Friday, December 22, 2017


                                            Hello Desert Live Music Fans

I want to give everyone a heads-up about another wonderful live music event that I am sure you won't want to miss.  On Monday, January 8th, 2018,  Rose Kingsley and Bob Corwin will be presenting, "Blues In The Night, A Musical Evening For Blues Lovers" at the So Cal Piano Recital Hall, 74111 Hwy 111, Palm Desert, CA.  There will be a group of world-class Musicians playing at this concert including Richard Turner on Piano, Andrew Ford on Bass, Doug McDonald on Guitar and Craig Chestnut on Drums.  It will be a great way to spend a Monday night!

The tickets are a bargain at $20 and includes wine and cheese.  The concert kicks off at 7:00PM and you can buy tickets now at:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

CD Review: 3D Rhythm Of Life, "Fantasy"


It has been quite a while since I came across a Latin-Tropical-Soul band that was worthy of a review on the "Music Man Blog", but that changed when I received a new CD, "Fantasy" from "3D Rhythm Of Life". This group's name is an acronym for Diverse, Dynamic and Danceable, the band's signature sound. This amazing Latin group has put together music that includes Multi-dimensional sounds, a fusion of Latin and Afro-Caribbean rhythms that blend into a variety of genres including Blues, Jazz, Reggae and Rock.  The results will lift you off your chair and carry you onto the dance floor.  It's everything you would expect from a Latin-Tropical-Soul band.  The players involved in this band and in this project have impressive resumes including playing with some of the biggest superstars in the music business such as Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan.

The leader of this talented group is Drummer Michael Tate.  Michael has lots of playing experience under his belt including playing with the renowned international music group, "Kid Creole and the Coconuts" whose fans included Michael Jackson and Prince.  He has done a marvelous job putting this 8 piece multi-tanlented band together.  This is a CD that you will constantly play as all of the tracks are infectious and never get old no matter how many times they are played.

The opening track is a cover of  "Fantasy" and a tribute to the award winning mega-hit by "Earth, Wind and Fire".  The vocal on this track is sung by Nuyorican vocalist, Chris Alfinez and it's a knockout performance.  I located a "YouTube" for you to sample.  Feel free to get up and dance as you are listening to this wonderful track.

1. "Fantasy"
2. "Quiero Saber"
3. "Things Will Change"
4. "I Wonder Why"
5. "Spell on You"
6. "Que Siga La Rumba- (Dance Mix)
7. "Oyelo- (Dance Mis)
8. "Fantasy- (Instrumental)
9. "I Wonder Why-` (Instrumental)

Michael Tate-Drums
Chris Amelar-Guitar
Lenny Underwood-Kbd, Bass
Ricky Gonzales-Kbd, Bass
George Mena-Kbd, Bass
Chris Alfinez-Vocals
Herman Oliver-Vocals
Bonny Bonaparte-Vocals
Ray Viera-BV
Willy Torres-BV
Chris Hierro-Vox Rap
Luisito Quintero-Percusion
Ozzie Melendes-Trombone
Raul Agraz-Trumpet
Rock Steady Freddie-Sax
Robert Stringer-Trombone
Marin Sebastian-Guitar
Andy Bassford-Guitar
Lino Iglesias-Vocal Translations 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Hello to all my music loving friends in the warm California desert!  The winter music scene is now happily fully engaged again and the great live music is playing all over the Coachella Valley.  I wanted all to know that "The Jeff Stover All-Star Big Band" Starring Frank DiSalvo will be presenting a tribute celebrating Frank Sinatra's 102nd Birthday on December 12 at the Indian Wells Theater.    Frank DiSalvo is always a treat to hear but nothing can match the magic of Frank singing Sinatra arrangements backed by an 18 piece Band! 
This event is sure to be a sellout so get your tickets in advance at:  

Sunday, December 3, 2017

CE Review: John Vanore's "Stolen Moments": Celebrating Oliver Nelson



Philadelphia Composer/Trumpeter John Vanore has been an appreciative fan of Legendary Composer/Arranger Oliver Nelson for over 50 years.  Vanore encountered Nelson's music first-hand one summer via the National Stage Band Camp at Indiana University with Nelson himself conducting the band. Vanore recalls, "I'd never heard anything like that.  It was just unbelievable. It was that kind of moment where you're just taken by everything about it.  His writing was never bombastic big band writing; there was so much more content, and that touched all my buttons as an analytical thinker.  It was the turning point for me".

This new CD titled " Stolen Moments: Celebrating Oliver Nelson" was named for Nelson's best known composition.  John Vanore has done a marvelous job of writing, arranging and adding his own voice to songs written by Oliver Nelson.  In John's words, "My charge was to re-imagine and arrange for a unique ensemble in the spirit of Oliver and invigorate the repertoire".  Mission accomplished!  John put together a group of hand picked world-class musicians.  His band, "Abstract Truth" has a unique make-up with two French Horns and just two Saxophonists.  The band produces a group sound that is both fresh and new, while at the same time familiar.  This CD is a magnificent example of creative band arranging that celebrates the talents of Oliver Nelson and the brilliance of Composer/Arranger, John Vanore.

1. "Self Help Is Needed"
2. "A Taste of Honey"
3. "Stolen Moments"
4. "El Gato"
5. "St. Louis Blues"
6. "Blues & The Abstract Truth"
7. "Greensleeves"
8. "I Hope In Time A Change Will Come"
9. "Reuben's Rondo"

Supporting Players:
Steve Wilson- Alto, Soprano Sax, Flute
Bob Mallach-Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet
Tony Kadleck, Augie Haas, Jon Owens, Dave Ballou, John Vanore-Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Ryan Keberle-Trombone 
Dave Taylor-Bass Trombone
George Barnett, Adam Unsworth-French Horns
Mike Richmond-Bass
Danny Gottlieb-Drums
Jim Ridl-Piano
Greg Kettinger-Guitar
Beth Gottlieb-Percussion

I found an interesting "YouTube" that tells the story of this CD from the perspective of the players involved in its making.  I found it interesting how excited these veteran musicians were to participate in this recording.  The background music from various tracks on the CD is also wonderful to hear.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Tyler Reese "Reminiscence"

Tyler Reese is a guitar virtuoso who at age 24 is playing, writing and producing wonderful music that seems remarkable to achieve for someone at his age.  His new CD "Reminiscence" contains some of the best composing, arranging and guitar playing that I have heard in years.  Tyler wrote and arranged all the songs on "Reminiscence" and also co-produced the CD with Jeff Silverman.  "Reminiscence" was just released this month and it is already getting radio play and excellent reviews.  It's easy to understand why.  The music is refreshing and his playing is crisp and emotional. Tyler studied Classical Piano from age 3 through age 18 and studied Jazz Guitar from age 13.  He majored in Performance and Jazz guitar at the Berklee College of Music.

