Luciana Souza – Book Of Longing
Marvelous work from Luciana Souza – a very spare set that has the vocalist just working with Chico Pinheiro on guitar and Scott Colley on bass – which makes for a moody approach that really opens up her voice! Luciana has always been a standout singer, but this time around, we find ourselves not only loving her even more than before – but also ranking her right up there with some of our favorite blue-toned singers from both the French and Brazilian scenes from many years back – particularly in the way that she can evoke the darker corners of melancholy, but without ever falling in too deeply to get lost. All tunes are originals, and very beautiful – with titles that include "Paris", "A Life", "We Grow Accustomed To The Dark", "The Book", "Night Song", "Alms", and "Daybreak". ~ Dusty Groove
Rolf Kühn – Yellow + Blue
Quiescence and awakening. Tradition and innovation. Body and soul. Rolf Kühn finds such opposing forces attractive. With his new album Yellow + Blue, the 88-year-old clarinetist once again improvises and swings his way through uncharted musical territory. Europes greatest clarinetist and free spirit (Jazzthetik) plays ballads and legendary love songs on his new MPS album. In so doing, he delivers new meaning and a fresh sound to the pieces. A sentimental look back is simply not his thing. Together with his new quartet of pianist Frank Chastenier, bassist Lisa Wulff, and percussionist Tupac Mantilla, Kühn contrasts his sensitive side with his unbridled desire to experiment. Ive chosen some of my favorite ballads for this album. These pieces have nothing to do with any sort of trend. For me, they are poignant and beautiful; they are simply timeless, says Kühn. I found it especially appealing to combine these particular choices with my latest compositions. The album opens with Both Sides Now, a classic by Joni Mitchell. Kühn liked the poetic text, and says that, Somehow, in life there are always two sides, but its best when they enrich each other and can smoothly merge in order to create something new. One of five new compositions, the title song Yellow + Blue encapsulates the two perspectives: the flamboyant, the impulsively vibrant yellow next to the soft, sensitive, warm bluesy-blue tonal color. In turn, a new musical color is created out of the contrast.
Shaun Martin - Focus
Beautifully soulful work from pianist Shaun Martin – a player who can mix both lyrical sense of flow and strong attack on the keys – all within the confines of a well-balanced trio that grooves strongly at all three corners of the triangle! Shaun's wonderfully deft on the keys – mixing sharpness and swing with the strength of an old school master – but the group's also got a very contemporary sense of rhythm, too – thanks to strong work from Jamil Byrom on drums and AJ Brown on bass – both players who've clearly absorbed some of the 21st century changes in piano trio modes, but are also able to bring them back to a more straightforward mode. Titles include a great version of the Joe Henderson tune "Recorda Me" – plus "Festina Lente", "Triad", "Ms Genell", and "Soundcheck & Whatnots". ~ Dusty Groove