Monday, September 28, 2015

CD Review: Terell Stafford "BrotherLee Love"

It's time to leave the "Great American Songbook" for a while and get back to the "Great American Jazz Songbook".  I just finished listening to some straight-away Jazz from Trumpeter Terrell Stafford.  His new CD "BrotherLee Love" is a tribute to the soulful musical legacy of Philadelphia's Lee Morgan.  Stafford is not a Philadelphia native but for the past two decades he has helped past the torch to the next generation through his work as Director of Jazz and Chair of instrumental studies at Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance.   According to Stafford, "This project is about how I was embraced by this city and about a Trumpet player who has always been a huge inspiration to me".  Stafford offers this for Lee Morgan, "The Trumpet was merely a vehicle to express who he was.  There was rasp, there was grit, there was personality, there was sass, exactly who he was as a person was inside of his sound and that's what I loved about it".

There are nine cuts on the album, seven were written by Lee Morgan, one "Favor" was written by Terell and the last song is a beautiful interpretation of Alex Kramer's ballet "Candy".  Terrell features his rock-star quintet of Saxophonist Tim Warfield,  Pianist Bruce Barth,  Bassist Peter Washington, and Drummer Dana Hall.  Every one of these guys is a great musical Jazz star.  To put a top on this beautiful piece of Jazz art, Terrell selected the great John Clayton produce the CD.  When you deal with the top musicians, they only surround themselves with the best and this outstanding CD proves why that is the only way to go!

This is a Jazz Trumpet performance at it highest level.


1. "Hocus Pocus"                                       2. "Mr Kenyatta"
3. "Petty Larceny"                                      4. "Candy"
5. "Yes I Can, No You Can't"                     6. "Favor" 
7. "Stop Start"                                            8. "Carolyn"
9. "Speedball" 

I have attached a "YouTube" of Terell Stafford playing a Lee Morgan composition "Petty Larceny" with support from Tim Warfield-Tenor Sax, Bruce Barth-Piano, Peter Washington-Bass and Dana Hall-Drums.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Spotlight on Contemporary Outstanding Singers: Hilary Kole

Over the past few years, I have been involved in many conversations with friends who would remark that there are very few young singers performing today that compare with the great singers of the past.  I think my friends believe this because they have not been exposed to all the great young singers on the music scene today.  How do people find out about today's great singers?  This is one of the main reasons this blog was established, to shine a light on musicians from around the country who have exceptional talent.

I am introduced to a lot of great musicians by recommendations from friends, musicians and materials sent to me by music producers.  I would like to introduce them to you by starting a new series of postings to highlight musicians that come into my life that are simply terrific.  I hope some of these musicians become favorites of yours also.

My first musician spotlighted in this series is the multi-talented Singer/Arranger/Pianist Hilary Kole. Hilary has a wonderful musical resume and has performed in top New York City venues like Town Hall, Birdland, Blue Note, Tridium, 54 Below, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall with Michael Feinstein and the The New Pops.  Her career was interrupted for over 2 years because of a dispute with her management company that stopped her from recording.  She won her release from her former contract in April 2013 and has since been rebuilding her musical direction.  She is currently working on a Judy Garland tribute album that should be terrific.  A friend forwarded a "YouTube" of Hilary singing "Over The Rainbow" that I thought was an example of Hilary's wonderful vocal work.  I wanted to share the "YouTube" with followers of my blog.

Monday, September 7, 2015

CD Review: Henry Prego "Wicked"

For those of you who love the "Great American Songbook", you will be delighted to know that Henry Prego is introducing the songs and the smooth stylings reminiscent of the vocal greats of the past.   Even better news is that Henry is performing to sell-out audiences in venues all over the country.  For the past couple of years, he has been selling out every night at the Las Vegas review hit he co-created "The Rat Pack is Back".  Henry's latest album, "Wicked" represents a great example of his silky-smooth voice and his wonderful styling generating standing ovations at all his performances.

I first learned about Henry Prego from my friend and world-class bass player, Jim DeJulio.  Jim co- produced this CD with producer Henry Prego and also provided the marvelous Bass work.  Henry has selected a playlist of great songs including (the first cut on the CD), Lennon/McCartney's classic, "Norwegian Wood".   The "Great American Songbook" is alive in Henry's hands, and he is attracting new young listeners to these great standards every night he performs in Las Vegas and other venues around the country.  What makes Henry such a perfect ambassador for the classic songs is his confident and commanding stage presence that is larger than life. His unique style and personality is perfect for the music he loves and never fails to capture his audiences.  Henry sings as good as any of the vocal giants of the past, yet he is not trying to be them.  He brings his own unique voice and style to each song, and that's what makes him unique and special.

I must mention the musicians on this CD supporting Henry.  They are among the absolutely best musicians performing today:

Piano: Josh Nelson
Bass: Jim DeJulio
Drums: Joe LaBarbara
Vibraphone: Emil Richards
Sax & Flute: George Young

I have attached a "YouTube" of Henry singing "Beautiful Friendship" for your listening enjoyment.        


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...