Scott Mastro - - Your Jazz Music Connection - - Your Jazz Music Connection Tue, 23 May 2017 00:49:33 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Breath of a Soul by Ellen Honert From the land of windmills and wooden shoes to the town where Tony Bennett left his heart all those oh-so-many-years ago, vocalist/recording artist, Ellen Honert, inject…

From the land of windmills and wooden shoes to the town where Tony Bennett left his heart all those oh-so-many-years ago, vocalist/recording artist, Ellen Honert, injects mortal coil into every note on Breath of a Soul, her first CD release on Mill Station Records, that, in a few short years, brought her across The Big Pond to fulfill musically-motivated passions here in these United-or-Otherwise States.

From a happy farmland childhood in eastern Holland, through early travels with her father including Iceland and Peru, while studying political science at the University of Amsterdam, Ms. Honert discovered jazz on a Sarah Vaughn cassette she "couldn’t put down." After a Tuck and Patti concert in her native land, Ellen flew to the redwoods of northern California and Jazz Camp West,, opening eyes and ears to new ways of listening and making music. Returning to the Netherlands, she made her way back to the US, giving us this, her first collection of songs.

Inspired by nature, music, love, animation, and Cirque de Soleil, the future is wide open to interpretation, but of all things certain and uncertain in the Universe, there are other compositions on the wind beneath Ellen Honert’s wings.

Blue (Honert / Martin - 6:24) Everything contains its opposite, the oyster, its transformed grain of sand, the cocoon, its butterfly, seasons serving one another, day into night, and night into Johnny-Mercer day. The bird knows not sometimes where it’s going to land when it leaves the perch, but if it never makes its airy journey, its soul will never mirror the being it seeks to reflect, never becoming what Gandhi meant when he said, "Be the change in the future you wish to see."

Life is What You Make It (Honert / Cathcart / Andress - 5:20) Fireflies metronome point and counterpoint, electrons and photons flick and spark, bursting and burning off the least ash leaving only the clear, silver lining on the in-side of the opposite and equal fascination of the rainbow’s rhapsodic colorations.

Spring (Honert / Martin - 6:03) A tisket, a tasket, love comes and goes. Tossing a coin in a fountain, take the pictures down and watch the horizon, remembering the good and letting the less than desirable go. Watch the plants along the park pathways for new growth and resonate the courage they unknowingly exude as long as they can, as honestly as they may. Bundle up for the rain, but don’t let it keep you inside. There’s a child pulling a kite and the sun is coming out again.

Two Lonely People (Honert / Martin - 4:00) If you break even, then you’re still ahead; you haven’t fallen behind, and you’re here to try again today. Love can die before we greet our final hours, but it isn’t love if it isn’t in the heart. Fear keeps us together, yet apart, and brings the end ever closer sooner than if we had another chance to make a house where hearts can live and thrive.

Someday (Duke - 5:02) Sacrifice in large doses is less than a satisfactory way to show a profit where passion and fulfillment have vested concerns and sometimes it’s best to stand a bit too close to the fire and let the heat engulf you than it is to head out in to the cold without a coat and hat.

Love Dance (Lins / Peranzetta / Williams - 7:49) Words run out sometimes, and the brain desires to let the body do the brunt of the work. You take a familiar path through an often-traveled forest and yet you’re surprised to see differences from morning to noonday and on into evening, moon to moon, and if you go there sometime ‘round midnight, you’ll see its fairytale inhabitants celebrating to music that is strange to your ear, but if you step from behind the shadowed tree, they will call you in and share the secrets that only creatures from their realm can appreciate and understand and you will add there experience to your repertoire of expression.

Hope (Honert / Martin - 5:20) Hope is not a plan of action, but without it we would never get out of bed, the blueprint on which we lay life-plans, it’s nightmare absence freezing us in our step, slipping by circumstance into an abyss that cannot be crawled from. Hope gone, life ceases mystery. Hope is the moral compass the hearts goes in search of.

If It’s Magic (Wonder - 4:20) The sorceress takes hypothesis, blends it with imagination, and with a puff of determined will, waving her wand, she conjures the necessary poetry transforming childish, whimsical notion into a new three-dimensional presence.

