Sunday, March 8, 2009

Blue Sky 5+2 - Five Minutes More

This cd fell in the right hands. Funnily enough, I published a book (sequel autobiography of Sybil Jason) called Five Minutes More. I'm a great fan of swing and big band, a youngish person who believes that rock is not king, it's nearly one of many equal princes. Blue Sky 5+ 2 needs all the publicity they can get, because they're keeping alive a fantastic genre that age 30- people are foolish to ignore.

The stuff on this cd swings, just like its contents should.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rick Frank - Yellow Mountain

Rick Frank is the able drummer, joined on

Yellow Mountain
Le Tango
Island of Introspection
Hymn to Kalopi
Minor Blues
Mr. Z
Monk Funk
You and the Night and the Music


Mark Snyder - bass
Brade Hatfield - piano, keys
Bruce Abbott - sax
Jim Robitaille - guitar
Oscar Stagnaro - bass
Paulo Stagnaro - percussion
Brad Hatfield - piano

and together they blend an instrumental jazz album that rocks and rolls and mellows. One of the best tracks is the 5-minute Hymn to Kalopi, a brilliant mood of softness written by Snyder. Bleeds very well into Minor Blues, though doesn't catch as much magic, but all in all, this is a lovely one-unit cool jazz album that puts its songs before the solos (for a change), and I for one am glad to hear such compositional shift again.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Billet-Deux - Deux

I agree with previous reviews of this cd. It is one of the best jazz releases of 2008. Even though I'm listening in 2009. It's a distinctly guitar-drive jazz album, almost classical in orientation.

4 on 6


Goodbye Porkpie Hat


Do You Know What It Means (to Miss New Orleans)

Joy Spring


Fishwife Blues

Pent-Up House

Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise

Ordinary Girl

Tu Vuo Fa L’Americano

Those are the stars, along with

Troy Chapman - guitar
James Hinkley - cello
Keith Bowers - guitar
Michael Yocco - bass
Roget Bennett - drums

Each contains "the sophistication and coolness of modern jazz" and they are right to call themselves such.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Wave Mechanics Union - Second Season

Well, this cd was a GREAT surprise! I had no idea there was something like this on the market, or I would've bought it long ago. I'm a big progressive rock fan. Perhaps not towards the arty direction, but the pop direction of Queen and Yes. Because do know you what's on here? It's

Won't Get Fooled Again by The Who
Killer Queen by Queen
The Rain Song by Led Zeppelin
The Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd
Available Light by Rush
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da by The Police
Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles
Why Should I Cry For You? by Sting
Elephant Talk by King Crimson
Istanbul Not Constantinople by Four Lads
Heart of the Sunrise by Yes

As you can tell, they've got a few of my favorite lads in there, blowing the lid off the conventions we associate with prog - which is the whole point of prog in the first place. Congrats for doing that! There are music people taking prog and its "rules" too seriously, and it's about time someone bent this steal into new playground material.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gene Ess - Modes of Limited Transcendence

Gene Ess - Compositions, Guitar
Tigran Hamasyan - Piano, Rhodes
Harvie S - Bass
Tyshawn Sorey - Drums


Ryo's First flight 6:26
Discovery in Three 12:14
Trance Chant 9:33
Art of Nothingness 9:25
Hero to Wizard 8:18
Messiaen Shuffle 9:44
Gagaku Dreams 6:52
Sufficient Reason 8:50

and though it took me a full song really to get into it, I now dig this improv-laden, often frantic modern jazz. There's a soul to it that is sometimes missing in jazz bands today that seem to think that just offering the right instruments is enough. Each player brings almost an obsession to the recording that somehow blends into something blisteringly beautiful.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

La Tanya Hall - It's About Time

Tired of "modern" jazz that stays away from the tune for hours on end and gives you that tedious edgy feeling that harkens you back to the days of Brian Eno and a-tonal experimentation? Then you're going to have your lungs refilled with something fresh a la:

Hoagy Carmichael: The Nearness of You
George Gershwin: Summertime
Cole Porter: It's All Right With Me
Sergio Mendes: Like a Lover
Nat King Cole: Straighten Up and Fly Right
Hoagy Carmichael: Skylark
Vincent Youmans: (It's Gonna Be A) Great Day
Duke Ellington: I Got it Bad (and That Ain't Good)
Toots Thielemanns: Bluesette
Gene de Paul: You Don't Know What Love Is
Álvaro Carrillo: Sabor a Mi
Jerome Moross: A Lazy Afternoon

La Tanya Hall belts out with a voice as beautiful as her CD cover, with music arranged and conducted by Angelo DiPippo. "Skylark" is a beauty in the mold of a crooning orchestra version that brings back Nat King Cole and even the lush loveliness of Christmas albums bent on making your humdrum life forget the bang of the drum and give you something to hum again.

Always a welcome addition, these Bridge Records. Let's hope Hall's current release isn't the only one in their future catalog, because there needs to be more music like this in the world. Even the sad tracks are hopeful ones.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bolt - the soundtrack

I haven't seen the film yet, but the score by John Powell is exciting and makes me want to see it all the more!