Tuesday, April 28, 2020

CD Review: Delfeayo Marsalis & The Uptown Jazz Orchestra, "Jazz Party"

Acclaimed Trombonist, Composer, Producer and Band Leader, Delfeayo Marsalis has released his seventh CD entitled "Jazz Party".  If you love the New Orleans music vibe, this is a CD you will want to add to your music collection.  The goal of this CD was to capture the exuberant energy of the Wednesday night shows he does with the Uptown Jazz Orchestra at Snug Harbor in New Orleans.  I am sure that you will agree after hearing the two cuts attached below that he has accomplished his goal!  Marsalis states "Jazz, the indigenous American music, is a music of celebration and optimism.  The Uptown Jazz Orchestra is such a fun band that I wanted to capture its uniqueness.  The idea was to keep the wide variety of styles that we play but to really capture the joy that is a central trademark of the band".
Delfeayo Marsalis is recognized as one of the best Jazz Trombonists performing today and he also has composed over 100 songs that help introduce kids to Jazz through musical theatre.  He has musically touched over 5,000 students nationally with his "Swinging with the Cool School" soft introduction to Jazz workshops.  Marsalis is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, holds a master's degree in Jazz performance from the University of Louisville and was conferred a doctorate by New England College.  Delfeayo Marsalis is a major Jazz star that never lost site of who he is and where he came from.  Even though Delfeayo has become a major Jazz performer and composer he contributes much time and effort to keep Jazz alive by exposing Jazz to young people. 

If you like the feel of New Orleans and its Jazz scene, no doubt you will love this CD.


I have attached two "YouTube" videos that will give you a good taste of the Uptown Jazz Orchestra.  The first one is the title track, "Jazz party" composed by Delfeayo that features vocalist Tonya Boyd-Cannon.  The second one highlights the energy of the Orchestra, "Raid on the Mingus House Party".   

"Jazz Party"

"Raid on the Mingus House Party"

Thursday, April 23, 2020

CD Review: Anthony Jefferson, "All I Am"

I am excited to share a new CD "All I Am" just released by Anthony Jefferson.  I received the review copy of this CD a while ago and only had time to preview a few of the songs.  I thought Jefferson's singing and the playlist were excellent but never got a chance to get back to it until I found myself thinking about the few songs I had heard only once so I decided to play the complete CD.  This time I fell in love with Anthony Jefferson's voice and vocialist skills.  Jefferson has a silky smooth Baritone voice and his phrasing is surpurb.  His vocal range spans several octaves from beautiful deep tones to crystal clear upper tones.   Noteworthy is his effort to sing the lyrics not only with emotion and understanding but with clarity, always making sure to never cut off the end of any words.  Anthony Jefferson is truly an example of a professional Vocalist who has studied hard to learn his trade and now is singing at the highest professional level.  At times his voice and phrasing reminds me of Nat King Cole and certainly adds to the enjoyment of his singing.

Jefferson's life experiences have left a strong mark on his singing personality.  Born and raised in New Orleans, he was singing as soon as he could talk.  He studied piano from the age of five to thirteen and attended a high school that had the best band in New Orleans.  After graduation from high school, Jefferson headed to Los Angeles to find his place in the entertainment business.  He enrolled in Los Angeles City College where he took classes in musical theater as well as the standard academic coursework.  He supported himself by working for UPS when not in classes.

Next stop was to audition for the internationally renowned California Institute of the Arts.  He was awarded a full scholarship.  He began his studies in the Classical music department and then transferred to the Jazz department where he excelled.  After two years at (CalArts) a dean suggested that the next step for Jefferson's growth should be the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

After completing two years at Berklee College of Music,  Jefferson moved back to New Orleans and opened a highly successful restaurant that hosted Jazz jams.  During the next several years while operating his restaurant, he continued performing and studying to improve his singing skills.  After several years of hard work, Jefferson decided that it was time to leave the restaurant business and take a well-earned vacation.  He loved sailing and one of the places he sailed to was the Dominican Republic where he fell in love with the lifestyle and culture.  It was during his 10-year stay in the Dominican Republic that Jefferson met multi-instrumentalist Corey Allen.  This friendship resulted in the creation of the "All I Am" CD.  Corey Allen put together spectacular String and Horn arrangements that amplify Jefferson's innate warmth and soulfulness.

Anthony Jefferson has been a major star in the Dominican Republic and now with the release of "All I am" he deserves to become a recognized star throughout the US.

