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).
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).
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).
JazzTimes.com: 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- ahead session).
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).
Critical Jazz: "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 undertones).
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).
ErnieWatts.com: (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."
JazzTimes: "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).
JazzLoft: 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.
Here's what's going into the New section of the Jazz 88 Music Library this next week and will be debuted during The New Jazz Thing on Monday, August 22, 2011, 6-8PM PT...Tune In!!. It's all about the New!
LAILA BIALI (@LailaBiali, FB)- "TRACING LIGHT" (Female vocalist/pianist, with a straight-ahead mix of standards, obscure tunes and originals).
Israbox: "Laila Biali has had quite a year – a new gig as backing vocalist with Sting, a new baby and now a new CD. Tracing Light is the third solo album for the Vancouver-raised, Toronto- and New York-based performer and composer." NORMAN DAVID & THE ELEVENTET (FB)- "AT THIS TIME" (Large ensemble, doing all straight-ahead originals).
Free MP3 AllAboutJazz.com: "David has been leading this group for a few years, and as they find their groove and release their first CD, At This Time
(Norman David/Coolcraft, 2011), they are deservedly being heard all
over the Delaware Valley and beyond. They deliver a relentlessly
swinging and ear-popping sound while at the same time offering nuances,
subtleties, and creative ideas that generate interest for the more
serious listener. David's lightly leavened "emcee" persona is deceptive,
dissimulating as a somewhat shy suburban outcast, with wry humor so bad
that it's good. Thus, it's a shock at first to hear how well this band
delivers its grooving sophisticated sounds. David, known also as a
clarinetist, plays a mean soprano sax with this band, while contributing
superb arrangements of originals and standards that evoke echoes of
great predecessors (for example, the Maynard Ferguson band, as well as shades of Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, and the Gerry Mulligan
Concert Jazz Band, perhaps its closest ancestral cousin), while
maintaining a distinct sound of its own. That sound has the precision,
timing, and expression of a small group along with the dynamic energy of
a big band."
Digital Jazz News: Sammy spent roughly two decades in New York working with the likes of
Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins with whom he is currently touring. One day
Sammy decided to roll the musical dice and he headed to South Florida.
Figueroa landed firmly in the middle of one of the hottest Latin jazz
scenes anywhere which naturally jump started his musical creativity
which has earned the two Grammy nominations previously mentioned and
with this release perhaps the third time will indeed be the charm! MIKE GARSON (@MikeGarson, FB) - "THE BOWIE VARIATIONS" (Nice solo interpretations of the music of David Bowie, for whom Mike used to play).
Independent Ethos - Mike Garson talks about David Bowie Variations (interview with Hans Morgenstern: "I had been thinking about the Bowie album for a very long time, and I
was thinking of doing it as a jazz treatment with a band and guitar and
sax, but that didn’t feel good. I was thinking of doing covers with a
lot of great singers I worked with, and that didn’t fly for me. So each
time I’d let it go for months and months. I even talked, 10 years ago,
to Tony Visconti
[a longtime producer of Bowie’s albums] about a concept, and he was
into it, but some record company at the time, I don’t know who they
were, they didn’t have the budget I was looking for, and I was not going
to do it with a small budget. It had to be done right. Then, a good
friend of mine who’s a journalist in France and also a singer/songwriter
and has written a book on David Bowie, his name is Jérôme Soligny,
he said, ‘Mike, the obvious thing is playing solo piano. Just play the
music how you feel,’ and I said, ‘Jesus, why didn’t I think of something
so simple?’” (laughs).So it’s a very honest album, Hans … because that’s all I do. I’m an improvising musician." GIACOMO GATES - "THE REVOLUTION WILL BE JAZZ" (Vocalist, with straight-ahead interpretations of the music of Gil Scott-Heron).
Jazz Wax (Marc Myers): You listen to this album and it could easily have been recorded
in 1964. Giacomo brings a Greenwich Village feel to this music—the
summer strum of acoustic guitars in Washington Square, the gentle energy
of Vespa scooters and the toy-like grind of the old VW Bug engine
accelerating at a traffic-light change.
