Monday, February 28, 2011

Ivan Lins: A Noate (1979)

Ivan Guimaraes Lins (born June 16, 1945) is a Latin Grammy winning Brazilian musician. He has been an active performer and songwriter of Brazilian popular music (MPB) and jazz for over 30 years.
1. A Noite [03:31]
2. Desesperar, Jamais [03:20]
3. Comecar de Novo [03:06]
4. Te Recuerdo Amanda [04:48]
5. A Voz do Povo [04:04]
6. Antes Que Seja Tarde [03:41]
7. Saindo de Mim [03:40]
8. Formigueiro [03:14]
9. Velas Icadas [03:35]
10. Noites Sertanejas [02:55]
FileServe @ 320K

Doug James: Blow Mr. Low (2001)

Doug "Mr Low" James is the world's premier R&B baritone saxist. Equally at home anchoring a horn section, delivering a honking, swinging solo, or playing jazz-inflected blues ballads, Doug draws from his vast and enviable experience to carry the big sound of the bari sax into the future. Since 1970 (including nearly 30 years with the award winning band "Roomful of Blues") Doug has toured around the world, and performed and recorded with many of the greats of American rhythm and blues. Legends like Big Joe Turner, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Earl King, Billy Boy Arnold, Rosco Gordon, and Stevie Ray Vaughn have all benefitted from his arranging skills and authorative playing, while he's carried the tradition forward with modern masters like Duke Robillard, Kim Wilson, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Colin James, and even pop-diva Pat Benetar.
His own debut CD "Blow Mr. Low" (Stony Plain Records - 2001) let the world know that the booming R&B baritone sax sound is alive and well. Paying tribute to influences like Leo Parker and Paul Williams, Doug roars through rocking originals and classics as well as caressing ballads and after-hours blues.
Currently working with the Duke Robillard Band and a member of many W.C. Handy Allstars tours, Doug continues to travel the world, often backing a who's who of todays blues stars including Charlie Musselwhite, Little Milton, Ruth Brown, John Hammond, Johnny Johnson, and Joe Louis Walker to name a few.
01. Extra Axle
02. Blow Mr. Low
03. I Want a Little Girl
04. Bobbie's Boogie
05. Son Of Mr. Big Horn
06. Blues For Leo
07. Dirty, Dirty People
08. Dog Ate My Reed
09. Cry Me A River
10. You Better Hold Me
Doug James (baritone saxophone)
Duke Robillard (vocals, guitar)
Matt McCabe (piano)
Sugar Ray Norcia (vocals)
Gordon Beadle (tenor saxophone)
Al Basile (trumpet)
Carl Querfurth (trombone)
Marty Ballou, John Packer (bass)
Mark Packer (drums)
Fileserve @ 320K

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Harold Danko: Fantasy Exit (2004)

Trio dates are somewhat of a rarity for Harold Danko, but he makes the most of the opportunity on this 2002 session for Steeplechase. With bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Jeff Hirschfield, he chooses a wide range of jazz compositions, starting with a radically different, more free-flowing than usual approach to Randy Weston's "Hi Fly." Danko's arrangement of Jaki Byard's "Mrs. Parker of K.C." (first recorded by its composer on a date as a sideman with Eric Dolphy) adds many twists and turns to an already challenging work. On the other hand, he sticks closer to the beautiful melody of Mel Torme's ballad "Born to be Blue," while proving that Gerry Mulligan's upbeat "Rocker" can be a successful vehicle without the presence of a horn. The leader's twisting post-bop original "Smoke House" is clearly inspired by Tadd Dameron's "Hot House" (which is in turn based on the chord changes to Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love?"). This highly recommended date is easily one of the best of Harold Danko's long career.
Tracklist:1 Hi-Fly Weston 9:08
2 Mrs. Parker of K.C. (Bird's Mother) Byard 3:58
3 Fantasy Exit Danko 8:21
4 Born to Be Blue Torme 10:21
5 Smoke House Danko 8:17
6 Rocker Mulligan 3:28
7 Tea Time Thompson 7:16
8 In and Out Henderson 8:00
9 Lullaby Henriques 2:23
Personnel:Harold Danko p
Michael Formanek b
Jeff Hirschfield dr

Friday, February 25, 2011

Kenny Barron Super Trio: Super Standard (2004)

Super Trio is the name given by the Japanese Venus label to a trio of Manhattan based musicians, consisting of pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Jay Leonhart, and drummer Al Foster. Contractual reasons may have prevented the CD's release under Barron's name and like many Venus dates, this is not a working trio, but one assembled for the record date. As one of the busiest pianists around, Barron has a wealth of music at his fingertips and he doesn't disappoint with fresh approaches to standards and jazz compositions that make up this session. Leonhart occasionally shows a sense of humor in his solos, while Foster is a capable drummer who has worked with many stars, in addition to occasionally recording as a leader. The driving "All of Me" is a nice switch from the typical relaxed arrangement, while the Latin-flavored take of Bud Powell's "Cleopatra's Dream" swings. Barron's scoring of "Misty" proves lyrical and spacious, while he personalizes Duke Ellington's rarely performed "Sunset and the Mockingbird" with his distinctive touch. It is difficult not to think of Art Tatum when one sees "Willow Weep for Me" followed by "Yesterdays," but Tatum was not on Barron's mind for these performances. The former is a showcase for Leonhart's masterful arco playing, with the latter being a bouncy post-bop rendition of this old chestnut. ~ Ken Dryden
01. All of me
02. Bye bye blackbird
03. Cherokee
04. Cleopatra’s dream
05. Doxy
06. Misty
07. Stolen moments
08. Summer night
09. Sunset and the mockingbird
10. Sweet and lovely
11. Willow weep for me
12. Yesterdays
FileServe @ 320K

