Suzi Price - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://www.jazzreview.com Mon, 22 May 2017 18:23:20 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Laura Fernandez: Un Solo Beso http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/laura-fernandez-un-solo-beso.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/laura-fernandez-un-solo-beso.html Laura Fernandez: Un Solo Beso
Toronto-based Laura Fernandez writes music from the heart, a natural expression of her highly artistic nature and obvious compassionate feeling for music that emanates through each of her songs. As a singer, songwriter and pianist, Laura paints her emotions with colorful notes, lyrical hues and artful dimensions, a medium that comes naturally to this talented and gifted artist.

Toronto-based Laura Fernandez writes music from the heart, a natural expression of her highly artistic nature and obvious compassionate feeling for music that emanates through each of her songs. As a singer, songwriter and pianist, Laura paints her emotions with colorful notes, lyrical hues and artful dimensions, a medium that comes naturally to this talented and gifted artist.

Born in Madrid, Spain and raised in Switzerland and Canada, Laura Fernandez began a successful career in commercial illustration and design after graduating with honors from the Alberta College of Art. Her illustrations include commissioned work for prestigious companies such as Estée Lauder, Coca-Cola and Microsoft, to name a few...and some of her commissioned portraits hang with the permanent collection of works at the Royal Geographic Society in London. All this, including her extensive illustrations in children's book, have resulted in honorable accolades, medals and awards for her excellent artwork both internationally and in the U.S. Quite impressive!

So why does an extremely successful, commercial artist turn the corner and transition into becoming a singer/pianist/songwriter/recording artist, plus producing and hosting Café Latino on Toronto's JazzFM91? "Painting, and especially illustrating for 25 years, had become limiting for me," says Laura, "and wasn't answering all my creative questions."

The fact is, Laura Fernandez is an explosive ball of creativity energy in every respect, having previously completed piano studies at The Royal Conservatory of Music. "Music has become a voyage of self-discovery for me. There are no rules here, and this is exciting and liberating for me," she says. "I love the social aspects of making music, and the fact that it is a more direct route to the heart than painting."

With that emotional and creative philosophy, Laura plunged head first into the music world, performing concerts & touring extensively in New York, Canada and Cuba. Now with the release of her second CD, Un Solo Beso, Laura Fernandez lays claim to a very successful musical career that reaches beyond the basics of creativity, into a world of media, major festivals, tours, philanthropic organization endeavors, even to sitting on the Board of Directors for the Association of Artists for a Better World. This is one busy lady.

Un Solo Beso is a palette of musical diversity sung in Laura's native tongue, celebrating the underlying emotion of her most treasured birthright and experiences. Sharing the joy of such a compilation, Laura relishes her association with Billy Bryans (Toronto's leading Latin promoters/co-leader and percussionists of the band, The Parachute Club), plus the outstanding lineup of many musicians on the CD that share Laura's Spanish heritage. Ten tracks express a wide spectrum of Latin American styles, plus a couple of pop-folk songs thrown into the mix, widening the approval of a diverse audience of listeners.

The CD starts off with a bang... the very, very, sexy and rhythmic "Mi Amor," which just happens to be my favorite song of the album. Laura's vocals are enticing and so simpatico with the musicians on this cut, especially the trumpet of Alexis Baro who blows the doors open with his customized P maureat trumpet and Hilario Duran on keyboards, both who appear on"Mia Amor" and the smooth, intriguing title track "Un Solo Beso." Both songs have a defining depth and real jazz flavor that have me shouting bravo! Another intricate interplay is track six "Inolvidable," a slow, beautiful bolero, the only cover song on the album. Here we hear Elmer Ferrer with a fantastic guitar solo and again the outstanding Baro on trumpet, Luis Deniz on alto sax and Frank Duran on drums. Sheer heaven!

Laura Fernandez wraps up Un Solo Beso with the lamenting and beautiful "La Barca." You can hear the emotion as she sings...even envision a tear with the ethereal moment of a long remembered special person from a time gone by. Even without understanding Spanish, Laura's vocals transcend language with poignant sensitivity. I especially love the accompaniment of just piano and guitar backing Laura's vocals on this cut, lending a very soft, reflective sentiment to the song.

