Friday, April 18, 2014



Contemporary jazz bassist and composer Mark Egan has released his seventh recording as a leader on Wavetone Records in a super trio setting featuring master drummer Danny Gottlieb and brilliant keyboardist Mitch Forman. Mark Egan is considered to be one of the most respected and in-demand electric bassists on the music scene today. His unique fretless bass sound and style is both distinctive and versatile and his musical contributions incomparable. With three platinum & three gold albums to his credit, Mark has recorded with the likes of the Pat Metheny Group, Sting, Arcadia, Roger Daltry and Joan Osborne; performed with the Gil Evans Orchestra, Marianne Faithful, David Sanborn, John McGlaughlin and Sophie B. Hawkins. Includes: Sailing, Slinky See, About Now, Cabarete, Graceful Branch,  McKenzie Portage, Little Pagoda, Tea In Tiananmen Square, and  Puerto Plata.


With his exceptional chord changes, Hank Mobley is widely recognized as one of the great composers of originals in the hard-bop era. This compilation covers Mobley's 'Golden Age', the albums he recorded for Blue Note Records between 1955 and 1961. The five disc set includes 10 full albums which the great man released during the finest era for Jazz music that the world has ever witnessed. Includes 43 tracks in all, including the following songs: Love For Sale, Just Coolin’, Touch And Go, Double Whammy, Mobley Mania, My Sin, Reunion, Funk In Deep Freeze, Fit For A Hanker, Bag's Groove, and Double Exposure.


In 1956 Jackie McLean was only beginning to assert himself as a true individualist on the alto saxophone, exploring the lime-flavored microtones of his instrument that purists or the misinformed perceived as being off-key or out of tune. 4, 5 and 6 presents McLean's quartet on half the date, and tunes with an expanded quintet, and one sextet track -- thus the title. Mal Waldron, himself an unconventional pianist willing to explore different sizings and shadings of progressive jazz, is a wonderful complement for McLean's notions, with bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor the impervious team everyone wanted for his rhythm section at the time. The quartet versions of "Sentimental Journey," "Why Was I Born?," and "When I Fall in Love" range from totally bluesy, to hard bop ribald, to pensive and hopeful, respectively. These are three great examples of McLean attempting to make the tunes his own, adding a flattened, self-effaced, almost grainy-faced texture to the music without concern for the perfectness of the melody. Donald Byrd joins the fray on his easygoing bopper "Contour," where complex is made simple and enjoyable, while Hank Mobley puts his tenor sax to the test on the lone and lengthy sextet track, a rousing version of Charlie Parker's risk-laden "Confirmation." It's Waldron's haunting ballad "Abstraction," with Byrd and McLean's quick replies, faint and dour, that somewhat illuminates the darker side. As a stand-alone recording, 4, 5 and 6 does not break barriers, but does foreshadow the future of McLean as an innovative musician in an all-too-purist mainstream jazz world. ~ Michael G. Nastos


The albums on this four-disc set represent the first recordings by pianist Ramsey Lewis as a leader or in a featured-artist capacity. All but one originally appeared on Argo. There are eight complete albums in this slipcase box, beginning with Ramsey Lewis & His Gentle-Men of Swing and Ramsey Lewis & His Gentle-Men of Jazz, Volume 2 albums (aka the earliest Ramsey Lewis Trio sides with Eldee Young and Redd Holt), both on disc one. 

Disc two collects the stellar The Colorful Strings of Jimmy Woode and Max Roach's Max. Trumpeter Lem Winchester's date with the trio and the group's own Down to Earth -- as well as the first two cuts from vocalist Lorez Alexandria's collaboration with the group, Early in the Morning -- take up disc three. The remaining eight cuts from Early in the Morning commence disc four, rounded out by An Hour with the Ramsey Lewis Trio (their lone album for Mercury). 

The good news is that this set is almost unbelievably inexpensive. The bad news is twofold. Enlightenment is a U.K. label and therefore not required to pay copyright fees on material at least 50 years old. It also means that they didn't have to use master tapes as their source material -- it's highly debatable as to whether these recordings were actually taken from tapes rather than vinyl LPs. You get what you pay for. The stars are for the music, not the package. ~ Thom Jurek This compilation features Ramsey Lewis' complete recorded output from his first album, 1956's Ramsey Lewis & His Gentle-men of Swing, through to 1960's An Hour with the Ramsey Lewis Trio. The selection here includes 8 complete LP's released through this golden age for Jazz, and Ramsey Lewis in particular, including as it does collaborations with other jazz giants such as Jimmy Woods and Max Roach ~ cduniverse

Thursday, April 17, 2014


In a career that spans more than a half century, pianist and composer Jacques Loussier has built an enormous body of work by blurring the lines between classical and jazz. Beginning in 1959 with his Play Bach Trio, and later with alternate lineups that explored numerous other classical artists, Loussier and his various collaborators forced musicians and audiences of both jazz and classical music to re-evaluate the boundaries – and indeed the similarities – between their respective genres. Along the way, he has sold more than six million albums worldwide.

Fifty five years after those bold first steps with Play Bach Trio, Telarc celebrates Loussier’s upcoming 80th birthday in October 2014 with the release of two collections that provide a cross section of his masterful fusion of classical tradition with the jazz idiom. My Personal Favorites: The Jacques Loussier Trio Plays Bach and Beyond Bach: Other Composers I Adore – two specially priced 2-CD sets, each with tracks chosen by Loussier as personal favorites – are scheduled for a May 27, 2014, release on Telarc International, a subsidiary of Concord Music.
Personal Favorites: The Jacques Loussier Trio Plays Bach:
The Bach collection principally features the trio that Loussier formed in 1985. “His personal selection of pieces from his Bach repertoire looks back on the one hand to his earliest triumphs, but also shows how the trio has developed and responded to the music over time,” says jazz  historian Alyn Shipton, author of the liner notes for both collections. “So, while the opening ‘Air on a G String’ is clearly recognizable as having affinities with his original recording from the Play Bach era, as the improvisation develops, there is a conversation between Vincent Charbonnier’s bass and the piano that would not have been part of the 1959 trio’s remit.”

