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"

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...