Rippingtons Life in the Tropics (Concord – 2000) by Raymond Redmond
This should be subtitled ‘Russ Freeman goes to the Islands’. Back when they first hit the scene in the mid-80’s, Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons were a shot in the arm for contemporary jazz. However, as they released album after album, the recipe began to wear a little thin. Russ and the Rippingtons became the example for a great idea gone average. The music was always listenable, but for the most part the originality of the first releases was gone.
So, when I put this CD on it was… Continue reading
Monterey Jazz Festival Records/Concord Music Group has released a new series of never-before-heard concert performances by jazz icons: Art Blakey, Dave Brubeck, Shirley Horn, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader and classic blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon.
The new series features the following 6 releases, available on CD and digitally:
- Art Blakey and the Giants of Jazz – Live at the Monterey 1972 Jazz Festival
- Dave Brubeck – 50 Years of Dave Brubeck: Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival 1958-2007
- Shirley Horn – Live atthe 1994 MontereyJazz Festival
- Tito Puerile &… Continue reading
Chet BakerLove For Sale(Just a Memory/Justin Time – 2005) by Matthew S. Robinson
Though recorded during the ‘back nine’ of Chet Baker’s tragic career, this hazy club date recording captures glints of the singing trumpeter’s former brilliance. Swinging from a bebop cover of Miles Davis’ “Milestones” to a punchy and adventurous exploration of Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale,” Baker pushes valiantly to regain his former chops. When he finds himself unable, Baker graciously yields to pianist Phil Markowitz and his talented group of supporters (which includes saxophonist Roger Rosenberg, bassist Jon Burr, and drummer Jeff Brillinger) or parts his… Continue reading
SoftlyMarc CoplandPianist Marc Copland’s trio (including bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Bill Stewart) is joined by three of the finest horn players today: Michael Brecker, Tim Hagans, and Joe Lovano on this refreshing release.
The players are guided in their improvisations by Copland’s unique sense of touch, as well as his love of and respect for group interplay and spontaneity. The leader’s thoughtful arrangements leave plenty of room for on-the-spot input from the players. The results of this approach can be heard throughout the album, as for example in the full-group chorus on “Softly,” the tags to “Blue” and… Continue reading
Looking like a cross between Justin Timberlake, Chet Baker and a young Johnny Cash, Michael Bublé also sound slike and chooses music froma variety of other artists. Swinging into a “Fever” that is bumped along by bassman Brian Bromberg, Bublé channels Bobby Darin for Johnny Mercer’s “Summer Wind” and even catches a tiny bit of Frank in his covers of Van’s “Moondance.” Though Bublé is no Lou Rawls, David Foster’s keys add just the right weight to Gamble and Huff’s “You’ll Never Find” and Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head… Continue reading
More Than You Know Scott Wilkie (Narada Jazz – 2000) by John Barrett
It’s not the performance that grabs you; it’s the sound. Scott Wilkie has a splashy piano, with a mild touch of blues; his major skill is arranging, and he blends smooth sounds in an engaging mix. “Sign of the Times” begins with a Morse code synth, then yields to Matt von Doran’s guitar. “The Chicken” is a cute funky riff that puts Scott at three different keyboards. (The Fender Rhodes is especially sly.) “Pier 39” is a calm sunrise, notes coming in a gentle spray.Von Doran is… Continue reading
Recorded in Minnesota, NEVER STOP does just what the title says. It’s a rapid-fire succession of engaging performances by three musical explorers operating as highly skilled individuals — bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King — and as a seamless unit at the same time. NEVER STOP is a strictly instrumental affair and, as a result, is a 180� departure from the group’s previous release, For All I Care, which featured alt-rock vocalist Wendy Lewis on covers of rock classics, along with re-imaginings of 20th Century classical… Continue reading
After 25 years of touring and CD’s, Yellowjackets is still going strong. Dedicated to pushing the boundaries of jazz with a deceptively intense sound incorporating elements of bebop, funk, R&B and rock, the Yellowjackets have been pleasing us for a quarter decade now with no sign of slowing.
Rather than releasing another ‘best of’ Heads Up has delivered a CD/DVD combo that addresses some of the Yellowjackets history but focuses on providing a rich listener/viewer experience. This release follows the ubiquitous group during their 2005 European tour. The CD features new… Continue reading
Acquainted WithThe NightPieces of a Dream by Ray Redmond
It’s hard to imagine that Pieces of a Dream is celebrating their 25th anniversary in the music business, but they are. Teen prodigies James Lloyd and Curtis Harmon have matured into ‘thirty-something’ jazz veterans. After all those years of playing together, they have grown better rather than growing stale, like some of the hangers-on from that era.
Featuring the likes of Gerald Albright, Ronny Jordan, Maysa Leak and Kenny Blake “Acquainted With The Night” brings on the fire and smoke that you expect from a group that helped pioneer… Continue reading
A journey to West Africa Dancing with the Diaspora by Struan Douglas
Introduction to the concept and series:
As Baaba Maal says, “I want people to see Africa in new eyes, to have a very positive interest of Africa, to know that it is not dead, it is always alive and people can give confidence to Africa. We have a lot of strong people who really want to do something, who really want to participate in the universal development, but deeply to help Africa to give the place that Africa needs to have.”
And that’s what Dancing with the Diaspora… Continue reading