|RON CARTER – “RON CARTER’S GREAT BIG BAND” (Bassist, leading a big band, and swinging|
straight-ahead on many familiar tunes).
Critical Jazz: This is the first ever big band recording for the 74 year old Carter and
he pulls this off as though this was his primary if not favorite means
of musical expression. A smoking hot ensemble that swings with the kind
of pop that would give the listener the impression this was a working
ensemble years in the making.
Recent interview with Ron.
A photo of the band with arranger Bob Freedman.
ARMEN DONELIAN – “LEAPFROG” (Pianist, leading a quintet, doing all originals, very edgy).
AllAboutJazz.com (Dan Bilawski): While cohesion and individuality, by their very definitions, may seem to be at odds with one another, the music on Leapfrog
reconciles these two opposing ideals without a problem. For his ninth
date on the Sunnyside label, pianist Armen Donelian has together a
program of strikingly modern originals that showcase the cutting edge
talent and simpatico sensibilities of his band. Leapfrog proves to be light years beyond many other albums that
wear the modern jazz label, because the individual contributions and
the confluence of the group are of equal value, and Donelian deserves
plaudits for balancing that equation and producing such a work.
KYLE EASTWOOD – “SCENES FROM THE CHATEAU” (Bassist, leading a straight-ahead session,
with funky undertones).
AllAboutJazz.com (Bruce Lindsay): yle Eastwood's career encompasses the writing of film soundtracks, as
well as the life of a jazz composer, bandleader and bassist. On those
seemingly rare occasions when he isn't working, Eastwood spends much of
his time in France. Songs From The Chateau is his fifth album since 1998's debut, From There To Here
(Sony), and his fourth for British Candid label. It finds Eastwood
recording in the country he loves, at the 15th century Chateau
Couronneau in the Bordeaux region. The range of styles is wide, demonstrating the influences from across
the world that Eastwood has absorbed into his writing and playing. It's full of strong compositions from Eastwood, and virtuoso playing
from every musician, but never feels forced, or competitive: no
showboating, no unnecessary technical complexity.
FLUTEUS MAXIMUMS – “ONE SESSION-ONE TAKE” (Funky versions of many familiar songs).
CDBaby: 16 songs were recorded in 4 hours, live, in a tiny, one room studio in northern California.
All songs were done in one take including Hammond B3 (dubbed in the same session).
BIELLO/WEYAND – “FOURTHOUGHT’ (A quartet, doing mostly originals. Way out sax solos deem it
appropriate for nights only).
DAN JACOBS QUINTET – “PLAYSONG” (Trumpet-led ensemble, doing a mix of tunes, straight-ahead).
JACOB FRED JAZZ ODYSSEY – “THE RACE RIOT SUITE” (Very progressive, way out there).
Interview with Chris Combs
JAZZ LINKS ENSEMBLE – “THE DRIVE” (Ensemble of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, doing a collection
of jazz tunes).
CDBaby: This two year labor of love
features an ensemble of the next generation of jazz performers whose
debut on this CD project is just the beginning. "The Drive" aptly titled
after one of the original compositions on the CD, signifies what it
takes to be a young jazz performer. The selected tunes exemplify the
passion of these young musicians for this ageless music. Accompanied by
Producer and Mentor for the project, Robert (Baabe) Irving, III; with
Ari Brown and Corey Wilkes on some numbers, the performers not only had
an opportunity to "shine" but to do so along-side world renowned Jazz
VINCENT LYN – “HEAVEN BOUND” (Pianist, leading a variety of ensembles, doing an eclectic mix of
jazz, latin and classical).
AllAboutJazz.com (Edward Blanco):
Heaven Bound: indeed, what an appropriate choice of words to
title pianist Vincent Lyn's project. The album is a wonderful
collection of jazz, bossa nova, samba, Afro-Cuban rhythms and delicate
classical interpretations. The fourteen-piece repertoire is an even
blend of melody-rich originals and well-chosen, uncommon jazz standards.
