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Entries from July 2012

Branford Marsalis Quartet: Four MFs Playin’ Tunes

The departure of the Branford Marsalis quartet’s longtime drummer, Jeff “Tain” Watts, left a hole that would not easily be filled and subsequently sparked the excellent 2011 duo release Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Marsalis Music) featuring Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo. But that percussive void has been filled with a transfusion of new blood from the sizzling drums of Justin Faulkner who joined the band in 2009 aged 18.

Date: Jul 31st, 2012 · No Comments · Categories: Jazz CD Reviews

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet: LifeTimes

LifeTimes, the fourth CD from the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, is a powerful tribute to musical giant m: Dave Brubeck by two of his natural sons (bassist/trombonist m: Chris Brubeck and drummer m: Dan Brubeck ) and two of their “honorary brothers” (guitarist m: Mike DeMicco and pianist m: Chuck Lamb ). Half the compositions are Dave’s, most of them dating back decades, but they are so freshly imagined that they sound as if they’ve just been written. The set ends with “Take Five,” which is m: Paul Desmond ‘s tune but arguably Dave’s most famous performance (here, it starts with a second-line, New Orleans groove)…

Date: Jul 31st, 2012 · No Comments · Categories: Jazz CD Reviews

Paula West: Live at Jazz Standard

Devotees of superior jazz vocalists have several reasons to rejoice about this fourth CD by the highly respected San Francisco-based Paula West. First and foremost, the recording is simply a true knockout; but the rejoicing is also because, despite rave audiences and reviews for over a decade, this is West’s first release since the impressively executed Come What May (High Horse) in 2001…

Date: Jul 31st, 2012 · No Comments · Categories: Jazz CD Reviews

Chris McGregor: In His Good Time

Founder of South African group the m: Blue Notes and, later in London, the m: Brotherhood of Breath , pianist Chris McGregor (born in the Transkei to Scottish missionary parents) was among the first musicians to take what became known as “township jazz” beyond South Africa, when he and the Blue Notes went into voluntary exile in 1964. Like pianist Dollar Brand (later m: Abdullah Ibrahim ) and trumpeter m: Hugh Masekela , who had both left the country in the wake of 1960’s Sharpeville massacre, McGregor no longer felt he could live and work under the barbarism of the apartheid regime, in which the Blue Notes’ situation was exacerbated by the presence of both black and white musicians in the group…

Date: Jul 30th, 2012 · No Comments · Categories: Jazz CD Reviews

Kerong Chok: Good Comapny

Though still in his twenties, pianist/keyboardist/composer Kerong Chok has been one of the bright young stars on Singapore’s jazz scene for a decade. He stepped into the limelight as co-writer, arranger and deft accompanist on singer m: Rani Singam ‘s Contentment (Inflexion Lines, 2011), and here makes his full debut as leader, on a Hammond organ-flavored set that evokes the instrument’s ’60s heyday and the classic Blue Note albums of that era. Nostalgic, perhaps, but these ten tracks are striking originals, and Chok’s penmanship matches his undeniable instrumental panache…

Date: Jul 30th, 2012 · No Comments · Categories: Jazz CD Reviews

Connie Evingson: Sweet Happy Life

Singer Connie Evingson is a master of thematic programming. Her last several recordings have all been predicated on specific themes that showed great consideration in their concepts. Recordings released since the new millennium include: Little Did I Dream: Songs by Dave Frishberg (Minnehaha Music, 2008); Stockholm Sweetnin’ (Minnehaha Music, 2006); Gypsy in my Soul (Minnehaha Music, 2005); The Secret of Christmas (Minnehaha Music, 2003); and Let It Be Jazz: Connie Evingson Sings the Beatles (Summit Records, 2003). All are uniformly fine and were well received…

Date: Jul 30th, 2012 · No Comments · Categories: Jazz CD Reviews

Jack Phillips: Cafe Nights In New York

New York is, and always has been, a study in contrasts when it comes to the jazz it presents. The Big Apple has a reputation as the place to be for those looking to hear, explore and partake in all that’s modern in this music, but it also plays home to certain venues that serve as the last vestiges of old world style.

Date: Jul 29th, 2012 · No Comments · Categories: Jazz CD Reviews