Monday, January 31, 2011

Joey DeFrancesco: Ballads And Blues (2002)

Don't be fooled by the title. While Ballads and Blues may sound like a mellow batch of tunes to listen to while strolling in the park, the ever-soulful Joey DeFrancesco has something else in mind. The album takes off with "Get It All," a groovy piece of funk complete with Paul Bollenback's zesty guitar and Byron Landham's balanced backbeat. A steady, rocking groove also defines pieces like "Take the Coltrane" and "Jammin' in the Basement." The latter cut, in particular, emanates a good vibe, perhaps due to the presence of brother John DeFrancesco on guitar and Papa John DeFrancesco on a second B-3. Other guests include Pat Martino and saxophonist Gary Bartz on two tracks each. At least two pieces, "Home on the Range" and "Mama Don't Allow No," suggest that DeFrancesco has been hanging out with genre-bending guitarist Bill Frisell. And while soul-jazz renditions of folk songs may sound like a strange mix, every cut flows together in a lovely mesh of organ, guitar, and drums. DeFrancesco ends the album in a flourish by adding his smooth, rich vocals to "That's All." While his fans probably will not wait for a recommendation to pick up Ballads and Blues, everyone else will find the album a good introduction to organ music for the new millennium. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr.
1. Get It All
2. These Are Soulful Days
3. Take The Coltrane
4. You Don't Know What Love Is
5. Jammin' In The Basement
6. Home On The Range
7. Ceora
8. Basin Street Blues
9. Mama Don't Allow No
10. That's All
Personnel: Joey DeFrancesco (vocals, Hammond B-3 organ); Gary Bartz (saxophone); Papa John DeFrancesco (Hammond B-3 organ); Pat Martino, Paul Bollenback, John DeFrancesco (guitar); Byron Landham (drums).
Fileserve @ 320K

Alexandre Gismonti Trio: Baiao de Domingo (2009)

Alexandre Gismonti made his recording debut last year, playing guitar duets with his father Egberto on the ECM album Saudacoes. Baiao de Domingo is his first CD, leading a trio under his own name. The rest of the group is made up of Mayo Pamplona on bass and Felipe Cotta on percussion. The disc itself and the live performances to launch the CD have received plenty of praise by the Brazilian press. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any review in English.
01 Baiao De Domingo (para Dominguinhos) [Alexandre Gismonti] (05:04)
02 Saudade Da Bahia [Dorival Caymmi] (04:53)
03 Arrasta-Pe (para Gilberto Gil) [Alexandre Gismonti] (05:33)
04 Asa Branca [Humberto Teixeira, Luiz Gonzaga] (04:27)
05 Chora, Antonio! (para o bisavo Antonio Gismonti) [Alexandre Gismonti] (06:21)
06 O Bem Do Mar [Dorival Caymmi] (03:27)
07 Forrozinho [Alexandre Gismonti] (05:27)
08 Ainda Me Recordo [Benedito Lacerda, Pixinguinha] (03:17)
09 Ritmico E Lento (para Lenine) [Alexandre Gismonti] (05:41)
10 Feira De Mangaio [Glorinha Gadelha, Sivuca] (04:27)
11 Saudades (para a tia Vilma Gismonti) [Alexandre Gismonti] (07:55)
Alexandre Gismonti : Violao | acoustic guitar
Felipe Cotta : Percussao | percussion
Mayo Pamplona : Contrabaixo | double bass
Fileserve @ 320K

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Steps Ahesd: Magnetic (1986)

The last Steps Ahead recording to feature Michael Brecker, this album finds the band exploring the use of electronic instruments and synthesis. Michael Brecker's use of the Akai E.W.I. (electronic wind instrument) is astonishing.
1.Trains (7:31) [Mike Mainieri]
2.Beirut (8:15) [V.Bailey, M.Brecker, P.Erskine, C.Loeb, M.Mainieri]
3.Cajun (6:16) [Michael Brecker]
4.In a Sentimental Mood (3:30) [Duke Ellington]
5.Magnetic Love (5:33) [Mike Mainieri, Scott Martin]
6.Sumo (5:50) [Michael Brecker]
7.All the Tea in China (5:05) [Peter Erskine]
8.Something I Said (4:23) [Peter Erskine]
9.Reprise (Magnetic Love) (1:15) [Mike Mainieri, Scott Martin]
MICHAEL BRECKER- tenor sax, steiner EWI
MIKE MAINIERI- vibes, synthesizers, keyboards
PETER ERSKINE- drums, synthesizer, percussion
DIANNE REEVES- lead vocal (5)
Fileserve @ 320K

