CD Reviews


"Imagina: Songs of Brasil," by Karrin AllysonImagina

Concord Records


By Tom Ineck


Like all great song stylists, Karrin Allyson has instilled in her many fans and friends a sense of personal relationship over the years, a sense that we know her intimately through her music. She brings this intimacy to every performance and every recording. With “Imagina: Songs of Brasil,” her 11th release on the Concord label, she fully indulges a longtime passion and allows us to share that passion.


Allyson first revealed her love for the music of Brazil on her 1992 Concord debut with Jobim’s “Insensatez (How Insensitive).” The following year she recorded “One Note Samba” and “Dindi,” and since then she has added “So Danco Samba,” “Corcovado (Quiet Nights),” “O Pato (The Duck),” “Caracao Vagabundo (My Vagabond Heart)” and others to her growing repertoire. But this is the first time she has devoted an entire project to this intoxicating South American music.


It comes as no surprise that Allyson again has chosen old friends and longtime bandmates to accompany her in the studio. Guitarist Rod Fleeman’s unique nylon-string technique is especially noteworthy, and the solid rhythmic component of drummer Todd Strait has become an essential element of Allyson’s sound. Also prominently featured are Gil Goldstein on piano and accordion, Steve Nelson on vibes and marimba, David Finck on bass and Michael Spiro on assorted percussion.


For the broader understanding of listeners who do not understand Portuguese, Allyson has thoughtfully injected English lyrics by several composers, including two by Susannah McCorkle, two by Gene Lees, one by Jon Hendricks, one by Paul Williams, and two songs recently adapted by lyricist Chris Caswell, who collaborated so fruitfully with the singer on her 2006 release, “Footprints.”


A devoted and accomplished student of the Portuguese language, Allyson realizes the lush lyrics with her usual poise and confidence. It is a joy to hear her express all the mixed emotion inherent in the opening track, “A Felicidade (Happiness),” with additional English lyrics by McCorkle.


The little-known Jobim composition “Correnteza” is a revelation in Allyson’s gorgeous reading, and Vinicius de Moraes’s “Medo De Amar (Surrender the Soul)” is equally stunning. Her natural ability to combine vulnerability and sensuality makes Allyson the perfect interpreter of this complex music. That complexity is illustrated by the delightful “Estrada Branca (This Happy Madness),” which began its life with a much darker theme than its Lees lyric would suggest. Likewise, the English lyrics for “Pra Dizer Adeus (Time to Say Goodbye)” shift the meaning from a suicide note to a lover’s fond farewell.


Jobim’s first composition, the obscure title track “Imagina,” is a lilting waltz that benefits greatly from the blending of Goldstein’s accordion and Nelson’s vibraphone. Fleeman plays in unison with Allyson’s breezy, scatting vocal on “Vivo Sonhando (Living on Dreams),” which also features a lyrical solo by Finck. 


Here at the Berman Music Foundation, every new Karrin Allyson release is anxiously anticipated, and “Imagina” is another great addition to her catalog.





"Monday Night at the Village Vanguard," by The Vanguard Jazz OrchestraMonday Night Live at the Village Vanguard

Planet Arts


By Tom Ineck


There is nothing quite like the visceral wallop of a jazz orchestra in full cry, especially when heard live in the confines of a small club with a capacity audience of devoted music lovers. Such is the thrill experienced—albeit second-hand—while listening to the two-disc “Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard,” the latest recorded document by the Vanguard’s superb “house band.”


That’s one reason that The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra remains relevant 42 years after it began its regular Monday Night gig, nearly 30 years after founder Thad Jones left the band and 18 years after the death of drummer Mel Lewis, who fronted the band after Jones’ departure. The current ensemble is more than just heir to the legacy of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, and more than just a repository for the classic compositions of Jones. It is one of the most vital, exhilarating examples of big-band composition, arrangement and execution.


“Monday Night” actually is drawn from performances on Feb. 10-11 (Sunday and Monday), just a few days before the band’s Feb. 15 appearance at the Lied Center for Performing Arts here in Lincoln. The intimacy of the venerable New York City club is an aural counterpoint to the more sterile environment of the 2,200-seat concert hall.


Aptly, six of the 11 tunes were composed and arranged by Jones. The first is a long-lost arrangement of his lilting composition “Mean What You Say.” Pianist Michael Weiss, who transcribed the original recording for the big band, sets the stage for trumpeter Scott Wendholt and tenor saxophonist Ralph Lalama, who play with plenty of emotion. Terell Stafford on flugelhorn pays tribute to Jones on “Say it Softly,” again with the original Jones arrangement.


Bob Brookmeyer’s brilliant arrangement of “St. Louis Blues” gets a 16-minute treatment with outstanding solos by trombonist Luis Bonilla, trumpeter Wendholt, alto saxophonist Dick Oatts and pianist Weiss. The cleverly shifting tempos and stop-time breaks keep things interesting. Another standard, “Body and Soul,” utilizes a Jerry Dodgion arrangement for a smoky take by Gary Smulyan on baritone sax. Lalama returns on tenor for a sustained funk groove on Jones’ “Mornin’ Reverend.”


Pianist Jim McNeely takes over on his composition “Las Cucarachas Entran,” a jumping, leaping little number driven by drummer John Riley and featuring Rich Perry on tenor sax, and Dick Oatts and Billy Drewes on soprano saxes. Next up is “Willow Tree,” a Fats Waller tune with echoes of “Willow Weep for Me.” Bassist Phil Palombi and trumpeter Staffford inject it with the proper blues power. Dipping into the pop music world, the band does Jones’ great arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” which inspires Oatts to mix the brass colors on soprano sax and piccolo.


John Mosca excels on his trombone solo during “Kids Are Pretty People,” a soulful ensemble tune that also has standout solo work by trumpeter Wendholt and a plunger-muted cadenza by trumpeter Stafford. “The Waltz You Swang for Me” is a whimsical Jones composition that does, indeed, swing in waltz time. This time, the solos go to trombonist Jason Jackson and soprano saxophonist Drewes. The set closer is “Little Rascal on a Rock,” a Jones favorite that swings gently with lots of woodwinds and muted brass. Bassist Palombi solos with aplomb, followed by Smulyan on baritone and McNeely on piano.


This project would be nothing but good news if it weren’t for the fact that Dennis Irwin, the VJO’s bassist for 25 years, died from the effects of a spinal tumor on March 10, at age 56. The recording is dedicated to him.


Totaling more than 90 minutes on two discs, “Monday Night” is an accurate representation of a couple of sets at the Vanguard. Next time you’re in NYC on a Monday night, make sure it’s on your itinerary.





"Season of Changes," by Brian Blade & the Fellowship BandSeason of Changes

Verve Records


By Tom Ineck


At long last, drummer Brian Blade has reassembled his breakthrough Fellowship Band and revisited its unique sound—a blissful marriage of jazz, folk, rock and classical elements that is totally devoid of the usual fusion clichés.


The last we heard from them was on back-to-back Blue Note recordings—1998’s “Brian Blade Fellowship” and 2000’s “Perceptual.” We also were fortunate to experience them in a riveting live performance at the 1998 Kansas City International Jazz Festival.


Returning band members include keyboard whiz Jon Cowherd, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, saxophonists Myron Walden and Melvin Butler and bassist Chris Thomas. The only missing element is Dave Easley, whose pedal steel guitar use to add another dimension to the already-eclectic sound. But even without Easley, the Fellowship Band remains in a league of its own.


Like its predecessors, “Season of Changes” can bring a listener to tears with its profoundly beautiful melodies, such as on the opener, “Rubylou’s Lullaby.” It also can soar on the shimmering waves of Rosenwinkel’s slippery fretwork, as on the nine-minute Cowherd composition “Return of the Prodigal Son,” which also sets Butler loose on an extended Coltrane-like tenor solo.


“Stoner Hill” is a gorgeous tune, with everyone contributing to the folk-derived melody as it slowly builds. The 12-minute title track, also penned by Cowherd, begins with a somber piano introduction of a darkly classical cast, with tenor sax and bass clarinet adding colors. Suddenly, Blade kicks it into a rocking tour de force, aided and abetted by Rosenwinkel. A moody piano-bass counterpoint is at the heart of “Most Precious One,” which segues into the solid rock of “Most Precious One (Prodigy),” dominated by Blade’s backbeat and Rosenwinkel’s fuzz-toned guitar fusillade.


“Improvisation/Alpha and Omega” has Walden on bass clarinet pairing off with Cowherd on pump organ for a haunting, introspective piece. The woody, acoustic tonal quality evokes an ancient, surreal setting, perhaps a strange worship ceremony in a medieval church. The closer, Blade’s soaring “Omni,” begins slowly, builds in intensity and opens to a lovely piano solo before resolving to its haunting chord changes.   


Technically, most of the tunes are taken at ballad tempos, but they can be deceivingly complex in their construction, venturing far beyond the safe confines of smooth jazz or New Age noodling. The music always is challenging—to musician and listener alike—but never alienating.  


The Fellowship Band has a powerful group ethic, everyone listening and giving the best effort for the overall sound. It is the very definition of fellowship and a refreshing alternative to the ego-driven projects of many jazz artists.





"Seraphic Light," by Saxophone SummitJoe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Ravi Coltrane

Seraphic Light: Dedicated to Michael Brecker

Telarc Jazz


By Tom Ineck


What better way to honor the memory of the great saxophonist Michael Brecker than a gathering of Brecker friends Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman and Ravi Coltrane for a recorded tribute to their fallen comrade? “Seraphic Light” wonderfully documents that gathering.