The music is engaging, sophisticated and highly pleasurable from start
to finish, with no fillers, as every tune is a keeper and deserving of
Lyn is an interesting professional,
whose love for music does not really define the person behind it. Lyn is
a martial arts expert—a Kung-Fu star and teacher with his own academy—a
kickboxing champion, model and Hong Kong film star, with nineteen
movies to his credit. But music has always been one of his first loves.
and to that end Lyn honed his skills through studies at the renowned
Boston Conservatory of Music, Yale University Music School and Manhattan
School of Music.
FRANCISCO MELA & CUBAN SAFARI – “TREE OF LIFE” (Progressive session, featuring a couple of
vocals by Esperanza Spalding).
: Drummer Francisco Mela presents his second release on Half Note, a tour-de-force featuring 10 newly conceived compositions. With the help of his band, Cuban Safari, Mela offers a passionate fusion of Cuban polyrhythms and propulsive modernism. Renown for his play with Joe Lovanoʼs Us Five, Mela and the full scope of his musicianship take center stage with an unexpected turn as a vocalist, duetting with pianist Elio Villafranca, and trading improvs with Special Guest Esperanza Spalding. Tree Of Life is spirited evidence of Melaʼs distinguished place among young group leaders.
JASON RASO – “THE RED ARROW” (Guitarist/bassist, leading a variety of ensembles in a straight-
EarShot (Shelley Gummeson)
: It has been said Jason Raso has a jazz head and a funk heart. The two have been introduced in The Red Arrow. Jay comments on the duality, “The head can sometimes play games and push you away from some things. I still want a groove and my hope is that those two sides continue to blend.”
GREG REITAN (FB
)– “DAYBREAK” (Nice, straight-ahead, jazz piano trio).
: "Daybreak" is the third release for Reitan on the Sunnyside label whose artistry may be best compared as a musical frame of refernce to a cross between Keith Jarrett and Dave Grusin. Subtle nuances on a grand scale. This small yet mighty trio gives us something new with each subsequent spin of the disc.
CLAUDIO RODITI – “BONS AMIGOS” (Nice straight-ahead release from this trumpeter, with brazilian
AllAboutJazz.com (Andrew J. Sammut)
: Roditi's high note displays and mixing board effects sound as though he's smiling from behind the horn. He's having fun and is not out to impress. Claudio Roditi and his amigos don't have to worry about showing off, unless warmth, melody and humor sound intimidating.
ERNIE WATTS – “ALIVE” (Saxophonist, recorded live in Europe, with his quartet, doing originals and
couple of jazz standards).
: (2004) Released on Watts' own Flying Dolphin label, ALIVE begins a new chapter for the artist. "This is my first recording where I had complete control," notes Watts, "All the creative decisions were mine, from the tunes to the final mix. That freedom produced this CD. It shows who I really am as a musician."
: "The Brussels Jazz Orchestra (BJO), led by founder and Artistic Director Frank Vaganée, once again reinforces its reputation as one of Europe’s premier big bands, a group that “manifests love,” according to Grammy-winning arranger Maria Schneider. Kenny Werner and the BJO have joined forces to create the perfect canvas for Wernerʼs lush compositions and arrangements. TheInstitute of Higher Learning features 5 tracks, among them the opening “Cantabile,” a three-movement suite showcasing Wernerʼs progressive touch. It was inspired by and dedicated to Bob Brookmeyer. Liner notes by Maria Schneider."
JACK WILKINS – “THE BLUE & GREEN PROJECT” (Saxophonist, doing great straight-ahead
interpretations of American roots music).
: This project involved researching Appalachian Mountain culture and environment as the inspiration for a series of new compositions, which combine the musical inspiration of American roots music—blues, gospel, jazz, mountain music, New Orleans traditions—with the subjective inspiration of Appalachian Mountains. Jack Wilkins is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of South Florida in Tampa. An accomplished jazz saxophonist, he has released two CDs as a leader and appears as a sideman on a number of other jazz and commercial recordings.