Got to Get You Into My Life (Lennon / McCartney - 4:20) The road winds, bends, encouraging us to drive on, to move forward in steady step, back straight, hands to the wheel, feet engaging to their equal, the inspiration necessary to the human soul.

Away (Honert / Martin - 5:47) There is a girl sitting in an Amsterdam restaurant, eating soup and bread, watching the rain, and one bird feeling the need to fly in such inclement weather, a message to deliver from Western Union. The words must be heard; indeed they will. She sops bowl with bread and heads out into the street as one train pulls in and another goes out.

Never Let Me Go (Evans / Livingston - 3:14) Forehead to forehead, eyes closed and given in to the release at the end of the day, a vow is spoken, and the request having been made, it flies out the window around the world over mountain and ocean and valley, down the narrow stone streets and up a river that takes everything out to sea, back to the room in which it was spoken, and in again of the very same hearts from which it ventured.

Inspiratie (van Dijk / van Dijk - 4:29) The heart in its own devices walks where it wishes with no intention to stand in its own way; the soul lives forever, coloring darkness with light that shines in shadow. Bridges line up, circles swirl higher, and it’s only for us to hold out our arms and fly, landing where we should, the heart knowing its own kind, there at the well-spring it will return to again and again, like salmon knowing the home from which they ever-roamed.

Brasilero, Barbara Streisand, bowstrings tied and untied again, the boat gone out and coming full-circle in the water than bends, curving as it goes, strains and saturations of each found here, waves lapping the vessel as it steers.

"Hallo, leuk je te zien," Ellen. Welcome to jazz's shores and the musical forest ahead!

]]> (Scott Mastro) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Mon, 10 Apr 2006 01:00:00 -0500
Quiet Kenny by Kenny Dorham Texas-born and on the piano by age seven -- in those 1920s when we named our children after presidents -- McKinley Howard Dorham honed his horn on ‘bop’ in the 1930s-40s…

Texas-born and on the piano by age seven -- in those 1920s when we named our children after presidents -- McKinley Howard Dorham honed his horn on ‘bop’ in the 1930s-40s-and-50s bands of Russell Jacquet, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Eckstine, Fats Navarro, Stan Getz, J.J. Johnson, Lou Donaldson, Horace Silver, as an original member of Art Blakey’s ‘Jazz Messengers’, Milt Jackson, Tadd Dameron, Phil Woods, Ernie Henry, Hank Mobly, Gil Melle, Matthew Gee, Herb Geller, Oscar Pettiford, Benny Golson, Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, John Coltrane, Randy Weston, Oliver Nelson, Sonny Rollins, Thelonius Monk, Lionel Hampton, Mercer Ellington, Max Roach, and Charlie Parker. He knocked fifteen years around New York as McKinley, then Kinny, and finally Kenny, briefly, with his own Jazz Prophets. On November 13, 1959, teeth well-cut and ready to bite off as much as he could chew, he hailed pianist, Tommy Flanagan, bassist, Paul Chambers, and drummer, Arthur Taylor, over the Hudson River to Van Gelder Studios in Englewood, New Jersey to transpire the songs on this session from ether to album, Quiet Kenny; where audiophiles debate the step or misstep of its title, six of one and half a dozen of the to-may-to-to-maw-to discussion, grip, grasp, and girth of jazz tone and temperament through time with all those other artists, Mr. Dorham steps from shadow to spotlight succinctly on this day, Gabriel-ing songs chosen for their sentimentality as well as their stage-proven effect on audiences nightly calling them out and coming back-stage to make a request of them.

Overshadowed much of his career by better-known trumpeters like Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, and Lee Morgan, Mr. Dorham’s soft, energetic, be-bop style and confident, smooth, lyrical playing influenced countless musicians, and he continued unceasingly to lead groups and work and record on his own and with others until kidney failure ended his life in 1972. Critics herald his best recordings as Whistle Stop, Una Mas, and Jazz Contemporary, however it is this album, Quiet Kenny, that brings him out from sideman to front and center to stand alongside those he’d replaced in others’ bands, a horn player with his own style and tone, to which we can now relish in on this Concord re-issue.

