Monday, September 15, 2014

"The Mike Longo Trio Celebrates Oscar Peterson Live," With Bassist Paul West & Drummer Ray Mosca, October 7

Mike Longo Trio Celebrates Oscar Peterson Live Pianist Mike Longo had the distinct privilege of studying, for six intense months in 1961, with his idol Oscar Peterson in Toronto. Among several key principles imparted by Peterson to his pupil was the importance of "not playing like anyone but yourself," says Longo. "He told me that people who are trying to play like Art Tatum are making a big mistake in that they are trying to be Art Tatum instead of trying to be as good as Art Tatum. 'So don't make the mistake of trying to play like me, Mike.'" 

Longo plays for Peterson on the terrific new The Mike Longo Trio Celebrates Oscar Peterson Live, to be released October 7 by his CAP (Consolidated Artists Productions) label. Recorded on June 25, 2013, at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in the New York City Baha'i Center with onetime Gillespie bassist Paul West and former Peterson drummer Ray Mosca, the disc finds Longo playing very much like himself in a well-chosen set of tunes the prolific Peterson had recorded over the years. Six were composed by jazzmen: Duke Ellington's "Love You Madly," Thad Jones's "A Child Is Born," Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose," Nat Adderley's "Work Song," Thelonious Monk's "52nd Street Theme," and Clifford Brown's "Daahoud." The remainder come from the Great American Songbook: "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Always," "Fascinatin' Rhythm," "Love for Sale," "Yesterdays," "Tenderly," and "I Remember You." 

Mike Longo Longo enjoyed a 27-year association with Dizzy Gillespie, one of Peterson's major musical influences and one of Longo's as well. He held down the piano chair in Gillespie's quintet from 1966 to 1973 (following Kenny Barron) and became Dizzy's music director, composer, arranger, and devoted blood brother, continuing to work with the man long after going out on his own.

By the time he'd joined Gillespie, Longo pretty much had the entire history of jazz and related idioms at his fingertips. Born in Cincinnati in 1939, he taught himself to play boogie-woogie at three. As a teenager in Fort Lauderdale, where the family had moved when he was in the third grade, he spent a year playing gospel piano at a black Baptist church. After earning a bachelor's degree in classical piano at Western Kentucky University, in 1959, Longo spent two years touring with the Salt City Six, the Dixieland group, and was hired at the Metropole Café in New York as one of the club's house pianists. In his two shifts a day, he backed Coleman Hawkins, Gene Krupa, and Henry "Red" Allen, among many others.

Gillespie, who first heard the young pianist at the Metropole, hired him in 1966. Longo went on to make nine albums with the trumpet legend, beginning with Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac in 1967, and has also recorded with Astrud Gilberto, Lee Konitz, Buddy Rich, and Moody, to name just a few. He cut the first album under his own name, A Jazz Portrait of Funny Girl, in 1962, and has since done two dozen more. The last 18 have appeared on CAP, a musicians' cooperative label managed by Longo and his wife. The catalog now boasts some 150 releases, with four volumes of Gillespie at Ronnie Scott's London club in 1973 due out shortly.

Mike Longo Since January 6, 2004, the anniversary of Gillespie's death, Longo has presented concerts every Tuesday evening in the Gillespie Auditorium of the New York City Baha'i Center, where his new CD was recorded. He has booked such jazz greats as Charli Persip, Benny Powell, and Annie Ross and appears regularly with his own three groups: the Mike Longo Trio, the 17-piece New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble (with four CAP CDs to its credit and 160 of his own charts in the band book), and the six-member Mike Longo Funk Band (playing material from the pianist's three highly collectable fusion albums for the Mainstream, Groove Merchant, and Pablo labels in the '70s). He also has enjoyed a successful second career as an educator and creator of instructional books and videos.

"One of the most important things I've learned was discovering the place inside you where real music comes from," says Longo. "You don't really compose something, you uncover it. Dizzy used to say music is out there, waiting for someone to come get it."


Blue" the new album from Mostly Other People Do the Killing is a note-for-note re-creation of Miles Davis' classic 1959 recording, Kind of Blue

The audacious project, first conceived by Moppa Elliott and Peter Evans in 2002, intends to challenge the way people listen to jazz. By transcribing and recording what is arguably the greatest jazz album of all time, Mostly Other People Do the Killing affirms the greatness of the original while questioning the direction of jazz in the 21st century. The thought-experiment-cum-album forces to listener to examine what makes jazz actually jazz and brings the non-notatable elements music to the foreground: timbre, articulation and the ineffable nature of tone and feel. Standing in for Davis' classic band are Peter Evans on trumpet, Jon Irabagon on alto and tenor saxophone, Ron Stabinsky on piano, Moppa Elliott on bass and Kevin Shea on drums.
Mostly Other People Do the Killing's new album Blue is a note-for-note re-creation of Miles Davis' classic 1959 recording, Kind of Blue. Moppa Elliott and Peter Evans first conceived of the idea for this project in 2002. The liner notes are by the Argentine author, Jorge Louis Borges, who explored similar themes in his writing. Moppa Elliott is available for interviews should you have any questions about this recording or its creation.

"Is there a jazz outfit as delightfully funny and fearless as Mostly Other People Do the Killing?" asks Paul de Barros in DownBeat. MOPDtK has resoundingly answered that question. Founded in 2003 the group has six previous highly acclaimed albums to its credit. "Šthey rip up history and make it anew," writes Tom Hull in the Village Voice. While previous efforts have affectionately skewered diverse genres from smooth jazz to '20s and '30s jazz, MOPDtK has tried a different tack with the directness of Blue. Still, the band's love and deep understanding of jazz tradition shines through no matter the style. "One never gets the sense that MOPDtK is making fun of hot jazz," writes Steve Greenlee in a JazzTimes review of Red Hot. "Rather, they're having fun with it. You will be too."

Mostly Other People Do the Killing was founded by bassist/composer Moppa Elliott in the fall of 2003 as a quartet including Peter Evans, Jon Irabagon, and Kevin Shea. Their eponymous debut album was released in 2004 on Elliott's Hot Cup Records label and was followed by the 2006 release of Shamokin!!! - the first of many albums named after towns in Elliott's native Pennsylvania. After garnering critical praise and embarking on several tours of the Northeast US, MOPDtK began to appear in DownBeat Critics' polls, winning in the category "Rising Star Ensemble" in 2008. In 2009, the quartet was invited to perform at the Moers Jazz Festival in Germany and began regularly touring Europe and Canada performing at the North Sea, Oslo, Enjoy Jazz, Vancouver, and Banlieues Bleues Jazz Festivals, to name a few. Their two most recent releases, Slippery Rock and Red Hot, feature compositions by Elliott based on the music of specific historical periods, late '70s smooth jazz and fusion and late '20s small ensemble jazz, respectively.

