Sunday, January 31, 2016

Carolyn Martinez Sings and Swings at Vicky's With The Bob Corwin Trio

Thursday nights at Vicky's of Santa Fe Restaurant are owned by Carolyn Martinez with her beautiful voice and the marvelous Bob Corwin Trio.  Carolyn has been performing at Vicky's and other music venues in the Desert for the last few years but her voice and phrasing just keep getting better and better every year.  Carolyn has the ability to bring a lyric to life and convince her listeners that she is actually telling her own life stories.   Carolyn has developed a large and loyal following our the past few years and it's understandable as she really connects with her audience.  She also makes sure she has only the best of the best players to support her.  The Bob Corwin Trio is an exceptional musically-talented trio that works perfectly with Carolyn's voice and arrangements.   Bob Corwin is the kind of piano player every singer dreams of.  He is supportive, and, yet,never overshadows the singer when he gets a chance to solo.  I have never heard better.  Tonight, Danny Flahive on Bass was simply out of sight.  He had several solos that proved again that he is one of the best Bass players in the country.  Tonight was the first time I had a chance to hear Craig Chestnut play Drums and he was great.  His touch and sense of timing never faltered.  

I attempted to record a small part of the performance so you can get a feel of Carolyn's voice and style and also hear how well the trio supports her.  It's my first attempt to post a live video on one of my review blogs and hope you find it enjoyable.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

CD Review: Linda Calise, "La Vie-My Life"

Linda Calise grew up listening to the wonderful sounds of the American Songbook just like me and most of the followers of this blog.  She fell in love with the sounds of Bennett, Sinatra, Streisand and the Pop sounds of the The Carpenters and The Beatles.  In the early 90's she studied voice in Boston at the McClosky Institute for Voice.  She has performed at music venues such as: the Wang Theatre, Scullers Jazz Club, Something Jazz, Swing 46, Kitano Jazz Club in NYC, the Waldorf Astoria and the Foxwoods Casino just to mention a few.

Linda Calise has a strong, pure voice and will impress any listener within the first few notes.  It's clear that all the years she spent listening to Bennett and Sinatra have also paid dividends.  Her phrasing and interpretation of lyrics are top rate.  She is an excellent performer!  She has selected an interesting mix of songs for her CD, including great standards, Blues and Pop and she performs every one perfectly.

I have attached two "YouTube" videos so you can hear Linda's beautiful voice and skillful work on two cuts from her new CD.  The first cut is a soulful ballad, "Sunday Kind of Love" and the second cut is a Gershwin gem, "They Can't Take That Away From Me". Enjoy!

Performers on "Sunday Kind of Love"
Ben Albert-Piano, Joe Calise-Bass, Mike Casano-Drums, Alex Krepkikh-Guitar, Pete Levesque-Saxophone, Eric Bloom-Trumpet, Garrett Levesque-Violin.

Performers on "They Can't Take That Away From Me"
Joe Calise-Bass, Mike Casano-Drums, Bob Bowlby & Ted Casher-Saxophones, Ross Hill-Trumpet, Jeff Galindo-Trombone.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Bill Saitta Produces A Great New Sound: JazzGrass" at Palm Desert Greens Country Club

Jeremie Levi Samson, Bill Saitta and Bob Hamilton

Barnaby Finch, Don Reed, Jeff Olsen,Lily McCabe, Bill Saitta and Sean Longstreet

                                                Bill Saitta, Don Reed, Lily McCabe. Sean Longstreet

On Saturday night, January 16, "Bill Saitta Music" presented a wonderful new music sound that might be a new experience for a lot of music lovers here in the Coachella Valley.  Bill calls the music "JazzGrass" and it consists of a blend of Jazz and Blue Grass.  The result is a rather infectious sound that is guaranteed to get your feet moving and your spirits soaring!

The night opened with a trio of Bob Hamilton on Guitar, Jeremie Levi Samson on Violin and Bill Saitta on Bass.  Bill's trio set the tempo for the evening and introduced for the first time to many in the audience French Violinist, Jeremie who was nothing short of fantastic.  In my opinion, Jeremy is one of the best Jazz violinists I have ever heard.  His dexterity and tone were perfect and after hearing him tonight, I have no doubt he is ready for prime time performances.  Don't miss any chance to see him.  You may be able to catch him at Backstreet Bistro on Tuesday nights where he like to sit in with Bill.

