Sunday, May 12, 2019

CD Review: Adam Schroeder "Let's"


I have been an Adam Schroeder fan ever since I heard him playing his Bari Sax several years ago at one of Pete Carlson's Jazz nights.  Adam is one of the few masters of the Bari Sax.  As a former Alto Sax player, I can tell you that even though the keys of all Saxophones are the same,  it's unusual to hear any Alto and/or Tenor player also playing Bari Sax.  My guess as to why is that the Bari Sax is so big it takes a much greater effort and a lot more air to navigate this horn correctly.

When performing, Adam Schroeder makes it look like playing the Bari Sax is easy!  His tone is smooth and mellow and his improvisation is fresh and pleasing.  I met Adam again last month when he was playing a Jazz concert at Pete Carlson's Jazz Club and during our conversation, he mentioned that he wanted me to hear his lasest CD that I had missed.  This CD, "Let's" was released a few years ago and it lives up to my Adam Schroeder expectations.

Adam composed 5 of the 11 songs on this CD and his compositions are impressive.   He also invited three of the best current Jazz players in the country to join him on this CD.  Every player is on my Jazz favorites list: Anthony Wilson on Guitar, John Clayton on Bass and Jeff Hamilton on Drums.

Players:
Adam Schroeder- Bari Sax
Anthony Wilson-Guitar
John Clayton-Bass
Jeff Hamilton-Drums

Playlist:
1. "Hello Bright Sunflower"
2. "In the Middle of the Kiss"
3. "Just Clap Your Hands"
4. "You and I"
5. "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams"
6. "A Hawkeye, A Hoosier, and Two Cali Cats"
7. "Contemplation"
8. "Patient Endurance, Steady Hope"
9. "Let's"
10. "Southside Samba"
11. "The Smulyan Spectacles"

I have attached a "YouTube" of the song "Just Clap Your Hands" written by Adam Schroeder that fully utilizes the outstanding rhythm section of Wilson, Clayton and Hamilton.  I also attached a second "YouTube" of the group playing the Benny Carter tune, "Southside Samba"  that is a fun recording.  Adam Schroeder performs with several big bands in the California area so don't miss any chance to hear him play!




 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

CD Review: Aimee Nolte "Looking For The Answers"


Vocalist, Pianist, Arranger and Song writer Aimee Nolte has released her newest CD, "Looking For The Answers" on April 12, 2019 and its stunningly good!  She is one talented person with a clear soft voice that at times can sound more like a musical instrument than a voice.  I was drawn into the songs on this CD one by one including the 8 songs that Aimee composed.  Her lyrics are compelling and believable and her melodies are haunting and hard to turn away from.  Honestly this is not the type of music that hits my musical hotspot, but once I started listening to Aimee sing and play, it was too late for me to escape, I was captured.  Aimee is a super-star musician and her career will surely build from here.

Aimee has selected some strong Jazz players to join her on this CD who I have listed below.  I had a hard time deciding what cuts from this CD I should attach to this review because I loved every one of them.  I decided you needed to hear one of her original songs, "This One Hurts" and I had to include her duet with John Clayton.  Then I found another "YouTube" of Aimee playing and singing "Have You Met Miss Jones" that I just had to share with you.

Playlist:
1. "The Loveliest Girl"
2." Looking for the Answers"
3. "Falling Snow"
4."The One Hurts"
5. "I Gotta Get"
6. "Save Me One Last Time"
7. "Bye Bye Blackbird"
8. "All Too Soon"
9. "So In Love"
10. "You Should've"
11. "For A While"

Players:
1. Aimee Nolte- Vocals, Piano, Organ, Synth Bass
2. John Clayton- Bass (7)
3. Bruce Lett- Bass (1,2,3,5,10)
4. James Yoshizawa- Drums
5. Mike Scott- Guitar (2,3,5,10)
6. Jason Neubauer- Guitar (1)
7. Doug Webb- Woodwinds (1)b,John Reilly
8. John Reilly- Woodwinds (6)
  
I have attached a "YouTube" of Aimee singing "Bye Bye Blackbird" a duet with  the great Bassist John Clayton that I love.  I have attached a 2nd "YouTube" of Aimee playing and singing "Have You Met Miss Jones" that is not on this CD but I think gives you a better idea of Aimee's talent and range.  Lastly, I have attached a "YouTube" of Aimee singing one of her own songs, "This One Hurts".





Friday, April 19, 2019

CD Review: The Ehud Asherie Trio-"Wild Man Blues"



Some newer Jazz fans may not think that traditional Jazz has much to offer these days.  How wrong they are.  I just finished listening to the "Wild Man Blues" by The Ehud Asherie Trio that I would  described as terrific, new and fresh traditional Jazz!  Pianist Ehud Asherie has put together an outstanding mixture of early New Orleans Jazz, Swing, Bebop, and songs from the Great American Songbook, as well as a deep passion for the music of Brazil.

Ehud Asherie is a talented Pianist and Arranger who integrates the venerable New York piano tradition from Fats Waller and James P Johnson to Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk into his own inventive style.  Ehud has done a master job of arranging songs that were made famous by horn players like New Orleans Trumpeter Red Allen ("Wild Man Blues") and Charlie Parker's  ("Parker's Mood") into seamlessly wonderful Jazz Piano Trio pieces.

