RAHSAAN BARBER (FB, @rjbsax)– “EVERYDAY MAGIC” (Young saxophonist, leading a group of young musicians, doing all original material).
Blogcritics (The Dirty Lowdown): This is a great debut for the label and a more than fine sophomore effort from Rahsaan and Everyday Magic. It may not be elevator music, but it is going nowhere but up.
SHARON DuBOIS (FB)– “HERE I AM” (Local vocalist, backed by local musicians, doing all original tunes. Lots of overdubs of her voice).
San Diego Reader (Robert Bush): In its strongest moments, Here I Am floats along with a jazz-funk groove reminiscent of the 70s Crusaders, or, on some tracks, the sophisticated feel of 80s era Steely Dan. It takes a tight band to pull that off.
ECHOES OF SWING – “MESSAGE FROM MARS” (New takes on early swing classics. Neo-swing, if you will).
The Jazz Society of Pensacola (Norman Vickers): This group combines the styles of small-group combos of the ‘20s and ‘30s with modern techniques with wonderful toe-tapping result. There is a mix of jazz standards with their own compositions. I’m also a fan of classics which are “swung.” Three examples of this style are “Butterfly Chase” based on a Chopin Etude, Fritz Kreisler’s “Liebesleid: and Shostakovich’s “Gavotte.”
"Message from Mars" wins
PRIX DE L'ACADÉMIE DU JAZZ in Paris
and is awarded the
GERMAN RECORD CRITICS' AWARD
BILL FRISELL (FB, @BillFrisell) – “ALL WE ARE SAYING…” (Edgy guitarist, paying tribute to John Lennon, with interesting and faithful takes, on familiar tunes).
AllAboutJazz.com (Music and More by Tim Niland): In guitarist Bill Frisell’s liner notes to his most recent LP, he writes about being contacted to perform a special concert of John Lennon compositions. He and the band enjoyed it so much that they continued to tour, playing mostly of the music heard here to an excellent response, and then entered to studio to record. Overall this album works pretty well and could serve as an excellent gateway or conduit to fans of pop music that are interested in exploring jazz. The band understands that Lennon’s music speaks for itself, and with a few modifications they allow it to do so quite beautifully
YARON GERSHOVSKY - “STATE OF MIND” (Manhattan Transfer’s pianist, leading a trio, doing mostly standards, with the group guesting on one track, and Janis Siegel on another).
Earthworks Audio: A Summa Cum Laude graduate of Berklee College of Music, Yaron has launched his musical career touring with Pharoah Sanders, and recording with Wayne Shorter on his album “Atlantis”. Since 1979, Yaron has been the Musical Director and Pianist/Keyboardist for the world-renowned vocal group The Manhattan Transfer. Yaron’s work was featured on the Broadway stage as well.
ALLAN HARRIS (FB,@AllanHarris) – “OPEN UP YOUR MIND” (Male vocalist, backing himself on guitar, doing mosty originals. Some track border on smooth jazz).
Powerderfinger Promotions: Always known as a singer’s singer, in Open Up Your Mind Harris also gets the opportunity to show off his deep songwriting talent while letting the music world know that he can hold his own on guitar. Harris has a rich history in the jazz world, CNN referred to him as one of the “three best male jazz vocalists in the country.”
PAMELA HINES – “LUCKY’S BOY” (Pianist, leading a trio, with vocalist April Hall, singing all Pamela’s originals).
CDBaby: Jazz pianist/ composer Pamela
Hines presents nine new vocal jazz originals that are sure to be part
of the contemporary American Songbook. Soulful and Blues- oriented
April Hall puts her vocal stamp on these clever, fun and inspiring
tunes. John Lockwood is on bass with Les Harris, Jr. on drums. The
result is and outstanding selection of jazz music that is sure to make
an impact with jazz fans.
Hines has made a solid contribution to the history of jazz piano with her seventh CD on the Spice Rack label and more works on other labels. She was a guest on Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland in 2000, thanks to a critically acclaimed debut CD in 1998 with Bob Moses, Rick McLaughlin, Darren Barrett and Jaque Swarz-Bart.
“WYNTON MARSALIS (FB, @WyntonMarsalis), & ERIC CLAPTON (FB, @EricClaptonNews) PLAY THE BLUES” (More of an early-
swing style recording, with a old swing version of “Layla”).
JazzReview.com: Reprise Records captures the magic of these unprecedented shows from earlier this year on CD and as a CD/DVD combo that both feature selections taken from the two public concerts (April 8-9), as well a special performance for Jazz at Lincoln Center's annual gala (April 7). Marsalis says the group combined the sound of an early blues jump-band with the sound of New Orleans jazz to accommodate the integration of guitar/trumpet lead, a combination that gave the musicians the latitude to play different grooves, from the Delta to the Caribbean and beyond.
RENOLDS JAZZ ORCHESTRA (FB) – “THREE PENNY OPERA-LIVE IN AARAU” (All-star big band, playing Kurt Weill’s music from his most famous work).
FAME (Mark S. Tucker): As before, the band here includes honored vets Randy Brecker and Miroslav Vitous, though every member is a superior musician. Many are the solos and just as numerous the influences and stylings—catch the Brubeckian take on Instead of Song, f'rinstance. One is also as likely to encounter a ululatingly enthralling Pharaoh Sanders cum Anthony Braxton voicing (Wedding Song for the Poor) as the aforementioned Dave, with Freddie Hubbardisms, Steve Coleman inflections, and of course the personalities and mindsets of the players themselves tossed in for a constantly morphing landscape. Everything is a kaleidoscope of surpassing skill and coloration.
JOAN STILES – “THREE MUSICIANS” (Joel Frahm and Matt Wilson join her, in mostly progressive versions of familiar tunes).
Amazon.com: Three Musicians is NY-based pianist/composer, Joan Stiles' 3rd CD, a joyful, interactive outing with Joel Frahm (sax) and Matt Wilson (drums). The trio glides and grooves through various jazz styles in brilliant but accessible explorations of standards, show tunes, Monk, Strayhorn, Mary Lou Williams, and even some Beatles and Clapton. Highlights include collages on LOVE - My Funny Valentine meets Sunshine of Your Love and MONEY - Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? meets Can't Buy Me Love. Stiles' compositions - West End Boogie, a soulful, rhythmic blues, and the Gillespie/Dameron inspired Bebopicity add to the eclectic mix. Hurly-Burly (Stiles' last CD) garnered a 4-star Downbeat review and topped Jazz Week Radio charts.
SUSANNAH (Martin) & PABLO – “TROPICOS SUR” (Female vocalist, doing the great Brazilian songbook).
CUONG VU (FB)– “LEAPS OF FAITH” (Pat Metheny’s trumpeter, in a very progressive outing).
AllAboutJazz.com (C. Michael Bailey): The stark juxtaposition of the familiar with the chaotic deepens understanding of the melody. Vu introduces what he is trying to do with the familiar before venturing into the unfamiliar, to provide a better understanding of his vision. This music is the collision between the secure and consonant with the disruptive and dissonant: meaning it reflects real life, where there are no white picket fences, only chain-link ones protecting paradise.
ANDREA WOLPER (FB, @AndreaWolper) – “PARALLEL LIVES” (Female vocalist, singing a mix of standards and originals).
Critical Jazz: "Parallel Lives" is an evocative sound scape collection ranging from Broadway to jazz beatnik to bebop and it is this very proud collection of music that defies standard categorization that makes it so captivating to enjoy. "Parallel Lives" is a celebration of musical diversity at its very finest. A vocal master class for where jazz vocalists should be heading today!