Saukat Khan: Indian Jazz (2006)

The first-ever jazz album produced from India! Ustad Saukat Khan, affectionately known as "Saukatbhai," has been one of the very few artists in India able to master the saxophone for over two decades. A graded artist from Doordarshan TV (Indian National TV) and All India Radio, he is a highly sought-after musician with numerous hit film soundtracks to his name.
1. Taehezib (6:58)
2. Sraddha (6:36)
3. Yakeen (7:32)
4. Ashaa (6:56)
5. Sabre (6:41)
6. Aanand (5:58)
FileServe @ 320K

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dennis Chambers: Getting Even (1991)

Originally released in 1991, this hard-to-find Fusion recording is worth searching for. This session features the brilliant drumming of Dennis Chambers, who was just coming into his own at this stage of his career. The selections are fairly typical to the music Chambers was playing with John Scofield, who he uses here on a few tracks, along with another former employer, guitarist Mike Stern. The chemistry with Scofield, Stern, saxophonist Bob Berg and keyboardist Jim Beard is obvious as the three have worked together on several sessions. The temptation to overplay here is addressed by a strong dedication to the groove and by allowing each player ample space. Aside from Chambers' innovative and powerful drumming, the session's excitement is enhanced by the rousing playing of guitarist Jimi Tunnell. While this debut is not in the same class as Stratus (Billy Cobham) or Essence of Mystery (Alphonse Mouzoun), Dennis Chambers demonstrates why he is considered to be one of the most innovative and important players in the history of drumming. This debut is a fine representation of his playing, although fans are encouraged to seek out his extensive discography as a 'sideman' to appreciate his full contributions.
1  Fortune Dance - Gatzen.Bob 5:54
2  The Opener - Herington 4:23
3  Keep Walking - Gatzen 6:11
4  Red Eyes - Gatzen 6:18
5  Getting Even - Herington 7:30
6  Window's Peak - Holzman 5:56
7  Boo - Soroka 5:55
8  Unitl We Return - Soroka 8:09
FileServe @ 320K

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cyrus Chestnut: Genuin Chestnut (2006)

There's just no way not to like Cyrus Chestnut. His playing is robust but tasteful, and he plays ballads with a liquid fluency; his original compositions brim with good cheer; he favors middling tempos that neither tempt him to show off excessively nor to bog himself down in extended, self-indulgent elaboration. His first album for the Telarc label showcases all of his strengths. He can take the unlikeliest melodies and make them sound like standards: on this album, he manages to spin equally refined musical gold out of both a schlocky 1970s love ballad (Bread's "If") and a faux folk song turned soul hit (Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"). And he can handle knotty Latin rhythms with offhanded ease (though the rhythmic structure on "Baby Girl's Strut" feels a little bit disorganized). Best of all, he plays gospel tunes with a heartfelt fervor that never descends into sentimentality. Chestnut's own "Mason Dixon Line" is one of the album's high points, a joyful bebop number that makes you hope he'll someday do a whole album of Bud Powell compositions. The album's relentless, midtempo pleasantness makes it easy to stop paying attention by about halfway through, but every time you catch yourself drifting and start listening closely again, you'll notice something else wonderful. Highly recommended. ~ Rick Anderson
01 - The Brown Soldier
02 - El Numero Tres
03 - If
04 - Ellen's Song
05 - Mason Dixon Line
06 - Baby Girl's Strut
07 - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
08 - Eyes On The Prize
09 - Through The Valley
10 - I'm Walkin'
11 - Lord I Give Myself To You
Cyrus Chestnut - piano
Cyrus Chestnut; Michael Hawkins - upright bass
Neal Smith - drums
Steve Kroon - percussion
Russell Malone - guitar
FileServe @ 320K

John Scofield: Works for Me (2000)

John Scofield describes the ensemble on WORKS FOR ME, made up of young jazz stars like alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, pianist Brad Mehldau, and bassist Christian McBride, as his "one-time-only dream band." Anchoring it all, moreover, is the grand elder statesman Billy Higgins on drums. In honor of this talented company, or maybe because of it, Scofield returns to the straight-ahead swing style (albeit with a few trademark funky episodes), that he has periodically pursued throughout his career.
What works about WORKS is the expert meshing of the quintet, a combination of the talents of Scofield and his younger sidemen and Higgins's lush, unifying swing. The music is fresh and vibrant; each piece, be it ballad, bop, or blues, bristles with energy. Choice cuts include the crackling "Not You Again," the darker ballad "Love You Long Time," and the fittingly titled "Do I Crazy?" ”
01 - I'll Catch You
02 - Not You Again
03 - Big J
04 - Loose Canon
05 - Love You Long Time
06 - Hive
07 - Heel To Toe
08 - Do I Crazy?
09 - Mrs. Scofield's Waltz
10 - Six And Eight
11 - Freepie
John Scofield - guitar
Kenny Garrett - alto saxophone
Brad Mehldau - piano
Christian McBride - bass
FileServe @ 320K

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Frank Wess Quartet: ST (1960)

