ALLAN HOLDSWORTH - VELVET DARKNESS TALKING ELEPHANT TECD396
Guitarist and composer Allan Holdsworth was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, and died in 2017 at his home in Vista, California, at the age of 70. He had an extensive knowledge of music and played a variety of styles in a career spanning more than four decades, but is best known for his adventurous work in jazz fusion. His music incorporated a vast array of complex chord progressions and intricate solos; the latter comprising myriad scale forms often derived from those such as the diminished, augmented, whole tone, chromatic and altered scales, among others, resulting in an unpredictable and ‘outside’ sound. His unique legato soloing technique stemmed from his original desire to play the saxophone. Unable to afford one, he strove to use the guitar to create similarly smooth lines of notes. He also became associated with playing an early form of guitar synthesizer called the SynthAxe. Holdsworth influenced a host of rock, metal and jazz guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen and Frank Zappa, who called him ‘one of the most interesting guys on guitar on the planet’. Allan Holdsworth made twelve studio albums as a solo artist and Velvet Darkness was the first, originally released in 1976 and now remastered for Talking Elephant with bonus alternate takes. The tracks were originally recorded by engineer Rudy Van Gelder during a rehearsal session, after which the tapes were released without Holdsworth’s consent and the musicians did not receive royalties for their work. The album first reissued on CD in 1990 through on Epic as part of their Contemporary Jazz Masters. series. This version was completely remixed and remastered from the original session tapes and included five alternative takes as bonus tracks. A second CD edition was reissued in 2002 through King Records of Japan faithfully reproduced the sound of the original 1976 album but did not include bonus tracks. Talking Elephant has now released the definitive version of this exciting and still innovative album. As well as Holdsworth on guitar and violin, the album features Professor of Jazz Studies at USC and Bob Dylan associate Alan Pasqua (piano), the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Narada Michael Walden (drums) and Weather Report’s Alphonso Johnson (bass).
CLASSICALLY REMINDED: BACH CHAMPS HILL CHRCD128
Johann Sebastian Bach was a virtuoso organist and served as court musician and composer in Arnstadt, Weimar, Köthen and as cantor and director of music at Leipzig. His fame during his lifetime was due at least as much to his ability as an organist as to his reputation as a composer, but since the 19th century he has been hailed as a genius whose work represents the peak of the Baroque era. As well as famous works such as The Brandenberg Concertos, Well-Tempered Clavier and Art of the Fugue, Bach wrote a wide range of other music, including several suites for the lute. He was regarded as the greatest improviser on the organ in Europe and when a famous French organist once came to compete against him and heard him improvise while warming up, he immediately left town. Most of Bach’s instructional manuals put improvisation skills at the centre of his teaching and he often wrote out different versions of his most popular pieces to show how a student might improvise on the structure. There are clear parallels between Bach’s approach to improvisation at the keyboard and certain fundamental features of jazz. He and his contemporaries were raised in the art of continuo playing and part of their training involved constructing polyphonic pieces from the information contained in a throughbass or basso continuo part, just as jazz musicians learn how to invent melodies out of the bare information contained in a chart of chord changes. On this new CD, the excellent David Rees-Williams Trio features arrangements and improvisations on the solo keyboard music of J.S. Bach, including the beautiful Sinfonia in G Minor and Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major, as well as two exciting sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. The trio was formed in 1988 and includes David Rees-Williams on piano, Neil Francis on bass guitar and Phil Laslett on drums. ‘The David Rees-Williams Trio have just got better and better ... their new recording of jazz forays into the classical repertoire is just magical.’ - The Guardian.
JAZZING THE CLASSICS RETROSPECTIVE RTR 4276
Jazz and Classical music represent two approaches to art. The Classical performer has a vast range of of written music to choose from whereas the Jazz musician is usually inpired by more loosely composed songs on which to improvise. The syncopated rhythms of ragtime and the riffs of the blues were not easily notated and early Jazz musicians were not formally trained. As time went on, though, the two approaches to music drew closer. Classical composers such as Ravel and Stravinsky were much influenced by Jazz, and the differences became increasingly blurred by the likes of George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein. Meanwhile, Jazz musicians were being inspired by the classics. This double CD features a unique and hugely entertaining selection of the best from the many vintage jazz and popular vocal interpretations of famous classical tunes. There has long been of tradition for popularising ‘classical’ themes and presenting them in a manner far removed from the concert platform. During the 30s and 40s this practice enjoyed a tremendous vogue, with hundreds of popular and jazz records plundering classical composers for material. Jazzing The Classics Vintage 30s & 40s offers a kaleidoscopic of 26 remarkably varied examples. Perhaps after Paul Whiteman it was the big bands that were the main ‘culprits’ , and there are examples included here from Glenn Miller (Anvil Chorus and Moon Love from Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony), Tommy Dorsey (Liebestraum and the sublime Song Of India), brother Jimmy Dorsey (Our Love from Romeo & Juliet and with the amazing Josephine Tumminia doing extraordinary things to The Blue Danube), as well as Guy Lombardo, Larry Clinton and the big-band jazz of such as Charlie Barnet and Woody Herman. There is also remarkable jazz from Art Tatum (phenomenal virtuosity in Massenet’s Elegie), Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli and Eddie South in Bach, and a delightful Skaters’ Waltz from clarinettist Irving Fazola with the Bob Crosby Orchestra. All the top solo artists seemed to feature at least some ‘classical’ material and prime examples here are Frank Sinatra (a beautiful rendition of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 Adagio), Bing Crosby (Grieg’s Ich liebe dich), Perry Como (raiding Chopin) and Connee Boswell (making a lovely song out of Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile). Even purist aficionados of classical music will find it hard to be offended by these respectful, imaginative and joyous reinterpretations of great music.
DUKE ELLINGTON - BLACK, BROWN AND BEIGE NAXOS 8.559737
Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington was one of the towering figures in Twentieth Century American jazz and big band music. In a career spanning more than 50 years he wrote over a 1,000 compositions that included jazz, blues and gospel as well as stage musicals, film scores, and popular and classical orchestral pieces. Many of his songs became standards and his inventive use of the orchestra elevated jazz to an art form. Ellington’s reputation has continued to grow since his death in 1974 and in the opinion of Bob Blumenthal of The Boston Globe, ‘In the century since his birth, there has been no greater composer, American or otherwise, than Edward Kennedy Ellington.’ Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington wrote some of the twentieth century’s greatest Big Band music, but he also wrote in a variety of forms. On this recording, JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra play three of his orchestral suites. Black, Brown, and Beige sets work songs and spirituals, whilst the suite from The River shows his genius in writing for the stage. Three Black Kings, scored as a ballet, was left unfinished at his death, but shows no lessening of invention. The CD also features Ellington’s boisterous and evocative tone poem Harlem, paying tribute to his roots, and his famous arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s Take the ‘A’ Train. Each piece reflects a facet of the charismatic Ellington’s genius and they take on an extra sheen when played by a full symphony orchestra.