Brecker died at age 57 in January 2007, after a two-year battle with MDS and leukemia. His final recorded document, “Pilgrimage,” was reviewed in the January 2008 edition of the Berman Music Foundation newsletter. To read it, click here.


Bringing diverse influences and styles to the project, the three saxophonists merge their unique expressions for a truly moving experience, which was first exhibited on Saxophone Summit’s 2004 debut recording, “Gathering of Spirits,” featuring Brecker instead of Coltrane. Since John Coltrane figured so prominently in Brecker’s playing and in the formation of Saxophone Summit, it is fitting that the younger Coltrane, just a year after his mother’s death, has an opportunity to pay his respects.


Also making significant contributions are distinguished bandmates Phil Markowitz on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, Billy Hart on drums, and Randy Brecker, who is featured on two tracks. Each of them contributed one composition to the session, as did the three principal players.


This is an ensemble recording in which each member plays an integral role, but it remains primarily a trio statement by three very powerful players. That’s clear from the opening moments of Markowitz’s “Transitions,” with Coltrane and Lovano on tenors and Liebman on soprano sax, harmonizing and playing in unison. Ravi Coltrane’s “The Thirteenth Floor” brings world music strains to bear with Liebman on C flute and wooden flute and Lovano on alto clarinet and Scottish flute. The first ballad comes with “All About You,” a 1973 tune by McBee that features some heart-stirring tenor by Coltrane.


Randy Brecker’s contribution is the frenetic “Message to Mike,” as though the irresistibly bouncy nature of the tune could reach beyond the grave. “Alpha and Omega” is Liebman’s offering and he digs into its mysterious changes on soprano sax, as Lovano swirls high around him on alto clarinet and Coltrane plumbs the lower depths on tenor sax. Lovano’s “Our Daily Bread” returns things to a more even keel and a more hopeful spirit.


The last three tracks—all from the pen of John Coltrane during his later “free” period, all arranged by Liebman and all showcasing the tenor sax—are the most profound statements, as though the Saxophone Summit trio is calling up the spirits of Coltrane and Brecker. “Cosmos” is a three-tenor tour de force that delves into Trane’s “sheets of sound” motif. “Seraphic Light” is a majestic statement with epic performances by the threesome (Lovano switches from tenor to double soprano sax for this one) and an absolutely astounding drum solo by Hart.


“Expression” adds Randy Brecker to the fray on trumpet for a nearly 10-minute, truly blissful expression of love for fallen brothers. In a heart-aching resolution, it ends with Hart rapidly tapping the bass drum peddle, then suddenly stopping, as if the beating of a heart had just been cut short—sort of like the untimely loss of John Coltrane at age 40 and Michael Brecker at age 57.





"Live at the Bird's Eye," by Mark Sherman QuartetLive at the Bird’s Eye

Miles High Records


By Tom Ineck


We very enthusiastically reviewed vibraphonist Mark Sherman’s 2005 release, “One Step Closer,” and his 2007 release, “Family First.” So, it comes as no surprise that the underappreciated band leader has produced another gem, this time the double-disc “Live at the Bird’s Eye.”


With just 10 tracks stretching over 100 minutes across two CDS, the performances crackle with energy, improvisational zeal and imagination. That is due largely to the very compatible nature of the superb foursome—Sherman, pianist Allen Farnham, bassist Dean Johnson and drummer Tim Horner.


They fly out of the gate on the opener, a bebop barn-burner called “Tip Top Blues.” Sherman correctly identifies his lovely mid-tempo composition “The Winning Life” as “a real band signature type of tune.” It is indicative of the band’s upbeat mood and the playing is inspired, especially Farnham’s long exploration of the changes. “Trust” is an odd polyrhythmic ballad that challenges the rhythm section to hold down the tricky time as Sherman soars above them on vibes.


Farnham contributed his gorgeous ballad “Hope,” and everyone treats it with sensitivity and personal expression. My personal favorite tune may be the lively “Hardship,” another crowd-pleaser that draws out the best from each of the players as they settle into a fast blues groove. It ends the first CD with gusto.


From “Family First” comes “Explorations,” a 12-minute paean to the harmonic innovations of John Coltrane. Horner is especially explosive as he drives the ensemble throughout and is showcased in a series of drum breaks as the tune grows in intensity. Sherman dips into the standard repertoire for the first time with a leaping Latin rendition of “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” Again, Horner comes on strong, romping through this one with infectious glee. “There is No Greater Love” begin at a more relaxed pace, allowing Johnson to step into the spotlight for a brilliant solo before turning it over to the rest of the band.


The “Tip Top” theme returns on “Tip Top Rhythm,” a rhythmically complex exercise for all. Horner confidently takes his place at the steering wheel, guaranteeing that none of the players lags behind. Farnham turns in another virtuosic bop solo, and Johnson. For a well-deserved encore, the band turns to an old favorite, Henry Mancini’s romantic ballad “Moon River.”


Throughout this generous live recording, the quartet exhibits an artistic compatibility and a genuine love of the music, and the audience responds accordingly.





"Air," by Frank KimbroughAir

Palmetto Records


By Tom Ineck


“Air” is Frank Kimbrough’s third release on Palmetto and—oddly—his first solo piano project in 20 years of recording. It is an exquisite portrait of this amazing player, whose lyrical style has been compared with Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Brad Mehldau and the rest of the usual suspects. Still, Kimbrough is underappreciated for his vast technique, tasteful execution and singular sound.


As a sideman, his list of credits is long and illustrious, including stints with singer Kendra Shank and in Maria Schneider’s big band. He appeared in Lincoln with both artists last year. He also has performed and recorded with various members of the Jazz Composers Collective, a group he co-founded in 1992 to allow the young artists more creative expression.


A formidable composer, Kimbrough wrote five of the nine tracks here. But he also pays his respects to the works of others, including the opener, “It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago,” a dark, classically constructed piece by drummer Paul Motian. The pianist’s unique sense of space and time is beautifully illustrated in this stirring rendition.


Thelonious Monk gets the nod twice, starting with “Coming on the Hudson,” on which Kimbrough explores melodic variations over a bass ostinato. In a very slow arrangement of Monk’s “Jackie-ing,” the odd chords echo and the notes shimmer. Duke Ellington’s “Wig Wise” gets a subtly bluesy reading as Kimbrough constructs a series of subplots, finally descending to the final note.    


Kimbrough’s own “Quickening” owes something to Monk’s quirky rhythmic approach, but it also allows the composer a harmonic flight into the more esoteric territory of Jarrett, or perhaps Cecil Taylor. The title track has plenty of the “space” implied in the title, as Kimbrough seems to feel his way emotionally from one change to the next. 


Despite its title, Kimbrough transforms “Three Chords” into a rich musical tapestry. “The Spins” does, indeed, seem to spin in a kind of twisted waltz time. The syncopated “Ca’lina” is, no doubt, Kimbrough’s affectionate and downright joyful tribute to his Carolina home.


Occasionally, Kimbrough’s mournful interludes can evoke sadness in a sensitive listener. Under the circumstances, perhaps it is relevant to note that the North Carolina native—who has called New York City home since 1983—is a passionate opponent of the Iraq War. In the liner notes, he thanks the many musicians “who have touched and inspired me, and perhaps even preserved some portion of my sanity in an increasingly insane world.”


With his own music, Kimbrough brings much sanity to a world in dire need.





"Trinity," by John MoulderTrinity

Origin Records


By Tom Ineck


Guitarist John Moulder’s latest CD actually was released in 2006, but it has taken this long for me to come to grips with this extraordinary recording. It does not fit neatly into any stylistic category. Its performances do not swing in any traditional sense. It contains no familiar melodies, and its 13 tracks are sequenced thematically and range from snippets of less than a minute to extended explorations of seven or eight minutes.


I found myself returning again and again to its haunting theme—expressed thusly by Moulder in the liner notes: “God’s love for humanity and our sharing in divine life is a luminous mystery… ‘Trinity’ is my musical interpretation of our journey in God from the primordial to the eternal.”


Far from being a proselytizing religious tract masquerading in the thin guise of innocuous music, “Trinity” is an inspired and inspiring exploration of musical moods richly orchestrated and beautifully performed by an unusual ensemble of musicians. Aptly, it is divided into three parts, each with three compositions—beginning with “Chaos,” “Creation” and “Exodus,” continuing with “Incarnation,” “Proclamation of the Unexpected” and “Sorrowful Mysteries” and ending with “Pieta,” “Resurrection” and “Freedom.” But a listener need not be aware of the titles or the thematic content to enjoy this stunningly beautiful and diverse music.


Among the most notable featured players are Oregon’s Paul McCandless on English horn and bass clarinet; pianist Laurence Hobgood, singer Kurt Elling’s regular keyboardist; and drummer Paul Wertico, who has been long associated with Pat Metheny.


“Chaos” does, indeed, disintegrate into chaotic disharmony, but “Creation” rises from the rubble with a lush flugelhorn solo by Tito Carrillo and some stinging, searching acoustic guitar lines by Moulder, all held together by the rest of the ensemble. “Exodus” is an odd-ball blues with some great unison lines by Moulder on electric guitar and Ken Hall on vibraphone. Hobgood’s piano solo gets strong support from bassist Eric Hochberg and drummer Eric Montzka before Moulder comes charging back with another solo statement.


