Friday, March 1, 2024

Andy Pratt; Trio


If like me you place a lot of value in revered tunes from the great American Songbook, you should check out guitarist Andy Pratt's excellent trio. His no frills, no gimmicks approach is completed by bassist Joe Policastro and drummer Phil Gratteau. Pratt sings on many of the selections in a pleasant musicianly manner. You'll know many of the tunes and among them are a few rare surprises, Consider the Gershwin classic “Soon”, the Tony Bennett “semi-hit” “When Joanna Loved Me”, a pop hit from the '50's called “Patricia”, and lots more. I for one would prefer a bit more of Pratt's super guitar work and a little less vocalizing. However, it was an upper to hear these songs from the past. Nice going, guys!

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Charles Chen; Charles, Play!

There's one new name here and that's the leader and very swinging pianist on the date, Charles Chen. The remaining members of the quartet have honored the jazz art for a long time. Consider Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums. But the big pleasant surprise is tenor sax man Ralph Moore. I've wondered about Moore for a couple of decades. He seemed to have disappeared, so what a delight to once again hear his very personal, in-the-pocket tone working with the above named threesome! Pianist Chen shows his prowess both on piano and as a composer on five of the selections heard here. He is featured on the standard “These Foolish Things”, and it's delicate, sensible, and perfect. Among his originals, I was particularly impressed with Chen's “Golson”. It focuses upon a medium tempo delight with a very lyrical melody line---just the way tenor giant Benny Golson used to write them. Really, all the originals were standouts. Other familiar fare are “How About You”, “Be My Love” (remember Mario Lanza?), and Charlie Parker's “Passport”. All told, this is the real thing. Welcome back to Ralph Moore and a high five to Charles Chen and the Washingtons!

Cellar; 2024; appx. 48 min.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Pianists Alphabetically

 Alphabetically, here are some jazz pianists I admire. Undoubtedly, I've overlooked a few. If you care to add names to this list, contact me at jazzfens13@gmail.com.

Thank you,
George Fendel
 
Toshiko Akiyoshi
Monty Alexander
Ehud Asherie
Kenny Barron
Count Basie
Shelly Berg
Alan Broadbent
Dave Brubeck
John Bunch
Dave Catney
Bill Charlap
Sonny Clark
Nat Cole
Duke Ellington
Bill Evans
Tommy Flanagan
Russ Freeman
Don Friedman
Red Garland
Errol Garner
Lorraine Geller
Darrell Grant
Tardo Hammer
Hampton Hawes
Tamir Hendelman
Eddie Higgins
Jutta Hipp
Elmo Hope
Keith Jarrett
Pete Jolly
Hank Jones
Oliver Jones
Roger Kellaway
Lou Levy
Adam Makovich
Pete Malinverni
Dodo Marmarosa
Jon Mayer
Bill Mays
Marion McPartland
Mulgrew Miller
Thelonious Monk
Dado Moroni
Phineas Newborn
Tony Pacini
Jeb Patton
Dave Peck
Oscar Peterson
Enrico Pieranunzi
Randy Porter
Sidney Porter
Bud Powell
Andre Previn
John Proulx
Jean Ronne
Jimmy Rowles
George Shearing
Don Shirley
Billy Strayhorn
Art Tatum
Billy Taylor
Lennie Tristano
McCoy Tyner
Fats Waller
Cedar Walton
Gerry Wiggins
James Williams
Jessica Williams
Claude Williamson
Richard Wyands
And finally, Denny Zeitlin

Monday, January 22, 2024

ANSWERS TO GEORGE'S QUIZ:

1.  Anything Goes
2.  I Get A Kick Out Of You
3.  Just One Of Those Things
4.  All Of You
5.  From This Moment On
6.  I Love Paris
7.  Easy To Love
8.  It's All Right With Me
9.  You're The Top
10. I've Got You Under My Skin

Sunday, January 21, 2024

HAVE SOME FUN WITH GEORGE'S QUIZZES:

We're supplying you with a list of partial lyrics to very well known American Songbook classics.How many actual titles can you identify? Hit melodies and lyrics ALL by Cole Porter:
 
1.   only use four letter words
2.   mere alcohol
3.   we'll meet now and then
4.   east, west, north, and the south of you
5.   no more blues songs
6.   every moment of the year
7.   it does seem a shame
8.   your face is lovely
9.   you're Mickey Mouse
10. use your mentality

Saturday, January 20, 2024

GEORGE'S BRIEFS:

Janet Evra; Meet Me In Paris

As the title suggests, this is a charming recital with an accent on French material. There's a happy musicality here featuring singer and bassist Janet Evra. Both the familiar and the rather obscure are on board. A very hip little ensemble works seamlessly with the leader. This is a definite detour in the jazz world. But it works ever so intimately. 
Plum Jazz Records; 2023; times not indicated.
 
Joe Wittman; Trio Works
Jazz guitar fans need to check this one out! Joe Wittman leads a guitar-bass-drums trio on six of his own compositions plus two standards, “Sweet Lorraine” and Mel Torme's “Born To Be Blue”. Unlike the bevy of funk guitar things out there, this is simply a solid jazz group jammin' for fun.
Sol Records; 2023; appx. 45 min.
 
Constantine Alexander; Firetet
From the opening notes of this session, you'll understand why it's called Firetet. For the record, this is actually a quintet led by the trumpet and flugelhorn of Constantine Alexander. On seven originals, Alexander and friends present a contemporary hard bop that is challenging, swinging and authentic. Tempos vary, solos are demanding and vigorous, and all these new names are exuberant and fully involved as modern real deal players.
Self-produced; 2023; appx. 52 min.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Thomas Linger; Out In It

Speaking of new names, here's Thomas Linger. His quartet includes some seasoned players who know when to turn on the heat AND when to display a more modest but always swinging approach. Linger himself always sounds impressively right in the center of the jazz tradition. Joined by Peter Bernstein on guitar; Vasushi Nakamura, bass; and Joe Farnsworth, drums, this lyrical quartet tells the truth on nine fresh, invigorating originals and one classic standard: I always love hearing Billy Strayhorn's masterpiece, “Lush Life”. To put it simply, this is yet another jazz triumph for Cellar Music.

Cellar Music; 2023; appx. 56 min.