Eternity Norman Conners (Right Stuff – 2000) by Stephen H. Watkins, Sr.
I’m a Norman Connors fan from way-back, and producer/drummer Connors has not had an album since his 1996 ‘Easy Livin’, so it was with some excitement that I put this CD on. Happily, this is a strong comeback featuring an all-star cast including Peabo Bryson, Angela Bofill, Gerald Albright, Norman Brown, Bobby Lyle, Ray Parker, Jr., Paul Jackson, Jr., Michael Henderson, Gary Bartz, Marion Meadows and Lisa Fischer. Whew… an all star cast indeed!. Norman has always tread back and forth across the R&B/Jazz line, often trampling it… Continue reading
Winston MankunkuWinston Mankunku
Jazz has worn many hats: big-band – swing enjoyed straw-hats, be-bop went for afro-berets and cool-jazz for stetsons. The style, the music all comes from the same core, the expression. And if one South African artist can be remembered by his hat – it’s Winston Mankunku with that funky Nike peak. Not a traditional hat, nor a jazz convention, but a hat that indicates Mankunku’s style – Afro-American jazz, the expression of the black diaspora. Mankunku identified and empathised with America’s parallel stream of socio-cultural suppression, the shouts and screams from the free jazz of Coltrane… Continue reading
Ada Rovatti Airbop(Apria/Kindred Rhythm – 2006) by Narvy James They say beauty is only skin deep, but after hearing Airbop I’d say that her beauty is more than skin deep… it explodes through the mouth of her saxophone and covers you like morning dew. The first thought that came to mind… “Man, that chick can BLOW!”. Her smooth fingering and style puts her on the top shelf and on track for success without caving in to the ‘smooth jazz’ pressure. And as good as she is, you must remember that there are great artists, then there are great combos… Continue reading
It’s billed as Charlie Haden and Michael Brecker, but pianist Brad Mehldau and drummer Brian Blade are no less important to the success of Haden’s tribute “…the America that could be, that really should be.” Using material drawn from his own pen as well as the books of Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman and others, and augmented on eight tracks by a string orchestra, the interplay between these four musicians sounds like anything but a one-off project. If Haden started alternating releases between this quartet and… Continue reading
On Average White Cats, Eight-time Grammy nomine =e and master guitarist Frank DiBussolo leads a dynamic quintet through a program of his own compositions. Frank uses both acoustic and electric guitars as he takes us through a journey of textures and colors. Serving up Latin grooves on “Blue Heron,” “Ha! Gringo” and “Una Samba Pequeno” just the right amount of spice is added into the mix.
A stop along bluesy lane, heats up the trail with “Loco Linda” and “Average White Cats.” The ensemble really digs in, creating great… Continue reading
Live at Ravinia August 14, 2001 George Benson by Carol Ray
After a five year absence, George Benson returned triumphant to an adoring crowd at Ravinia Festival, just north of Chicago, IL. Ravinia, one of the best outdoor venues in the country, was the perfect setting for Benson’s show. Band members, lighting effects, guitar, singing – all were at the level George’s fans expect – excellence plus. And George’s audience (packed pavillion, no grass to be seen on the lawn!) appreciated every minute of his show. Reviewing a George Benson live performance is like reviewing a spectacular sunset – after… Continue reading
On this their fourth CD the Larry Goldings Trio continues to expand the realm of modern organ music. Peter Bernstein’s improvisation on guitar is imaginative and skilled, as is evidenced by his solos on the opening track Asimov. Sweet Science is more avant-garde, showing that the term doesn’t only apply to boxing with some innovative licks and phrases popping up throughout the track. Unlike fellow organist Tony Monaco who tends to burn up the keyboard, Larry Goldings is more of a laid back cross between the lounge act… Continue reading
Accompanied by a top-notch ensemble of John diMartino (p), Ray Drummond (b), Greg Bandy (d), Bob Kindred (ts) and Tony Lombardozzi (g), Gates digs into a wide palette of material ranging from lesser-known gems from the Great American Songbook to Ellington & Monk to Jimi Hendrix-all in his unique and compelling style.
Respected internationally as the heir to the great pure jazz vocalists, Giacomo Gates shows why in a stunning 2006 live performance DVD from San Francisco brilliantly shot in 4 camera high-def.
The CD portion of this double-disc, titled, Luminosity powerfully… Continue reading
The Deep End Spyro Gyra (Heads Up – 2004) by Paula Edelstein The contemporary jazz powerhouse celebrates 30 years in the music industry with The Deep End. This great follow-up to Original Cinema is packed with original songs from members of the band and features several guest musicians including Billy Kilson on drums and Dave Samuels on vibes. The recording opens with “Summer Fling,” an upbeat composition that fills the mind with the instant gratification that comes with the fun of summer. Treading firmly in straight-ahead jazz territory are Jay Beckenstein’s saxophone riffs and Billy Kilson’s jazz drumming on… Continue reading
Label Profile The Rough Guides(World Music Network – 2002) by Eugene Holley, Jr. You’re going on a trip and you need a no-nonsense, easy-to-read travel guide about your destination. That’s where the Rough Guides come in. With over 200 paperback books deatailing almost every travel destination on the globe, the guides have taken away the stufiness associated with the “scholarly” travelogues of the past. Now, the Rough Guides have done the same thing with music. With over 30 music guides and 100 CD compilations, that company has made it easier to sample many forms of music in a relatively… Continue reading