Tuesday, May 15, 2018

George's Briefs: "The Ing..." OKB Trio

If you're seeking some straight ahead, unadorned and reliable trio sounds, this will likely fill the bill. Pianist Oscar Perez and colleagues Kuriko Tsugawa, bass and Brian Woodruff, drums, (hence, OKB) are right in the pocket on five originals and five standards ranging from "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter" to "Please Send Me Someone To Love"; and from "I Remember You" to the ancient rock and roll opus "High Heel Sneakers"! Real deal piano trio music always remains refreshingly relevant. And here's a finely honed example of it.
Queens Jazz OverGround; 2018; appx. 70 min. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Jubilation! Jim Snidero & Jeremy Pelt

Jubilation! celebrates the 90th birthday of the late alto sax giant Cannonball Adderley. In that role we find a present day gifted alto sax man, Jim Snidero. His co-leader on the date is trumpet sensation Jeremy Pelt who assumes the role of cornetist Nat Adderley. The quintet is completed by three more   of today's all-stars: David Hazeltine, piano; Nat Reeves, bass; and Billy Drummond, drums. Most of the chosen selections were composed and/or performed by the Adderleys. Examples are the familiar "Sack O' Woe" and the feel good melody line of "Wabash", both Cannon's creations, and the jazz mega-hit "Work Song" by brother Nat. The one choice from Songbook America is "Stars Fell On Alabama", played with great feeling by both co-leaders. One of my personal faves, "Del Sasser", is a jazz staple from bassist Sam Jones. Its infectious melody line is a winner, and its odd title is a reference to Irene Del Sasser, a dear friend of the composer. On all these and others, the quintet keeps it straight ahead and purely Adderley all the way. What a delightful tribute!
Savant; 2018; appx. 53 min.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Allan Vaché "It Might As Well Be Swing"

Perhaps you've never given it too much thought, but records like this are becoming a rarity. Think about it: A swinging little jazz quartet, with Allan Vaché's clarinet in a leadership role; and piano, bass and drums helping out on ten etched-in-stone classics, every one of which you know. The synthesizer got locked up; the electronics were unplugged and the singer had laryngitis. So happily we're left with Allan Vaché and three new names in the Arbors Records family---Mark McKee, piano; Charlie Silva, bass; and Walt Hubbard, drums. All work hand in glove with Vaché on these much loved classics. Vaché, it should be noted, doesn't subscribe to the DeFranco/Giuffre bebop school of clarinet players. He's from the swing school, the lineage of Goodman and Shaw. And his tune selections reflect that glorious era of quality songwriting with choices like "Poor Butterfly", "Air Mail Special", "Cheek To Cheek", "You Took Advantage Of Me", "Out Of Nowhere" and lots more. So, in this era of 20,000 sheep storming huge arenas to willingly get their hearing loss underway, there are still a few records like this one. It gives me a ray of hope. And it brightened my day.
Arbors; 2018; appx. 54 min.