Monday, July 01, 2019

New Music Releases: Mike LeDonne / Christian McBride / Lewis Nash - Partners In Time; Van McCoy - This Is It! More From The Van McCoy Songbook 1962 to 1977; Ashley Henry - Ashley Henry's 5ive

Mike LeDonne / Christian McBride / Lewis Nash - Partners In Time

Mike LeDonne is on piano this time around – not his more-familiar Hammond organ – and he's working in a really fantastic trio with Christian McBride on bass and Lewis Nash on drums! Both players have made lots of wonderful records over the years, but there's something really special about this one – as if LeDonne's bold approach to the piano seems to unlock even more energy in their rhythms – maybe in part because Mike's always partially tuned to the needs of a bassist, which he sometimes handles with his feet on the pedals of the Hammond. Obviously, that's not the case this time around – but he does often play in these bold, blocky ways that are perfect for Nash and McBride to augment – on titles that include "Saud", "Lined With A Groove", "Recovery Blues", "Here's That Rainy Day", "NPS", and "Bopsolete". ~ Dusty Groove

Van McCoy - This Is It! More From The Van McCoy Songbook 1962 to 1977 (Various Artists)

If you only know Van McCoy from his big disco hit of the 70s, then you've got plenty to learn – because the man was very active in soul music during the decade before – a great singer, and a hugely productive songwriter whose tunes provided material for many other big names of his time! Van's tunes often have a great mix of soul and sophistication – a classy approach that's sometimes dubbed uptown soul, and which balances deeply heartfelt vocals with stepping grooves and just the right subtle use of larger backings – all in a way that perfectly enhances the special qualities of the lyrics. That approach is used often here, amidst a few other cuts that echo northern or deep soul modes – all brought together with the usual fantastic Ace Records notes, packaging, and sound quality. Titles include "Hard Way To Go" by The Exciters, "You're Gonna Make Me Love You" by Sandi Sheldon, "Lost & Found" by Kenny Carlton, "If I Don't Love You" by The Choice Four, "Mister DJ" by Francine Barker, "Touch My Heart" by The Vonnettes, "Just In The Nick Of Time" by Toni Lamarr, "Abracadabra" by Erma Franklin, "Baby I Miss You" by The Spellbinders, "I Wanna Love You So Bad" by Bobby Reed, "The Sweetest Thing This Side Of Heaven" by Chris Bartley, "This Is It" by Melba Moore, "Baby Don't Change Your Mind" by Gladys Knight & The Pips, "Memories & Souvenirs" by Laura Greene, and "Show A Little Appreciation" by The Ad Libs. ~ Dusty Groove

Ashley Henry - Ashley Henry's 5ive

This might be the first we've ever heard from pianist Ashley Henry – but given the quality of the set, we imagine that we might be listening to his music for many years to come! Henry's got this wonderful conception of rhythm – as if he's sometimes racing ahead of the bass and drums, and grabbing up all these handfuls of notes – scattering them quickly in these broad waves of soulful colors, while the bass of Sam Vicary and drums of Sam Gardner swing in and keep things moving forward! There's a sense of freshness to this album that reminds us of the time we first heard the music of Robert Glasper many years back – even though Henry is a completely different stylist – as you'll hear on titles that include "Deja Vu", "Altruism", "Deimos", "St Anne's", and "Monk's Dream". ~ Dusty Groove

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