“My interpretation of ‘Air on a G String’ was featured  in many Benson & Hedges cigar commercials on television between 1964 and 1999,” Loussier recalls, “and my music was suddenly exposed to millions of listeners. There were nearly 100 TV spots in all. They were very funny, especially the last one, which most people will remember.”

The collection also includes some noteworthy “firsts” in Loussier’s career with the Play Bach Trio. Prelude No. 1 in C Major from “The Well-Tempered Clavier” is the first Bach piece he ever arranged in a jazz context. Bach’s Toccatta and Fugue in D Minor, meanwhile, was the piece the trio debuted in Paris in 1959.

In “Pastorale in C Minor,” piano and bass double and then alternate the lead before going into a jazz passage where the bass takes on a walking role beneath the piano. Loussier’s choices on the CD, says Shipton, are an interesting mix of oft-requested Bach favorites and the composer’s own preference for slightly lesser-known music where the players bring their own personalities into the recipe.

“Italian Concerto” mixes a variety of elements in a way that never loses sight of Bach’s original, but which includes many original touches. “These include the sense of more than one tempo in the opening movement, for example, or the dramatic bleakness of the central Andante, with bass pedal notes and atmospheric drums creating a landscape that goes a great distance beyond Bach’s,” says Shipton. “The joyous conclusion is everything that its fans love about the trio: precision, delicacy, and hard-hitting swing, yet in a context of familiarity for the classical audience, and with moments of departure into a more abstract style.”

The collection also includes pieces that reflect the most contrasting moods from Loussier’s ambitious Goldberg Variations album. After the opening aria comes the impressionist treatment of Variation 2, and the uptempo Number 5. “It all comes together in the longer exploration of Variation 25,” says Shipton, “which as well as showing how the trio can be loyal to Bach while traveling a long way from its original, it can create a musical scene that is entirely its own, and testament to the creativity of its founder.”
My Favorite Composers:
The Vivaldi concerto here – the second of the Four Seasons quartet – demonstrates how successfully Loussier applied his jazz approach to a classical composer. Instead of the strong harmonic development of J.S. Bach, with its affinities to jazz structure, Vivaldi deals in songlike melodies.

“Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was our first CD after a long series of Play Bach recordings,” says Loussier. “It was quite different from what I’d been doing, and I wondered if it would be possible to make Vivaldi swing in the same way I had done with Bach, who is an interesting composer but not easy to improvise. After making that album, I decided I could do anything with any other composer.”

“There’s a direct connection between the summery feeling Loussier was aiming for in the opening of the Vivaldi and the laid-back calm of Gymnopedie No. 1 by Eric Satie,” Shipton explains. “Gnossiene No. 1 is more rhythmic, but overall in these pieces, Loussier uses the originals as an opportunity to add his own compositional touches, altering a harmony here, adding a subtle melodic flourish there.”

“I chose to record Satie’s Gymnopedie’s because this is already a swinging piece – like Bach is, but in a different way,” says Loussier. “But I felt very much at home with this unique piece of harmonistic and relaxing music.”

The baroque adventures in music by Handel and Scarlatti on these CDs sit closer to Jacques’ original experiments with Bach. Indeed, the Scarlatti has great affinities to the work of his first trio. And so, too, does the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major.

The remaining pieces on the album are a testament to the variety of material that Jacques has explored. The charming simplicity of Schumann’s songs leads to a catchy inevitability about the arrangement of ‘Of Foreign Lands and People,’ whereas the selections from Chopin’s Nocturnes reveal Loussier’s skill as a solo unaccompanied musician.”

For years, Loussier has been consistently celebrated for his versions of Ravel and Debussy, both of which are included here. “I was fascinated by the avant garde minimalism of ‘Bolero de Ravel,’” says Loussier. “The constant crescendo, a repetitive and insistent theme in the orchestral version of the piece, created a new challenge when reinterpreting the piece for only three instruments!”

The Debussy album, meanwhile, remains “the masterpiece of the latter-day trio,” says Shipton. “Listen to ‘Clair de Lune,’ and revel in its liquid beauty as you join Jacques in celebrating his 80th birthday.”



She was born Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona in El Paso, Texas, but the world would know her better as Vikki Carr, the four-time Grammy-winner whom no less an authority than Dean Martin once called “The best girl singer in the business” and Ethel Merman singled out as being “more impressed with her performance than by any young singer.”

Sentimental, vivacious and stunningly dramatic, the voice of Vikki Carr is one of American pop music’s most versatile, too.  During her long, glittering career, she has tackled jazz, pop, blues and country with equal aplomb. In addition to her extraordinary American pop music career of the 1960s and early ‘70s, punctuated by such signature hits as “It Must Be Him,” “The Lesson,” “With Pen in Hand” and “Eternity,” Carr has gone on to become one of the most popular and successful Spanish-language singers in the world, a pioneer predating Linda Ronstadt and an acolyte of Eydie Gorme’s and Connie Francis’ beloved international music tradition.

Real Gone Music have added Vikki to their artist roster with The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face) (Expanded Edition), a first time ever reissue of her classic 1972 album produced by Snuff Garrett and arranged by Al Capps. The release features no less than eleven bonus tracks (seven singles, two unreleased sides and a pair of holiday favorites) highlighted by Vikki’s long-unavailable hit version of “The Big Hurt” and captivating covers of numerous ‘70s smashes, with notes by David St. Mark drawn from an extensive interview with the artist herself as well as her colleagues.   Mastered at Sony’s own Battery Studios in NYC and featuring copious rare photos—one of this year’s big pop vocal finds!