This CD showcases all of Tyler's musical talents with aspects of Smooth Jazz,  Fusion and Rock and Orchestral sounds.  If you love Guitar playing at it's highest level, you must buy a copy of this CD.

Supporting Musicians:
Guitar, Tyler Reese
Bass-Gary Grainger, Carl White
Upright Bass, Mark Fain
Drums, Toby Fairchild
Percussion, Matthew Bulgess
Piano Synth, Paul Rucker
Violin, Viola, Tim Lorsch
Trombones, Roy Agee
Trumpets, Vinnie Ciesielski
Saxes, Tyler Summers

1. "Moving On"
2. "Breaking Point"
3. "Out of Orbit"
4. "Reflections"
5. "Astrotermination"
6. "2Funk"
7. "Escapade"
8. "Reminiscence"
9. "Headed Out"
10. Emancipation"
11. "Moving on  "Radio Version"

Enjoy the two "Youtube" cuts that I have attached.  The first one is "Reminiscence" the title tune of this CD.  It's a wonderful emotional tune that reminds me of Jeff Beck days.  The second cut is "Breaking Points" that highlights Tyler's dexterity.  I know you will enjoy both!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

CD Review: Kellye Gray, "Rendering"

"Rendering" is a new CD released on June 30, 2017 by Jazz vocalist, Kellye Gray.  The first time I played this CD I was literally stunned by the soulful and powerful voice and style of Kellye Gray.  The feel and sound of the songs on this CD are nothing short of superb.  Kellye has had a long and rewarding career and has recorded over seven albums as a leader.  Her first recording "Standards in Gray" was released 25 years ago to rave reviews and it launched her music career.  This album had been out of print for over 23 years when the record label that owned the rights gave her ownership
of the master.  This pushed Kellye to look back at her artistic life and she decided to re-record many of the same songs that appeared on that first release.  The title of her new CD, "Rendering" came from the dictionary definition, "A depiction or interpretation; work of art or performance that portrays something".  This CD is a work of art that portrays Kellye's growth as an artist.  To complete the circle for listeners of this new CD, Kellye also re-released "Standards in Gray" and packaged the two CDs together as a kind of snapshot of then and now.

According to Kellye, "As a Jazz musician, the most exciting thing about the music is its spontaneity, so this new CD was recorded before a small live audience with open mikes and no headphones.  All the tunes were done in one take with no stopping".  The results are spectacular!  Every song on this CD is a winner, Jazz vocals just about perfect.  Kellye Gray is "Sinatra" like in the way she handles lyrics,  she takes words and turns them into real life moments.

Supporting Kellye on this CD is a group of great Jazz professionals, Pamela York, Piano; David Craig, Bass; Sebastian Whittaker, Drums; Warren Sneed, Saxophone; Andre Hayward, Trombone.  Trying to select one track to share with you was near impossible because there is so much good stuff on this CD.  So I attached two "YouTubes" for you to savor.  The first one is a Billie Holiday inspired song "Don't Explain".  The second "YouTube" is the Blues classic, "I've Got A Right To Sing the Blues".

1.  "Don't Explain"
2.  "I've Got A Right To Sing The Blues"
3.  "Morning"
4.  "Out Blows Me"
5. "A Time For Love"
6.  "God You Make Me Wonder"
7.  "How Long Has This Been Going On"
8.  "How Insensitive"
9.  "Good Morning Heartache"

Monday, October 23, 2017

CD Review: Yoko Miwa Trio, "Pathways"

The new CD from "The Yoko Miwa Trio" is simply wonderful Jazz.  Planist/Composer Yoko Miwa's performance is nothing short of spectacular!  Her sense of melody and phrasing even when improvising is perfect.  She plays with clarity and spontaneity even when she is exploring new places in each song. The listener experiences something new in each song and there is the sense that every improvised note is in the right place.  She is joined on this CD by Bassist Will Slater and Drummer Scott Goulding who she has been playing with for over 15 years.  It shows because the three players are in lock step knowing and anticipating every move each makes.  At times, it feels like one voice because the fit is so strong.  The Trio plays in the Boston area almost every weekend so they have a lot of time to write and try out new material.

The CD features the songs of Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Marc Johnson and four songs written by Yoko Miwa.  The brilliant musical dexterity and Phrasing from all three players on the CD is sparkling and refreshing.  I know there are a lot of people who just don't get what Jazz is all about.  It's not easy to explain what makes Jazz so exciting,  but if you listen to this great CD, I feel confident you will find the answer.

Yoko Miwa, Piano
Will Slater, Acoustic Bass
Scott Goulding, Drums
Brad Barrett, Acoustic Bass (Track 8)

1. "Log O'Rhythm"
2. "Lickety Split"
3. "Court and Spark"
4. "The Goalkeeper"
5. "After You"
6. "Lantern Light"
7. "Was It Something I Said"
8. "Dear Prudence"

I have attached a "YouTube" of "The Yoko Miwa Trio" playing the first cut from the album, "Log O'Rhythm".  This song was composed by Marc Johnson who performed as the Bassist for "The Bill Evans Trio".  It's a master class in Jazz performance.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

CD Review; John Daversa, "Wobbly Dance Flower"

John Daversa is without question one of the most creative and talented Jazz Trumpet playerS performing today.  But that is just the tip of the Jazz iceberg. Daversa's new Album, "Wobbly Dance Flower" is his newest project that proves his composing and arranging skills are also outstanding.  Daversa's Album just released on September 22, 2017 is filled with substance and heart and the music is pure fun, exactly what John believes music should create.  He also believes that making music is about relationships, so he brought some of his old friends together to join him to make the music.  John's key collaborator on the Album is legendary sax and bass Clarinetist Bob Mintzer.  Daversa and Mintzer give the listener a master class in dexterity and the art of Jazz that every young Jazz student could learn from.

