A collection of sometimes disparate material though generally related to music recordings or performances. Contact Robert Rusch at email@example.com if you would like your recordings to appear in this blog.
#106: SOUNDS FOR SUMMER
For close to 40 years, SCOTT SILBERT [ts/clt] has worked in various band settings. He steps to the front with JUMP CHILDREN [no label 19526 9121471]. Recorded in 2021, this fine recording showcases Scott on 15 catchy tunes popular during the big band era. Silbert wrote the title tune in the jump and swing style. It is obvious from Silbert’s respectful playing that he loves this style of music.
LIZ TERRELL is a singer who sounds like no other, and that’s a good thing. Many singers who try to have an original voice default to the avant-grade. Terrell has strong support from Daniel Clarke [p], Chris Brydge [b], Alan Parker [gtr], Eddie Williams [s] and Emre Kartari [drm] on IT’S ALL RIGHT WITH ME. Give this a try if your vocal taste can accommodate something north of June Christy.
CHRIS TORKEWITZ presents a chamber string ensemble and a jazz orchestra on NY ENSEMBLES [Goschart Music Records gmucd 03]. Recorded in 2013, this attractively packaged CD offers six tracks with the bulk of the time given over to the jazz orchestra. As enjoyable as most of the chamber work is, it’s the orchestra work that is filled with wonderful soloists and arrangements.
Canadian guitarist SAM KIRMAYER leads a solid session of 10 originals on IN THIS MOMENT [Celler 20 Records cm 030422]. An understated guitarist/leader, Kirmayer pulls this session off thanks to his compositions and the outstanding support from Al McLean [ts], Muhammad Abdul Al-Khabyr [tb], Sean Fyfe [p] and Alec Walkington [drm]. It all makes for good listening.
THE DIVA JAZZ ORCHESTRA SWINGS BROADWAY [Diva Records dcd 2022] is the latest release from a band that has been around for almost 30 years. The stability of its personnel and the consistent quality of its recordings make this unit one of the premier big jazz bands. The audience seems to agree based on the cheers during the closing drum solo on “Get Me To The Church On Time.”
FEEL ALIVE [Sally Terrell Music Records 195269 151515], the debut for singer SALLY TERRELL, impresses me more with each listening. Six of the twelve tracks on this self-produced outing are originals with lyrics showing a degree of social awareness. Standards such as “Some Other Time” and “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most” are a nice addition to the set. A small group of unobtrusive pop musicians back Terrell on this date. My only complaint is the over use of a Dave Sanborn like alto sax.
I’ve been reviewing CATHY SEGAL-GARCIA recordings for several years. Her latest release, LIVE IN JAPAN [Origin 82846], is a double CD recorded in 1992 with pianist Phillip Strange. Strange has appeared with Segal-Garcia on more than half of her recordings. I’ve had to ask myself why my attitude to this set, recorded some 25 years before her latter work, is more positive than recent Segal-Garcia releases. It may be no more than a reflection of my age, the vocal-piano combination, the season or any number of factors. However, my feeling is that Segal-Garcia leans more toward cabaret, a style she toyed with in various other releases.
NEXT YEAR’S SONG is the second outing for vocalist CECE GABLE. What really puts this recording over the top is the strength of the band — Alan Broadbent [p], Harvie S [b], Roni Ben-Hur [gtr] and Matt Wilson [drm]. Their musicianship is outstanding and brings even greater joy to the program of 12 standards.
LYNNE ARRIALE began recording over 30 years ago. Her 16th recording as a leader is a 2021 date called THE LIGHTS ARE ALWAYS ON [Challenge Records cr3532]with Jasper Somsen [b] and E.J. Strickland [drm]. This is a fairly brief CD with ten originals played with structure yet minimal passion.
I first became aware of HARALD BERGERSEN [bari] in the 1970s when he released his first recording for the very fine Norwegian label Gemini Records. He did a few more recordings for Gemini and then nothing. Thankfully, Losen Record [LOS 264-2] has released a 2021 date of Bergersen’s featuring Bard Helgerud [gtr], Fredrik Nilsen [b] and Torstein Ellingsen [drm]. It’s simply a delicious outing of originals and standards and well worth the wait.