THE BRYAN FERRY ORCHESTRA - THE JAZZ AGE BMG
To celebrate the 40th year anniversary of his remarkable career both as a solo artist and as the creator of Roxy Music, Brian Ferry has re-recorded some of his own compositions, performed by top jazz musicians of The Bryan Ferry Orchestra as instrumentals in the style of the 1920s. If there was ever a musical icon and a decade destined to come together it is Ferry and the Roaring Twenties. His dazzling career of endless surprise, delight and innovation, is the perfect match for a decade of modernity, decadence and bright young things - all driven on by the thrill of it all. The Jazz Age is an intoxicating collection of timeless songs awakening the spirits of Louis Armstrong’s Hot Seven, Bix Beiderbecke’s Wolverines and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Highlights include the thundering cascade of ‘Virginia Plain’, the timeless weave ‘Slave To Love’, ‘Avalon’ and ‘Reason or Rhyme’. ‘The Bogus Man’ revives the heady sounds of Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club band, while this arrangement of ‘Don’t Stop the Dance’ might have come from the pen of the great Don Redman. Ferry’s music adapts itself seemlessly as a soundtrack for those endless champagne-fuelled parties documented by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and for a whole new generation - pure Gatsbyesque bliss. Produced by Bryan Ferry and Rhett Davies, The Jazz Age is available as 10" Vinyl Folio Edition, 12" Vinyl, CD and Digital.
HELPING THE HEROES - RAF SQUADRONAIRES SPEC016
The Royal Air Force Squadronaires is one of the UK’s finest big bands, with a worldwide reputation for musical excellence. The band’s origins can be traced back to 1939 when many of London’s professional musicians were recruited into the Central Band of the Royal Air Force to boost morale at home and abroad. Many of the members had previously been jazz and dance band performers and it was suggested that they form what was to become the Royal Air Force Dance Orchestra, later known as the ‘Squadronaires’. The big band soon gained a reputation for versatility and flair, helped by such iconic band members as the great trombonist George Chisholm and vocalist Jimmy Miller. They developed a distinctive style that rivalled many American bands and throughout the war years they were regularly voted ‘Best British Dance Band’. Under the direction of its current leader, Sgt Kev Miles, the Band has assembled a repertoire that reflects its style and versatility, from original dance band classics to the latest big band hits. This new album with smooth Scottish swing singer Todd Gordon has been released in aid of the British charity, Help for Heroes, and is also a celebration of the centenary of the RAF, formed in 1912 as the Royal Flying Corps. Special guests on the album include the sublime Jacqui Dankworth, Carol Kidd, Eddi Reader, The Swingcats and Clare Teal, and among the 14 classic songs are (I’ve Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, The Best Is Yet To Come, I Believe In You, My Favourite Things and Cheek To Cheek. Terrific feel-good music played and sung with sophisticated flair.
DAVE BRUBECK - AIN’T MISBEHAVIN METRO METRSL053
American jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, born in 1920, wrote several jazz standards, including In Your Own Sweet Way, and developed a unique style. Influenced by both classical music and improvisation, his music employs unusual time signatures set to contrasting rhythms, meters and tonalities. Brubeck’s name is often featured in a select list of legendary figures that includes Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis. Brubeck belongs in this pantheon of figureheads because he led a popular quartet in the ‘50s and ‘60s which not only had the biggest jazz hit of all time, Take Five (1961) but which also epitomised an elegant, cerebral form of jazz which managed to smuggle all manner of profound and exciting music into the consciousness of an unsuspecting public. The legendary Brubeck is joined here by the wonderfully elegant saxophonist Paul Desmond and drummer Joe Dodge together with a succession of excellent bassists such as Ron Crotty and Fred Dutton. This great value double-CD set includes a fold-out poster as well as over two hours of irresistibly cool music: Take Five with its magnificent drum solo, Unsquare Dance, the elegant Blue Rondo a la Turk and It’s A Raggy Waltz, as well as rarer tracks such as Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?, Like Someone In Love (Live) and Ain’t Misbehavin’, featuring Jimmy Rushing. ‘It’s like a whole orchestra, the piano for me.’ - Dave Brubeck. Essential listening.
CHARLIE PARKER - ROUGH GUIDE TO JAZZ LEGENDS ROUGH GUIDES RGNET1246CD
‘Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker.’ - Miles Davis summarising the history of jazz. Charlie Parker – or ‘Bird’ as he famously became known – was born in Kansas Cityon in 1920 and began learning the alto saxophone as a child. After serving his apprenticeship with local musicians, he began experimenting with some of the harmonic concepts that led to the development of bebop - a dynamic and form of jazz with a new approach to rhythm that used extended harmonies, complex substitute chords and chromatic intervals as the basis of improvisation. Parker made his first live appearances on the legendary 52nd Street in New York City in early 1945 with the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, establishing an audience for bebop and recording classics such as ‘Groovin’ High’, ‘All The Things You Are’ and ‘Salt Peanuts’. In the months that followed, Parker started playing with the trumpeter Miles Davis and their earliest collaboration produced ‘Now’s The Time’ and Parker’s saxophone tour de force, ‘Koko’. After a residency in Los Angeles, which helped establish bebop in the west, Parker returned to New York in Easter 1947 and, over the next year or so, set down a remarkable sequence of recordings that are amongst the finest in jazz. This includes ‘Scrapple From the Apple’, the slow blues ‘Parker’s Mood’ and one of the saxophonist’s most accomplished ballad performances, ‘Embraceable You’. In the autumn of 1948, Parker signed an exclusive contract with Norman Granz, which produced ‘Just Friends’, Parker’s best-selling record ever. He continued to record superb pieces in the early 1950s, including ‘Star Eyes’, ‘Lover Man’ and ‘Night And Day’. Despite his innovations though, his dependence on hard drugs and alcohol destroyed him. Worn out by years of abuse, he died on 12 March 1955, aged just 34. Charlie Parker was the supreme creative figure of his time and has remained a major influence on jazz musicians ever since. ‘If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.’ - Charlie Parker. These impeccably remastered recordings capture the great man at his creative best and the bonus album features many of the artists, who along with Parker, helped develop bebop – including Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, pianists Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell, trumpeter Fats Navarro and trombonist Jay Jay Johnson. Essential listening.
