PETER BRENDLER - OUTSIDE THE LINE
Bassist Peter Brendler is at the helm of the set, but we're especially enamored of the trumpet work here – played by Peter Evans on both standard and piccolo trumpet – the latter of which has this wonderfully personal sound! Almost all tunes are originals from Brendler, who turns out to be a pretty great writer – and sets up these strong showcases for Evans' trumpet lines, which seem to leap right out front even before his solos – when he's still sharing the lead with tenorist Rich Perry. Perry's pretty great, too – but there's a freshness to Evans' phrasing that's really great – bold at some minutes, with lots of offbeat twists and turns – and more fragile and honest on the piccolo trumpet tunes. Drummer Vinnie Sperrazza completes the group – and titles include "Blackout Reunion", "Drop The Mittens", "The Darkness", "Blanket Statement", "Lawn Darts", and a surprisingly nice cover of "Walk On The Wild Side". ~ Dusty Groove
HAILEY NISWANGER – PDX SOUL
Most artists, if they re lucky, wait many years to rack up the kind of rave reviews that Portland, Oregon-based alto and soprano saxophonist Hailey Niswanger already boasted in her teens. Nat Hentoff, one of the most renowned jazz critics of all-time, wrote that Hailey plays with remarkable authority and drive considering her relative youth, and with the élan and dynamics of an unmistakable pro, while the prestigious All About Jazz website, reviewing Confeddie, Niswanger s 2009 debut album, said she and her group bring the goods on a program refreshingly free of the typical chestnuts and brimming with melodic invention...Niswanger pulls no punches. Now, with the release of PDX Soul, Hailey Niswanger takes her artistry to the next level. Rich in funky rhythms, instantly hooky melodies and sophisticated songcraft several of its eight tracks are written and arranged by Niswanger and brimming with fine-tuned improvisational acumen, PDX Soul is the showcase that Hailey has been building toward. Working with a collective of superb players, Hailey moves beyond the rising star designation that s been affixed to her since she came on the scene and proves one of the most innovative and talented young musicians in contemporary jazz.
JON DAVIS – MOVING RIGHT ALONG
A great little album from pianist Jon Davis – a player who's got this way of cascading out notes with effortless ease – almost at a level that's thinking a few steps forward of the bass and drums in the trio, but never with a style that loses its groove at all! We love the way that new ideas continue to leap forward from Davis' piano – especially on the album's original tracks, which have this way of blocking sound and color together that's extremely tuneful, but in a very personal, unique sort of style. Bass is by Yasushi Nakamura and drums are by Shinnosuke Takahashi – but it's clear that Davis really directs the sound, with leaps and steps that are sometimes subtle, sometimes bold – and always pretty darn fresh! Titles include "Dania", "Just In Case", "Pensive Puff", "Moving Right Along", "Moment's Notice", and "Under The Stairway". ~ Dusty Groove