Trumpeter Peter Evans performs in a wide variety of musical styles and contexts from solo improvisation to new music ensembles such as the International Contemporary Ensemble. His quartet and quintet both record for the More-Is-More label and will be releasing a new album Destination: VOID in 2014. Evans frequently performs with Evan Parker, Mary Halvorson, Mats Gustafsson and many others and he is the composer in residence at Issue Project Room in New York for 2014.

Saxophonist Jon Irabagon works with a number of outstanding bandleaders such as Dave Douglas, Mary Halvorson, and Barry Altschul in addition to leading his own ensembles. He was the winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and the artist in residence at the 2013 Pietz Jazz Festival.

Pianist Ron Stabinsky lives in Plains, PA and works as a pianist in every capacity from accompanist to soloist.  He is a member of the Peter Evans Quartet and Quintet as well as Charles Evans' Quartet (no relation) in addition to performing and teaching at Wilkes University, Westchester University, and many others.

Bassist Moppa Elliott teaches music at St. Mary's High School in Manhasset, NY and double bass at the Long Island Conservatory. He also produces and releases albums on Hot Cup Records including those by artists such as the Danny Fox Trio, Jon Lundbom and Big V Chord, and Bryan and the Haggards.

Drummer Kevin Shea was named "Best Drummer in New York" by the Village Voice in 2012 and regularly tours with the band, Talibam! Shea has just released a third album with the band People, 3xaWoman featuring Mary Halvorson and Kyle Forrester.

Michael Feinstein Covers Christmas Classics with GRAMMY® Award-Winning Pianist Alan Broadbent on A Michael Feinstein Christmas

Concord Records is delighted to announce the release of A Michael Feinstein Christmas, available in stores and online October 14th, 2014. Feinstein, accompanied by venerable GRAMMY® Award-winning jazz pianist Alan Broadbent (Charlie Haden, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole), puts his signature styling on a selection of holiday standards. Now available digitally and in retail stores nationwide, these sought-after recordings were previously part of a limited release and out of print for over ten years.  No stranger to spreading holiday cheer, Feinstein’s popular annual holiday concert in New York City is touted by the New York Times to be “as much a Christmas season ritual as catching the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall or visiting the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree,” making A Michael Feinstein Christmas a true gem for Feinstein fans as it is the only recorded collection of yuletide songs by the singer.

Long recognized as one of the world’s finest singers and pianists, Feinstein is also celebrated for his tireless efforts to preserve, protect and promote the songs and songwriters that shaped the Golden Age of American music. Feinstein founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, which strives “to bring the music of the Great American Songbook to young people today and to preserve it for future generations.” The foundation is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana at The Center for the Performing Arts, where the Midwest-born Feinstein serves as Artistic Director.

Over the course of his non-stop, 30-plus year career, Michael Feinstein has wowed millions of fans with his cabaret and concert hall performances, earned five GRAMMY® nominations, two EMMY® nods, and has released nearly an album a year—the majority of which pay tribute to his heroes—Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Webb, the Gershwins and  most recently, André Previn, with 2013’s Change of Heart: The Songs of André Previn on Concord Records. The prolific performer also hosts a nationally syndicated public radio show, Song Travels, and hosted the PBS show Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook. Last summer, Michael was honored to be named the Principal Pops Conductor at the Pasadena POPS in Southern California, where he will follow in the footsteps of the great Marvin Hamlisch—certainly a position in which Michael can continue to share his limitless passion for music with the world.
Track Listing:
1              The Christmas Song (5:04)
2              Sleigh Ride (3:47)
3              There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays (4:40)
4              Winter Wonderland (2:51)
5              White Christmas (5:26)
6              I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (3:21)
7              Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (5:28)
8              Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (3:12)
9              Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (3:04)
10           A Christmas Love Song (4:55)
11           The Christmas Waltz (3:40)
12           Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (2:34)
13           It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (3:16)
14           I'll Be Home for Christmas (5:00)
15           What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? (4:55)

Mack Avenue Records' Brightest Stars Jazz Up the Holiday Season with It's Christmas on Mack Avenue - Available October 28

Mack Avenue Records has assembled a stellar family of artists over the last fifteen years, and what better time is there to gather the family together than the holidays? It's Christmas on Mack Avenue (due out October 28, 2014) features some of the season's best-loved songs reimagined in the inimitable style of the label's unparalleled roster of artists, including Christian McBride, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Sean Jones, Aaron Diehl, Warren Wolf, Cyrille Aimée, Sachal Vasandani, Tia Fuller, and the Hot Club of Detroit.

"There's a long tradition of jazz interpretations of holiday music," says producer Al Pryor, Mack Avenue's Executive Vice President for A&R. "This is our contribution to that tradition."

"Material that stands the test of time is always material that's open to wonderful interpretive ideas by artists," Pryor says. "If a tune is a great tune, there are going to be many different ways to interpret it but still have it retain its power. Audiences can learn a lot about an artist's individual style and their compositional and improvisational take on things by hearing them do material that we already know. When we hear how they handle something that we're familiar with, it's intriguing and it lets us know something about that artist and their personality. They're all, in some way, characteristic - these versions, I think, shed more light on the artists performing them than they do on the tune itself."

Christmas is deeply rooted in tradition, of course, but traditions evolve and are constantly reinvented from one generation to the next - a claim that can also be made for jazz, making the two as perfect a pairing as egg nog and candy canes. Mack Avenue has proved itself a home for artists who remain rooted in the music's tradition while pushing it forward in their own individual ways. It's Christmas on Mack Avenue allows these musicians to each spin their own particular twist on Yuletide cheer. 

Pryor points in particular to the Christian McBride Trio's rollicking take on James Brown's "Santa Claus is Coming to the Ghetto." Over the tune's soulful groove, the bassist implore Saint Nick to visit his old neighborhood of West Philly, citing a few blocks that tend to get avoided by the flying reindeers on Christmas Eve. The rest of the trio - drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr., and pianist Christian Sands - get in on the act, and a few other Mack Ave headliners drop by as well, with Quincy Davis, Warren Wolf, and Cécile McLorin Salvant all putting a word in for their own 'hoods.

