[JPL] bopndicks 10 picks April '09

Dick Crockett bopndick at yahoo.com
Wed May 6 02:07:09 EDT 2009

10 picks  April '09
Avenue Records
New bop realist, Sean Jones could be the reincarnation,
as if Clifford Brown, 'Rip Van Winkled' and awakened a half century
later in a whole new jazz culture, where all the players have
steroidal chops and ready to do some business...
Search Within” defines perfection, starting with Sean Jones, whose
power, dynamic conception and exceptional lip has it all, to be the
champion of the world.  
This sextet is smooth with the kind of swagger that
defines magic of great musicians, with orchestrations as incredible,
as a 100 yard wind sprint.  
The dynamics and scope take your breath away.  
By now, Sean Jones and pianist Orrin Evans are a team,
sounding as together as twins, able to read each other's mental sheet
Orrin Evans is from Philadelphia and takes no bones from
anyone. He's a well centered minimalist.  Young alto performer/writer
Brian Hogans, along with Walter Smith, tenor saxophonist create a
crisp, clear, robust sound that extends beyond septet, octet to nonet
nirvana. Luques Curtis, bass with drummer Obed Calviere make this a
whole well crafted unit.
The tune “Search Within” encompasses three parts,
beginning (interlude,) (for less) and (postlude) creating the
has one of Sean Jones scorching solos proving this guy is a trumpet
dynamo with a sound as crisp as early Maynard.
Ambitious Violet” is a ballad featuring an harmonic interplay
between Sean Jones, Bryan Hogans and Walter Smith that classic
records embellish with Orrin Evans' understated participation.
Cycles” reads like a cool Mancini arrangement with Gregoire Maret
on harmonica, symbiotic with Sean Jones in a busy bossa breath of
fresh air.
Storm” features a fresh, active, distinctive, Latin blend with Sean
Jones' prominent, articulate message with a blaring Hogans/ Smith
Then a soft reprieve with the singer Carolyn Perteete in
“Letter Of Resignation”  
of late, I contemplate,  the meaning of true love...” A rather
different romantic cool inclusion.  
Spring” is a Rhodes brass reflective accented with flutist Erika
Von Kleist and a jam.  
Reflections” features Walter Smith's tenor saxophone brilliant
passage along with Sean Jones re harmonized runs into a laissez fare
allemande, “Sean's Jones Comes Down.”
This is Sean Jones fifth. And if you have it, heard it,
like it, then keep it, for this is one of  his best.
Sunnyside Records
A Pocket Orchestra. Have you ever heard such a thing!
An award winning pianist, a highly regarded trumpet
player, a rising young Australian jazz singer and a stealthy skilled
drummer, and...no bass player. Not since Nat Cole trio.  Roger
Kellaway and Ron Carter tried it once or twice. Others, fore and
after, followed suit as Oscar Peterson did, decades ago.
This is a pocket orchestra of Fred Hersch, Ralph Alessi,
Jo Lawry and Richie Barshay and it works before a live audience at
the Jazz Standard. Where each artist performs with  a unique
signature of purpose.  
All compositions by Fred Hersch feature the various
talents of the artists on “Stuttering,” with implied fragility, a
skirting around punctuality.  As the rabbit states in “Alice,”  
late for a very important date,'' more a Hersch use of rhythmic
Song”is a quartet in slow basal tap at first, then, so slightly,
Gilbert & Sullivan, holding hands with post modern Jo Lawry and
dancing around their universal child with just enough grace to order
tea, have some lemon tarts to please the hostess and tell stories in
a 'Dickens' mustachio. There's some kinder garden in the remembered
child creative in us all. That's why a soft soothing vocal by Jo
Lawry is so reflective. She's very much a part of the pocket
Without Words,”starts with a Fred Hersch prominent intro and sounds
like a song without words, then Ralph Alissi, trumpet steps in
harmony with Jo Lawry's scat musings and then becomes more a song,
other than words.
Years” are just words at first glance when you realize every new
insignificant phenomena is very significant in composing existence. 