Tracklisting: 1. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face / 2. (Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All / 3.Theme from Summer of '42 / 4. Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves / 5. Without You / 6. Song Sung Blue / 7. Love Theme from The Godfather / 8. Cabaret / 9. Help Me Make It Through The Night / 10. Brian's Song / 11. The Way of Love / Bonus Tracks:12. Spending All My Time Now Lovin' You (previously unreleased) / 13. I Can't Let My Heaven Walk Away (previously unreleased) / 14. Call My Heart Your Home / 15. The Big Hurt / 16. Let The Band Play On / 17. Reflections / 18. Borrowed Time / 19. Puttin' Myself In Your Hands / 20. I Don't Want A Sometimes Man / 21. What Child Is This / 22. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear


Love Again—The Lost Columbia Masters, which offers no less than 17 unreleased sides including a complete unissued 1975 album plus scintillating versions of such country-tinged pop tunes as “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” and “The End of the World” as well as such Spanish-language tunes as “Chicano” and “Che Sara.” The release features notes by David St. Mark drawn from an extensive interview with the artist herself as well as her colleagues.   Mastered at Sony’s own Battery Studios in NYC and featuring copious rare photos—one of this year’s big pop vocal finds!

Tracks: 1. Lyin' In My Arms / 2. I Finally Got It Right This Time / 3. Who In The World / 4. A Thing Called Sadness / 5. Prettiest Face / 6. Ain't It Worth The Price You Pay / 7. It's Me and You / 8. I Didn't Get To Stay / 9. The Night Life / 10. Will We Ever Make Love Again / 11. Chicano / 12. Che Sara / 13. I Believe In You / 14. If You Could Only Wait For Me / 15. The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore / 16. Loving In My Soul / 17. The End of the World


Initially created from the ranks of a group of ‘60s female background session singers that at one time included Dionne Warwick, her sister Dee Dee, adopted sister Judy Clay and “Just One Look” singer Doris Troy, The Sweet Inspirations became an official Atlantic recording artist after being the label’s go-to studio backup vocal group for many of the label’s primary artists including Aretha Franklin (with whom they toured in 1967 and 1968), Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, The Drifters and Esther Phillips among others.

Consisting of Emily “Cissy” Houston (who took Dee Dee Warwick’s place when she launched her own solo career in 1965), Sylvia Shemwell (sister of Judy Clay), and gospel singers Estelle Brown and Myrna Smith (who knew Dionne and Dee Dee during their teen years at New Hope Baptist Church), The Sweet Inspirations enjoyed their first hit single in 1967 with their interpretation of The Staples Singers’ “Why (Am I Treated So Bad).” The song was written for them by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, who played on a number of the group’s Memphis sessions.

In 1969, the group was hired by Elvis Presley as his vocal backup group and spent a number of years on the road with him. Cissy Houston left the group in 1970 to pursue a solo career; Estelle, Sylvia and Myrna continued recording as a trio with Stax Records and RSO Records. 

Now, Real Gone Music/SoulMusic Records is proud to present The Complete Atlantic Singles Plus, the largest collection of the work of The Sweet Inspirations ever compiled, drawn from their tenure with Atlantic Records from 1967 to 1971.  Included in the 37 tracks are the A and B sides of the group’s 18 singles (with the 1970 hit, “(Gotta Find) A Brand New Lover,” originally released as Pt. 1 & 2, combined into one track), one cut unearthed from the Atlantic vaults in 2004 and previously only available on an out-of-print US compilation, and three previously unreleased sides (including a six-minute-plus medley of “Little Green Apples,” Aretha Franklin’s “Think” and The Beatles’ “Something”). The 2-CD set includes photos and notes by SoulMusic Records’ David Nathan, with remastering by Mike Milchner of SonicVision. With all the recent (and long overdue) attention paid backup singers via 20 Feet from Stardom, this release—which features quite possibly the greatest backup vocal group of them all—is timely indeed. ~ Real Gone Music



Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) is releasing an exclusive and limited release of Rick James classics on vinyl.  From the Motown vaults, two tracks released for the first time: an extended, nearly 10-minute version of Rick James's first hit from 1978, mixed by John Morales of "M+M Mix" fame. The flip side is the long lost but now found live duet with Teena Marie, "Fire and Desire." Their epic, 20-minute rendition was recorded live In Long Beach, CA, July 1981, and is also mixed by John Morales Only 2,500 numbered copies will be available. Side A: You And I (Extended M+M Mix) (9:40) / Side B: Fire And Desire (Live) with Teena Marie (19:50), Live In Long Beach, CA July 30, 1981. Both mixed by John Morales for M+M Productions on 12” vinyl.


A stunner – the first full album by deep funk singer Sharon Jones, and an instant soul masterpiece! The album's right up there with the best work by James Brown divas like Marva Whitney, Vicki Anderson, and Lyn Collins – and overall, we might dare say that the album's even better than any of theirs, as it's an all-solid, all-funky effort all the way through! Backings are by the Dap-Kings – grooving hard in a sock-soul funky 45 mode that never lets up – and we can't think of a better album of funky female soul to recommend this year, or maybe even this decade. Just when you thought you'd be saying "they don't make soul music like this anymore" – here it comes to whomp you on the head! Titles include "Got A Thing On My Mind", "Make It Good To Me", "Casella Walk", "Pick It Up, Lay It In The Cut", "Give Me A Chance", "The Dap Dip", "What Have You Done For Me Lately", and "Got To Be The Way It Is". ~ Dusty Groove


Good news galore from the great Sam Cooke – maybe THE album in which he fully shows off his unique contribution to soul music in the 60s – that mix of raw and sweet, easygoing and progressive – a mode that had a huge impact at the time, and went onto become a strong influence for years to come! Key proof of this approach is the landmark track "A Change is Gonna Come" – a slyly righteous track that became a huge Civil Rights anthem and has continued to have social power for many years. And even the more mundane titles have a fresh approach too – like the hit "Another Saturday Night", and a host of other gems that include "Home", "No Second Time", "The Riddle Song", "Good Times", "Meet Me At Mary's Place", and "Rome Wasn't Built In A Day". ~ Dusty Groove



