Tuesday, August 14, 2018

CD Review: Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra, "Without A Trace"


OK big band fans, I know I have featured a lot of Vocalists lately, so I have a present for you.    Composer, Trombonist, Arranger, Author and College Jazz Educator, Scott Reeves recently published his new CD, "Without a Trace".  The 17-piece Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra performs both outstanding originals and re-imagined Jazz Classics in world-class form.  This CD which was released on March 16, 2018, "draws influences of the great Big Bands/ Composers andArrangers from Ellington and Gil Evans to Thad Jones, Bob Brookmeyer and Jim McNeely.  Nice company to be associated with!

This CD is so good, you will fall in love with it after just hearing it once.  The arrangements played by their 17-piece Orchestra are fresh and bright and the music flows effortless!

Scott Reeves is a musical giant in every aspect of modern-day music.  The fact that he was able to produce this CD alone was a major accomplishment in itself.  The costs of producing a big band CD is hard enough but getting 17 world-class musicians into the studio at the same time to record this CD is probably just as hard.  He deserves our support and thanks for keeping the big band sound alive and well for past and future generations.  Please help Scott by buying this wonderful CD.

Players:
Scott Reeves: Conductor, Trombone, Alto Flugehorn
Saxophones: 
   Steve Wilson: Soprano, Alto, Flute
   Vito Chiavuzzo: Alto, Flute
   Rob Middleton: Tenor, Clarinet
   Tim Armacost: Tenor
   Terry Goss: Baritone,
   Jay Bradford: Baritone
Trumpets:
   Seneca Black (Lead)
   Nathan Eklund
   Chris Rogers
   Bill Mobley
   Andy Gravish
Trombones:
   Tim Sessions (Lead)
   Matt McDonald
   Matt Haviland
   Max Siegel (Bass)
Rhythm:
   Piano: Jim Ride
   Vibes: Dave Ellson
   Bass: Todd Coolman
   Drums: Andy Watson
Vocals: 
   Carolyn Leonhart

Playlist:
1."Speak Low"
2. "Without A Trace"
3. "All or Nothing at All"
4, "Incandescence"
5. "Jiju"
6. "Shapeshifter"
7. "Something for Thad"

I have attached a couple of "YouTubes" of "The Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra" for your listening enjoyment.  The first one is the old Jazz chestnut "Speak Low" which is also the opening cut from the CD.  The second one features the lovely and talented Vocalist Carolyn Leonhart singing the original Scott Reeves composition and title tune "Without a Trace".











Saturday, August 4, 2018

CD Review: Joanne Tatham "The Rings of Saturn"



Vocalist Joanne Tatham has released her 4th CD, "The Rings of Saturn" on March 30, 2018 and it's a beautiful musical journey to some great old and new songs combined with some fresh arrangements.  Tatham successfully follows the proven traditions of the great vocalists of past generations: pick only first-class material, write fresh, hip arrangements and ask only the best musicians to join you.  The collection of songs in this CD are so different with unusual arrangements that singing the full playlist could be used as a master class for any Jazz vocalist!  Clearly Joanne Tatham is not afraid to take risks and the result is a beautiful eclectic CD that will please even the toughest Jazz listener.

It was difficult to pick one song from this CD for you to listen to because I liked so many of them, and they are so different.  "Catch Me If You Can" composed by Eli Brueggemann with Lyrics by Mark Winkler is catchy and clever.  Who wouldn't love a Lyric by Mark Winker?  "Jazz 'n Samba" by Antonio Jobim and arranged by Guitarist Marcel Camargo and Tatham is wonderful.  But in the end, I had to give in to my love of standards and I attached a "YouTube"  of Joanne Tatham singing the old chestnut "Love Me Or LeaveMe" as good as you will ever hear this song sung.

Playlist:
1. "Love Me Or Leave Me"
2. "Summer In New York"
3. "Catch Me If You Can"
4. "Poetry Man"
5. The Rings of Saturn"
6. "Can We Still Be Friends?"
7. "If You Never Come To Me"
8. "Anyone Can Whistle"
9. "Nice To Be Around"
10. "Jazz 'n Samba"
11. "It Could Happen to You"

Players:
Joanne Tatham-Vocals
Max Haymer-Piano
Lyman Medeiros-Base
Dan Schnelle-Drums
Marcel Camargo-Guitar
Larry Koonse-Guitar
Kevin Winard-Percussion
Brian Swartz-Trumpet
Bob Sheppard-Sax

Produced by Mark Winkler





Monday, July 16, 2018

CD Review: "Say It" from John Proulx


John Proulx's new CD "Say It" is the first album that he has produced independently and it's terrific!  Pianist, Vocalist, Composer and Producer John Proulx is one of the brightest new stars on today's Jazz scene.  He is a welcome addition to the Jazz world, not only because of his composing, singing and Piano playing but because John has a fine appreciation of the Jazz greats of the past and the wonderful music they introduced to the world.  His musical efforts continue to produce outstanding new music while at the same time, John still addresses some of the great songs of the "Great American Songbook".  On this CD, John has recorded some new songs in addition to recording some gems from the past like "The Summer Knows", Mose Allison's sardonic "I Don't Worry About a Thing" and Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now". 