Amazon.com: For their second Half Note issue, the power trio of Donald Harrison, Ron
Carter and Billy Cobham declare themselves spokesman for a kind of
exploratory improvisation and interplay known only to seasoned jazz
professionals. Staunch individualists all, they come together with a
unified voice - at once steeped in jazz's richly variegated traditions
yet forward-thinking in the cause of new creative expression. The group
play here is all about a stylized vision of call and response, featuring
guys with excellent listening skills and the means to keep the
ROGER HUMPHRIES - "KEEP THE FAITH" (Drummer, leading mostly a quintet, in a straight-ahead session).
CDUniverse: "It's not about me. It's about the music,"
says Roger Humphries. "I've had the idea to do this album for a long
time. It was just a matter of getting the right tunes and the right
flow." The album is entitled "Keep the Faith" and appropriately reflects
Roger's deep and abiding respect for the musical gift he has and his
ability to share that gift with others. His name and his musical
reputation as a national and international icon are why we as a
listening audience or fellow musicians understand Roger when he says,
"It's about the music."
CDBaby: The CITYSCAPE album is like a
musical tour through the neighborhoods of a major city. THE WALK is a
jazz-rock piece with a catchy melody and a good beat. SPENDING TIME WITH
YOU is an upbeat Bossa Nova with a good hook. You will find yourself
singing this melody. GLIDING is a Jazz Waltz that is free-flowing
similar to a bird soaring through the air. BAJA CALIENTE is Hot, Hot,
Hot. This Latin Jazz piece makes you want to get up and dance. CITY
LIGHTS is a Straight Ahead jazz piece that gives you the feel of going
out for a night on the town. SANTA MONICA SUMMER is a Bossa Nova with a
happy sound that feels a summer vacation. LONELY CITY has a haunting
melody and beat. It gives you the feeling of being alone in a new city
and not knowing anybody yet. BLUES FOR DARLENE is not really a blues but
rather an upbeat Samba that is sure to have you dancing in your seat.
WALKIN' THE PARK is just what the title says like a walk in the park.
This Reggae-Swing piece will have you visualizing a day in the park with
all of the families having picnics and enjoying the day. TIME SQUARE is
like a trip back into the city with all the hustle and bustle you might
find in Time Square. FUNKIT is a funk tune that sounds like it could
have come out of the 70's, it's got a good strong beat that's sure to
get you moving. LA CABANA is a Bolaro that was written on a beach in
Mexico during a vacation. SWINGADELIC (FB, YouTube) - "THE OTHER DUKE-TRIBUTE TO DUKE PEARSON" (Big band versions of Duke Pearson compositions).
AllAboutJazz.com (Dan Bilawsky): Another Duke served as an A&R man for Blue Note records from 1963 to
1971, performed as a sideman on piano on a slew of recordings for the
label during this period, wrote such classics as "Cristo Redentor" and
"Idle Moments," and released a string of fabulous, but underappreciated
recordings under his own name. This Duke often gets slighted or
overlooked, but not this time." "The genesis for this project was bassist Dave Post's love for Pearson's
music, but the entire band and its regular audience at Maxwell's in
Hoboken, New Jersey, had no trouble buying into the pianist's
compositions, so an album-length tribute seemed to be in order." CEDAR WALTON (FB)- "THE BOUNCER" (Pianist, leading a quintet, in another solid straight-ahead session, doing mostly originals).
BBC (Martin Longley): The Bouncer "is totally not a security guy," says Cedar Walton, the venerable 77-year-old Texan jazz-pianist who’s played beside John Coltrane, Max Roach and Art Blakey.
This latest documentation of his art opens with a title-track that’s
spirited and, yes, bounces along with a bright, airily optimistic
swagger, rippling with ebullient horns. This is how Walton's using the
term, and his description remains apt for the entire disc. MIGUEL ZENON (FB, @MiguelZenon, YouTube )- "ALMA ADENTRO: THE PUERTO RICAN SONGBOOK" (Saxophonist, doing mostly latin tunes, with some orchestral backing).Schedule: Playing UCSD in November! AllAboutJazz.com (Dan Bilawsky): While calling somebody a "star" in jazz might seem like an oxymoron,
when considering the lower-than-deserved profile of the genre on the
national and international stages, Zenon fits the bill like few others.
