Saturday, February 27, 2016

CD Review: Larry Newcomb Quartet, "Live Intentionally!"


I recently reviewed some absolutely brilliant Jazz musicians who apply their trade mostly on the West Coast, so I was very happy when I was asked to review a great new CD from a master guitarist from the East Coast, Larry Newcomb.  Larry's new CD, "Live Intentionally" was recorded live.  I have long believed that live recordings capture the spirit and emotion of the players and Larry believes that also.  According to Larry "Live Intentionally! was recorded live. I wanted to capture the spontaneous intensity and energy of playing Jazz without a safety net. I also wanted to test my own performance and improvisatory skills in real time."  Bravo, Larry,  your new CD does all of the above and more.  The CD contains a mixture of wonderful standards like "All The Things You Are" and "Have You Met Miss Jones" and three Larry Newcomb original songs.  Larry is joined on this CD by three top level Jazz musicians, Dmitri Kolesnik on Bass, Jimmy Madison on Bass and Eric Olsen on Piano.

I will end with a quote from another of my New Jersey favorites and one of the very best guitarist in the history of the instrument, Bucky Pizzarelli. "Larry Newcomb is a master guitar player and a life-long student of the instrument.  You manage to get a great tone consistently and that isn't easy.  You have terrific talent, and a very good sound. You have mastered the guitar". Bucky is recovering from some heart problem and we all wish him a speedy recovery!

I found a "Youtube" of Larry playing "Be My Love" for your listening pleasure.




Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Johnny Morris Playing Great Jazz Piano on Mondays at Backstreet Bistro



Johnny Morris is back playing everyone's favorite standards at Backstreet Bistro on Monday nights from 6:00pm until 9:00pm to the delight of all lovers of the "Great American Songbook".  My appreciation for Johnny's playing and singing skills increase every time I go to hear him.  Don't make the mistake of thinking that Johnny plays "Elevator Music".  Johnny is a superb Jazz pianist who has played with some of the greatest Jazz performers in the country.  He toured with The Buddy Rich Band for years including many sessions with  him at Birdland in NYC.  The great Alto Sax man, Cannonball Adderley, tried repeatedly to get Johnny to tour with him,  but Johnny like the venues he was playing in NYC at the time.

Tonight Johnny was in fine form, playing great standards beautifully, singing the lyrics we all love and to top it off, telling wonderful stories about his experiences with many favorite musical giants of the past who performed with him.

You just can't find venues like Backstreet Bistro where you can have an intimate dinner on the outside terrace and listen to some of the best sounds this side of heaven!  Please do your self a favor and go hear Johnny's wonderful performance every Monday at Backstreet Bistro in Palm Desert.

Continuing my effort to attach music to my postings, I recorded a video of Johnny playing the great standard "Stella By Starlight" live at Backstreet Bistro in Palm Desert.  I apologize for the poor visual in the "YouTube" as I am still in the learning stage of movie making. I thought the sound was ok.








Friday, February 19, 2016

Aubrey Tadman Stars At 360 North with Guitarist Doug MacDonald






Aubrey Tadman is a musical treasure who lives and sings in the Coachella Valley.  Aubrey is multi-talented with comedy writing credits for such shows as "Mary Tyler Moore", "Rhoda", "Welcome Back Kotter", "Three's Company", "The Tim Conway Show", "Dick Van Dyke And Company" and "Donny and Marie" just to mention a few.  Of course, anyone who has met Aubrey knows how funny he can be.  Aubrey is from Winnipeg,  but his personality is right out of Hollywood.  Aubrey has had a long career as a writer and producer of television in Hollywood.  He has won an "Emmy" and has been nominated for 5 additional "Emmys".  He has also been awarded a "Writer's Guild Award".

Aubrey has performed at some top clubs in California including "The Jazz Bakery", "The Hyatt Hotels", "Geri's World",  the famous "Racquet Club" and "Vicky's of Santa Fe" in Indian Wells.  He has also performed in the Vancouver Jazz festival five times.  I first heard Aubrey sing when he sat in with talented pianist Rich Bono at The Indian Wells Resort Hotel.  Aubrey sang "Body and Soul",  and I became an instant fan.

On Tuesday, February 2,  a big group of his friends gathered at 360 North Restaurant in Palm Springs CA to hear Aubrey sing.  His appeal as a singer is linked to his understanding of lyric and impeccable timing.  He puts life into a lyric with surging emotion.  His ability to inject that emotion into lyrics that may have been written 50 years ago and take them into the present is a rare talent few vocalists can reach.  As you would expect, Aubrey just can't stop from throwing in some comedy lines into his performances to the delight of his audience.

I wanted to mention that 360 North Restaurant in Palm Springs has live music 6 days per week and offers some wonderful food to match the great live music.  I congratulate the new owners of 360 North Restaurant for their support of live music!  A great place to stop by anytime you are in the Palm Springs area.

Aubrey has a great CD  that I highly recommend.   The CD is "Stay With Me" and it will give you a true sample of Aubrey's great singing ability.  The CD covers many wonderful standards like "Accustomed To Her Face", "Watch What Happens", "She Needs Me" and "Mountain Greenery".  I found a cut from the CD on "Youtube" and have attached it below so you can hear Aubrey at his best!  The CD can be purchased on "CD Baby".

I attempted to record a sample of Aubrey's performance at 360 North so you can see how entertaining he can be but the lighting was low and I picked up a lot of the crowd noise, but I still think it is worth sharing.  It captures Aubrey singing "You Are My Sunshine" using some funny new lyrics he has written.