Then there's Cyrille Aimée's winsome "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" Sunny enough to withstand the harshest blizzard, Aimée's hand-clapping rendition conjures a green Hawaiian December with Michael Valeanu's tropical guitar work. "Cyrille explores a number of different approaches within the same tune," Pryor says. "It's a wonderful, very fresh approach."
On the other end of the spectrum is Warren Wolf's lustrous "Carol of the Bells," which evokes the resonant pealing of church bells on a wintry night via the shimmering tones of Wolf's solo vibes. Together with pianist Aaron Diehl, Wolf also nostalgically recalls everyone's favorite Christmas special with Vince Guaraldi's classic "Christmas Time is Here," the theme from A Charlie Brown Christmas. The Peanuts crew also gets a gypsy-jazz update thanks to the Hot Club of Detroit, who render the Charlie Brown Christmas favorite "Skating," with Django-esque guitars and accordionist Julien Labro spinning figure-eights with saxophonist Carl Cafagna.
Diehl revisits another holiday-season TV staple with his solo version of John Williams' "Christmas Star," from the soundtrack to Home Alone. His unique approach retains the familiar melody but reconfigures it with a hint of Harlem stride. Diehl then picks up the pace on his brisk, rhythmically playful exploration of "Sleigh Ride," a trio outing with bassist David Wong and drummer Quincy Davis that becomes a lengthy workout for the pianist leading into a sleigh bell-accompanied solo showcase for Wong.
Cécile McLorin Salvant, who netted four awards in this year's DownBeat Critics Poll (including Jazz Album of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year), closes the album on a soulful note with her "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," a holiday wish offered with the singer's malleable melodic twists and theatrical range.

One of the holiday's most beloved carols, "Silent Night," becomes a lush ballad in the hands of the McBride's trio, who approach the piece with the delicate hush of newfallen snow. Sands' piano solo beautifully captures the song's poignant reverence for the first Christmas night. Vocalist Sachal Vasandani doesn't so much walk as swing through a "Winter Wonderland," with a finger-snapping, classically hip version.
Trumpeter Sean Jones leads off the celebration with a fanfare for the jolly old elf in the red suit. His hard-driving "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" features pianist Orrin Evans, saxophonist Tia Fuller, bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Jerome Jennings, generating a hard-bop holiday spirit to set the tone. Fuller steps into the spotlight with a "Little Drummer Boy" that lets the leader's sinuous soprano be the gift, while drummer Kim Thompson and percussionist Khalil Kwame Bell replace the pa-rum-pum-pum-pums with interweaving rhythms that prove far more exotic and engaging.
It's Christmas on Mack Avenue is the label's third holiday album, following two volumes of Jazz Yule Love released in the last decade. Like an annual family Christmas card, it's a snapshot of a label that has matured and grown with the passing years, albeit a snapshot full of some of modern jazz's most renowned artists.

"Part of our mantra at Mack Avenue has always been to try to retain the best of the tradition while trying to be at the forefront of the new opportunities of the digital era," Pryor says. "You don't always have to break with tradition to be fresh and new."

A Cappella Vocal Group SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK Sets Final Fall 40th Anniversary Shows for 2014 Performance Season

Sweet Honey In The Rock, the venerable and Grammy nominated a cappella ensemble who've built a legacy for merging an inimitable and distinct harmonic vocal blend with a veracious commitment to activism, social justice, equality and freedom have announced their final fall shows to commemorate their SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK - 40TH ANNIVERSARY: FORTY & FIERCE year and milestone achievement.

Sweet Honey launched their anniversary in mid-February of 2014 at the Zellerback Theater in Berkeley. CA, and have been performing throughout the year. The SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK - 40TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW fall run will kick off September 18th at the University of Nevada/Reno's Nightingale Concert Hall in Reno, Nevada. Sweet Honey's tour will comprise fifteen shows and culminate on November 22nd at the Edmonds Center For The Arts in Edmond, WA. It will also include the final SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK: 40TH ANNIVERSARY, FORTY & FIERCE larger production on October 14th at the Thrivent Financial Hall/Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, WI.

Musically, the show relies on the depth of the ensemble's varied repertoire and newly arranged medleys and arrangements of some of their classics. Throughout the show each member will also share their own intimate personal stories in dialogue and perform influential songs that have highlighted their incredible journey over the past four decades. Audiences will also be warmed up and treated to a special pre-show presentation entitled “She-Rocks 5 Radio,” that will comprise an audio compilation of their most revered songs. The program is hosted by DJ Merk (Epatha Merkerson) and produced by Louise Robinson and Jordon Maillard Ware.

"We're extremely excited and feel blessed to have experienced and enjoyed such longevity, and we're very thankful to all our loyal fans who have stood by us all these years," stated Sweet Honey original member Carol Maillard. "They have been the driving force that has fueled all our artistic endeavors, and we're elated and happy to celebrate and share this special show with our fans and show them why we all feel "Forty & Fierce!” Sweet Honey comprises Louise Robinson, Carol Maillard, Nitanju Bolade Casel, Aisha Kahlil and Shirley Childress (American Sign Interpreter).

Sweet Honey In The Rock began creating its adventurous and diverse mixture of blues, African, jazz, gospel and R & B music as a quartet in 1973. Formed by Dr. Bernice Reagon (who retired in 2004) the ensemble's patented sound was honed during a workshop at the D.C Black Repertory Theater Company in Washington, DC. Since that time, they have performed throughout the world, including Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, at many of the premiere venues in the United States, released 23 recordings, been featured in documentaries and amassed a distinguished list of honors, awards and accolades.

The ensemble just returned from a short tour of Belize (August 26th - 31st) as part of the longstanding Arts Envoy Program and initiative by the US State Department that's hosted by the US Embassy in Belize. Sweet Honey performed concerts in Belize City, Dangriga and Placencia and conducted artist exchange workshops with a couple noted Belizean artists.

Last year the band successfully launched their first ever fan based fundraising campaign with the IndieGogo online platform. Funds derived from the campaign have been used to produce their 40th Anniversary show. They also toured Europe and Australia and performed at the National Memorial Service for the late Nelson Mandela presented at the National Cathedral in Washington DC and were recipients of distinguished awards by the Search for Common Ground Organization in DC and "The Keeper Of Flame" Award" presented at the national convention and Signature Gala of the Delta Sigma Theta Society in Washington, DC.