While I believe two of the song selections did not seem to fit the ebb and flow of this fine CD, Laura explains her philosophy regarding her play list. "We wanted to give every song its own personality. Instead of focusing on a record that would sound the same, I made a record that has a variety of characters. I don't stick to convention in my life, so why should I in music? I have to write what I feel inside and I also want to reach out and bring people and elements together." So that explains it. Laura is a unique, creative artist that writes songs, plays and sings as she feels it, whether it be soft rock, folk, pop, or Latin jazz. And as a song writer, Laura displays her passion, experiences and soul to all who will listen.

All lyrics and songs on the CD are Laura's with the exception of "Inolvidable" lyrics and music by Julio Gutiérrez; "Oue Linda es La Noche" music by CD guitarist Noah Zacharin; Red Red Bird lyrics and music by Noah Zacharin.

Un Solo Beso can be purchased through CDbaby.com and Itunes.com, and you can hear excellent tracks from the album on youtube.com...a fine listen of a remarkably talented artist and CD.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Suzi Price) Latin Jazz / Latin Funk - CD Reviews Sun, 23 Oct 2011 20:38:51 -0500
Rick Braun Sings with Strings http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/rick-braun-sings-with-strings.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/rick-braun-sings-with-strings.html Rick Braun Sings with Strings
When you’re a music editor, you sit with a pile of advanced CDs you’ve received from labels or individual artists and play them one by one. Some never make it through the second song, but then there are those you play over and over again,and you place them in the most prominent spot in your CD library. One of these A-1 CDs is Rick Braun’s 2011 “Rick Braun Sings with String,” from Mack Avenue Records.

When you’re a music editor, you sit with a pile of advanced CDs you’ve received from labels or individual artists and play them one by one. Some never make it through the second song, but then there are those you play over and over again, and place in the most prominent spot in your CD library. One of these A-1 CDs is Rick Braun’s 2011 “Rick Braun Sings with String,” from Mack Avenue Records.

It takes a huge effort to produce such a glorious album. From musicians, producers, orchestrators, arrangers, conductors, preparationers, engineers, technicians, A&R consultants, mixers, masterers, photographers, art and creative directors & designers, management, booking agencies, legal reps, studios and production…the list is mind-boggling, but the results in this case are outstanding.

Rick Braun singing, and with strings no less? Well, when you combine Braun’s stellar flugelhorn & trumpet playing with his surprising vocal lyricism, one can hardly resist. The fact is, in addition to his rich trumpet playing, Braun is an excellent singer (backing Rod Steward and Sade among others), something he has been doing most of his life.

Let’s begin with the superb dream team of musicians that lends to the stunning artistry of Rick Braun that turns this album into a prize winner: Joe LaBarbera drums, David Finck acoustic bass, Dean Parks guitar, Philippe Saisse acoustic piano, vibes, percussions, Jasmine Roy vocals (Plus Je T’embrasse), Johan Renard violin solo (Plus Je T’embrasse) and remote string recording sessions produced by orchestra.net with conductor Adam Klemens.

Then there is song selection. This isn’t common fair. Selecting songs and arranging their order is a magical gift in allowing the proper ebb and flow of an album. Though some songs on this CD will be familiar to the listener, like “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” and “I Thought About You,” others songs on this CD test the knowledge of the listener. You will find intimate soundtracks and lush themes by notables Michel Legrand, Leonard Bernstein, Jimmy McHugh, Jules Styne, Frank Loesser and Jack Reardon. None could be more grand.

“This album,” says Rick, “feels a lot like coming home. I grew up listening to my mom, who was a singer and piano player. She was one of those people who knew every part of a song – the verse, the chorus, the refrain, all the lyrics.” This is an essential art, especially for a musician. Knowing the lyrics allows a musician to fully recognize the original feel and intent of a song, thus lending the proper intensity or lightness to the melody. On “Rick Braun Sings with Strings,” Braun manages to strike quite a lyrical balance between his flugelhorn and timely vocal phrasing, allowing the beautiful heart of the lyrics to shine through.

