Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"Porter Plays Porter" Randy Porter- piano & Nancy King, vocals

  • Ponder this for a moment: When was the last time a Portland, Oregon jazz artist was nominated for a Grammy Award? Not as long ago as you might think; Esmeralda Spalding and Thara Memory together won a Grammy in 2013, and Spalding won her first one in 2011. You might also recall that Nancy King and pianist Fred Hersch were nominated in 2006. And now Nancy's at it again as a guest on Randy Porter's Grammy nominated "Porter Plays Porter". Cole, that is. Congrats to the two of them on this well deserved honor. It's all the more amazing given the fact that this is a straight ahead jazz effort in an era dominated by original material, and rather meandering, somewhat formless music. Randy has, of course, been a "do everything" piano fixture for years in Portland. And Nancy just keeps on rollin', sounding as great as she did forty some years ago as a kid singer with the Tom Albering trio! On the nine cuts heard here, eight are by the great composer-lyricist Cole Porter. Nancy sings on five of those AND on Randy's own stirring ballad "Inside Your Mind" The other vocals, all Cole's creations, include "I Concentrate On You", "Just One Of Those Things", "All Of You", "Night And Day", and "Every Time We Say Goodbye". Randy's trio includes John Wiitala on bass, and Todd Strait, drums. This superb, balanced threesome is heard on "I Love You", "Why Can't You Behave", and "Get Out Of Town". Hats off to all four of them on this rich and real Cole Porter tribute. And kudos to the Grammy people for getting it right. Heavywood Music; 2017; times not indicated.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Tony DeSare-vocals & Edward Decker-guitar "One For My Baby"

  • Why is it that female singers of standards (mostly wanna-be's) are a dime a dozen, but classy male vocalists are as rare as an Underwood typewriter? I can't answer that one, but I can tell you that Tony DeSare is that rare male singer you need to hear. He never indulges in excess or in show biz tactics. Instead he's a lyric storyteller who breathes sincerity in every note. On this lovely duo with subtle and sympathetic guitarist Edward Decker, Tony caresses nine tunes, mostly standards, and as a matter of fact, a few that go way back in time. Consider such titles as "Angel Eyes", "You Go To My Head", "Memories Of You", "Deep In A Dream", and "One For My Baby". There are also two solo opportunities for Decker's heartfelt guitar on "A Cottage For Sale" and a DeSare original called "I'll Get You Through The Night". On these and more, DeSare and Decker provide an intimacy that one rarely encounters in today's music scene. I, for one, love it...and that's me hollering, "More, Tony, more! AJD Entertainment; 2017; appx. 33 min.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Adam Shulman "Full Tilt"

Records like this give me positive vibes about the future of jazz. Here are six players, only one of whom, bassist John Wiitala, is a familiar name to me. Shulman is responsible for seven of the nine selections, and his compositions flow with the essence of jazz: fresh and exciting melody lines, strong, confident improvisation, and a wealth of ideas. The album's only standard is a great one, Matt Dennis' "The Night We Called It A Day". Get ready for six youngsters brewing up a hard bop that's sure to please.
Cellar Live; 2017; appx. 67 min.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Ben Paterson "That Old Feeling" piano & vocals

In the liner notes to this disc, pianist Ben Paterson recalls his initial encounters as a young teenager with piano giants Nat Cole and Oscar Peterson. He was drawn to the incessant swing of both these icons and decided that this was the path he would choose. On this CD, Paterson's third in my personal collection, he takes an important cue from Nat and Oscar. Like his two heroes did in their early careers, Ben's trio is comprised of piano, guitar and bass. Guitarist Chris Flory's resume includes many jazz stalwarts of the last few decades. Bassist George Delancey helps out in the subtle, highly musical and pleasing groove established here. And once again, like Nat and Oscar, Paterson sings ever so nicely on a few selections. His actual tune choices are kinda all over the map. They range from oldies "Some Of These Days" and "When I Grow To Old To Dream" to Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" and even a Bob Dylan opus with a bit of country flavor, "Make You Feel My Love". Add dyed in the wool standards like "I'm Old Fashioned", "You And The Night And The Music", "Over The Rainbow", "The Best Thing For You", and the especially gorgeous "My Ship", and you have a session that shines in a proud tradition. Nat and Oscar, I'm sure, would have given Ben Paterson a "standing O".
Cellar Live; 2018; appx. 53 min.