John Daversa has a great reverence for the Jazz tradition, but he's not content to rehash old tropes.  He wanted to imbue "Wobbly Dance Flower" with substance and heart, but also wanted the music to be fun and engaging.  He has accomplished both objectives in this Album!  Daversa composed all of the songs on this Album with the exception of the bebop standard "Donna Lee".  We have frequently heard that "Jazz is a dying art" but Daversa's playing and composing let everyone know that the reports of the death of Jazz are greatly exaggerated!  This Album should be heard and studied by all young aspiring Jazz players.

John Daversa, Trumpet, EVI
Bob Mintzer, Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet, EWI
Zane Carney, Guitar
Joe Bagg, Piano, Hammond B3 Organ
Jerry Watts, Jr, Bass, U-Bass
Gene Cole, Drums

1. "Ms Turkey"
2. "Donna Lee"
3. "Be Free"
4. "Brooklyn Still"
5. "Wobbly Dance Flower"
6. "Jazz Heads"
7. "Meet Me At The Airport"
8. "You Got A Puppy?'
9. "Extra Credit"

I have attached a "YouTube" of John Daversa's group playing the first cut of the CD, "Ms Turkey"  that says it all about the creative writing, arranging and playing style of John Daversa.  Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

CD Review: Josh Nelson, "The Sky Remains"

Josh Nelson, Jazz Pianist /Composer/ Teacher is teeming with superb musical talents.  I seem to run into him everywhere, at concerts performing with his own band, on many amazing new CDs that he participated on and at concerts where he is performing as part of another band.  Born and raised in Southern California,  Josh has just released his newest CD, "The Sky Remains" that contains 10 story-driven compositions he has written based on past, present and future LA history.  The wonderful songs composed for this CD were meant to be an historical tribute to Los Angeles, the city he loves.  The music is bright and fresh and even listeners who have never been to LA are sure to fall in love with his creative music.  I previously knew he was a great Jazz Pianist but his writing and arranging for this CD are as good as it gets!  Josh's skills at performing Jazz Piano put him in constant demand from other performing Jazz musicians who recognize his wonderful talents.
Don't be fooled by Josh Nelson's relatively young age.  He is a proven pro who has performed with some of the most respected names in Jazz, including Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, Benny Golson, Sheila Jordan and Peter Erskine.  Josh toured with Natalie Cole for 6 years and continues to tour with vocalist Sara Gazarek and accordionist Richard Galliano, among others.

Josh as you would expect has selected a group of world-class Jazz performers to join him on this CD.   They are listed below.  The CD was released on September ł5th, 2017 and I give it my highest recommendation. It's Jazz at its finest!

Josh Nelson, Piano, Nord Electro 3, Vocal
Anthony Wilson, Guitar, Vocal
Kathleen Grace, Vocal
Lillian Sengpiehi, Vocal
Josh Johnson, Alto Sax, Flute
Chris Lawrence, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Brian Walsh, Bb flat Clarinet, Bass Clarinet
Larry Goldings, Hammond B3 Organ
Alex Boneham, Bass
Dan Schnelle, Drums
Asron Serfaty, Percussion

1. "Bridges and Tunnels"
2. "The Sky Remains"
3. "On The Sidewalk"
4. "The Architect"
5. "Ah, Los Angeles"
6. "Lost Souls of Saturn"
7. "Pitseleh"
8. "Pacific Ocean Part"
9. "Run"
10. "Stairways"

I have attached a "YouTube" of Josh Nelson and his band playing the first cut from this CD, "Bridges and Tunnels".  Absolutely beautiful music!  It was recorded at the Blue Whale in LA.

Monday, September 25, 2017

CD Review: Calabria Foti, "In The Still Of The Night"

Writing a music blog requires a lot of time and effort with very little pay.  Come to think of it, isn't that what all my musician friends face every day in their professional lives too?  But the real payment I receive for reviewing new artists and their songs is in the pleasure I receive when I discover a wonderfully-talented musician who I would have most likely missed if not for researching new talent to publish for my followers.  Calabria Foti is no newcomer to the national music scene, but I would bet a lot of my readers have never heard her sing.  I would also bet that you will love her vocal style and impeccable intonation within minutes of first hearing her sing.

Her new album "In The Still Of The Night" contains 11 award-winning songs by the great Cole Porter made new by the wonderful arrangements from Michael Patterson. Patterson is a Grammy and Emmy award-winning composer who has worked across multiple genres and instrumental ensembles including orchestral and chamber music for concert halls, Jazz arrangements and original compositions for big bands and solo artists.  Patterson put together a group of A-listed musicians, including the Clarinet virtuoso, Eddie Daniels, Gene Bertoncini on Guitar, Richard Locker on Cello, Bob McChesney on Trombone, Ike Sturm on Bass and Jared Schonig on Drums.  These guys are as good as you can get.  "Best is breed" as Jim Kramer likes to say.  Eddie Daniels is without question one of the best Jazz/Classical Clarinet players performing today!

What makes Calabria's singing so special?  Her voice is soft and lush and her ability to perform these Cole Porter remarkable melodies and lyrics almost effortlessly is divine!  According to Daniels, "Calabria Foti was the perfect choice, with her tone and musical depth, to bring the delicate sensibilities of Cole Porter's music to life.  I love Cole Porter. His songs are so heartfelt and the sound of Calabria's voice just touches me, I can't help it."  This quote coming from a Clarinet virtuoso tells all that one needs to know about Calabria's wonderful singing!  In case you need more proof of the quality of her singing, Calabria has been called a "Master of improvisation and interpretation".  She is an accomplished Vocalist, Violinist, Composer, Author and Educator.  Now that's what I call doing it all.  Her 2014 single, "Let's Fall in Love" which Calabria recorded with TV's Seth MacFarlane, received a Grammy nomination.