Rick also stresses his respect of the minimalist approach in telling the story of a song. “I’m much more of an inside player, and my inspirations are minimalist players, like Chet and Miles Davis,” says Rick. Like Miles once said, “The notes that one doesn’t play are as important – maybe even more so – than the notes one does play.”  

So, when you think back to other jazz greats whom have successfully bridged the instrument/vocal gap very successfully, it’s not hard to imagine Braun holding the traditions of jazz to their fullest with this outstanding work of art. Highly recommended.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Suzi Price) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Wed, 12 Oct 2011 18:33:15 -0500
Mano A Mano by Michel Camilo http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/mano-a-mano-by-michel-camilo.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/mano-a-mano-by-michel-camilo.html Nine years ago, I coined him as “The Impeccable Michel Camilo.” Impeccable still holds true today, but with the release of his 2011 Decca/EmArcy (Universal Music Group) CD, Mano a Mano, I hear so much more. There is a maturity of a road well-traveled, an elegance of soul, and majesty of spirit within Camilo’s music and performance. When you listen, you understand this is a man who has reached the pinnacle of musical excellence.

Nine years ago, I coined him as "The Impeccable Michel Camilo." Impeccable still holds true today, but with the release of his 2011 Decca/EmArcy (Universal Music Group) CD, Mano a Mano, I hear so much more. There is a maturity of a road well-traveled, an elegance of soul, and majesty of spirit within Camilo's music and performance. When you listen, you understand this is a man who has reached the pinnacle of musical excellence.

A virtuoso pianist, Michel Camilo unleashes boundless creativity with everything he touches. Be it classical, Latin, film or all that is jazz, his mastery of genres is well-noted within a stream of outstanding CDs and performances worldwide. Mano a Mano, however, is the rich cultural essence of the master that satisfies listeners like a mouth watering dish of Sancocho.

What is even more delicious, Mano a Mano came together as a result of Michel's appearance at the 20th anniversary of the Heineken Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico where his trio performed. Part of the 2010 event was a huge descarga (Latin-style jam session). Michel had invited master conguero Giovanni Hidalgo to participate and at one point during the jam, the band stopped and Giovanni and Michel were left playing as a duo. This began Michel's thinking process for the album.

With master conguero GiovanniHidalgoand long time bassist/collaborator Charles Flores, Michel's trio melds a variety of rhythms into something that leaps off the disc. Eight original compositions (that amazingly were written by Camilo within the span of one week) and three standards comprise the eleven tracks. "It was a surreal experience," says Camilo, "It was only a matter of sitting down and letting it flow out." And within the rich ethnic mix of Dominican, Puerto Rican and Cuban cultures, it flows in earnest with an underlying sophistication. This is not ordinary fare.

Normally, one would expect some songs to stand out over others, but this is simply not the case. Track after track, each song is an exploration in excellence offering a wide variety of rhythms, textures and melodies; samba-choro, neo traditional rumbas, Afro-Cubanism, Latin soul and boogaloo, surprising meringue-jazz and Camilo's take on a bachata, with his exquisite ballad "You and Me.

HidalgoandFloreswere absolute essentials to the mix and more than complimented Camilo every step of the way. There is some truly outstanding musicianship going on with surprises at every turn. Hidalgoused five and six congas and tuned them to certain pitches creating melody and harmony along with rhythmic patterns you wouldn't believe. The results are simply amazing.Flores' bass solos were imaginative and cleverly conceived and did I hear bowing on "Then and Now?" Incredible!

The mix is exceptional. The trio raises the heat, and then cools you off like a subtle breeze. You will find the light and playful with "Sidewinder" and a pensive mystery with "Then and Now." The title song, "Mano a Mano" (personal confrontation or face-to-face encounter) is just as the title suggests with mind blowing, harmonious interplay that sets this album apart from most. And on "Rice and Beans," Camilo is so thrilling on the piano with his quintillo (a five note rhythmic figure) it's like the first time hearingSegovia play a tremolo. You are speechless! Then after listening to Camilo's intimate portrayal on "Alfonsina y el Mar," your love affair with the entire CD is assured.

Michel Camilo is a genius and Mano a Mano is evidence thereof. From beginning to end, it has "nomination" written all over it.