 Aubrey Tadman At 360 North singing his version of "You Are My Sunshine"

                                       Aubrey Tadman singing "Accustomed To Her Face"
                                                         From his CD "Stay With Me"





Sunday, February 14, 2016

Frank DiSalvo Celebrates The Start of His 6th Year At Indian Wells Resort Hotel in Indian Wells, CA












Everyone's friend and favorite Desert entertainer, Frank DeSalvo is starting his 6th year of performing at Frank's Place in The Indian Wells Resort Hotel.  It's been a wonderful ride for both Frank and the thousands of people who have come to see and hear him perform.  Frank has never stopped improving his show filling it with great vocals from Frank and tons of memories of the entertainers who have crossed our paths in the past 50 years.  Frank tells stories about his and our favorite singers starting with Sinatra, Martin and Sammy Davis and then moving to Darin, Como and Nat King Cole. Frank interspaces his music with comedy and stories about his personal life with impeccable timing.  The reception Frank gets from his audience is remarkable;  they love every minute of his show.  And why not, Frank is a moving dynamo on stage.  Take a good look at the photos above and I think you can almost feel the emotion that he generates on stage.  He has never taken his audience for granted.  He always starts his show exactly on time and never stops during his 3 hours except for one small intermission during which Frank spends his time talking to every table in the room.  His formula of entertainment has been a booming success.  Tonight was a Thursday and Frank had more than 100 people filling the room.  He sells out Fridays and Saturdays even though the Hotel has brought in several additional tables positioned in part of the front lobby.

Frank's voice has become stronger and deeper over the past 5 years that I have been listening to him, and he has developed a wonderful, relaxed style that captivates his audiences.  Frank performs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Indian Wells Resort Hotel and I highly recommend his show to anyone that loves live entertainment that is just not available in many venues today.  You must make reservations as his shows are always filled!

I have attached a YouTube of Frank singing "Luck Be A Lady" Live with the Ted Herman Big Band for your listening enjoyment.






Wednesday, February 10, 2016

CD Review: The Jeff Benedict Big Big Band, "Holmes"




I recently had the pleasure of listening to a great new Big Band CD, "Holmes" performed by The Jeff Benedict Big Big Band and I wanted to give all my big band fans a heads-up that this is a CD you need to have.  The sound, the songs, the arrangements and the players on this CD are all outstanding.  I know that sometimes having all the best players in a recording session does not always guarantee a super result, but The Jeff Benedict Big Big Band does not disappoint.  Marvelous Saxophone player, Jeff Benedict has produced a perfect example of what the big band sound is all about.  Jeff did most of the great arrangements and also wrote two tunes for the CD.  The sound and the arrangements are big and lush and all the music makes perfect sense to any listener whether an experienced or perhaps a new listener.

Jeff Benedict has a long list of recording credits and is an accomplished classical musician as well as a wonderful Jazz performer.  In putting this band together, Jeff picked outstanding musicians from around the country who he had previously worked with and greatly admired.  The result is a pleasure for the ears!  Let's hope we hear more from The Jeff Benedict Big Big Band in the near future.  Long live the "Big Bands".

I have attached two "YouTube" videos I found so you can hear this outstanding band.





Band Members:

Saxophones: Jeff Benedict, Adrian Williams, Jeff Ellwood, Ken Foerch

Trumpets: Steve Hawk, Jeff Jarvis, Tom Tallman, Frank Rico

Trombones: Paul McKee, Jacques Voyemant, Otto Granillo, Gerry Amoury-Bass Trombone

Guitar: Dave Askren    Piano: Matt Harris   Bass: Tim Emmons   Drums: Paul Romaine

Producer: Jeff Benedict   Conductor: David Caffey   Engineer: Jim Linahon  

Booth Supervisor: Kevin Mayse   Studio Assistant: Jeff Tower

Friday, February 5, 2016

"Songbird" Beverly Jensen Impresses the Jazz Lovers at 360 North in Palm Springs


"Songbreath" is the perfect name for Beverly Jensen.  Beverly has a strong, clear voice when combined with her perfect pitch will win over any music lover of the "Great American Songbook".  If you have been in the Coachella Valley over the past few years, you probably have heard Beverly sing a song or two.  I have never talked to any musician who has heard Beverly sing and then express anything but the highest praise about her voice, her phrasing and her beautiful interpretation of lyrics.  She is truly a remarkable vocalist.

Beverly has been applying her singing skill with many bands and groups over the years including several tours with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.  She is at easy singing alone, with a piano, with a trio and with a big band.  She can do it all!

Tonight at 360 North Restaurant, Beverly was joined by Randy Johnson on Keys, Jim Kirwin on Guitar, Steve Crowell on Drums and John Tedder on Electric Bass.  One of the great aspects of the music community here in the California desert is that they are very supportive of their fellow members.  And tonight was no exception.  Many were on hand and some even sat in with the group to support Beverly.  It is so great to see musicians support each other in such a tough industry.

I would like to add that as a vocalist, Beverly never pays it safe singing easy songs, she is always challenging herself to sing great songs that you just don't hear everyday.  She has a wonderful ear for the best of the best songs with lyrics that tell wonderful stories.

I want to give those that have not heard Beverly, the experience to hear her.  I used a hand held iPhone to record Beverly singing "Watch What Happens" at 360 North.  It's live, of course, and I was not able to due justice to Beverly's voice but even using an iPhone, I think you can hear what a great vocalist she is.  The lush and soulful Tenor sounds are from Joe Canoura who was sitting in with the group. Sorry the video is dark due to the lighting in the club.









CD Review: Stephane Spira :New Playground"

Stephane Spira Saxophonist and Composer Stephane Spira's success has not come easily or quickly.  Stephane is self-taught while...