Friday, August 22, 2008

Dawn Lambeth - Let's Get Lost

  • Dawn Lambeth, vocals
  • Clint Baker, guitar, bass
  • Marc Caparone, cornet, bass
  • Dave Caparone, trombone
  • Chris Dawson, piano
  • Jeff Hamilton, drums
  • Bob Reitmeier, clarinet
  • John Reynolds, guitar, banjo, whistling
  • John Smith, soprano & alto saxophone
are giving out with

# 1. Let’s Get Lost
# 2. (I've Got) Beginner's Luck
# 3. My Blue Heaven
# 4. If You Were Mine
# 5. They All laughed
# 6. C’est Si Bon
# 7. Isn’t This A Lovely Day (To Be Caught In The Rain)
# 8. Give Me the Simple Life
# 9. With A Song In My Heart
# 10. Dream Man
# 11. They Can’t Take That Away From Me
# 12. It Could Happen To You
# 13. I Wish I Were Twins
# 14. I May Be Wrong (But, I Think You’re Wonderful)
# 15. I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues
# 16. Let’s Misbehave
# 17. On the Sunny Side of the Street
# 18. Blue Room

and I can honestly say it's one of the best jazz albums I've heard all year. Dawn doesn't hog anything. This delightful standard jazz album will harken you back to the days of the '30s when a singer was just one of the instruments, not the "leader" or the reason the song exists. She comes in when she feels like it, she takes a vacation when she wants, letting the song go on without her (and not for the sake of others doing solos). I love that. It's what keeps me listening to old big band radio shows.

That, mixed with an able voice from the K.D. Lang camp (without all the whole notes), makes Dawn's release one of the brightest lights in jazz now. Literally, Let's Get Lost is a flashlight, and I hope it shines ahead for imitation!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rented Mule

1 Lolly Pop Bop
2 Double D
3 Rest For the Weary
4 What Cha Gonna Do
5 Thelonius Monster
6 Unintentional Insanity
7 A Walk in the Park W/jones
8 The Procrastinator
9 Trout Sandwich

Don't judge books by covers. I almost did and almost missed out on some finely treated jazz.

See this terrible cd cover? Well, maybe you don't think it's bad, but this combined with some of the song titles made me think I was going to get into hip hop jazz for some reason. Not liking hip hop beats at all, it was lucky my eye rested on their self-proclaimed "jazz/fusion" listing, because that is what I like.

We've got Don Jones on drums, Joel Kunreuther on guitar, Frank Williams on percussion, Todd Horton on horns, Jason Mescia on sax and Dan Greenberg on bass, and together they give out with a sympathetic, energetic live sound that will win you over from the first five seconds. I hear whispers of Mancini in the lazy "Unintentional Insanity" and I hear some intentional weirdness in the horn harmonies of "A Walk in the Park w/jones" coming from the Zappa camp.

And I've had this delightful instrumental cd on repeat play - for the last five hours. Staying power, folks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bill Prouten - Low-down, No-good

1 Low-down, No-good, Downright Nasty Blues
2 Parallel Bars
3 Billy's Bossa
4 Unbalanced
5 An Aire For Claire
6 The Brightest Moon
7 Four Keys
8 Beyond The Stars

is what you get in Bill's new one, Low-down, No-good, which is in no way a reference to the contents. This is the kind of jazz cd I like getting. No genre at all. Just straight ahead jazz. Powered by the only steering wheel jazz has ever had: the sax.

Sax for sex, sax for blue moods, sax for car trips, sax for industrial work. Bill keeps it instrumental and interesting. Arresting. Arresting your attention, of course, like the good cop, bad cop routine. You never know if it's nasty or nice that's going to hit you, but you're always keen to listen for clues.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pascal Bokar - Savanna Jazz Club

This is an unusual release for the simple fact that I like the way it ends better than the way it begins. For one thing, my favorite track is "Yaye" a beautiful acoustic guitar instrumental with African rhythms and just a gorgeous laconic structure. I can't say enough about this one.

Pascal is actually touted as jazz meets African and while I find the first half of the release to be more jazz than anything else, this guitar man is certainly heavily beat driven and a master at his own sound. That sound spreads in all directions like the best world music. I say listen and learn.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Anna Estrada - Sonando Vuelos

The quietness of Anna's irresistible Latin beat makes this collection of 10 Latin jazz tunes a summer favorite. Right now I'm sitting with the fan and air conditioner both on (it's SW Georgia, don't forget), and hearing this lady's good vibes just makes the room cooler. I'm serious.

Just the way I like my flute samba - soft. Swaying.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mosaic - Unsaid, Undone

1 Seconds Out
2 Knew One
3 Hikaru's Dance
4 Speak Down
5 Under the Sun
6 Sightseeing
7 Unsaid, Undone

are played by

Matt Belzer, sax
Ned Judy, keys
Larry Melton, bass
Mark Merella, drums
David Font-Navarrete, percussion

and I love the sound. Chaotic accord is the only way to describe it. The title of the cd, Unsaid, Undone, is indeed apt. Instrumental, moving (we're talking spirit) jazz that seems to be the audio book version of a beatnik kid rushing to open Christmas presents, letting paper and mayhem stream every which way.

Long, juicy tracks the mind can wander down, and as another review calls it, filled with "much wit and beauty." Yes, there is somehow a humor to this music that bites and sticks the tongue out and seriously contemplates, all at once. Frank Zappa would love this stuff.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Funky Mustard - Jazza Mostaza

First off, I have to review any band who sends me personalized guitar picks. Second, any cd that causes a smile after the first couple notes has to be reviewed. Those are the rules.

1 Esta Vez
2 Technicolored
3 Iron Horse 2
4 Alma del Fuego
5 Mucho Close
6 Jacos Lament
7 Luna Azul
8 Oscuridad y Luz
9 Alma - Otra Vez
10 Jacos Live

are what you get. The opening instrumental attracted me at once. Fresh. The whole thing is a blend of outdoorsy acoustic guitars and new age gameplan, upbeat and the stuff you could give your 40 year old dad and kid sister. Simply swims in positive vibe.

I love this cd and reserve it in that tightest of fits, my personal collection.