88 Keys and CountingG.F. Mlely(JazCraft – 2002) by Ricky Miller G. F. Mlely performs solo piano with a two-pronged attack… Left hand and Right hand. The sound is clear and crisp, the delivery is powerful and moving. His interpretation of Gershwin’s Our Love is Here to Stay is filled with flamboyant runs and staccato romps. The take on Cole Porter’s Love for Sale is slow and blues infested while retaining that quality of ‘lightness’ that Mlely ingrains into his work; a marvelous rendering. Other covers include Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo another Porter tune’ Night and Day‘ and a… Continue reading
The ‘Genuine” Mac McKenzie by Iain HarrisMac Mckenzie (above) at the Cape Town Festival 2002 and Hilton Schilder, also at the Cape Town Festival 2002
I wasn’t around during the time of the Genuines and I never saw Namaqua perform. So up until meeting Mac McKenzie this year, my knowledge of him and these two bands was compiled from other people’s takes on him. As a young music journalist exploring Cape music I’d heard a lot about Mac, but always in fragments – and always in suspicious tones.
From the fragments I got I conjured this image in my… Continue reading
Talented newcomer Jeremy Manasia shines brightly on his debut release “After Dark”. Joining efforts with Manasia on this piano trio date are bassist Barak Mori and drummer Charles Ruggiero.
Saxophonist Ian Hendrickson-Smith joins the band on “Soul Eyes” and vocalist extraordinaire Jane Monheit sings on “When you Smile.”
The session swings and soars and listeners will be delighted to discover just exactly what Jeremy Manasia does “After Dark.”
Jeremy Manasia – pianoBarak Mori – bassCharles Ruggiero – drumsIan Hendrickson-Smith – saxophoneJane Monheit – vocals
Joey Calderazzo Amanceer(Telarc – 2007) by Paula Edelstein Joey Calderazzo’s previous release comprised completely of solo performances titled HAIKU established him as one of jazz’s premier pianists. His equally significant sophomore release titled AMANCEER captures his musical growth as a solo artist in addition to capturing his prowess with vocalist Claudia Acuna and guitarist Romero Lubambo. His stellar performances with the vocalist and guitarist can be heard on the title track, “The Lonely Swan,” (which was also included on Marsalis’ exquisite recording titled ETERNAL) “So Many Moons,” and “Lara.” Produced by Branford Marsalis for Marsalis Music/Rounder Records label, Calderazzo’s… Continue reading
A Twist of Marley Lee Ritenour by Ricky Miller
Lee Ritenour’s Twist of Jobim was a great tribute to a great musician. With a Twist of Marley he takes it to a different sphere with the same exciting results. The first track is the hard-hitting Exodus, featuring Michael Brecker on Sax and Lisa Fischer sounding like Randy Crawford. Maxi Priest sings lead on an uptempo I Shot The Sheriff, at times nimbly trading melody lines with Ritenour’s guitar. Get Up, Stand Up is REALLY jazzed up. With Dave Grusin on piano and no vocals, Ritenour does justice to… Continue reading
Fred Jung InterviewsBen Allison
I am always humbled by the courage of musicians in our music. The sheer amount of energy they put into practicing and mastering their respective instruments has me in awe on most days. So it is always a personal honor for me to be a spectator as they fight valiantly in their arena. The words Robert Kennedy shared, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly,” come to mind. Ben Allison is one of many musicians that fit this description to a tee. From his home in New York, we spoke of his… Continue reading
Gonzalo Rubalcaba Trio Supernova (Blue Note – 2001) by Phyllis A. Lodge
Pianist, composer and ensemble leader Gonzalo Rubalcaba is quietly in your face, encompassing sounds from all aspects of himself. Rubalcaba taps equally into all aspects of his musical influences – Cuban, African, European and Caribbean. Supernova 1 is explosively dramatic, yet lyrically profound. Rubalcaba zaps you with ingenious percussive patterns and gentle chords. This powerful image introduced me to Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s piano. I was floored. El Cadete Constitucional is a marching, poetic smile-inducer. The CD notes reveal that Rubalcaba’s grandfather wrote it a century ago. A delightful surprise… Continue reading
How does one pay tribute to such an iconic songwriter as the late Mr. Skip Scarborough? That sounds like an enormous undertaking since Scarborough’s songbook includes over 200 certified Gold or Platinum singles that are still all over the airwaves and were responsible for enhancing and/or making the careers of such great artists as Earth Wind and Fire, The Emotions, Bill Withers, Patti LaBelle, Anita Baker, LTD, and so many more.
However, saxophonist David Marq does it and does it well on his debut release titled… Continue reading
The Count’s Jam Band: Reunion Larry Coryell / Steve Marcus(Tone Center – 2001) by John Barrett
In the ‘Sixties, Larry Coryell was a journalism student on the West Coast – on a whim he dropped everything, headed to New York, and tried his fortune as a guitarist. There he met Steve “The Count” Marcus, who hired him for his group The Count’s Rock Band. (Larry returned the favor: The Eleventh House, sometimes called “the first fusion group”, had Marcus as a founding member.) Back together after 30 years, their improvisatory energy is heard in full force. “Scotland” was done by… Continue reading
John Pizzarelli / George ShearingThe Rare Delight of You(Telarc – 2002) by John Barrett While he has a knack for picking great guitars (including Chuck Wayne and Wes Montgomery), George Shearing has rarely worked with a vocalist. In John Pizzarelli he has both: he handles the lyrics in his endearing whisper, with the Shearing Quintet behind him. “If Dreams Come True” has that vintage gleam, as vibes and piano walk together; George quotes “Wives and Lovers” in his brief solo. He then chases John’s guitar for 16 bars; the words are cool, sly, and delightful. (Not bad for a… Continue reading