Don't miss the opportunity to add this outstanding CD to your library. Digital release is available July 26, 2011. CD will hit the shelves on September 13, 2011.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Suzi Price) Latin Jazz / Latin Funk - CD Reviews Sun, 24 Jul 2011 17:46:31 -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 What makes a man a legend in his own time? For Dave Grusin, the task has not been lightly taken. Grusin’s prolific career stands omnipresent amongst America’s musical repertoire as he stands included within the ranks of impressive composers who form what we come to know as The Great American Songbook. As a composer/arranger/pianist/ and serious educator, Grusin excels beyond the heights that most only dare to dream. His Grammy-winning and well known classics of the contemporary jazz genre such

What makes a man a legend in his own time? For Dave Grusin, the task has not been lightly taken. Grusin’s prolific career stands omnipresent amongst America’s musical repertoire as he stands included within the ranks of impressive composers who form what we come to know as The Great American Songbook. As a composer/arranger/pianist/ and serious educator, Grusin excels beyond the heights that most only dare to dream.

His Grammy-winning and well known classics of the contemporary jazz genre such as Grammy-winning Brazilian album, “Harlequin” in 1985 with long-time association guitarist, Lee Ritenour, and countless Academy/Oscar Award winning and nominated film scores such as The Milagro Beanfield War (which won the 1988 Oscar), Havana, The Firm, The Fabulous Baker Boys , Tootsie, Heaven Can Wait, The Champ, On Golden Pond, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Reds, Three Days of the Condor, Tequila Sunrise and The Goodbye Girl, plus television theme scores such as St. Elsewhere, It Takes A Thief, And Justice For All, The Bold Ones, Maude, Good Times, and Baretta, make Grusin’s career read like a who’s who.

Besides a body of impressive accomplishments, Grusin has been recently involved with music app developer ROBA in creating all that is Grusin with his latest CD, An Evening with Dave Grusin, a monumental installment experience in cutting-edge technology. Partnered with producer Larry Rosen’s ongoing JAZZ ROOTS Series, Grusin’s new CD is part of the Jazz Roots Series national educational outreach program connecting communities and school districts to the glories of musical performance (www.jazzroots.net). This triple play CD/Blue-ray Disc/IPad App offers a variety of purchase options for the discriminating listener.

Beyond education and technology, An Evening with Dave Grusin, is an outstanding performance tribute to movie and TV scores written by Grusin, Henry Mancini, Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, scores that millions of Americans from multi-generations are so familiar with. Backed by the 75-piece Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra at the Arsht Center in Miami, Florida, Grusin’s 12-song selection, plus a supporting cast of performers on the date (Jon Secada, Patti Austin, Monica Mancini, Gary Burton, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres and Sammy Figueroa) make this Heads Up International release an instant classic.

Well-loved selections walk the listener down their own, personal memory lane. As they listen, they might recall who they took on a date to see the movie Moon River or while listening to the theme from Peter Gunn, think "Wow, I remember that! What a great detective show that was. I never missed it." “Fratelli Chase,” a spirited main theme written by Grusin for the 1985 cult film The Goonies or the soulful Grusin/Bergman hit, “It Might Be You” from the film Tootsie, might get the listener’s vote for their favorite among the 12 outstanding selections. The choice is theirs, but there is something for everybody within reach.

A massive project of musical mastery, An Evening with Dave Grusin captures some of the music Grusin is most proud of and showcases the best in musical entertainment and refinement.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Suzi Price) BeBop / Hard Bop - CD Reviews Sat, 26 Mar 2011 13:00:00 -0500
Too Late Now by Harvie S Trio http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/too-late-now-by-harvie-s-trio.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/too-late-now-by-harvie-s-trio.html Approximately 23 years ago, Harvie S received a telephone call asking if he would be willing to play bass for a new, young musician performing at the JVC. Harvie has always been in demand both here and abroad, and he accepted the offer. The festival went off without a hitch and over the following months, that young musician, pianist Bill Charlap, and Harvie S became friends. And as friends and musicians, they did what came naturally, played their instruments, jammed together and explored mutu

Approximately 23 years ago, Harvie S received a telephone call asking if he would be willing to play bass for a new, young musician performing at the JVC. Harvie has always been in demand both here and abroad, and he accepted the offer.