CHET BAKER SINGS - IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU CONCORD 7232329
American jazz trumpeter Chesney Henry ‘Chet’ Baker, Jr. had a huge following, partly for his musicianship and partly for his good looks. His roller-coaster career included an early rise to fame during the mid-1950s, playing a key role in the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, and he made his acting debut in the film Hell’s Horizon in 1955. As well as being a great trumpeter and flugelhorn player, Baker was also an inspired singer, and although some jazz fans were initially unenthusiastic about this aspect of his work it helped him to reach a wider audience. His four-album stay with Riverside at the end of the 1950s began with a record that includes some instrumental solos but focuses primarily on his vocals. There is strong support from the excellent New York pianist Kenny Drew, and the most successful numbers (among them three Rodgers & Hart compositions) clearly indicate Baker’s individuality and effectiveness. The album, made when he was 29, also features fine contributions by George Morrow and Sam Jones (bass), and Philly Joe Jones and Dannie Richmond (drums). The CD has four bonus tracks, including two that are previously unreleased. Few musicians have embodied the romantic, and ultimately tragic, jazz figure as totally as Chet Baker - a fast liver whose mystique only added to his hauntingly lyrical trumpet styles and seductive, impeccably phrased singing. ‘Chet’s singing had an innocent sweetness that made girls fall right out of their saddle oxfords’ - Rex Reed. Unfortunately, his life was cut short when the drug habit he developed ultimately led to his death in 1988 after a mysteriously fall from a hotel window in Amsterdam. One of the few people ever to rival Chet Baker for coolness was Miles Davis, and MILES DAVIS FEAT. SONNY ROLLINS - DIG (CONCORD 7232327) includes driving performances from 1951 that provided the foundation for an evolution in both musical style. These are among the first examples of the percussive, melodically compact and blues-based extension of jazz modernism that came to be known as hard bop, and share similar pride of place as examples of the extended performances made possible by the long-playing record. Compact disc technology allows for the original 12-inch LP to be supplemented with two tracks, bringing the entire classic session together in one program. Making history with Davis and the brilliant Art Blakey (drums) are second-generation modernists Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone), Jackie McLean (alto saxophone) and Walter Bishop (piano), featured in some of their earliest recordings. This release comes with excellent new sleeve notes by jazz historian Ira Gitler, together with his original album liner notes.
SIREN SONG – ELIZABETH KONTOMANOU PLUS LOIN
Of Greek and African origin, and born in France, Elisabeth Kontomanou has worked with many musicians in both Europe and America, including Leon Parker, Michel Legrand, Mike Stern, Alain Jean-Marie and Toots Thielemans. She first gained recognition at the ‘Concours de La Défense’ and has since been nominated for a Django d’Or Award, following her album ‘Embrace’ released in 1999. Acclaimed by the critics for her two latest recordings, she was awarded the ‘Vocal Jazz Award’ of the Victoires du Jazz in 2006. Since then, prefering an intimate style to an extrovert one, and depth to superficial effects, she has performed widely in the most prestigious venues across many continents, such as the Blue Note, the Knitting Factory and the Supper Club. She has also branched out to both musical cinema (‘Masque de Lune’ by Michel Legrand - 1988) and musical comedy (‘Rag Time’ - 2003). Pianist Jean-Michel Pilc refers to her as ‘an artist who has that remarkable ability to shake your soul and touch your heart by the very unique nature of her voice’. Her presence possesses you right away, instantly taking you to another world, and like Piaf she could sing the phone book and make you cry. With her latest album, Siren Song, recorded with the Lorraine National Orchestra, Elisabeth Kontomanou once again immerses herself in the great standard numbers that made jazz famous. Accompanied by three orchestrators - Tom Harrel, Gustav Karlstrm, and Ann-Sofi Sderqvist - she has combined this celebrated repertoire with recent compositions of her own, such as Summer and Siren Song, as well as a duet composed by, and sung with, her son Gustav Karlstrm.
FRANCES BUTT - THE GIRL FROM WOLVERHAMPTON ATLAS ADVENTURES RECORDS
Frances Butt grew up in Wolverhampton as the youngest of ten children, with a Dutch father and German mother. She wrote classical and jazz pieces as a child, played keyboards and sang with a punk band in her teens before working in the film business. Now settled in Bristol, she started writing music again, including film soundtracks and a jazz suite, Calls Of The Wild. She first heard the famous ‘Getz/Gilberto’ album aged about seven and was totally smitten with that smoochy rich sound. This new album features some of the most popular songs ever written by the great bossa nova composers and is packed with funky electronica, toe-tapping band recordings and beautiful ballads. The title is a cheeky homage to that most (in)famous of all Jobim numbers, The Girl From Ipanema, which appears here with a delightfully unique twist. Butt’s ‘silky and praline-smooth’ voice perfectly suits Brazilian Portuguese and her electronic approach to Eu Vim Da Bahia and Agua De Beber brings fresh colour to timeless classics. Highlights include the joyful O Grande Amor and Andy Sheppard adds a gorgeous tenor sax solo to the shimmeringly sultry Corcovado. Keith Warmington’s soulful harmonica lends buzz to the opening O Morro Nao Tem Vez and haunting sadness on E Preciso Perdoar. Guitarist Knud Stüwe sparkles throughout and Tammy Payne’s congas spice up the grooves. Frances Butt’s smoothly seductive voice and clever arrangements truly capture the vibe of this intimate, sophisticated music. Highly recommended. Website: www.francesbutt.com
GIVE IT ONE - THE LONDON HORN SOUND CALA CACD0117
The London Horn Sound Big Band is the first-ever big band of French horns. The sound of this unique ensemble is extraordinary, like no big band ever heard before. The virtuoso hornists are drawn from such orchestras as the London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic and BBC Symphony, and include, amongst others, horn-world legends Richard Bissill, Nigel Black, Laurence Davies, Pip Eastop, Anthony Halstead, Dave Lee, Frank Lloyd, Martin Owen and Hugh Seenan. Also featuring bassist Sam Burgess, drummer Martin France and pianist Gwilym Simcock, Britain’s 2007 Jazz Musician of the Year, Give It One covers the jazz spectrum with a dazzling array of standards and new compositions. Highlights include the sultry Not Like This, Richard Bissill’s irresistible Fat Belly Blues, a sophisticated arrangement of Duke Ellington’s Daydream, Gwilym Simcock’s swinging Blues for Hughie and the delirious title track. The sound recording is excellent and the musicians clearly relish this chance to let their hair down as ‘the world’s first French Horn Big Band’ before getting back to the day job. As conductor of Give It One and Artistic Director of Cala Records, Geoffrey Simon, comments, ‘This CD shows not only that fine French horn players have the versatility and talent to excel in the big band idiom, but that they produce an amazing collective sound, like no big band ever heard before. The music goes from red-hot to velvety cool.’
GET THE BLESSING - ALL IS YES CANDID CACD 78550
This is the award-winning debut album by Bristol based post-jazz rockers, Get The Blessing (formerly known as simply ‘The Blessing’). Formed by drummer Clive Deamer and bassist Jim Barr of trip-hop superstars Portishead, the band take riffs and rhythms from rock and dance music and artfully transform them by means of fiendishly compelling improvisation. The full personnel consists of Jim Barr (basses, vibes), Clive Deamer (drums, percussion), Pete Judge (trumpets, glockenspiel) and Jake McMurchie (saxophones, gong), with guests Adrian Utley (guitar), Tammy Payne (vocals) and Gina Griffin (violin). Get The Blessing’s catchy, rocking tunes and snappy arrangements create a sound that is all their own and All Is Yes, their first album on the Candid label, reveals an eclectic mix of musical influences, including names as diverse as Robert Plant, Roni Size, Portishead and the Super Furry Animals. Moods vary from the pleasantly atmospheric, Eastern-tinged grooves of ‘Loubia’ to intense, driving, punky riffs in tunes such as ‘Bleach Cake’ and the brilliant ‘Thermos’. The nine tracks on the album feature a unique post-jazz fusion in which individual virtuosity combines with a wonderful communal understanding and spirit of exploration to produce inventive and joyful music from one of the most exciting new bands around. ‘Gloriously powerful’ - BBC Music Magazine.