Poetry by Mary Jo Salter and  interpreted by Jo Lawry, whose
nymph-like quality ascends to a Shakespearian love sonnet. Her
appearance is beneficial to this healing. Her voice is healing.  
Hersch elevates “Down Home”  to a projection of
brash American optimism with Ralph Alessi and Jo Lawry interjecting a
counter/ encounter. And the audience loved it.  
Jo Lawry sings two love songs, “Invitation To The
Dance” and “A Wish,” written by vocalist Norma Winstone with a
myriad of time signatures as Fred Hersch, the accompanist provides
the excursion to Jo Lawry's lovely innocent reflection:  
there will be songs and poems lovelier than mine. I onlywish that I
could be your valentine.”  
A supreme symbiosis elevates this live performance from
an intimate club atmosphere to a more concert level environment, for
Fred Hersch is at the aegis of his creativity. His compositions and a
pocketful of young professionals say as much.  
Hassell sings through his music and the spirituality of the 13thCentury poet and mystic, Jalaluddin Rumi:  
night the moon came dropping it's cloths in the street.
I took it as a sign to start singing.
Falling up into the bowl of the sky.”
Jon Hassell is a more contemporary modern jazz trumpet
player.  His compositions are clusters of ambient motifs and quite
pleasant electronics. The title based on Rumi's poem, sounds rather
hypnotic in seemingly different revelations, but sounding quite
similar as subtle variation.
lifts up, as it's name implies, out of nowhere in a warm soft glow,
written by Jan Bang with live samplings in subdued and rhythmic
And Place” increase in tempo to an earlier Miles Davis electric
pastiche. Not that Jon Hassell sounds exactly like Miles. It's only a
glimpse of Hassell's overall original conception.
Gil” initiate other reflections of Miles Davis and Gil Evans in a
tapestry, that offers to the overall impact of the piece. Then a
series of light, even Spanish and Sufi, meshing with original
impressions, “In A Silent Way” motifs that string together
different moods in a mon-tage,
“Clairvoyance,””Courtrais,”“Scintilla,” “Northline,””Blue
Period” and into “Light On Water,” with a more even subtle
tempo, all related to one another as a single composition.
Jon Hassell's music has no seemingly beginnings and
endings, but a series of deep breathings.  
night the moon came dropping it's clothes in  then street” is
refreshing and revealing, yet mysterious, as you step aside your
consciousness and ponder the miraculous.
What do we need all these happily ever after meanings? 
That's not what jazz is supposed to be and do. Jazz is a series of
neuron-enhanced happenstance.
After the gig, you leave the room and realize there's no
bullshit here.  
That God is in heaven and all is right with the world.
LONNIE  SMITH          RISE UP Palmetto
Dr Lonnie sure is having some fun with this! And it
starts right up with “A Matterapat” with veteran altoist Donald
Harrison and guitarist Peter Bernstein with a supreme sense of
urgency from drummer, Herlin Riley and that enigmatic cowbell with
Smith struttin' solos, between Brother Jack and Booker T.
The turban hat, that Dr Lonnie Smith wears,  just gives
him the spiritual look, a cross between Svengali and a wandering
You're not quite sure what to expect from this wandering
funk guru, until he opens up on the Hammond B-3 on “Pilgrimmage,”
it's church and a tasty good time suburban holiday, uptown, around
town, downtown with another mellow round of sound with Donald
Harrison.  In fact, Harrison's alto work  is quite the 'nuts!'  His
'King Curtis'  attitude is in all counts with the good doctor playing
some nice Booker T licks on “A Matterapat,” “Come Together.”
Some sweet hot Memphis soul.
Dan” comes along, strutting, dressed in his finest regalia. 
Smith's regalia gives him the edge as he walks and talks about a down
Center Street. While others are sleeping, he's 'jukin' supported by
Herlin Riley's betwixt/between percussion, cowbell included for bas
relief. Peter Bernstein's a guitar burner on this one, for the band
jumps, laughs and brings it home.  “And The World Weeps” has a
liquid effervescence, a cry for peace, help from pain, a soulful
dirge, a letting go to give the sun a chance to shine and  grieve.  