Friday, January 28, 2011

Charlie Hinter: Mistico (2007)

On the new release Mistico, Charlie Hunter has revamped his trio, featuring new drummer Simon Lott and keyboardist Erik Deutsch, whose full-time keys have replaced the saxophone of previous incarnations. And with his new line-up, it is becoming apparent that Charlie Hunter can rock. The jazz roots are still there, but Mistico offers a funkier, edgier Hunter.
Though Hunter has been slowly veering away from a straight jazz sound, the more rockin’ sound can also be partly attributed to the new line up. Drummer Lott plays with a heavier feel than many jazz drummers, and the addition of Deutsch on keys brings a lot of touches that don’t necessarily jump out at the listener all the time, but that support Hunter’s guitar parts admirably, bringing a more full, beefy sound.
Proof of this theory lies in tracks like “Balls,” where a strong bass drum and sustaining keys underneath Hunter’s bluesy guitar part make the song sound “big” sonically; “Special Shirt,” with its vicious wah guitar and rock n’ roll-ish leads, solid drums and busy, yet fluid keys; and “Speakers Built In,” where Hunter plays an infectious guitar part with a distorted tone while Lott and Deutsch creep in, giving the song the vibe of a harder-edged Medeski, Martin & Wood.
Other standouts include “Drop a Dime,” which tonally has an almost psychedelic feel; “Spoken Word,” with a keyboard line that brings to mind a spy movie and Hunter sprinkling short licks on the top; the mellow “Estranged,” where Hunter falls back and plays a light, sparse guitar part; and the swingy intro and trippy guitar tone of “Lady!”
One has to give Hunter credit for exploring different musical terrain. It seems to be working well for him, as his diverse base of fans would suggest. Mistico is a winner, and leaves one wondering what to expect on the Charlie Hunter Trio’s next release.
1. Lady! 5:52 $0.99 
2. "Speakers Built In" 6:20
3. Estranged 5:02
4. Balls 4:56
5. Wizard Sleeve 5:06
6. Drop A Dime 4:38
7. Spoken Word 3:38
8. Special Shirt 5:40
9. Mistico 7:33
10. Chimp Gut 4:51
Personnel: Charlie Hunter: 7-string guitar; Erik Deutsch: piano, Fender Rhodes, CasioTune; Simon Lott: drums
Fileserve @ 320K

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kenny Barron Quintet: Images (2004)

While this album seems mellow on first listen, there's a lot going on under the surface: sharp time-signature changes (a la Dave Brubeck), breakneck tempos, Brazilian undertones, and complex, darting but always pretty melodies. Not to overlook the soloing; Barron consistently dazzles with his lean, Thelonious Monk-tinged style, Stefon Harris's vibes glisten like morning sunlight, and Anne Drummond's flute is both soothing and spirited simultaneously. IMAGES is recommended to not only Barron and jazz-piano fans, but those who think music can't be intensely artistic and accessible at once.
Hard-bop pianist Kenny Barron has been a "musician's musician" for decades, playing behind such towering figures as Dizzy Gilles pie, Yusef Lateef, Stan Getz, and Freddie Hubbard. But in the 1990s, Barron began to take center stage, leading mostly trios through a series of albums that established him as a fine composer of intricate but madly swinging tunes. On IMAGES, he's assembled a somewhat unusual lineup, dispensing with any reeds or brass--just piano, flute, vibes, bass, and drums. The result is a set of bright, deceptively easygoing straight-ahead jazz--imagine the Modern Jazz Quartet after a long vacation in Brazil, where they drank lots of coffee.
01 So It Seems - 4:12
02 Jasmine Flower - 5:48
03 Inside Out - 6:35
04 The Lost Ones - 7:05
05 Hallucinations - 4:01
06 Song for Abdullah - 6:46
07 Footprints - 7:12
08 Marie Laveau - 7:40
09 Miss Missy - 5:22
10 Images - 18:02
Personnel: Kenny Barron (piano)
Stefon Harris (vibraphone)
Anne Drummond (alto and c-flute)
Kiyoshi Kitagawa (bass)
Kim Thompson (drums)
Fileserve @ 320K

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jeff Lorber: State of Grace (1996)