In addition to John's talents, he is a Jazz star that still is always willing to help other new and lesser-known Jazz players with Piano support, arranging, producing and caring supportive direction.  He is a major Jazz star with no overriding ego!

John asked his old friend and outstanding vocalist, Judy Wexler to help him produce this album along with two other friends that are legendary Jazz musicians, Bassist Chuck Berghofer and the great Joe LaBarbera on Drums.  According to John, "Chuck and Joe have been my musical bedrock. I love the way they inspire me to play and sing."  Also joining John on this CD are two more Jazz giants, Guitarist Larry Koonse and Saxophonist Bob Sheppard.   And the topper to this group is Melissa Manchester who recorded the duet "Stained Glass", a tune that they co-wrote. 

I first met John at one of Pete Carlson's Jazz Concerts in Palm Desert, and I have been a fan ever since.

Playlist:
1. "Gentle Rain:
2. "Scatsville"
3. "The Summer Knows"
4. "Watch What Happens"
5. "Say It"
6. "I Don't Worry About A Thing"
7. "The Last Goodbye"
8. "Stained Glass"
9. "Something To Live For"
10. "Both Sides Now"

Performers:
John  Proulx-Piano/Vocals/Arrangements
Chuck Berghofer-Bass
Joe LaBarbera-Drums
Larry Koonse-Guitar
Bob Sheppard-Tenor Sax/Soprano Sax
Billy Hulting-Auxiliary Percession
Melissa Manchester-Guest Vocals
Alan  Broadbent-String Quartet Arrangements

The Gina Kronstadt Strings
   Gina Kronstadt-1st Violin, leader
   Susan Chatman-2nd Violin
   Rodney Wurtz- Viola
   Stefanie Fife-Cello

Produced by Judy Wexler

I found and attached a "Youtube" of John singing "I've Never Been In Love Before" that from John's album "Moon and Sand" for your listening pleasure.







                                                    "I've Never Been In Love Before"

Thursday, May 31, 2018

CD Review: Bianca Rossini, "Vento do Norte"




A couple of months ago, I received an email from Bianca Rossini informing me that she had just published a new CD.  She offered to send me copy of her CD with a request that if I liked it, would I do a review for my Music Man Blog.  After some research, I agreed to listen to the CD and do a review if I like it.

I received the CD several weeks ago, have been listening to it and it's terrific.  Bianca Rossini was born in Rio de Janeiro and sings with a very sensual style that fits beautifully with the traditional Bossa Nova style.  In addition,  Bianca is a skillful lyricist and composer.  On her latest CD, "Vento do Norte", Bianca wrote all the lyrics for the 10 songs on the CD and also co-wrote the music for 3 songs.  It's such a pleasure to hear new songs written in the timeless Bossa Nova tempo.  With respect to all the great Bossa Nova masters who have delighted us with their music in the past, Bianca brings something new and fresh to the Brazilian Bossa Nova.  She sings in Portuguese and the lyrics she has written are outstanding.

Bianca Rossini has an impressive resume including success in TV and Film.  She is a dancer and choreographer and the author of three books.  She co-produced and hosted a decade-;long weekly television talk show, "The Bianca Rossini Show".  "Vento do Norte" is Bianca's third CD and if you are a Bossa Nova fan, you will enjoy her new CD.

Playlist:
1. "Vento do Norte"
2. "Doce Amor"
3. "Ipanema Paraiso"
4. "Why I Smile"
5. "Que Cor"
6. "Tic Tac do Amor"
7. "Paris in Beverly Hills"
8. "Circular"
9. "Meu Sonho"
10. "Coracao de Ouro"

I found a "YouTube" of Bianca Rossini singing the last song in her CD, "Coracao de Ouro" and I know you will enjoy listening to it.

                                                                   Coracao de Ouro

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Rich Bono Excites the Audience At AJ's With His Impressive Jazz Piano Performance






Wednesday night at AJ's is usually covered by Doug MacDonald.  However Doug couldn't make the date, so he asked Piano marvel, Rich Bono to stand in for him.  Rich was joined by Bassist Larry Holloway and Drummer Tim Pleasant and these three master-class musicians put on one of the best musical shows of the season to the delight of the capacity audience at AJ's.  Rich wasted no time tonight launching this Piano Jazz Trio into 4 great up-tempo standards, one better than the next.  Rich was at the top of his musical game, as he usually is, and inspired and excited the audience. It appeared that Rich's outstanding Jazz Piano playing also inspired Larry and Tim, who not only performed well,  but looked like they were having lots of fun doing it.  Before long the room took on a party feel as the Trio had totally engaged the attention of the audience.  The first set flew by and when it was over, the audience was on their feet cheering.

