Jeff GolubDo It Again(GRP – 2002) by Raymond Redmond
You can subtitle this one “The Smooth Jazz Mafia Goes R&B“. Golub and Rick Braun have teamed up here to do to R&B what Hidden Beach did to Hip Hop. All of these tracks are covers that have been jazzed up and stamped with the smooth branding iron (Hence, the title ‘Do it again’.) That’s probably why they sound so good… we all know the tunes so the artists had to focus on the performance. I particularly liked Stevie Wonder’s Jesus Children of America and Smokey’s Cruisin’.… Continue reading
Dwight Sills Easy Citylights Music
Combining jazz, funk, pop and urban influences with some tasty splashes of world beat exotica, guitarist Dwight Sills returns to the recording scene with ‘Easy’. Coproduced by Sills and Hal Sacks, ‘Easy’ forges moves with a creative vision that reflects his growth as a writer and performer over the years. Fans of his 1990 cover version of Babyface’s “Whip Appeal” will find the new, original material right in that accessible pocket, while today’s contemporary jazz audiences will appreciate Sills’ sense of harmony and rhythmic diversity. Sills has become one of the industry’s most durable sidemen,… Continue reading
If Women Ruled The World
Ethel Ennis, the phenomenal Baltimore singer, who in the early years of international stardom rejected the frantic demands of the road and what she perceived to be the increasing in sincerity and superficiality of show business, nonetheless, boasts an all-star performance resume equal to that of most legendary jazz singers.
She performed in Europe with an all-star Benny Goodman band, jammed with Louis Armstrong and Count Basie, sung on national television with Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, McCoy Tyner, Stephane Grappelli, Ray Brown, Billy Taylor, Milt Jackson, Toots Thielmans, Joe Williams, Phil Woods… Continue reading
Kellylee Evans Fight or Flight (ENLIVEN! Media – 2006) by Eugene Holley, Jr.
When one thinks of Black artists from North America, the United States immediately comes to mind. But that leaves out the superb Black, brown and beige artists from Canada. For decades, the brothers and sisters from the Great White North have made strong contributions to African-American music — from the jazz piano virtuoso Oscar Peterson, to the dark and lovely divas Tamia, and Deborah Cox. Other artists like Kardinal Offishal and Denzal Sinclaire have not made the artistic jump to the States, but are well known in… Continue reading
Dam Siegel Departure(Native Language – 2006) by Paula Edelstein A culmination of influences from an illustrious career spanning 25+ years, DEPARTURE is the latest studio recording from pianist Dan Siegel. This CD is graceful, noble and reflective, since it transcends categorization as it speaks to earlier times of adult instrumental acoustic music with classic themes that were influenced by the song, its melodies, and its virtuosic musicians. Among Dan’s invitees are several contemporary jazz greats including Brian Bromberg, Vinnie Colaiuta, Lenny Castro with special guest performances by saxophonist Bob Sheppard, guitarists Norman Brown and Grant Geissman and vocalist Bill… Continue reading
Opening with an inviting trip back in time to a Paris caf�, “Best I Ever Had” is a vocally ethereal song of amorous desire paced by lilting guitar progressions. Penned by Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, “I Need A Man” is a slinky vaudevillian vamp. Le Kat purrs angrily through “More” while her musical ensemble takes on big band qualities on “Talk To Me.” “Mista Twista” is rambunctious, frisky and fun.
A sensual video clip was shot for the Bossa Nova and samba-infused “Wikked Lil’ Grrrls.” Originally recorded by Madonna, “Hanky… Continue reading
Norman Granz’ Jazz at the PhilharmonicCarnegie Hall 1949(Pablo – 2002) by John Barrett
As the disc opens, the audience is still filing in – it’s February 11, the start of JATP’s 1949 season. Norman Granz is announcing the band, with a ring in his microphone; you can hardly hear him but the crowd cheers every name. And no wonder: from the opening riffs, you know this is going to be wild. Based on “Perdido”, “Leap Here” bounces hard between notes; Hank Jones makes his comp light and his pace fast. The first solo goes to Flip Phillips: his… Continue reading
This is Ben Sidran’s first Hammond B3 organ project. It’s an instrument he has played for forty years, and occasionally (as on his recent radio-friendly CD Nick’s Bump) featured on recordings. But CIEN NOCHES — the title refers to the fact that over a period of ten years he performed one hundred nights at Madrid’s famed Cafe Central — is the first time he has paid direct tribute to the instrument and the club scene it spawned.
The album includes the original songs “Get It Yourself,” an acerbic commentary on the rock… Continue reading
Comes LoveLoston HarrisAfter hearing his impressive new recording “Comes Love”, one could be forgiven for assuming that Loston Harris has immersed himself in jazz and the piano for all of his young life. His command of dynamics and tempos, the knowledge of repertoire and effortless execution of classic techniques suggest a keyboard prodigy who was playing while still in the cradle. Yet it was not until a fateful encounter in college that Harris embraced jazz and the piano as his own.
Harris, who grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, did have a brief fling at piano lessons when he was… Continue reading
A Word With Pianist Darrell Grant by S. H. Watkins, Sr.
10:00 a.m. at Portland State University is a time filled with hubbub and motion. Students scamper to and from and around their daily classes and lives. I cross campus and descend to the basement level of Lincoln Hall. Less commotion here, mostly groups of students gathered around tables or lounging in chairs. This is the basement of the music department, so many have instrument cases. Here I find the office of Darrell Grant, Assistant Professor of Music Studies and Jazz pianist extraordanaire. His air is casual and friendly, as… Continue reading