Delving deep as ever into the retro, vibin, chillin' atmospheres is veteran keyboard funkateer Jeff Lorber, who was actually around playing and helping create the fusion style of jazz in the first place. On the cool explosions of State of Grace (Verve Forecast), one of pop fusion's early forebears shuns the synthesizer effects and again pulls out his healthy, well-traveled rack of simmering memories -- the Fender Rhodes, Hammond B-3, Hohner Clavinet, Wurlitzer electric piano, Mini-Moog, and, in keeping with the eloquence promised in the album title, the Steinway M grand piano. The result is a mostly hypnotic, marvelously organic ride through territory that is all at once familiar and uncharted. Percussive melodies are still the key to Lorber's West Side Stories, but this time he complements his trademark soul with the spiritual flute flutterings of Gary Meek, in addition to all-star contributions by Art Porter and Dave Koz. Koz and Lorber's recent trip to Indonesia for a songwriting symposium with Asian composers led to the most intriguing tune here, the mysterious and exotic "The Island of Temples." What luck that just as a guy like Lorber decides he never wants to leave the '70s, the mystical Me Decade is suddenly back, welcoming his likes again with open arms. ~ Jonathan Widran
1. Wide Open Space (4:37)
2. PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) (4:09)
3. State Of Grace (4:03)
4. Bring It On (4:10)
5. Cat Paws (4:45)
6. Katherine (4:42)
7. Hearts On Fire (4:38)
8. Moon Terrace (4:12)
9. Island of Temples (5:30)
10. Deep Ellum (4:18)
Fileserve @ 320K

Pepesito Reyes: ST (2001)

A stunning solo debut album from the master of the Cuban piano, Pepesito Reyes introduces a brilliant collection of danzon — the elegant dance music which swept the 1920s Cuban music scene from Havana to New York.
Pepesito Reyes has performed with Benny More, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Tito Puente, and countless others. His free-flowing improvisational style has influenced an entire generation of pianists. A club legend in New York, Reyes, at the venerable age of 85, continues to perform around the world.
01. Begin The Beguine
02. Como Arrullo De Palmas
03. Escucha Mi Piano
04. My Baby Just Cares For Me
05. Mami Me Gusto
06. Noche Esplendorosa
07. El Manisero
08. Bodas De Oro
09. Alguien Que No Seas Tu
10. Los Tamalitos De Olga
11. Almendra
12. La Guantanamera
13. Descarga Pepesito
Fileserve @ 320K

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saskia Laroo: Sunset Eyes 2000 (2000)

In 1999, Dutch trumpeter Saskia Laroo traveled to Los Angeles, where she joined forces with tenor sax great Teddy Edwards and recorded her fourth album, Sunset Eyes 2000. Any album that prominently features Edwards (who she co-led the session with) is at least noteworthy, and to be sure, the tenor veteran is in good to excellent form on this hard bop date. Laroo's previous straight-ahead album, Jazzkia, was essentially a tribute to Miles Davis--one in which her love of Davis' legacy was so strong that it drowned out any individuality. Laroo doesn't sound distinctive on Sunset Eyes 2000 either, but even so, her solos on this album are likable and competent. Recalling Miles Davis in the 1940s and 1950s, Laroo is a very lyrical player, and Edwards can certainly be quite lyrical and melodic himself. But while Edwards favors a big, fat tone and swings hard and passionately, Laroo is much more subtle, restrained and economical (as was Davis). Edwards' confident, focused solos on both standards and his own compositions make Sunset Eyes 2000 worth the price of admission, and singer Ernie Andrews' inspired guests spots on "Don't Touch Me" and "Sunset Eyes" aren't anything to complain about either. Sunset Eyes 2000 falls short of being a gem, but it's a satisfying, decent effort that bop fans will enjoy. ~ Alex Henderson
Dutch female trumpet goddess is at it again with this straight-ahead jazz album that features two living treasures of the American jazz & blues scene - tenor player Teddy Edwards & blues singer Ernie Andrews; the album, recorded in L.A., has cool, groovi
Personnel: Saskia Laroo (trumpet); Ernie Andrews (vocals); Teddy Edwards (tenor saxophone); Art Hillary (piano).
01 - Nothing But The Truth (6:02)
02 - Moving In (5:05)
03 - There Is No Greater Love (6:13)
04 - Sunset Eyes (5:31)
05 - Cheek To Cheek (6:57)
06 - Don't Touch Me (5:39)
07 - The Blue Sombrero (4:57)
08 - I Got It Bad (3:43)
09 - Wheelin' And Dealin' (4:25)
10 - Blue Bossa (7:36)
11 - Sunset Eyes Latin (4:41)
Fileserve @ 320K