McCandless enters on English horn with exquisite poise on the ballad “Incarnation,” creating a pastoral, peaceful mood. Wertico and bassist Kelly Sill drive the swinging “Proclamation,” the closest thing here to a conventional post-bop composition. McCandless returns on “Sorrowful Mysteries” with the haunting mournfulness of the bass clarinet as the perfect foil for Moulder’s deeply smoldering guitar.


“Pieta” is a gorgeous ballad duet with Moulder playing the chord changes on acoustic guitar and McCandless on English horn soaring high. A tinge of gospel piano introduces “Resurrection,” which seems to rise from a simple ballad to a yearning ensemble piece featuring Carrillo on flugelhorn, Jim Gailloreto on alto flute and Geof Bradfield on soprano sax, along with the rhythm section. With Wertico’s breezy march rhythm and Moulder’s bluesy electric guitar and multi-tracked dobro and acoustic guitar, “Freedom” completes “Trinity” with a sense of exhilaration, if not exaltation. 


Stylistic hair-splitters may accuse Moulder of veering too close to New Age or jazz-rock fusion—depending on which track they’re referring to—but I prefer to think of “Trinity” simply as an ambitious, well-realized project that shows Moulder is not only a passionate composer but a talented guitarist, arranger and bandleader, regardless of the mood he’s in.





"Present Tense," by James CarterPresent Tense

EmArcy Records


By Tom Ineck


The music of James Carter is characterized by a prodigious technique on all reed instruments, coupled with a hard bop edge, a bluesy attitude and a willingness to stretch beyond conventional jazz to create a truly exciting listening experience.


So it is with his latest release, “Present Tense,” an aptly named project that impresses from the get-go as an in-the-moment, no-holds-barred throw-down involving a very compatible group of like-minded musicians. Just listen to the opening track, Dave Burns’ “Rapid Shave,” and see what I mean. Carter blows a mean baritone sax while pianist D.D. Jackson roves and slams the keyboard in a style reminiscent of Don Pullen.


The tempo slows for the start of Carter’s “Bro. Dolphy,” but the music is as adventurous as ever, with the composer—on bass clarinet—paying tribute to the iconoclastic genius of the title. Trumpeter Dwight Adams enters with a fury as the tempo increases to a frenzied pace.


Django Reinhardt’s “Pour Que Ma Vie Demeure” gets a true ballad treatment, with Carter switching to soprano sax for a Sidney Bechet-style sound. A lovely bass solo by James Genus and some understated piano work by Jackson is followed by a virtuosic solo by Carter, who eventually hits and holds a stratospheric note to the end. Guitarist Rodney Jones enters the fray for Carter’s “Sussa Nita,” which swings with a mid-tempo Latin feel. Carter, on tenor sax, employs his most burnished, full-bodied tone to give it the emotional thrust it requires.


The Victor Young standard “Song of Delilah” is turned into a funky tour de force pitting Carter on tenor sax against Adams’ trumpet as drummer Victor Lewis provides the essential rhythmic anchor and Jackson contributes his dazzling pianistics. Jackson states the introduction to the breezy “Dodo’s Bounce,” by Dodo Marmarosa. Carter on flute and Adams on Harmon-muted trumpet are delightful sparring partners on this whimsical number, with Lewis swinging lightly on brushes and occasional kick-drum punctuation. Jones delivers a lively guitar solo.


“Shadowy Sands,” by Jimmy Jones, exudes an exotic Latin rhythm, and Carter’s outrageous bass clarinet performance heightens the exotica with its deep, woody tones. Adams adds a crisply constructed flugelhorn solo as Lewis, percussionist Eli Fountain, Jackson and Genus urge him on. All the stops come out for Gigi Gryce’s classic “Hymn of the Orient,” taken at a furious tempo and featuring Carter wailing on baritone sax. Adams and Jackson also turn in dazzling solos before everyone trades fours with Lewis in a spectacular display of musicianship.


Carter’s “Bossa J.C.” lightens the proceedings somewhat with its soulful tenor sax, acoustic guitar and assorted percussion instruments, but Lewis pours it on with his crackling drum work, and Adams on flugelhorn gives the tune an edge. Again on baritone, Carter caresses the harmonies on “Tenderly,” the familiar melody of which is stated on muted trumpet by Adams, who also gets a lengthy, well-deserved solo spot before the leader shows his stuff in a wide-ranging solo on the big horn.


With “Present Tense,” his first release in three years, James Carter reaffirms his status among the greatest jazz saxophonists of all time.





"The Song Is You," by Ed ReedThe Song Is You

Blue Shorts Records


By Tom Ineck


From the opening salvo of the title track, we know that singer Ed Reed is not simply reprising his momentous debut recording of last year, a gorgeous collection of ballads called “Ed Reed Sings Love Stories.” (For a review of that CD, click here).


The performance is a powerful, joyous reading of the popular standard, with Russell George adding the unconventional sound of jazz violin to the tonal palette. In fact, George plays the introduction on the second track, a lush version of Ellington’s “It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dream.”


What is consistent with “Love Stories” is the prominent role of multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Peck Allmond, featured on trumpet, tenor sax, flues, cornet and clarinet. The rest of Allmond’s backing sextet includes guitarist Jamie Fox, pianist Gary Fisher, bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Willard Dyson.


At nearly 80 years of age, Reed continues to amaze with his unique tone, broad range, near-perfect intonation and unusual phrasing. The 13 tracks vary greatly in tempo, length and style, but Reed maintains a confident attitude.


“Where or When” lightly swings in mid-tempo for nine minutes. Reed duets beautifully with Fox’s guitar accompaniment on the brief “I’m Through With Love.” Ellington’s “All Too Soon” gets a relaxed treatment highlighted by brief statements from Allmond on tenor sax, George on violin, Fox on guitar and Fisher on piano.


Reed returns frequently to his forte—the romantic ballad—with “I Get Along Without You Very Well,” “Don’t Like Goodbyes,” and “It Never Entered My Mind.” In all, the Ellington songbook yields four tunes here, including “I Didn’t Know About You” and “Don’t You Know I Care,” where the singer stretches the phrases caressingly to a mellow Latin rhythm.


Considering his new-found fame, Reed seems to state the obvious with an ebullient take on “Lucky to be Me” and the philosophical reflection of “Here’s to Life.”


With nearly 70 minutes worth of music, “The Song Is You” is a generous sampling of Ed Reed. With two recordings in two years, the San Francisco-based septuagenarian seems to be making up for lost time.





"Future Day," by The David Finck QuartetFuture Day

Soundbrush Records


By Tom Ineck


It’s hard to believe that “Future Day” is bassist David Finck’s debut recording as a leader. Stretching back nearly 30 years, he has been the bass player of choice for the likes of Mark Murphy, Rosemary Clooney, Phil Woods, Eddie Daniels, Paquito D’Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Harry Connick Jr., Sheila Jordan, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, Rod Stewart and dozens of others in the jazz and pop world.


It’s about time, and Finck makes the most of it. For “Future Day,” he has chosen a stellar lineup that includes the prolific and immensely talented vibraphonist Joe Locke, pianist Tom Ranier, and drummer Joe La Barbera, with additional support from special guests Jeremy Pelt on trumpet and Bob Sheppard on saxophones.


All four of the principals contribute compositions, making this a pretty democratic affair. Ranier’s hip, brooding “I Know” opens the project and demonstrates how well this quartet works together, especially the unique harmonizing between piano and vibes. Finck’s “New Valley” is a breezy jazz waltz with some brilliant bass interpolations and a brief, but lyrical solo by the composer. The evergreen “Nature Boy” gets a new coat of paint in 5/4 time.


Pelt and Sheppard lock in with Locke on the melody of the hard-charging, flag-waver “Four Flags.” Pelt takes the first solo, followed by Locke and Sheppard, before the tune comes to an abrupt stop after less then three minutes. Roger Davidson’s “Ballad for a Future Day” is the stunning centerpiece, with its gorgeous chord changes, the quartet’s sensitive interplay, and Finck’s absolutely beautiful bowed bass solo.


Wayne Shorter’s “Black Eyes” again provides a vehicle for the piano-vibes harmonies and, especially for Ranier’s imaginative and confident playing. Pelt on muted horn and Sheppard on soprano sax return for Finck’s clever stop-time Latin swinger “Look at You.” Always a heart-render, “For All We Know” is taken at a very slow ballad tempo, which Locke expertly caresses with long vibrato-rich lines before passing it to Ranier for a tender solo.


The drummer’s contribution is a lilting little number called “If Not For You.” After Locke states the theme, Finck digs in with a note-perfect solo, followed by solos by Locke and Ranier and some very nifty drum breaks. Locke’s “Appointment in Orvieto” is a rhythmically and harmonically challenging tune that the composer sails through with aplomb as the tempo accelerates. In fact, the whole band seems inspired here.


Ranier also penned the lightly swinging “Transparency,” with La Barbera showing his skill on brushes. The uptempo Cedar Walton tune “Firm Roots” closes the set with gusto. With “Future Day,” the David Finck Quartet is deserving of an encore.