In 2012, they performed at the unveiling ceremonies for the Martin Luther King monument on the National Mall. They also debuted their first ever orchestral collaboration, providing the lyrics for composer William Banfield’s “Symphony 10: Affirmations for a New World,” co-commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra (Christoph Eschenbach, Music Director) and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC; the Minnesota Orchestra, (Osmo Vänskä, Music Director); and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Millennium Park, Chicago, released a thought-provoking single and video, “Are We A Nation,” inspired by the controversial immigration law that was enacted in Arizona . The song captured a Gold Songwriter Award from the 27th Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and was featured on an all-star compilation, “Bordersongs,” that raised money for the No More Deaths organization, which provides water and humanitarian aid along the Arizona/Mexico border. Their latest 2-CD set, “A Tribute – Live! Jazz at Lincoln Center,” pays homage to some of the great female African-American vocalists whose songs helped shape the group, including Abbey Lincoln, Odetta, Miriam Makeba, and Nina Simone.

The complete list of dates are listed below:

September 18th - University of Nevada/Reno Nightingale Concert Hall, Reno, NV
September 27th - Washington State University, Beasley Coliseum, Pullman, WA
October 8th - Georgia Southern University, Performing Arts Center, Statesboro,GA
October 9th - Wake Forest University, Wait Chapel, Winston, Salem
October 11th - Georgia State University, Rialto Center, Atlanta, GA
October 14th - Thrivent Financial Hall/Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Appleton, WI
October 16th - St. Catherine University, O'Shaughnessy, St. Paul, MN
October 17th - Dimnent Chapel, Holland, MI
October 19th - The Center For The Performing Arts, Carmel, IN
October 22nd - Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton, WI
October 23rd - Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL
October 26th - Macomb Center For The Performing Arts, Clinton Township, MI
October 30th - East Tenn.State Univ, Martha St Culp Auditorium, Johnson City, TN
November 21st - Admiral Theater, Bremerton, WA
November 22nd - Edmonds Center For The Arts, Edmonds, WA

Johnny Mathis "The Complete Global Albums Collection" to be released Nov 17th, includes 13-CDs

Johnny Mathis' near 60-year tenure as a core artist at Columbia Records was only interrupted once, when he founded his own production company, Global Records, for a four-year stay at Mercury Records from 1963 to 1967.  His entire album output for that label (virtually every title rare and out of print for decades) is brought back into full focus with the release of the deluxe box set, THE COMPLETE GLOBAL ALBUMS COLLECTION. This 13-CD clamshell-design package, with personal album-by-album annotations by Johnny, will be available every­where on November 17th through Columbia/Legacy.

During the course of his Global/Mercury period, Johnny released 10 individual LPs, all of which have been digitally remastered for this new box set:

•The Sounds Of Christmas (1963)
•Tender Is The Night (1964)
•The Wonderful World Of Make-Believe (1964)
•This Is Love (1964)
•Ole (1965)
•Love Is Everything (1965)
•The Sweetheart Tree (international edition, aka Away From Home, 1965)
•The Shadow Of Your Smile (1966)
•So Nice (1966)
•Johnny Mathis Sings (1967)

In addition to these titles, THE COMPLETE GLOBAL ALBUMS COLLECTION will contain two more volumes of material of essential interest to Mathis collectors and completists:

•Broadway (a "lost" album largely consisting entirely of previously unreleased covers of Broadway show tunes, recorded 1964-1965)
•The Global Singles and Unreleased (2 CDs of non-album singles and unreleased songs)

THE COMPLETE GLOBAL ALBUMS COLLECTION celebrates the versatile and distinctive voice of Johnny Mathis, who has been enchanting audiences around the world since the age of 19.  He was an athletic scholarship freshman at San Francisco State College in 1955, when Columbia staff A&R producer George Avakian 'discovered' him singing in a Bay Area nightclub.  Johnny was not yet 21 when he finally arrived in New York City for his first recording sessions with Avakian in '56. Columbia A&R chief Mitch Miller took over Johnny's hitmaking production reins from 1957 to 1960.

Mathis scored his first string of consecutive smash hits in '57 – "Wonderful! Wonderful!," "It's Not For Me To Say," "Chances Are" (his first #1), "The Twelfth Of Never," "No Love (But Your Love)," and "Wild Is The Wind."  He went on to enjoy one of the most enduring careers in popular music, an artist who has been present on the singles and albums charts in every decade from the '50s to the '10s.  He remains the only recording act in history with two LPs listed in the Billboard Top 10 (even the Top 25) on Joel Whitburn's "Albums Of Longevity" chart – 1958's Johnny's Greatest Hits (at 490 weeks, that's over nine years!) and 1959's Heavenly (at 295 weeks) – iconic achievements in pop music history.

Johnny suddenly decamped for Mercury Records (Miller's pre-Columbia label) in 1963.  With the launch of his Global Records imprint, Johnny was embarking on a new and challeng­ing chapter of his already illustrious career.  His first LP under the new deal was The Sounds Of Christmas (1963, his second career Christmas LP), produced by arranger/conductor Don Costa.  Without Miller's input, Johnny made the bold decision to self-produce many of the Global titles, starting with his second release, Tender Is The Night (1964).

"All of a sudden," Mathis notes in his new introduction, written especially for this box set, "I was in charge of my own decisions in the studio, and I didn't have someone to guide me on what I was doing, right or wrong… I wasn't a producer, and I didn't realize until then how important producers were and how much they assisted me in my work.  I tried to do what I could, but I had no idea what would be good for the market."

Johnny's oft-overlooked Global recordings have always cried out for a more in-depth look at their importance, given his lack of regard at the time for current trends.  With that in mind, THE COMPLETE GLOBAL ALBUMS COLLECTION offers a dazzling array of familiar pop standards and unique musical experiments.  Titles are as diverse as the Spanish language Ole (1965) and the forward-looking The Sweetheart Tree (1965), recorded in London.  Over the course of his Global recordings, Johnny collaborated with arrangers and conductors familiar from his time at Columbia (Costa, Glenn Osser) and drew on material by everyone from the Beatles, to Johnny Mercer, Bacharach-David, Bricusse-Newley, Brazilian composers Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfa, even Gerry Goffin-Carole King.

Although the quality and production of Johnny Mathis' Global recordings have never been in dispute, the albums did not yield any major commercial breakthroughs as compared to his Columbia success, and were mostly out-of-print by the end of the '60s.  Johnny returned to Columbia on a high-note in 1967, with his Up, Up and Away LP vaulting inside the Top 20 on the Billboard R&B chart, boosted by his Top 40 AC hit cover of Tim Hardin's "Misty Roses."

"Few performers had captured the idealistic dreams of his generation like Mathis," wrote James Gavin (Grammy-nominated biographer of Ella Fitzgerald and Chet Baker) in his liner notes to Legacy's 2-CD, 24-song compilation, The Global Masters, released back in 1997.  "His voice – a nasal tenor with high notes as light as a choirboy's – remains one of the most idiosyncratic in pop ... Whereas the singing of Frank Sinatra or Peggy Lee teemed with sexual undertones, Mathis' rang out angelically, offering the promise – or at least the illusion – that romance was forever… Then and now, Mathis sings to the lovestruck adolescent in everyone."