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gregg Karukas: The Nightowl (1987)

Beginning with his first independent recording, The Nightowl, in 1987, keyboardist/composer Gregg Karukas has been one of the few artists whose own creative growth and commercial success perfectly parallels that of the smooth jazz genre as a whole. His string of Top 5 radio hits include Key Witness (1991), Sound of Emotion ('92), Summerhouse (#1 Gavin in '93) and his breakout major label debut Blue Touch, which rose to #4 on the Radio & Records airplay chart.
A talented keyboardist who has mostly worked in the commercial side of jazz, Gregg Karukas has the potential for stardom. Although he noodled on the piano from age six, he did not start studying music seriously until he was a teenager. Karukas often played organ in r&b bands early on and at 17 he began a five year stint with Tim Eyermann's East Coast Offering. After a period working as a studio musician in D.C., he moved to Los Angeles in 1983 where he became a major part of the pop jazz scene, playing with (among others) Richard Elliot, Grant Geissman, Ronnie Laws and David Benoit. Karukas worked for a year-and-a-half with Melissa Manchester, had a band that featured the young saxophonist Dave Koz and in the mid-1980's he became an original member of the Rippingtons. In addition to his crossover work, Karukas has gained extensive experience playing Brazilian music including with Ricardo Silveira, Sergio Mendes and Dori Caymmi, worked as a freelance producer, been a sideman on albums by Boney James, Peter White and Craig Chaquico, worked as a studio musician and written songs for a variety of r&b/pop artists. As a leader, Gregg Karukas has recorded for Nightowl (1987), Positive Music, Fahrenheit, I.E. Music and N-Coded Music (2000). ~ Scott Yanow
01 - Drive Time
02 - Lady In My Heart
03 - Walkin' With You
04 - Alena
05 - The Nightowl
06 - Calypso Dance
07 - Magic Cat
08 - Talbot Street Cafe
09 - C.I. To Eye
Fileserve @ 320K

Joey Baron: Down Home (1997)

Joey Baron draws from a wide variety of experiences in terms of playing and composition. Throw in his southern roots and the talents of alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe, bassist Ron Carter, and guitarist Bill Frisell--who reconcile their musical differences with ease--and you get a set that uniquely grooves from start to finish. The focus is funky blues for the most part, with the tunes (all Baron's) ranging from sophisticated amalgamations of down-home and up-town elements ("Mighty Fine") to simple vamps ("Wide Load," "What"). Baron's exacting drumming provides a focal point, ensuring that his eclectic vision becomes a funky reality.
01 Mighty Fine 5:18
02 Little Boy 8:53
03 Wide Load 8:35
04 The Crock Pot 5:07
05 What 8:00
06 Listen to the Woman 1:47
07 Aren't We All? 6:40
08 Supposing 1:03
Joey Baron (Drums)
Arthur Blythe (Alto Saxophone)
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Bill Frisell (Guitar)
Fileserve @ 320K

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oscar Peterson & Izhak Perlman: Side By Side (1994)

Side By Side is a fun session, lush with sweet ballads and swinging tempos. Peterson's long-time musical friends and sidemen from the original Oscar Peterson Trio, Herb Ellis (guitar) and Ray Brown (bass), joined by drummer Grady Tate, provide foundation for the distinctive, converging stylings of Peterson and Perlman to yield a "chamber-jazz session with many highlights."
01 Dark Eyes (Traditional) 6:12
02 Stormy Weather (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler) 4:54
03 Georgia on My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael/Stuart Gorrell) 5:46
04 Blue Skies (Irving Berlin) 4:45
05 Misty (Erroll Garner) 5:41
06 Mack the Knife (Kurt Weill) 3:32
07 Nighttime (Oscar Peterson) 6:18
08 I Loves You Porgy (George Gershwin) 4:51
09 On the Trail (Ferde Grofй) 4:37
10 Yours is My Heart Alone (Franz Lehar) 5:29
11 Makin' Whoopee (Gus Kahn/Walter Donaldson) 4:49
12 Why Think About Tomorrow? (Oscar Peterson) 5:22
Oscar Peterson (Piano)
Itzhak Perlman (Violin)
Herb Ellis (Guitar)
Ray Brown (Double Bass)
Grady Tate (Drums)
Fileserve @ 320K

Jonathan Butler: Harmony 2 (1994)

