STEVE LEHMAN OCTET - MISE EN ABIME
Mise en Abîme is the highly anticipated return of the Steve Lehman Octet, and the follow-up to 2009’s Travail, Transformation, and Flow, which was named the #1 Jazz/Pop CD of 2009 by the New York Times and described as a breathtaking accomplishment for its unprecedented synthesis of spectral harmony, complex rhythms, and torrid soloing. It was also named one of the Top 10 Jazz CDs of the Year by over 30 media outlets, including ArtForum, Newsweek, Village Voice, and NPR, universally heralded as futuristic, funky, and engaging in both the jazz and new classical communities.
LOUIS PRIMA JR. AND THE WITNESSES - BLOW
Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses are bringing Prima music into the 21st century. Not content to sit on the legacy they so passionately protect, LPJ and the band are taking a page from his father’s playbook, by wailing Prima Swing for the new millennium. Building off of the success of their critically acclaimed debut CD, Return of the Wildest!, the band has injected many years of diverse musical tastes into their second offering, BLOW -- a collection of original music (save for a couple of surprises) as eclectic and unique as each member of this powerhouse band, co-produced by Warrior Records’ president, Jim Ervin, and Louis Prima Jr. From the first thunderous stomps of the title track, it is evident that this ain’t your daddy’s swing music, but a raucous roller coaster ride of tail-shakin’, foot-stampin’, horn-driven smiles. If you’ve seen them in concert, you know a bit about what to expect from the musical minds of the Witnesses. As energetic and over-the-top as the band’s live shows, BLOW continues the ever-changing musical journey that Prima Sr. began in the ‘30s. "With the band’s collective talents and diverse musical tastes, we wind up with a sound unique to this band, while staying true to the boisterous Prima style,” says Louis. “We didn’t set out to simply write music we thought the fans wanted to hear. We wanted to challenge ourselves musically and also challenge the listener. You can’t fool the fans by trying to force the word ‘daddy-o’ into every song. If music does not come honestly from your soul, it will ultimately be short lived.” ~ Amazon.com
BILLY HART QUARTET - ONE IS THE OTHER
The second ECM album by the Billy Hart Quartet is a major musical statement, and one of the outstanding jazz albums of the season. The groups reach already broad on 2011s widely-acclaimed All Our Reasons - is yet more expansive here. Strong compositions - by leader-drummer Hart, tenorist Mark Turner and pianist Ethan Iverson reflect upon a wide swathe of the musics history, and are distinguished by vivid and imaginative solos and wonderful interplay. A basic premise, that this should be a band in which the vastly-experienced Billy Hart gets to play everything he wants to play, has led to a sense of almost unlimited possibility for all participants. There is freedom and joy in this music, and tenderness, too, not least in the sets sole standard, a beautifully played version of Some Enchanted Evening. Recorded in New York in 2013, and produced by Manfred Eicher. ~ Amazon.com