OA2 Records, out of Seattle, has issued a compilation of singers and most of them are well worth hearing. I guess everyone has their own favorites, but here are mine: John Proulx, a singer-pianist with a similarity to Chet Baker (but he's a better singer). He does a Frank Rosolino rarity called "Please Don't Bug Me" and also contributes a delicate love song to his newly born daughter entitled "Welcome to My World." Proulx has a couple CDs out on... read more
FOUR STARS ****
Passion, confidence and an unshakable commitment to groove are the ingredients for great Latin jazz, and Venezuelan trumpeter Raul Agraz exhibits them in abundance on his solo debut. For this ambitious project, Agraz convened a summit of New York's best session players, with special seats reserved for a few titans of Latin jazz: vibraphonist Dave Samuels, reedist Paquito D'Rivera, pianist Luis Perdomo and... read more
Pianist Ben Winkelman trios it up with Sam Anning/b and Eric Doob/dr for a Baker's Dozen collection of originals. Winkelman has a warm and classy touch, showing deftness and thoughtfulness on " While I Sleep" and "Westbury" as well as strength on "The Schlep" and title track. There's lots of interplay and clever conversations between Doob and Winkelman, with a wink of an eye here and there on ""Prospects" and Anning keeping things flexible on... read more
It's amazing (to me, anyway) that there are so many splendid artists so near to me (Carrie is based in Seattle, only a few miles from my abode)... her vocal work on this October 2015 release is full of life and the joy of living it! After listening to her sweet & loose vocal on the haunting "Desolation Moon", it's clear that I need to carve some time out of my busy (retirement, lol) schedule & get on up North to hear her live, & maybe do a live... read more
Trumpeter/flugelhorner Nathan Eklund organized the recording sessions that produced “Crafty Christmas” (OA2 Records OA2 22096) as a holiday gift to his parents; I’m pleased that he elected to grant the project mainstream distribution.
Eklund leads a quartet — joined by Oscar Perez, Fender Rhodes and piano; Tom DiCarlo, bass; and Shawn Baltazor, drums — in a sweet collection of straight-ahead, mostly gentle arrangements. These nine tracks run... read more
Another local bandleader, Shawn Maxwell, is back with a new album and a new, smaller outfit. "Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow" doesn't have any trouble establishing an identity apart from 2014's ten-member "Shawn Maxwell's Alliance;" where the earlier album was more of a richly textured ensemble outing, here we've got a stripped-down program designed to show off the chops of its powerhouse players.
"Embraceable Excuses" is a bold, jazz-funk... read more
A smoking trio with sax and B3, which way to do you want to take it? With chops galore powering the date, this is the perfect date to put yourself on auto pilot to enjoy to the max. Way more than just a tasty collection of licks and scales, this trio starts out in overdrive and takes it from there. Solid stuff that never lets you... read more
Even English majors might not be up on what's going on here as the bass ace does his impressionistic versions of Japanese short stories that probably fall somewhere in the range of Aesop's Fables. Often having some form of despair as their theme, some of these tracks blow forward with too much of a force to be taken that way. In any case, he knows his jazz and this is a fine change up from a new voice that's been honing his skills in New York... read more
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