Monday, June 26, 2017



Being a good jazz vocalist isn't easy, and simply releasing a CD doesn't prove competence. More than some genres, a voice that's technically good is almost a requirement. There are exceptions, but in this particular genre you don't find too many with an instrument like Leonard Cohen's. There's also the question of material. When it comes to the Great American Songbook, it's hard to give a fresh spin to tunes that were already popular in the first half of the 20th Century and never faded into obscurity. Usually the fault lies in the interpretations rather than the choices, with musicians creating uninspired arrangements of obvious material in a sad effort to seem relevant. Giacomo Gates avoids all of these pitfalls. He has a warm, intimate sound with the technical chops to do whatever he wants to with his voice and benefits from tasteful and uncluttered arrangements that allow him to draw in the listener with ingratiating humor, emotional insight, subtlety and exemplary musicianship. With John di Martino at the piano and Jerry Weldon's tenor sax out in front, the results never feel stilted and in fact Gates comes across as one of the most distinctive singers on the scene. His unique sense of phrasing and insinuating manner of delivering lyrics to songs like “On a Misty Night,” “I Didn't Know What Time It Was,” and “A Few Bucks Ahead” help assure him a place among today's top vocalists.


2017 release. The world of jazz has been graced by many great female vocalists through the decades - Ella Fitzgerald, Sara Vaughan, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, to name just a few. Chesky Records is excited to introduce a name we feel will one day be in their company... Camille Thurman. On her Chesky Records debut, Thurman shows her versatility with stunning performances on both saxophone and vocals. The multi-talented Camille Thurman is an award-winning composer, a formidable saxophonist, and a second-place winner of the prestigious Sarah Vaughan Vocal Competition. She has performed with artists ranging from Dr. Billy Taylor, George Coleman, Lew Tabackin, and George Benson, to Chaka Khan, Alicia Keys, and Missy Elliot. She recently made her Jazz at Lincoln Center debut during the Generations in Jazz Festival, leading a killer quartet as she sang, played, and showcased original compositions and some classics. She also recently gave an improvised scatting performance during Battle of the Big Bands that brought down the house in The Appel Room. The inaugural release of the new Virtual Audio Series from Chesky Records, this album was recorded in front of a live audience at Rockwood Music Hall in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, using a single binaural microphone. This technique places the listener in the middle of a live show. If you didn't know any better, you'd swear you can smell the perfume of the young lady seated to your left.


A bandleader can command with his ego or he can direct from his heart. At the top of his game after twenty-plus years of musical experience, it's obvious that Jeremy Pelt, his exceptional talents as a trumpeter and composer accounted for, has tapped into a generous and encouraging spirit and built Make Noise! from the band up. That is, Pelt's four handpicked musical compatriots were fully expected to bring a firm artistic identity and fertile ideas to the game, which not surprisingly, each offered in abundance. Allowing his bandmates to shine only threw greater light on their intuitive leader. In addition to leading his own bands since the turn of the new millennium, Pelt worked with such legendary jazz veterans as Johnny Griffin, Cedar Walton, Wayne Shorter, James Moody and Louis Hayes. Throughout Make Noise!, Pelt incorporates his accumulated knowledge of still vital jazz conventions, while also blending dynamic contemporary rhythmic and harmonic ploys in to the mix.

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