Saturday, February 5, 2011

February 2011 - Jazz new releases

New releases and re-releases for February 2011. The best new jazz album releases this month. And some good hard bop re-releases

Some really good looking jazz new releases coming up this month. Look out for new releases by Marcus Miller, Kurt Elling and Brad Mehldau plus a good clutch of new albums from Criss Cross and Savant. Oh, and a new Miles D

avis live album!

Marcus Miller - A Night in Monte Carlo cover Miles Davis - Bitches Brew Live  cover Brad Mehldau - Live In Marciac cover  Hank Jones - Trio With Mads Vinding & Al Foster   cover 

Here is the listing: 

Tuesday February 1st 2011 

Marcus Miller - A Night in Monte Carlo (Concord) 

Tuesday February 8th 2011 

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew Live (Sony) 
Brad Mehldau - live in Marciac (Nonesuch) (2CD +DVD) 
Kurt Elling - The Gate (Concord Jazz) 
Diego Urcola - Appreciation (Cam Jazz) 

Release date: Tuesday February 15th 2011 

Brian Lynch - Conclave Vol 2 (Criss Cross) 
Stacy Dillard - Good And Bad Memories (Criss Cross) 
Yakov Okun - New York Encounter (Criss Cross) 
Reeds and Deeds - Tenor Time (Criss Cross) 
Chad McCullough & Bram Weijters - Imaginary Sketches (Origin) 
Eric Reed - The Dancing Monk (Savant) 

Tuesday February 22nd 2011 

Jerry Bergonzi - Convergence (Savant) 


Adan Rogers - "Sight"

Adam Rogers is one of many top-drawer American jazz guitarists who has had more opportunities to record for European labels, with this being his fifth release for the Dutch label Criss Cross. With bassist John Patitucci and drummer Clarence Penn, Rogers plays a compelling mix of freshly interpreted originals and well-known jazz compositions, in addition to his potent originals. The trio takes "I Hear a Rhapsody" into new territory with their intricate improvising, while the unusual rhythmic nature of his scoring of "Yesterdays" teases the listener with its sudden changes in tempo. The jaunty Thelonious Monk piece "Let's Cool One" debuted on a rare date when Rogers was a sideman with Clark Terry, though Rogers' tasty arrangement was inspired by Steve Lacy's meeting with Don Cherry. The leader's subtle workout of Charlie Parker's "Dexterity" is a welcome change from racehorse performances adapted by many of the saxophonist's followers. In one of his originals, Rogers adds a surprise, he overdubs a bit of piano in the finale to "Sight," a dramatic post-bop vehicle with a bit of a Spanish tinge. "Memory's Translucence" is the most unusual track, inspired by Ornette Coleman and Ronald Shannon Jackson; it starts in a melodic manner but detours into free jazz territory. This is another excellent outing by Adam Rogers, a talent deserving of greater recognition in his homeland.

Joe Lovano ... Us five ... Bird Songs
Joe Lovano's 22nd Blue Note recording, explores the Charlie Parker Songbook