"Serve or Suffer," by Delirium Blues ProjectServe or Suffer

Half Note Records


By Tom Ineck


Delirium Blues Project is the brainchild of pianist Kenny Werner and singer Roseanna Vitro. Once you get past the gimmicky concept, this live recording has real merit. While not a straight jazz recording, it does contains some exciting performances by jazz masters of their instruments, including trumpeter Randy Brecker, tenor saxophonist James Carter, trombonist Ray Anderson, bassist John Patitucci and guitarist Adam Rogers, plus the lesser-known but equally capable Geoff Countryman on baritone sax and Rocky Bryant on drums.


Recorded at the Blue Note in New York in August 2007, “Serve or Suffer” is a bluesy session featuring an interesting mixture of pop and soul material with innovative Werner arrangements and heartfelt playing. The listener gets a good idea of what he’s in for with the opener, a new take on the old Tower of Power classic “What Is Hip?” that derives from the fusion influences of Miles Davis, Weather Report and Return to Forever, with a smoking solo by Rogers.


Vitro deserves kudos for her choice of the obscure, but wonderful “Goodnight Nelda Grebe, the Telephone Company Has Cut Us Off,” from the 1968 release “Living with the Animals,” by the eclectic rock band Mother Earth, fronted by singer Tracy Nelson. The original lasts less than three minutes, but here stretches beyond nine minutes, with pumping horns, rock-solid rhythm and Vitro’s soulful vocalizing. “Blue” receives a lush, romantic take, with smoky nightclub piano and a very hip, moaning tenor solo by Carter.


Joni Mitchell gets her due when Vitro pays tribute with “Be Cool.” Rogers rips off another hot solo, this time sounding a bit like Larry Carlton. Another well-deserving tune is “Half Moon,” best known for Janis Joplin’s early ‘70s version. Here it is a showcase for the horn section and Vitro’s smoldering delivery, much more restrained than Joplin’s wail.


“Cheater Man” is Vitro at her bluesiest, and the horns delve again into the punchy Tower of Power sound. Mose Allison’s “Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy,” one of the great indictments of hypocrisy, gets another worthy interpretation, and Anderson’s mournful, plunger-muted solo is the highlight.


The music is so much fun that Werner and Vitro can be forgiven the pretensions of “Serve or Suffer,” which include comic-book artwork, blurbs promising “True Thrills!”, “Madly Popular!” and “Fearless Musicians!” and a statement that all the music was “conjured live at the Blue Note.” The music is its own justification and doesn’t require hype.





"You Decide," by Rave Tesar TrioYou Decide

Tesar Music


By Tom Ineck


Even after nearly 40 years listening to jazz and more than 20 years writing about it, I still get an occasional thrill when a fabulous new artist hits the scene. Pianist Rave Tesar is the latest favorite, and his debut as a leader is a gem. The fact that “You Decide” is on Tesar’s own label and features his brother Bill on drums adds to the intrigue. Who is this guy?


Tesar’s compositions and keyboard style come from the vastly influential Bill Evans school, but with more modern harmonic and rhythmic excursions. The result is a set of 10 beautifully realized pieces of clever construction (“The Scale Song”), tenderness (“Minor Mood”), and dazzling technique (“Have Some More”).


The title track is a brooding, mysterious eight-minute exploration of chord changes and harmony. “The Vision” is a driving, rambunctious tune, while “Everyone But Me” lilts along in witty, care-free fashion. “Nobody’s at Nobody’s” struts in a soulful mood, reminiscent of Bobby Timmons or Les McCann and features a wonderful solo statement by bassist Kermit Driscoll. “Someone Else’s Spell” is, indeed, a spell-binding, impressionistic foray that begs comparison with the best of Keith Jarrett.


Rave and brother Bill work together well on the Latin romp “Midas,” and “Helium,” the finale, is an uptempo workout for the entire trio, again displaying their sure sense of three-way interplay.


Throughout the recording, Driscoll, who has recorded with such innovative jazz artists as Bill Frisell, John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz and Henry Kaiser, adds an improvisational edge that acts as the glue that binds the Tesars together. 


By the way, a little research reveals that Tesar is a New York-based pianist, composer, recording engineer and producer who has been active in the pop and jazz worlds since the early 1980s, one who obviously has not gotten the recording opportunities as a leader that he deserves. Brother Bill Tesar has performed with Angela Bofill, Bob Berg and Mark Feldman.


I’ve already decided. Rave Tesar’s debut recording is a joy to listen to. But don’t believe me. Track down the CD, buy it and “You Decide.”





"Raya Yarbrough," by Raya YarbroughRaya Yarbrough

Telarc Records


By Tom Ineck


My first impression of Raya Yarbrough was that, at best, her vocal style is an acquired taste that I hadn’t yet acquired. At worst, I thought, the Southern California-based singer is just another mediocre talent hoping for the kind of instant crossover stardom that Norah Jones achieved with her recording debut in 2002.


After half a dozen listens, however, I’m convinced that Yarbrough’s self-titled, major label debut is the real deal and that she is a genuinely gifted songstress with a unique approach to the music. Like Jones, she has a lovely voice, mixes genres and writes and arranges much of her music and lyrics (she penned eight of the 12 tracks here). But she also appreciates the standards without slavishly adhering to the “acceptable” ways of interpreting them.


“Lord Knows I Would” is a soulful opener with a gospel tinge and folk instrumentation, and “Your So Bad for Me” employs a reggae beat. Yarbrough’s rendition of “Joy Spring” breaks the mold as she whispers the lyrics to a moody rock beat before a string section and electric guitar enter the picture. The result is a fascinating new look at an old evergreen.


“Dreamer’s Ball” is a somewhat understated acoustic blues, with Takeshi Akimoto on rhythm guitar. A gospel choir enhances the traditional sound and Akimoto cuts loose with a nifty solo. All the while, Yarbrough and the harmony voices interact with satisfying results. “Sorrow’s Eyes” is a jazz waltz with the Yarbrough lyric, “If it holds true that love’s eyes are blind, sorrow’s eyes are wide open. If your lonely eyes are open, hold me in your sight for awhile.”


First-time listeners may not immediately identify Yarbrough’s imaginative take on “Mood Indigo,” with her voice initially accompanied by bass only. It soon becomes apparent as the rest of the band chimes in. The sole remaining standard, “Early Autumn,” gets a more conventional, if mournful, reading from Yarbrough, and she is backed by a string quartet that gives the performance the feel of a classical tone poem.


“Hollywood Love” is a dreamy Latin number, with subtle horns and percussion setting the mood as Yarbrough’s voice soars above. The singer shows her considerable skill at the piano on “’Round We Go,” which has an irresistible rumba beat. “Vice and Vanity” also utilizes a Latin rhythm, but the music is less interesting. The closer, “Better Days,” is a cleverly constructed tune with rapid-fire lyrics and a hip-hop attitude, but the chorus is strangely appealing. 





"Out of the Blues," by Thom Rotella 4-TetOut of the Blues

Four Bar Music


By Tom Ineck


Too many of guitarist Thom Rotella’s previous recordings left me cold with their light-weight, so-called “smooth” jazz sound, so “Out of the Blues” came as a pleasant surprise. For this 2007 release, he largely eschews the forgettable melodies and lackluster performance for a set of standards and bluesy Rotella originals played with a sense of urgency, and the result is very hip and very enjoyable.


It doesn’t hurt that the guitarist has gathered around him a group of very capable players—pianists Llew Matthews and Rich Eames, bassist Luther Hughes and legendary bop drummer Roy McCurdy. They perfectly complement his Wes Montgomery-style fretwork.


The Montgomery influence is evident from the outset, Rotella’s swinger “Who Dat?” where he employs the familiar octave chords to great effect. The blues and the wordplay continue on “Bluze 4 Youze,” a more conventional blues shuffle with nice keyboard comping by Matthews. Hughes, best known for his long tenure with bluesy jazz pianist Gene Harris, provides a solid walking bass line and takes a tasty solo.


“My Foolish Heart” is one of three standards included, and it gets the ultra-romantic treatment, with long and lush lines at a very relaxed tempo. Rotella and Matthews trade solos, while Hughes and McCurdy, on brushes, assist with admirable skill and sensitivity. “The Dr. Is In” returns to the bluesy Montgomery references at a quicker tempo, and “Never Say Goodbye” evokes a dreamy Latin world with excellent mallet work by McCurdy and Rotella’s languorous, single-note lines and alternating chords.


Jerome Kern’s timeless “The Way You Look Tonight,” is taken at a medium tempo that emphasizes the tune’s gorgeous melody and danceable waltz tempo. While Rotella and Eames trip the light fantastic, Hughes and McCurdy shine in their essential supporting roles, especially McCurdy in his brilliantly brush-stroked solo. The band briefly switches to a lilting Latin beat for “All Ways,” then returns to more familiar ground on the swinging standard “I Hear a Rhapsody,” which features a passage of four-bar breaks that display the quartet’s compatibility.


“Shimmer” is a lush ballad by Rotella that reflects the dappled sunlight-on-water imagery of its title. The guitarist sets the mood, and Eames delivers a similarly shimmering solo. The bouncy Latin closer, “Be Here Now,” contains some unusual chord changes that resolve into a fairly conventional melody.


Here’s hoping that Rotella continues to pursue the true jazz muse, such as he does on “Out of the Blues.”





"For Sentimental Reasons," by Bobby HutchersonFor Sentimental Reasons

Kind of Blue Records


By Tom Ineck


With the death of Milt Jackson in 1999, there are few vibraphonists who can assume the title of current master of that instrument. Joe Locke, Stefon Harris and Gary Burton certainly rank very highly, but it is Bobby Hutcherson alone who rises to the stature of “Bags.” The fact that this is only his third recording in the last 14 years makes “For Sentimental Reasons” especially significant.