Frank Wess has long been one of the most underrated flautists in jazz, but it's his primary instrument on this CD reissue of a Moodsville LP recorded in 1960. With fine accompaniment by piano master Tommy Flanagan, bassist Eddie Jones and drummer Bobby Donaldson, the leader's lyrical chops are evident in Alec Wilder's rarely performed ballad "It's So Peaceful in the Country." The light Latin setting of "Star Eyes" initially spotlights Flanagan's elegant piano, with the rhythm switching gears as Wess works his magic on flute. Flanagan alone introduces the dreamy interpretation of "But Beautiful," while Wess will melt any heart with his gorgeous flute solo. Wess is best known for his swinging tenor saxophone, heard on the richly textured "Gone With the Wind," a spacious "Stella by Starlight" (which will rival any saxophonist's recording for pure beauty), as well as his bluesy original "Rainy Afternoon," with Donaldson's light percussion possibly suggesting stepping in sidewalk puddles or windshield wipers clearing intermittent precipitation. Highly recommended. ~ Ken Dryden
Live Recording
Recorded in New York, New York on May 9, 1960.
Personnel: Frank Wess (flute, tenor saxophone); Eddie Jones (double bass); Tommy Flanagan (piano); Bobby Donaldson (drums).
1 It's so peaceful in the country   
2 Rainy Afternoon   
3 Star Eyes   
4 Stella by Starlight   
5 But Beautiful See All 4   
6 Gone With The Wind   
7 I See Your Face Before Me
Fileserve @ 320K
Fileserve @ flac

Brian Wilson: Reimagines Gershwin (2010)

Brian Wilson has re-recorded and re-imagined twelve classic songs from the Gershwin Brothers and collaborated on two new Wilson/Gershwin compositions. The Gershwin estate gave Wilson access to rare, unfinished pieces of music by George Gershwin, with which Brian crafted collaborative compositions unlike anything the world has heard with “The Like in I Love You” and “Nothing But Love”. Wilson chose to record George and Ira Gershwin songs because he considers the late composers of classics like “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Summertime” as a critical influence on him.
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin was produced by Brian Wilson and mixed by Al Schmitt the 15-time GRAMMY award winner (Michael Bublй, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Madonna).
01. Rhapsody in Blue (Intro)
02. The Like In I Love You
03. Summertime
04. I Loves You, Porgy
05. I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’
06. It Ain’t Necessarily So
07. ‘S Wonderful
08. They Can’t Take That Away from Me
09. Love Is Here To Stay
10. I’ve Got a Crush on You
11. I Got Rhythm
12. Someone to Watch Over Me
13. Nothing But Love
14. Rhapsody in Blue (Reprise)
Fileserve @ 320K

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jim Savitt: Hear and Now (2002)

New York City native Jim Savitt is a critically acclaimed guitarist & producer whose improvisation and compositions have been described as "fluid & melodic with a flare for phrasing". Jim's CD entitled "Hear & Now" has received high international acclaim and has been played around the globe. This disc features sax superstar & Special EFX member David Mann.
Jim Savitt opened for Grammy nominee Boney James and was interviewed and performed live to an audience of 4.5 million nationwide listeners on the WOR Radio Network's Joey Reynolds Show. He has performed extensively in New York and internationally including engagements in Cairo, Egypt.
Jim headlined at the WJZA 103.5 FM Summer Jazz concert series, is being played on VH1 Radio and Music Match, had a Top 5 Single on Music Choice nationwide, was chosen as a Best Undiscovered Artist by Guitar 9 and he was the Artist of the Week on WAVE 94.7FM. "Hear & Now" has been played on New York's CD 101.9 FM and was voted as one of the Best Releases of 2002 by Smooth Jazz Canada. Savitt was selected as a winner in the SONY International Search for New Jazz Artists and he performed at the Jamaica Jazz Festical.
Jim also wrote and produced the debut chill out CD by Manhattan Project called "Chillin' Nights" which has received airplay and a mention in R&R Magazine. He also produced & performed on the critically acclaimed New Age CD Leaving Footprints.
Jim's first instrument was the trumpet, which he started playing when he was 10 years old, and he won the prestigious Louis Armstrong Jazz Award in high school. He studied at the Berklee School of Music and has a bachelor of science degree from Stevens Institute of Technology, where he was the musical director of their 17 piece jazz band. He also manages SaviTech Studio, a digital recording facility in Manhattan.
1. SoHo 4:23 
2. On The Way 3:57  
3. In The House 4:15   
4. From The Heart 5:05   
5. Empty Room 4:52   
6. Awakening 4:58  
7. What Could Be 4:02   
8. Looking Back 4:06   
9. Without You 3:43  
10. This Time 4:56   
11. Was It You 5:12
Fileserve @ 256-320K

Manu Katché: Playground (2007)

The music of Manu Katche lolls around, languorously getting where it desires to go, making expert use of space and silence. The French drummer garnered attention for work on classic rock records by Peter Gabriel and Sting before embarking on a solo tack as a jazz composer and bandleader. His third record, 2007's PLAYGROUND on ECM, written entirely by him, revels softly in an early-morning haze. Katche's tendency is to put himself in the background, using his beat as gentle guidance for the brass, piano, and bass to linger together whisperingly.
1. Lo
2. Pieces Of Emotion
3. Song For Her
4. So Groovy
5. Morning Joy
6. Motion
7. Project 58
8. Snapshot
9. Possible Thought
10. Inside Game
11. Clubbing
12. Song For Her (var.)
Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY (01/2007).
Personnel: Manu Katche (drums);
David Torn (guitar);
Trygve Seim (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone);
Mathias Eick (trumpet);
Marcin Wasilewski (piano);
Slawomir Kurkiewicz (double bass).
Uploading @ 320K

