Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Releases: Jimmy Cobb - The Original Mob; Bob James - H / Sign Of The Times; Cyrus Chestnut - Midnight Melodies


Drummer Jimmy Cobb works here with his Original Mob – a quartet that's been together for over 20 years, and which features a well-matched lineup of Peter Bernstein on guitar, Brad Mehldau on piano, and John Webber on bass! Bernstein's sharp, tight guitar lines are really appreciated in a setting like this – as he plays with a vibe that recalls 60s Grant Green at his best, and which soars strongly in a role that somehow seems to encompass a bit of both rhythm and melody at once. The recording quality really puts Bernstein's guitar up front – at a level that sometimes doesn't happen on other records – and Mehldau, as always, has more then enough bold energy of his own – especially when given rock-solid direction from John Webber's bass. Titles include the Jimmy Cobb originals "Composition 101" and "Remembering You" – plus Bernstein's "Minor Blues", Webber's "Lickety Split", and the titles "Sunday In New York" and "Amsterdam After Dark". ~ Dusty Groove


James joins forces with the hot early '80s composer Rod Temperton, and the results are surprisingly enjoyable. The two composers contribute equally to SIGN OF THE TIMES, each bringing three songs to the finished product. Temperton mainly adds a disco flavor, while James' contributions mellow things out in his distinctive fashion. The opposing styles complement one another and create a well-balanced recording. James, who also produced TIMES, continues to hone his fine conducting skills here. On each track, he's backed by his usual orchestral counterpoint of strings, brass, and percussive instrumentation. Patti Austin, Val Simpson, and Luther Vandross contribute great background vocals, lending a nice R&B element to the appropriately titled album. TIMES is a splendid mixture of jazz fusion and '80s pop. All tracks have been digitally remastered. ~ CD Universe


The warm sound of Cyrus Chestnut's piano balances beautifully with the bass of Curtis Lundy and drums of Victor Lewis – very familiar musical partners who really make the session sparkle! Chestnut's got a great sense of melody throughout, but also finds a way to make the left side of the keyboard pulsate strongly – resonating with Lundy's bass in a beautiful way, and reminding us that Curtis is always a great player on a trio date like this. There's a resonance to the bass and piano that really showcases the strong sound of these Smoke Sessions albums – and titles include "To Be Determined", "Giant Steps", "The Theme", "Naima's Love Song", "Two Heartbeats", "Pocket Full Of Blues", and "Hey It's Me You're Talkin To".  ~ Dusty Groove

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