Dr Lonnie Smith delivers a special message with one of
the great cathartic solos. This is a special song, delivered with
Oh Lord, as if an ancient Greek sound board of a chorus
gives a heroic resounding view.  
Who gives a resounding point of view, these days! Could
be in some small clubs in New Jersey or Philadelphia-B-3 country.
Another Smith articulation with “People Make The World
Go Round,'“Tyrone” and the Annie Lennox sweet song from 
Eurithmics,  “Sweet Dreams” gives it a more pronounced funk point
of view.
Dr Lonnie Smith's “Voodoo Doll” is full of gree-
gree jism and gumbo.
Dr Lonnie Smith is continuous and funky enough to make
your hair stand on end and slow enough to think twice, that there
really is a happy ending in Storyville.  
HARRELL       PRANA  DANCE High Note Records
Tom Harrell has a precocious and beautiful tone-that big
round beautiful tone that curls up in the middle of a song.
Dance” has a hard bop expressiveness with vestiges of Kenny Dorham,
Art Farmer and Chet Baker surfacing in your frontal cortex and
whatever portion processes this elixir.  
If your an older 'nodder'... 'hey man,'  you can dig
If you're younger and nubbier, you'll enjoy the
articulate Blythe spirit. “The Call” with Danny Grissett vertical
runs on Rhodes, conjuncting with bassist, Ugonna  Okegwo and drummer,
Johnathan Blake to provide the glue to this post modernity, allowing
Tom Harrell to wonder around in liturgical forays with young bop
romanticist, Wayne Escoffery on tenor and soprano saxophone absorbing
this whole scene in a hazy and lovely “The Sea Serpent.”
The Infinite” is a reminder of bygone days, reflections of Eddie
Harris in this take of funk and good news with Tom Harrell and Wayne
Escoffery intertwined harmony.
This is the second CD for this young energized 5 piece
band, giving Tom Harrell the right and option for greatness, and all
for this pure hard bop energy of it, and the dynamic energy, that
goes with it.
Remember this for your classical/Jazz discipline.  
It's the kind of scene, where you stay afloat for
another set.  
BAILEY     BLUEPRINTS IN JAZZ Talking House Records
The new Donald Bailey album is a killer, man!!
Fifty years ago, you might say that for this deep blue
rooted hard bop album, where Hank Mobley, Junior Cook, Blue Mitchell
and Donald Byrd would proceed to 'shake their ass,' long ago.
This is definitely root music, declared by guys in their
seventies from one of the hard bop capitals of the world,
Drummer Donald Bailey, who was a mainstay with the
Hammond B-3 king, Jimmy Smith in the fifties on Blue Note. And with
turns in Japan, where he recorded score of albums with Japanese
Upon listening to “Blueprints In Jazz, Vol 3,”
you'll understand why so many musicians want to play with Donald
Saxophonist Odeon Pope makes the other half of this
power quartet on “Fifth House” and “Plant Life.” Pope is a
real bona fide wailer with a guttural, yet lyrical tone, aka Marlon
Brando, “On The Waterfront,” “I could a been a contender!”
Pope's duet with bassist Tyrone Brown on “For All We Know” is
what great tenors are able to emote to fill us with a filigree
You walk away from a night at the club, listening to
this group  and you'll say...” whoa.” Donald Bailey's new CD is
like a metaphysical Night In Tunisia, arousing jazz instincts
with...honesty, and like the government taking the cure, even if it
goes down like cod liver oil, it's a real imagined next best thing.
Play it again and it'll be different as it becomes
“USO/trilogy “ with Charles Tolliver  on trumpet, who sounds like
he's playing in a small club, where workers who toil in this music,
do it joyfully on a street of broken dreams. Charles Tolliver knows,
as the others know, this is where hard bop filters up through dreams.