MOMENTO LATINO – CLAUDIA CARBO CC BEE MUSIC
Claudia Carbo is a German-Peruvian jazz singer with an international scope. Known for unusual phrasing and arrangements, she sings mostly classic jazz of the forties and the complete spectrum of Latin jazz. A trained journalist, she lives in Wiesbaden and started her music career in 1997, gradually gathering an international following with her elegant, sultry music and bewitching stage appearances at jazz clubs throughout Europe. This new CD features Tanbos, Boleros and Bossa Novas, sung in their original versions, as Claudia Carbo creates a brilliant cross over of Jazz and Latin Rhythms. She is accompanied by the accomplished Argentinian percussionist Daniel Gioia, Carlos Mieres on the guitar and on the E-Bass is the versatile musician from Zurich, Thomy Jordi. The music includes songs by Roberto Capó, Alvaro Carrillo, Tony Bennett (What a Difference a Day Makes), Antonio C. Jobim (Outra Vez), Alván A. Flores and Ernesto Duarte. Claudia Carbo has a fine, versatile voice that combines passion with a delightfully seductive sound. Highly recommended.
GREAT BRITISH JAZZ: JUST ABOUT AS GOOD AS IT GETS SMITH & CO SCCD1143
Jazz in Britain began with a British Variety Theatres tour of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1919. During the 1920s and 30s, most British jazz musicians made their living in dance bands but jazz really came into its own during the Second World War when bands entertained the troops and American musicians such as alto-saxophonist Art Pepper toured in military bands. The future leading was among the visiting American musicians at this time. This increased interest in jazz continued after the war and led to a revivalist movement which became popular in the 1950s and was represented by musicians like Ken Colyer, Chris Barber, George Webb and Humphrey Lyttelton. This excellent double CD is the definitive collection of Great British Jazz recordings from the immediate post war period up to 1958, featuring all the major players of the era, including legends such as Acker Bilk, Alex Welsh, Cy Laurie, George Melly, Mick Mulligan, Terry Lightfoot, Humphrey Lyttelton, Chris Barber and Ken Colyer. It is one of four new collections in the ‘As good As It Gets’ series – others being devoted to the work of Ken Colyer, Chris Barber and the great Humphrey Lyttelton. These albums are a well-deserved celebration of some of the most vivacious and exciting music this country has ever produced. Highly recommended.
THEO TRAVIS – DOUBLE TALK 33JAZZ 166
The London-based saxophonist and composer Theo Travis has made a name for himself on the British jazz scene for his virtuosity and soulful style as well as his fine compositions. Born in Birmingham in 1964, he studied flute and saxophone at the University of Manchester whilst playing in jazz and rock bands. He has worked with Gong, Porcupine Tree, The Tangent, Bass Communion, No-Man, David Sylvian, Burnt Friedman and Dave and Richard Sinclair, Cipher, and Soft Machine Legacy, a project based on personnel and works of the revered progressive band Soft Machine. This new CD is his eighth solo album and features Travis on tenor and soprano saxophones as well as wah-wah sax, plus flute, alto flute and clarinets. The eight tracks demonstrate the broad range of music performed by this virtuoso musician together with his new band, which also features the soulful hammond organ of Pete Whittaker, guitarist Mike Outram and the subtle drums and percussion of Roy Dodds. Special guest Robert Fripp, the legendary King Crimson guitarist, also plays on three of the tracks. The music is influenced by Theo Travis’s former collaborators Palle Mikkelborg, Soft Machine Legacy and Gong as well as by late 1960s British psychadelia, the Blue Note label and progressive jazz. The music starts from melody, but is bluesy and atmospheric incorporating multi-layers of flutes and saxes improvised live using Travis’ unique system of ambitronics. On tracks like the epic Oblivionville and The Endless Search Travis’ layered flutes and clarinets blend perfectly with the guitar soundscapes of Robert Fripp. This is swashbuckling yet cultivated music played by one of the country’s most compelling performers. ‘Travis’ tenor sax solo bordered on the superhuman in its barely contained passion; its virtuosity and its flow of ideas’ - BBC Music Magazine.
PULL MY DAISY AND OTHER JAZZ CLASSICS BRIDGE 9234
Only one Jack Kerouac novel, The Subterraneans, was adapted for the screen during his lifetime but in 1959 he wrote and narrated a short documentary film called Pull My Daisy, telling of a railroad brakeman whose bohemian friends embarrass him when the bishop comes to visit. The film featured poets Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, artist Larry Rivers and other Beat figures, and Kerouac based the story on a real incident that happened to his friends Neal and Carolyn Cassady. Originally intended to be called ‘The Beat Generation’ the title was taken from the poem of the same name written by Kerouac, Ginsberg and Neal Cassady over the 40s and 50s. Part of the original poem was was used as a lyric in the jazz composition played when the film opens. Another Kerouac friend, David Amram, appeared in Pull My Daisy and wrote its jazz score. Amram had met Kerouac two years before On the Road was published and they did their first-ever jazz/poetry reading together in New York City in 1957. The excitement of that collaboration led to the film Pull My Daisy and the title track on this new CD. These live performances from the late 80s are led by composer/performer David Amram - scat-singing and playing piano, congas, flutes, french horn, cowbell, penny whistles, claves and percussion. The other musicians featured on this entertaining and unusual album are the brilliant guitarist Vic Juris, bassist Victor Venegas, drummer Akiro Tana and saxophonist Paquitode d’Rivera. Compositions are by Thelonious Monk (Blue Monk), Sonny Rollins (Saint Thomas), Gershwin (Summertime) and Amram (including a fine arrangemant of the traditional Red River Valley).
KEEP IT TO YOURSELF – GEOFF GASCOYNE CANDID CCD 79798
Ronnie Scott's club favourite Geoff Gascoyne is one of the UK’s most acclaimed bass players (both electric and acoustic), best known for his work as part of Jamie Cullum’s group, as well as for his performances with Everything But The Girl, Guy Barker and Georgie Fame. Keep It To Yourself is his latest album, with fifteen tracks that include original compositions as well as new arrangements of classic tunes. The album not only features Geoff Gascoyne’s skills as an acoustic bass player, but also showcases his talents as a composer, arranger and band leader. Highlights include Mose Allison’s Somebody’s Gotta Move, the splendidly swinging title track and arrangements of the Beach Boys’ God Only Knows (with strings) and the theme from Steven Spielberg’s film ‘The Terminal’. There are special guest appearances by Jamie Cullum, who also supplies the liner notes, and the legendary Georgie Fame, as well as by Gascoyne’s Australian wife, Trudy Kerr (a lovely interpretation of the standard, All My Tomorrows). The album also features other fine talents on the UK jazz scene such as the outstanding Tom Cawley (piano), Sebastiaan de Krom (drums), Martin Shaw (trumpet and flugel horn) and Steve Kaldestad (tenor and alto saxophone), as well as the Gavin Wright String Quartet. This is an album of assured and relaxed music that is highly recommended.