A fresh, breezy and brilliant compilation of rare Brazil – wonderful material from the early 60s through the end of the decade – the fourth in the Viagem series compiled by Nicola Conte, and it's the best yet! Viagem celebrates the jazzier side of 60s Brazil – bossa, samba and rawly rhythmic Afro-Brazilian grooves inspired by the best and freshest jazz of the US and European scenes. It's deep stuff, too – with a lot of great material we're hearing for the first time! We always expect the moon from Nicola Conte – whether it's his own modern, though classic jazz-inspired grooves – or in his role as a masterful, generous compiler. The man delivers every damn time! Includes "So Balanco" by 7 De Ouros, "Consolacao" by Myrzo Barroso, "Outra Vez" by Bossa Jazz 3, "Balumba" by Anilza Leoni, "Cute" by Bwana Trio, "Ponto De Vista" by As Compositoras, "Batucada Surgiu" by Marcos Moran, "Saudade Vem Correndo" by Bossa Nova + 5, "Te Quero Assim" by Rosana Tapajos, "Gusto Do Que E Bom" by Shirley E O Tuca Trio, "Pandeiro Triste" by Betinho Do Vibraphone and more. 17 tracks in all. ~ Dusty Groove


The classic first album by The JBs – James Brown's Fred Wesley-led backing band, and the force behind most of his greatest records of the early 70s! The set collects some of the group's best early singles, and includes all of the short little funky cuts that made them a legend right out of the box – "Pass the Peas", "The Grunt", "These Are The JBs", "Hot Pants Road", "Wine Spot", "To My Brother", "Blessed Blackness", "Theme From King Heroin", "Escapism (parts 1 & 2), and "Gimme Some More" – all together here in one tight little album of massive funky hard beats and breaks! ~ Dusty Groove


One of Otis Redding's greatest LPs! Unlike some of his others – which either had some filler, some gimmicks, or were collections of material released after his death – this one is a totally solid batch of southern soul tracks that ranks with some of the best work to come out of Memphis during the 60s. The record features some real gems – originals by Redding like "Hey Hey Baby", "Security", "These Arms Of Mine", "Something Is Worrying Me", and "That's What My Heart Needs" – plus some great covers, like "The Dog", "Pain In My Heart", and "I Need Your Lovin". ~ Dusty Groove



A killer album of 70s New Orleans funk! Chocolate Milk were an amazing funk group in their best moments – and this album is certainly one of those moments – a blistering batch of tracks that set a whole new style for the Crescent City scene, and which showed that producers Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn could easily hit the hipper notes of the 70s! There's a tight rhythmic sound at the core of most numbers, but expanded instrumentation over the top – bits of spacey electrics or jazzier electronics that never would have shown up in Sansu records of years back, but which show that with the right group, New Orleans funk could easily take on the hippest styles going down on both coasts! The title cut, "Action Speaks Louder Than Words", is a slow funk classic – and the record also includes the incredible electronic-tinged "Time Machine", a perpetual favorite these days. Other nice tracks include "Pretty Pimpin' Willie" and "Ain't Nothin' But a Thing". Arguably the band's best album ever! ~ Dusty Groove


Fantastic stuff! In case you don't know it, this is one of Lalo Schifrin's most incredible soundtracks, and it's a stunning mix of jazz, bossa, and groovy grooves. There's lots of cool bubbling electric bass, lilting keyboards, and moody breezy rhythms. Nearly every cut's a winner, and if you like his stuff, we can bet that this will become one of your favorites. The record's darn tough to find, and this reissue is a real treat to have around! Cuts include "Bullitt", "Room 26", "On the Way To San Mateo", and "Shifting Gears". 2014 vinyl version from Aleph Records includes cues never before released on vinyl! ~ Dusty Groove


70's release that has this classic shoutin' blues singer paired with a small combo of modern blues and soul studio players, like Cornell Dupree, Paul Griffin, Wilbur Bascomb, and Buddy Lucas. Like a lot of stuff on Vanguard, the sound's still pretty rootsy, and Big Mama blasts it out on tracks like "Lost City", "Mr. Cool", "Private Number", and "Everybody's Happy (But Me)". ` Dusty Groove



Crowd Company rose from the ranks of London’s burgeoning funk/soul scene to assert themselves as an act to watch out for, with engaging live performances and a finely tuned sound based on retro grooves with a soulful edge and a modern twist. After playing in venues such as The 100 Club and Band On The Wall, and sharing stages with artists such as George Porter Jr of The Meters, this 8 piece is now ready to reveal itself to the world with its debut full-length release, “Now Or Never” which sees the participation of Joe Tatton from The New Mastersounds and Alan Evans from Soulive. From fast-paced, modern soul opener “Are You Feeling It” to mid-tempo burner “Turn It Loose feat. Alan Evans”, from the latin-tinged rhythms of “It’ll Work Out Fine”  to the cosmic jazz-funk of “Electrify feat. Alan Evans”, new album “Now Or Never” packs a solid punch when it comes to the grooves it provides. Get hooked to the hard-hitting drums of the titletrack‘s feel-good funk, or to the infectious vibes of stand-out number “All I Can Do feat Joe Tatton & Alan Evans”, a hypnotic slab of early 70s psych-funk with a contemporary edge. To best capture the band’s bristling live energy the album was recorded entirely to tape at Cowshed Studio, London, and later mixed by Alan Evans and mastered by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering in Brooklyn. With groovin Hammond organ, virtuoso horn section, tight beats and soulful vocals this release sees Crowd Company provide a unique blend of catchy modern funk & soul tunes with and jazzy inflections. Time to get down to Crowd Company, it’s “Now Or Never”!


Ray Lugo's mind is very fertile, and he's been rather prolific over the last decade, putting out a variety of groovy sounds ranging from organic to electronic, afrobeat to soul, Latin to Brazilian and many different sorts of mashup/fusions in between. But, just because he is creatively fecund doesn't mean the quality suffers - each album is hand-crafted and Ray takes his time to shape and mold it to just the right proportions. ¡Que Chevere! was his second Latin soul record with the Boogaloo Destroyers, and destroy the dance floor is just what they will do when you put this record on the Hi-Fi. The title of the album translates loosely as "how groovy!" and it's a very apt one. The Boogaloo Destroyers' sound is inspired by the warmth, diversity, and youthful spirit of classic New York Latin Boogaloo of the 1960s, yet at the same time, as composer and lead vocalist, Ray feels he is bringing some of his afrobeat sensibilities and vocal personality to the proceedings, to make it fresh for today's audiences.  - DJ Bongohead


