Saturday, August 24, 2013

CD Review: "What I See" by Judy Wexler

Judy Wexler
Judy Wexler has just finished recording her 4th album, "What I See". Judy has a marvelous, pure, clean voice, but that's only one part of what makes her such a special singer. First and foremost, Judy is a wonderful storyteller. When you hear Judy sing any of the songs that she carefully hand picks, she brings life to the lyrics. She has the rare ability to magically combine the story with her beautiful voice and captures the full attention of the listener. The songs Judy recorded on this album cover a wide range of times and styles; and, yet, Judy has been able to put them together as if these songs were written just for this album. There are few singers who have the ability to select the songs Judy has and bring them to life as she does. After selecting her songs, Judy applies the final magic to her CD by bringing together some of the most talented sidemen on the West Coast: Larry Koonse on Guitar, Bob Sheppard on Bass Clarinet and Alto Sax, Ron Stout on Trumpet and Flugelhorn, Scott Whitfield on Trombone, Billy Hulting on Percussion, Chris Colangelo on Bass, and Steve Hass on Drums. These are a lot of parts to pull together and make it all fit together perfectly. So Judy, brings in her long-time Pianist/Arranger, Jeff Colella to co-produce the album. Jeff who spent almost two decades as the Music Director for Lou Rawls put together all the beautiful arrangements that make this CD one of the best Jazz albums of the year.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

CD Review: "Introductions" by Resonance

Resonance is a Jazz octet that consists of eight of the most wonderfully talented musicians you will find in any Jazz group performing today.  On their new CD "Introductions" this contemporary ensemble uses an unusual fusion of instruments that produces a new and fresh sound. At times, the sounds produced seem to be a blend of Classical and Modern Jazz. Each of the performers on this new CD which was released on August 6, 2013 has remarkably strong resumes and performing credentials.  As a  result the sounds produced are wonderful to hear. Stephen McQuarry the leader of the group and its piano player did a superb job producing this CD.  Stephen also was responsible for the great fresh arrangements and Orchestration.  The members of the group were gathered from all parts of the country: Nancy Blen on Cello, Ted Burik on Bass, Greg German on Drums, Georgianna Krieger on Sax, Michelle Mastin on Viola, Michele Walther on Violin and Laura Austin Wiley on Piccolo, C-Flute, Alto Flute and Vocal.

This CD is available at most music sources, and you can sample the sounds by going to The Resonance Site:

Album Cuts: 
1. Eleanor Rigby                           7. Jupiter
2. Gemini                                        8. The Journey Of Each Other
3. In A Sentimental Mood            9.  Moon and Sand
4. Opus                                           10. See You Next Wednesday
5. Gaviota                                       11. Song To John Pt 1
6. Prelude/ So What                      12. Song To John Pt 2

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

CD Review: Graham Dechter "Takin It There"

Graham Dechter

John Clayton, Graham Dechter, Tamir Hendelman and Jeff Hamilton

Listen up all my Jazz guitar fans!  New guitar sensation, Graham Dechter is in the house with his first lead album, "Takin' It There" and the sounds on it are just out of sight. Graham is in his early 20's but you would never know it from the great riffs and sweet sounds he gets out of his guitar. And if Graham's fresh sounds and arrangements are not enough for you, he comes prepared with sensational piano player Tamir Hendelman who is joined by two of my all-time living Jazz greats, John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on Drums. I have been in love with the music of Clayton and Hamilton ever since they teamed up with Diana Krall on perhaps her best Jazz album of all times, "Diana Krall, Live In Paris".  What comes to mind when listening to Graham and this group is fresh arrangements that are crisp and clean. This group of musicians could possibly be the best Jazz group playing today.

All four of these great musicians had a hand in the arrangements and Graham wrote two of the songs on the CD.  John Clayton also wrote "Grease for Graham" for the CD. If you know someone who loves great Jazz whether young or old, get them this CD. It is a high-end University course for anyone who wants to know the best of Jazz that being made today.

Graham Dechter and his group are touring around but mostly on the West Coast.  Check out Graham's site for his schedule.  This group is worth any effort to get to hear them in person. Congratulations, Graham for recording such a wonderful album and for bringing Tamir Hendelman, John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton to the party! I have attached a "YouTube" clip of Graham playing "Takin' It There" from his album of the same name.


CD Review: Clairdee Releases Her Forth CD, "A Love Letter to Lina"

San Francisco based Vocalist Clairdee has admired and been a fan of Lena Horne since she was four years old.  Clairdee was not just in...