"In The Still Of The Night" was released on July 17, 2017 and you can sample the track "It Was Just One Of Those Things" on: Soundcloud:hhtp:// 8sxnE.  You can also hear and see Calabria Foti sing and talk about her new CD on the "YouTube" below.

I also attached a second "YouTube" From her CD, "When a Man Love a Women".


1. "Just One of Those Things"
2. "Miss Otis Regrets"
3. "Anything Goes"
4. "What Is This Thing Called Love"
5. "Night and Day"
6. "I Concentrate on You"
7. "Every Time We Say Goodbye"
8. "Get Out of Town"
9. "It's All Right With Me"
10. "So In Love"
11. "In the Still of the Night"  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

CD Review: The Pete Malinverni Trio, "Heaven"

Pianist, Arranger and Composer, Pete Malinverni has a long list of varied and successful projects in the form of a trio, a quintet, solo piano, a big band and choir formats.  With his newest release "Heaven", Pete as a result of unfortunate health and life situations involving his wife, singer Jody Sandhaus who died in 2012 along with his own health scare, decided that it was time to deal with some spiritual things.  Pete says that going through these health ordeals over the past few years had given him a certain clarity that he wanted to embrace through his music.  The album features songs that speak in varied ways of spirituality.

Normally, I would not review a CD with such emotional and deep feelings, but the music and Pete's beautiful playing and arrangements just captured me.  "Heaven" is a thoughtful and sensitive collection of songs that is inspiring and yet comforting at the same time.  Malinverni says, "We all want to look up, we hope, maybe we even trust, that somewhere there is unalloyed truth and beauty.  Much art memorializes tristesse, encouraging us to abide, to await Relief, Rest, or Joy. This recording is meant to reconcile those two perspectives, presenting music of various traditions with one thing in common - the notion that even this vale of tears is tinged with the essence of the transcendent, of the beautiful and the true".

The wonderful Malinverni Trio consists of Pete Malinverni on Piano, Ben Allison on Bass and Akira Tana on Drums.  The CD "Heaven" was release on June 16, 2017 and it's not to be missed by anyone who loves to hear fresh and creative inspirational music.  Pete Malinverni is one of the most creative and unique Composer/Arranger on the American music scene today!

It was very hard to pick just two songs from this CD for you to sample.  I picked the first two cuts, first the title tune from the track, "Heaven".  "Heaven" is a wonderful song written by Duke Ellington and "Palm23" is a Peter Malinverni composition that I fell in love with. I hope you enjoy both.  Also featured on this CD is a wonderful soulful performance of "Shenandoah" by Karrin Allyson that is just about dead on perfect.  Also adding to the party is Trumpet player, John Faddis and Alto Sax player Steve Wilson.  


2. "Psalm 23"
3. "Down in the River to Pray"
4. "Shenandoah"
5. "Eili, Eili"
6. "People, Get Ready"
7. "Come Sunday"
8. "A City Called Heaven"
9. "Wade in the Water"
10. "Ashokan Farewell"

Friday, July 28, 2017

CD Review: The Bob Lark:Phil Woods Quintet "Thick As Thieves"

As a former Alto Sax player, Phil Woods has always been one of my Jazz heroes.  He was the inspiration for thousands of young Alto Sax Jazz players showing all of us what great Jazz was possible using our instrument of choice.  All these memories from my past were put in front of me when I heard the new CD, "Thick As Thieves" by the Bob Lark/Phil Woods Quintet.  "Thick As Thieves" is the third and final recording by The Bob Lark/Phil Woods Quintet and features some of Phil Woods' most dynamic Alto Saxophone solo improvisations.  The music for this remarkable CD was recorded "live" in 2009 at Chicago's legendary "Jazz Showcase".  The energy level of the cuts on this CD prove once again, "live" recordings produce an energy that just cannot be matched when recording in a studio.

Joining Phil and Bob on this CD are the wonderful rhythm section of Jim McNeely, Steve Gilmore and Bill Goodwin who supply perfect foundation support for Phil Woods and Bob Lark.  Listening to this CD brought back fond memories of some of the best Alto Sax Jazz sounds I have ever heard and I hope it does the same for you.  If you love straight ahead Jazz, you will love this CD.  It's new but already a classic. This CD was my first introduction to Bob Lark and his Flugelhorn playing.  He is just outstanding.  What a special pleasure to get the chance to hear Bob and Phil Woods performing together for one last time on this CD.

Bob Lark- Flugelhorn
Phil Woods- Alto Saxophone
Jim McNeely- Piano
Steve Gilmore- Bass
Bill Goodwin- Drums

1. "Yardbird Suite"
2. "I Love You"
3. "First Steps"
4. "Rhythm A Ning"
5. "All The Things You Are"
6. "Winter's Touch"
7. "Bille's Bounce"

I have attached a "YouTube" of the group playing the Cole Porter gem "I Love You"  the second cut on this CD for your listening pleasure.  This is a CD that needs to be in your classic Jazz collection.

Friday, June 9, 2017

CD Review: The Mark Masters Ensemble "Blue Skylight"

Arranger/Bandleader Mark Masters has released a terrific new CD, "Blue Skylight" that reimagines the music of iconic Jazz Composers Charles Mingus and Gerry Mulligan.  The beauty of this CD is in the beautiful Jazz music of the Mark Masters Ensemble and the Masterful recomposition work that Mark Masters has achieved.  According to Masters " In many ways, Charles Mingus and Gerry Mulligan couldn't have been more different.  One was notoriously fiery and confrontational; the other understated, the epitome of cool'. Mark was very careful in selecting the players for this CD believing that "It's all about the players.  There are very few people who can be successful when writing music without knowing who's going to play it. The overriding factor for me is creating a framework for the players to be successful in."