On her just released EP, "A Lark," Allie Webb delivers a wonderful jazz vocal performance backed by equally talented players. With a warm and inviting tone reminiscent of Sara Gazarek, Webb welcomes listeners into her songs and serenades them with her soothing voice. Webb’s effortless vocal control, akin to Tierney Sutton, is showcased marvelously on every track of this release, and is best exemplified on the track “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To.” These enticing songs will relax and free you from the stresses of your day-to-day routine as Webb expresses both the joy and sorrow she found while away from home.A Lark was recorded and mixed by Jim Watson at Sonic Blender Studio in Venice, CA. Webb states, “I made this EP ‘on a lark’ with close friends of mine. These arrangements came out of a period of longing that I experienced. I hope I captured some of the beauty and heartache of that on the recording.” Webb masterfully encapsulates these sentiments in her music and shares them in such an intimate fashion that it seems as if she is singing directly to individual listeners. The musicians on A Lark excellently compliment Webb’s musical prowess, while demonstrating the individual talents that they possess.


Joshua Redman / Photo: Jay Blakesberg
The Detroit Jazz Festival announces its 2014 Artist in Residence and world-class headlining acts for the 35th annual Labor Day Weekend (Friday, August 29 - Monday, September 1) performances. The Festival will stay true to its roots of delivering an expansive lineup, featuring emerging and established artists as well as jazz legends, from both Detroit and around the world.

"The Detroit Jazz Festival is a significant event in the music world and in the Detroit community. Each year we look forward to seeing it grow and be embraced by so many," says Gretchen Valade, chair of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation board of directors. "We're proud of our great city, and through this festival, we're able to show the world that Detroit is a vibrant, cultural hub of creativity and expression. Jazz is an inspiring genre, and we want to share its impact with music enthusiasts whenever possible. By producing the world's largest free jazz festival, we're able to do that."

The 2014 headlining acts include (in alphabetical order):
  • 2014 Artist in Residence, Joshua Redman
  • A Night at the Apollo Theatre featuring Ted Louis Levy, Margot B, Kevin Mahogany, the David Berger's New York City Jazz Orchestra and special guests
  • "To Miles from Wayne" with Wallace Roney
  • "Straighten Up and Fly Right" - The Nat King Cole Tribute Featuring Ramsey Lewis and
  • John Pizzarelli
  • Al Foster Quartet
  • Aruan Ortiz & Orbiting Quartet
  • Bad Plus featuring Joshua Redman
  • Barry Harris Trio
  • Bill Evans - Soulgrass
  • Christian McBride Trio
  • Cyrille Aimée
  • Cyrus Chestnut Plays Dave Brubeck
  • Dave Holland - Prism Quartet Featuring Kevin Eubanks, Eric Harland, Craig Taborn
  • Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra (DJFO) HOMECOMING Band - Jimmy Wilkins and the DJFO
  • Diane Schuur with Alan Broadbent
  • Dirty Dozen Brass Band
  • Dr. Lonnie Smith's "In the Beginning" Octet
  • Elio Villafranca Quartet
  • Gary Burton Quintet featuring Julian Lage, Vadim Neselovskyi, Jorge Roeder and  Marcus Gilmore
  • Joey DeFrancesco Quartet
  • John Pizzarelli Quartet with Bucky Pizzarelli - Father and Son
  • Lou Donaldson Organ Quartet
  • Mack Avenue SuperBand
  • Marcus Belgrave "Louis Armstrong's Musical Legacy"
  • Mike Stern Band
  • Nicholas Payton "Sketches of Miles and Gil" - Conducted by Bob Belden
  • Pharoah Sanders Quartet
  • Phil Woods Quintet
  • Randy Weston African Rhythms Octet
  • Randy Weston and Billy Harper Duo "The Roots of Blues"
  • Regina Carter's "Southern Comfort"
  • Rodney Whitaker and Soul-R Energy
  • Ron Carter and Peter Bernstein: Tribute to Jim Hall
  • Sean Jones Quartet
  • Stanley Clarke Band "School Days"
  • Steve Tormé sings Tormé: Tribute to Mel Tormé
  • The Barry Harris Trio featuring Ray Drummond and Leroy Williams
  • The DJF All-Stars - tribute to Sonny Red and other Detroit composers
  • Tim Ries and the East Gypsy Band
  • Tom Harrell's Colors of a Dream with Esperanza Spalding
  • Tormé Sings Tormé featuring Steve March-Tormé

"Every year it's our goal to bring a unique collection of world-class musicians to Detroit for performances you literally can't see anywhere else, and I can say without a doubt that, again, we've been able to do so," said Chris Collins, artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival. "This year, with our theme 'Jazz Speaks for Life' in mind, we sought musicians from all walks of life who weave deep, meaningful stories through their music. These stories are the root of what makes jazz a very powerful medium, and we are blessed to have artists perform that are able to express their worldly experiences through beautiful works of jazz."

Joshua Redman, 2014 Artist in Residence, is one of the many artists that has a great story to tell. Redman is known as one of the most acclaimed and charismatic jazz artists to have emerged in the 1990s and has toured with jazz masters such as Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny and Clark Terry. He, along with other world-renowned artists, will take to four stages - JP Morgan Chase Main Stage, Carhartt Amphitheatre Stage, Mack Avenue Records Waterfront Stage and Absopure Pyramid Stage - over the course of Labor Day weekend.

The 35th annual Festival weekend will run Friday, August 29 through Monday, September 1 in Hart Plaza and Campus Martius, downtown Detroit. The Detroit Jazz Festival is the largest free jazz festival in the world, attracting artists and attendees from all over the globe. On top of providing impactful performances from jazz legends, Festival weekend activities and year-round initiatives make a significant economic impact on Detroit.

In addition to seeking out established musicians, the Festival dedicates much of its time throughout the year to educating students and the community about jazz through workshops and Community Series Concerts. Likewise, in an effort to foster artists within the Detroit region, but also beyond, the Festival hosts annual competitions. This year, pianists and arrangers from across the globe can submit their compositions for a chance to perform at the 2014 Festival as well as win monetary prizes. Applications must be submitted by June 20 and July 1, respectively. Ensembles will be selected based on such things as artistic excellence, creativity, group interaction, originality and stylistic continuity.