1.  The Sounds Of Christmas (1963)
2.  Tender Is The Night (1964)
3.  The Wonderful World Of Make-Believe (1964)
4.  This Is Love (1964)
5.  Ole (1965)
6.  Love Is Everything (1965)
7.  The Sweetheart Tree (international edition, aka Away From Home, 1965)
8.  The Shadow Of Your Smile (1966)
9.  So Nice (1966)
10.  Johnny Mathis Sings (1967)
11.  Broadway (previously unreleased "lost" album of show tunes, recorded 1964-1965)
12.  The Global Singles and Unreleased (2 CDs, non-album singles and unreleased songs)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

In Memoriam: Joe Sample (1939 – 2014)

The tragic news hit fast and furious on Facebook originating from Joseph Leslie “Joe” Sample’s Facebook page. At the young age of 75, pianist, keyboardist, composer and one of the founding members of the legendary jazz outfit, The Crusaders (originally the Jazz Crusaders, also released as The Young Rabbits), was pronounced dead at 9:50pm in Houston, Texas. One of the most recognizable names in music from the jazz fusion pioneers, The Crusaders, Sample is also known for recording with such luminaries as: Miles Davis, B.B. King, Steely Dan, The Supremes, and George Benson, among others. Sample also recorded classic duet albums with singers Lalah Hathaway and Randy Crawford, respectively. As a solo and duet artist, Sample appeared on over 22 albums over 44 years (not counting his multi-decade work with The Crusaders and other acts). Most recently, Sample was actively working on the original lyrics and music with Jonatha Brooks for a musical theatrical work, Quadroon, which just experienced a successful reading this summer in his hometown of Houston. 

A child prodigy, Sample began playing piano at age 5 and was trained by organist/pianist Curtis Mayo. Following several iterations that began while Sample was in high school, his jazz quartet transitioned from the fun moniker The Swingsters to later become the Modern Jazz Sextet (in college at Texas Southern University), then the Jazz Crusaders by the time the group left Houston for L.A. in the late ‘60s and recorded a series of projects later released by Blue Note as The Young Rabbits. Ultimately becoming best known as The Crusaders for a knockout hit run from the 1970s that lasted into the early ‘90s, Sample and company reunited in 2003 for a final reunion album, Rural Renewal. The musical successors to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Sample, along with core members trombonist Wayne Henderson, saxophonist Wilton Felder, and drummer “Stix” Hopper (along with former members Larry Carlton and Robert Popwell), crafted a fusion of jazz, funk, and soul that was exceedingly progressive for its time. As one of the first to commercially record using the electric keyboard, Sample himself is considered one of that instrument’s leading pioneers. As a result of their unique fusion, The Crusaders had several top charting albums in the Jazz, R&B, and Pop categories, earning several #1 Billboard Top Jazz and Contemporary Jazz albums, including: Images, Street Life, The 2nd Crusade, Southern Comfort, Free As The Wind, Rhapsody and Blues, and Healing The Wounds. 

Outside of a three decade string of Crusaders’ hits, Sample also worked as a solo act beginning in 1969 with Fancy Dance as a featured pianist and perhaps most prominently with the 1985 Top 10 Billboard Top Jazz Albums (#8), Oasis, the 1997 George Duke produced Billboard Top 5 Contemporary Jazz Album (#5), Sample This, and Sample’s uber-successful 1993 #1 Billboard Top Jazz Album (#43 R&B/Hip Hop and #194 Billboard 200) charter, Invitation, produced by Tommy LiPuma. Throughout his career, Sample also frequently worked as well as an in-demand studio musician for such acts as: Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Joni Mitchell, Anita Baker, Kenny Burrell, and Minnie Ripperton, among others.   

In more recent years, Sample scored a 1999 hit album with Lalah Hathaway on The Song Lives On, #2 Top Contemporary Jazz Album (#53 R&B, #196 Billboard 200), birthing the cult classic “When Your Life Was Low.” Sample hit again as a duet artist in 2006 with Feeling Good (#3 Top Jazz Albums, #77 R&B Albums) and again with 2008’s No Regrets (#8 Top Jazz Albums) with Randy Crawford who with The Crusaders earned a #1 Jazz Album in 1979 with Street Life, an legendary album which birthed a Top 40 Pop and Top 20 R&B smash with the album’s title track (#36 Hot 100, #17 R&B Singles). 

Exploring different soundscapes to the end, Sample's last release was 2013’s CreoleJoeBand, an excursion in bluegrass and country in collaboration with Denise Labrie. At the time of his passing, Sample was also actively working in 2014 on the original musical, Quadroon. 

Joe Sample is survived by his wife, Yolanda, and his son, bassist Nicklas Sample. Sample was 75 years old.  

By L. Michael Gipson

Friday, September 12, 2014


An astonishing tour-de-force of the jazz singer’s art released at a time when jazz was widely viewed as being artistically moribund and when the market for straight-ahead jazz had shrunk to something of a rump (although the adventurous Inner City label had achieved a certain caché with hard-core jazz aficionados around the world, and notably with the UK’s jazz-funk scene of the late ‘70s). 

While many of her contemporaries turned to a more commercially viable and often musically unadventurous fusion, Janet Lawson’s record made the case for jazz as a still-exciting, living art-form.

On the face of it, Janet Lawson can be seen as a direct descendant of those jazz giants, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Anita O’Day, equally at home with the precise articulation and interpretation of lyrics, attentive to diction and the nuances of words, and with the ‘pure’ music of wordless improvisation, known as ‘scat’ singing. Whereas someone like the once-great Ella had latterly turned scat into something of a novelty, routinely hammed up for cosy audiences that didn’t want jazz to sound too ‘difficult’, Janet Lawson, like her contemporaries in Europe Ursula Dudziak and Norma Winstone, was working at something altogether ‘deeper’.

From classic ballads like I Thought About You and It Never Entered My Mind, via a superlative Round Midnight and a stunning Jitterbug Waltz (who else ever heard that as a vocal tune?), tunes by singers Bob Dorough (Nothing Like You) and Blossom Dearie (Sunday Afternoon), and a brilliant original, So High (which became a favourite of the UK’s burgeoning jazz-dance scene), Janet Lawson made music that constantly involved the listener in the question of ‘will she/won’t she pull it off..?’ as her daring improvisations achieved exhilarating flights of creativity, and the band as a whole creates a whole range of emotional moods from longing to joy.

