Monday, March 26, 2018

Drummer Jay Lewis puts together a Great Jazz Trio with Bill Saitta and Micha Schellhaas


Tuesday is always Jazz night at Backstreet Bistro and there always seems to be musical surprises.  This season, talented and popular Drummer, Jay Lewis has been putting together different groups each week and it has been a highly successful Jazz season.  Tonight,  Jay introduced a young and talented Dutch Guitarist, Micha Schellhaas to the Desert Jazz scene.  With veteran musical support from Jay on Drums and Bill Saitta on Bass, they allowed Mischa to show his stuff.  It's so interesting to hear musicians from different countries play Jazz because there are always some different, interesting approaches to American classic tunes.  The group performed wonderfully including some super Blues singing from Bill!  The reception from the audience was excellent which is usually the case at Backstreet Bistro because this is where ardent Jazz fans hang out on Tuesdays.  And the food and service are also excellent.  Always call for a reservation because there are seldom any empty seats on Jazz Tuesdays.

I have heard from many followers of the Music Man Blog that they really enjoy having some live music to listen to at the end of each blog.  Since I don't have any recording from this particular group that features the talented Micha Schellhaas, I decided to attach a "YouTube" of one of the most admired Jazz Guitar players in American Jazz History.  Please enjoy, Joe Pass playing "All The Things You Are" with Stephen King on Bass.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The 20 Greatest American Standards- 2018

Sonny Stitt
It's been 8 years since I published my "20 Greatest American Standards Ever Written" blog and its still one of my popular blogs for visitors.  We all have had life experiences over the past 8 years and I thought it would be fun to revisit the list and make some adjustments that might be appropriate at this time.  In order to qualify for the list, the song must be over 50 years old.  The list represents the very best songs from the "Great American Songbook".  In order to make the list they had to contain both the best music and lyrics.  The oldest song to make the list is the Gershwin tune, "Someone To Watch Over me".  Think about this.... this song was published 92 years ago and it's still being played today to the delight of all ages.  Now that is the sign of a super, great American standard!

Some other interesting observations about the list:

There is one pair of songwriters that has 3 songs on the list:
           Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart

Several other songwriters who have two songs on the list:

           Cole Porter
           Jimmy Van Heusen
           Johnny Mandel
           George and Ira Gershwin
           Hoagy Carmichael
           Johnny Mercer
           Johnny Burke

The Year 1939 was a terrific year for great songs:,

           4 songs written in 1939 made the list.

The six-year period from 1936 to 1941 was the golden area for great songs;  12 out of the 20 songs on the list were written during this period.




"Someone To Watch Over Me"                    George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin                   1926

"Night and Day"                                            Cole Porter                                                          1932            

"The Very Thought of You"                           Ray Noble                                                           1934

"The Way You Look Tonight"                       Dorothy Fields & Jerome Kern                        1936

" I Got You Under My Skin"                         Cole Porter                                                          1936

 "Where Or When"                                        Richard Rogers & Lorenz Hart                         1937

" They Can't Take That Away From Me"   George and Ira Gershwin                                   1937      

"The Nearness of You"                                   Hoagy Carmichael & Ned Washington            1937

"My Funny Valentine"                                    Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart                     1939

"What's New"                                                 Bob Haggart & Johnny Burke                          1939

"Over The Rainbow"                                      Harold Arlen & Yip Harburg                          1939

"These Foolish Things"                                   Eric Maschwitz & Jack Strachey                     1939

"Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"         Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart                    1940

"You've Changed"                                           Bill Carey & Carl Fischer                                 1941

"Skylark"                                                         Johnny Mercer & Hoagy Carmichael              1941

 "My One and Only Love"                               Guy Wood & Robert Mellin                             1952

"Here's That Rainy Day"                                 Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke              1953

"All My Tomorrows"                                       Jimmy Van Heusen & Sammy Cahn                1959

"Emily"                                                            Johnny Mandel & Johnny Mercer                     1964

"The Shadow of Your Smile"                          Johnny Mandel & Paul Webster                       1965 


Friday, March 9, 2018

CD Review: The Jeff Hamilton Trio, "Live From San Pedro"




As Drummer, Arranger and Leader of the Jeff Hamilton Band, Jeff Hamilton has just released a new CD with his amazing trio, "Live From San Pedro".  To say this is a great Jazz album would be an understatement because everything I have ever heard from Jeff Hamilton is great.  The Jeff Hamilton Trio consists of Tamir Hendelman on Piano and Christoph Luty on Bass.  These  gentlemen are among the best Jazz musicians performing today. Putting them all together with Jeff Hamilton's leadership is nothing short of spectacular! Tamir Hendelman is without question one of the greatest Jazz pianists performing today, and I search out anything new he does.  Christoph Luty is one of only a handful of Bassists who can meet Jeff Hamilton's driving, extraordinary rhythmic control and  stop-on-a dime arrangements.  He makes it look easy.  This trio is a swing machine and even with Jeff Hamilton's tight control over detail,  the Trio always sounds free and creatively inspired.  Perfectly framed improvisations never seem restrictive for this trio.  This is exactly what every Jazz Trio should reach for.

This Cd will no doubt be one of the best Jazz releases this year.   The Cd is being released on February 16 and it's not to be missed.  Thank you Jeff for continuing to release only the highest quality Jazz of recordings.   I have to also mention that Jeff continues to support a lot of creative releases with young up-and-coming artists. Here is a Jazz artist that never forgets to give back to the next generations of Jazz performers!

I found a "YouTube" of one of the tracks on the CD, "Sybille's Day".  It swings from beginning to end.

Playlist:
1. "Sybille's Day"
2. "Poinciana"
3. "Hammer's Tones"
4. "I Have Dreamed"
5. "In Walked Bud"
6. "Gina's Groove"
7. "Brush This"
8. " Bennissimo"
9. "Gary Indiana"
10. "Hoosier Friend"



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...