As of the recording of this 2011 album, Zenon, only in his early
thirties, has already carved out a place as one of the defining
saxophone voices of his generation. Having already received a Guggenheim
Fellowship and MacArthur Fellowship (a.k.a. the "genius grant") at such
an early age, some feel that he has been wrongfully fast-tracked in a
genre where the experience of elders is usually prized over the
enthusiasm and creative spirit of youth; but his solo albums and
continuing work with the SFJAZZ Collective, as the only remaining
charter member of that groundbreaking group, have confirmed how
deserving he really is of all of the positive press, awards and honors
that have been thrust upon him.
Here are the discs we are adding to the Jazz 88 Playlist and Library the week of August 15, 2011. Great to see San Diego represented well with new discs by Russell Bizzett and Candy Kayne / Sue Palmer, along with some personal favs like Avishai Cohen and Sam Yahel.
I will be debuting as much of this new as possible on The New Jazz Thing, Monday, August 15, 2011 between 6 and 8 PM PT, so tune in!!
JOHN BASILE (– “AMPLITUDE” (Guitarist, playing solo with overdubs, with a mix of old & new standards and originals).
AllAboutJazz.com: Though initially intended as references for performances with perhaps
another guitarist or instrumentalist, the process became so creatively
challenging and intriguing, that I ultimately decided to seize this
opportunity to overdub all the tracks in what made musical and
conversational sense. Years ago, Bill Evans' Conversations with Myself
was a great inspiration in this regard With the iPhone revolutionizing
our pop-culture, I thought why not use it and see where it takes me? RUSSELL BIZZETT – “DREAM STREET” (Local trio, doing all standards, straight- ahead).
AllAboutJazz.com (NeNad Georgievski): Seven Seas is another exceptional chapter in the Cohen catalog,
one that showcases a willingness to stretch itself to the breaking
point and open up the music to a wider array of approaches. It is one of
his most spontaneous recordings, with both disciplinarian and
freewheeling sense of adventurous interaction. In general, there is a
spirit of true exploration on his records which is also evident here,
with adventurous improvisation added to that blend of Mediterranean
melodies (with touches of Ladino/Judeo-Spanish heritage) and the art of
TIM COLLINS – “CASTLES AND HILLTOPS” (Vibraphonist, leading a quartet, doing all but 2 originals, those 2 were written by Bjork and Tom Petty).
Candy Kane and Sue Palmer's telepathic musical rapport (George Varga): Kane, a boisterous, sometimes bawdy singer, with a big voice and an
even bigger heart, first began playing with ace pianist Palmer in 1991
at the Belly Up in Solana Beach. Their near-telepathic musical rapport
was immediately apparent, fueled by their shared passion for blues,
boogie-woogie, swing, jump-blues and other earthy American music styles.You can savor that rapport on the recently released “One Night in
Belgium,” an intimate live duo album Kane and Palmer recorded in 1999 in
SmoothJazzDaily: Tweety Records is proud to present Chuck Loeb’s latest CD Plain ‘n’Simple,
his seventeenth as a solo artist. It is an organ trio project,
featuring Pat Bianchi on the keys and pedals, and Chuck’s fellow
Fourplay band member Harvey Mason on drums. The CD represents a new
direction for Chuck, while at the same time harkening back to his
earliest influences as a jazz guitarist. From the beginning, he was
drawn to the organ trio sound by his love for the early Wes Montgomery
records, as well as the hallmark Jimmy Smith recordings of the 1960’s.
The repertoire includes eight Loeb originals, two gems penned by Mason,
and a couple of standards too. The music is swinging, funky, lush and exciting from note one, and stays
that way to the very last drop. Chuck’s fans will find the excellence
in playing, sound, and production that they have come to expect from
him, as well experiencing a side of the artist that they may have never
LARRY VUCKOVICH – “SOMETHIN’ SPECIAL” (Pianist, leading a quintet, doing jazz standards).
Amazon.com: Something Special, this newest offering from Larry Vuckovich,
creates a strong 'Blue Note' flavor of soulful, swinging jazz. The
selections reflect the pianist's important early influences, honoring
the jazz masters who inspired him when he first began playing jazz.
Vuckovich runs his deft fingers across the keys on some rare
compositions, such as Horace Silver's languid Enchantment and Sonny Clark's Somethin' Special,
the album's title track. He presents guest artist, classic tenor
saxophonist Scott Hamilton, in a slightly different light from Scott's
past recordings. Hamilton shines as he plays compositions of the bebop
masters, newly introduced to him, such as Dexter Gordon's Cheese Cake, as well as the Clark piece, and the funk classic of Ben Tucker's Comin' Home Baby. This studio recording developed out of a 2011 Northern California tour Vuckovich helped arrange for Hamilton.