This augmented version of the quintet’s album supplements the original track listing with an even more diverse selection of material: Gershwin’s stately Ain’t Necessarily So; the freebop of Joshua, from the book of the second great Miles Davis Quintet; and a version of the Brazilian ballad Dindi, a tune which Janet Lawson had previously recorded and released as a seven-inch single on United Artists.

The Janet Lawson Quintet was an astonishingly tight-knit band, a collective that lived and breathed as one, just like the aforementioned Miles Davis Quintet or the sprawling Mingus band that had originally reinvented Fats Waller’s ’s Jitterbug Waltz as a modern jazz tune. Reed man Roger Rosenberg and pianist Bill O’Connell really sound good enough to have had recording careers as leaders themselves, and drummer Jimmy Madison and bassist Ratzo Harris complete this fine unit. Rosenberg especially really shines, bringing an understated virtuosity to proceedings, at times evoking the tenor giant Ben Webster on those breathy, quiet moments, even whilst playing the unwieldy baritone. His soprano playing is also inspired, leaping about with vim and vitality. O’Connell has less time in the spotlight, shines whenever he is in it, and contributes glorious comping the rest of the time… why have we heard so little of such great musicians? The other members of the rhythm section display an extraordinary sensitivity to the vast sweeps that Janet Lawson’s voice makes, moving from passages of atemporal floatiness into fluid, cooking, straight-ahead bop within moments.

‘When we are in flow,’ says Janet in her book, ‘in harmony with the activities of consciousness, we are “naturally” creative –being brilliant in retort, uncovering dormant gifts, finding that lost chord in every aspect of our lives. It’s the natural way to be.’ One would be hard pressed to find a band more in ‘flow’ than the Janet Lawson Quintet circa 1981 (although their follow up album three years later was equally fine).

Listeners who know Janet Lawson mainly for the much played So High – brilliant as it is - should take the time to investigate the rest of the delights available in this set, quite simply one of the finest jazz records of the past 35 years, and now, in its augmented form, sounding better than ever.


Trumpet Player Carl Fischer Releases Single, "Pure Imagination," with Portions of Proceeds Benefiting Children's Hospital Charities

Carl Fischer can be seen on some of the biggest stages in the world with iconic artists such as Billy Joel, Diana Ross and Blood Sweat & Tears. Now Carl explores new distribution and marketing methods while releasing his single, “Pure Imagination,” from the new “Standards with Strings” project.
 .Carl Fischer's new single "Pure Imagination"
...the crowd goes nuts...Maybe it's unexpected but he's just such a good musician. He just blows people away ~ Billy Joel (SiriusXM interview '14) Chicago, IL (PRWEB) September 12, 2014

Carl Fischer, trumpet player, multi-instrumentalist and member of the iconic Billy Joel, Diana Ross, and Blood Sweat & Tears bands, is proud to announce the release of his single “Pure Imagination” from the new project “Standards with Strings” at A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the single will go to benefit children’s hospital charities.

The “Standards with Strings” project embraces the ever-changing music industry and focuses on releasing singles periodically in volumes. “Either change with it or get left behind. Shifting focus to frequently releasing singles keeps people engaged and new content constantly flowing,” says Fischer. Singles will focus on original arrangements of standards, with strings, from the great American songbook.

“Pure Imagination”, a collaboration with established producer Andy Snitzer, gives an exciting and original take on this classic movie standard, featuring the lush lyrical side of Fischer’s playing that is more commercial, but still with a dash of fireworks thrown in that can only be described as Carl Fischer!

Fischer’s career in the music industry has spanned all genres and has placed him in a circle with a virtual who’s who of the music world. This includes multiple groups of Fischer’s own incarnation.

The previously released CD, "Adverse Times", by Carl Fischer & Organic Groove Ensemble, was released in 2009 to rave reviews and reached high placement on multiple music charts. The music can still be found in rotation. Organic Groove was founded in 2001, with its well-received 2003, self-titled, release still having success in the digital market.

In 2011, Fischer also started the Carl Fischer Nouveau Big Band, featuring a small big band that was a mainstay in the New York City club scene as well as headlining jazz festivals.

From his current national and international touring schedules performing with, and being a featured soloist for, pop icon Billy Joel, Motown Legend Diana Ross, and Contemporary Jazz-Rock American group Blood Sweat and Tears, to a over a decade stint with the late jazz great Maynard Ferguson, one constant has remained and has been Fischer’s mantra during this latest endeavor. “Try to stay true to yourself and achieve your own sound while conveying emotion through a melody, which is probably one of the hardest things a musician can do.”

Fischer’s goal is to take music from the “Standards with Strings” series into symphony halls throughout the country featuring full orchestras and performances at major music festivals.

Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band / Coca-Cola Generations in Jazz Festival

Roy Haynes, legendary jazz drummer and GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award winner, brings his GRAMMY®-nominated “Fountain of Youth” band to Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. Since becoming a professional musician in the 1940s, he has worked with artists such as Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Bud Powell, Sarah Vaughan, Thelonious Monk, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and Pat Metheny. Join us at the club to witness an incomparable artist alongside a hand-picked group of master musicians in the making.

Haynes is among the most recorded drummers in jazz, and in a career lasting more than 60 years has played in a wide range of styles ranging from swing and bebop to jazz fusion and avant-garde jazz. He has a highly expressive, personal style ("Snap Crackle" was a nickname given him in the 1950s) and is known to foster a deep engagement in his bandmates. He has also led his own groups, some performing under the name Hip Ensemble. His most recent recordings as a leader are Fountain of Youth[ and Whereas, both of which have been nominated for a Grammy Award. He continues to perform worldwide. 

A multi-generational meeting of legendary masters and up-and-coming musicians, the fifth annual Coca-Cola Generations in Jazz Festival offers unique celebrations in swing, featuring a variety of artists from around the globe.

Roy Haynes is appearing at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, Broadway and 60th Street, 5th Floor,  Sept. 12 -14., 2014. Appearing alongside Roy Haynes, leader/drums; is Jaleel Shaw, saxophones; David Wong, bass; and Martin Bejerano, piano.



