen delivers a sturdy set of his straight-ahead originals and a couple of standards.

At ease with fast tempos, Drazen careens effortlessly through the opening "Mr. Twilight" and "This is New." The disc has a more reflective side, however, with the brooding "Prayer for Brothers Gone" and "Neeney's Waltz," showcasing the saxophonist's ability to shape ideas while still emphasizing bebop ornamentation. The Coltrane-leaning title track has a muscular, modal groove with Drazen going for broke on the soprano and pianist Jon Davis lending heavy-handed comping.

Davis proves an inventive soloist with a firm grasp of jazz piano history, as evidenced on "Monkish." Bassist Carlo De Rosa and drummer Eric McPherson keep things crisp and lively throughout. The two are let loose to explore on the mood shifting "Jazz Heaven."

As a composer and soloist, Drazen has a lot to offer. Inner Flights is an enticing look into his unique creativity.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (John Vincent Barron) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Wed, 16 Mar 2011 19:00:00 -0500
Leaps of Faith by Cuong Vu 4-tet http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/leaps-of-faith-by-cuong-vu-4-tet.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/leaps-of-faith-by-cuong-vu-4-tet.html It's a bold endeavor to believe you can invoke freshness and vitality into thinly worn standards like "Body and Soul," "All the Things You Are" and "My Funny Valentine." Trumpeter Cuong Vu meets the challenge head-on with imaginative results on Leaps of Faith, a quartet outing with wide-open improvisatory exploration, melding consonant lyricism with chaotic tumult. Vu, a Seattle-based musician who has worked with a host of renowned musical personalities, such as guitarist Pat Metheny, stands out
It's a bold endeavor to believe you can invoke freshness and vitality into thinly worn standards like "Body and Soul," "All the Things You Are" and "My Funny Valentine." Trumpeter Cuong Vu meets the challenge head-on with imaginative results on Leaps of Faith, a quartet outing with wide-open improvisatory exploration, melding consonant lyricism with chaotic tumult.

Vu, a Seattle-based musician who has worked with a host of renowned musical personalities, such as guitarist Pat Metheny, stands out as a voice of reason among the intentional chaotic buildup from drums and dual electric bass. His emphasis on tone and delivery of a clear-cut theme, whether that of a standard or one of his own, such as "Child-Like," creates stand-still moments and sets up majestic climaxes. The trumpeter's tranquil rendering of George Harrison's "Something" is a disc highlight.

Electric bassists Luke Bergman and Stomu Takeishi conspire to create a multitude of effects-driven sound clusters, at times embracing the expected role of bottom-end provider, and at times completely eschewing it, building up sonic tension with drummer Ted Poor. This unique pairing works exceptionally well on the title track, a playful experiment on John Coltrane's "Giant Steps." As the two play off of each other, distinguishing each bass part from the left and right channels makes for interesting listening, although information regarding channel separation details isn't available.

Leaps of Faith is a musical paradox, conveying stillness and serenity through blatant expressions of noise. The results are brilliant.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (John Vincent Barron) Progressive - CD Reviews Wed, 16 Mar 2011 01:00:00 -0500
Mad Heaven by Peter Eldridge http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/mad-heaven-by-peter-eldridge.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/mad-heaven-by-peter-eldridge.html Vocalist/pianist Peter Eldridge, perhaps best known for his work with the Grammy winning New York Voices, delivers a Latin-inspired collection of sleek songwriting with Mad Heaven, his first venture for Palmetto Records. Following in the footsteps of his critically acclaimed, self-produced 2005 release Decorum, Eldridge offers up sophisticated arrangements and clever, personalized lyrics, accompanied by a top notch crew of jazz sidemen. Eldridge's music finds comfort in a variety of Brazilian gr
Vocalist/pianist Peter Eldridge, perhaps best known for his work with the Grammy winning New York Voices, delivers a Latin-inspired collection of sleek songwriting with Mad Heaven, his first venture for Palmetto Records. Following in the footsteps of his critically acclaimed, self-produced 2005 release Decorum, Eldridge offers up sophisticated arrangements and clever, personalized lyrics, accompanied by a top notch crew of jazz sidemen.

Eldridge's music finds comfort in a variety of Brazilian grooves, incorporating highly-syncopated rhythms into his melodies, allowing for his prose to unfold quite naturally without an over-reliance on predictable verse-chorus formulas. The grey area of relationships, filled with ups-and-downs and mixed emotions seem to be the focus of Eldridge's preferred subject matter. His tales are most convincing on the propulsive title track, the lush "No Tomorrow" and the hopeful samba "Warm December," featuring powerful background vocals and fine tenor saxophone work from Darmon Meader."

Another tenor saxophonist, the multi-faceted Joel Frahm, is a welcome solo voice on a handful of tracks, including "Betty's Bossa (Chamego)," a stand-out track with infectious wordless vocalizing. The rhythm team of drummer Ben Wittman and bassist Tim LeFebvre are rock-solid throughout. Wittman demonstrates ultra-sensitivity accompanying Eldridge through the opening of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Someone to Light Up My Life."

Mad Heaven showcases Eldridge as a major player in vocal jazz, revealing an artist of extraordinary depth and conviction.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (John Vincent Barron) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Sun, 13 Mar 2011 19:00:00 -0500