It also is a gorgeous collection of classic love songs, from the light romantic to the heart-breaking, from the hope of tomorrow to the wistful regret of yesterday. Hutcherson elegantly paces himself, faithful to the original melodies, yet embellishing them with his trademark harmonic exploration. The 11 tracks generally alternate between ballads and mid-tempo tunes. Hutcherson’s perfectly suited partners are pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Al Foster.


The quartet sets the tone for the entire project with a lush, yet relaxed reading of the opener, “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons.” “Ode to Angela,” a lovely piece by the late saxophonist Harold Land, is a harmonic gem capped by a wonderful Rosnes solo. Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” is taken at a very slow tempo and again features a breathlessly beautiful harmonic interaction between vibes and piano.


The vibes prance delightfully through the Benny Golson standard “Along Came Betty,” lightening the outlook before the CD’s stately masterpiece, Leonard Bernstein’s yearning “Somewhere,” played as a duet between Hutcherson and Rosnes. “Jitterbug Waltz” begins slowly but soon leaps into dance-time in its familiar, cascading melody.


Hutcherson and crew avoid the risk of sappy melodrama on Michel Legrand’s “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” Burno deftly walks the bass on a light-hearted version of “Don’t Blame Me,” which contains some of Hutcherson’s most imaginative playing. Foster sits out on the tender, uplifting “Spring Is Here.” The drummer returns with a snappy Latin beat to drive “I Wish I Knew,” and Hutcherson takes it home with a solo rendition of the classic farewell song, “I’ll Be Seeing You.”       


As with any recorded document of a great jazz artist at his peak, “For Sentimental Reasons” reaches listeners at a depth more profound than the mere musical notes involved.  


“As much as any great creative artist who has ever touched our hearts in the inner space of a story or a song, Bobby Hutcherson helps us to more readily welcome and celebrate the seemingly endless contradictions, polarities, and paradoxes of life,” writes Todd Barkan. “From Bobby’s swinging music, our souls learn an important little bit more about loving the whole spectrum of happy and sad and hopeful and mad that makes our brief time in this realm of day and night and clay and light a lot more worth living.”





"In the Moment," by JazzCodeIn the Moment


By Tom Ineck


While drummer Carl Stormer is the nominal leader of JazzCode, the quintet actually is a classic jazz democracy ruled by five masterful musicians whose individual artistry serves the greater good.


The resulting music is, indeed, a great and good thing, a collaborative effort documented in one day back in June 2007 at Rainbow Studio in Oslo, Norway. The choice of material is brilliant, the arrangements revelatory and the improvisation seemingly effortless, the kind of combination that is achieved only in the company of like minds who are truly “in the moment.”


Stormer is the conceptual genius and rhythmic anchor behind reed player Rob Scheps, pianist Jamie Reynolds, guitarist Georg Wadenius, and bassist Cameron Brown. If anyone truly dominates this recording it is Scheps, whose versatility, technique and imagination make him a constant presence and a formidable soloist. Take his bright, swinging tenor saxophone on the opener, Frank Loesser’s “I’ve Never Been in Love Before.” He sets the tone and the others deliver on his promise, especially Brown’s lyrical bass solo.


One of many highlights here is the JazzCode version of “She’s Leaving Home,” that sad Lennon-McCartney ballad of ‘60s teenage angst. Scheps weaves gorgeous flute lines around the lovely guitar work of Wadenius. Returning to more traditional jazz repertoire, Scheps takes up the tenor for a lush, yearning reading of “You’ve Changed,” with Reynolds, Brown and Stormer (on brushes) simply creating a frame for his painterly expressionism.


Rock balladry again proves a goldmine with “Wild Horses,” the Jagger-Richards classic . Scheps wails on an extended, climactic tenor solo. The Cole Porter evergreen “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” gets a clever, swinging Latin treatment, aided and abetted by Stormer’s percussion, Wadenius’ guitar solo and Reynold’s inventive keyboard comping. Scheps again steps into the spotlight with a brawny, honking tenor solo.


If you think that Gershwin’s “Summertime” has been done to death, lend an ear to the JazzCode bluesy take, which revolves on a repetitive piano riff that suggests new harmonic possibilities. In his solo, Reynolds takes full advantage of those possibilities, and Scheps deftly states the theme. Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” gets a faithful, funky arrangement, highlighted by Scheps’ “greasy” tenor sax excursions, a Reynolds solo loaded with block chords and Stormer’s aptly lively drumming.


The biggest surprise here is the absolutely gorgeous rendition of Madonna’s “Take a Bow,” which Scheps sits out. Reynolds and Brown are the stars, with the pianist and bassist sensitively playing off each other’s ideas. Scheps returns with a vengeance on Coltrane’s hard-bop blues tune, “Traneing It,” also featuring solos by Reynolds and Brown. Jobim’s languorous samba “Corcovado” is handled with grace and delicacy as Scheps switches to flute, Wadenius contributes subtle rhythm guitar and Stormer punctuates on the wood block. Reynolds caps the tune with another wonderful, yet understated solo.


Jerome Kern’s standard “The Way You Look Tonight” is given a light, swinging performance, setting the stage for the final track, the Jimi Hendrix ballad “Little Wing.” Wadenius gets to show off his fret work with a rock-like on the heels of Scheps’ tenor sax melody, before both join in for the climax. 


Only two of the 12 tracks extend beyond five and half minutes, the rock ballads “Wild Horses” and “Little Wing.” JazzCode wisely avoids the pitfalls of extended improvisation, preferring well-constructed arrangements that are true to the original compositions, yet allow for the magic of the moment.





"The Best of Kansas City Jazz Vol. 2," by Joe CartwrightThe Best of Kansas City Jazz Vol. 2

Lafayette Music


By Tom Ineck


Joe Cartwright continues to mine the rich vein of Kansas City jazz with a second volume of live recordings featuring the best of KC’s contemporary music talent. While holding down his seat as house pianist at several venues over the years, Cartwright has documented a wealth of material, and with his latest release he again shares the wealth with us.


Recorded in the Oak Bar at the InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza and at Jardine’s Restaurant and Jazz Club, “The Best of Kansas City Jazz Vol. 2” is a generous package of nine tracks totaling 70 minutes and ranging from instrumental and vocal tunes to jazz standards and the blues. The versatile and virtuosic Cartwright confidently drives the proceedings, with bassist Gerald Spaits and drummer Ray DeMarchi usually providing the rock-solid rhythm. Drummer Tommy Ruskin is on two tracks, and bassist Tyrone Clark is present on one.


Even for those of us who are familiar with many of the city’s jazz artists, there are a few pleasant surprises here, including the opening track, “Bluesville,” with the exciting and imaginative guitarist Wayne Goins playing in a style reminiscent of Wes Montgomery, but totally his own. Also adept at the blues, Cartwright adds to the excitement.


Duck Warner handles the vocals on “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” with swinging panache, especially when his mellow baritone swoops into the lower register. With a dramatic approach that conjures images of the great Earl Bostic, alto saxophonist Kim Park incites Cartwright to some of his best playing ever on the bluesy “September Song.”


Among the other highlights here are Mike Metheny’s passionate reading of “Angel Eyes” on flugelhorn, Ahmad Alaadeen’s snaking soprano saxophone on the Victor Young tune “Delilah,” and guitarist Danny Embrey tastefully stepping out on an uptempo version of “Without a Song.” As always, Cartwright is a strong accompanist throughout these recordings, but he’s also capable of absolutely brilliant solo passages, as on “Without a Song” and the 11-minute rendition of Johnny Mandel’s “Emily,” with Park switching to flute. Spaits contributes inspired solos on both tunes.


Given the depth and breadth of Kansas City’s vibrant jazz scene, it is safe to say that we can expect more volumes of “The Best of Kansas City Jazz.” And, as long at Cartwright is at the helm, they will continue to delight listeners.





"Contrafactum," by Peter Bouffard and Rusty WhiteContrafactum


By Tom Ineck


Lincoln jazz veterans Rusty White on bass and Peter Bouffard on guitar make an ideal musical partnership on “Contrafactum.” While the resulting music requires close attention, the listener is amply rewarded.


Interweaving harmonic lines are the standard operating procedure here. There also is the expected wit and wordplay, especially from the bassist. For example, it was White’s idea to name his opening composition “Nervous Sheep,” based on the harmony of George Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” (or ewe).


The playing turns deadly serious on the stately rendition of Chopin’s Prelude in E minor, with White playing the theme on bowed bass and Bouffard taking the accompanying role. Jobim’s “Insensatez (How Insensitive)” gets a fairly conventional treatment. In his liner notes, Bouffard astutely notes the obvious similarity of this classic jazz tune to the previous piece by Chopin.


With his clever “Trois Petit Pas,” Bouffard takes his inspirational cue from Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” slowing the tempo to waltz time. White turns in a brilliant solo. “Channeling” is saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi’s fascinating restructuring of the standard “Alone Together.” White walks the bass as Bouffard tackles the difficult changes. As the title implies, Mike Stern’s “Mood Swings” features a swinging blues pattern front and center.