On Bird Songs, the challenge facing saxophonist Joe Lovano—and it’s a formidable one—is to tastefully approach Charlie Parker’s iconic repertoire and his impeccably crafted alto saxophone playing as building blocks for previously unexplored possibilities. Bold strides are required, not timid tip-toeing, so the challenge is well suited to Lovano and Us Five, the group he began in 2008 with pianist James Weidman, bassist Esperanza Spalding and drummers Francisco Mela and Otis Brown III.
Long noted as an artist who thinks as hard as he plays, Lovano, 58, creates music that is brainy and brawny, earthy and urbane. On Bird Songs, he clearly relishes the opportunity to take off anew. Lovano draws from a broad lexicon that owes equal stylistic debts to some of the sax greats who inspired Parker (among them Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young) and those subsequently inspired by Parker’s innovations (including John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman). The saxophonist has a spongelike ability to absorb his influences as well as Parker’s, then mix and filter them through his own sonic lens. By doing so, he is able to put his distinctive stamp on Bird Songs—and, indeed, on Bird’s songs—much as Coleman did with his late-1959 tribute, “Bird Food,” and Jaco Pastorius did with his 1976 take on Parker’s “Donna Lee.” In Lovano’s hands, that charged bop staple is ingeniously recast on Bird Songs as a seductive ballad.
In short, Lovano pays homage without imitating, which is enhanced by his astute decision to perform eight of the 11 selections on tenor sax. He also approaches the album, in large part, by focusing on how Parker and his music might have evolved, had the alto giant not passed away at the age of 34 in 1955, a year after Lovano was born in Cleveland. Accordingly, “Dewey Square” is given a Brazilian lilt, while “Ko Ko” becomes a combustible dialogue between Lovano and drummers Mela and Brown, who communicate with near-telepathic empathy.
It’s a testament to Lovano and Us Five that they hit their ambitious marks without ever sounding contrived. The ebullient “Moose the Mooche,” to cite a key example, is slowed down here and reconfigured melodically and harmonically, then fused with a loping country-funk gait and a gritty sax approach that suggests an especially inspired meeting between Coleman and the late R&B sax titan King Curtis. Then there’s “Birdyard,” which builds upon a phrase from Parker’s “Yardbird Suite” and transforms it into a spirited incantation. It finds Lovano deftly traversing across multiple key changes on the aulochrome, a double-soprano sax whose keys can be played either separately or together so that any interval can be performed chromatically.
The complete “Yardbird Suite,” which Parker famously created in 1946, closes the album, although some purists might argue that it has become something else altogether. (It has, but that’s all for the better.) Beginning with an almost processional tone, this expanded work glides into a stately blues that becomes a freewheeling platform for Lovano, who waits nearly three minutes before directly quoting the head of the Parker original. Weidman and Spalding also contribute audacious solos to the piece, which clocks in at nearly 12 minutes without ever sounding indulgent.
The other 10 tracks on Bird Songs—Lovano’s 22nd outing for Blue Note since signing to the label 20 years ago—last just over 51 minutes combined. But they have an unhurried pace that suits them, and Bird, very well. Intriguingly, this album apparently marks the first time Lovano has recorded any Parker tunes since his 1986 version of “Now’s the Time” belatedly appeared on his 2000 album, Hometown Sessions. Now’s the time, indeed. BUY THE CD:

Kurt Elling - The Gate (2011)

THE NEW York Times declared that Kurt Elling is the “Stand-out male vocalist of our time!”. 'The Gate', released Feb 8 on Concord Records is produced by multi-Grammy award winner Don Was (The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan), “I first heard Kurt on the local jazz station and was knocked out by his exotic blend of soul, technique, intelligence and charismatic hipness,” Was recalls. “He made this diverse collection of songs his own, and we had a blast.” 
Without doubt, Kurt Elling is a very special talent, and his adoring fans have been anticipating the release of this album for the last 18 months since his Grammy-winning 'Dedicated To You'. Among his many influences, he cites hipster Mark Murphy responsible for exposing him to scat singing, vocalese and the poetry of Jack Kerouac, Elling boasts a 4-octave baritone singing voice, which he honed in church choirs. He burst on to jazz scene in 1995 when 'Close Your Eyes' was releases on Blue Note. In 2007, he made his Concord Records debut with 'Nightmoves'. All eight of his previous albums have been nominated for Grammys.

The Gate' points Elling in a new direction as he finds a way to present jazz music in a popular mode whilst not sounding like pop music, with songs by Joe Jackson, Stevie Wonder, King Crimson, and The Beatles, in addition to some jazz re-works by Miles Davis, Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock... Don Was was amazed by his broad musical taste “Kurt, you actually listen to King Crimson” he joked.

Glancing down the album's track listing, initially, out of pure surprise, I was drawn to the cover of 'Come Running To Me' by Herbie Hancock from his '78 album 'Sunlight' (the first jazz funk album I ever bought). It's not a particularly well known Hancock composition, not even a DJ's first choice from that Hancock era. I wondered if it would work for Elling, after all, Herbie uses a vocoder on the track to electronically enhance his voice. However, what seemed at first to be a most unusual song to cover turns out to be an inspired choice, and simply beautiful.

As I've said before, I'm always a sucker for a great tune, and I can never get enough of 'Golden Lady', who ever sings it, and sings it well. This Stevie Wonder masterpiece seems to be getting covered more and more in recent years. Kurt jazzes it up nicely, though I think the live version on YouTube recorded in Paris featuring Ernie Watts on sax is slightly superior.
One song that's missing from Elling's repertoire, is a "killer" jazz dance tune - something on par with Jon Lucien's 'Listen Love', Mark Murphy's 'Stolen Moments' or Jon Hendrick's 'I Bet You Thought I'd Never Find You'... one day perhaps … in the meantime, expect Kurt Elling to be lining up as contender for another Grammy next year.



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