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.

CD Review: John Vanore, "Primary Colors"

Trumpeter, Composer, Producer, Educator and Bandleader John Vanore has just released a long-forgotten studio recording of a duet he reco...