The festival went off without a hitch and over the following months, that young musician, pianist Bill Charlap, and Harvie S became friends. And as friends and musicians, they did what came naturally, played their instruments, jammed together and explored mutual, musical possibilities.

Charlap had introduced Todd Strait (drums) to Harvie and as luck would have it, Harvie had some studio time and suggested they go in and lay down some tracks. Discussions regarding what songs to play and a brief rehearsal ensued. Then history was made, although they didn’t realize it at the time.

Harvie S, being the oldest of the three, put this trio together and produced this CD. Bill Charlap was only 20-years old, and Todd Strait was 26. The remarkable thing is this studio session was probably the very first recording ever made of Charlap who is now considered to be one of the best jazz pianists of his generation.

Too Late Now is almost an inappropriate title for this Harvie S Trio CD because it is never too late for truly exceptional jazz…and that is exactly what this is, exceptional from start to finish. It is however, the title song included in the nine tracks of the album.

Within the first ten notes of the beginning track, an unbelievably tight, up-tempo Franz Lehar tune, “Yours is My Heart Alone,” you understand immediately there is something going on beyond piano, bass and drums. There are no egos here, just a solid stream of honest interplay between three outstanding musicians. And what’s even more astounding is the trio sounds like they are seasoned veterans who have been playing together for years, yet their energy and simpatico is so fresh and new. Perhaps that’s the secret. In any event, this opener is phenomenal, the best of the CD.

Song placement is so important in the ebb and flow of an album, that’s why Van Heusen’s “Darn That Dream” is a beautiful choice for second position. Its dreamy gentleness allows the listener to catch their breath after the opening number. Other selections include Burton Lane’s “Too Late Now,” the extremely rare Oliver Nelson’s “111-44,” and Juan Tizol’s “Perdido.”

The sixth spot is one of Harvie’s own compositions, “Take Your Time.” Anyone that is familiar with Harvie S. can always count on his originals being A-1. This particular song, among my favorites of the album, is a sexy, little, swinging romp sans 50s style, that showcases the trio’s playfulness. Todd’s rhythmic patterns fit so perfectly, lending this song its hip attitude.

An outstanding arrangement of Wayne Shorter’s “Miyako” is stunning with Harvie offering a brilliant solo on bass and Charlap is fantastic throughout. John Lewis’ “Afternoon in Paris,” an infrequently performed number is esoteric at first blush, with tasty changes mid-way that has your foot tapping until the ending note. The final dish is the Jack Strachey/Harry Link song “These Foolish Things.” After listening to the full meal, this soft and familiar tune is the perfect dessert.

After finally releasing this 1988 recording session, one that Harvie thought might never get released, I asked Harvie what he thought about doing a present day follow-up to this CD with Charlap and Strait. His reply, “Wouldn’t Mind.” Certainly after listening to this brilliant piece of work, listeners might agree.

The CD is offered for sale online at CD Universe for a staggering price of $47.65 or should you speak Japanese, through onkyodirect.jp for 2,500 yen. While the price is unrealistic, for the avid collector, this CD would be a gem for their library. Three amazing and talented artists captured 23 years ago…a rare and amazing listen. Hopefully, the CD will expand its purchase capabilities and will be offered at a lower price at other web-based music locations in the future.

In the meantime, Harvie S and Bill Charlap will be playing at New York’s 92nd Street Y in July 2011 with a tribute to the music of Dave Brubeck. Harvie is also scheduled for a May 2011 tour to Russia with James Weidman (from the Joe Lovano Group). Also look for Harvie’s upcoming performance with the Westchester Jazz Orchestra in tribute to Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage, and a future CD with guitarist Jake Hertzog, which Harvie played on and produced. March 6-13 Harvie will be on tour with Tim Armacost, Gene Jackson and David Berkman in the Midwest with the New York Standards Quartet.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Suzi Price) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Thu, 17 Mar 2011 13:00:00 -0500
Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/various-jazz-styles-cd-reviews/disney-jazz-volume-1-everybody-wants-to-be-a-cat.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/various-jazz-styles-cd-reviews/disney-jazz-volume-1-everybody-wants-to-be-a-cat.html Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat
It isn't often I get over-the-top excited about a new CD, but when I received a press release regarding Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat, my heart began to beat wildly. Remembering some very fine Disney interpretations by some of our finest i.e., Bill Evans, Louie Armstrong, Brubeck, Coltrane, Miles, my anticipation was not misguided. After all, Disney has delighted countless trillions of viewers with his cartoons, films and Magic Kingdom, but to understate the music that has accompanied the optical delight of everything Disney would be simply ludicrous. 

