Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Chuck Redd "Groove City"

This CD is well titled because as much as anything, Chuck Redd epitomizes the groove. A double threat guy equally skilled on vibes and drums, Redd has spent a career on the straight ahead highway. He's a believer in the real deal, and this CD once again provides proof. Redd's basic quartet includes John Di Martino, piano; Nicki Parrott, bass; Lewis Nash, drums; and on a few selections, Jerry Weldon, tenor sax. The eleven tune playlist includes several rarely heard (but most welcome) items like "The Great City", "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying", Billy Strayhorn's triumph "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing", and Ornette Coleman's emotional opus "Lonely Woman". From the standard book, there's "All Or Nothing At All" as well as a ripping take on Monk's classic "Evidence". On all these and more, Chuck Redd and friends---again and with ease---find the groove. I think it must be in his DNA!
Self-produced; 2018; total 64 min.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Larry Fuller "Overjoyed"

Overjoyed is a completely fitting title for this former Seattle resident who follows the premise that it's okay to swing! Proof lies in Fuller's lengthy associations with Ray Brown and Jeff Hamilton, both of them among jazzdom's swingingest. Fuller is, to my ear, a disciple of a jazz god named Oscar Peterson. On this delicious CD, Fuller honors Oscar with Bossa Beguine, one of Oscar's choice but lesser known compositions. Keeping things in the family, he also pays tribute to bassist Brown with Ray's tune "Lined With A Groove". Among the standards here are delicately rendered choices like "How Long Has This Been Going On", "Mona Lisa", and "Never Let Me Go". And Fuller's trio, with Hassan Shakur on bass and Lewis Nash on drums, also finds time for a few from "The Real Book" in Wes Montgomery's "Fried Pies"; Ray Bryant's rarely heard "Cubano Chant"; and even the jazz hit "Got My Mojo Workin'". A few of Fuller's well crafted originals complete the album of twelve titles in all. As he has done on previous releases, Larry Fuller keeps the faith, playing great tunes within an honored jazz tradition. Capri Records does it again!
Capri Records; 2019; appx. 54 min.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Greg Abate "Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ The Z"

I've seen the name Greg Abate (pronounced Ah-BAH-tay) "just around the corner" in the jazz world for a number of years. But this is my first chance to put him to the test. He's a hard bopper to be sure and takes no prisoners in this exuberant live performance. Eight of the eleven tunes are his own creations and he blows four instruments here. I heard the likes of Phil Woods, Pepper Adams, Cannonball Adderley and even Richie Cole all hovering somewhere nearby. The two standards covered here couldn't be more different: Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" and Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge". Abate works flawlessly with a spirited rhythm section led by high flying pianist Tim Ray. The quartet is completed by bassist John Lockwood and drummer Mark Walker. This very versatile bop maven and his colleagues offer a swinging, satisfying performance. It's real deal excuses and no pretense!
Whaling City Sound; 2019; 71:59

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Coniece Washington "Shades Of Shirley Horn"

Not many would take on a project honoring singer-pianist Shirley Horn. She was the ultimate sensuous straight to your heart singer, and a pianist of great skill and feeling as well. So, Coniece Washington, thank you for honoring the music of Shirley Horn with this exceptional performance. I might add here that her accompaniment, led by the understated piano of Vince Evans, is very much like Shirley's long time trio mates. Some of the deeply felt tunes covered here include "Here's To Life", "The Island", "Dindi", "How Am I To Know", and "A Time For Love", to name a few. Shirley Horn was a jazz goddess with a one of a kind ability to reach the listener with her musical gift. Kudos to Coniece and friends for this lovely session in Shirley's honor.
Self-produced; 2019; appx. 60 min.