This year's major corporate sponsors, who continue to keep the festival free, include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Opportunity Detroit, Carhartt, Mack Avenue Records and DTE Energy Foundation. Individuals can also support the Festival through Rhythm Section memberships.
The Detroit Jazz Festival is an independent, non-profit organization that presents jazz and educational workshops throughout the year. Recently voted number two in North America in a JazzTimes reader's poll, the Detroit Jazz Festival is the largest free jazz festival in the world and a major tourist attraction for the City of Detroit, with 23 percent of its audience coming from out of state.
The Festival receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Erb Family Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. Major corporate partners include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Opportunity Detroit, Carhartt and Mack Avenue Records. Additional partners include Absopure Water Company, Comcast, Detroit Marriott, Fathead, Great Lakes Beverage, McDonalds, MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, Panasonic and Quicken Loans. Media partners include DownBeat, Hour Detroit, JazzTimes, MetroTimes and Fox 2. The festival's Greening Program, now entering Phase IV, is supported by a generous grant from the DTE Energy Foundation.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Sony/Legacy Recordings will celebrate American composer Henry Mancini (April 16, 1924 - June 14, 1994) with a variety of collectible commemorative titles to be released throughout 2014.  The new official Henry Mancini website ( will launch on April 16, 2014, the composer's 90th birthday.

The 50th Anniversary of The Pink Panther - Music from the Film Score Composed and Conducted by Henry Mancini will be commemorated with the release of a limited edition, individually numbered 12" PINK VINYL LP created for Record Store Day 2014, celebrated at independent record stores worldwide on Saturday, April 19, 2014.  Mancini's indelible "Pink Panther Theme," first heard in the archetypal '60s crime caper comedy starring Peter Sellers and directed by Blake Edwards, is, in the current digital era, the #1 most-streamed song in the entire Sony Music catalog.  The original Pink Panther soundtrack album was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2001 and is being expanded for a 2014 50th Anniversary Edition to include bonus material.

An 11 CD deluxe box set comprising the best of Henry Mancini's classic film soundtracks is in the works for 2014, while a retrospective tribute, featuring catalog and new recordings of the composer's unforgettable songs, is currently under development with details TBA.

Born Enrico Nicola "Henry" Mancini in Cleveland's "Little Italy," the quintessential American soundtrack composer entered the music industry at the end of World War II, becoming a pianist and arranger for the newly reformed Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1946.  By the mid 1950s, Mancini had written music for more than 100 movies, from "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" to Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil."  Mancini's score for "The Glenn Miller Story" earned him his first Academy Award nomination; out of his 18 nominations, he'd win four Oscars.  Throughout his career, he released close to 250 album titles and scored more than 190 films.

Henry Mancini composed music that's woven into the fabric of American pop culture: The Pink Panther Theme, the "Peter Gunn" bass line, "Moon River" (from "Breakfast at Tiffany's"), "Days of Wine and Roses" and more.

Mancini holds the record for most Grammy nominations (72), out of which he won 20.  In addition to his four Academy Awards, he won a Golden Globe, secured two Emmy nominations and was honored in 2004 with a United States Commemorative Postal Stamp.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Catalan guitarist, composer and bandleader Oscar Peñas´ fourth album and second release in the United States, Music of Departures and Returns, includes a Brazilian choro and a tribute to flamenco master Paco de Lucia; a jazz standard and a classic from the Cuban Nueva Trova songbook; and music by the great Catalonian composer Frederic Mompou. Yet this is neither a music sampler nor a showcase of Peñas´ talents in different settings and styles.

"This is more or less who I am. I'm not trying to push boundaries, prove anything or show off in any way," explains Peñas. "It's a collection of pieces, some mine, some by other composers that I have always admired, that I felt had a common mood, a certain sound that reflects my personality and where I come from."

Music of Departures and Returns features his quartet, comprised of his long-standing rhythm section featuring six-string electric bassist Moto Fukushima, drummer Richie Barshay, and violinist Sara Caswell. The band is augmented by special guests such as bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, reedman Paquito D'Rivera and pianist, producer and arranger Gil Goldstein who appears on accordion.

Born in Barcelona, Peñas began his career in music studying classical guitar as a child. He graduated with honors from Berklee College of Music and later earned a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance from New England Conservatory before settling Brooklyn. He arrived at his musical discoveries step by step.

"I started to explore jazz a bit out of boredom. As a teenager (and still is the case) it was more appealing to me to pick up my own melodies within a style and interact with other musicians than spend hours of solitude trying to perfect a technical dexterity and devote my youth to learn a repertoire by others. Discoveries and interests come sometimes erratically... listening to Pat Metheny's Letter from Home or Wayne Shorter's Native Dancer you end up coming across Toninho Horta, Gismonti or Milton [Nascimento] and their music opens doors to a sea of possibilities, that's how I learned about choro.

"I didn't study choro, but listened to a lot of them and love Pixinguinha and Guinga. If you ask a purist, maybe he won't approve of the form or the harmonies of  'Paquito's Choro,' but this is my unpretentious take on it." As for incorporating all these influences, "there was never a grand plan," he says. "I've been finding music and what I liked, I researched it and add it to my music. I was not born here and I did not grow up here. I like these different styles as much or more than bebop. Settling in NYC was a kind of wake-up call as I realized that in order to break through in the most vibrant scene on the planet I had to be honest and that meant digging into my own culture to find a personal voice."

Upcoming Oscar Peñas Tour Dates:
April 18 / BAMcafé / Brooklyn, NY
November 7 / Strathmore / Bethesda, MD


Featuring Billy Harper (tenor sax), Craig Handy (alto sax), Eddie Henderson (trumpet), David Weiss (trumpet), George Cables (piano), Cecil McBee (bass), & Billy Hart (drums) 

This exciting new all-star septet summons up an aggressive mid '60s spirit with a potent collection of expansive post-bop originals marked by all the requisite killer instincts and pyrotechnic playing expected of some of the heaviest hitters on the scene today. This Saturday and Sunday the band will take the stage at The Iridium for a not to be missed two-night engagement in anticipation of recording their new album for Motema Music, forthcoming this September, and to be supported by amajor international tour.

Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, and Billy Hart all came up in the heady era of the mid '60s. It was a period that found the dimensions of hard bop morphing from their original designs, and each of these guys helped facilitate the process as members of some of the most important bands of the era. Hart and Henderson were members of Herbie Hancock's groundbreaking Mwandishi group; Cecil McBee anchored Charles Lloyd's great '60s quartet alongside Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette; Billy Harper was part of Lee Morgan's last group, as well as being a member of Max Roach's Quartet and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers; while George Cables held down the piano chair in numerous bands including groups led by Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Dexter Gordon and Art Pepper.

David Weiss and Craig Handy, from a more recent generation and the youngest members of the band, are experts in this forthright lingo, having gained experience performing with Bobby Hutcherson, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Tolliver, Roy Haynes and Herbie Hancock. Each member of the Cookers has spent time leading his own series of groups as well, and each has a keenly individual sound. But it's the unmistakable power of teamwork that makes this music so commanding and resonates with a kind of depth and beauty that speaks of the seasoned track record of its principals (combined, the group has over 250 years of experience in the jazz world and has been a part of over 1,000 recordings). You can feel the collective weight of that experience in their CDs and especially in their live performances. Since this version of the band was solidified in 2007 the group has performed at venues around the world, including headlining the New Orleans Jazz Fest, Playboy Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, Northsea Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, The Jerusalem Jazz Festival, The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, The Burghausen Jazz Festival, Jazz Terrassa,The Healdsburg Jazz Festival, Jazz Viersen, Ronnie Scott's and Yoshi's.

"Talk about truth in advertising: The Cookers, an eye-popping septet, offers the promise of broiling intensity ... the blend of experience and youth, the rich orchestration possibilities offered by four horns, and especially the distinctive collection of personalities gives the band a unique complexion."
 - Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press


While Jamie Saft has been a significant presence on previous RareNoise recordings by Slobber Pup, Plymouth and Metallic Taste of Blood, the renegade keyboardist and essential Downtown improviser steps into a dramatically different role on The New Standard. A collaborative trio outing featuring the dream rhythm tandem of drummer Bobby Previte and bassist Steve Swallow, both prolific composers and venerable bandleaders in their own right, it showcases Saft alternating between piano and organ and making thoughtful, melodic contributions throughout. On ten original tracks, seven of which the keyboardist composed, Saft blends brilliantly with his esteemed elders on this remarkable RareNoise release. "Bobby suggested that I put together simple structures for us to use as starting points," he explains. "I tried to put together pieces that were super soulful and honest. I wanted compositions that would highlight Steve's absolute mastery of melody and Bobby's incredibly soulful approach to groove. They took my simple pieces and made them into grand structures on which to improvise. Beginnings and endings were all improvised and this gives the album a special type of magic."

Though the three kindred spirits may not have played together before as a unit prior to this recording, their connections run deep and their chemistry in the studio was immediate. As Previte put it, "It was the simplest, chillest record I have ever done. We set up, went out and had a nice lunch, went back to the studio and three hours later it was all done in one take. It's kind of incredible it actually worked out as it did. And my 1965 Rogers Holiday model tubs, which I got when I was 14 years old, have never, and probably will never sound better. The sound is so full, so creamy I feel like licking it!"

Saft, who first met Previte in 1993 when he was hired to play in the drummer's band Weather Clear, Track Fast, calls The New Standard "100% collaborative." As he explains, "Steve and Bobby have been working together for decades and Bobby introduced us many many years ago, at first to discuss espresso, which is a shared passion of ours. Steve was also extremely generous with his knowledge of coffee and we struck up a fond correspondence. Bobby, of course, was secretly trying to put us together musically and finally a few summers ago, we all convened at my new studio near Kingston, New York (Potterville International Sound) for this session. So this album came from the purest of sources -- a genuine desire from old friends to make music together."

Master bassist Swallow, whose track record includes landmark jazz recordings with the likes of George Russell, Jimmy Giuffre, Gary Burton, Paul Bley, Art Farmer, Chico Hamilton, Stan Getz, Steve Kuhn, Carla Bley and John Scofield as well as several of his own recordings as a leader, had previously recorded and toured in Previte's Bump quintet beginning in 2003. 5 time Grammy winning engineer Joe Ferla, who is regarded as the fourth member of the band for this remarkably empathetic session, had been working with Previte for decades. "This recording was accomplished with Joe's incredible mastery at capturing mixes on the spot," says Saft. "Joe recorded everything analog direct to two-track 1/2" tape through a Neve console right here at Potterville International Sound as we played. Joe brought the same magic that Steve and Bobby contributed to this session. He's got absolute attention to detail, he's inside the music like a master, plus he has the wisdom to capture it on the spot direct to tape brilliantly. We're so lucky to have had him as part of this recording."

Adds Previte, who created his own intuitive drum feels throughout the session: "The music is highly improvised, more than you think. We did the entire record in three hours. Some tunes were completely improvised, some were brought in by Jamie but I think even he would agree they were sketches, really. He'd just tell Steve the harmonic rhythm, or we'd discuss it for a second, literally, and we were off! All first takes. And we never ever talked about how to start or how to end. The beginnings and endings are probably my favorite parts of this record because you can hear there was nothing planned in the least. We all dovetailed to the ends together. In fact, the endings are like little pieces in themselves. For instance if you listen to a Coltrane record, often you can tell they didn't have an ending, but there was no panic, no stress. They knew the tune would end itself and there was patience there. That's a quality in short supply today but on The New Standard you can hear that, especially with Steve. For instance, when I will take a left turn on one of those improvised endings, instead of interacting with me he stays at home within himself, and it's just magnificent. When you do that, when you don't cling too tightly to the other musicians, you bestow upon the other players so much freedom. As he said to me once, 'Interaction is overrated.' I couldn't agree more, except for the fact what he does IS interaction. It's just interaction on a much higher level than is usual in improvisation."