“Gisella” is Bouffard’s nod to a former Boston landlady of the same name. It employs the harmonic progression of Henry Mancini’s “Days of Wine and Roses,” but it may not be immediately obvious. “Contrapunctus” is another difficult Bouffard piece, this one based on “Autumn Leaves.” The two musicians again display their innate compatibility while asserting their individuality.


Hoagy Carmichael’s gorgeous “Skylark” is the perfect vehicle for a solo bass performance, and White gives it everything he’s got, offering stunning variations on the changes. Likewise, Bouffard’s choice for solo guitar, “It Could Happen to You,” is apt, and he handles it flawlessly with interweaving melody, bass and rhythm lines.


From start to finish, “Contrafactum” is a local product. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by longtime Lincoln recording engineer Tom Larson. The liner photographs were taken by David Dale and the graphic design was done by Reynold Peterson, both well-known Lincoln favorites. Bouffard himself gets credit for production and for the liner notes, which are relentlessly instructive but occasionally veer into technical territory designed for scholars only.





"The Words and the Days," by Enrico Rava QuintetThe Words and the Days

ECM Records


By Tom Ineck


The myth surrounding ECM Records says that the Munich-based company has been churning out cold, emotionless music since its inception in 1969, that the European approach to jazz that is exemplified by ECM is diametrically opposed to the original, blues-drenched roots of the music.


Hair-splitting arguments over structure and style, political intent or racial purity of jazz recordings have always bored me. On the other hand, much of the music produced by ECM records over the last 40 years deeply moves me, including “The Words and the Days,” a 2007 release by Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava.


Rava, now 68, began his recording career more than 35 years ago. He began his tenure with ECM in 1972, with the similarly titled “The Pilgrim and the Stars.” He has been creating haunting, singular music ever since. Blessed with a beautiful trumpet tone and phrasing that owes much to mid-‘60s Miles Davis and Chet Baker, Rava continues to blaze a unique trail on “Words and Days.”


The rest of this compatible quintet is comprised of Gianluca Petrella on trombone, Andrea Pozza on piano, Rosario Bonaccorso on bass and Roberto Gatto on drums. Their telepathic interaction makes for a very lively and sure-footed sound, even when the tempos increase as on the swinging “Echoes of Duke” or the cover of trumpeter Don Cherry’s enchanting “Art Deco.”


Indeed, it is at the slower tempos that the quintet’s musical conversations are best appreciated, including the opening title track, Russell Freeman’s “The Wind,” and original Rava compositions like “Tutu,” “Todamor,” the snaking “Serpent” and the closer, “Dr. Ra and Mr. Va.”


Contrasting with most of the horn-dominated session, Bonaccorso contributes the lovely bass solo, “Sogni proibiti,” and Gatto wrote the whimsical “Traps.” Petrella and Pozza also contribute much to the overall sound, with pithy and provocative solos and accompaniment, especially on the final track.


Rava, whose resume runs the gamut from early Dixieland-style playing to the avant-garde sounds of his work with Steve Lacy, Roswell Rudd, Marion Brown and Cecil Taylor, remains the predominant voice throughout this recording. As he nears age 70, he continues to amaze with his power, control and technique.


“The Words and the Days” is a generous 73 minutes long, a lush musical paradise in which to lie back and relax, where the imagined words are sheer poetry and the days seem a little more forgiving.





"A Long Story," by Anat FortA Long Story

ECM Records


By Tom Ineck


“A Long Story” by young Israeli pianist and composer Anat Fort is another recent ECM release that seems to reinforce the critical stereotype of cerebral piano music that has long exemplified the label’s muse. Some may want to blame Keith Jarrett for starting the whole thing nearly 35 years ago, but I prefer to thank Jarrett for his influence on Fort’s wonderful ECM debut.


Like Jarrett, Fort brings together elements of classical composition and free jazz improvisation, along with her insight into the ethnic music of her native Mideast. Her choice of sidemen reinforces that mix of the avant-garde and the ethnic, with Perry Robinson on clarinet and ocarina, Ed Schuller and bass and the legendary Paul Motian (a former Jarrett sideman) on drums.


The recording has the inevitable flow of a suite, though employing different tempos and instrumentation. It is neatly tied together with three thematically continuous compositions—the opener, “Just Now, Var. I,” the fifth track, “Just Now, Var. II” and the closer, “Just Now, Var. III.” The repetitive structure is no coincidence. It brilliantly enhances the hour-long listening experience by subtle association.


Those repeated themes, however, are not the only memorable moments. “Morning: Good” is a stunningly beautiful composition with an inspired Schuller bass solo. Robinson delivers a lovely, lilting clarinet solo on “Lullaby.”


In contrast, there are elements of sonic dissonance, as in “Chapter Two,” which for some reason precedes “Chapter One.” Fort and Robinson searchingly play against each other’s harmonies on “Not a Dream?” On “Unhaired,” Fort and Schuller meet in unison lines, while Motian blazes a typically bold, but solitary trail on the drum kit.  


“As Two/Something ‘Bout Camels” is the most overtly political piece, written in response to the escalating tensions between Israeli and Palestinian factions. Like most conflicts, the tune moves through chaos to a sort of resolution, however tentative. “Not the Perfect Storm” is, likewise, chockfull of musical sturm und drang that eventually finds release in Fort’s cascading summation. 


Recorded in March 2004 and not released until 2007, it’s a pity that “A Long Story” took so long to see the light of day. Even so, it is a story worth hearing again and again. Fort expresses her satisfaction with the recording thusly: “This record to me is a journey of heaven and earth coming together with joy.”





"In Two Minds," by Bill Bruford and Michiel BorstlapIn Two Minds

Summerfold Records


By Tom Ineck


Kudos go to veteran rock and jazz drummer Bill Bruford for his continuing expression of artistic freedom and for his business savvy in developing Summerfold Records as a place for musicians of like mind to practice their improvisatory craft.


“In Two Minds” pairs Bruford with Dutch keyboardist Michiel Borstlap on 12 tracks recorded at four concerts, two in Norway and two in the U.K. The live nature of these sessions gives the collective improvisation its essential edge. 


The opener, “Kinship,” declares the shared impulses of these two musical adventurers. Borstlap begins with a beautiful piano passage, and Bruford responds with shimmering percussive shards of sound. The title track swings with a jazzy exuberance, setting Borstlap’s moody chords against the drummer’s shifting, accelerating time.


“From the Source, We Tumble Headlong” is the apt title for a frantic ramble with Borstlap doubling on acoustic piano and electronic keyboards, sounding at times like Joe Zawinul at his spaciest and most harmonically advanced. Bruford deftly keeps stride and drives the tune with his usual combination of technical skill and imagination.


On “Flirt,” Bruford and Borstlap do, indeed, seem to tease each other playfully with a funky call-and-response rapport. “Low Tide, Camber Sands” has Bruford in subtle accompaniment as Borstlap explores a lovely melodic invention ala Keith Jarrett. As its title implies, “The Art of Conversation” is an effusive and artful musical dialogue.


Playing the log drum in addition to the conventional trap set, Bruford brings new tonalities to “Conference of the Bees.” Bruford plays havoc around a simple piano chord progression on “Sheer Reckless Abandon.” The two are at their most rapturous and expansive on “The Odd One Out.”


The only piece not composed by the two is their playful interpretation of Miles Davis’ “All Blues.” In less than five minutes, they manage to deconstruct and reinvent the classic tune in ways never before imagined or realized.


With pieces ranging from three minutes to nearly eight minutes, the mutual music-making is never forced or overplayed. Most important, the interaction between Bruford and Borstlap never lapses into bored repetition or predictability. These are two musical conversationalists who truly enjoy each other’s company. And they have plenty to say.





"Pilgrimage," by Michael BreckerPilgrimage

Heads Up Records


By Tom Ineck


As if this beautiful recording needed any more poignancy than is contained in its inspired performances, “Pilgrimage” also is Michael Brecker’s final document, recorded six months before his death of leukemia in January and mixed just days after his passing.


His health failing with complications from the rare blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome, Brecker set out to make one last recording, enlisting the aide of close musical compatriots Pat Metheny on guitar, Herbie Hancock (on four tracks) and Brad Mehldau (on five tracks) alternating at the keyboard, John Patitucci on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. The result is a testament for the ages, devoid of maudlin sentiment but nonetheless brimming with emotional impact.


Of the nine original Brecker compositions, only one is a ballad. The others churn and roil and burn with varying degrees of intensity. The opener, “The Mean Time,” pits Brecker’s tenor against Metheny’s guitar, line for line, with Hancock lending jagged harmonic flourishes. Brecker’s early plaintive tone on the lovely “Five Months from Midnight” subtly hints at melancholy, but later he delivers an unmistakably defiant and uplifting solo. The 10-minute “Anagram” is charged with electricity, mightily powered by DeJohnette, Patitucci and Metheny, who set the stage for a staggering tenor solo.


One of the many highlights of this recording is “Tumbleweed,” a lilting, breezy rocker with wordless vocal passages by DeJohnette, an outstanding Metheny solo on guitar synthesizer, and piano punctuation by Mehldau, leading into a transcendent Brecker solo. Mehldau then delivers a wonderfully funky solo before the ensemble returns to the powerful melody for an ecstatic conclusion. By contrast, the poignant ballad “When Can I Kiss You Again?” is the sole reference to Brecker’s illness, a question from his teenage son during the time of his father’s treatment when family members were not allowed to touch him. Metheny and Hancock deliver breathtakingly tender solos in preparation for the composer’s own heart-rending tenor statement.


