Music Reviews

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.

On Chicago Fire, Eric Alexander demonstrates again why he is one of the busiest saxophonists on today's jazz scene. Alexander has a fully developed voice on the saxophone and can blow with the best of them. Harold Mabern, one of the greatest jazz pianists ever, is in the studio, as is bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth.  Additionally, special guest Jeremy Pelt steps in for a few tracks and demonstrates his mainstream credentials. This gathering of total professionals creates a smoking session!

A remarkable orchestral jazz work recorded in France in the last two years, I Hear The Sound is a live performance of material from saxophonist Archie Shepp, "Attica Blues". The big band effort brings to a new generation of listeners material first presented in 1972 on Impulse.

The vitality of funk music connected to the traditions of New Orleans second line music is hard to resist. The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, led by saxophonist Ken Field, brings this exciting, easily danceable groove into focus on the new effort, Live Snakes (Accurate 2014). It's the third album from this ensemble of musicians with a changing cast, but rock solid second line performances.

In the not too distant past we have had the pleasure of hearing previously unreleased live recordings from artists such as Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery and Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane. Now comes an album from guitarist Pat Martino's personal collection recorded during the waning days of the “chitlin' circuit” at Club 118 in Louisville, KY. The tracks are culled from different appearances at the club during 1968 and 1969 although the program sounds cohesive, as if it were a one night engagement.

Every now and then you slip a disc into the CD player and immediately become engaged in a thrilling experience. Such is the case with alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo's new album “Threshold”. Firmly ensconced in the post-bop idiom, this smoking quintet session is full of captivating delights for the listener.