Thursday, February 13, 2020

CD Review: "Albare Plays Jobim" by Albare


I have a treat for all the Latin Jazz lovers!  Guitarist and Composer, Albare has released his new CD, "Albare Plays Jobim" and it is one of the best new interpretations of songs from the Jobim song book that I have experienced in quite a while.  Albare exhibits a sensitive understanding of Antonio Carlos Jobim's creative compositions and rhythms which when combined with the Samba and Jazz produce the wonderful new musical sound of the Bossa Nova genre.  Albare states " As Jobim was such an influence in my playing, I feel this album is overdue and I am now ready to express the intense beauty of these melodies to my own satisfaction".    

Albare was born in Morocco and grew up in Israel and France.  His musical development was completely self-taught.  Sadly, Albare lost his central vision faculties due to a genetic illness; his playing is completely by ear.

The musicians joining Albare on this CD are all superstars in Latin Jazz and add greatly to this award-winning new CD.  Joe Chindamo plays Piano, conducted and put the String arrangements together.  Joe's accomplishments include recording over 60 film soundtracks, 23 CDs and collaborated with James Morrison, Ray Brown, The Brecker Brothers and Olivia Newton John,   On Drums is the sensational Antonio Sanchez.  Antonio has a degree in classical Piano from the National Conservatory in Mexico and Magna Cum Laude in Jazz Studies from Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory.  He has been awarded 5 Grammy's.  If you haven't heard him play Drums before,  get ready to be musically surprised.  Ricardo "Ricky" Rodriquez is on Bass and he is also a classically trained musician who was born in Puerto Rico and then moved to New York City where is he soon began playing with revered Jazz musicians and Latin Jazz luminaries including David Sanchez Quartet, Branford Marsalis and The Arturro O' Farrell and The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

Players:
Albare- Guitars
Joe Chindamo- Piano, String Arrangements and Conductor 
Antonio Sanchez- Drums
Ricardo "Ricky" Rodriquez- Bass
Phil Turcio- Producer 

Playlist:
1. "One Note Samba"
2. "Corcovado"
3. "Chega De Saudade"
4. "Orfeu Negro"
5. "Desafinado"
6. "Agua de Beber"
7. "Double Rainbow"
8. "Aguas De Marco"
9.  "Wave"
10. "Brazil"

I have attached two "YouTube" videos so you can hear two songs from this CD.  The first is the opening tune on the CD, "One Note Samba".  The second one is the well-known Jobim song "Agua de Beber.








Sunday, February 2, 2020

CD Review: Kelley Johnson, "Something Good"


Vocalist and Arranger Kelley Johnson has released her 5th CD, "Something Good".  In this new CD, Kelley has chosen 10 familiar standards where she applied her own unique interpretation.  I have said many times that one of the tests I like to use when evaluating a new performer is how they approach a tried and true standard.   A lot of vocalists I hear singing standards simply use past recordings of the standard and the result, most times, is a rehashing of a familiar song.  However, Kelley approaches each familiar song from her own unique understanding of the music and lyric.  Her voice is silky and rich and her all important phrasing is new and spot on.   As I listened to "Something Good" I was struck with the ease of her delivery and a sound that feels effortless.  These are the classic skills of an accomplished Jazz Vocalist, and there is no doubt the Kelley Johnson delivers all these skills.

Kelley Johnson chose all the songs on her CD not just because they're great songs, but because they resonate with her on a deeper level.  In Kelley's words " These songs are about being an artist, being a partner, and being a daughter.  Like most people, I'm trying to maintain meaningful relationships and continue pursuing love and music with all the glory and humility that we need to keep our balance in an every-changing world.  Whether a song is about art or love or spiritual pursuit, it's really all the same path to acceptance."   Beautiful words, beautifully said Kelley!  Thanks for sharing your vocal inspirations with us!

Joining Kelley on this CD are some of the best musicians from the Pacific Northwest.  On Piano is Kelley's husband and performing partner, John Hansen who is one of the finest Jazz pianists in the Northwest.  Hansen provides wonderful support for Kelley which has been developed over 20 years of performing together.  Michael Glynn who has performed with Jazz legends such as Bud Shank, Jon Hendricks, Dave Grusin and Eric Alexander is on Bass and Veteran Drummer, Kendrick Scott adds perfect finish to the rhythm section.  Versatile  multi-instrumentalist Jay Thomas is a Seattle Jazz legion and performs Soprano Sax, Tenor Sax and Trumpet on this CD.

Playlist:
1. "Anyone Can Whistle"
2. "Goodbye To Love"
3. "You Do Something to Me"
4. "Lullaby of Birdland"
5. "Let's Do It"
6. "Some Other Time"
7. "Tip Toe"
8. "Unforgettable"
9. "You For Me"
10. "Something Good"

Players:
1. Kelley Johnson- Vocals, Whistle
2. John Hansen- Piano
3. Michael Glynn- Bass
4. Kendrick Scott- Drums
5. Jay Thomas- Soprano and Tenor Sax, Trumpet

I have attached two "YouTubes" videos of two cuts from "Something Good".  The first is the fine Stephen Sondheim tune "Anyone Can Whistle"  and the second one is a creative, new approach to the George Shearing classic, "Lullaby of Birdland".





Tuesday, January 21, 2020

CD Review: Roger Kellaway "The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway"


Composer Pianist Roger Kellaway is one of my favorite Jazz performers for multiple reasons.  He is a brilliant pianist who expresses his unique personality through his music.  Some of the adjectives I think describe this master musician would be witty, adventuresome, and an unpredictable spirit.  I have had the pleasure of hearing Roger in person several times over the last few years and every performance is different but spectacularly great.

"The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway" was recorded live at the world famous Jazz Bakery in Santa Monica, CA in August, 2010.  This recording is as fresh today as night it was cut!  Roger is joined on this CD by Bruce Forman on Guitar and Dan Lutz on Bass.  Together the trio revisits some of the most famous Jazz tunes ever written.  But in no way does this super talented trio just provide a cover for these famous tunes, they bring Roger's open and fresh musical mind to each one.  Roger has provided wonderful arrangements that keep the spirit of the melody in tack but takes each tune on an enjoyable and new path.  Starting with "Take Five' to "Night and Day" to "Caravan",  these tunes we all know well are re-imagined with creative Jazz spirit.

Roger Kellaway is a special Jazz giant who has covered a lot of Jazz ground during his 57 years of performing.  Roger is 80 years old this year but anyone listening to his CDs or seeing him perform in person will find his age hard to believe.  He is still playing at his prime losing none of his creativity, superb technical skills or enthusiasm.

Roger's lastest CD, "The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway" was released on November 1, 2019 by IPO Recordings, LLC.  This label has focused on releasing several recent CDs of Jazz giants like James Moody, Frank Wess, and Benny Golson just to name a few.  You should check out IPO's catalog that is filled with treasures from the Jazz masters.  They are keeping the best of our Jazz giants' music alive and should be supported by all Jazz fans.

Players:
Roger Kellaway-Piano
Bruce Forman-Guitar
Dan Lutz-Bass

Playlist:

I have attached two "YouTubes" for your enjoyment.  Picking just two was difficult because every song on this CD is great but I settled on the Paul Desmond classic "Take Five"  and Ellington's evergreen "Caravan".


CD Review: "Albare Plays Jobim" by Albare

I have a treat for all the Latin Jazz lovers!  Guitarist and Composer, Albare has released his new CD, "Albare Plays Jobim" ...