STEVE LANGONE TRIO – BREATHE
To the wider world of jazz world, drummer Steve Langone’s name may be an unfamiliar one. But like anything that is worthwhile but unexpected it will come as more than just a pleasant surprise. The Boston area musician has a resume that will take some time to get through, one that places him in the company of a long list of luminaries, including Claudio Roditi, Howard Alden, Anat Cohen and dozens more. So it comes as an additional surprise that Langone has taken some time to drum up another recording, his fourth, as bandleader. Breathe might be the artist exhorting himself to hit the pause button between sessions, long enough to draw a little attention to his own work, which happens to be stellar. Joined by Kevin Harris and Dave Zinno, Langone’s trio is sublime, really tasty, as they tackle an exhilarating repertoire spanning Dylan, Shearing, Louis Armstrong and a few originals. Taken as a piece, it’s great stuff, played with panache, beautifully arranged and short through with class.
BALLISTER - SLAG
Not the kind of album you'd expect from a junk-like term of "slag" – as the trio here are fantastically sharp, and play with a sense of urgency that maybe makes the whole thing one of the boldest statements from any of the three musicians in years! Dave Rempis is brilliant on both alto and tenor – as powerful as before, but also maybe finding even more soul in his horn as the years go by, and setting a tone that has Fred Lonberg-Holm working his cello with equal range too! Drummer Paal Nilssen-Love is nicely balanced – sometimes working with just the right sort of subtle energy to allow Rempis to really take the lead, other times hitting that full-on mode that you might know from earlier records – and the album features three long tracks – "Fauchard", "Guisarme", and "Glaive". ~ Dusty Groove
BOB HANLON / MARK MINCHELLO - CAMERADERIE
Some great camaraderie here between tenorist Bob Hanlon and Hammond organist Mark Minchello – working in a mode that begins with some of the soulful tenor/organ currents of the 60s, but also takes off with a more contemporary flow too – thanks to some very fluid rhythm work on most of the tracks! The album's got no bass – Minchello handles all of that beautifully with the pedals on the organ – but drummers Andy Watson and Pete MacDonald often have this loose, skipping quality that opens up the music – maybe in the manner of older players like Billy Higgins or Hugh Walkers on some of the more forward-thinking organ records of the 60s – almost fast-modal, if we had to give it a name! Other players join in from track to track – and the set includes guitar by Vic Juris, Bob Devos, and Charlie Sigler – plus guest alto from Anton Denner on one track. The pair wrote some great original tunes for the record, too – titles that include "Lovessence", "Sambesque", "Jazz Orbits", and "Flat Tire Blues" – alongside versions of "Will You Still Be Mine" and "A Sound For Sore Ears". ~ Dusty Groove