WESTCHESTER JAZZ ORCHESTRA (FB) – “MAIDEN VOYAGE SUITE” (Big band versions of Herbie Hancock tunes). NYTimes.com (Philip Lutz): The recording made last month at Bennett Studios, “Maiden Voyage Suite,”
will consist of original arrangements of tunes from Mr. Hancock’s 1965
album “Maiden Voyage.”
The suite was enthusiastically received twice in concert, though it
became a candidate for recording only when the orchestra won a $10,000
grant from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music. The award was announced last June. The recording session, Mr. Holober said, was “definitely overdue.”
SKIP WILKINS – “AFTER” (Pianist, following up his standards release, with an edgy collection of originals).
Philly.com: The current Lafayette College jazz professor, who is relocating to Europe, says he made After for
his grown children who had left home. The intuitive set with drummer
Jeff Hirshfield and bassist Scott Lee projects a warm, rich tone and a
questing vibe at times. The title track certainly produces righteous
WARREN WOLF – “WARREN WOLF” (Vibraphonist, leading a straight-ahead session).
The Urban Music Scene: It's no exaggeration to state that the release of Warren Wolf, the eponymous debut album for Mack Avenue Records by Warren Wolf,
will make it as apparent to jazz fans as it already is to jazz insiders
that the 31-year-old vibraphonist is the next major voice on his
instrument. Joined by a unit of authoritative swingers (bassist Christian McBride, pianist Peter Martin, drummer Greg Hutchinson, alto and soprano saxophonist Tim Green, and, on two tracks, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt),
Wolf offers a ten-piece program that admirably represents his singular
blend of efflorescent chops, muscular attack, lyric sensibility,
harmonic acumen, encyclopedic knowledge of hardcore jazz vocabulary,
tireless groove and downright musicality.
trying to bring forth what most cats did back in the day, coming out
right at you swinging, nice and hard, not a lot of hard melodies or
weird time signatures," Wolf says. "I like to play really hard, fast and
kind of flashy. I like to take it to a whole other level."
SAM YAHEL – “FROM SUN TO SUN” (Pianist, playing organ on some tracks, doing mostly originals. A little on the edgy side).
Origin REcords: After establishing himself as one of the world's foremost organists over
the last decade, Sam Yahel showed off a new side in 2009 with a
critically acclaimed piano trio recording that highlighted his broad
musical interests and the dynamic interplay of his seasoned band. Now in
their tenth year, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Jochen Rueckert again
join Yahel as he engages with both the Hammond B3 and piano for an
inspired album of fresh originals, and classics including "So in Love"
and "A Beautiful Friendship." "...as elegant as anything you've ever
heard from an organist. Larry Young would be proud." JazzTimes
AllAboutJazz.com (Greg Simmons): "In places it seems as much indebted to rock 'n' roll as to jazz, with
Korzin pumping out solid grooves—playing with the same economy as
Apicella, sticking with keeping time, but almost never throwing in so
much as an accent roll. It's that restraint—the precedence of the group over the individuals—that makes The Business
a good record. This is simple, toe-tapping, head-nodding music—mostly
blues and R&B-based. It's not flashy or especially innovative, but
it is fun, and that seems more to the point."
Allmusic.com (William Ruhlmann): There is a long tradition of jazz trumpeters putting aside their horns and singing into the microphone, dating back to Louis Armstrong and including Chet Baker, and Rick Braun belatedly joins this confraternity on Sings with Strings. " Braun certainly doesn't embarrass himself as a singer. He has a light, breathy tenor that marks him as a sort of little brother to Mel Tormé, and he is sufficiently assured to try a few note substitutions and time variation..." The album is not the revelation that Chet Baker Sings was, and it does not suggest that Braun should hock his horns. But it is a more than respectable side project.
