Sunday, April 27, 2008

Steve Dooks – Cocktails, Heartaches and Cigars

If you're the jump an' jivin' sort, check out Steve's latest set:

1 Smooth and Easy

2 What Does Your Heart Say

3 The Smile On Your Face

4 Cocktails, Heartaches and Cigars

5 In My Dreams

6 Let's Eat Home

7 My Attorney Bernie

8 I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face

9 I Don't Have You Anymore

10 It's Called the Blues

He's brought back a sound that's, alas, gone the way of the silent movie. A big band sound that gives us a reminder of what All singers might be able to do if we lived in a righteous economy. As is, most cds are filled with only the instruments the performers can carry. Well, Steve's hired himself a backing band that travels in style. The title song alone proves the theory that the best jokes are the old jokes, and the best bands are the big bands. I mean, Queen is still popular, for God's sake, so obviously people LIKE a large sound. Damn economy!!

Of course, to counter myself quickly, Dooks doesn't need much on the musing "In My Dreams" which smoothes over something that Billy Joel has always wanted to do. Piano, sultry voice that energizes just a little like Bobby Daren might, if someone could restrain him.

And a word about "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face." My Fair Lady is one of my 5 favorite films (Dawn of the Dead '78 is in there too), and it's always a pleasure to have someone remember a classic. His take is much like a drunk who comes home late to his empty living room piano gazing on the great NYC view, and he tinkles until 4 am when he finally passes out. I like it.

And the whole, too short, cd too. Good job, sir.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Kenny Carr - Changing Tide

Kenny Carr - guitar
Donny McCaslin - tenor sax
Tom Baldwin - acoustic bass
Frank Russo - drums

are playing

1. The Chase
2. Tempo Tantrum
3. Blues for Ray
4. Bossa Luna Listen
5. East Side Groove
6. Soaring Listen
7. Bay to Breakers
8. Changing Tide
9. Downstairs Listen
10. Cooper House
11. Costa Del Sol

and it's great. This is what you think of when you think of jazz. The style that comes to my mind, anyway. Taking the tunes away from the melodies and running with it, as on the punly named "Tempo Tantrum" which I could listen to in any sort of weather. At times it does get a bit too unorganized for me, with its freestyle drums and solos doing their thing, but when sax and guitar joins together like skin, the price of admission is achieved.

The night comes, as you might expect, with "Blues for Ray" showing Carr's understated blues style with plenty of quick showoff musical sentences to remind you he can certainly do it better than George Harrison. The man's moods mirror your own, and that's what's cool about this release. It's not one long song, and it's not all Carr. It's about the feeling, it's about the music, not the star.

Recommended cd and at 53 minutes long, it can envelope your whole day, like it did with mine, on repeat play.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

David Thorne Scott - DYAD

You're going to hear

David Thorne Scott, vocal
Mark Shilansky, piano


1 The Song Is You
2 Fall Into You
3 Boulder to Birmingham
4 Night's Affair With Day
5 Deciding Where To Land
6 Grow
7 Agitated
8 Rocky Mountain High
9 When I Fall In Love
10 A Simple Song

in a rather energized, though sparse, way. Frankly, I think this is one for the Broadway market. Fans of Jerome Kern and Victor Young will appreciate the line up, and those with the patience to listen to a simple (only in terms of instrumentation) set of songs will be struck with the soft power of David's voice, and the nimble fingers of Mark's keys. The piano was a Bit too busy for me - being a smooth jazz fan, generally - as if these tunes are rushing to prove something. But then David adds his able scat and the tone is defined: modern jazz by ears who absolutely Love their genre.

Recommended for those who like busy music. If you can't get to the club, put this on, don't forget the ciggie smoke machine, and put your feet up on the coffeetable.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jann Klose - Reverie

Jann Klose's new one, Reverie, contains these:

1. Beautiful Dream
2. Hold Me Down
3. Doing Time
4. Mother Said, Father Said
5. Clouds
6. Give In To This Life
7. All These Rivers
8. Question Of The Heart
9. Remember Your Name
10. Ithaca
11. Watching You Go
12. The Beginning

He describes his sound as "orchestral folk pop from a Bronx-based world traveler" and that sounds about right, except that I can listen to it. Truthfully, I've never been a folk man, ever since it phased out my favorite kinda pop music, that 80s sound that the general public (except Simon Pegg) thumbs down on, because I find it just a shading of country music, and I like neither genre Generally because of the Depressing element.

But there are exceptions. My mood picks my music, and today it's a beautiful weather day here in so. GA, so Jann Klose is as close to a convertible going to the beach without depending on Beach Boys day as I've found in a while. Open door, open window music that refreshes, but perhaps not Charges. You have to come into the game with a positive attitude already and Jann will meet you halfway.

He wrote all the songs and has an attention grabbing, different voice that still sounds familiar. Somewhere between Jack Johnson and Paul McCartney, with a touch from each songwriter's composition skill as well.

Recommended listening. First 3 songs are worth the price of the cd.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bill Hart - Subject to Change

When first listening to Bill Hart's hour of

1 On My Way Home
2 Look Out for June
3 Jim Gilligan
4 Sara's Song
5 Anna Banana
6 Loose Gravel
7 Subject to Change
8 You're Next
9 Canadese Africano
10 What Are You Doing
11 This Is Why
12 Inside Out
13 Spazio Aperto
14 It's Working
15 Cerchi Nel Grano

I was immediately struck with puzzlement as to the label. "This isn't Magna Carta!" But Bill should certainly be snapped up by that label. His music will remind you of Bill Bruford's Earthworks and some of the Terry Bozzio releases currently on MC's list. To those progressive rock fans out there, like myself, this is indeed a compliment.

You can tell this is a man who played Rocky Horror and Little Shop of Horrors in his youth. Lately, he's opened for Herbie Hancock, Acoustic Alchemy, and has studied under Steve Khan, Mike Stern, etc. The name dropping could continue, but click the picture to link over to cdbaby and listen to some samples yourself. Personally, I have no stand out tracks to praise. I like the cd as a whole, because if You want to call this prog rock, as I do, you'll know that it's like jazz and classical music. The work as a whole is what's important here. Relaxing and buff brilliance at times, easy going and hard working. The personality of this album is as complex as the most loved of persons.