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gary Grant: Don't Hold Your Breath (2010)

"Don't Hold Your Breath" is a CD of original jazz tunes that express the true jazz feeling of improvisation and creativeness. The compositions are interesting, challenging and fulfilling to the listeners ears. It's a CD that you can play over and over again and experience something new every time, yet soothing to the soul to just let it happen. Gary's versatile trumpet playing featured in the ensembles are incredibly executed and his improvisational solos are 2nd to none. Whether it is Gary's intense brass sections or his sensitive flugelhorn ballads, you know why he has been sought after for so many years as a recording artist.
Joining Gary is an all-star cast of who's-who musicians that embellish the CD with amazing creativity. Composer/ Saxophonist Dan Higgins is leading the way with his outstanding compositional skills and brilliant saxophone soloing. Wally Minko, also a fantastic composer and pianist, has paved the audio highway with his artistry and musical genius. Drummers Vinnie Colaiuta, Johnny Friday and John Robinson, are the swing keepers with the bass anchors of Ken Wild, Trey Henry and Brian Bromberg. Andy Martin swings as hard as any trombone player on the planet. The addition of the other horns including trumpeter Wayne Bergeron, Bill Reichenbach and Les Benedict along with Dan Higgins are the perfect addition to complete all the palettes of the arrangements...
01. Tres Gatos Profundos 9:38
02. Thank You, Michael 4:54
03. Set It Straight 4:30
04. I Still Hear You 5:09
05. Ireland 5:06
06. American Native 4:21
07. Skunkin' 6:09
08. Live For The Day 4:05
09. GG Song 5:45
10. Skyrise 5:39
11. Subatomic 5:18
12. One Peace 3:16
Fileserve @ 192K

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shakatak: Fiesta (1990)

Shakatak have enjoyed a level of success and career longevity rarely paralleled in contemporary music-but then Shakatak is a particularly unusual group. Because of the nature of their music,their fan base is one that is far reaching while always retaining an 'underground element'. This paradox sees the band,who are known primarily as serious jazz/funk musicians,enoying both high'cult'status and instant recognition as a household name. After a number of successful top-twenty singles in the UK,the band went on to score unprecedented international success with the release of the classic 'Nightbirds" recording, and the title track has now become a standard in the popular music repertoire. This sucess was repeated with the top-ten hit "Down on the Street and the award-winning video established the band's personnel of Jill Saward(lead vocs), Bill Sharpe (keys), Keith Winter (gtr), George Anderson (bass) and Roger Odell (drums).With the magic Al Jarreau/Shakatak combination, the group went on to record the track 'Day by Day' to further international acclaim. Along with this successful recording career, Shakatak had firmly established themselves as a vibrant live act, combining astute musicianship with a sense of fun that communicated strongly with world-wide audiences.
1. Dreamtime
2. After midnight
3. Conquistador
4. Just the way we are
5. Two people
6. Looking for rainbows
7. Please don't go
8. Chi-chi castanengo
9. One day, one night
10. Why me!
11. One love
Fileserve @ 320K

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Down to the Bone: Future Boogie (2009)

The problem with Down to the Bone's Future Boogie is this: what the band is doing in the present, they've done better in the past.
Three years ago, Down to the Bone (DTTB) celebrated their first decade of bringing the funk with a terrific studio album, Supercharged (Narada/2007), and a well-assembled compilation, The Best of Down to the Bone (Narada/2007). The two releases provided an excellent introduction to where this British band had been and a road map to where they might be going.
Future Boogie is the sound of this funk/jazz ensemble idling in place. There's a non-descript feel to the album's cover art and song titles, but lackluster packaging isn't the real dilemma. What is, is how the album comes off as the less interesting little cousin to Supercharged. Two of the guest artists from that album—vocalist Hilary Mwelwa of Hil Street Soul, and vibraphonist Roy Ayers—return, but the material provided by Stuart Wade and Ian Cambell isn't as strong this time around.
DTTB was previously a band with a strong rhythm section augmented by a horn section, which gave it the latitude to perform songs where the horns were prominent, alternating with others featuring no horns at all. This time every track is dominated by blaring brass, and the horn arrangements by Wade and Tim Smart shift the emphasis away from the rhythm section. This imbalance of power within the band leaves DTTB sounding, for stretches, like Tower of Power having an off night.
There's no such thing as a DTTB album without something worthwhile to recommend, and when they're given space to shine, bassist Julian Crampton, guitarist Tony Remy and drummer Phil Nelson rise to the occasion, particularly on the title track, "Should've Been You," featuring Mwelwa's sassy singing, and "The Brighter Side," where keyboardist Neil Angilley's piano solo briefly breaks through before the horn section loudly barges in bleating, squealing and honking.
It isn't until the final track, "We've Always Got the Music," that the horns back off somewhat and give Angilley, Remy, Crampton and Nelson some room to groove. By then it's too late; nothing more than an enticing teaser of what DTTB can do when both sides of the band play well together.
It's hard to put a finger on why Future Boogie doesn't impress in the way Supercharged did. It could be there's too much similarity in many of the tracks. Perhaps it's the lack of particularly compelling material.
Whatever the case, what's new here isn't all that interesting and what's interesting isn't all that new.
Whatever category you want to put DTTB in—soul and funk, R&B, acid jazz, or something entirely separate—it does what it does very well. Unfortunately, this pleasant, but routing effort isn't the bold step forward the band might have planned.
1. Future Boogie; 2. Should've Been You; 3. Spiderlegs; 4. Good To Me; 5. Get On It; 6. The Brighter Side; 7. Gotcha!; 8. In the Pocket; 9. Smash and Grab; 10. We've Always Got the Music.
Personnel: Neil Angilley: piano, Rhodes, Hammond organ, clavinet, keyboards; Tony Remy: guitar; Julian Crampton: bass; Phil Nelson: drums; Richard Sadler: percussion; James Knight: alto saxophone; Tim Smart: trombone; Pablo Mendelssohn: trumpet (1, 3-6, 8-10); Andy Gray: trumpet (2, 7), additional trumpet (8); Hilary Mwelwa (Hil St. Soul): vocals (2, 6); Roy Ayers: vibes, vocals (4); Neil Burditt: synth (8).
Fileserve @ 320K

