James Taylor once sang, "The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time/Any fool can do it/There ain't nothin' to it..." Well, for pianist Richard Kimball, the secret of life, as exhibited on his unaccompanied solo release, The Art of Aging, is to push forward with a bright resolve, even when life's low notes threaten to pull you down. In this 10-song performance, Kimball promotes an approach where cooperation between hands and, at times, voice, results in a synergistic, one-man symphony.
With such a geographically visual image for an album title, vibraphonist Tim Collins leads his quartet through six original compositions and two covers where one's mental imagery can conjure various sublime locations through the tonal colors that this ensemble strives for and attains. Collins' quartet – pianist Danny Grissett, bassist Matt Clohesy, and drummer Tommy Crane – assert their energy immediately on "TNT," the very energetic and appropriately- named opener. Collins' sound benefits from Grissett's accompaniment, which propels the melody while Crane explores his entire kit. Crane's tom-tom runs and cymbal splashes help evoke a scene of being at sea. At times, this song's more potent, scenic parts recall Tony Williams' "The Overture" from The Story of Neptune. When the soloists clear a path for Crane at the song's crescendo, he responds with a solo that keeps the waves crashing against the rocks.
To truly appreciate Peripheral Vision, a quartet based in Toronto, Canada, one may want to be hip to overtime hockey. It's like this: tenor saxophonist Trevor Hogg is the forward standing/playing nearest the goal/melody. Guitarist Don Scott is the other forward who stands near the faceoff circle ready to capture any rebounds and embellish Hogg's shots/ideas that he may not take, or need help to complete. Watching from a distance -- and providing an airtight, rhythmic foundation – are the defensemen on the blue line, bassist Michael Herring and drummer Nick Fraser. While the scoring/soloing almost always goes to the forwards on the frontline, the d-men keep them inspired by providing the footwork and foundation.
Aficionados and neophytes alike should feel equally welcome when listening to Jazz, the accessible history lesson produced by Putamayo. Although this 12-song compilation presents an audio array that reaches as high as Blossom Dearie's top-shelf timbre on "They Say It's Spring," to the joint-jumping horns on Maxine Sullivan's " 'Taint No Use," the consistent core from start to finish remains a simple, steady swing that says plenty in a very limited time. For the aficionado, these classics are reminders about the art form's origins. For the neophyte, they serve as starting points that invite further exploration.
We all remember how Wynton Marsalis excelled with classical and jazz recordings during his 20s, approximately 30 years ago before finally committing full-life to Duke and them. Well, there is another young phenomenon, 24-year-old, Kyrgyzstan-born pianist Eldar Djangirov, who also has prolific chops in both worlds as displayed on Three Stories (Sony Masterworks Jazz).
In string quartets, it may serve as the "bottom," the baby bass violin. In symphony orchestras, it is presented in multiples and blends in with the entire ensemble. But by itself on a 42-minute album? Well?.. This possibility is explored by Paris-born cellist Vincent Courtois on L'Imprevu, the very first release by re:think-art records. Here, Courtois offers 12 intriguing performances that feature his cello engaging in conversation, singing, snarling, and creating drama...by itself.
Pianist Assaf Gleizner, bass guitarist Koby Hayon and drummer Nadav Snir Zelniker form Trio Shalva. Shalva is a Hebrew word that means serenity. On Riding Alone, the ensemble’s independently-released recording, Trio Shalva explores standards and original music from Israel, their homeland. Trio Shalva’s sound, for the most part, is New Age. Think Scott Cossu or Fred Simon without the saxophonist out front.