Delicious is what I would expect fans of baritone sax might call TOUGH BARITONES [Steeplechase Records sccd31903], a 2019 date with baritone saxophonists RONNIE CUBER and GARY SMULYAN. The 10 tracks are loaded with jazz originals including four Horace Silver tunes all performed with the backing of Jason Tiemann [drm], Jay Anderson [b] and Gary Versace [p]. A solid, but not classic date.
Gary Smulyan [bari] also appears on a Steeplechase date under the leadership of JOHN HART [gtr] — CHECKMATE [Steeplechase Records sccd 31910]. This is a more mellow date for Smulyan with the baritone caressing the melodies rather than smashing them. Hart fills out the band with David Wong [b] and Andy Watson [drm]. Fans of guitar and baritone sax will want to grab this one.
DAVID LARSEN focuses on his baritone sax playing with G2 AND YOU & BRIGHT DAYS [G2 195269 152482]. The CD combines two recently issued EPs for a total of three originals and five standards. Larsen is joined by Danny McCollim [keys], Brendan McMurphy [drm] and Josh Skinner [b].
ADEMA MANOUKAS is a Canadian baritone saxophonist who has put together a promising band on NEW ROOTS [Factor Records 829982 217127]. The set opens with a fresh reading of Dizzy’s “Tour De Force” followed by a combination of seven other originals or standards.
It’s curious to me why it has taken 31 years to release DON’T LOOK BACK [Cellar Music Records cmo40321]. BERNIE SENENSKY [p] leads a quintet of Bob Mover [as], Sam Noto [tpt], Neil Swainson [b] and Barry Elmes [drm] on this 1989 date. I can imagine how many forgettable record dates were released during that time. This is not one of them! The music was fresh then, is still fresh today and will remain fresh decades from now.
THREAD OF LIGHT [Fundacja Sluchaj] is the latest release from SATOKO FUJII [p]. Recorded in 2021, the CD features 10 improvisations with JOE FONDA [b/cel/flt]. Much of the music is remarkable for its tight playing while projecting improvised music.
MARK SOSKIN [p] with Rich Perry [ts], Jay Anderson [b] and Matt Wilson [drm] team up for a very lyrical and dreamy 2019 date — BALLAD FOR A RAINY AFTERNOON [Steeplechase sccd 31914]. Relax, turn inward and enjoy.
There seems to be a plethora of guitar releases the month. Among those is EAST OF THE SUN [Cupfa Records] from GREG AMIRAULT. Amirault’s warm tones brings Wes Montgomery or Tal Farlow to mind. The guitarist’s brother, Steve, provides some fine piano support. Jim Doxas [drm] and Adrian Vedady [b] complete the quartet.
NATHAN BORTON pulls off an almost classic guitar date on BACH STEP [OA2 Records 22195]. There is nothing revolutionary or innovative about the release. It’s just perfect listening thanks to a group that includes Xavier Davis [p], Rodney Whitaker [b] and Keith Hall [drm] plus special appearances from Diego Rivera [ts] and Chris Glassman [b-tb]. Despite the superb backing, it’s Borton’s hip flow and swing that carries this date of standards and originals. Wow.
Guitarist JAMES BROWN has been off the scene for some time. SONG WITHIN THE STORY [NGP Records ngp003] welcomes him back with lots of musical touchstones, especially the sounds of the Plains. Clark Johnson [b] and Anthony Michelli [dr] provide solid support on this vert contemporary guitar date. Although Canadian legend Mike Murley [ts] contributes some nice work, it doesn’t add much to the overall listening experience.
IN MY OWN WAY [Steeplechase Records sccd31923] by guitarist MONNETTE SUDLER was recorded in June 1978. Sudler made her first recording for Steeplechase in 1976, and has made a number of better recording since that time. She is accompanied by Philadelphia regulars Oliver Collins [p], Kenny Kellem [b], Newman T. Baker [drms] and Mohamed Al-Jabry [perc]. The program includes a 21-minute “Libra Rising” and a 10-minute take on “All Blues,” neither of which are all that memorable.
