Music Reviews

Jazz Junction Review: DOUG WEBB - TRIPLE PLAY - Positone Records

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.

Rez Abbasi presents a new recording for jazz fans which takes well-known jazz rock 1970s anthems in a new direction. Many fans of jazz-rock are familiar with some of the most well-known 1970s anthems from the supergroups that attracted huge followings worldwide, such as Return to Forever, Weather Report, Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock, and others.  Some listeners may have desired from time to time to hear these selections through a different, more subtle, less noisy lens.

Patrick Butler/Sound Pinnacle/ Independent Release

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.

Last Call: Best of 2014

Dec 31, 2014

For fans of adventuresome jazz, 2014 certainly had a rich grab bag of audio gems to choose from. Here are the finest releases of the year.  Thank you for listening!

Miles Davis / Miles At The Fillmore /Columbia-Legacy: It is a thrilling experience to hear Miles Davis and his band achieve the impossible over and over again in this rollercoaster ride of four nights of performances from June, 1970 at the Fillmore East In New York City.

ARTIST / CD TITLE / RECORD LABEL

Artist / CD Title / Record Label

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:

Artist / CD Title / Record Label

Artist / CD Title / Record Label

Jazz Trumpeter/ Composer Pablo Masis has released an invigorating new release of musical conversations, Rubicon.

Masis, based in New York City, is joined by fellow area musicians bassist Aidan Carroll and Drummer Jared Schonig for this new release.

John Coltrane leads a band on a 1966 live recording, Offering, which is perhaps the last great concert performance of the legendary saxophonist, Miles Davis sideman, composer, and bandleader.

Long awaited by fans of the saxophonist, John Coltrane's  Offering will be featured this month on the Last Call. The two CD set presents Coltrane and his 1966 band with special guests in an inspired free jazz performance.

A band well known for their fearless re-arrangements of pop classics into unpredictable jazz explorations, The Bad Plus has earned a reputation as iconoclasts. An acquired taste to many, refreshingly outrageous to others, The Bad Plus-Reid Anderson on bass, Ethan Iverson on piano, and David King on drums, have released a highly original body of work over the last fifteen years. The fearless free-spirited demolition of expected chord structure and melody into something completely unexpected is a Bad Plus trademark.

The new disc by the septet The Cookers harkens back to the
days of the classic hard bop sessions on Blue Note by Art Blakey's
Jazz Messengers, Wayne Shorter and Jackie McLean.

The music soars with fine soloing on the front line with Billy Harper on
tenor, Donald Harrison on alto and two trumpeters, David Weiss and Eddie
Henderson. The rhythm section of pianist George Cables, bassist Cecil
McBee and drummer Billy Hart keep things firmly grounded and in the pocket.

Trombonist Robin Eubanks and his band Mental Images present bold reinterpretations of rock anthems from Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone on a new release, which also features five new original tunes.

We begin with the KIOS Jazz CD of the month:

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.

It is a thrilling experience to hear Miles Davis and his band achieve the impossible over and over again in this rollercoaster ride of four nights of performances from June, 1970. 

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. 

Joe Magnarelli, who grew up in Syracuse, New York and has resided in
New York City for over 25 years.He has played with some of the best in
the business including Jimmy Cobb, Lionel Hampton and Brother Jack
McDuff. He has led his own bands for twenty years and has released
nine recordings of his own as a leader.

Flautist Gerald Beckett has recorded another fine addition to his growing catalogue as a leader. His fifth release, The Messenger, on Summit Records, features his working quintet burning through hard bop pieces by Lee Morgan, "Aniticlimax", and Bud Powell's "Tempus Fugit". He leads the group on quieter works such as the Duke Pearson line" Idle Moments" and Beckett's own "Sunset Place", co-written with Eugene Pilner. There is also a nice Latin tune on the program titled "Lupe's Ride", written by Sharman Duran, the daughter of guitarist Eddie Duran.

Drummer Harvey Mason is back with a recording that celebrates some of the grooviest jazz-funk of the 1970s with some of today's top players.  Mason's contributions to the vibrant jazz-funk of the 1970s are immediately recognizable for those familiar with Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters.

Legendary jazz drummer Louis Hayes and his band recorded a set of music last year at Smoke Jazz Club in New York City. The set draws the listener in with twelve numbers of sustained brilliance and is the "Return of the Jazz Communicators".

It swings!

Louis Hayes knows a thing or two about swing. He co-founded the Jazz Communicators with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard in 1967, after offering to present a summer's worth of performances in a club in Manhattan with a band that had not actually been founded at the time of the offer!

One of the most adventuresome and dynamic guitarists in jazz or rock is Nels Cline.  Active since 1977 in a wide variety of genres, he is the guitarist for the alternative rock band, Wilco. Cline's command of the guitar is such that Spin magazine in 2012 named him the 43rd greatest guitarist of all time. He is also the leader of the Nels Cline Singers, a band which has explored the frontiers of jazz music on several recordings over the last decade.

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