GOOD RAIN – SOLVEIG SLETTAHJELL/SMQ ACT 9713-2
The bewitching Norwegian singer Solveig Slettahjell (pronounced Sul-vay Shlet-i-yell) has been one of the most celebrated jazz singers in her native country for some time and and is now gaining a wider audience abroad, especially in the UK. Born in Bærum near Oslo in 1971, her father was a pastor and she sang in choirs from the age of seven, later accompanying youth and gospel choirs on the piano. She also sang and played her own arrangements of hymns, spirituals and Norwegian folk songs, and started writing her own compositions. After studying music at the Oslo Music Conservatoire, where she met her teacher Sidsel Endresen, she began her career by mixing country, jazz standards and folk music with songs by Prince or Tom Waits. In 2005 she won the Spellemannsprisen, the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy, for her second album ‘Silver’ and has been gaining a rapidly increasing reputation with her distinctive brand of cool jazz vocals. Slow Motion Quintet was a very conscious choice of name for the band: ‘It is literally like slow motion in the movies. Suddenly details in the music become apparent and the relationship between certain details become clearer and stronger’. The songs on Good Rain are mostly written by the excellent SMQ, who also include Sjur Miljeteig on trumpet, Morten Qvenild on piano, Mats Eilertsen on bass and Per Oddvar Johansen on drums. Standout tracks include Where do you run to, Don`t look back, the anthemic My oh my, Another day, the brilliant We were Indians, the title track, and The moon (with words by Emily Dickinson). Solveig Slettahjell’s haunting, sexy voice has a rare purity as she sings seductively of love, loss, grief, hope and good fortune. Highly recommended. ‘Solveig Slettahjell has succeeded in doing to jazz what James Joyce did to the genre of coming-of-age novels; she’s ripped up the form and started again’ - Observer Music Monthly.
GATEWAY TO VIENNA - WESTON/EDWARDS/SANDERS EMANEM 4214
In live and studio recordings, the British trio of Veryan Weston (piano), John Edwards (double bass) and Mark Sanders (percussion) play freely improvised music that is both jazzy and meditative. ‘Each person’s playing makes all play, and the collective playing creates the stakes in this game. Playing and making play. Playing the game means being faithful to what is at stake but also discarding - digressing and stepping aside. The game is to make others play.’ The resulting sounds are adventurous and unique, especially in the percussion department (Mark Sanders uses, among other sources, sheet-iron, sticks and piles of logs). Weston’s often inspired piano (influenced by Cecil Taylor and Thelonious Monk) is suitably complemented by the inventive bass-playing of John Edwards. The two extended live recordings on the second of this double CD set were made in Vienna in 2002 and show the trio at their challenging best. Disc one features shorter improvisations recorded at Gateway Studios in London in December 2003.
INTERNAL EXTERNAL - AYELET ROSE GOTTLIEB GENEVIEVE RECORDS GR 30602
This is Israeli-born vocalist/composer Ayelet Rose Gottlieb’s adventurous debut CD, chosen by All About Jazz as the ‘Best Debut CD of 2004’. The 25-year old’s original compositions represent a range of musical approaches, including free improvisations inspired by her explorations of colour and sound to robust compositions infused with Middle Eastern sounds and erotic Biblical texts. The covers include Ornette Coleman’s ‘Peace’ and Charles Mingus’ ‘Portrait’, but the Ayelet Rose Gottlieb is perhaps strongest when interpreting the exoticism of her own work. Her remarkable voice is a provocative instrument used to explore her unusual heritage and influences in ways that are both wonderfully surprising and compelling. Ayelet Rose Gottlieb is joined by Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Matana Roberts (alto sax), Shahar Levavi (guitar), Matt Mitchell (piano), Ed Schuller (bass) and Bob Meyers (drums).
SIMPLY JAZZ UNION SQUARE RECORDS SIMPLYCD001
This superb four CD collection showcases some of the biggest names in jazz, including Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz and George Shearing. The first disc - Cool Summer Jazz - features such performers as the fashionable Jamie Cullum, tenorist Zoot Sims, the brilliant Stan Getz (And The Angels Swing), Clark Terry and alto master Lee Konitz. The second disc, Jazzin’ The Blues, has 18 tracks by the likes of Lester Young (with no less than Count Basie on piano), Jimmy Rushing, Otis Spann, Joe Williams (Everyday I Have The Blues) and the white blues singer Doc Pomus. Disc three includes Miles Davis (Little Willie Leaps, with Charlie Parker), Cannonball Adderley, Dexter Gordon, tenor virtuoso Sonny Stitt, the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker (Billie’s Bounce) and the Modern Jazz Quartet. The fourth disc, Jazz After Dark, features seductive music by Clare Teal (Billie Holiday’s You’re My Thrill), Stacey Kent (All Too Soon), the magnificent Big Maybelle (Irving Berlin’s Say It Isn’t So), guitarist Kenny Burrell and the wonderfully melodic cornet player Ruby Braff.
LES PAUL & MARY FORD - THIS IS GOLD DISKY HR 902611
Before Les Paul began recording his distinctive multi-layered hits for the pop music market, he made his name as an outstanding jazz guitarist, influenced by Django Reinhardt but with a smooth, virtuoso style that was all his own. Even the popular hits of the late 1940s and early 50s show a decidedly jazz/blues sensibility. His pioneering use of the electric guitar and multitrack recording with various electronic effects subsequently influenced such jazz musicians as George Benson, Al DiMeola, Stanley Jordan, Pat Martino and Bucky Pizzarelli. In 1948, he teamed up with his future second wife, a country singer and guitarist called Colleen Summers (soon renamed Mary Ford), and recorded a series of multi-layered hits for Capitol. This great value 3-CD set features 54 of these recordings, including How High the Moon, Tiger Rag, Whispering, Lover and Runnin’ Wild. Between 1953 and 1960, Paul and Ford had their own television program, The Les Paul and Mary Ford at Home Show, and recorded together until they divorced in 1964. The Wizard of Waukesha went into semi-retirement from music in 1967 and Mary Ford died 1977, aged only 49, but these inimitable tracks are a monument to their unique sound.
PEGGY LEE - SIMPLY THE BEST DISKY DO 901973
Peggy Lee was born Norma Deloris Egstrom in 1920 in Jamestown, North Dakota, and became one of the most popular singers of her generation. As well as being a singer and songwriter she was also a fine actress, appearing on film in Mr. Music (with Bing Crosby) and Pete Kelly’s Blues (in which she was nominated for an Oscar). She also contributed to the score and soundtrack of Disney’s cartoon feature, Lady and the Tramp. After joining Benny Goodman in 1941 she enjoyed hits such as I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good, Blues in the Night and Somebody Else Is Taking My Place, before leaving to marry the guitarist Dave Barbour. After a brief retirement she began recording for Capitol (1945-52) and it’s mostly her recordings from those years that are included on this excellent value double CD. The 40 tracks include It’s A Good Day and Mañana (number one in 1948), both of which she wrote with Barbour. Other top ten hits include Golden Earrings and The Old Master Painter (an immaculate duet with Mel Tormé). The opening track is her smooth Decca recording of Black Coffee, with Jimmy Rowles and Pete Candoli in the band (the latter as ‘Cootie Chesterfield’). ‘Her wonderful talent should be studied by all vocalists; her regal presence is pure elegance and charm’ - Frank Sinatra.