"Blue Skylight" was born of a pair of 2015 concerts performed by the ensemble in Palm Desert, California: a "Gerry Mulligan Songbook" evening and a program entitled "Blues by Mingus".  Both featured a trio of undersung elder Jazz statesmen that Masters wanted to feature and celebrate: Bassist Putter Smith, Saxophonist Gene Cipriano and Alto Saxophonist Garry Foster.  Master proudly states "They're true veterans, they're some of my heroes".  The seven-piece ensemble includes some of the West Coast's most in-demand musicians, most of whom have enjoyed long relationships with Masters, Saxophonist Jerry Pinter, Baritone Saxophonist Adam Schroeder, Trumpeter Ron Stout, Trombonist Les Benedict, Pianist Ed Czach and Drummer Kendall Kay.

The music and arrangements in this CD are immediately comfortable even for someone that did not follow Mingus or Mulligan.  For Jazz lovers, this is a real treat as the music seems like having an old friend come over to visit.  This is what Jazz music is all about, new experiences but with the feeling that you have lived here before!

1. "Monk, Bunk And Vice Versa"  Mingus
2. "Out Back Of the Barn" Mulligan
3. "So Long Eric"  Mingus
4. Wallflower" Mulligan
5. Peggy's Blue Skylight" Mingus
6. "Strayhorn 2" Mulligan
7. "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love" Mingus
8. "Apple Core" Mulligan
9. "Eclipse" Mingus
10. "Birds of a Feather" Mulligan
11. "Motel" Mulligan

I know you will enjoy listening to the "YouTube" of the Mark Master Ensemble playing Mulligan's composition, "Apple Core".

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

CD Review: Nicole Saphos: "Tiptoe"

Bassist, Vocalist and Songwriter Nicole Saphos takes the "Great American Songbook" for an exciting ride. On her new CD, "Tiptoe" Nicole has fun with some great classic songs like Cole Porter's "Just One Of Those Things" proving that when a great Vocalist meets a great song, the great song becomes new again.  But singing is just one of Nicole's talents. She is a terrific and inventive Bass player leaving the standard Bass line behind in search of new creative Bass Jazz compositions.  In addition to the standards in this CD, Nicole has also included 4 original songs she composed.  Personally, I like to hear a new singer perform a standard first before I listen to a newly composed song.  The way a singer approaches a standard can tell you a lot about their imagination and style.  Nicole passed this test with flying colors with the first song on her CD, " Cole Porter's "Just One Of Those Things".  I found a video on "YouTube" so you can judge for yourself.

In 2012, Nicole formed her own trio with Ele Rubinstein on Drums and  John Lee on Guitar.  Playing together over the past 4 1/2  years has created a tight fit for this group with each performer anticipating each others every move.  This CD is very refreshing combining great standards with some new musical approaches to new music composed by Nicole Saphos.

I have attached a second "YouTube" of the trio playing one of Nicole's original compositions, "Broken Ballerina".  "This song uses  a ballerina's dedication to art as a powerful metaphor.  Ballerina's careers are tragically cut short by injury and age, yet knowing this fate, they still commit their lives to this fleeting time."

1.  "Just One Of Those Things"
2.  "Broken Ballerina"
3.  "Say IT Isn't So"
4.  " Custom Memories"
5.  "Lady Hip's Great Escape"
6.  "Hot Knife"
7.  "Moon Ray"
8.  "Doesn't Do"
9.  "Ugly Beauty"
10."You Don't Know What Love Is"

Monday, May 8, 2017

CD Review: Glenda Davenport "More Than You Know"

One night last month, I went over to Shanghai Jazz Restaurant in Madison to catch some Jazz sounds.  The singer appearing was Glenda Davenport who was new to me.  I was really impressed with Glenda's smooth style and sensitive voice, the selection of classic songs she performed and her top-notch Jazz styling.  Glenda reminds me of some of my favorite Jazz singers and has the voice and talent to allow her to join their group.  Tonight I heard reminders of Ella and Sarah mixed with Glenda's own unique style and voice.  Glenda is a seasoned pro and a polished Jazz Vocalist!  Tonight she came out and sang for over 90 minutes without a break and never missed a note.

Glenda has two CD's she has published and her latest is "More Than You Know".  It's a perfect CD for anyone who loves the songs from the "Great American Songbook".  Every song and performance on this CD is a gem.  Take a look at the 15 song playlist. Glenda is joined on this CD by her close and long-time friend, Hiroshi Yamasaki who was her Musical Director, Arranger, and Pianist.  Hiroshi is terrific in his own right.  Ryan Berg was on Bass and David Jones was on Drums.  Carmen Leggio was a special guest on Alto Saxophone.


1. "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To"
2. "More Than You Know"
3. "Lover Come Back To Me"
4. "For Once In My Life"
5. "Why did I Choose You?"
6. "My Funny Valentine"
7. "Moonlight In Vermont"
8. "Don't Go To Strangers"
9. "I Could Write A Book"
10. "The Nearness of You"
11. "This Can't Be Love"
12. "The Man I Love"
13. "Be My Love"
14. "Dindi"
15."That's All"

I found a "Youtube" of Glenda singing "That's All" live at the Kitano Hotel in New York City that was recorded on March 6, 2010. Accompanying Glenda is the wonderful Hiroshi Yamasaki Piano Trio.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

CD Review: Jeff Rupert & Richard Drexler, "Imagination"

Jeff Rupert and Richard Drexler have just released a new CD that highlights their enormous musical talents.  Jeff Rupert has a long list of credits that include recordings and tours with Diane Schuur, Mel Torme', Ernestine Anderson, and Benny Carter's Grammy winning "Harlem Renaissance".  He toured with Maynard Ferguson from 1997 through 2002.  Here is a quote from Maynard "From the moment I first heard Jeff Rupert with my band I considered him one of the great Jazz players of today".  In addition to Composing, Arranging and playing Tenor Sax, Jeff is a Pegasus Distinguished Professor, Trustee Endowed Chair and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Central Florida and founder of Flying Horse Records.

