Various Artists Christmas Break: Relaxing Jazz for the Holidays (Telarc – 2006) Staff
For all of the joy and festivity associated with the holidays, the season also comes with its share of stress, too. When the shopping, the decorating, the gathering and the rest of the yuletide overdrive reaches its peak, take that much needed and well-deserved Christmas Break: Relaxing Jazz for the Holidays a collection of traditional Christmas songs interpreted by some of the most prominent jazz players of the last few decades. This festive but easygoing compilation features performances by Oscar Peterson, Mel Torme, Dave Brubeck, Ray… Continue reading
Festival Report 2003 15th Annual DuPont Clifford BrownJazz Festival – June 15-22, 2003 by Eugene Holley, Jr.
Hancock Photo by Billy Martin – Pictrman@aol.com
The growth of a jazz festival is no different than the growth of a musician. Like the musician, the festival arrives on the scene, explores a wide variety of styles and presentational forms. On its quest to find its own voice, it makes mistakes, and improvises on them. Then one day, the festival delivers a performance that heralds its arrival, and announces to the world that it has something to say.
At a time when the… Continue reading
Jane Monheit Come Dream With Me(N-Coded – 2001) by Matthew S. Robinson
Though critics have accused her of sticking stylistically to her predecessors and playing it too safe with her material and delivery, Jane Monheit has grown up a lot in one album and is truly ready to spread her wings and take her place among the new generation of Jazz vocalists. Discovered by master producer Joel Dorn, Monheit has also caught the ear and attention of legends such as Kenny Barron, Michael Brecker and fellow young lion Christian McBride, all of whom perform on this lovely and highly listenable… Continue reading
More Nuisance than NemesisCD Copy Protection by Ray Redmond
The other day I was at my desk working away when I threw in the new Urban Knights CD to review, and that’s when the irritation began. A little window popped up on my computer stating that I couldn’t actually listen to the CD unless I allowed it to load some unidentified program onto the computer. Not being the system administrator, I can’t install anything on the PC at my desk. Even if I could, I’m not sure I would allow some unknown software to load in these days of… Continue reading
Renee Rosnes and the Danish Radio Big Band(Bluenote – 2003) by John Thompson
There is awesome music here. Pianist Renee Rosnes is know for displaying technique, touch, sensitivity, melodic and solo prowess. Rosnes will remain on the jazz scene for as long as she wants due to her enourmous skills. On this release, the 19-piece Danish Radio Big Band accompanies Rosnes. Not bad to play with a Big Band that once included guest artists Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, and was awarded a Grammy in 1984 and nominations in 2001 and 2002. The great Thad Jones was a… Continue reading
This collection of music from the late, great guitarist Joe Beck and jazz vocalist Laura Theodore is an intimate and inspired series of duets which effectively pays twin tributes. Initially conceived by Theodore as a tribute to the revered vocalist and popular music icon Peggy Lee, whose alluring, “cool” style captivated listeners through the ’40s, ’50s & ’60s, it also stands as a tribute to the late guitar great Joe Beck, who passed away on July 22, 2008 at age 62 due to complications from lung cancer.… Continue reading
To call Gerald Albright multitalented is an understatement. On his new CD he plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute, alto flute, keyboards, bass and drumms, as well as singing background vocals! Although he seems to cover the full gamut of musicians by himself, he is joined on this CD by the likes of Sheila E., Chris Bolton, Paul Jackson Jr., Ricky Lawson, Bobby Lyle, Chuckii Booker and many more. This all star cast comes together to put out a CD that combines a strong R&B influence with Albright’s smooth-jazz flavor.… Continue reading
Harvey MasonIn the ‘Fourfront’ of Smooth Jazz by S.H. Watkins, Sr.
He’s been hired by everyone from Barbra Streisand to James Brown to Henry Mancini to Herbie Hancock to Reba McIntyre to Sergio Mendes to the London Symphony Orchestra. He has played on well over 1,000 recordings and hundreds of film scores, won four 1st place plaques from Modern Drummer magazine’s annual studio poll and has been the first call drummer for the Academy Awards ceremonies on 16 occasions. We got this founding member of the contemporary jazz “super group” Fourplay to take a minute from his schedule to… Continue reading
Burt Bacharach and Ronald Isley Here I Am: Isley meets Bacharach(Dreamworks – 2003) by Matthew Robinson Though two wrongs may not make a right, two smoothes apparently do make a smooth. Or so it would seem with this latest duet set from timeless songwriter Burt Bacharach. In teaming up with Soul Brother Ronald Isley, Bacharach brings new shadings to his classic compositions. On the theme to “Alfie,” Isley’s broad range enhances Bacharach’s signature strings. Dust-ing off “The Look of Love,” Isley brings gentle syncopation to Springfield’s classic hit.
He adds a bit of Southern twang to “Raindrops Keep Falling… Continue reading
- Barbara Dennerlein/Junkanoo/Verve For years the German organist has been mixing her style of Larry Young/Jimmy Smith inspired B-3 organ grooves and eclectic jazz. If there is such a thing as accessible avant-garde, Miss Dennerlein has perfected the formula on her highly charged new effort. Just knowing that saxophonist David Murray, tuba player Howard Johnson and guitarist Mitch Watkins are all on the set should alert astute jazz fans that some serious listening is required. But Dennerlein layered grooves and funky rhythms never allow either the musicians or… Continue reading