The New Standard opens with Saft's relaxed swinger "Clarissa," which is fueled by Swallow's unerring bass pulse and Previte's slick brushwork on the kit. This perfect introduction to the triumvirate leads into another Saft composition, "Minor Soul," which is rendered with all the patience and downhome quality of vintage Wynton Kelly or Junior Mance piano trios. "Step Lively" is a more buoyant rumba-boogie number paced by Previte and Swallow. Jamie's organ makes its first appearance on the gospel-tinged number "Clearing," which bears not a small resemblance to one of Jamie's significant influences, The Band. "About seven years ago I moved my crew to the Hudson Valley between the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains. We live right in the seat of where so much essential music from the past 60 years was created -- Bob Dylan, The Band, Woodstock. Certainly these sounds were in my head as I constructed pieces for us to work with. I've been a huge fan and proponent of the music of both Dylan and the Band and certainly they were both heavy influences for this session. I also was looking to capture something placid and serene that reflects my love for country living and a more sustainable way of being."

"Trek" opens with Previte's drum 'n' bugle corps cadence on the kit, setting a compelling foundation for the piano trio piece that follows. The title track is a showcase for Swallow's signature melodic playing on the electric bass guitar while the uptempo swinger "I See No Leader" has Previte setting the pace with his insistent ride cymbal work. Says Saft of that composition, "The idea behind 'I See No Leader' is twofold. The obvious on being there is no real leader to this group. Though I have contributed most of the structures, when you have absolute masters like Steve and Bobby (and Joe for that matter), all it takes is a group of the simplest structures and suddenly there's magic on the tape. The title of this song also refers to the analog tape on which this album was recorded. As we progressed through the sessions I ran out of fresh reels of tape and we were forced to start rolling over old reels from my studio vaults -- a reel in which we 'saw no leader' referred to the leader tape used to mark beginnings and ends."

"Blue Shuffle" opens with some bluesy solo organ by Saft before the trio settles into an early '60s organ lounge vibe with Swallow walking on bass and Previte providing a supple backbeat for the dancers. "All Things to All People" is a throbbing race on the B-3 fueled by Previte's jungle drums and the closer, "Surrender the Chaise," is an intimate, slightly melancholy piano trio number that sounds like one of Chopin's nocturnes as played by Bill Evans. Swallow adds a solo on this closing number that is a sheer masterpiece of melody. Saft has high praise for the great bassist. "It was an absolute honor to work with a musician of Steve's caliber," he says. "It was like walking on air! Steve has the deepest intuition found so rarely these days. It was as if I could go ANYWHERE and Steve was standing there waiting for me with arms outstretched. A true master!"

"The New Standard is an honest and inspired picture of the first meeting of these four minds," adds the pianist-organist-composer. "It is wholly informed by decades of friendship, collaborations and camaraderie. The album's title refers to what I feel is a "New Standard of Excellence" in the improvising arena. I'm absolutely thrilled this album has found a proper home on such a fantastic label as RareNoise Records. The sonic integrity of the session will be realized with a fully analog vinyl master -- the 180-gram dual gatefold vinyl pressing of the album will never have seen ANY computer interference. We were also extremely fortunate to enlist Scott Hull and Alex DeTurk of Masterdisk for both the CD and vinyl masters. The vinyl master was done straight from the original analog master tapes from the session. The record was recorded and mixed direct to two track analog tape and Scott compiled the vinyl masters by editing the original master recordings together one side at a time. Alex DeTurk cut the vinyl lacquers for us under Scott's supervision on the vinyl lathe at Masterdisk direct from the compiled analog masters. The depth of the vinyl masters is, frankly, sonically stunning. It harks back to the golden age of jazz recordings of the '60's. It is absolutely at the highest level. I'm beyond proud of the sound of this one and truly believe that this album will really stand out from the pack, sonically."

TRACKS: Clarissa / Minor Soul / Step Lively / Clearing / Trek / The New Standard / I See No Leader / Blue Shuffle / All Things To All People / Surrender The Chaise


The popular history of French music in the 60s often pits two opposing sides against each other: the polished ‘varieté’ of the yéyé stars like Françoise Hardy against the socially-engaged singer-songwriters like Léo Ferré, but the story is far more complex.

Alongside their better-known work, stars like Dalida, Dutronc and Sheila recorded music that happily sits next to more ‘serious’ – and often forgotten – socially engaged artists like Jehan Jonas and Michèle Arnaud. This compilation shines a light on the meeting point between these two seemingly disparate styles and the musicians behind them.

Digging deeper into the stories behind the music there is a unifying theme behind the different worlds: more often than not the players behind both styles were the same. Sometimes dismissed as journeymen that were operating at the outer reaches of their ability, the oft-ignored session musicians and arrangers held a wealth of knowledge and ‘savoir-faire’, not only in the lyrics and composition but also in the musical ability, recording, mixing and above all in the arrangements.

Even Serge Gainsbourg – perhaps the only artist of the time who managed to combine huge popular and critical success – collaborated with arrangers (and cult figures in French music) like Michel Colombier and Jean-Claude Vannier for his epoch-defining classics, and it is the work of these unsung figures that is celebrated here.

- CD digipak with 28 pages booklet w/liner notes in English/French
- LP with double page inner sleeve with full liner notes in English/French
01. Michèle Arnaud – La chanson de Tessa (1964)
02. Dalida – Je me repose (1968)
03. Sheila (Jean Claudric) – Long sera l’hiver (version playback orchestre) (1969)
04. Jane Birkin – Kawasaki (1973)
05. Christophe – The girl from Salina Part.3 (B.O.F. – La route de Salina) (1970)
06. Jacqueline Taïeb – Ce soir, je m’en vais (1967)
07. Michel Colombier – Canon (1969)
08. Ann Sorel – L’amour à plusieurs (1972)
09. Jacques Dutronc – Proverbes (1968)
10. Tonio Rubio – Bass In Action (1973)
11. Jehan Jonas – Nocturnes (1969)
12. Serge Gainsbourg – Je suis venu te dire que je m’en vais (version playback orchestre) (1973)

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