1. "All I Am"
2. " Marnie"
3. "Besame Mucho"
4. "Night And Day"
5. "Willow Weep For Me"
6. "Summertime"
7. "Impossible"
8. "Rainy Night In Georgia"
9. "Me and Mrs Jones"
10. "In the Presence of"
11. "You've Got A Friend"

Anthony Jefferson- Vocals, Producer
Corey Allen- Piano, Keys, Arrangements
Federico Mendez- Guitar
Pengbian Sang- Bass
Esar Simo- Bass
Guy Frometa- Drums
Sly De Moya- Drums, Percussion
Tom McCauley- Guitar, Percussion

Special Guests:
Mark Rapp- Trumpet
Patricia Pereyra- Vocals
Gustavo A. Hostos- Vocals
The Corey Allen Strings:
Milena Zivkovic, Igor Vasiljevic, Zvezdana Radojkovic
The Corey Allen Horns:
Ernesto Nunez, Pedro Liberato-Trumpet
Sandy Gabriel- Alto Sax
Jesus Abru- Tenor Sax
Gabriel Parra- Baritone Sax
Carlos Torres- Trombone

Background Vocals:
Sabrina Estepan, Benny Hiraldo, Emmanuel Pena, Fende Sincere

This CD includes an eclectic list of songs from the Great American Songbook, pop music, R & B and the movies and picking just two cuts from this CD was difficult.   I settled on two "YouTubes" for you to listen to. The first is "Willow Weep For Me" and the second is "Besame Mucho" where Anthony is joined by the wonderful vocalist, Patricia Pereyra.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

CD Review: Keith Oxman and Houston Person Release "Two Cigarettes in the Dark"

Saxophonist, Composer and Educator Keith Oxman has produced some great Jazz CDs over the years by collaborating with some of the greatest Jazz players including Tenor Saxophonist Dave Liebman, Trombonist Curtis Fuller and Alto Saxophonist Charles McPherson.  On his newest CD release, "Two Cigarettes in the Dark", Oxman has brought in the esteemed Tenor Sax player, Houston Person to join him.  Jazz giant Charles McPherson wrote the liner notes for "Two Cigarettes in the Dark" pointing out the stylistic contrast between the sounds of the two Tenors, comparing "Keith's long, flowing lines" to "Houton's warm, rich tone".   This CD has a warm and relaxed vibe and these two superb Tenor players melded perfectly together in every cut on the album.  No competition here, just mutual respect for each other's musical skills.

The playlist is interesting in that it featuring Originals, Standards and Vintage Tunes.  Keith brought along veteran Vocalist Annette Murrell to sing two of the Standards, "Everything Happens to Me" and "Crazy He Calls Me".   She sings these ballads like she has lived them.  Her rich, deep voice is filled with life experience and, she fits perfectly between these two Tenor greats! 

Keith Oxman- Tenor Sax
Houston Person- Tenor Sax
Annette Murrell- Vocals
Jeff Jenkins- Piano
Ken Walker- Bass
Paul Romaine- Drums

 1. "I've Never Been In Love Before"
2.  "Voss Is Bass"
3. "Everything Happens To Me"
4. "Two Cigarettes In The Dark"
5. "Bossa For Baby"
6. "Murphy's Law Impacts L.E.A.P."
7. "Crazy He Calls Me"
8. "Wind Chill"
9.  "Sweet Sucker"
10. "Murrellancholy" 

  "I've Never Been In Love Before"

                                                       "Everything Happens to Me"

Thursday, April 2, 2020

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 love with Lena Horne's beautiful voice but also with Lena's intelligence, dignity, talent and willingness to fight for what's right.  In Clairdee's new CD, "A Love letter to Lena" she pays her respect to her idol with inventive arrangements of songs by Billy Strayhorn and contemporary composers with Clairdee's compelling storytelling.

According to Clairdee,  "I didn't want (this CD) to be merely a tribute album of Lena's greatest hits.   My mother passed in 2007, and I wanted the CD to reflect my parents' hopes for their children through the lens of Lena's efforts for civil rights and equality.  I also want to include a few songs that people may not be so familar with".

When you listen to the complete playlist on this CD, you will quickly realize that Clairdee has accomplished her goal.  Some of the songs on the playlist were not familiar to me but when you listen to the lyric combined with Clairdee's (Spoken Interlude) on several of the songs,  the message she wanted to send is clearly heard.

Clairdee is an accomplished, master Jazz singer with a warm, deep silky voice.  Lena Horne was one of the giants of Jazz from the time she started singing but she was so much more;  she did fight for equality throughout her life.  Clairdee has done us all a service reminding us of Lena Horne's greatness as a Vocalist and a person.  For millions of Americans, she did make a difference.

                                      The Band

 I have attached two "YouTubes" from "A Love Letter To Lena".  The first is the classic "Old Devil Moon" recorded in a Latin groove and the second is an up-tempo version of "Lady be Good".

                                                                    "Old Devil Moon"

"I want to be happy"

CD Review: Jenny Davis, "Rearranged"

Composer, Arranger, Bandleader and Jazz Vocalist, Jenny Davis has just released her 4th album as a leader.  This CD spotlights Jenn...