DOUBLE RAINBOW [Steeplechase sccd 31915] is the new release from GENE SEGAL [gtr]. Jay Anderson[b] and Adam Nussbaum [drm] keep things moving through five originals and four jazz standards. It’s a fresh approach with the smoothness of traditional bop guitar lines.
Jay Anderson [b] and Adam Nussbaum [drm] also appear on a November 2020 session led by guitarist NATE RADLEY called PUZZLE PEOPLE [Steeplechase_ SCCD31921]. This fun recording has the trio working through nine selections, including compositions by Roger Miller and Isham Jones. The music holds up well on repeated listenings.
Another fresh release is WITNESS [no label 700261 716114] by DAN CARILLO and COMMON GOOD. Carillo plays electric guitar on this recording and it shows a good deal of planning and coordination. The eight originals on the 2021 date are performed by Carillo and Andrew Bergmann [b] and Aaron Walker [drm]. The interplay between Carillo and Bergmann is especially nice. This thoughtful date is recommended to fans of both acoustic and electric guitars.
OFF KILTER [SeeTao Records 004] is the newest release for TRICERATOPS, a group lead by JOHN YAO [tb]. There are some nice arrangements and solos from Yao and members of the band — Billy Drewes [p], Jon Irabagon [as/ss], Robert Sabin [b] and Mark Ferber [drm]. Sadly, when the nine tracks are over there is little excitement remaining.
RICKY FORD [ts] has issued an attractively packaged CD called PAUL’S SCENE [Whaling City Sound wcs135]. Ford’s music has matured over the decades. In fact there is a point on this recording I might wonder if I were listening to Coleman Hawkins. Barry Altschul [drm], Jerome Harris [b.gtr] and Mark Soskin [p] join Ford for several original tunes as well as classics from the pens of Coleman Hawkins, Duke Ellington and Hank Jones. The 20-page booklet that accompanies the CD offers insights into Ford’s relationships to Paul Gonsalves and Harry Carney.
STEVE KALDESTAD [ts] invites you to a night of first class jazz with LIVE AT FRANKIE’S JAZZ CLUB [Cellar Music CM 072321]. Recorded in 2021, Chris Gestrin [p], Conrad Good [b] and Jesse Cahill [dms] join Kaldestad on the bandstand for five jazz standards and three originals. Steve Kaldestad should not be confused by the trumpeter with the same name.
Drummer PETER KOGAN starts JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT [Koganote Records kr004] with a drum solo in the tradition of Art Blakey. Kogan draws from a total of ten friends who wrote eight of the nine compositions. The last track, “Song Without A Word,” is a choice outing for the pianist. A special note on trumpeter Jake Baldwin who sounds like Lee Morgan at times. The good music makes up for the humorless and hard to decipher liner notes.
Drummer CHRISTIAN MARIEN first recorded in 2002 for Leo Records. His 2018 recording, THE SUN HAS SET - THE DRUMS ARE BEATING [MarMade Records 1], is the realization of a 30-year -old dream after hearing a solo concert by Pierre Favre. The four tracks on this solo outing demonstrate Marien’s various approaches on brushes, cymbals and strings on cymbals. Unlike typical drum solo recordings that seem to be conceived in the moment, Marien had ample time (30 years) to think about and prepare for this project. This is an interesting and dynamic recording that rewards repeated listening.
ROBERT D. RUSCH got interested in jazz in the early 1950s and, beginning with W.C. Handy, has since interviewed hundreds of musicians. As the publisher of Cadence Magazine (1976 - 2011), he was committed to advancing the cause and careers of numerous unsung heroes of jazz. His honest assessments of recordings have been a hallmark of his career.
#101 New Year, New Tunes
#102 Fresh Picks for Spring Listening
103: A Scoop of Summer Treats
104: An Endless Summer of Jazz
105: Holiday Presents for Jazz Lovers
106: New Year, New Releases
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Edited by Abe Goldstien
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