There is a lot of excellent
music out there to help us through these difficult and strange times, and I am
grateful for it. Here are some brief notes on a few new jazz releases you might
want to check out.
Dave Askren/Jeff Benedict: “Paraphernalia: Music Of Wayne Shorter”
– Well, the album’s title should tell you basically everything you need to
know. This disc finds guitarist Dave Askren and saxophonist Jeff Benedict
celebrating the music of one of jazz’s greatest composers, Wayne Shorter. Many
of Shorter’s compositions have become jazz standards, and the tracks chosen for
this release will likely be familiar to most people. Some information on each
of the choices is provided in the disc’s liner notes. Wayne Shorter, in
addition to being an excellent and respected composer, is an incredibly
talented saxophonist. Jonathan Pintoff is on bass, and Chris Garcia is on
percussion. However, there are two tracks on this album that Dave and Jeff
perform as a duo – “Miyako” and “Infant Eyes.” Possibly my favorite track,
however, is “Mahjong” (though I also totally love the funky groove of the
album’s title track). Scheduled to be released on May 1, 2020.
Vito Dieterle: “Anemone” – Saxophonist Vito Dieterlo released two
albums on March 1st, one of them a collaborative effort with pianist Joel
Forrester titled Status Sphere. The
other, Anemone, finds him performing
in a quartet with Kris Kaiser on guitar, Ben Paterson on organ, and Aaron
Seeber on drums. The album opens with a delightful rendition of Cole Porter’s
“Dream Dancing,” and also features material by both Tommy Turrentine (a fun,
breezy rendition of “You Said It”) and Stanley Turrentine (a cool, lively
version of “Minor Chant”), as well as compositions by Billy Strayhorn, Dizzy
Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Jule Styne. There is also one original
composition, the album’s title track, which is a pretty and somewhat mellow
number, a saxophone/guitar duet. This album was released on March 1, 2020.
J.C. Hopkins Biggish Band: “New York Moment” – From the moment the
first track of this album begins, I am completely on board. There is joy to the
playing, to the singing. The album swings and pops on some tracks, warms us on
others, and what is more, it features mostly original material, written or
co-written by pianist J.C. Hopkins. Yes, that’s right, we have some delicious
new big band (sorry, biggish band) songs to move us, to keep us going, to make
us smile. I am especially fond of “One Of Those Days,” which has a wonderful
humor to it. This disc features five different vocalists, each with a distinct
style, each with something special to deliver. How can you help but be pulled
in by the sensuous singing on “The Wonderful Things To Come”? The album’s only
cover, a lively rendition of Charles Mingus’ “Better Git It In Your Soul,” is
also the album’s only instrumental number, and it features some absolutely
fantastic work on saxophone and the other horns. Scheduled to be released on
April 5, 2020.
The Lost Melody: “New Songs For Old Souls” – The Lost Melody is the
talented trio of Joe Davidian on piano, Jamie Ousley on bass, and Austin
McMahon on drums. This album features all original material, with each of the
three members contributing compositions. There is a lot of joy and warmth to
their playing, and it transfers to the listener. The first time I put this disc
on, I was feeling seriously stressed out because of the daunting financial
troubles I will face if work doesn’t resume within two months, and this music
had me smiling in short order. What more can we ask for? Highlights for me
include “Leaving Montserrat,” “Won’t You Sing This Song For Me?” and “A Sea Of
Voices.” Scheduled to be released on May 1, 2020.
Paul Shaw Quintet: “Moment Of Clarity” – Paul Shaw is a drummer
known for his work with Inside Out and The Swing Association. Moment Of Clarity is his first album as
a band leader, and it showcases his writing talent as well as his skill on
drums. All of the tracks on this album were composed by Paul Shaw. Joining him
are Alex Sipiagin on trumpet, Brad Shepik on guitar, Gary Versace on piano, and
Drew Gress on acoustic bass. The music here is exciting at times, and features
excellent work from all five players. Right from the first track, “Heartland,”
there are some fantastic lead sections, particularly by Alex Sipiagin on
trumpet. One of my personal favorite tracks is “Peekaboo,” in large part
because of the bass, but also because of that great trumpet lead, and of course
because of Paul Shaw’s work on drums, including that cool and expressive solo.
This album was released on March 27, 2020.
I started the music blog to let people know about all the good music that is out there. I only review CDs that I like. (This is partly selfish, as I don't want to listen to music I dislike.) Good Things About Bad Movies is about finding something good even in the worst films.
I created an index, with a list of all of my blog entries, including Shakespeare entries and music reviews, arranged alphabetically by subject. Here is the link: http://michaeldohertyindex.blogspot.com/
My friend Jason and I have a web series, "Grandmother Winsome's Variety Minute," and several episodes are up on You Tube, and also on the Grandmother's Fanny Game blog. What else? I am fascinated by the Marquis De Sade and Elizabeth Bathory. I often make decisions based on the humor factor.