Swindle – one of the most exciting, charismatic young producers coming out of the UK – received outstanding reviews last year in response to his album “Long Live The Jazz” where, according to XLR8R, “the South Londoner… settled into a brightly embellished, jazz-inflected style of dubstep”. He also played piano for the Mala in Cuba Live shows in 2012/13, a testament for his ability to waver between styles and genres impeccably. As well as this, Swindle holds a key role in the Butterz label and Collective, and has produced for the likes of Roll Deep and Footsie. Now well known for his dynamic live shows, Swindle’s sound is truly unique and constantly developing. With the title track ‘Walter’s Call’, Swindle dives straight in at the deep end with sirens and footwork inspired drums, gradually building themes of energetic brass brilliance into the mix. Seamlessly produced, this sets the EP off to a blazing start, introducing the influences of early 20th century chaotic jazz, which run throughout. ~ Brownswood


Deeply soulful work from legendary reedman Kidd Jordan – an important figure on the New Orleans scene for many years, but one who's only finally getting his full exposure on recent records of this nature! The set features Jordan in duets with drummer Hamid Drake – as well as a solo moment from each – playing live, but in a studio, not a performance space – with the kind of upfront, personal focus the players might bring to a private creative session – although there's also a small group of listeners in the studio to give them even more response and direction. The set begins with a long alto and drums duet, then moves to a drum solo, a tenor/drume passage that runs well over 20 minutes, and a spare tenor reading of "Wade In The Water" by Jordan. The set's then completed by a 29 minute return to tenor and drums – with amazing energy from both musicians!  ~ Dusty Groove


Willi Williams’ album, Unification: From Channel One To King Tubby’s With Willi Williams & Yabby You drops Tuesday, September 30, and is a “lost” treasure of a recording of Williams in association with fellow roots Reggae legend Yabby You. Recorded at both the fabled Channel One and King Tubby’s studios in the late seventies, the golden age of reggae, this project is an absolute must for collectors and lovers of classic Roots Reggae music!  Williams is also planning a tour in support of the release.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Vocalist Hilary Gardner Exhibits Vocal Brilliance & Sophistication on Her Debut Recording The Great City

Acclaimed vocalist Hilary Gardner grew up in Alaska, infatuated with New York City.  Her striking recording debut, The Great City, available on Anzic Records on September 30, is Gardner's love letter to her adopted hometown, great metropolises everywhere, and the big dreams they represent. The Great City is graceful, intimate and sophisticated, recalling classic records by Peggy Lee, Julie London, and Ella Fitzgerald. 

The album's program of songs is refreshingly broad, featuring songs both urban and urbane by composers such as Leonard Cohen, Vernon Duke, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, and Nellie McKay, among others. "I wanted to acknowledge the breadth of musical influences in my life while still making a cohesive musical statement," Hilary said. Elaborating on the title track, Hilary added, "I first heard this song sung by a very young Shirley Horn, and it immediately solidified and clarified what this album was going to be about. Funnily (appropriately!) enough, I was on the subway listening on headphones when this song came on for the first time. I had already been picking songs for the album, but as soon as I heard the first 'A' section of 'The Great City,' I knew I'd found the title track and thematic centerpiece of my record."

The Great City was recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn under the guidance of Grammy-winning producer Eli Wolf, and features musical accompaniment and solos by friends and NYC jazz mainstays, Ehud Asherie (piano), Randy Napoleon (guitar), Elias Bailey (bass), Jerome Jennings (drums), Jason Marshall (saxophone), Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet) and Jon Cowherd (organ).

Hilary opens the recording with the beautifully melancholy, "No One After You", which Hilary first heard on Anjani's Blue Alert during an insomnia filled summer living in Spanish Harlem. "I immediately felt drawn to 'No One After You' because it evoked such strong memories of that time in my life: living uptown and waiting tables while trying to make this music thing happen, getting my heart broken, etc.," said Hilary. In 2010, Hilary was chosen by the Frank Sinatra estate to appear as the live, onstage singer in Tony-award winner Twyla Tharp's Come Fly Away.  Backed by a 19-piece big band, Hilary sang solos and duets with Frank Sinatra's voice in a performance hailed by critics as "wonderful" (Huffington Post), "elegant" (USA Today), and "terrific" (The New York Observer). So in a way Frank Sinatra gave Hilary Gardner her first big break, and "Brooklyn Bridge" (Sinatra premiered this Cahn/Styne song in the 1947 film, It Happened In Brooklyn), is Hilary's nod to Ol' Blue Eyes. "Aside from the fact that I immediately fell in love with the charm and sweetness of this song, I also knew I had to tip my proverbial hat to Frank Sinatra on my record." Hilary's bittersweet rendition of "Autumn In New York" is both luxurious and filled with longing. She reinvigorates Vernon Duke's classic standard with understated elegance. "The line, '. . . looking down on the city I hate and adore . . .' gave me goose bumps the first time I heard it, because it's so true. I love how urbane this whole lyric is, and it was really important to me that we recorded both full choruses so the entire lyric would be heard. Vernon Duke! He wrote the music and lyrics for this song in 1937, and I think it's the most elegant summation of the complexity of loving this city. I was so inspired by Billie Holiday's recording of this song, which is stop-you-in-your-tracks perfection. Her interpretation is so incredibly deep and subtle," said Hilary.

Other highlights on The Great City include Hilary's version of "Drunk On The Moon," the late-night ballad by Tom Waits (who Hilary fell in love with at age 12), evoking the original's snapshot of blue smoke curling around neon signs and the beauty of the urban underbelly. "This song is how the city feels after a long night, coming home after a very late gig," commented Hilary; "Sweetheart", inspired by Dan Hicks, and featuring Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet, who Hilary met while playing with Valery Ponomarev's big band together (along with Jason Marshall and Jerome Jennings); "You Came a Long Way From St. Louis" and "(Ah, the Apple Trees) When the World Was Young", both inspired by Anita O'Day; "This Little Town Is Paris," which represents Hilary's knack for finding relatively unknown gems that deserve to be heard. "The composer, Milton Schwartz, is a total mystery! I searched for any information about him, and came up with bupkis. Not even Jonathan Schwartz (legendary WNYC DJ, no relation) had any info. But what a little gem of a tune. A beautiful melody, a charming lyric . . . this is one of my favorite moments on the record," said Hilary. 

The album concludes with poise and poignancy on "Manhattan Avenue."  Here, supported by Ehud Asherie's virtuosic piano accompaniment, Hilary interprets the gritty, contemporary lyric with sophisticated intimacy.  The simple grace of the song's arrangement is a tribute to the telepathic interplay between Teddy Wilson and Billie Holiday. That juxtaposition of sensibilities, timeless musicality melded with an in-the-now sentiment, poetically sums up The Great City. "We knew right away that 'Manhattan Avenue' would close the album, especially with the last line: Oh, but dreams come true/on Manhattan Avenue.  That's really the message of the album," Hilary says. "This city is complicated, frustrating, and magical, and dreams do come true here. They certainly have for me." 

