SHERYL BAILEY / HARVIE S – PLUCKY STRUM DEPARTURE
As seasoned and important players on the national and international traditional jazz scenes, Sheryl Bailey and Harvie S – known together as Plucky Strum, made real impact with their recent eponymous debut, a work which showcased discerning talent and true creative art. One their follow-up, aptly titled Departure, Harvie and Bailey dig a little deeper, engaging in some creative improvisation and interplay. Those familiar with their work – Harvie has played with many of the greats, including Jim Hall, Larry Coryell, Pat Martino, Gil Evans and Thad Jones, will love how they’ve enhanced the adventure here, filtering in Sheryl’s electric guitar with subtle electronics, clever bebop excursions and some stellar simpatico interplay that takes the duo into exhilarating sonic regions. All in all, Departure is accomplished and masterful. The material is bravely selected and boldly performed. The recording is balanced and skillfully produced, with lovely mixing and mastering. Interpretations, like CSN’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” with Harvie’s bowed bass lines and Sheryl’s tactile exploration, is one example, but there are many equally wonderful examples on the record, all of which deserve to be heard. This is major league stuff, brilliant and beautiful.
DWIGHT TRIBLE / MATTHEW HALSALL - INSPIRATIONS
A fantastic setting for the voice of Dwight Trible – one of the few contemporary jazz singers who inherited the style of spiritual jazz greats like Leon Thomas or Joe Lee Wilson! Trible's singing here with backing from a group that includes trumpeter Matthew Halsall, recording on Halsall's own label too – a wonderful imprint that's also one of the few to really get the spiritual vibe just right – that sort of long-flowing, always-soulful mode that grew out of the post-Coltrane generation! Tracks are all open and modal – just the right vibe for Trible to hit his heights – and they also leave plenty of space for Halsall to take some great solos, too – in a combo that also includes piano, bass, drums, and even a bit of harp. Most titles are remakes of older numbers, but given a completely different spin by Trible – and titles include "Tryin Times", "What The World Needs Now Is Love", "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair", "Heaven & Hell", "Feelin Good", and "Dear Lord". ~ Dusty Groove
SOUL LOUNGE 13 - COMPILATION
A fantastic set of contemporary soul tracks – music from both sides of the Atlantic, served up in a well-priced collection that brings together the best of the British and American underground soul scenes! A good deal of the work here is from the catalog of the Dome label in the past decade or so – an imprint who continues to be one of the few stronger indie labels dedicated to discovering and properly presenting the best in soul music – something that's becoming more and more important in recent years, as so many new artists only issue digital releases. This 3CD pacakge is a great reminder of how wonderful it can be to hear tracks like these on a proper CD release – and the whole thing's a treasure trove throughout – with 40 tracks that include "Sky (Ski Oakenfull rmx)" by Bluey, "Spiritual Eyes (Young Pulse & ATN rmx)" by Jarrod Lawson, "Feel Like Dancing" by Heston, "Need You Now" by Avery Sunshine, "Looking For" by Eric Roberson, "You Know Just When" by Dennis Taylor, "Morning Love" by Simon Law, "To Prove My Love" by Incognito, "Hurts Like Hell" by Angela Johnson, "Let's Do It Right" by Imaani, "Something More" by Makeda, "Like Rain" by Greg Dean with Natalie Weiss & Amber Iman, "Never Letting Go" by Frank McComb, "Crazy" by Rahsaan Patterson, "Only Be Me" by Conya Doss, "Surrender" by Seek, "The Real Thing" by Avani, "People Of Tomorrow" by Citrus Sun, and "Take It" by Cooly's Hot Box. ~ Dusty Groove