This new release from vocalist and pianist Eliane Elias marks the first time she has recorded in her native Brazil since 1981. Incorporating music from three generations of Brazilian composers, Elias has rendered a beautiful album that epitomizes that exquisite quality of Brazilian music to blend the melancholy and the uplifting with beats that soothe the soul.
One can depend upon Mary Stallings to deliver a good album and yet with “Feelin' Good” she has recorded a quintessential jazz vocal outing. This release embodies all of the qualities that comprise a superior session. It's an album so steeped in jazz tradition and delivered with such consummate ease and style as to be irresistible.
Guitarist Dave Stryker has been reliably delivering solid recordings for over two decades. With a wonderful tone, impressive chops and a knack for combining stimulating improvisation with accessible compositions, Stryker's music lures the listener with impeccable good vibes. In his latest release among some 30 as leader or co-leader, Stryker pays his respects to a former employer and, no surprise, an individual whose own style embraced the very qualities displayed on this album, Stanley Turrentine.
Trombonist David Gibson delivers a solid post-bop session that adds further affirmation to the vibrancy of the current jazz scene on his sixth release as a leader. This is no-nonsense, straight ahead music in a program of mostly original compositions. The instrumental setting is a quintet with the fine trumpet player Josh Evans and rhythm section comprised of Theo Hill playing piano, Alex Claffy at the bass and Kush Abadey at the drums.
Pianist Tim Olsen's “Creature of Habit” is a beautifully rendered collection of highly attractive compositions from Olsen, performed in either quintet or sextet settings. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from Yale University and is currently Associate Professor of Music at Union College in Schenectady, NY as well as Director of Music and Organist at St. George's Episcopal Church in Clifton Park, NY. He performs in concerts and clubs with a band that varies in size from a quartet to an 18-piece big band. This is his very convincing debut recording.
Bassist and vocalist Katie Thiroux has released an attractive album that combines delightful repertoire and musicianship on this introductory recording. She was recipient of the Shelly Manne New Talent Award at age 17 and has won awards for bass and voice. She has attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and later received a Masters of Music at CSU Long Beach. She has performed with numerous prominent jazz artists and has worked at jazz festivals and venues in the Big Apple.
From the opening beat you're in for an exciting musical ride when you take trumpeter Joshua Bruneau's new release “Bright Idea” out for a spin. This enthusiastic and crackling session features compositions and soloing that lure the listener in and perhaps make one more than a little bit jealous of those fortunate to be in attendance at Smalls Jazz Club in New York City when this live session was recorded.
Once again we're back with this year's edition of our respective picks for top albums of the year. Inhabiting our three hours on Saturday nights we have been hearing a lot from the albums listed below, all of which should also prove attractive recordings to which we'll return over the years. Dispensing with all pretense of maintaining a rigorous limit in deference to this year's bountiful array of releases, here are a number of eminently worthy recordings:
ORRIN EVANS – LIBERATION BLUES – Smoke Sessions Records SSR-1409
As a listener I appreciate an album that catches my attention through stimulating composition, improvisation and that spark that transpires between musicians during a good session. It is also pleasing when a CD's capacity is utilized to offer over seventy minutes of solid music that takes one unexpected places, both inside and outside the pocket. Pianist Orrin Evans' new release “Liberation Blues”embraces these qualities in stimulating fashion.