KATHLEEN WILLISON - CLOSE TO YOU BASHO RECORDS SRCD 8-2
Singer Kathleen Willison and award-winning pianist Gwilym Simcock first met at the Royal Academy of Music whilst studying there on the Bmus undergraduate jazz course. The renowned tenor saxophonist Tim Whitehead invited Kathleen Willison to ‘sit-in’ with him at the 606 Jazz Club and was so impressed that he asked her to work with him as a regular member of his quintet and sextet. Gwilym Simcock was later picked to join his New Standards Quartet, quintet and sextet, TW6. The trio have worked together in different capacities for more than three years and can be found performing on this highly enjoyable album, featuring an astute mix of standards such as Bacharach’s Close To You and Falling in Love With Love by Richard Rodgers, as well as several attractive original compositions. This accomplished CD fits right in with the current vogue for accessible yet sophisticated jazz music. ‘the brilliant Gwilym Simcock, one of the great new discoveries of the London scene’ - BBC Radio 2. ‘Kathleen Willison...handles jazz and classical scores with equal conviction’ - The Guardian.
FABIEN DEGRYSE - JAZZ AZETO AZ 1002
Belgian virtuoso Fabien Degryse began playing the guitar at the age of 10 and gave his first concerts in his early teens. A graduate of Berklee School of Music, he has played with Toots Thielmans, Philip Catherine and Calvin Owens, and is now established as one of Europe’s leading jazz guitarists, specialising in a sophisticated fusion style that winningly combines jazz, rock and hip hop with European folk music. This latest album contains 10 tracks written by Fabien Degryse, including Day By Day, Arlequin, Traffic Jam, The Long White Haired Man, Pretty Nat, Un Soir D'hiver and Petite Annonce. As well as the brilliant Degryse on steel string guitar, the other musicians featured on the album are Jozef Dumoulin (keyboards), Roman Korolik (electric bass) and Laurent Mercier (drums). ‘A completely personal jazz-rock’n’roll’ - Le Soir.
THE-OUT-OF-TOWNERS ECM 981 9610
This live recording, made at the State opera in Munich, captures vital performances by the outstanding trio of Keith Jarrett (piano), Gary Peacock (double-bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums). The outstanding 19-minute title track is an original, blues-based composition by Jarrett that features his eloquent piano playing as well as a wonderful solo by Gary Peacock. Other tracks include a sublime Keith Jarrett intro to the Billie Holiday/Frank Sinatra standard I Can’t Believe That You’re In love With Me, Gerry Mulligan’s swinging Five Brothers, You've Changed, an engaging version of Cole Porter's I Love You, and a solo encore by Jarrett of the classic It's All In The Game. The atmosphere of a great gig by ‘the Standards trio’, who have been playing together for more than 20 years, is brilliantly captured on this exhilarating album. ‘This trio sets the standard of performance for all others on the scene’ - Downbeat.
MILES DAVIS PLAYS IT COOL UNION SQUARE RECORDS METRO METRCD140
The legendary Miles Davis, born in1926 in Alton, Illinois, was a phenomenally talented and influential trumpet player as well as an innovative bandleader and composer. When he was eighteen, he studied at the Julliard School of Music in New York but dropped out to join the city’s exciting jazz scene. After playing with with Coleman Hawkins and Rubberlegs Williams, Davis replaced Dizzy Gillespie in the leading modern jazz ensemble of its day, the Charlie Parker group. He became not only a formidable bop player but also the founder of a new school of trumpet playing, as revealed in these 22 classic recordings from the trumpeter’s formative years (1945-48) when he learned to play bop and learned to play it cool. Outstanding tracks include Yardbird Suite (with Davis on cup mute), Parker’s riff blues Buzzy, a powerhouse version of The Hymn, Scrapple From The Apple, the leisurely Quasimado and Steeplechase (one of Davis’s last recordings with the Charlie Parker group in 1948).
FATS WALLER - THE CENTENNIAL COLLECTION BLUEBIRD 82876599522
A true giant of early recorded music, the legendary pianist/vocalist Thomas Wright ‘Fats’ Waller was born in New York City in 1904 and learned to play the organ at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. He obtained a used piano at age of six and by 1915 was regarded as a professional. In his teenage years he played theatre organ backgrounds for silent movies and began recording in 1922. During the 1930s he enjoyed stardom on the radio and in nightclubs, toured Europe, and came to dominate the worlds of jazz and popular music. He scored numerous hits, appeared in many films, and pened Broadway musicals. Over an incredibly productive career, ‘Fats’ Waller recorded over 500 titles but sadly, he died suddenly and unexpectedly of bronchial pneumonia at the age of 39 on board a train near Kansas City, Missouri in 1943. Bluebird’s excellent Centennial Collection tribute celebrates Waller’s 100th birthday with a unique CD/DVD set. The CD showcases Waller’s greatest recordings, from his extraordinary piano solos and playing the blues to his exceptional songwriting and edgy vocal satire. All the tracks have been scrupulously remastered in 24-bit sound. A bonus DVD offers a rarely seen cartoon, performance footage, and promotional film shorts known as ‘soundies’.
THE ESSENTIAL CHARLIE PARKER UNION SQUARE RECORDS METRO METRDCD531
Charles Christopher ‘Bird’ Parker, Jr. was born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1920. By the age of 17 he was playing with Jay McShann and after moving to New York City, he played alto sax with Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines, Cootie Williams, Billy Eckstine and Dizzy Gillespie. He also played tenor sax, doubled on clarinet and experimented on practically every brass and woodwind known. During a short life of 34 years, his musical genius was phenomenally innovative and influential. The definitive recordings on this fine double album represent, session by session, 40 tracks from Parker’s most vital years when he was making music at the cutting edge of 1940s modernism that continues to inspire and dazzle each new generation of musician and listener. Among the other featured players are Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Curly Russell (bass), Erroll Garner (piano), Barney Kessel (guitar) and Max Roach (drums). Outstanding tracks include Ko-Ko (the tune that almost single-handedly gave rise to bebop), Ornithology, a tremendous version of A Night In Tunisia, Cheryl (an elegant blues), How Deep Is The Ocean? and the brilliant Bird Gets The Worm. This is a great album for Parker fans and makes a perfect introduction for anyone new to the music.
CLAIRE MARTIN BOX SET LINN AKD 123
Born in Wimbledon in 1967, Claire Martin studied singing and dancing and formed her first music quartet at the age of 21. In 1991 she was discovered at the Pizza on the Park by Linn Records producer Phil Hobbs, and was soon acclaimed as the outstanding new British voice of the decade. Her 1992 debut album, The Waiting Game, was chosen as one of the Times records of the year and is included in this fine triple-CD box set. In 1994, Claire Martin received the Rising Star award at the British Jazz awards and by the following year had produced three more critically acclaimed albums as well as making her American debut with sell-out shows in Washington DC. She won the Best Vocalist Award at the British Jazz Awards and took her group to Ronnie Scott's Club to make her first live album, Offbeat, which featured guest appearances by Martin Taylor, Mark Nightingale and Anthony Kerr. This album is also included here, as is the excellent Devil May Care. ‘In an era when young jazz singers tend to sound far too much like their idols, there is no mistaking the voice of Claire Martin who combines a cool, burnished tone with the ear of a born musician’ - New York Times. ‘Talented and hip beyond her years....the most exciting jazz star to soar to my attention in a decade’ - The New York Observer.
