BRUCE HARRIS - BEGINNINGS
The debut album from Bruce Harris – a tight trumpeter that we'll certainly be hearing from in years to come, working here with an all-star group of musicians that really help the leader shine! The core group is a quartet – with Michael Weiss on piano, Clovis Nicolas on bass, and Pete Van Nostrand on drums – but other players step into the mix often, in a lineup that includes Grant Stewart and Jerry Weldon on tenor, Dmitry Baevsky on alto, and Frank Basile on baritone. Harris can have a bit more tradition in his tone than you'd expect for a younger player – although it also depends on the material, as the album features songs by Horace Silver, Bud Powell, Harld Arlen, and Prince – in addition to Bruce's own material. Titles include "The Step", "Mr Blakey", "Snowbound", "Ask Questions", "So Near So Far", "Una Noche Con Francis", and "Do U Lie". ~ Dusty Groove
DIAL & OATTS / RICH DEROSA / THE WDR BIG BAND - REDISCOVERED ELLINGTON
Rediscovered Ellington is a rarity that comes along once every few decades, a trove of mostly unheard music by a music legend fashioned into a glimmering yet meditative production. The great Duke Ellington, for whom this album is a tribute, once observed that there are two kinds of music, the kind that connects to the audience with sincerity and the kind that doesn't. Judging by the response of listeners worldwide, Ellington's music is of the first kind: beautiful, cultivated, resonant, and timeless. But for there to be any audience connection at all, the music must first be heard. And that's what is special about this stunner. Maestros in their own right, Garry Dial, Dick Oatts, and Rich DeRosa unearthed these compositions from obscurity, They turned musical amnesia into memorable and vivid works that bring Ellington's life and music into sharper focus not only for the seasoned Ellington diaspora but those new to his sizable repertoire. Dial, Oatts, and DeRosa shaping these compositions with colorful and immaculate arrangements, rendering Ellington afresh and anew. Prior to this recording, few of these works had a brief public life. Most were unknown to the general public. While a few of the arrangements suggest an homage to Ellington's sound, most of the works showcase how music may be given new and refreshing life while respecting the composer's essence. The album opens with Hey Baby, a mid-tempo swing number recorded in 1946 and released on RCA Victor. It's also a well-known tune from Blue Rose, the 1956 Rosemary Clooney album. It brings the virtuosity of soloists Oatts (soprano sax), Paul Heller (tenor sax), Dial (piano) and Johan Hörlen (alto sax) to the forefront, and showcases the big band's mighty brass section in multicolored shout sections. Let The Zoomers Drool, an Ellington/Johnny Hodges tune, was originally released as a live album in 1945 on the Jazz Society label. Kabir Sehgal, multiple GRAMMY winning producer.
JAMIRE WILLIAMS - EFFECTUAL
Solo drum work from Jamire Williams, beautifully captured by the spiritual production of Carlos Nino – and balanced out occasionally with additional keyboard sounds on Fender Rhodes and Oberheim, and some other percussion instruments as well! The approach here is quite unique – as the set's neither as free as some improvised music albums, nor trying for any sort of rootsy, organic approach – as Jamire clearly has a sharp focus on some numbers, and is always keeping things on a straightforward rhythmic path – yet one that's never just about easy drum breaks or more familiar modes. The electric elements step in about a third of the time, and definitely keep a nicely dynamic range to the music – on tracks that include "In Retrospect", "Futurism", "Children Of The Supernatural", "Selectric", "Who Will Stand", "Chase The Ghost", and "Wash Me Over". ~ Dusty Groove.