On "Lotus Blossom" (Dorham - 4:36) a drum comes a-knocking, rattling a rail, and an oriental piano trains a track on which Mr. Dorham’s trumpet rides the main car, dinner, drinks, smokes, and witty conversation going ‘round, gossip and topics of social concern, smatterings of plans ahead. "My Ideal" (Robin/Chase/Whiting - 5:04) is sweet and soft to the touch, the line of a women’s neck and shoulder, that whisper that turns your head and makes you smile, her fingers on your forearm and longing to stay in bed all day long. "Blue Friday" (Dorham - 8:45) is all-week-waited and things coming to a change of plans, that drink alone. You’ve got ‘the fever’, but you’re gal is gone. You pay up and know it all goes on, and with or without, at least you’ve got ‘jazz’ to fill your soul, maybe another honey already high-heeling your way, just up the street, in the next club, maybe right at the end of this song. Now that the slow dance has ended, the piano player on "Alone Together" (Schwartz/Dietz - 3:09) lowers his head and there’s nothing left but looking in each other’s eyes.... and a kiss that takes you to the other side. "Blue Spring Shuffle" (Dorham - 7:34) is cool, fragrant flowers struttin’ their swing as you walk by, hopeful the season and the day will be a good one, and it will.... it will. On "I Had the Craziest Dream" (Warren/Gordon- 4:38), your mind wanders, but always comes back to her and everything about her, the way she stands, the way she walks and comes through the door, the smile she gives and that look that knocks you out so you can’t do anything but put her lips on yours, closing your eyes and feeling that timeless urge for two to become one forever. "Old Folks" (Hill/Robison - 5:11) finds us Sunday dinnering and sitting on the porch stoop, silent, rocking, nodding to passersby, how the week’ll go or rather not, leaving that thought for the morning and the resting of your eyes in an end-of-the-week daydream. Finishing out the journey, "Mack the Knife" (Weill/Brecht- 3:02) offers blood and severed flesh in swing-time revel, a bounce to butcher a living, unregrettably unremorseful and happy to perform the deed, as any good craftsman would be.

Following his bliss, McKinley Howard Dorham gave us this first of his own musical intentions, and though he never became a household name, his horn and tone are there with Davis and Gillespie, as strong and proud and entertaining as anyone’s, its width and depth as broad and deep as the Hudson River crossed to lay these songs down, a bridge as lasting as the Fort Lee from Manhattan to Jersey, his talents fording from jazz-sessioner to center stage.

Quiet Kenny, hear him shout.

]]> (Scott Mastro) BeBop / Hard Bop - CD Reviews Fri, 07 Apr 2006 07:00:00 -0500
Spin This by Karen Blixt West Coast Jazz had its own sound before Ronald Reagan wore diapers or kissed a monkey, back to about when Ullyses S. Grant nearly gave the-entire-country-and-everything…

West Coast Jazz had its own sound before Ronald Reagan wore diapers or kissed a monkey, back to about when Ullyses S. Grant nearly gave the-entire-country-and-everything-in-it to his friends-and-otherwise-Mickey-Mouse-business-associates already running it, time-before Tom Scott and L.A.Express first rolled up the coast, inland and outward to mountain and desert, the likes of Paul McCandless and Paul Winter’s wolf moving mist across John Hedges’s little, white, pick-up truck’s windshield whirring down the ocean highway, that perfect wave-crashing-on-rock West Coast Om-Tone-in-a-Chinese-Vase epitomized in the banging chord of Pat Metheny’s "San Lorenzo."

On Spin This, Karen Blixt’s fresh-woman, California outing, Ms. Blixt keeps all avenues of motion open, taking the Jazz Train further and farther down the vocal line. She ‘comes-on-all-Ella’, on Spin’s Count-Basie opening, "Swingin’ the Blues," and to the steam-ship Hammond B-3 of Joey DeFrancesco, Ms. Blixt scats, Bruce Forman’s fingers Rjango-ing the guitar strings, Will Kennedy and Alex Acuna laying out a shuffle of saucy, side-walkers going where they will.

