Some chart toppers, legendary and new comers, to be sure, being added to the library this week...and featured on The New Jazz Thing with Vince Outlaw, 6-8PM PT, Monday, May 16, 2011!
ALEXANDER – “DON’T FOLLOW THE CROWD” (Excellent straight-ahead quartet
session, with a mix of originals, new and old standards and obscure
tunes). Sounds Insights (Doug Payne): "It's hard to say that any one Eric Alexander Quartet recording is any
better than any other or that this particular one ranks at the top, if
it's even possible to construct such a hierarchy. But Don't Follow the
Crowd is not only a terrific place to start enjoying jazz giant Eric
Alexander but also a tremendous addition to the worthy two-decade long
discography this group has contributed to the jazz lexicon." GARAGE A TROIS (FB: http://www.facebook.com/GarageATrois, Twitter: – “ALWAYS BE HAPPY, BUT STAY EVIL” (Aggressively electric and progressive session, only suitable for nights).
Glide Magazine (Nathan Rodriquez): With its fifth release, Garage a Trois has crafted an album destined to
go down as one of the best instrumental releases of the last couple
decades. That may sound a tad hyperbolic, but Always Be Happy but Stay Evil showcases the extraordinary range of four musicians at the top of their respective games.
GRAPPELLI – “WITH ORCHESTRA PLAYS JEROME KERN” (Recorded in 1987, but
newly released. Typically swining session, backed by a full orchestra).
The Urban Flux: Grappelli (1908-1997) was hitting yet another of his many career high
points in the late ’80s. Even as he was turning 80, the venerated
violinist was touring and recording constantly, much in demand as a
hard-swinging elder statesman of the violin and of European Jazz. He
was regularly heard on two or three albums a year at that point, all of
them special, none more than this brilliant songbook package.
BENNY GREEN – “SOURCE” (Piano trio, doing all jazz standards, straight-ahead).
AllAboutJazz.com (C.Michael Bailey): "Green's playing is exact and exemplary. He plays and solos precisely,
as do the Washingtons, when called upon. This disc displays the art of
the piano trio as it lies somewhere between the bandstand and the
stage. It is not played so reverently to be consigned to a museum
gathering dust but is played reverently enough to pay proper homage to
those composers it represents.
ETTA JONES – “THE WAY WE WERE” (Live concert, backed by Houston Person Quartet, with 4 instrumental tracks).
AllMusic.com (Steve Leggett): Etta Jones
could flat-out sing, and she never failed to make the blues, jazz, and
Great American Songbook standards she sang her own, especially in her
many collaborations with tenor saxophonist Houston Person, who was as sympathetic a player as any singer could ever hope for -- Jones and Person
simply clicked and understood each other as a duo. This joyous set was
recorded live April 15, 2000 (a little more than a year away from Jones’ death in the fall of 2001) at the Tri-C Jazz Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, and features Jones and Person with the help of pianist Stan Hope, bassist George Kaye, and drummer Chip White. Jones sings with vitality and poise, transforming Gershwin's
“Oh, Lady Be Good” from a jazz standard into a flowing blues, making
old chestnuts like “What a Wonderful World” and “Don’t Go to Strangers”
shine anew with a poignant wisdom. This set is both a pleasant listen
and a fun archival recording -- it captures Jones and Person at their best in front of a nimble and flexible rhythm section.
SEAN JONES – “NO NEED FOR WORDS” (Great quintet session, doing all originals).
Open Sky Jazz (Interview): Sean Jones: It is important to me to record albums that are honest,
fresh and new in the sense that it’s not a copied formula or
prescription that’s already been used that seems to work. I avoided the
“silly love song” concept by looking inside of myself and searching for
feeling and my overall sense of what love is. Of course it’s very
difficult to pin a definition on love, so I decided to explore various
aspects of it that resonated with me. Honesty is key and I want the
listener to feel my emotions through each composition. Photo Shoot:
Friend Named Fred: "Uniting their mutual love for both jazz and Brazilian music, two acclaimed stylists, the guitarist Roni Ben-Hur and the bassist Nilson Matta, have found common ground on Mojave, their first recorded collaboration. With expert support from the long celebrated drummer Victor Lewis and Brazilian percussionist Café, Ben-Hur and Matta have conjured up a project that celebrates the best of both worlds.Mojave, entrances with its Brazilian sensibilities as successfully as it swings."
Scott Yanow Review: "In recent times Alphonse Mouzon has toured, written music, produced
albums, acted, begun writing his memoirs, and started gathering
together his originals which will be published as songbooks.
Fortunately he took time out to complete Angel Face, his finest
straight ahead jazz recording and a major achievement in a very busy
AllAboutJazz.com (C. Michael Bailey): Much anticipated, The Lost and Found appears, revealing
Parlato's sonic evolution toward an end very different from Wilson's.
Where Wilson has intently explored the earthy, organic nature of the
music she sings, Parlato has entered the laboratory to distill her
music to its bare essence: a whisper, a scent, an echo, a suggestion.
Her light, no-pressure approach better reveals the harmonic metaphysics
of the songs she sings, whether originals or standards. Parlato is a young and vibrant artist, from whom we are only beginning to hear, and whose future is bright, indeed.
JEAN-MICHEL PILC – “ESSENTIAL” (Solo piano concert, with a mix of progressive and straight-ahead tunes).
Lucid Culture (delarue): Jazz pianist Jean-Michel Pilc’s new live solo album Essential is just out on Motéma,
and it’s a match of astonishing chops and playful wit, in fact, one of
Pilc’s best creations. A defiant advocate of pure improvisation, the
way Pilc takes both original and classic themes, deconstructs them or
reconstructs them, all the while making them up on the spot, is
extremely entertaining. As he explains, literally everything here is
improvised with the exception of one in a series of fascinating
miniatures titled Etude-Tableaux – and that one Pilc came up with only
a few days before he recorded this concert. The cd version of this
album features features not only live concert material but also a video
of a special private performance from the two-night stand where this
material was recorded.
POCKET – “POCKET” (Local band, laying down funky grooves. Our next Happy Hour
With a mix of funk grooves revolving around rhythm and drenched in soul and jazz, Pocket prides its sound on thriving without a singer. “Acid jazz or soul jazz are not genres that people search out,” says the band. “Most people want a singer and lyrics they can relate to. Picture James Brown’s band without James Brown, totally funky and playing their asses off.” So what do they bring onstage instead?
AllMusic.com (Ken Dryden): Vocalist Roseanna Vitro
has had big ears when it comes to looking for material for her jazz
record dates, investigating songwriters overlooked by others. This Randy Newman
songbook is obviously a labor of love, interpreting the veteran
composer's lyrics, whether sentimental or sardonic. Her band includes
the seasoned rhythm team of pianist Mark Soskin (who also provided arrangements), bassist Dean Johnson and drummer Tim Horner, along with the promising young violinist Sara Caswell (who often adds a sublime touch). The rich-voiced alto's rendition of "Sail Away" showcases Caswell to good effect. Vitro has a lot of fun with Newman's hilarious description of attending a pot party in "Mama Told Me Not to Come," with Caswell's whimsical licks complementing the leader's playful, outgoing vocal. The singer captures the essence of Newman's sardonic "Baltimore," though she transforms it with a brisk setting, adding guitarist Steve Cardenas. Vitro's dramatic interpretation of "In Germany Before the War" is also a high point. Jazz fans who grew up listening to Randy Newman will be particularly interested in Roseanna Vitro's novel approach to his music.