Sunday, December 30, 2012

CD Review: Tim Warfield's "Jazzy Christmas"


I know Christmas is over, and you are probably sick of hearing the same Christmas music all month long, but I have just listened to the best Christmas Jazz album that I have heard in a long, long time.  The CD is from Tim Warfield and titled "Jazzy Christmas" and it is simply great jazz.  It is so good that I bet after hearing it for the first time, you will be tempted to play it again many times throughout the coming New Year.  The CD was released on December 2, 2013 but due to a mail problem, I did not get a chance to listen to it until the day before Christmas.

This is my first experience with Tim Warfield who plays Tenor and Soprano Saxophones but even after only one play of this CD, I wanted to check out other CDs that he made. Just love his sound and his creative approach to these traditional Christmas songs. Tim's improvisation is fresh and exciting and fits perfectly with the many varied rhythmic tempos he uses. Tim also did all the fine arrangements for all of the songs except two. Here is a list of the songs on the CD:

1. Santa Clause is Coming to Town                    6. Oh Christmas Tree
2. Let it Snow                                                      7. Silent Night
3. Joy to the World                                              8. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
4. Little Drummer Boy                                        9. Snowfall
5. Caroling Caroling                                          10. The Dreidel Song

Featured on this CD is Terell Stafford on Trumpet, Stefon Harris on Vibraphone, Cyrus Chestnut on Piano, Rodney Whitaker on Bass, Clarence Penn on Drums, Daniel Sadownick on Percussion. Neil Podgurski is on piano for tracks 1,3,8, and 10. Joanna Pascale provided lovely vocals on tracks 2,5, and 7 and Jamie Davie provided vocals on track 6.  A remarkably talented group of supporting musicians!

This CD would make a great New Year's gift for any jazz lover!

Tim Warfield resume is quite interesting.  He has won many awards and his 2010 CD "A Sentimental Journey" on the Criss Cross Jazz label was selected as a "Critic's Choice" in the New York Times, by Ben Ratliff. He is currently serving as a board member as well as committee chairman for the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz. Tim also serves as "artist-in-residence" at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa and recently joined the adjunct faculty at Temple University Music Department, in Philadelphia, Pa.

Congratulations Tim on this fine Christmas Jazz CD. I don't know if there is a Grammy category for Christmas Jazz CDs, but if there is, Tim Warfield's CD should get a nomination.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

CD Review: "Standards" From Cecily Kate


After listening to "Standards", the first CD from multi-talented Cecily Kate, I still wondered how this could be her first CD.  Why did it take her so long to creat her first CD? Cecily has spent years performing in the trenches and paying her dues. After attending college at Indiana University, she worked with the New York Grand Opera conducted by Vincent La Selva and sang the role of Annina in "La Traviata" in Central Park.  She has also performed as a soloist in a Mozart Festival. She received a rave review in her off Broadway debut as "Belle" in a "G & S Christmas Carol". Cecily's Broadway debut in "A Wonderful Life" starring Brian Stokes Mitchell and Judy Kuhn was a huge success. The show was named one of the top ten best theatre shows of 2005 by Time Magazine. She also currently teaches ballet, tap, musical theatre and voice in New York City and New Jersey, her home state. Cecily's background explains exactly why it has taken so long to produce her first CD. Cecily has dedicated her life to music and never looked for short cuts!

Cecily is a pleasure for all of us who love standards from the "Great American Songbook".  It's great  that we have such a gifted young singer who understands the value that these songs still hold for the current generation. According to Cecily "I began putting this album together in my head over a year ago, while performing cabaret shows for an older generation. Half of the audience would sing along, others would get up and dance, and the rest would simply sit back and smile.  The history behind these classics makes them timeless, and I noticed that they had the ability to transport the audience to wonderful places in their memory."

Thank you Cecily for your voice, your inspiration, your vigor and insights into the world of great American standards!

Cecily has worked hard to place her own unique stamp on each of the standards listed below, molding the songs through years of performing. The results are outstanding giving these "evergreens" new life and making them truly her own. To quote Peter Allen, "Everything Old Is New Again".

The supporting musicians Cecily asked to join her on this CD are all highly talented sidemen.  Brand Ross on Piano, Chris Bonner on Double Bass and Brian Pareschi on Trumpet. Finally, all the songs were produced by Cecily Kate adding to her list of brilliant talents.

Here is a list of the Songs on the "Standards" CD:

1. My Funny Valentine
2. Autumn in New York
3. Stupid Cupid
4. Fever
5. Long Ago and Far Away
6. It's Alright With Me
7. How Are Things In Glocca Morra
8. Where The Boys Are
9. Let's Do It
  

CD Review: Shirley Crabbe, "Bridges"

Vocalist Shirley Crabbe is a marvelous Jazz singer who makes singing seem effortless.  Her interpretation of Lyric and her beautiful ...