Comes a run then of two Rogers & Hammerstein songs, "Carefully Taught," jumping its rhythms from light to dark, even back-peddling to "Bali Hai" West Coast, and The Sound of Music’s "My Favorite Things" brought to bright Adult Contemporary through dreams of Paula-Abdul-as-a-young-girl, a touch of Judy Garland salsa-seasoned, and timbales of Barry Manilow’s "Lola," the vocal hinting Karen’s heard a Dinah Shore song somewhere.

Out of the chill from solo, boulevard stroll, Arnold/Walker’s "You Don’t Know Me" lazes into the lounge and orders a vermouth with nothing to chase it, save headlights and neon signs, naked ice cubes clinging to one another, Harry Connicking between vibes and Hammond into an early-morning, mournful sunrise. Cole Porter’s "Night and Day" gets the garden free and the thorn at no extra charge, a pull and push, asleep and awake, above, all around, even in the refrigerator and halls of Sheldon Brown’s bass clarinet, above Joe Herbert’s cello, below Paul McCandless’s English horn. Frank Martin ‘Grusin’s’ the mood and Alex Acuna bangs a garbage can lid and anything lying around until the vocal slips back like hot air from the Mojave Desert, rising on the cello, reaching for San Lorenzo, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Big Sur, San Diego and all points between, Brazilian Mardi Gras drums taking us down the street and around the corner.

But, our wound’s wide open on Spin This’s self-titled first original, distilled-legal-pad-margin notes from a well-orchestrated White House press briefing. Judas kiss this: "A double-speak addiction makes you dizzy, leaves you dim, and you’ll go down in history as a puppet of spin,

Spin This deserves a listen for rap-sample and ‘Snoop-Dogged’ delivery. Monk/Ferro’s "It’s Over Now (Well You Needn’t)" grunts and snorts like an ant-eater trying to kick start a vacuum cleaner and keeps a funky, snake-charm feel where the snake is charming the charmer. A camel comes with a saxophone and Ms. Blixt walks it to market, and after some bartering back and forth, sneaks off to a room at the top of hidden, side-street stairs, banging the door fast behind her.

"Now It’s Over," a nineteen second animal sound byte is geckos scattering from an elephant on a clarinet. Tuxedo-ing up and wheeling to the Vegas Sands, we steer onstage, liquor/condiment-cart complete with the ghosts of Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr., The Chairman of the Board, and the dark-haired, handsomely swaggering Dean Martin in the hailing shape and hearty form of Joey DeFrancseco for "When You’re Smiling" and Lawrence Welk sneaks into the main room when Joey slip-slides the Hammond B-3.

Natural colors of California’s north country shade "Kitchen Blue," a Blixt/Martin penning, trio-ed like spring air, warm sun, and blue sky with Russell Ferrante’s piano, Darek Oles' acoustic bass, and Will Kennedy’s drums.

Miles Davis’ "Four" bops like Joni Mitchell on her cover of Ross & Greg’s "Twisited" off 1973’s Court and Spark. Karen boards a train at Capitol Records on Sunset Boulevard, pulls down all the shades, and flicks the torch-singer’s flame on Jimmy Van Heusen’s and Johnny Mercer’s "I Thought About You," Buddy Montgomery’s lone piano pulling her down a lonely track, the ghost of Susanna McCorkle sitting on Tom Waits' keyboard stool. We’re airborne on an oboe of Paul McCandless for the album’s farewell, "Something So True," a second Blixt/Martin song, celebrating a rebirth of sunlight and courage for one more day of love and laughter, two medicines of which this weary, wobbling world can right now use a measured dose in double. As we make to blow up everything and turn neighbor against neighbor, Karen keeps a civilized and seasonally-charmed demeanor, a California characteristic for re-inventing forever, summer all year long, the glint of hope ours is not the generation to pulverize all that is wonderful back to grey dust and cosmic debris.

]]> (Scott Mastro) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Thu, 30 Mar 2006 18:00:00 -0600