The next group of outstanding musicians led by Barnaby Finch took the stage after Bill's Trio finished.  This group consisted of Barnaby Finch on Piano and Conducting,  the great Don Reed on Guitar, Mandolin and Dobro, Lily McCabe on Fiddle,  Jeff Olsen on Drums, Sean Longstreet on Guitar and Bill Saitta on Electric Bass.  The sounds of this group were new, fresh and explosive.   As I looked around the sold-out audience of 200+, I could not see anyone sitting still.  This music makes you want to clap your hands and stomp your feet.  It was a great evening of music, excellent food and good old fun.  I particularly enjoyed the solos from Barnaby that were outstanding riffs enjoyed by both Jazz and Blue Grass fans.


Monday, January 18, 2016

The Music Industry Loses A Giant: Ron Kalina

The music industry and especially the Coachella Valley music community was recently faced with the sad news that one of our music giants had passed. We lost the incomparable and mega-talented Ron Kalina.  Ron was considered one of the finest Jazz harmonica players in the world.  And when it came to playing standards, Ron was simply the best that I have ever heard.  He often told me "My sweet spot is playing and singing the beautiful ballads of the"Great American Songbook".  I think it was far more than a sweet spot for Ron.  For me, he was one of those rare instrumentalists that could bring a beautiful lyric to life without a word being spoken.  Ron spoke with his Harmonica and everyone who ever heard him was touched by his musical brilliance.  The other sweet spot for Ron was playing in a supportive role for vocalists who understood the beauty of some of the greatest American songs ever written.  There was no one better at filling behind singers than Ron.  In my years listening to great music here in the Desert, I was fortunate to hear Ron playing for every great singer performing and he was always asked to sit in whenever he entered a music venue.

Ron's talents were not just limited to his Harmonica, he was a wonderful Singer, Pianist, Composer and Arranger.  He also was a talented Tap dancer but I never got to see him dance. As a pianist, Ron accompanied hundreds of performers including lovers of the "Great American Songbook" like Linda Ronstadt, Joe Williams, Gloria Lynne and the great Johnny Hartman.

I will always be thankful that I had the chance to hear and know Ron Kalina, a true American musical genius!  I loved everything he ever played, but his recording of "The Nearness of You" is unforgettable for me.  You can hear Ron playing this song by going to iTunes and look up Ron's Cd's.

Ron Kalina, rest in peace,  the joy and brilliance of your music will be with us for the rest of our lives!

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Jeff Stover Big Band All Stars featuring Yve Evans: Tribute to Count Basie

I want to wish all my Jazz brothers and sisters a happy and healthy New Year!  I am sure that a lot of California Valley Jazz fans are either back in the Desert or on their way back for the winter season.  I know you will enjoy kicking off the winter Jazz scene by reading and listening to the CD review below.

I just received a review copy of Multi-talented Jeff Stover's new CD, "Big Band All Stars, A Tribute to Count Basie Featuring Yve Evans" that will thrill any Basie fan.  This CD was produced and conducted by Jeff using the original Basie charts that still sound terrific today!  The band covers many of the classic Basie favorites including my particular Basie favorites: "Shiny Stocking", "Corner Pocket" and "Cute".  The always wonderful Yve Evans fits in this band like fingers moving into a favorite glove. Yve treats us to some great renditions including "Satin Doll", "Well Alright, OK, You Win" and "Sweet Georgia Brown"  This CD is about the history and sounds of one of the greatest American Bands, The Count Basie Orchestra.  Sorry to say that I could not find a cut from the album on "YouTube" from this great CD but I did find a cut by The Big Band All Stars playing "American Patrol" for you to enjoy.  I also attached a YouTube of Yve Evans singing   the great American standard, "But Beautiful".  The Big Band All Stars plays at a lot of different live venues in Southern California.  Don't miss a chance to see them including the wonderfully talented Yve Evans.

The players listed below represent some of the finest musicians in the country:

Jeff Stover- Bass, Producer, Conductor
Yve Evans-Vocals
Andy Fraga-Drums
Keith Droste- Piano
Bob Scarano-Guitar
Danny House-Sax
Rod Kokolj-Sax
Ken Dahleen-Sax
Don Rice-Sax
Colin Wenhardt-Sax
Gary Tole-Trombone
Brian Bergstrom-Trombone
Brian Betiger-Trumpet
Don Clarke-Trumpet
Stan Walkins-Trumpet
Jostien Aarflot-Trumpet

                                     The Big Band All Stars Playing :"American Patrol"

                             Yve Evans singing "But Beautiful" with Bob Drags and Friends

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...