But on Jeff's new CD, there is no big band, only the talented Richard Drexler on Piano, and as a result, listeners can get a close look at Jeff's improvising mastery and also the sensational tone he produces.  Pianist, Bassist, Vocalist and Composer/Arranger Richard Drexler has performed on over 200 recordings and played Piano in the Woody Herman Orchestra for over 20 years.  He has performed with some of the greats of Jazz, George Benson, Diahann Carroll, Vic Damone, Donovan, Connie Francis, Amy Grant, Al Jareau and tons more other Jazz greats.  Richard is also a faculty member at the University of Central Florida's acclaimed Jazz Studies program.

There are 8 wonderful songs on this CD, one composed by Jeff Rupert and the others from some of the best American composers like Vincent Youmans, Steve Wonder, Claude Thornhill, Dave Brubeck, and Jimmy Van Heusen/ Johnny Burke.  These songs being performed by a great Tenor player and a just-as-great Piano player is a joy to any music lover.  This CD was released on January 2, 2017, and I highly recommend it.


1. "Without a Song"
2.  "I Can't Help It"
3." Snowfall"
4. "Strange Meadowlark"
5. "Imagination"
6. "A Felicidade"
7. "My Mistress' Eyes"
8. "Soul Eyes"  

I have attached a "YouTube" video of Jeff and Richard playing the stunningly beautiful standard, "Snowfall"  composed by Claude Thornhill.

I found another "YouTube" I could not resist attaching for you.  It's Jeff Rupert playing an up-tempo version of the Cole Porter classic "Love For Sale" with the Dirty Martini band.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Linda and Billy Peterson Team-Up For Great Music at Woody's Palm House in Palm Springs

Linda Peterson fans were treated to a special musical visit from her brother, Billy.  Billy is a world-class Bassist who is constantly on the road playing with great Jazz groups both in the United States and in Europe.  Valley favorite Linda Peterson is always a joy to listen to but when she is joined by a member of her large and talented family, she seems to sing and play at an even higher level.  Linda is loved by many because of her wonderful piano playing and singing,  her amazing selection of the greatest songs from the Great American Songbook and her contagious happy personality.  It doesn't matter what mood you are in when you go to hear Linda perform,  by the time you leave you will be humming a favorite tune and feeling at the top of your game.  And it is not just her fans that love Linda so much, I have never heard anything but praise for Linda coming from all the best musicians in town.  Quite a well-deserved tribute for a true professional and truly wonderful caring person.

Woody's Palm House is the successor of the original and wildly-popular Woody's Beer and Burgers that moved into the Palm House last year.  It's a great venue for Jazz and also some of the best food in the Valley.  They still serve the same great hamburgers and other menu items from the old Woody's but now they have added great additional items to the menu.   You are sure to enjoy great food,  hear great Jazz and have a fun-time.  Woody's is usually always sold out, so reservations are a must.  Call ahead at 760-230-0188.

Linda Peterson performs at many venues throughout the Valley and when not playing a gig usually can be found sitting in with other great musicians.  She performs at Woody's every Thursday night from 6 to 10 and every Sunday for brunch between 10 and 2.  On Friday she holds court with Bassist Tibor Lesko on the patio at Fix on El Paseo from 5 to 8.  Great fun place for a quick drink and small plates.  Reservations call 760-340-3040.

Saturdays you will find Linda at Backstreet Bistro in Palm Desert singing and playing for the lunch crowd.   And Sunday evenings Linda performs at Chef George's from 6 to 9.  Chef George is located at Country Club and Washington and has wonderful authentic Hungarian food at reasonable prices and great Jazz playing and singing from Linda.  Reservations call 760-200-1768.

I located a YouTube video of Linda playing and singing a few great standards, enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

CD Review: Ken Schaphorst Big Band, "How To Say Goodbye"

There are not many great big band CDs being recorded today and that is a shame.  In my opinion, nothing beats the sounds of Jazz being performed by a big band of talented musicians.  I guess it's just too costly, and I imagine hard to get all the band members in a recording studio at the same time.  But when are able to get a group of great players in the studio together and have a superb composer and bandleader, the magic starts to happen.   Composer/Bandleader Ken Schaphorst, chair of the Jazz Studies Department at New England Conservatory has just released a wonderful big band CD, "How To Say Goodbye" and it is terrific.  This CD has everything a big band CD would need to be excellent: Schaphorst composed and arranged 10 beautiful pieces of music and selected seasoned pros to join him in this effort.  The result is a gift to Jazz lovers of a big band CD of outstanding musical quality.  There is a lot of good stuff on this CD but the Schaphorst tune, "Blues for Herb" really appealed to me.  This tune was composed as a tribute to Ken's friend influential Trumpeter and Educator Herb Pomeroy.  Schaphorst developed a long musical relationship with Pomeroy who was always supportive of Ken and his music.  This cut showcases some wonderful Tenor work by Donny McCaslin who was also a student of Pomeroy.

The Band:
Ken Schaphorst: Trumpet, Fender Rhodes
Michael Thomas: Alto and Soprano Sax, Clarinet
Jeremy Udden: Alto Sax
Donny McCaslin: Tenor Sax
Chris Cheek, Tenor Sax
Brian Landrus: Baritone Sax, Bass Clarinet
Tony Kadleck: Trumpet, Flugehorn
Dave Ballou: Trumpet, Flugehorn
John Carlson: Trumpet, Flugehorn
Ralph Allessi: Trumpet, Flugehorn
Luis Bonilla: Trombone
Jason Jackson: Trombone
Curtis Hasselbring: Trombone
Jennifer Wharton: Bass Trombone
Uri Caine: Piano
Brad Shepik: Guitar
Jay Anderson: Bass
Matt Wilson: Drums
Jerry Leake: Percussion

The Playlist:
1. "How to Say Goodbye"
2. "Blues for Herb"
3. "Mbira 1"
4. "Green City"
5. "Amnesia"
6. "Take Back the Country"
7. "Float"
8. " Mbira 2"
9. "Global Sweat"
10. "Descent"

I found a "Youtube" of this cut and have attached it below for your review.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Mike Costley Singing Better Than Ever at Vicky's in Indian Wells, Ca