The convoluted “Cardinal Rule” deftly alternates from Brecker’s tenor to Mehldau’s piano to Patitucci’s solo and DeJohnette’s driving percussion. Brecker and Metheny again join forces on the theme for “Half Moon Lane,” a lyrical mid-tempo tune. “Loose Threads” lopes and surges with ingeniously suspended stop-time passages that create tension without losing the “thread.” The title track, featuring Hancock on electric piano and Brecker soloing on EWI and tenor, brings the proceedings to a close with an appropriately spiritual mood.        


Despite his progressing illness, Brecker throughout this recording plays with seemingly boundless energy, pouring torrents of notes in non-stop, improvised passages. Tracks range from about seven minutes to more than 10 minutes, allowing plenty of time for the excitement to spread among all the players. It is, indeed, an inspiring musical “Pilgrimage” worthy of many repeat visitations.





"Ain't Necessarily So," by Andy BeyAin’t Necessarily So

12th Street Records


By Tom Ineck


In the course of a career spanning nearly 50 years, singer-pianist Andy Bey has been woefully under-recorded, so this release is a welcomed addition to his oeuvre, even though it was recorded in May 1997 and held from release for a decade.


Bey first made a name for himself in the late 1950s and early 1960s with Andy and the Bey Sisters, featuring siblings Salome and Geraldine. Since they broke up 40 years ago, Bey has released only five studio recordings—four in the 1990s—and “Ain’t Necessarily So” is only the second live release.


Recorded May 13-15, 1997, at New York City’s legendary Birdland, it contains some of Bey’s most impassioned singing and most tasteful keyboard work, not to mention the rock-solid accompaniment of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. “Ain’t Necessarily So” also is exquisitely produced, making it an absolutely essential document of an artist whose career has been inadequately documented.


Bey gives the full soulful treatment to Gershwin’s title track, with special emphasis on Ira’s cleverly rhymed biblical references. With a voice that ranges over several octaves and is capable of dramatic falsetto flights, Bey immediately establishes his credentials. The obscure “Hey, Love,” by Mary Rodgers and Martin Charnin, is a wonderful vehicle for Bey, as he tenderly caresses each lyric and hangs on a single note for an eternity near the end of this nine-minute masterpiece.


The tempo rises for the Jerome Kern evergreen “All the Things You Are.” Working in tandem with the fabulous rhythm section, Bey percussively punctuates each lyric line, stretching and repeating words and improvising phrases like a true bebop master. Ellington’s gorgeous ballad “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” has Bey in a sweet, crooning mood, softly voicing the lyrics in falsetto, but not without soulful interjections. Throughout the nine-minute performance, there is never a doubt whether Bey believes the words. He seems to “live” them, embodying their sentiment in passages half sung and half spoken, with spontaneous cascades of blue notes.


“If I Should Lose You” is an instrumental, with Kenny Washington subtly driving the rhythm using brushes. Bey states the melody on piano, following with playful, discordant variations on the theme. The mood returns to the sublimely romantic with Cy Coleman’s “On Second Thought,” in which Bey starkly demonstrates his ability to tell a moving love story with intelligence and total conviction.


Perhaps it is the swinging rendition of “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” that best exemplifies how Bey puts all the pieces together—vocal and keyboard technique, unique harmonic ideas, blues inflection and humanity, as reflected in the Depression Era theme that still remains timely in the 21st century. The live recording ends as it began, with a Gershwin classic. Bey, alone at the piano, takes “Someone to Watch Over Me” at a very slow pace, drawing every drop of emotion from its timeless lyric.





"Yerba Buena Bounce," by the Hot Club of San FranciscoYerba Buena Bounce

Reference Recordings


By Tom Ineck


The Hot Club of San Francisco celebrates its 15th year and its 10th release with a recording stretching across 17 tracks that go well beyond the one-hour mark and feature several guest appearances.


Lest you forget the guiding principle behind the band, “Yerba Buena Bounce” begins with a brief but blazing rendition of that old gypsy jazz favorite, “Mystery Pacific,” by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, the undisputed pioneers of the genre. Once their credentials have been established, leader Paul Mehling and company slip into the comfortable mid-tempo swing of “Hot Lips,” turning up the string intensity for more than four minutes.


Mehling is joined by current Hot Club members, Evan Price on violin, Jeff Magidson and Jason Vanderford on rhythm guitars and Ari Munkres on bass.


The Lennon-McCartney songbook has been represented in every imaginable musical style, so the Hot Club’s rendition of “I’m Happy Just to Dance With You” seems perfectly logical. Seth Asarno adds an exotic flair on bandoneon. Special guest and friend David Grisman lends his mandolin virtuosity to a blazing version of “Sway.” Also known as “Quien Sera,” the tune was a hit for Dean Martin in 1954, but there’s no mistaking the Hot Club take for Dino’s.


Mehling’s original “Number Two” purportedly found its inspiration while the composer was otherwise occupied in a restroom in Iceland. It features a nice bass solo by Munkres. The Grappelli ballad “Souvenir de Villingen” gets a lovely treatment by Price. Lester Young’s whimsical “Tickle Toe” swings with bluesy gusto. The rhythm guitars churn up the water and Price soars high above them on “White and Black,” another Reinhardt and Grappelli tune.


Grisman and Asarno are used to good effect on Mehling’s tender “Lullabye,” with Grisman stating the lovely theme, followed by a bandoneon solo. Mehling gleefully leads the charge on Reinhardt’s frantic “Rhythm Futur,” and ups the ante with lead guitar flourishes on his own composition “Yerba Buena Bounce,” which also features an energetic solo by Price.


In an unconventional arrangement, Munkres takes the lead on “Stardust.” Walter Donaldson’s “Borneo” gets an aptly exotic treatment with everyone stoking the rhythmic fire. The duo of Mehling and Price make “Georgia Cabin” sound like home, sweet home, and Mehling goes it all alone on Reinhardt’s “Improvisation #2.”


In a departure from form, two bonus tracks—“Gong Oh” and “Some of These Days”—feature Mehling on vocals, accompanied by an expanded Hot Club that includes Bill Carter on clarinet, Marc Caprone on trumpet and Clint Baker on trombone and tuba. The result veers close to traditional New Orleans jazz.





"Homecoming: Live at the Iridium," by Eddie DanielsHomecoming: Live at the Iridium

IPO Recordings


By Tom Ineck


Double-threat reedman Eddie Daniels again scores a grand-slam homer with “Homecoming,” his second release on IPO Recordings. Stretching generously across two CDs, it documents a four-night stand at the famed Iridium jazz club in New York City in October 2006.


Again alternating between tenor sax and clarinet, Daniels this time is supported by a solid combo of veterans consisting of vibraphonist Joe Locke, pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Dave Finck and drummer Joe La Barbera. They prove very compatible teammates, each able to confidently carry his weight in the jazz group dynamic. And they swing!


Exploding from the starting gate, Daniels lunges—Sonny Rollins-style—into an uptempo “Falling in Love with Love” at a full gallop on tenor sax, daring the others to follow, and they do so admirably. In his solo, Locke bears down on the vibes as the rhythm section keeps the pace. La Barbera is especially impressive.


Ranier’s “Resolution” is a jaunty, mid-tempo tune that proves an excellent vehicle for Daniels’ clarinet, with vibes doubling. The tenor sax brings appropriate warmth to the ballad “Not Alone.” Finck’s deeply resonant bass anchors the light, bouncy “Under the Wire,” as clarinet, vibes and piano blend and weave lines almost imperceptibly while the tempo escalates.   


The ensemble aptly pays tribute to the stately sound of the Modern Jazz Quartet with Roger Kellaway’s “Déjà VU MJQ,” adding Daniels’ lyrical clarinet to the MJQ-patented instrumentation of piano, vibes, bass and brush-stroked percussion. Daniels, on tenor, gives Ellington’s luscious “Warm Valley” the elegant treatment it deserves, weaving intricate lines against the harmonic backdrop created by Ranier and Locke. Daniels turns the tenor every which way but loose on a lively rendition of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” which also features a dazzling solo by Locke.


Many of the 15 tracks stretch beyond seven minutes, with John Lewis’ classic “Django” expanding to more than 14 minutes as its various themes develop and resolve. Daniels himself contributes several worthy compositions, including the lovely ballad “Love’s Long Journey,” the frantically paced “That’s for Afta,” and the wistful closer, “Chosen Words,” a clarinet ballad of uncommon beauty.


To ensure radio play, the package also contains bonus edits of “Django,” “That’s for Afta,” and “Falling in Love with Love.”





"Heartplay," by Charlie Haden & Antonio ForcioneHeartplay

Naim Audio


By Tom Ineck


Charlie Haden’s penchant in recent years for moody ballads performed in duo collaborations, usually with pianists or guitarists, has drawn undeserved criticism from some quarters. On the contrary, his recordings with pianist Hank Jones (“Steal Away”), pianist Kenny Barron (“Night and the City”), guitarist Pat Metheny (“Beyond the Missouri Sky”), pianist Chris Anderson (“None But the Lonely Heart”) and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba (“Nocturne”) are some of the most finely crafted and eminently listenable projects of the bassist’s 50-year career.