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dan Siegel: ST (1982)

Smooth jazz keyboardist Dan Siegel has been helping to shape the genre since his recording debut in 1980. Born in Seattle and raised in Eugene, OR, Siegel started taking piano lessons at age eight and was fronting a rock band at 12. After attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he received a degree in composition from the University of Oregon and began recording his own works. Soon thereafter, well-known independent jazz label Inner City Records signed the young keyboardist, releasing 1980's Nite Ride, which featured guitarist Lee Ritenour. Siegel's second album for Inner City, 1981's The Hot Spot, was more successful and spent ten weeks in the Top Ten of Billboard's jazz chart. In 1983, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue film and television work, as well as a more active recording career.
Spending half of the decade composing TV and film scores as well as releasing several albums of varying interest, he signed with Epic in 1986 and began moving away from the ailing jazz fusion scene and into the adult contemporary jazz sound that he had been toying with all along. Highlights of this era include 1994's worldbeat-influenced Hemispheres and the urban-flavored Clairvoyance, released in 1998. Siegel spent the 1990s recording for a variety of labels, working with some of the bigger names in smooth jazz (Boney James, Larry Carlton, John Patitucci), and leading the hard bop combo Birds of a Feather. In 2000, Legacy Recordings released a greatest hits compilation called Along the Way: The Best of Dan Siegel.
Paul Jackson Jr., Larry Carlton, Marlon McCLain: Guitar
Tom Scott, Jeff Homan: Saxophone
Tom Brown: Trumpet
Mark Hatch: Fluegel Horn
Rob Thomas, Abraham Laboriel: Bass
Moyes Lucas Jr., John Robinson: Drums
Lenny Castro: Percussion
Dan Siegel: Keyboards
Fileserve @ 320K

Peter White: Caravan Of Dreams (1996)

Peter White is one of those rare artists whose unique sound and natural, unpretentious musical vision encapsulate all the charm, appeal, and excitement of his genre. However one chooses to label that style -- new adult contemporary, contemporary jazz, pop instrumental -- the English-born acoustic guitarist has struck rare chords, artistically, commercially, and emotionally, in becoming a melodic mainstay at the top of every radio airplay and sales chart known to soulful, smooth jazz since launching his solo career in 1990 with reveillez-vous. White's similarly warmhearted, instantly infectious Columbia debut Caravan of Dreams continues in the R&B vein of his previous two discs (1993's Promenade and 1994's Reflections), focusing on his trademark breezes while texturing street-smart synth grooves with a free-spirited all-star ensemble to create a whimsical musical travelog. While many of his best radio hits have been very saxophone oriented, for Caravan of Dreams, White made sure that his beloved guitar is in the forefront. And to better accentuate the urban sensibilities his previous albums only hinted at, he chose to collaborate with veteran producer Paul Brown, whose street vibe with Boney James has helped make the saxman one of rhythm and jazz's premier performers. Helping add spice to White's snappy strains and Brown's Midas urban flow is a perfect complement of contemporary jazz's usual suspects, James (on sax and WX-7 windsynth) to White's longtime reed player Dave Camp (on flute), Rick Braun (flьgelhorn) and urban gypsy guitarist Marc Antoine, who duets with White along the simmering, Latin-tinged edges of "Cafe Mystique." James adds a lush yet muscular harmony on tenor and soprano, respectively, to the laid-back hip-hop of the title track and the silky, romantic "Together Again." Lenny Castro's surefire percussion adds a lively rhythmic vibe to the summery pleasures of "Venice Beach," while the swirling passions of "Ready & Willing" showcase the guitarist at his most intimate. The explosive energy of "Long Ride Home," featuring artsy solo turns by Braun and Camp, perfectly reflects the drive-time lunacy of life on the road. ~ Jonathan Widran
01. Caravan Of Dreams
(Featuring Boney James)
02. Together Again
(Featuring Boney James)
03. Venice Beach
04. Soul Embrace
05. Long Ride Home
(Featuring Rick Braun)
06. Just Another Day
(Featuring Basia)
07. City Of Lights
08. Cafe Mystique
(Featuring Marc Antoine)
09. Bittersweet
10. Lullaby
Personnel: Peter White (vocals, guitar, accordion, keyboards, synthesizer, mini-Moog synthesizer); Paul Brown (vocals, programming); D. Harvey, Basia (vocals); Marc Antoine (guitar); Dave Camp (flute); Boney James (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, synthesizer); Rick Braun (flugelhorn); Allan A. Sams, Michael Egizi (keyboards, programming); John Mahon (drums, timpani); Joel Rosenblatt (drums); Lenny Castro (percussion); Daddy Shakespeare, Paul Brown (programming).
Fileserve @ 320K