Wayne Boyer, Mike Costley, Henry Franklin

Wayne Boyer

Henry Franklin and Dennis Michaels
If you like songs from the "Great American Songbook" and great vocals, there is no better place  than Vicky's in Indian Wells on Monday and Tuesday nights.  Mike Costley's singing and major-star stage presence captures the audience from the first note he sings and does not release them until 2 hours later when he takes his first break.  Mike has a strong voice with an unbelievable range probably 3 octaves and always puts on a Jazz vocal seminar at every performance. Mike Costley is without a doubt one of the best singers performing today.  One only has to observe the large number of professional singers who show up whenever they have a free night to heard Mike sing.  Tonight was no exception as some of the most talented Singers and Musicians in Southern California came to see Mike.  This group included the multitalented Singer/Composer Michael Dees, and Valley favorite Linda Peterson who brought another talented member of her family Producer/Singer/ Composer, Rickie Peterson.  Also in attendance was the outstanding Piano player, Richard Turner who performs with the John Stanley King group on Sunday nights at Vicky's, Pianist Judy Wolman, Tenor player Joe Canoura and several other talented Singers, Carole Hampton, Lee Hartley, Kristie King, Michael DelAngelo, Larry Capelito and Jeannie Norris.

For Mike's Monday show he is supported by three highly talented and musically-skilled musicians,  Dennis Michael on Piano and Vocals, Wayne Boyer on Drums and Flugelhorn and Henry Franklin on Bass.  When Mike surrounds himself with musicians of this quality, his performance is raised to a greater height to the delight of the audience!  Dennis Michael is the heart of the supporting group providing wonderful arrangements for Mike and thoughtful creative solos.  Dennis has been the accompanist for numerous big-time Vocalists over the years and after listening to his piano work tonight it's easy to see why.  His touch is soft and thoughtful providing solid support for Mike without taking any of his creative space away.  Michael is also a wonderful Jazz singer in his own right.  He sang a couple of Jazz songs Monday to the delight of the audience.  Wayne Boyer is a simply amazing musician playing Drums and Flugelhorn at the same time with excellence! Wayne also plays Piano and Organ.  Completing this great supporting trio is Bassist, Henry Franklin.  I have now seen Henry three times this season and he has quickly become one of my favorite Bassists.

The music starts at 7:00pm but if you want a seat, plan to get to Vicky's early.  Don't miss the chance to hear Mike Costley perform, it doesn't get any better than this!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

CD Review: Ron Boustead "Unlikely Valentine"

Ron Boustead has a long and solid reputation as one of the most talented Vocalist and Lyricist performing today.  For the past 34 years, Ron has been performing and writing lyrics since he was just 16.  His many past credits include recording a vocal CD featuring lyrics he had written to tunes by the likes of Chet Baker,  Chick Corea, and Freddie Hubbard.  Over his career, he released three more CDs and learned a new trade. He became a top-notch mastering engineer, worked at the legendary Precision Mastering where he cut CD and vinyl masters for artists like Prince, Rolling Stones, Seal, Kiss, R.E.M., and many others.  After all of these achievements, Ron thought it was time for him to make a CD that reflected his evolving tastes and growth as an artist.  His new CD "Unlikely Valentine" is cool and hip.  Ron put together a mix of tunes that include lyrics he provided and a fresh take on lesser-done standards.  When Boustead began thinking about this project, he decided he wanted the music to be upbeat and bebop-oriented, yet accessible to people who aren't necessarily hard-core Jazz fans.  In my opinion, he has reached these goals!  His new CD is fresh and live and his lyrics seem real and natural.  His performance on the tune he wrote, "Coffee" is outstanding in style and lyric and Ron's vocal is perfect and "Sinatra-like".  If you like straight ahead Jazz vocals, you will love this new CD that is being released on February 14, 2017.  It will be available on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.

The Band:  
Ron Boustead, Vocals and Lyrics
Bill Cunliffe, Piano and Arrangements
Mitchel Forman, Piano and Arrangements
Pat Kelly, Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Bob Sheppard, Sax and Flute
Bob McChesney, Trombone
Ron Stout, Flugelhorn
John Leftwich, Bass
Jake Reed, Drums

1. "Unlikely Valentine"
2. "Love Potion # 9"
3. "Coffee"
4. " I Won't Scat"
5. "Til Now"
6. "Autumn Leaves"
7. "Love's Carousel"
8. "Along Came Betty"
9. "I Love My Wife"
10. "Love Came On Stealthy Fingers"

I found and attached a couple of "YouTube" videos that I think you will enjoy.  The first is Ron telling his story about his new CD and the second I just had to share,  Ron singing my number one greatest song, "The Nearness of You".  Enjoy!

 Ron Boustead Tell the Story of His New CD, "Unlikely Valentine"

                                                 Ron Boustead "The Nearness of You"

Thursday, January 19, 2017

CD Review: Mikole Kaar, "Give Em Heaven"

Anyone who has visited the Southern California live Jazz scene has probably run into Composer, Arranger and Reed player, Mikole Kaar.  Mikole Kaar has dedicated his entire life to live performing and even now when he has gigs 5 to 6 times a week, the first time he has a free night, you will find him sitting-in with other Jazz groups.  Playing since he was 9 years old, Mikole has studied Clarinet at Cal State and then became a Flute major at University of San Diego.

Mikole has just published a new CD, "Give Em Heaven" and it has been getting excellent reviews.  There is a mix of 10 songs on the CD, some great Jazz standards and a few written by Mikole for this CD.  The Jazz is hot and cool and so is the sound as Mikole has gathered 3 seasoned musicians to support him on this CD.  His supporting cast is made up of the fabulous guitar player and Desert favorite, Doug MacDonald who never disappoints his large Jazz fan base with his great playing, Paul Kreibich is on Drums and Harvey Newmark is on Bass.  Together they make beautiful music!