The outstanding rhythm team of Bassist Peter Washington and Drummer Rodney Green provide Ehud with the perfect support behind his creative playing.  In my opinion, this is one of the best Piano Trios recording today!  They create new life into some old but great classic standards and, yet,  still retain the original structure of the tunes.

This CD touches all aspects that make a Jazz Piano Trio great.  If you love to listen to Jazz Piano Trio music,  this CD will be for you.  If you are not that familiar with the joy of the music from a Jazz Piano Trio, you will be after listening to The Ehud Asherie Trio.

Playlist:
1. "Wild Man Blues"
2. "Parker's Mood"
3. "Flying Down To Rio"
4. "Autumn Nocturne"
5. "Chasin' The Bird"
6. "Na Baixa Do Sapateiro"
7. "Oh, Lady Be Good"
8. "And The She Stopped"

Players:
Ehud Asherie- Piano, Arranging
Peter Washington- Bass
Rodney Green-Drums

I have attached a "YouTube" of The Ehud Asherie Trio playing Louis Armstrong's "Wild Man Blues".  It really swings with a relaxed comfortable feel.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Joel Fleisher, One of the Best "Jazz Vocialists" Performing Today




The first time I heard Joel Fleisher sing, I knew he had something special.  There are many singers performing today who like to call themselves Jazz singers, but sadly most of them fall short of the definition of Jazz singer.  Joel has a wonderful feel for the lyrics of the songs from the "Great American Songbook" and is able to put his own special touch on these "Evergreens" that bring them back to life with new spirit.  Joel's speciality is performing songs everyone knows and loves by adding his own arrangement of notes that still retain the spirit of the melody but at the same time gives them a new and fresh life.  He does this in the true spirit of Jazz singing by simply not singing melody and lyric exactly as written by the composer.  And the results are wonderful!

Joel has been singing for most of his life,  and he studied both Classical and Jazz at Monterey Peninsula College before moving to San Francisco where he continued his studies at San Francisco State University.

Joel has made his living as a teacher but as soon as he retired, he rediscovered his vocation in singing Jazz and has been performing in various Jazz venues throughout California.   I have enjoyed his singing performances I attended in the Coachella Valley area for the past few years.  I love the way Joel takes chances with Vocal changes and emotions with every song he sings.

I have attached a "YouTube" of Joel Fleisher singing "East of the Moon" for your listening enjoyment!



 


Thursday, April 4, 2019

CD Review: Betty Bryant " Project 88"



Pianist, Vocalist and Composer Betty Bryant has just released her ninth CD entitled "Project 88".  The title is a double entendre, since the Piano has 88 keys and Betty Bryant turned 88 a year ago.  Betty Bryant is a child of the Depression and her voice and soul still carry the experiences she learned growing up during this difficult period.  The quality of Bryant's voice and phrasing are perfect for the 10 beautiful tunes she picked for her CD.  Bryant plays and sings with various configurations of musicians and she excels in each one of them.  

"Project 88" was produced by Bryant's close friend the fabulous Tenor Sax and Flutist, Robert Kyle.  Working closely with Bryant these two experienced and skilled musicians have produced a warm and wonderful  CD that feels so right.  The music is like comfort food for your body and soul. 

For those of you that are in the LA area, Betty Bryant performs regularly in local Jazz clubs so don't miss a chance to see her in person.  She has performed internationally and spent 13 years shuttling back and forth to Tokyo for a regular gig.  She has also performed in Brazil, Panama and the Middle East.  Even at the age of 88, Bryant still keeps a busy schedule.  Lucky for all Jazz lovers because she continues to be impressive with her singing and playing including her approach to Lyrics.  Bryant composed 5 of the 10 songs on the CD and the remaining 5 songs are beautiful standards that become new again with Bryant's touch.

Playlist: 
1. "Love, Came and Went"
2. "Oh, Lady Be Good"
3. "Catfish Man"
4. "Just You, Just Me"
5. "But Beautiful"
6. "Ain't Nobody's Business"
7. "Cho Cho"
8. "They Say It's Wonderful"
9. "My Beloved"
10. "It's Hard To Say Goodbye"

Players:
Betty Bryant- Piano, Arranging, Composing and Vocals
Tony Guerrero- Trumpet and Arranging
Tomas Gargano- Bass
Richard Simon- Bass
Hussain Jeffry- Bass
James Gadson- Drums
Kenny Elliott- Drums
Quentin Dennard Sr.- Drums
Robert Kyle- Tenor Sax, Flute and Arranging
Ryan Dragon-Trombone
Jeff Driskill- Alto Sax
Jay Mason- Bari Sax
Cassio Duarte- Percussion
Kleber Jorge- Guitar and Vocal

I have attached a couple of "YouTubes" with songs from this CD.  The first is a song written by Betty Bryant called "Love Came and Went" that swings with a big band feel.  The second song has long been one of Betty's favorites, "Ain't Nobody's Business". This Jazz classic has been recorded by many Jazz giants including her favorite, Jimmy Witherspoon and Betty Bryant adds  her own style to it.   