Gardenia” is a tribute to Donald Bailey's harmonica playing as he
plays with  aplomb, guts and the feeling of a native realist.  
For there's the little and big things that make Donald
Bailey's “Blueprints In Jazz,” so impressive.
Donald Bailey gives an after supper tribute to the heart
of hard bop, a real jazz appetizer that fuel the fires of the post
Cross  Jazz
Guitarist, Lage Lund, born in Norway, considered a
genius, then enrolled at Berklee Music in Boston, and... walla...New
York City.  Since 2002. And what else is there to do in New York
City?  Lage Lund has made his 'bones' and gets good gigs. After all,
it's expensive living in NYC.  
He's able to merge European and American jazz stylings,
Lund Quintet features a very young hell bent progressive group of
musicians with saxophonist Marcus Strickland, whose vertical
harmonie4s with Lund are vertical and special, especially in
“Scrapyard Orchestra,” where they're compatible, contemporary and
furtively assertive. “Poppy,” an original, display Lund's
pastoral  leanings, harmonizing with Strickland interspersed with
contrapuntal cadence. Cole Porter's, “You Do Something To Me” is
a real tour de force with Danny Grissett's, “this is what a solo is
all about.” In person, applause. Drummer, Kendrick Scott keeps the
perspective with cascading cymbal work.  
is a quick study of beauty, absurdity and syncopated coincidence with
Strickland strident  soprano and moving into kaleidoscopic subtle
everything, you can imagine will describe it's beauty.  
The World In A Bottle” sounds so now,  with Lund's soft subtle
articulation. So pure and imaginative this jazz,  this is Kenny
Burrell territory, And Marcus Strickland's soprano is responsive, so
vertical to the direction of this tune. Denny Zeitlin's, “Quiet
Now” has a more soft, even Burrell-ian twist.  
Powell's bebop “Celia”plays into Lage Lund's varietal landscape
and scope of this CD.  
Lund's “Early Songs” will sneak up on you. What's really a
knockout is you don't have to digress on his pedigree and education
to listen to the music.  
more libertarian, not librarian in guitar mastering...
Diana Krall is a natural fine singer, a contralto, who's
comfort zone is the low registers, and a very sexy low comfort for
listeners, reminding a nimble Joni Mitchell, who performs her own
material. The Diana Krall repertoire are the classic jazz standards.
Try to sing in her key. And it ain't easy, but she makes
it so.
She has her own style as a pianist/vocalist and sings
some of the great classic ballads on “Quiet Nights.”
There are many jazz singers who ascribe a different
virtue, and she's a special one with the kind of confidence to take
her to New York and convince the record producers that she's got the
'natural' charisma. Very few have it.
Diana Krall is a jazz vocalist/pianist with a special
tone elevating her pop status. It's very sexy, almost reclusive, the
Diana Krall sound, and most relevant on her recordings, and like
Count Basie, a par excellence piano signature.  
Remember Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle?  Many sewed
their wildings with those Capitol recordings. Sinatra's phrasing was
The song that jumps out is the very soulful sensual,
“You're My Thrill.”   Krall's  hot breathy phrasing is so
intriguing and story telling. (She should do an album on Joni
Mitchell's music.) The way she sings it will unnerve you, creating a
lighted arc subtle of a piano signature, prevalent throughout this
Diana  Krall's “Quiet Nights” has a similar effect,
especially associated with Claus Ogerman orchestrations.
Claus Ogerman is a major factor on this CD with his
orchestrations around Diana Krall's style. “Guess I'll Hang My
Tears Out To Dry” is a classic Sinatra/Riddle collaboration. The
Krall/Ogerman collaboration is just as good and that's saying
And how about denouement,  the Bee Gee's “How Can You
Mend A Broken Heart,” with a country western feel, Kay Starr/Patsy
Cline set to a never ending Claus Ogerman's lush string
All the songs sung by Krall in her soft 'Lauren Becall'
delivery affirm her style/reflective quotient of pop/jazz vocalist. 
And the permanence of her piano signature is always there.