South African expatriate Jonathan Butler isn't really a jazz artist, but his laid-back, slightly jazz-tinged approach to R&B/pop has earned the singer/guitarist/songwriter/producer a lot of supporters in the urban contemporary, adult contemporary, quiet storm, and smooth jazz/NAC markets. Butler has enjoyed a following since the late '70s, although he reached his commercial peak in the late '80s, and he continues to tour and record in the 21st century. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, in October 1961, Butler was only a child when he started singing and playing acoustic guitar. Butler, who was the youngest of about 12 children, absorbed a variety of music when he was a kid. He was an admirer of South African stars like singer Miriam Makeba, but he was also hip to the American soul and jazz artists who lived thousands of miles away in the United States. Stevie Wonder became a major influence, and so did former-hard bop-guitarist-turned-R&B/pop-singer George Benson.
01.Seasons In The Sun 1
02.Seasons In The Sun 2
03.Welcome Back
04.Eternity With You
05.Dreamchild 1
06.Dreamchild 2
07.Your Love Haunts
08.Africa, Africa
09.Reason To Smile
10.Warm Colours
11.My Teardrops
12.Gentle Waters 1
13.Gentle Waters 2
14.Pebble Beach
15.Township Jive
16.Love Town
Fileserve @ 320K

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Earl Klugh: Heart String (1979)

Guitarist Earl Klugh was pioneering "smooth jazz" long before the media had ever given it a name. His highly polished fingerpicking and relaxed grooves were the template by which later artists would create the adult contemporary phenomenon that would forever change the climate of contemporary instrumental music.
His tastefully self-produced HEART STRING is a testament to the guitarist both as a musician and a stylist. Sticking mostly to acoustic and nylon-string guitars, Klugh weaves sparkling melodies and slick, yet brief solos over funky mid-tempo grooves flavored with electric keyboards and dramatic strings. Though jazz purists may frown on Klugh's highly commercial stylistic trappings, it's undeniable that he's a consummate arranger, orchestrator and guitarist capable of attractive sonic textures and intricate melodic invention. Highlights include the soothing title track, the flavorful "Spanish Night," and Klugh's short solo ballad "Waiting for Cathy."
Personnel: Earl Klugh (guitar, acoustic guitar, steel guitar); Phil Upchurch (guitar, electric guitar); Greg Phillinganes (electric piano, Clavinet, keyboards); Daryl Dybka (electric piano); Mickie Roaquemore (Clavinet); Hubie Crawford, Charles Meeks (electric bass); Gene Dunlap , Victor Lewis (drums); Ralph MacDonald (percussion).
1. Heart String 6:23
2. I'll See You Again 5:53
3. Acoustic Lady (Parts I & II) 7:43
4. Spanish Night 3:18
5. Pretty World 4:57   
6. Waiting For Cathy 2:50
7. Rayna 5:15
8. Heart String (Reprise)
Fileserve @ 320K

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Joe Sample: Old Places Old Faces (1996)

Pianist Joe Sample's Warner Bros. session mostly features relaxed acoustic music. Sample emphasizes his original melodies during his improvisations and is backed quite ably by bassist Jay Anderson, drummer Ralph Penland and an occasional percussionist. Most notable is that tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd guests on three tracks, playing in his usual mellow version of John Coltrane. But in general this is a relaxing trio set, not overly memorable but relatively quite pleasing. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
01 - Free Yourself
02 - Black And White (As Simple As)
03 - Clifton's Gold
04 - Old Places Old Faces
05 - Tones For Ben
06 - Hippies On A Corner
07 - Souly Creole
08 - First Love
09 - Miles Of Blue (Blue Miles)
10 - Angels On My Mind
Personnel :
Charles Lloyd - tenor saxophone
Dean Parks - guitar
Lenny Castro - drums, percussion
Joe Sample - piano, Fender Rhodes piano
Ralph Penland - drums
Fileserve @ 320K

Chester Thompson: A Joyful Noise (1991)

Out of print in the U.S., this is a reissue of the amazing rock drummer's 1992 solo album. Guests include George Duke, Gerald Albright and Harry Kim. Thompson has worked extensively with Frank Zappa, Genesis, Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, Carlos Santana, Steve Winwood, George Duke & Phil Collins, to name but a few.
01 Tropical Sunday
02 So-Soka
03 Homeland
04 Drums Are Loud
05 A Joyful Noise
06 Chunky
07 Jussa Thang
08 Cool Groove
09 Raw
10 Addatude
11 Amazing Grace
Buy at Amazon
Fileserve @ 320K

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Emily Remler: Retrospective Volume One (Standards) (1991)