 

 

It isn't often I get over-the-top excited about a new CD, but when I received a press release regarding Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat, my heart began to beat wildly. Remembering some very fine Disney interpretations by some of our finest i.e., Bill Evans, Louie Armstrong, Brubeck, Coltrane, Miles, my anticipation was not misguided. After all, Disney has delighted countless trillions of viewers with his cartoons, films and Magic Kingdom, but to understate the music that has accompanied the optical delight of everything Disney would be simply ludicrous. 

Disney's first venture into creating new music began 1929 to 1939 when he created the Studio's Silly Symphony series and full-length films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio, where songs like "Someday My Prince Will Come" and "Whistle While You Work" lingered in almost everyone's head. Many of the songs became so popular, they made there way onto television, being sung by modern vocalists and bandleaders of the day.

Then something happened in the 50s. Jazz musicians modernized and improvised many of Disney's tunes, and a wide variety of instrumental jazz albums began to appear featuring Disney melodies. A decade later, jazz fully embraced Disney's songs as part of its sophisticated expression. Today, nothing could be more appropriate than revisiting Disney's music with fresh, invigorating life. Such is the case with Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat. 

Grammy-winning producer and former A&R Director for Verve Records, Jason Olaine, (whom among other prestigious titles is currently Artistic Director for Yoshi's San Francisco) produced the impressive CD.  The task of producing began two years ago when Olaine was given a monumental list of 600 Disney classic songs to work with, then was asked to assemble the who's who of jazz to deliver the goods for the first volume.  The results are astounding! 

A glorious array of Disney classics are included in the 13 tracks with plenty to sink your teeth into, with respect to the diversity of styles and arrangements, and the artist status is indisputable: Roy Hargrove Quintet, Esperanda Spalding, Dave Brubeck, Regina Carter, Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves, Kurt Rosenwinkel, The Bad Plus, Roberta Gambarini, Alfredo Rodriguez, Nikki Yanofsky, Gilad Hekselman and Mark Rapp.  

Obviously all the premier musicians and vocalists on this album enjoyed performing their individual songs.  Roy Hargrove stated, "Those songs that are in the Disney repertoire are very catchy.  'Everybody Wants to Be a Cat' was in the Jungle Book, which was my favorite as a kid.  It has a nice bounce to it.  The melody and the way it goes—the kind of New Orleans feel that it has, that second line—it's already jazz!  It swings.  It's fun, that tune's fun.  It kind of plays itself." 

Best New Artist from the recent Grammy Awards, Esperanza Spalding, explained, "I've always been haunted by this song ("Chim Chim Cheree") since I first saw Mary Poppins as a child.  It has been such a treat to re-visit this music as an adult and explore the magic of the melody.  The melody of 'Chim Chim Ceree' is sweet and lifting, yet has a bitter tinge of melancholy...Finding a way to add to this song without burying the magic of it's simplicity was challenging." 

Perhaps no other recent CD exudes so much fun and enthusiasm yet at the same time, stands as a testament to the significance and durability of the Disney songbook. One can only hope volume one is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Suzi Price) Various Jazz Styles - CD Reviews Sat, 05 Mar 2011 14:46:22 -0600
The Bear Comes Home by Ravi Zabor http://www.jazzreview.com/book-reviews/the-bear-comes-home-by-ravi-zabor.html http://www.jazzreview.com/book-reviews/the-bear-comes-home-by-ravi-zabor.html Ravi Zabor is a musical journalist and jazz drummer living in Brooklyn who delights us with a comic and insightful story about a Shakespeare quotin...

Ravi Zabor is a musical journalist and jazz drummer living in Brooklyn who delights us with a comic and insightful story about a Shakespeare quoting, philosophic, beer drinking, alto sax playing, Coltrane-type bear. The Bear comes from a long line of European circus performing bears and through some genetic twist of fate, the bear can talk.