Nights” is a romantic journey, elevating Diana Krall in a balloon
above the pop crowd and yet it's an ode to progress in jazz.
With highly skilled musicians, a veteran orchestrator in
Claus Ogerman, whose compositions and arranging have graced many fine
singers and this young talented Diana Krall who continues to develop
into an extraordinary fine vocalist continues to add to an already
large kingdom of devoted followers.
Eyran Katsenelenbogen's a rare pianist, in a rare place
between classical music and jazz, equally adept at both and noted for
his improvisational open portal between the two musics. He's one of
those rare pianists, who plays differently with the right and left
hand- ambidextrous to sound and motion, as two pianists playing
together.  He's a distant relative of Felix Mendelssohn and Matin
Born in Isreal, trained at 5 years old by Aida
Barenboim, mother and teacher of Daniel Barenboim, pianist and
conductor, Eyran Katsenenelenbogen completed his education at The New
England Conservatory Of Music, where he is now a member of the
teaching faculty.
new CD,”88 Fingers,” his 10threlease shows his remarkable repertory, ingenious command and full
dynamic complicity.  
His joy and passion for music will sweep you off your
feet. You know it when listening to the first song “Close Enough
For Love.” “Those were The Days” is a complete tour de force
gliding through various moods from romantic, tin pan alley, classical
phrases. “Mack The Knife” is a plinky rhyme and short verse of
Erroll Garner. To give a complete discussion is ridiculous for sooner
than you think, Katsenelenbogen is already alighted to Dizzy
Gillespie's “Groovy High.”Then a soft symposium with “September
Song,” not a piano at Nordstrom, but a large acoustically live
place with a big grand  piano, in a house overlooking the Sound, or
by the Bay in the Oakland Hills.
On A Theme By Mussorgsky” and “Improvisation On A Waltz By
Chopin” is where it gets crazy and nice, where two pianist square
off and attack each other lick.  Only it's one man talking in two
different languages, of which Katsenelenbogen is a master.
Don't expect Jack Teagarden singing “Do You Know What
It Means To Miss New Orleans. This master muralist is painting a
complete panorama of the rich jazz before and the history of the
Crescent City. Then a repose a pastoral reparte' of “What'll I Do”
where both tentative romance survives with a masterful touch from the
piano of  Eyran Katsenelenbogen with “Those Were The Days” in a
dramatic Kurt Weill way.
Then he effortlessly rattles off the changes to “A
Night In Tunisia.”
The film score from (The Summer Of '42') and “The
Summer Knows” is a more soft prose, that elevates the imagination
of the look and feel of the film with some bright Shostacovich
There's careful consideration to the length of each
song. “Tunisia” was two and half minutes and the love story,
“forty two” is over five minutes. And it really shows a
melodramatic side of Eyran Katsenelenbogen.  
There are sixteen different songs on this CD. Eyran
Katselenbogen delivers each one with his most profound technique,
romance in vigorous blend of classical and jazz.  
This should be a part of your collection. It's simply
dazzling in scope and mechanics!

HILTS      SECOND STORY  BREEZE Blond Coyote  Records
What's in a title in a CD, but a real, fanciful, playing
with the motion of the planet,
someone's on the phone and moving along quite nicely,
thank you.
Story Breeze” is sublime, somewhat eccentric, distinct and airy,
adding a comprehensive view of her talent. Cynthia Hilts slows it
down for emphasis and fills the middle with  beauty and
comprehension.  Remember, slow is better and the title tune sets the
tempo for the whole CD, sort of like “Kind Of Blue.” Cynthia is
very playful in her solos, leaving within the vocal scats, enough
room for bassist Ron McClure to simply and effectively, carry the
Her piano phrasing sets off a manic post Monk phase
with“Nun, Miffdemeanor-like,” elevating her subtle, eccentric
hipness. This is a classic!