THE LULU WEISS ENSEMBLE K& K JAZZ SERIES
These three atmospheric albums capture lively performances by the legendary gypsy-jazz-guitarist Lulu Weiss and his quartets. The first disc, Guitares & Gitanes (ISBN 3-930643-34-0), features standards such as What Is This Thing Called Love, Some Of These Days and All Of Me, as well as more gypsy-influenced tracks such as Csárdás and Zwing Waltz. The second disc, Petit Noir (ISBN 3-930643-36-7), includes On the sunny side of the street, Day by day; I can´t give you anything but love, I´ll see you in my dreams, and Days of wine and roses. Disc 3, Allez Hopp (ISBN 3-930643-50-2), has Blue Day, Almost like being in love, the evergreen Stardust and Django Reinhardt’s composition, Tears. The featured musicians are Lulu Weiss and Caruso Lehmann (guitars), Rudi Haag (violin), Ringo Haag (piano) and Hugo Haag (bass). ‘Gypsy jazz guitarist Lulu Weiss swings like there's no tomorrow. The sum is a driving, rollicking sound that is more rootsy and grounded in traditional gypsy music than anything recorded by Django Reinhardt and his famous Hot Club’ - Vintage Guitar Magazine.
THE ESSENTIAL GLENN MILLER UNION SQUARE RECORDS METRO METRDCD505
Alton Glenn Miller, born in 1904 in Clarinda, South Iowa, received at the age of eleven a mandolin that he later swapped for an old trombone. After college, he worked with such luminaries as Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa and British bandleader Ray Noble, but it was 1936 before he decided to form his own band. This became without doubt the most popular American band in the UK, and still has a huge following. From the spring of 1939 to the fall of 1943 he dominated popular music with an astonishing 61 top ten hits. To watch either of the Miller Bands was a thrill, particularly the Army Air Corps Orchestra which made many morale-boosting broadcasts from London for the BBC during the war. These two CDs feature all the best of Glenn Miller’s hugely successful ‘civilian’ band, including the multi-million selling hits, as well as his great Glenn Miller Army Air Corps Band. Unforgettable music.
JO STAFFORD - MEET JO STAFFORD SEPIA 1014
Jo Stafford was the biggest selling female artist in post-war America. From 1944 to 1954 she had sixty seven Top 30 hits as a solo performer, another ten hits with Gordon MacRae and a further eight with Frankie Laine. As Darlene Edwards (her alter-ego) she satirised emerging musical trends by hilariously singing a half-tone sharp. Blessed with perfect pitch and control, she was one of the most versatile singer of the period, recording pop songs, show tunes, standards, country, folk and religious music. This album features her impeccable versions of 25 songs, many making their first appearance on CD. It’s one of an excellent value series of nostalgic issues on the Sepia Records label (www.sepiarecords.com). Among the other celebrated artists are Doris Day (SEPIA 1000), the Andrews Sisters (SEPIA 1020), Billy Daniels (SEPIA 1017) and Billy Eckstine (SEPIA 1019).
THE ESSENTIAL BILLIE HOLIDAY UNION SQUARE RECORDS METRO METRCD098
Billie Holiday was possibly the greatest ever jazz singer and her life was full of conflict and contradictions. Brought up a staunch Catholic, she was - in the words of Catholic priest and Holiday enthusiast Peter O’Brien - a woman ‘filled with a kind of joy of living and on the other hand tortured and disturbed.’ Although unschooled in music she who produced work of great sophistication, much of which is included on this fine album. The 24 songs date from her classic period, 1934-1949, and include such gems as Lover Man, You're My Thrill, God Bless The Child, That Ole Devil Called Love, the wonderfully playful Mean To Me (with Lester Young), I’ll Get By and her still-provocative version of Strange Fruit.
HEART OF THE SUN - THEO TRAVIS 33 RECORDS 33JAZZ063.
The first studio album for five years by the brilliant saxophonist Theo Travis features seven of his own highly melodic compositions, including the epic and moody Bass Rock. Other outstanding tracks include the haunting Northern Lights and a fine arrangement of the standard Here’s That Rainy Day. As well as Travis on tenor, Heart Of The Sun features outstanding work by David Gordon (piano and Hammond organ), Andy Hamill and Stefan Weeke (double bass), Mark Wood (guitar), Daevid Allen (glissando guitar), Stewart Curtis (clarinet), Marc Parnell and Bjorn Lucker (drums) and the acclaimed Danish trumpeter, Palle Mikkelborg. ‘An exceedingly rich and atmospheric album’ - BBC Music Magazine.
ONE WHO WHISPERS - CIPHER GLISS RECORDS GLISSCD 007.
Cipher an ambient electronic project by the saxophonist/flautist Theo Travis and bassist/sound designer Dave Sturt. This adventurous and beguiling album ingeniously mixes live flute, sax and bass with dark soundscapes and hypnotic layers of looped instrumental atmospheres to produce uniquely original music. Also featured in this inspired recording, co-produced by Steven Wilson, are Daevid Allen (glissando guitar) and Richard Barbieri (keyboard, electronics). ‘A brave and restless talent to watch for’ - MOJO.
RESPONSORIUM - DINO SALUZZI ECM 017 069-2
Following the critically praised ‘Cité de la Musique’, Argentinian bandoneonist Dino Saluzzi and his guitarist son José are joined by one of the great figures of European modern jazz, the Swedish double-bass player Palle Danielsson. These three gifted musicians explore the intriguing structures of Saluzzi's compositions, stylishly embellishing songs filled of yearning and sadness and hope. Tracks include A mi hermano Celso; Mónica; Responso por la muerte de Cruz; Dele..., Don!!; Reprise: Los hijos de Fierro; La pequeña historia de...!; Cuchara; Vienen del sur los recuerdos; Pampeana ‘Mapu’. A beguiling blend of jazz, South American sounds and European chamber music.
TERRA NOSTRA - SAVINA YANNATOU ECM 067 172-2
The expressive Greek singer Savina Yannatou and her band Primavera en Salonico play exciting, colourful and innovative music that combines folk songs with flowing improvisation. The performers on this recording are Savina Yannatou (voice), Lamia Bedioui (voice), Lefteris Ahgouridakis (percussion), Yannis Alexandris (oud, guitar, tamboura), Kostas Vomvolos (Kanoun, accordion, caliba, tamboura), Kyriakos Gouventas (violin), Haris Lambrakis (nay), Michalis Siganidis (double-bass), Antonis Maratos (percussion) and Tassos Misyrlis (cello). Tracks include With the moon I'm walking; Ivan Nadõnka Dúmashe; A Fairy's Love Song; Ballo sardo; El Barquero; No Seas Capritchioza; Chant Des Belles Mères; I've told you and I say again; Los Bilbilicos, Hey het; Ah Mon Dié.
WHERE IS THE CHET... K&K ISBN 3-930643085-5.
