Jazz Junction August Reviews

Aug 2, 2014

EVERETTE DEVAN – For the LOVE of YOU – Henry Records  

Tip Top! The likeability index on this new one from organist Everette DeVan is like the heat index on a mid-summer day in the Heartland. But don't worry much about that because DeVan has the burners on his Hammond B-3 turned up to 'way cool' for seventy-one minutes of the sweetest organ combo music to come our way recently. 

Originally from Pueblo, CO, DeVan moved to Kansas City at the age of 18 where he is deeply involved with the music scene in that city and often plays at the Green Lady Lounge in KCMO. He is an engaging organist who knows how to establish a groove and keep things smooth with a super program of music on this session.    

DeVan has a great group along with him. Vibraphonist Greg Carroll plays on several tracks and the guitar chores are handled by either Pat Kelley or Matt Hooper. Ian Corbett does some nice alto and tenor sax work on a few tracks, Danny Rojas is at the drums and Jay Rogers adds Latin percussion. The soloists are right there with DeVan's steady comping and kicking the bass – a tight group with a sound that draws you in and cooks like a state of mind.    

The opening track, Victor Young's “Beautiful Love” features an organ, vibraphone, guitar combo sound that was made in heaven and the title track, the Isley Brother's “For the Love of You” has DeVan swinging easily in a quintessential organ combo groove. It's a ball to hear DeVan turn up the heat on George Benson's “Eternally” that simmers from beginning to end. Another treat is the rendition of Carl Perkins' “Groove Yard” with DeVan laying down fat notes behind the vibes and guitar and propelling this groovy affair. The program also features music from Gene Ammons, James Brown and Dizzy Gillespie and at the end of this marvelous disc one is left thirsting for more. Everette DeVan's new album is the right place to be to put you in just the right place.

TODD BISHOP GROUP – TRAVELOGUE – Origin Records 82664  

Perhaps we react to music in similar fashions. Sometimes from the opening notes and rhythms we make up our minds that a particular recording has it – that essence, that enigmatic thing that heads straight for where we live inside – the spirit song. Drummer Todd Bishop's new album “Travelogue” opens with a beat reminiscent of Horace Silver's “Song For My Father” set-up by bassist Chris Higgins and pianist Jasnam Daya Singh. Yet “Moving” heads somewhere else on the wings of Richard Cole's warm tenor saxophone playing with Bishop adding rhythmic and percussive accents, thus creating a fascinating introduction to this fine album.    

Most of the compositions on “Travelogue” are by Bishop, pianist Singh and reedman Cole. It's good material conducive to excellent solo work and organic interplay. Richard Cole plays soprano, tenor and baritone saxes, bass clarinet and alto flute on the album. Pianist Jasnam Daya Singh, formerly known as Weber Iago, is from Rio de Janiero. Both of these musicians contribute substantial solos that are consistently rewarding, built as they are around interesting compositions. “Dom's Riff” and its captivating groove has the interesting combination of baritone saxophone and Rhodes piano, and it's always a pleasure to hear bass clarinet work as Cole delivers upon the quirky “Rover” and “Somnambulist” with its sauntering beat. The closing track, “Only Shallow” is a strange amalgamation of rock-sounding bass, overdubbed flute and horns, gospel-like baritone work and a funky Rhodes sound.    

“Travelogue” is like that, sounding at once unanticipated and engagingly accessible – but that's how good music is and how good musicians are; able to play with substance and so well they can take you to amazing places. The Todd Bishop Group does that.

SHERIE JULIENNE - 10 DEGREES SOUTH – Azul do Mar Records    

San Francisco-based vocalist Sherie Julianne introduces her debut album, “10 Degrees South” with soaring, Brazilian influenced flair. Collaborating with her upon this release is her mentor - pianist and arranger Marcos Silva, a native of Rio de Janiero; as well as a fine band that includes guitarist Jeff Buenz, saxophonist and flutist Mary Fettig, bassist Scott Thompson and drummer Phil Thompson.  

This is a delightful album throughout – comprised of numerous Brazilian numbers as well as Michel Legrand's “Watch What Happens” and Burt Bacharach and Hal David's “The Look of Love”. A buoyant and breezy samba, the Joao Donato, Gilberto Gil piece “Bananeira”, opens the recording with the warm embrace of Julianne's mellifluous voice. She's been studying Brazilian music for many years and the attention is evident with her facile Portuguese enunciation on numbers such as the airily swinging “O Pato”. Tracks such as the Jobim number “Bonita” and Sergio Mendes's “So Many Stars” exhibit that knack of Brazilian music to simultaneously express melancholy and hope; while Danilo Caymmi and Paulo Pinheiro's “Brasil Nativo” surges with an irrepressible beat and Roberto Menescal's “O Barquinho” (Little Boat) embarks upon a languid cruise with Julianne's voice and Mary Fettig's flute playing.

Julianne captures the range of emotions upon these compositions with a thoroughly pleasing style that is more about her voice being an instrument – a sweet, fluid presence - rather than striving for dominance in the musical settings. Her relaxed style evokes the sense that she is savoring the expression of lyrics in her singing and this radiates throughout the album. Coupled with the spirited musical accompaniment, this attractive combination renders “10 Degrees South” a refreshing session that's easy to enjoy.