For Sale” projects a different more fleeting, almost fragile vision
of this usually very sensual verse. Cynthia's soft vocal and almost
Brecht interpretation,  “Every love but true...love for sale,”
reveals a hidden, even silent vale of truth. That's only a part of
this 10 minutes expression with Hilts interloping runs and  alluring
time altering  bass signatures Ron McClure's and Jeff Williams
willing percussive complicity and turning a nursery rhyme,“Three
Blind Mice” into a hip sequitur, something Monk would do too.  
is probably most telling, how strong creative women are hard for men
to love.  
Cynthia possesses what Laura Nyro had, an ability to
turn simple melodies and lyrics in “Waiting” and “The Fading
Blue” into  'in-the-moment' phenomena.  
Cynthia Hits possesses a Zen assurance that quiet time
in a jazz pianist world is precious.
It Up” is a Hilt original that Mose Allison and Laura Nyro could
tune into with just enough strut to make it so.
Cynthia Hilts is an original artist who probably shies
away from glitter and 'glamorama', for the working life and
creativity, two passions hard to break, as charm and peppermint

She's considered one of the top contemporary jazz
artists in this world. Her voice is regal and special.   Then she
sings “I'm Glad There  Is  You” and there's  a different place,
near Kay Starr's key of love, especially with pianist Michael Kanan's
Out Of Town” is another emancipation with Monheit in a duet with
the incomparable saxophonist Seamus Blake. Her voice has unique highs
and lows that trigger an ebullient force of nature and a fresh
lacquer of youth with the Gil Goldstein's and Michael Kanan's
charming exploratory arrangements.
Reads like a  Bronx short story measured with a Latin
and far eastern street lingo.  Guitarist Fareed Haque is
Pakistani/Chilean descent. His band, part East- part West, blends
soul with Latin, Indian, free form with a contemporary blend of
visceral detail into one of the most interesting and diverse new
world jazz groups of the year.
up a nuance provocative spirit of a new group and just wait until you
hear this! Herbie Hancock's “Sly” with a next rhythmic strip, in
which Jeff Lockhart's edgy guitar dominates...The ya-ya's and wa wa's
don't stop matriculating with a flippant key stroke, because this new Richie Goods band does it one better than most funky of the do
gooder bands.
Ben Wendel is well versed in saxophone and bassoon,
reeds. His tastes mirror new post bop lyricism where solos tend to be
more lyrical and vertical as if a destination can be mutually
achieved, among his contemporaries on his new CD, “Simple Song.”  
And they are the most prominent of the young players,
Taylor Eigsti, Darek Oles, Tigran Hamasyan, part of this young
dynamic quintet under the direction of Ben Wendel, graduate of the
Eastman school, performing originals, “Maupin” in locked catchy
phrasing on bassoon. “Ralph” is a soft up tempo reach in a 3/4
alternative motion. Guitarist Larry Koonse carries harmonies along
with Rhodes player, Adam Benjamin, to a  most logical beautiful
conclusion. Then an almost Baroque version of “ A Flower Is A Love
Some Thing” relates to this CD's  indestructible, thoughtful
A good solitary listen to Ben Wendel's new disc “Simple
Song” is enough to know you're in rare air, 'listening to the
leaves flow' with this fine musician's artistry.

This the newest Clay Giberson release features an earthy
generated up tempo original “Spaceton's Approach” with a great
bop hook that's subtle, quick and easy with many subtle time
signatures, for Giberson always take you up on an interesting
journey, especially with this CD.
His other tunes, “Trust,” “Passing By” and
“Beyond The Horizon” are thoughtful with pastoral lyricism and
Clay Giberson demonstrates a profound innocence in his
lyricism on piano. There's a soft positive glow in his writing that
resurfaces in the honesty of his performing.  
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “When men are innocent,
life shall be longer and shall pass into the immortal, as gently as
we awaken from a dream.”
Of course, Clay Giberson's genteel nature on “Spaceton's
Aproach” demonstrates only a portion of his great talent.

Dick Crockett
Voice” 88.7fm  
4623 T Street, Suite A
Sacramento, Ca 95819-4743


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