The story opens with the bear and his owner, Jones, living together in a three-flight walk up and eking out a living by performing a daily street act for tips. Zabor creates a wonderful banter between the two and you find yourself laughing out loud at the interplay between the bear and Jones.

The bear has one great passion in his life and that is playing alto sax. It is this passion that easily leads the reader through this ursine's giant step into the real jazz world. The journey takes you through the bear's brilliant musical improvisations, live album, nightclub bust, jail term, love affair, recording contract, road tour and triumphant struggle.

It is a comic gem and brilliant insight into what it must feel like to be a bear in a human world with all the profound thoughts and emotionally realities of life. You don't have to be a jazz enthusiast to love the story, it only adds to the enjoyment of this brilliant work. I highly recommend it.

Ravi Zabor is a musical journalist and jazz drummer living in Brooklyn who delights us with a comic and insightful story about a Shakespeare quoting, philosophic, beer drinking, alto sax playing, Coltrane-type, bear.
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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Suzi Price) Book Reviews Wed, 31 Dec 1997 18:00:00 -0600
Cocolamus Bridge by Harvie S http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/cocolamus-bridge-by-harvie-s.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/latin-jazz-/-latin-funk-cd-reviews/cocolamus-bridge-by-harvie-s.html There is no greater challenge for an established artist than to keep growing and exploring. At the height of his powers, Harvie S, is doing just that.An ambassado…

There is no greater challenge for an established artist than to keep growing and exploring. At the height of his powers, Harvie S, is doing just that.

An ambassador of the bass, Harvie has a long history of accomplishment as a bandleader/ composer/arranger/producer et al.... let alone appearing as a sideman on over 350 albums with some of the best artists in the who’s who of jazz. With a list of thirteen CDs under his own tutelage, Harvie’s newest and 14th release, Cocolamus Bridge, proves to the listener that he brings a wealth of experience to his writing and performance, and can be included in the aforementioned who’s who.

Dedicated to the memory of his mother, Beatrice, Harvie’s new Cocolamus Bridge is an enlightening listen start to finish. His original compositions are all things vibrant, energizing, warm, reflective, pensive...a study in concentration and delivery.

It’s always engaging to hear an artist perform his own work, integrating his statements into his group, soloing his messages of emotion, all the while allowing his own band members the freedom to embrace his creativity and share the spotlight.

All compositions are original, except for one Wayne Shorter’s "Night Dreamer," which accomplishes a delightful bridge between the upbeat and jazzy Cuban offering of "Coco Loco" (Harvie’s dog) and "To Bea" (his mother), a smoothly loving and dreamy samba.

Although Harvie’s heart is dear to the rhythms of Latin/Afro Cubanism, he just may well surprise you with a solo masterpiece of expertise on his arrangement of a traditional Irish folk song, "Eili Gheal Chiuin," which opens the CD. It is here upon this magnificent introduction, you will come to realize the breath and depth of Harvie’s amazing talent on the bass. Other originals on this CD I will leave comment to surprise you with.... .a simply rare treat and A-1 CD all the way through.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Suzi Price) Latin Jazz / Latin Funk - CD Reviews Fri, 29 Jan 2010 12:00:00 -0600
Moonlit Solace by Rick Washbrook http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/various-jazz-styles-cd-reviews/moonlit-solace-by-rick-washbrook.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/various-jazz-styles-cd-reviews/moonlit-solace-by-rick-washbrook.html Moonlit Solace by Rick Washbrook
There comes a time in everyone’s life when reflection becomes a natural order of things in getting from point "a" to "b." For some of us, it’s looking at old photo album…

There comes a time in everyone’s life when reflection becomes a natural order of things in getting from point "a" to "b." For some of us, it’s looking at old photo albums, listening to old records that may recall more enriching times of our life, or remembering someone who touched our emotions in some particular way. For a musician, the natural way of reflection is through his instrument.

As the lonely, cold winter cast it’s frosty landscape across the window, Rick Washbrook sat in his Oakville studio apartment ‘round midnight, picked up his guitar, and let his inner most feelings ooze from the very depths of his soul. He wandered back to his childhood and progressed along life’s emotional journey revealing all the bumps along the way, until spring’s renewal brought forth new promise.