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Grover Washington, Jr.: Inside Moves (1984)

Although Grover Washington Jr. (on alto, tenor, soprano and baritone) puts on his usual strong effort, the forgettable material (which included no hits) and the emphasis on vocals (particularly those of Jon Lucien who is on five of the seven selections) makes this one of Washington's weaker efforts and the least essential of his four Elektra recordings. The background vocalists do not help much either. This was Grover Washington, Jr.'s only full-length album as a leader during the 1982-86 period but was not worth the effort.
01. Inside Moves
02. Dawn Song
03. Watching You Watching Me
04. Secret Sounds
05. Jet Stream
06. When I Look At You
07. Sassy Stew
Grover Washington,Jr. - alto,tenor,soprano and baritone saxes
Ralph McDonald - congas,percussion,drum computer
Jon Lucien - vocal
Marcus Miller - bass,Yamaha DX-7,Jupiter 8
Richard Tee - Fender Rhodes
Eric Gale - guitar
Buddy Williams - drums
Steve Gadd - drums
Anthony McDonald - percussion
Anthony Jackson - bass
Lani Groves - background vocals
Yvone Lewis - background vocals
Maeretha Stewart - background vocals
William Eaton - bakground vocals,strings
Frank Floyd - background vocals
Zack Sounder - background vocals
Fileserve @ flac

Friday, February 11, 2011

California Guitar Trio: Andromeda (2010)

If Robert Fripp was your guitar teacher, it’s very likely that you’re a very accomplished guitarist. And California Guitar Trio (CGT) are no exception; Bert Lams, Paul Richards, and Hideyo Moriya have been going strong for over 19 years and will surprise very few with Andromeda, their latest recorded effort. Point of interest being, that this is CGT‘s first record to feature absolutely no covers, and the original works are stacked with a slew of improvisational pieces.
The trio often performs live with three acoustic guitars, as their technical mastery is what has wowed audiences over the years. But on Andromeda, they allow themselves to use as much of the studio as possible. There’s plenty of effects (perhaps paying attention to their prog roots and King Crimson connection), atmospheric keyboard textures (also called “pads,” very appropriate for Andromeda), electric
guitars, bass, and even percussion. This helps keep the original compositions interesting. Tony Levin of King Crimson joins as a guest musician on the record, as he has in previous albums, which is a nice touch.
The minute the 10/8 lick of opener “Cathedral Peak” opens, you might think you have a modern punk or rock riff, but then they disappear into their progressive rock licks and open a brand new soundscape. Very seemly, considering this album commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Hubble Telescope. There’s plenty of fantastic licks here, some masterful lead playing, and keyboard swells accenting at just the right moments. The chordal structure itself is another testament to the abilities of Lams, Richards, and Moriya. Just when the listener thinks they know where it’s going next, the trio throws another curveball.
Only “Cathedral Peak” and “Portland Rain” feature any real percussion on the album (“Hazardous Z” does feature shakers, but very briefly). That presents no issues here though; the acoustic/fingerstyle purists will find plenty to like considering that the trio fills in the void left by the lack of other instruments by rhythmically strumming and filling in each other’s space in a very well-thought out manner. What they may dislike, though, is the overuse of effects and electric guitars.
The power of the group is on full display when it’s just the three of them, especially on the improvisational pieces, which are just a tad too short. Here the group excels and the songs are just so well-done, that maybe they should’ve let the record button go and did it all improv. The trio wander without being too noodly and are able complement each other brilliantly. There may be a lot of effects here, but it’s really not so much a bother for those that aren’t the purists (as mentioned in the previous paragraph). “Improv 1” efinitely ends up a little on the cheesy side, falling somewhere between “new-age music for infomercial” and “stripped down Spaghetti-western ending credits roll.”
The hands-down standout of this album is “Portland Rain,” which has a foot firmly planed in the John Fahey/Leo Kottke camp. There’s so much light and airy movement in this, that it just glides in your ears. The strings come in over-top and the piece changes dynamically. Continually shifts in direction cause the listener to stand up and take notice. Hi-hats appear out of the distance, and before you know it, a whole ensemble has emerged from where there were only three. Once again, contemplating where the song going is an exercise in futility unless you were a prodigal student of Fripp as these guys were with all of these chromatic shifts in typical chord structures. “Portland Rain” is a very interesting and powerful piece indeed.There’s a heavy Steve Reich connection on pieces like “Improv 8: Layered Circulation,” and “Andromeda,” which at times sounds similar to Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint.” There’s a country western feel to the well-suited title of “Middle of TX,” lending itself to slide guitar and even some whammy pedal action. Another great standout is the middle-eastern influenced “Hazardous Z,” which will remind fingerstyle fans of players like Andreas Kapsalis and Goran Ivanovic. You won’t find Andreas or Kaki King’s percussive rhythms played on the body of the guitar here though; the trio relies heavily on their compositional muscles to carry the piece instead of high-flying guitar acrobatics. This can be a detriment if you’re looking for someone similar to the aforementioned guitar heroes Kapsalis and King, but there’s plenty of goodness to be found here. Take for example the pentatonic-sounding “Chacarea,” which features malleted percussion that sounds like either a xylophone or vibraphone. It’s just one of those “ooh” moments that you’ll get while listening to Andromeda that will leap out at you. There’s so much going on that it’s easy to get lost in all of the playing and forget about all the great background bits.
The only real downfall on this record is that some of the pieces can start feeling the same; not in overall feel, but in a lot of the interplay that happens between the three highly skilled musicians. Long-time fans may also wonder why there were no covers here, but it’s a benefit, not a bummer. Musicians can be Youtube wonders by doing an interesting version of a well-known (or unknown) song, but in order to be taken seriously in this business, you have to rely on more than just a gimmick, even if it’s a really good one. California  Guitar Trio does a great job here, although they have the talent to stand out even more from the pack on previous releases. Congratulations on nearly 20 years in the biz, fellas. Let’s hope you continue to age like a fine wine.
1. Cathedral Peak
2. Turn of the Tide
3. Andromeda
4. Improv IX
5. Hazardous Z
6. Chacarera
7. Improv VII
8. Middle of TX
9. Improv VIII – Layered Circulation
10. Portland Rain
11. Improv I
Fileserve @ 320K