The Jazz Word: "the disc is a toe tapping, swinging affair with nine interpretations of
classic Wonder material, featuring the soulful renderings of guitarist
Bobby Broom, organist Chris Foreman and drummer Greg Rockingham.Wonder's reputation as a master craftsman of melody and harmony has been
secured for some time and jazz musicians recording his music is nothing
new. What makes this recording stand out is the convincing and
seemingly natural way the trio presents familiar pop tunes in a
straight-ahead manner. The groovy swing heard on "If You Really Love Me"
and "As" and the crawling ballad tempo of "My Cheri Amour" bring
freshness to the material, enhanced by the band's signature, greasy
allure. The dirty funk treatment given to the Wonder-penned hit for
Rufus "Tell Me Something Good" is worth the price of admission."
AllAboutJazz.com (Dan Bilawsky): "The music itself, despite a title that might indicate otherwise, is
actually Evans most conventional output in quite some time. The spiky
intensity of The Captain Black Big Band
and the left-leaning, in-and-out esthetic of Tarbaby's work is nowhere
to be found on this date. While Evans still injects his own personality
into these pieces, his mission here is to honor others. Swing is a
central element on a large number of the tracks, but it isn't all that
Evans has to offer. Dewy balladry built with glacial grace (Evans'
"Dita"), a rhythmically engaging workout on Shirley Scott's "Oasis," and
an album-closing, solo piano take on Herbie Hancock's "Just Enough" all exhibit different sides of the indefatigable Orrin Evans."
SIR ROLAND HANNA – “COLORS FROM A GIANT’S KIT” (Previously
unreleased solo piano collection of mostly originals).
JazzTimes.com (David Whiteis): "These selections were recorded during the 1990s and as late as 2002 by
IPO’s Bill Sorin, before his label came into being. They showcase
pianist Sir Roland Hanna, the label’s first artist, at the height of his
powers. Hanna’s playing resonates with an authoritative, almost regal
forcefulness yet it’s also graceful. Despite his deft technique, he
never sacrifices meaning for display, and there’s a sense of joy and
discovery at every turn—life-affirming melodic and harmonic richness,
deep emotion without bathos." "Hanna brings to bear the full arsenal of his technical and imaginative
gifts, yet his playing is infused with an emotional immediacy that cuts
to the core of blues expression. A balance of strength and soul this
effective was remarkably rare, and makes Hanna’s absence—he died in
2002—all the more unfortunate."
JazzReviews.com (Samira Blackwell): "The unexpected, elastic sparkle of brilliance shimmers through every
song - an endless tingle that dances down your spine and begs repeated
listening over and again. Kensington Suite makes such
contribution and Richard’s artistry positively equals the transcendent
peaks made by Parker, Coltrane, Henderson and Brecker. This is jazz at
its finest and being a veritable collector, I make no apologies for
TOM WOPAT (@tomwopat, FB, YouTube) – “CONSIDER IT SWUNG” (Former “Dukes of Hazzard”
star, singing a collection of old and new standards and originals.Well done).
JazzTimes.com (Christopher Loudon): Now, another five years having passed (since 2006 Harold Arlen tribute Dissertation On the State of Bliss), Wopat is back with Consider It Swung, a far more wide-ranging album. New York Times
music critic Stephen Holden, whose knowledge of jazz and cabaret
singers is likely unequalled, has aptly compared Wopat to the
later-career Sinatra. His gravelly baritone is singularly engaging and,
like Sinatra, he has an actor’s ability to fully embrace a lyric,
digging to the roots of each song’s story. "...Wopat is equally, if not more, appealing when he ventures beyond the
Great American Songbook. Bobbie Gentry’s delta mini-drama “Ode to Billie
Joe” is particularly well suited to his story-weaving skills, as are
Joni Mitchell’s wistful “2 Grey Rooms” and “You’d Rather Have the
Blues,” Dave Frishberg’s delightfully cynical portrait of a perpetual
pessimist. His bluesy retelling of Delbert McClinton’s “Maybe Someday
Baby” is a first-rate scorcher that swings with Joe Williams gutsiness,
his hazy reading of “Deacon Blues” is earthier than the Steely Dan
original and there’s plenty of soulful swagger in his “A Natural Man.”
AllAboutJazz.com (C. Michael Bailey): So unique and fresh are these interpretations that their paying tribute to a singular talent is but the gravy in this recording. The two singers weave harmonic lines carefully managing the intended
tension. Cassidy's show-stopping "Wonderful World" proves the same on
this, one of the finest recordings of the year.