With enough recorded, late night material to fill three CDs, Moonlit Solace is one of these thought-provoking, soul cleansing CDs down Washbrook’s own personal memory lane. Bluesy, folksy and jazzy, he provides a window into the "gypsy" of his soul with expressive guitar fingering and vocals.

Within the 12 diverse tracks, five of them are originals; the light and airy "McGoldrick," the faithful "You’re Not Alone," the pensive title track "Moonlit Solace," the comic "Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman," and the physical "My Blue Thumb," all which speak to the talent of this accomplished guitarist.

Romantic tracks recall varied emotions with "My Funny Valentine," "Since I Fell for You," "It Could Happen to You" and "Moon River." And, why not? Nothing captures romantic emotion like selections from the classic American Songbook.

Winding up the disk, we hear Cash’s "Folsom Prison Blues," Mick Jagger & Keith Richard’s "The Spider & The Fly," plus Washbrook’s seasonal passage from spring, Gershwin’s "Summertime."

You can always hear overtones and nuances of guitarist Lenny Breau in Rick Washbrook, but in Moonlit Solace you really can hear more of his inner voice.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Suzi Price) Various Jazz Styles - CD Reviews Mon, 13 Apr 2009 07:00:00 -0500
Al Jarreau - The Very Best Of: An Excellent Adventure by Al Jarreau http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/al-jarreau-the-very-best-of-an-excellent-adventure-by-al-jarreau.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/al-jarreau-the-very-best-of-an-excellent-adventure-by-al-jarreau.html What a wonderful thing it is to spin the Rhino Records Sept. 29th release of Al Jarreau - The Very Best Of: An Excellent Adventure. The collection is a highlight of …
What a wonderful thing it is to spin the Rhino Records Sept. 29th release of Al Jarreau - The Very Best Of: An Excellent Adventure. The collection is a highlight of all the amazing songs we’ve come to love and embrace during the career of this master vocalist, Al Jarreau.

With his own charismatic and inventive vocals, Jarreau is the only artist to have won Grammy Awards in three different categories pop, jazz and R&B, like his 1977 Grammy for "Take Five" from Look to the Rainbow that earned him the 1977 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal; "(Round, Round, Round) Blues Rondo A La Turk," the 1981 Grammy winner for Jazz Vocal Performance Male; and the title track from Breakin’ Away, the 1981 Grammy winner for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. He has earned a total of seven Grammies over four decades. What an amazing accomplishment.

With an incredible range and a circuitous voice that can do just about anything, one would think that his success came easy, but Jarreau once told me he never had the leisure of taking time off from his career to just relax. Bills needed to be paid and he never made the kind of money it took to afford that luxury. But somewhere along the line of just doing what he needed to do, he became what is considered, the greatest living jazz singer.

Constantly touring the US and all over the world, Jarreau breezes on stage in his black beret to the delight of his fans, mesmerizing them with many of their favorites from his impressive career. His heartfelt expression for a song captures audiences from beginning to end, and no wonder. He is an inventive and accomplished talent with a grand sense of humor and a musical goodwill. It only stands to reason then that this latest favs CD will be sought after by many jazz, pop and R&B devotees.

Some of Jarreau’s hit songs represented on this 16 track album are 1976’s Glow ("Rainbow In Your Eyes"), 1980’s This Time ("Spain," "Never Givin’ Up"), 1981’s Breakin’ Away ("Roof Garden," "We’re In This Love Together"), 1983’s Jarreau (Boogie Down," "Mornin’"), 1984’s High Crime ("After All"), 1988’s Heart Horizon ("So Good"), 2000’s Tomorrow Today ("Just To Be Loved"), and 2004’s Accentuate The Positive ("Cold Duck"), and including "Moonlighting" the theme song from the hit television show starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis. Lovely!

Al Jarreau - The Very Best Of: An Excellent Adventure.... an A-1 collection from an A-1 performer with a story in every song.

Copyright 2009 Suzi Price
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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Suzi Price) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Thu, 12 Mar 2009 13:00:00 -0500