A Wonderful overview of Remler's guitar playing on various standards. Some small group cuts and a couple duets with Larry Coryell show Remler as a traditionally voiced but modern, creative improviser. Too bad she's gone -- she really could swing.
1. Daahoud
2. How Insensitiv
3. Strollin'
4. Hot House 
5. In Your Own Sweet Way  
6. Joy Spring 
7. Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise 
8. Afro Blue 
9. Del Sasser 
10. In a Sentimental Mood
Buy at Amazon
Fileserve @ 320K

Monday, January 10, 2011

Emily Remler: Catwalk (1984)

Guitarist Emily Remler's fourth and Concord recording makes one regret even more her premature death at age 32. While her earlier dates were very much in the bop mainstream, this one (in a quartet with trumpeter John D'Earth, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Bob Moses) finds her looking ahead and partly finding her own voice on her seven diverse originals. Although she never became an innovator, Remler certainly had a lot to offer the jazz world and this fairly adventurous effort was one of the finest recordings of her short career. ~ Scott Yanow
1. Mocha Spice
2. Catwalk
3. Gwendolyn
4. Antonio
5. Pedals
6. Five Years
7. Mozambique
Fileserve @ 320K

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Randy Crawford: Raw Silk (1978)

1978 album for the versatile soul vocalist best known for her hit with The Crusaders-'Street Life'. Featuring John Tropea, Don Grusin and Jeff Porcaro. 11 tracks including, 'I Stand Accused', 'Declaration of Love' and 'Someone to Believe In'.
Raw Silk, one of Crawford's best albums, is relatively contemporary, graced with electric piano lines shared by Don Grusin and Leon Pendarvis. The up-tempo numbers are just as strong as the quiet storms -- an oft-neglected notion, given that many R&B fans instantly associate Crawford's solo work with her smooth ballads. ~ Andy Kellman
01 - I Stand Accused
02 - Declaration Of Love
03 - Someone To Believe In
04 - Endlessley
05 - Love Is Like A Newborn Child
06 - Where There Was Darkness
07 - Nobody
08 - I Hope You'll Be Very Unhappy Without Me
09 - I Got Myself A Happy Song
10 - Just To Keep You Satisfied
11 - Blue Mood
Rick Marotta - Percussion, Drums
Jeff Porcaro - Percussion
Leon Pendarvis - Piano, Piano (Electric), String Arrangements, String Conductor, Horn Conductor, Horn Arrangements
Greg Poree - Guitar
Joe Porcaro - Percussion
William D. "Smitty" Smith - Keyboards
Don Grusin - Piano, Piano (Electric)
Phyllis Saint James - Percussion, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
James Gadson - Drums
Abraham Laboriel - Bass
Will Lee - Bass
John Tropea - Guitar
Randy Crawford - Vocals
Fileserve @ 320K

Friday, January 7, 2011

Emily Remler: Firefly (1981)

A truly superb debut album. Emily Remler proved that she not only had a great deal of technical mastery but, more importantly, she had tremendous feeling for music. Her phrasing is impeccable.
01. Strollin'
02. Look to the Sky
03. Perk's Blues
04. Firefly, The
05. Movin' Along
06. Taste of Honey, A
07. Inception
08. In a Sentimental Mood
Emily Remler (guitar)
Hank Jones (piano)
Bob Maize (bass)
Jake Hanna (drums)
Fileserve / Uploading @ 320K

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Peter Erskine: You Never Know (1993)

The material on this date falls comfortably within the realm of what the ECM label is famous for; meticulously recorded, lyrical chamber music (and the requisite lush reverb is ever present). In addition to leader Erskine, the playing and writing of English pianist, John Taylor, is featured. Taylor is an excellent technician with considerable harmonic agility; his approach is heavily influenced by Bill Evans via Keith Jarrett. Bassist Palle Danielsson completes a very sympathetic, highly interactive rhythm section. "Evans Above" and "Pure & Simple" are by Taylor, whose writing tends to conjour an English pastoral aesthetic and often has elements of so-called new age piano music, a left hand ostinato for example. To Taylor's credit, however, his compositions never get as predictable as most music in that genre. The same is true of writer Vince Mendoza, whose tunes are also featured on this recording. Taylor and the group are most fluid on the Cole Porter standard, "Everything I Love." Peter Erskine is one of the most versatile and accomplished drummers in modern music. Erskine's only contribution to the session as a writer, "On the Lake," is lovely in its sheer simplicity. ~ Lee Bloom.
01.New Old Age 9:25
02.Clapperclowe 4:51
03.On The Lake 5:03
04.Amber Waves 5:42
05.She Never Has A Window 7:18
06.Evans Above 6:16
07.Pure & Simple 6:35
08.Heart Game 5:13
09.Everything I Love 7:45
Peter Erskine (drums)
John Taylor (piano)
Palle Danielsson (bass)
Fileserve @ 320K

