BOBBY HUTCHERSON - HIGHWAY ONE / CONCEPTION THE GIFT OF LOVE / UN POCO LOCO
A trio of incredible records from Bobby Hutcherson – two on CD for the first time ever! Highway One is a wicked post-Blue Note session from Bobby Hutcherson – one that's put together in a different way than his previous work, but still completely sublime throughout! The feel is almost to Hutcherson's earlier work what Woody Shaw's Columbia recordings were to his – tighter, with sharper production – yet still wonderfully soulful and with a strong sense of spirit. Key soloists include Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and Hubert Laws on flute – and the record also features George Cables on acoustic and electric piano, Cedar Walton on acoustic piano, and Eddie Marshall on drums. Includes the lovely "Sweet Rita Suite", plus "Circle", "Secrets Of Love", and "Bouquet". Conception is a really beautiful album from Bobby Hutcherson – late in his 70s career, but handled with the soulful depth of his brilliant early 70s work on Blue Note! The group's got George Cables on piano and Eddie Marshall on drums, plus a bit of extra percussion work by Bill Summers – and they're augmented by some larger arrangements on a number of tracks, but in a way that never gets in the way of the core souful playing on the record. Cedar Walton put the whole thing together with a masterful talent – both leading, arranging, and producing – and Bobby's never sounded better carving out his message on vibes. Titles include "Remember To Smile", "No Siree Bob", "Dreamin", "Dark Side Light Side", and "Quiet Fire". Un Poco Loco is a surprisingly great album by Bobby Hutcherson – and like his other albums for Columbia, a record that manages to be smooth, yet still has an edge! The format's bigger and more ambitious than previous years, but it's also an extension of the modal soulful style he forged with Harold Land – a really stretched out approach to the vibes that differs nicely from his 60s work, and which has some really soulful touches throughout. The group features George Cables on electric and acoustic piano, John Abercrombie on guitar, and Peter Erskine on percussion – but the real strength of the set is Bobby, who slides between vibes and marimba with a skittish energy that really cracks a lot of life into the set. Titles include "Un Poco Loco", "Ivory Coast", "The Sailor's Song", "Ebony Moonbeams" and "I Wanna Stand Over There". ~ Dusty Groove
LUIS ALAS & LA CALLE OCHO FUNK
Miami’s La Calle Ocho Funk was the idea of its two founders Luis Alas and Joel Edgecombe. Both Luis and Joel have worked with many artists and corporate bands and have been flown around the world to perform for such names as Paul McCartney, Chris Bosch and many others. After working together over five years in various projects including Luis' solo project, Luis and Joel decided that putting a band with a unique twist was only natural. Wanting to bring the party elements they experienced playing with one of the top wedding bands in the country, while adding the flare of pop music and the musicality of Jazz, La Calle Ocho Funk was born! The band comprised of top musicians in the music industry which individually perform with some of the biggest names of stage include J-Lo, Jon Secada, Julio Iglesias and many more. Since the band's inception, they have been taking crowds by storm with their unique mix of high energy performances, with superb musicianship performing both original music and covers. Most recently front-man and saxophonist Luis Alas released an EP which has received great reviews on Smooth Jazz magazine, and who's title track Shades Of My Soul broke the top 200 smooth jazz charts. Their new single is entitled "Chocolate".
ALEX SIPIAGIN – MOMENTS CAPTURED
We've loved the music of trumpeter Alex Sipiagin for quite some time – but there's really something special going on here – a slightly different vibe that makes the record stand out from the rest of the pack! First off, the album features all original compositions – songs that seem to work together as a larger suite, yet still stand strongly on their own – allowing the players to soar out with a fantastic sense of individuality, while still holding together as a unit. Secondly, there's a sweet electric current that comes from the use of Prophet 6 by John Escreet – who also plays acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes. The Prophet's never used in a way that's too overdone – just these light waves of spacey sound that are balanced out by the raw power of the horns – Sipiagin's work on trumpet, the tenor of Chris Potter, and alto and soprano of Will Vinson – a fantastic frontline that really blows us away. Most tracks are long, and have lots of room for solo space from everyone – and the group also features Matt Brewer on bass and Eric Harland on drums. Alina Engibaryan sings on two tracks – "Moments From The Past" and "Breeze" – and other titles include "Evija Bridge", "Unexpected Reversal", and "Bergen Road". ~ Dusty Groove