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 Ė 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).
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."
- Listen To The Interview With Norman David at The New Jazz Thing with Vince Outlaw!
SAMMY FIGUEROA (@congas88, FB, YouTube)& HIS LATIN JAZZ EXPLOSION - "Urbannature" (Jazzy latin, straight-ahead).
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 didnít feel good. I was thinking of doing covers with a lot of great singers I worked with, and that didnít fly for me. So each time Iíd let it go for months and months. I even talked, 10 years ago, to Tony Visconti [a longtime producer of Bowieís albums] about a concept, and he was into it, but some record company at the time, I donít know who they were, they didnít 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 whoís a journalist in France and also a singer/songwriter and has written a book on David Bowie, his name is JérŰme Soligny, he said, ĎMike, the obvious thing is playing solo piano. Just play the music how you feel,í and I said, ĎJesus, why didnít I think of something so simple?íĒ (laughs).So itís a very honest album, Hans Ö because thatís all I do. Iím 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 musicóthe 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.
- Listen To The Interview With Giacomo Gates at The New Jazz Thing with Vince Outlaw!
DONALD HARRISON / RON CARTER / BILLY COBHAM (@GladBash)- "THIS IS JAZZ" (These three go pianoless, recorded live at The Blue Note).
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 conversation compelling.
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."
RUSS MULLEN AND THE JAZZ ASSOCIATES - "CITYSCAPE" (Mix of straight-ahead, contemporary and latin grooves).
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 whoís played beside John Coltrane, Max Roach and Art Blakey. This latest documentation of his art opens with a title-track thatís 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.