During the second set, several talented vocalists who I am familiar with, sat in with the Trio .  They too were inspired by Rich and his Trio and responded with some of the best musical performances I have witnessed in the Valley.  It was a special night for all!

Rich Bono has a sterling musical resume including several tours with Frankie Lane and the Harry James Band.  He has performed in many of the finest casino Hotels in Las Vegas for over 30 years where he performed with some of the biggest stars in the country.  Sadly, we just don't get many chances to hear Rich play with a Jazz Trio.  When he does, he creates musical magic!

I was able to record a short video on my iPhone which I posted on "YouTube" that will give you a taste of what the music sounded like on this special night. 





Saturday, April 28, 2018

Entertainer, Vocalist, and Composer Johnny Meza Performs at Chef George Every Wednesday


Johnny Meza has been performing and exciting audiences in the Valley for many years.  I first discovered Johnny in the Desert Sage Restaurant in Old Town La Quinta around 10 years ago.   I loved the way he played Keyboard and sang but most of all I loved his stage presence and the way he connected with everyone in his audience.  Even though Johnny is a highly talented musician,  he never developed a performer's ego.  He is a truly kind and wonderful person who loves to perform for all audiences. He also has a great sense of humor.  So if you love the best of the Pop tunes from years gone by and love to laugh,  Chef George and Johnny Meza needs to be on your night out "To Do" List.

Johnny performs every Tuesday night starting at 7:00 PM at Chef George's Picasso Room in Bermuda Dunes.  The room is perfect for Johnny's style of performing.  It's small enough so Johnny can reach out and touch everyone in the audience, and he does.  Johnny talks to his audience between each song,  about the songs and takes requests.  His sweet spot is Pop tunes from the 50's through current Pop hits.  He also included some of the best songs from the Great American Songbook.

Chef George is located at 40100 Washington Street, Bermuda Dunes, CA.  The food at Chef George is a mix of Hungarian and Italian.  It's terrific and the portions are large but the prices are very reasonable.  Call for reservations at 7670-200-1768.

I have attached a "YouTube" of Johnny Meza playing and singing the popular hit he composed, "Dirty Martini"  along with Will Donato on Sax.  Enjoy!



Sunday, April 22, 2018

New Arrivals To The Desert, Jasmine Tommaso and Lorenso Grasi Make Their Musical Debut At Backstreet Bistro


Bill Saitta, Lorenso Grasi and Jasmine Tommaso


Jay Lewis, Bill Saitta and Lorenso Grasi

Singer Jasmine Tommaso and Guitarist Lorenso Grasi have recently moved into the Valley from Italy.  They are two highly trained (Berkelee College of Music) musicians who want to start performing in our area.  Based on the audience response at Backstreet Bistro, finding venues to perform should not be a problem.  Vocalist Jasmine Tommaso has a wonderful, warm voice, sounding like a mixture of Lady Day and Nancy Wilson.   Her phrasing is very Jazz-like and pleasing,  especially when she sings great standards, like "You've Changed" and "All of Me".   Her stage presence is strong, and she knows how to lead her sidemen who quickly recognize they are dealing with a very experienced musician.  It didn't take long for the group, all new to playing with each other, to merge into one group voice.  Guitarist Lorenso Grasi who will be marrying Jasmine in a couple of months, worked perfectly with the rhythm section of Bassist Bill Siata and Drummer Jay Lewis.  Lorenso also provided some excellent solos in support of Jamine's vocals.  Another wonderful Tuesday night of Jazz at Backstreet Bistro.  Also, I have to mention the food at Backstreet Bistro continues to be excellent so you can come out on Tuesdays for great food and great Jazz.

You can get to see and hear Jasmine and the group as they performed at Backstreet Bistro on the "YouTube" attached below:



I am also attaching a "Youtube" I found with Jasmine Tommaso singing "Someone to watch Over Me".  Jasmine performs this musical gem perfectly at her father's 50th Jazz anniversary at the Auditorium Parco Della Musica in Rome Italy in 2014.  Jasmine's father is the internationally acclaimed Bassist, Giovanni Tommaso who makes some remarks in Italian about his daughter's singing.  Even if you don't understand Italian, you can feel his fatherly pride pouring out!


Players on the Video:
Giovanni Tommaso-Base
Jasmine Tommaso- Vocal
Anthony Pinciotti- Drums
Claudio Fillippini- Piano
Daniele Scannapieco- Sax


CD Review: Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra, "Without A Trace"

OK big band fans, I know I have featured a lot of Vocalists lately, so I have a present for you.     Composer, Trombonist, Arranger, Aut...