The stimulating Torbjørn Sunde Octet perform a variety of music, including jazz standards such as Cole Porter’s Love For Sale and Gershwin’s But Not For Me. The talented group consists of Torbjørn Sunde (vocal & trombone), Jon Eberson (guitar) Jens P. Antonsen (flügelhorn & trumpet), Morten Halle (flute & tenor saxophone), Håvard Lund (bass clarinet), Rob Waring (vibraphone), Trude Eick (french horn) and Aslak Hartberg (acoustic bass). Torbjørn Sunde is one of Scandinavia’s top jazz trombonists and has worked with Rickie Lee Jones, Randy Crawford, Dr. John and Jan Gabarek.
JAQUES LOUSSIER TRIO - HANDEL TELARC CD83544.
The Jacques Loussier Trio was formed in the late 1950s and toured extensively, playing tastefully swinging versions of the classics, especially Bach, and selling over six million albums. The Trio reformed in 1985 with two new members and on this latest recording, composer/pianist Loussier, bassist Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac and drummer Andre Arpino play vibrantly joyful versions of two Handel masterworks: Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks. Also featured is the Passacaglia from Suite No. 7 in G Minor. Much of this music will be familiar to many listeners but Loussier skilfully maintains the essence of the composer’s intentions whilst bringing fresh improvisation to his brilliant arrangements, using colour and rhythm to recast them in his unique swinging style.
QUIRKY - PETE MITCHELL QUARTET MOVE MCD 224.
This is the debut album features the up and coming young Melbourne saxophonist Pete Mitchell, together with his quartet and guest musicians, playing ten original compositions varying in style, mood and tempo. All but one track composed by Mitchell himself, the styles ranging from groove oriented funky jazz and a beautiful ballad with delicate improvisations, through haunting atmospheric, to easy listening modern jazz with often a comical quirky twist. Playing soprano, alto and baritone saxophones (even two at once on occasion), Pete Mitchell is supported by some of Melbourne's leading musicians, including the guitar work of Jack Pantazis, the creative drummer Michael Rochford and the smooth tone of Andrew Albanis on double bass.
SAX SUMMIT - PHIL DWYER CBC TRCD 3001.
This exhilarating CD is the first in a new jazz sub-label series from CBC and celebrates that quintessential jazz instrument, the saxophone. Music director Phil Dwyer, a brilliant tenor and soprano saxophonist, has brought together an outstanding collection of musicians for this live studio recording. Among those present are the fine young tenor sax player Seamus Blake, the award-winning Mike Murley and P J Perry, the prolific Yannick Rieu and Perry White, whose experience ranges from working with Shuffle Demons to recording jazz scores for TV and radio. The assured rhythm section consists of Mark Eisenman (piano), Neil Swainson (bass) and Terry Clarke (drums).
ART TATUM - ON THE SUNNY SIDE TOPAZ TPZ 1066.
These recordings date from 1944-45 and show Art tatum at his best. The child prodigy became an adult genius and his subsequent contribution to jazz is inestimable. This mastery CD contains ten tracks with his trio and twelve solos, all with that phenomenal flair and supreme musicianship. Tracks include I Know The Man I Love, Dark Eyes, Body and Soul, On the Sunny Side of the Street, It Had to Be You, If I Had You, Poor Butterfly, Runnin' Wild and Yesterdays.
RIVER STORY - TONY GOULD/PETER PETRUCCI MOVE MD3221.
Peter Petrucci, the young Australian guitarist virtuoso and composer, joins pianist Tony Gould to play an enjoyable mix of original pieces and standards. The performances are splendidly spontaneous and the tracks include Goodby Michel (Tony Gould), Some other time, My favourite things, and River story (Peter Petrucci). ‘It is almost impossible to concentrate on the technical mastery of these songs because of the way the spirits and emotions are lifted into the realms of pure enjoyment - Canberra Times.
MESSAGE FROM THE PAST - PETER PETRUCCI MOVE MD3213.
Guitarist Peter Petrucci plays with refinement and fluency, whether in contemporary jazz form or in free improvisation. He is joined here by Nick Haywood on acoustic bass and a fine new talent on drums, Tony Floyd, who has played a season at London’s Ronnie Scott's Club. Tracks include Message from the past (Petrucci), There comes a time (Petrucci) and Giant Steps (John Coltrane). ‘Petrucci impresses ... his carefully modulated, sometimes mournful sound possessing a slow, crystalline beauty - The Drum Media.
FROM WITHIN - TONY GOULD/ PETER PETRUCCI MOVE MD3256.
Peter Petrucci produces many colours and melodic textures in touching renditions of jazz standards as well as more avant garde pieces. He performs here with Tony Gould, the Melbourne born musician known and admired in both classical and jazz music circles. Highlights include Have You Met Miss Jones (Rodgers and Hart), From Within (Gould/Petrucci), Coral (Keith Jarrett) and Bye Bye Baby (Jule Styne).
THE LAST WILL & TESTAMENT - JOHN SANGSTER MOVE MD3255.
This assured album is a fitting musical tribute to one of Australia's unsung heroes of jazz by some of that country's top performers. The music was written when John Sangster knew he was on borrowed time yet the tracks portray no inkling of self pity. The old humour, optimism, and the knowledge that he had given life a hell of a shake anyway shines through, and there is a refreshing honesty about all of them. The brilliant musicians include Jim McLeoud, Ian Bloxsom, Tony Gould, Graeme Lyall, Len Barnard, Neale Sandbach and Tom Baker. ‘Every track has a sunny, swinging mien and genre-blending originality that stamps it as not just fine jazz but classic Australian jazz’ - Herald Sun.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS, VOL. I - JOHN SANGSTER MOVE MD 3251.
Move are releasing the fine Australian jazz and film composer John Sangster’s complete Lord of the Rings trilogy, recorded in 1975, together with an equally rare fourth double-LP set, Landscapes of Middle Earth. Not to be confused with Howard Shore's soundtrack to the recent film, this trilogy is wholly Australian and was originally released on three double-LP sets by EMI. John Sangster music is highly ambitious and this epic production juxtaposes ragtime, big band and evocative soundtrack-like creations to portray the many characters and events that inhabit Middle Earth. This double CD also has extras such as the original LP artwork (computer PDF files) and rare video footage of John Sangster in action. Essential listening for fans of Australian jazz or Tolkien. ‘Some of the most important music to come out of Australia as it shows the way out for the impasse modern classical music finds itself in, and it gives new direction to jazz’ - Roger Bell, Australian jazz legend.
BUDDY COLLETTE BIG BAND IN CONCERT BRIDGE 9096.
The exciting music of William 'Buddy' Collette is played here by the Buddy Collette Big Band, recorded in concert at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, DC. The dazzling compositions featured on this CD are Magali, André, Mr. and Mrs. Goodbye, Blues Number Four, Jazz by the Bay, Blues in Torrance, Point Fermin from ‘Friendships Suite’ and Buddy Boo. The formidaby talented band includes Steven Carr and Ann E. Patterson (woodwinds) Les Benedict and George R. Bohanon (trombones), Albert N. Aarons and Ronald Barrows (trumpets), Gerald Wiggins, Sr. (piano) and the great Chico Hamilton (drums).