This CD has a wonderful groove and I especially like the pairing of up-tempo tunes with a couple of outstanding ballads.  I love the interpretation of the old Jazz standard "Invitation" that still sounds haunting every time I hear it.  One cut that Mikole composed, "A Song For Claire" has been selected to be on this year's "Desert Jam CD".  Profits from this CD go to "Wellness in the Desert Charity".  I also loved cut 4, "Darlicious".  I have to say that the influence of Doug MacDonald's wonderful guitar work on Mikole's playing is clear.  These two seasoned pros have been playing live performances together for a while now and they work perfectly together.  You can buy the CD or any of the tunes on Spotify, YouTube and Google and you can go on site to hear some of the great stuff Mikole has put down.  Mikole plays all over town and currently does gigs at "Oscars" in Palm Springs among other live music spots in the Valley.

I found a "YouTube" of Mikole Kaar playing the flute for the song "Comin' Home" with the Jackson Garrett Band to give you a sample of Mikole's playing style.  Enjoy!

The Players:

Mikole Kaar: Composer, Arrange, Tenor, Flute and Vocals
Doug MacDonald: Guitar
Paul Kreibich: Drums
Harvey Newmark: Bass

1. "Give Em Heaven"
2. "Invitation"
3. "Coming Home Baby"
4. "Darlicious"
5. "A Song For Claire"
6. 'Blues For For Jack"
7, "Dynamic Dynamo"
8. "Black Ballet"
9. "Imagine"
10. "Please Make Up Your Mind"

Monday, January 16, 2017

CD Review: Andrea Claburn "Nightshade"

Vocalist, Songwriter and Arranger Andrea Claburn has published her new CD, "Nightshade" and it is a winner!  This is her debut album but based on her performance on this CD, she has obviously being training for years to arrive to her current professional level.  Andrea has a strong, warm, clear wonderful voice and a smooth approach to lyric that flows perfectly.  On this CD Andrea has put together a great mix of original compositions and re-imagined Jazz standards she has been performing over the past 10 years.  That's a long time for any musical professional before releasing their first CD but this was no accident.  According to Claburn, "Although I was performing regularly and getting positive responses from audiences, I resisted laying down a CD because I didn't want to just do songs and arrangements written by other people. I had my own concepts, but I didn't have the skills yet to realize them."  These are words of wisdom that other new performers should read and consider.  In addition to composing five songs for her CD, Andrea added her interpretations of compositions by diverse artists as Hoagy Carmichael, Pat Metheny and Betty Carter among others.  Andrea did all the arrangements except one.  Musically, this CD is outstanding and I recommend it highly.  This CD is being released on Friday the 13th of January, 2017  and based on what I have heard, it will bring nothing but good luck to Andrea Claburn! The CD is available on Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby.

The Band:

Andrea Claburn: Songwriter, Vocalist and Arranger
Matt Clark, Piano
Sam Bevan, Bass
Alan Hall, Drums
Kasey Knudsen, Alto Sax
John Sontos, Percussionist
Erik Jekabson, Trumpet
Terrence Brewer, Guitar
Mads Tolling, violinist
Joseph Hebert, Cello
Rob Ewing, Trombone


1. "Lionheart"
2. "Bird On A Wire"
3. "My Favorite Flavor"
4. "Infinite Wisdom"
5. "Turn On The Stars"
6. "After You've Gone"
7. " Skylark"
8. "I Can't Help it"
9. "The Fall of Man"
10. "Daybreak"
11 "Colors of Light"
12. "Steal Away"

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Jazz is Hot and Live at "Jazz For Jazz Lovers" at Pete Carlson's Golf and Tennis Store in Palm Desert, CA

Rob Lockart, Jonathan Richards, Clay Jenkins, Pete Carlson, Bill Cunliffe and Joe Labarbera
                                                              Picture Courtesy of Ashton Khachigian

The "Jazz for Jazz Lovers" music series at Peter Carlson's Golf and Tennis Store is in full swing.  On Saturday January 7, 2017, Pete hosted "The Joe Labarbera Quintet"  featuring Joe Labarbera on Drums, Clay Jenkins on Trumpet, Rob Lockart on Saxophone, Bill Cunliffe on Piano and Jonathan Richards on Bass.  The Jazz was spectacular and well appreciated by the standing room only crowd that was in attendance.  Joe Labarbera is recognized across the US and in Canada as one of the top Drummers performing today.  Tonight, he proved why he gets high praise from both Jazz lovers and Jazz professional musicians.  Joe put on a clinic of Drum skills,  not only on up-tempo tunes but also on ballads.  I am sure you don't hear the word sensitive when describing a great Drummer but this word fits Joe's playing to a tee.  What impressed me even more was Joe's ability to fit into his Quintet perfectly without under playing or over playing.  He always provided a balance with his four playing partners.

The musicians in Joe's Quintet were all solid gold Jazz guys starting with  the well-known superb Trumpet player, Clay Jenkins.  I am sure many of you have heard Clay play but to hear him in person playing with freshness and clarity is a super treat!   Bill Cunliffe was terrific on piano and because Joe and he have been friends for years, the flow between them is dead-on great.  Rob Lockart has also been with Joe for years, and he brings his own magic to this group.  His improvising is unusual, fresh and clear.  The last member of tonight's quintet was a young Bass player, Jonathan Richards.  Joe had heard Jonathan play a couple of times and decided to have him fill in whenever possible.  Jonathan may be young but he plays terrific Bass and Joe gave him many opportunities to solo to the delight of the audience.

Pete Carlson and his wife Edna are two of the most generous and well-loved people in the Desert.  They put in a tremendous effect in time and money to keep this Jazz series going.  All the profits from the concerts that go on throughout the winter season are donated to support music education and scholarships for young musicians in the Coachella Valley.  Stop by Pete's store and get a schedule and tickets to future shows.  Think about this, the people who attended this great Jazz performance only had to pay $25 dollars that's just $5.00 per member of this quintet......Where can you get a better live Jazz deal than this?

I found and attached a "Youtube" of "The Joe Labarbera Quintet" that I know you will enjoy.  This "Youtube" was recorded at Alva's Showroom on 1/19/2003.  The players on it are Joe on Drums, Clay Jenkins on Trumpet, Bill Cunliffe on Piano, Bob Sheppard on Tenor and Tom Washington on Bass.


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...