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Shakatak: Utopia (1991)

Shakatak is a British jazz-funk band, founded in 1980.
Shakatak scored a number of chart entries, including two Top Ten hits in the UK Singles Chart, "Night Birds" (1982) and "Down on the Street" (1984). The group is still popular in Japan and the Far East, and generally produces a new album each year.
From their first release in August 1980, (the Bill Sharpe composition "Steppin'" on the Polydor record label), and their first album, Drivin' Hard, the band's singles and albums have entered the charts fairly regularly.
It was the release of "Easier Said Than Done" that was to give the band the radio exposure needed for their first top-twenty hit. This record introduced their instrumental-unison vocal sound to a much wider audience, and the track stayed in the UK chart for seventeen weeks. The follow-up, "Night Birds", was their first single to reach the top ten, and the album of the same name gave Shakatak their first gold album, entering at number four and remaining in the charts for twenty-eight weeks. By now a major international act, the success of the release gave them the number-one jazz album slot in Japan, and attracted interest across Europe and South America.
Whilst all this recording activity was going on, the band were also touring extensively through 1982, performing a total of 132 concerts in one year. The band played live shows throughout the UK, Europe, and Japan.
1 Marie-Louise 4:10
2 Hideaway 4:06
3 How long 3:46
4 Heart To Heart 4:34
5 Silk Emotion 5:26
6 Nothing But A Dream 4:33
7 First Love 4:13
8 My Utopia 4:07
9 Just The Way It Goes 3:54
10 High Life 4:30
11 Whispers In The Night 4:00
12 The Story Of My Life 4:04
Fileserve @ 320K

Monday, January 3, 2011

Kevin Hays Quintet: 7th Sense (1994)

Pianist Kevin Hays’ style mixes together the influences of Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner and he helps define the modern mainstream on this Blue Note disc. The quintet set also features plenty of solo space from vibraphonist Steve Nelson and the excellent tenorman Seamus Blake. Opening with three Hays originals and also including Hindermith’s “Interlude” (which finds the group sounding a little like the Modern Jazz Quartet) and such standards as “My Man’s Gone Now” and “East of the Sun,” the music pays tribute to the past without becoming predictable or overly derivative. It’s a fine release.
Tracklist:1.Take the D Flat Train
2.Seventh Sense
3.Three Pillars
4.My Man’s Gone Now
6.Space Acres
7.Little B’s Poem
8.East of the Sun
10.Black Narcissus
Personnel:Kevin Hays (piano),
Seamus Blake (tenor saxophone),
Steve Nelson (vibraphone),
Doug Wiess (bass),
Brian Blade (drums)
Support the artist! Buy the album!
Fileserve @ 320K

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jeff Lorber: Worth Waiting For (1991)

After a seven year layoff, feisty veteran funkmaster Lorber steps out from the producer's chair with a fun filled all star project. The keyboardist, best known for his fusion years, has been far from idle during that time, producing for pop jazz sax gods Kenny G and Eric Marienthal, and mixing for U2 and Paula Abdul. His latest lives up to its title...though not resoundingly so. As he did with Marienthal's brilliant Oasis, Lorber divides his keyboard time between punchy, soulful rhythms and mellifluous textures that pour on the romance. Easygoing exercises like "Yellowstone" and the Latin tinged "Punta Del Soul" inspire a cool charm, but it's danceable cookers like "High Wire" and "Jazzery" that keep the disc spiraling. The only track that seems out of step is "Do What It Takes," whose production takes on a dated, 70s Crusaders sheen. Spirited performances surround Lorber's tasty keywork, most notably those of Art Porter, Gary Meek, Dave Koz and Bruce Hornsby.
1. Rain Song
2. The Underground
3. Yellowstone
4. Punta Del Este
5. Lost With You
6. Worth Waiting For
7. High Wire
8. Wavelength
9. Columbus Ave.
10. Do What It Takes
11. Jazzery
Buy at Amazon
Fileserve @ 320K

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bob James: Hands Down (1982)