Add 2006’s “Heartplay” to the list. The sensitivity that Haden and Italian guitarist and composer Antonio Forcione bring to their playing and writing makes them a perfect pair. Haden contributed three originals while Forcione wrote four tunes, beginning with the opener, “Anna” and continuing with “If…,” a lovely melody that Forcione has recorded before. Haden’s Spanish-tinged “La Pasionaria” dates from 1982’s “The Ballad of the Fallen,” by the bassist’s Liberation Music Orchestra. With his dazzling fretwork, Forcione gives it an aptly impassioned flair.


Throughout this evocative recording, emotion is the key. Forcione’s “Snow” is perfectly suited for fireside listening this winter, and Haden’s haunting “Silence” (also from “The Ballad of the Fallen”) is paced with stately grace. The only cover is Fred Hersch’s “Child’s Song,” a playful tune reminiscent of Haden-penned folk melodies and especially well suited to Forcione’s lyricism.


The brief “Nocturne” was written by the guitarist, but is equally appealing to Haden’s romantic sense. From the most distant past comes Haden’s “For Turiya,” first recorded by the bassist in the 1970s. Here, it is given a searching, 11-minute treatment that is dominated by the composer’s resonant, and uniquely plangent bass lines. Haden drops out long enough to allow Forcione a heartfelt solo statement, before bringing the tune and the recording to a satisfying close.





"Invocation," by Paul BollenbackInvocation

Elefant Dreams Records


By Tom Ineck


Guitarist Paul Bollenback established a stellar reputation during his long tenure with organist Joey DeFrancesco in the 1990s. Over the last decade, he has blazed his own stylistic trail with seven recordings as leader. For his latest effort, “Invocation,” Bollenback gathered an all-star band in a tribute to fallen jazz legends.


Bassist Ed Howard and drummer Victor Lewis comprise the rhythmic core around which Bollenback erects his fretwork constructions. Trumpeter Randy Brecker contributes his usual expertise on several tracks, and Chris McNulty adds occasional flourishes of vocalise. 


Without specific references to musical heroes who have passed, the set opens with Bollenback’s own “Dancing Leaf,” employing the guitarist’s trademark exotic chord progressions and unique sense of time. The beautiful “Alter Ego,” by the late pianist James Williams, features McNulty’s crystal-clear voice against Brecker’s bright trumpet lines. “How Deep is the Ocean” gets an unconventional reading with blues-inflected guitar, a smooth shuffle rhythm and tasteful solo statements by Howard and Lewis. Perhaps the most evident reference to time and mortality is the ballad “Everything Must Change,” and Bollenback, with subtle assistance by Howard and Lewis, does it justice. 


Of course, the centerpiece is the two-part, 11-minute “Invocation,” weaving guitar, trumpet and voice in an eerie sound tapestry. Pitched at approximately the same range, the three seem to clash uncomfortably before eventually finding resolution, perhaps a metaphor for the uneasy relationship between life and death.


The proceedings return to more conventional ground for Johnny Mandel’s gently waltz “Emily.” Bollenback explores interesting harmonic variations and exhibits some lovely Wes Montgomery-inspired playing before returning to the theme. Bollenback’s own composition “Songline” sings with appropriate lyricism and passion as the trio escalates the tempo. Coltrane’s classic “After the Rain” closes the set with the spiritual clarity suggested by the title. Brecker states the simple melody on his horn as Bollenback improvises with soulful guitar flourishes.




The Fred Hersch Trio

"Night & the Music," by Fred Hersch TrioNight & the Music

Palmetto Records


By Tom Ineck


Fred Hersch has long been among the first rank of jazz pianists following in the hallowed footsteps of Bill Evans, alternating dazzling improvised runs with heart-wrenching ballads. Despite his prolific recording output—some 30 releases in little more than 20 years—he has carved out a singular reputation for consistently high-quality performances, whether in the format of solo keyboard, trio or larger ensemble.


With 2007’s “Night & the Music,” his sixth release on Palmetto, Hersch continues that sterling record for excellence, with longtime bandmate Drew Gress on bass and drummer Nasheet Waits. It is typical Hersch, with a tasteful mix of originals, several standards and a couple of tunes by Thelonious Monk. It is, however, Hersch’s first studio trio recording since 1994’s “Fred Hersch Trio Plays…,” and that makes it essential listening.


Cole Porter’s “So in Love” begins tentatively before accelerating to an insistent Latin tempo. The haunting original “Rhythm Spirit,” with its swirling convolutions, is dedicated to drummer Billy Hart, while Hersch composed the lovely “Heartland” for pianist Art Lande.


For the “title” track, “You and the Night and the Music,” Hersch wrote a brief introductory passage he calls “Galaxy Fragment,” which seems to gently launch the listener into outer space, where the moon and stars seem within one’s grasp. The Dietz/Schwartz classic is thus transformed into a spacey rendezvous, with an appropriately soft landing. On the other hand, Monk’s playful “Boo Boo’s Birthday” sidesteps, crabwise, with jagged leaps and bounds.


The trio’s take on “Change Partners” continues the terpsichorean tendency, as Waits seems to dance lightly across the full range of drums and cymbals, accompanied by Gress’ bounding bass and Hersch’s acrobatic keyboard excursions. Berlin returns with a tender and relatively straightforward rendition of “How Deep is the Ocean.”


“Gravity’s Pull” is a wonderful Hersch melody that evolves kaleidoscopically in brilliant keyboard patterns. Gress composed the ballad “Andrew John,” with the bass ringing the stately changes. Monk’s “Misterioso” seems an apt closer to a beautifully mysterious recording. 


According to Hersch, seven of the 10 tracks were captured on the first take, a testament to the trio’s compatibility and powers of collective interplay. Waits is a true percussionist, always creating the most appropriate rhythmic “colors” for the occasion, and Gress is virtually telepathic in his artistic simpatico.





"And the Beauty of it All: Ballads," by AlaadeenAnd the Beauty of It All: Ballads

ASR Records


By Butch Berman


Kansa City’s pure treasure, reedman personified Alaadeen is one of my best friends in the jazz biz and in the world. Even if I didn’t know him as well as I do, I’d still consider him to be one of the most prolific disciples of John Coltrane.


He’s a beautiful cat, spiritual and a deep thinker whose musical talent has great healing potential as well as being most entertaining. His lovely tribute to my wife, Grace, on his last CD release, “New Africa Suite,” was one of the finest jazz outpourings of 2006. On his latest project, “And the Beauty of It All,” he’s moved up another notch in creating a piece of work that touches you with loving warmth that radiates throughout your entire body and soul, a most splendid creation and most beautiful, indeed.


Alaadeen captures what is most essential in the treasured art form we call jazz, a CD so full of love I recommend it for lovers only, as it totally transcends from the heart into our systems, making us, the listeners, truly appreciate what “the beauty of it all” is all about. We’re both a couple of older cats that have beaten the odds of a variety of health issues that seem to go with the adventure of aging. Live to be 100 and a day, my friend, as your music is the tonic that rejuvenates us all and makes every new day a pleasure to breathe in God’s love and the beauty of it all. A must for everyone’s Xmas shopping lists, or any time of the year.   





"Cookin' at the Corner, Vol. 2," by Les DeMerleCookin’ at the Corner, Vol. 2

Origin Records


By Butch Berman


One of my fave labels in the biz is Origin, out of the great Northwest, which sends me a huge portion of their vast and fabulous catalogue on a regular basis. While I was recovering from by first bout of illness in early October, this wonderful new recording of “Cookin’ at the Corner, Vol. 2” by The Dynamic Les DeMerle Band arrived and was brought to my hospital bedside by my precious wife, Grace, with her portable Bose CD player.


I dug it from the first listen, and it truly played a big part in my speedy recovery. It’s a swinging five-piece band led by the terrific drummer and singer Les DeMerle, and featuring his lovely vocalist and wife, Bonnie Eisele, as well as bassist Ricky Ravelo and piano player Mike Levine, all out of Florida, I believe. Every track is a winner, from “In a Mellow Tone” to “Our Love is Here to Stay” to great instrumental classics like Nat Adderley’s “Work Song” and the Juan Tizol immortal “Caravan.”


There are beautiful renditions of “I’m beginning to See the Light,” as well as “S’Wonderful,” “Do You Know what It Means to Miss New Orleans?” “Let’s Fall in Love,” “How High the Moon” and “Autumn Leaves.” An outta sight finale of “Jumpin’ with Symphony Sid” rocked and swung me back into good health. When I arrived home, I immediately got on Amazon and ordered every other Les DeMerle CD available. I suggest that after you hear “Cookin” at the Corner, Vol. 2,” done live, you’ll follow suit.


In fact, this band knocked me out so much I brought them to the attention of the committee for Lincoln’s annual Jazz In June series, so the Berman Music Foundation is back in the mix for this upcoming 2008 season. Looks like the committee members all dug the shit out of ‘em, too, so expect to see this incredible group live either the second or last Tuesday of June, an event not to be missed!


I had fun chats with both Les and Bonnie, so you’ll be reading more about them in the spring edition of my Jazz newsletter, as well as hopefully hear their music and some interviews with them, if I get my jazz show back on the air, which I’m working on, sometime in early 2008. Stay tuned here for all the groovy details. It’s truly one hell of a great band. Check them out NOW, and you’ll thank me for this info in the near future, I’m sure. I can’t wait to hear them live. Get on it, jazz fans. These cats are TOO MUCH! Check out Origin’s website at www.origin-records.com or call them at (206) 781-2589. Xmas is just around the corner, ya know, and this music is good any time.




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