Hilary Gardner performs as a leader throughout New York City, appearing regularly at Birdland, Café Carlyle, Symphony Space, and Jazz at Kitano.  She is a frequent soloist with symphonies throughout the United States and has appeared with Connecticut's Ridgefield Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and New York's Rochester Philharmonic. Multi-platinum recording artist Moby featured Hilary prominently on his 2009 release, Wait For Me (Mute Records/EMI). Most recently Hilary has been touring with the new vocal super-group Duchess, featuring fellow vocalists, and Anzic label-mates Amy Cervini and Melissa Stylianou. The group has just kicked off a three month residency at The 55 Bar, and will be releasing their debut album in early 2015, on Anzic Records. 
Hilary Gardner - Upcoming Appearances: 

Sept 16 @ Cafe Carlyle as a special guest of Jeff Goldblum!

Oct 5 @ Birdland, NYC, CD Rel Celebration for The Great City 
Featuring Hilary Gardner (vocals), Ehud Asherie (piano), Elias Bailey (bass), Jerome Jennings (drums), Jason Marshall (saxophone)
6:00 PM Sharp - One set only!, Birdland is located at 315 W 44th St, NYC
Tel 212 581 3080,

Duchess Residency @ The 55 Bar, NYC
Featuring Amy Cervini, Melissa Stylianou & Hilary Gardner
Sept 4 & 17, Oct 2 & 15  and Nov 6 & 19
The 55 Bar is located at 55 Christopher Street, Tel 212 929 9883,
Showtimes are 7:00-9:00 PM, no cover, 2-drink minimum

Duchess @ Snug Harbor, New Orleans, LA
Oct 9, sets at 8 & 10 PM
With special guests Evan Christopher, Brian Seeger and others!
Snug Harbor is located at 626 Frenchman St., New Orleans, LA
Tel 504 949 0696,



The first we've ever heard from singer Antonella Vitale – a deep-voiced singer with a really great small combo sort of vibe – and an ability to sing equally well in English and Italian! Most of the music here is in English – as the tunes are older jazz standards – but there's a few Italian numbers that are especially nice, and which feature writing by Vitale herself, which is a very nice surprise! Backing is mostly by a trio, but a really lively one – with sublime work on acoustic bass from Francesco Puglisi, who really gives the music a soulful finish – and players include Andrea Beneventano on piano and Alessandro Marzi on drums – plus guest accordion from Antonella Salis on a few tracks. Titles include "Blue In Green", "Take The A Train", "Canoeiro", "Eu E O Vento", "But Beautiful", "Preludio", and "The Shadow Of Your Smile". ~ Dusty Groove


November will see the worldwide release of Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression, the first official illustrated history of Blue Note Records, authored by Richard Havers and including forewords by Wayne Shorter, Robert Glasper, and Blue Note President Don Was. Commemorating our 75th anniversary, the beautiful 400-page hardcover book celebrates over seven decades of extraordinary music, and Blue Note's ongoing commitment to "Uncompromising Expression," the tenet set forth by founder Alfred Lion, a German immigrant who came to America to pursue his dreams and his love of music. Tracing the evolution of jazz from the boogie woogie and hot jazz of the 1930s, through bebop, hard-bop, the avant-garde and fusion, to the eclectic mix Blue Note releases today, the book also narrates a complex social history from the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany to the developments in music and technology in the late 20th century. Featuring classic album artwork, unseen contact sheets, rare ephemera from the Blue Note Archives, commentary from some of the biggest names in jazz today, and feature reviews of seventy-five key albums, this is the definitive book on the legendary label. Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression is available for pre-order now. ~ Blue Note Records


Keyboardist Wil Blades always gets our attention – but here he somehow sounds even better than before – working in a sweet funky trio with a deeply soulful feel, and maybe some of the funkiest guitar we've ever heard from the great Jeff Parker! Parker's probably best known for some of his more experimental work – which ranges beyond just standard jazz – but he also spent some time coming up with Hammond combos, so sounds great here working alongsid Wil's tightly creative work on the B3, as well as some clavinet at a few points too! Drummer Simon Lott has a tight, break-sensitive sound to his work – which makes even the mellow moments nice and funky – which only seems to set Parker on fire more than ever. Titles include "Chrome", "Addis", "Parks N Wreck", "Miller's Time", "Red Lanterns Are Blue", and "I Get The Blues When It Rains".~ Dusty Groove



Dee Daniels is the kind of singer who really takes us back to our precious time spent in jazz clubs on the south side of Chicago a few decades back – during the days when the old school jazz singer seemed to be a dying breeed, as few labels really understood how to capture their genius or present them to the public. Daniels has an easygoing, relaxed way of putting over a tune – yet still manages to come across with a rich, soulful vibe throughout – whether singing her own great lyrics on one tune, or working through a mix of well-chosen tracks that have a lot more variety than just the usual standards set – the kind of material that a singer like Dee can really make her own, especially with help from a soulful small combo that includes Cyrus Chestnut on piano, Houston Person on tenor, and Wycliffe Gordon on trombone! Titles include "4AM", "Get Here", "Come Try My Love", "Don't Touch Me", "A Song For You", and "I Wish You Love". ~ Dusty Groove,


Olli Ahvenlahti is a Finnish pianist, composer and conductor, born in Helsinki, Finland in 1949. Ahvenlahti has been one of the leading Finnish Jazz artists since the 70s. He has recorded with several artists and groups including UMO Jazz Orchestra (1977-1982). He went on to become conductor for Finland in, believe it or not, the Eurovision Song Contest, conducting seven entries for the country from 1990 until 1998. Since the 1990s he has worked as a composer and arranger for Finnish radio and television company 'YLE'. The Poet was originally released on Love Records in Finland in 1976 and is now hard to find and expensive to acquire. The most sought after track Grandma's Rocking Chair became very popular with dancers in the early 90s London acid/jazz scene due to its pace and percussion, and has appeared on many compilations since. It was reworked by Kenny Dope in 2001 and released on Finnish label Jazzpuu. This Mr Bongo jazz/funk re-issue is packaged in their new and improved heavyweight card sleeves, pressed on high quality vinyl, with label designs and artwork as per the original release.


The music of the Romain Baret Trio is a combination of rock, jazz and pop all blended together to create their unique eclectic sound. Formed in late 2010, this French trio consists of Romain Baret (guitar), Michel Molines (bass), and  Sébastien Necca (drums). Trackslist: Idée fixe, C'était couru d'avance, Journey to the 55, Jour suivant (part I), Jour suivant (part II),The Bright Side of the Dark Street, Éloge de la lenteur (Be Quick or Be Dead), L'Aridité de l'arithmétique, and Patience gratuite.


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