From start to finish this album is a great listen. If you like a good example of early 1980s funk/jazz fusion music, this is the album.
Spunky: This track was worth the price alone. It opens with a crescendo of drums, then Bob James on the synthesizers starts playing a quiet melody while the bass fires up to play along with the disco dance tempo. Throughout the track, Bob dives into various melodies played exceptionally funkily.
Macumba: This is definitely a strange track, this one opens with a synthesized flute, then crescendos with more, louder synthesized textures which subsequently starts a slow jungle rhythm. Throughout the track there is a female singing "Macumba", possibly a traditional African song? Very interesting. Near the end Bob slams in a few funky improvisations with his synthesizers creating a really powerful sound.
Shamboozie: This track feels like a Chuck Mangione composition. It has a good tropical tempo and melody. Nothing to write home about compared to the last track but is a well played piece. Bob plays an electric clavichord throughout, which was a very popular instrument in the 1970s.
Janus: This starts side B and is completely different from the A-side opener. This track focuses on Bob's slow and smooth piano playing. It is more like elevator music here, still enjoyable but definitely one of the weakest tracks on the album.
Roberta: This is quite similar to Janus in terms of pacing, but adds an orchestra and trumpet with occasional hits from the bass. Really smooth and relaxing, but keeps one's attention.
It's Only Me: The final track and what a finish! This one starts with a similar sound to the previous two tracks with a quiet soft synthesizer, which follows with a drum/bass heavy funky melody. The arrangement of this is quite similar to Spunky.
Overall, this album is great if you like jazz fusion from the early 1980s. This album has a lot of different sounds and styles for the particular fan of this genre and period. From the funkiness of Spunky and It's Only Me, the tropical sounds of Macumba and Shamboozie, to the smoothness of Janus and Roberta.
Tracklist:1. Janus (5:54)
2. Roberta (6:54)
3. It's only me (5:25)
4. Spunky (7:03)
5. Macumba (5:14)
6. Shamboozie (5:22)
Fileserve @ 320K

Cyril Neville: The Essential (2010)

Cyril Neville maybe the last great voice of New Orleans music. One of the four Neville Brothers, Cyril Neville was the youngest, born on January 10, 1948, in New Orleans, LA. Cyril picked up his love of music from his parents and his older brothers at an early age, but it wasn't until 1967 (at the age of 19) that Cyril began singing professionally, as he united with brothers Art and Aaron in the outfit Art Neville and the Neville Sounds, playing the New Orleans club circuit on a regular basis. Cyril and Aaron eventually left the group, forming another outfit, Soul Machine, shortly thereafter. 1970 saw the release of Cyril's debut solo single, "Gossip" b/w "Tell Me What's On Your Mind," which included backing music by brother Art's new outfit, the Meters. Soul Machine relocated to Nashville, then New York, but both moves failed to help put the group over the top. It just so happened at this time that the Meters were looking to expand their lineup, and asked Cyril to join in on vocals and congas — contributing to such albums as 1972's Cabbage Alley and 1975's Fire on the Bayou, In 74, the Rolling Stones offered The Meters a support slot on the bands sold out tour if they would hire Cyril Neville to sing and front the band. His work as a human rights advocate does not stray far from his art. The joys as well as the complications and frustrations of growing up in the oppressed South can be heard through-out his catalog as a solo Artist as well as his work with his brothers – The Neville Brothers.
Just as the Meters splintered in 1976, all four Neville siblings formed the Neville Brothers group, issuing numerous subsequent recordings. In addition to his work with the Neville Brothers, Cyril has formed other bands over the years, including the Endangered Species Band in 1983 and the Uptown Allstars Band, while he also found time to launch his own record label, Endangered Species. Cyril also founded the New Orleans Musicians Organized (NOMO), which helps musicians who need business advice with their careers. Cyril Neville has issued several solo albums on his own over the years, including 1995's The Fire This Time, and a pair in 2000, New Orleans Cookin' and Soulo. Plus he has guested on various other artist's recordings over the years, including albums by Edie Brickell, Jimmy Buffett, Dr. John, Bob Dylan, Daniel Lanois, Willie Nelson, Tab Benoit, and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux among others.
Tracklist:01 - What Does It Take
02 - Not Like Loving You
03 - Where The Pavement Ends
04 - Helen’s Requiem
05 - Goodbye
06 - Only Life I Know
07 - Second Time Around
08 - Meridian (I Love The Same)
09 - Green Dress
10 - Tonight
11 - Late Night Call
Fileserve @ 320K