Monday, March 25, 2019

CD Review: Nick Grinder "Farallon"


Trombonist, Composer and Arranger Nick Grinder is one of the brightest new musicians on the Jazz scene today.  His tone and technique bring the Trombone back to the forefront of important voices in Jazz today.  Slide Hampton had this to say about Nick, "An import future voice in Jazz Trombone".  Alan Ferber said,  Nick has "The best blend of Saxophone-like technique with the expressive nuances of the Trombone".  Nick studied at Cal State Northridge in Los Angeles with Bob McChesney and pursued his master's degree at NYU.  His bi-coastal studies exposed him to many different approaches to Jazz that show up in his playing and composing.  Nick wrote 8 of the 9 songs on "Farallon" that was released last month.

The name of the CD was inspired by the Farallon Islands that lie just 30 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge that provide a secure home to a rich variety of seabirds and marine mammals.  Nick has a deep attachment to the islands.  "When you grow up in a place, you have these markers that end up having a special meaning and feeling that sneaks in and helps to define who we are".

Nick has written 8 wonderful fresh, new compositions for this CD and one from a Thelonious Monk classic, "Reflections" that evoke the sentiments he derives from his own favorite music.

The approach Nick takes to composing is certainly modern but stays closely to warm melodies and  welcoming emotions.  He has brought some talented musicians who are also friends,  Juanma Trujillo on Guitar, Ethan Helm on Saxophone, Walter Stinson on Bass and Matt Honor on Drums.  I am looking forward to many years of wonderful new music from this Trombone superstar!

Playlist:
1. "New and Happy"
2. "Potential"
3. "5 Steps"
4. "Inaction"
5. "Belly Up"
6. "Deciduous"
7. "Farallon"
8. "Staged"
9. "Reflections"

Players:
Nick Grinder- Trombone, Arranger, Composer
Ethan Helm- Saxophone
Juanma Trujillo- Guitar
Walter Stinson- Bass
Matt Honor- Drummer

I have attached two "YouTube" videos highlighting songs from this CD.  The first is a Nick Grinder composition entitled "New and Happy"  and the second is the classic Thelonious Monk composition "Reflections".  I am sure you will enjoy both!






Sunday, March 17, 2019

CD Review: The Doug MacDonald Quartet "Organisims"



Master Guitarist, Composer, Band Leader and Arranger, Doug MacDonald has released his latest musical project,  "Organisms" performed by The Doug MacDonald Quartet.  This new CD is the thirteenth CD Doug has released and the third organ project that he performs as not only the band leader, but as a Composer and Arranger.  Doug has brought together 3 highly talented Jazz musicians on this CD and has included a wonderful mix of classic tunes and three original composition he composed.

On Tenor is the highly sought after Sax player, Bob Sheppard.  I am sure Bob needs no introduction to anyone who loves the West Coast Jazz scene.   He is one of the best Tenor players on the Jazz scene today.  Carey Frank who is on the Hammond B3 Organ and Ben Scholz on Drums are relatively younger in Jazz experience compared to Bob and Doug but as you will hear,  are all up to the task.  "Organisms" presents a wonderful refreshing sound of younger Jazz musicians blending perfectly with more experienced players.

Doug MacDonald lives in Southern California but Doug is in so much demand that his gigs take him all over the United States and the world.  He is a very serious and skilled musician and every waking hour is dedicated to creating and performing American Jazz.  Doug has performed live with some of the best musicians in the world including Stan Getz, George Shearing, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan, Buddy Rich, Scott Hamilton, Ray Charles, Jack Sheldon, Hank Jones and the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra just to name a few! For those readers that live in the California Coachella Valley area, Doug needs no introduction because he performs in many different venues in the area every week.   Doug also makes time to broadcast a weekly Jazz radio show on  KAJI 97.3 FM on Mondays from 2 to 4 pm unless he is traveling.  KAJI is a 24-hour non-profit Jazz stations in Palm Desert, CA. You can hear KAJI anywhere you are by computer by opening this link:  WWW.AmJazzIn.Org.

Playlist:
1. "It's You Or No One"
2. "Jazz For All Occasions"
3.  "L & T"
4. "Nina Never Knew/Indian Summer"
5. "Sometime Ago"
6. "Poor Butterfly"
7. "Centerpiece"
8. "Too Late Now"
9. "Hortense"
10. "On The Alamo"



Players:
Doug MacDonald- Arrangements, Guitar, Composer
Carey Frank- Hammond B3 Organ
Bob Sheppard- Tenor Saxophone
Ben Scholz- Drums

I have attached a "YouTube" of The Doug MacDonald Quartet playing "Centerpiece" from their recent CD release, "Organisims".   I also attached a "YouTube" of the Quartet playing an original composition Doug wrote entitled "Jazz For All Occasions"  I know you will enjoy listening to every song on this wonderful new CD!


CD Review: Adam Schroeder "Let's"

I have been an Adam Schroeder  fan ever since I heard him playing his Bari Sax several years ago at one of Pete Carlson's Jazz nights...