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bobby Broom: Livin' From The Beat (1984)

Bobby Broom (born January 18, 1961), birthname Robert Broom, Jr., is an American jazz guitarist, composer and educator born and raised in New York City. Broom performs and records with jazz saxophone legend Sonny Rollins as well as his Bobby Broom Trio and the Deep Blue Organ Trio. While versed in the bebop idiom, Broom, like many current artists, draws from a variety of American music forms such as funk, soul, R&B and the blues to create his style.
1. Beat Freak
2. Give Me Your Love
3. Magic Johnson
4. Find Yourself
5. Let It Go
6. Let's Stay Together
7. Rubye
8. He Said I Love You
Fileserve @ 320K

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dennis Chambers: Big City (1991)

It was the summer of 1986. Dennis Chambers was being touted as a musical genius, the next Cobham. He was Weckl and Rich rolled into one. That's what we had heard about Dennis Chambers and now we were going to see him play. What we saw was very difficult to describe. Omar Hakim saw Dennis Chambers play that same week and said of his performance simply: "Scary!"
Big City, Dennis Chambers' first solo album, is a testament to what was said about him several years ago with one difference, now he is frightening. Big City takes the listener through a gamut of jazz style inflections, signature applications, musical dynamics, emotions, attitudes and interpretations that only Chambers can provide. You can smell the music of New York on this disc.
When it is all said and done, Dennis Chambers will be recalled as one of the greats. We, at Pearl, are proud to have produced his first album and elated our association with Dennis has come to this."

1. Straight Red (04:38)
2. Nuji (04:50)
3. No Return (08:40)
4. Lydian Cowboy (04:38)
Carl Filipiak: Guitar
Jimmy Charlsen: Bass
David Fairhall: Sax
Dennis Chambers: Drums
Fileserve @ 320K

Monday, February 7, 2011

Shakatak: The Coolest Cuts (1988)

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.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.
01. Down On The Street [0:03:19.62]
02. Invitations [0:04:22.46]
03. Livin' In The U.K. [0:03:26.37]
04. Stranger [0:03:17.66]
05. Slip Away [0:05:00.53]
06. Brazilian Dawn [0:03:38.29]
07. Steppin' (Live) [0:04:13.84]
08. Easier Said Than Done [0:03:49.66]
09. Watching You [0:04:10.66]
10. Don't Blame It On Love [0:03:18.33]
11. Night Birds [0:04:25.00]
12. Streetwalkin' [0:03:55.49]
13. Dark Is The Night [0:04:11.33]
14. City Rhythm [0:03:59.57]
15. Rio Nights [0:04:03.26]
16. Walk The Walk [0:04:22.16]
17. Mr Manic & Sister Cool [0:03:44.84]
18. You Never Know [0:05:01.16]
19. Shakatak Megamix [0:05:32.86]
Fileserve @ 320K

The Ramsey Lewis Trio: At The Bohemian Caverns (1964)

Ramsey Lewis is without doubt a very talented pianist and arranger as his later 60s output demonstrates fully and he continues to record regularly still. This club recording recorded in 1964 before he moved from Verve to Chess Records is fine in showing the type of groove club jazz at that time aspired to but rarely hit. Ramsey's trio with Eldee Young and Red Holt hits the button many times but what dates the whole shebang is the material with a medley of West Side Story and other show songs dominating. All done very well and with the audience clearly enjoying themselves but for me it is when he gets the group playing "Something you got" and "My babe" that the signposts of what was to come over the rest of the decade start being signposted by Ramsey Lewis. Not surprisingly the rest of the trio were not able to make that journey with him, lasting just one more LP "Hang on Ramsey" being interestingly another live club recording.
01  West Side Story Medley: Somewhere/Maria/Jet Song/Somewhere – 11:38
02  People – 5:36
03  Something You Got – 3:38
04  Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words) – 6:33
05  My Babe – 4:01
06  The Caves – 3:20
07  The Shelter of Your Arms – 3:57
Personnel:Ramsey Lewis – piano
Eldee Young – bass, cello
Redd Holt – drums

Friday, February 4, 2011

Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Best Of (1997)

