Wally Schnalle - Idiot FIsh 3/Subplot
Idiot Fish 3 is the 10th release from drummer/composer Wally Schnalle. It’s a project that has been brewing since 2010 when it first appeared live at San Jose Jazz Fest. After many incarnations, technological learning curves and compositional evolutions it has finally recorded. The first Idiot Fish recording featured Frank Martin on keyboards, Hristo Vitchev on guitar and Joe Costatnini on bass The second recording entitled Idiot Fish 3 is a stripped down trio and it’s a fusion tour de force featuring Schnalle, Vitchev and bassist Dan Robbins. Schnalle’s compositions are fueled by the best of fusion traditions yet they are fresh and forward-looking. And he uses the latest computer/music technology to a dream he has been striving to realize for decades of achieving harmonic content as well as other sounds emanating from his usual acoustic drum set. Intriguing compositions, virtuosic soloists and cutting edge tech come together to create an intriguing musical experience. And live Idiot Fish shows include a host of projected visuals to enhance the experience. Many of these are audio reactive in real time to Schnalle’s electro/acoustic drum set.
Shirley Crabbe - Bridges
Some vocalists excel at lyric interpretation. They know how to tell the story of a song with subtlety and nuance. Other singers have such beautiful voices that they’d be a pleasure to listen to if they sang the periodic table set to a Brahms lullaby. It’s not easy to say which is Shirley Crabbe’s strength, since she possesses both those talents in equal measure. Now, Bridges, her newest CD and follow-up to her 2011 debut release Home, re-affirms Crabbe’s position as a rising star in the jazz firmament. The overarching concept of Bridges is about connections. There are bridges that we cross, bridges that we burn, and bridges that we build, and each song that Crabbe chose exemplifies those interactions. It is an eclectic project, featuring jazz standards, a pop tune, and two originals. Crabbe is joined on this project by some of the top musicians in the New York City area, including David Budway, a versatile pianist who has recorded and performed with a Who's Who of jazz luminaries, and Donald Vega , a virtuoso pianist who is currently performing internationally in Ron Carter’s Golden Striker Trio. Bridges is not just a project of love songs; it’s also a project that is genuinely imbued with love. With her superb phrasing, intonation, and honeyed voice, Crabbe’s warmth and sincerity shine through.
Sharon Musgrave – Sha’s Archive
British born, Canadian raised and based vocalist and songwriter Sharon Musgrave launched her career with “Fascinating Rhythm,” a 1992 UK Top Ten hit with the house music band Bassomatic, produced by the legendary William Orbit. On Sha's Archive, she shares a whirlwind of passionate, rhythmically eclectic tunes she’s been compiling since her 2010 album Ooutflow. She’s done it all in her career – pop, dance, funk, rap, even flamenco – but here she’s in a spirited, soul-jazz state of mind with gentle sparks of blues and rock. Though the vibes are diverse, each track percolates in a fresh way that showcases the intimate purity of her exquisite voice. ~ smoothjazz.com