Despite the daunting prospect of editing the six-CD collection of the complete 1957-63 studio works of Davis and Evans into a one-hour sampler, the compilers chose wisely. Nine of the 12 selections are familiar master takes of classic Davis-Evans works. Five are from the duo's biggest popular success, 1958's PORGY AND BESS, three are orchestral tracks from 1957's MILES AHEAD and the stunning 16-minute interpretation of the Adagio movement of Joaquin Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" from 1960's SKETCHES OF SPAIN sparkles like a jewel.
These well-known pieces sound brand new, thanks to a brilliant remastering job. The last three cuts whet the appetites of those intrigued by the box set's hours of outtakes and rarities: alternate takes of "Wait Till You See Her" and "Corcovado" from 1962's QUIET NIGHTS, as well as an excerpt from Davis and Evans' masterful but rarely-heard score for the 1963 play "The Time of the Barracudas." This is essential music.
All tracks on this album come from the six-CD MILES DAVIS & GIL EVANS: THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO RECORDINGS box set on Columbia (67397).
Recorded at 30th Street Studio, New York, New York and Columbia Stuios, Hollywood, California between May 1957 and October 1963. Includes liner notes by Bill Kirchner.
1 My Ship 4:28
Drums - Art Taylor
Piano - Wynton Kelly
Saxophone [Alto] - Lee Konitz
2 Miles Ahead 3:30
Drums - Art Taylor
3 Blues For Pablo 5:19
Drums - Art Taylor
4 Gone 3:37
Drums - "Philly" Joe Jones
5 My Man's Gone Now 6:15
Drums - "Philly" Joe Jones
6 I t Ain't Necessarily So 4:24
7 Summertime 3:18
8 I Loves You, Porgy 3:40
9 Concierto De Aranjuez (Adagio) 16:19
Producer - Irving Townsend
10 Wait Till You See Her 4:02
11 ?Corcovado 2:42
12 The Time Of The Carracudas (Excerpt) 3:06
Bass - Ron Carter
Drums - Tony Williams*
Piano - Herbie Hancock
Producer - Irving Townsend
Personnel: Miles Davis (flageolet); Janet Putnam (harp); Jerome Richardson (flute, alto flute, clarinet); Romeo Penque (flute, clarinet, oboe); Eddie Caine, Sid Cooper (flute, clarinet); Raymond Beckenstein (flute, reeds); Harold Feldman (clarinet, oboe); Danny Bank (clarinet); Garvin Bushell (bassoon, contrabassoon); Jack Knitzer, Bob Tricarico (bassoon); Bill Kirchner (saxophone); Lee Konitz, Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone); Louis Mucci, Ernie Royal, Johnny Carisi, Johnny Coles, Taft Jordan, Bernie Glow (trumpet); Tony Miranda, Gunther Schuller, Julius Watkins, Willie Ruff, James Buffington, Earl Chapin, Ray Alonge (French horn); Dick Hixon, Frank Rehak, Tommy Mitchell , Jimmy Cleveland, Joe Bennett (trombone); Phil Bodner, Billy Barber (tuba); Wynton Kelly (piano); Jimmy Cobb , Philly Joe Jones, Art Taylor (drums); Willie Bobo (bongos); Elvin Jones, Jose Mangual (percussion).
Fileserve @ 320K

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Peter Erskine: Motion Poet (1988)

An excellent percussionist makes an uneven, but ambitious statement. - AMG
1. Erskoman (06:22)
2. Not a Word (06:40)
3. Hero With a Thousand Faces (06:23)
4. Dream Clock (07:20)
5. Exit Up Right (05:59)
6. A New Regalia (04:05)
7. Boulez (03:22)
8. The Mystery Man (07:41)
9. In Walked Maya (05:12)
WILL LEE - bass
BOB MINTZER - bass clarinet, saxes
JIM BEARD - synthesizers
and many others
Fileserve @ 320K

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nick Colionne: It's My Turn (1994)

Nick Colionne is a real master of contemporary jazz guitar. According to a review I read of his last CD, The Seduction, his playing was influenced by Wes Montgomery and George Benson with a touch of Jimi Hendrix. That pretty much describes his style....he's terrific and I loved this CD (which was his first).
1. East Evergreen  
2. Back Down Evergreen 
3. Love Shoulda Brought You Home 
4. It's My Turn 
5. Juanita (Nini's Song)  
6. Rainy Night in Georgia  
7. Bumpin' on Sunset  
8. Soulful Strut
9. Wes (I Still Remember You) 
10. Inka
Fileserve @ 320K

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Conrad Herwig: Heart of Darkness (1998)

In demand as a sideman, Herwig has been a featured member in the Joe Henderson Sextet, Tom Harrell’s Septet and Big Band, and the Joe Lovano Nonet (featured as a soloist on Lovano’s Grammy Award winning 52nd St Themes). Conrad also performs and records with Eddie Palmieri’s "La Perfecta II" and Afro-Caribbean Jazz Octet, Paquito D’Rivera’s Havana-New York Connection, the Mingus Big Band (often serving as musical director, and arranger on the new 2007 Grammy nominated - "Live at the Tokyo Blue Note"), and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band (Jon Faddis, musical director) among others.
1.Heart Of Darkness (Conrad Herwig)
2.Secret Sharer (Conrad Herwig)
3.Inner Sincerity (Conrad Herwig)
4.Silent Tears (Conrad Herwig)
5.The Instigator (Conrad Herwig)
6.Watch Your Steps (Conrad Herwig)
7.The Lamp Is Low (Parish / Ravel / De Rose / Shefter)
8.Tilt (Conrad Herwig)
Conrad Herwig (Trombone)
Walt Weiskopf (Tenor & SopranoSaxophone)
Stefon Harris (Vibraphon)
Bill Charlap (Piano )
Peter Washington (Bass)
Billy Drummond (Drums)
Fileserve @ 320K