Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Holidays and a Jazzy New Year

With the unseasonably warm weather outside in most parts of the country, it is hard to wrap my head around the fact that Christmas and New Year's are knocking on our door. It has been a tumultuous year and it is certainly welcome to have some good cheer spread around for a change instead of the daily dose of vitriolics that seem to inundate our air waves. I for one have a great deal to be thankful for and my suspicion is most of you out there do also. So without further ado Happy Holidays to all and here are a few Holiday songs that will hopefully put you in the spirit and maybe even put a smile on your face.

Freddy Cole's "Jingles the Christmas Cat"

Bill Evans Trio : "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"

Julie London: "I Want You for Christmas"

Louis Prima: "Shake Hands with Santa Claus"

John McLaughlin: "O Come, O Come Emanuel"

Jimmy Smith : "White Christmas"

Lionel Hampton with Sonny Parker on Vocals "Merry Christmas Baby"

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: "Christmas Song"

Lou Rawls and Diane Reeves: "Baby It's Cold Outside" 

Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli : "Christmas Swing"

Billy Eckstine: "What Are Doing New Year's Eve?"

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

------------Notes on Jazz Best of Jazz for 2015------------------

Every year jazz journalists make their end of year "best of" lists. They become a tradition and they are as subjective as anything can be but they do offer the listening public a great place to start looking and listening to the many new and quality offerings that jazz artists have released in the past year.

No list can be all inclusive and no list can be without personal prejudices, having said that, this is my list of the best of jazz in 2015. I have included a category for best debut album, best historical release, and best Latin Jazz album. One thing I can assure you, there is something in here for almost every taste. There is no particular order to this list so please enjoy this cornucopia of music and Happy Holidays to all.

Vibraphonist Chris Dingman's  The Subliminal and the Sublime  on Inner Arts

Saxophonist JD Allen's Trio with Greg August and Rudy Royston: Graffitti on Savant

Charlie Hunter Trio  with Curtis Fowlkes and Bobby Previte ; Let The Bells Ring On on   Charlie Hunter Music

Jose James: Yesterday I Had The Blues, the Music of Billie Holliday  on Blue Note

John Fedchock New York Big Band: Like It Is  on Mama records

Kenny Werner Trio: The Melody with Ari Hoenig, drums  and Johannes Weidenmueller, bass on Pirouet

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Bird Calls  on ACT Music with ; Adam O’Farrill: trumpet; Matt Mitchell: piano; Francois Moutin: acoustic bass; Rudy Royston: drums. on ACT Music

Orrin Evans: The Evolution of Oneself  with Christian McBride bass and · Karriem Riggins drums. on Smoke Records

Dave Stryker: Messin' with Mr. T :  Jared Gold, organ,, Houston Person, saxophone, McClenty Hunter, drums. on Strikezone 

Manuel Valera and Groove Square: Urban Landscape: with Nir Felder, guitar, John Ellis, saxophones, E.J. Strickland, drums and John Benitez bass.  on Destiny Records

Tigran Hamasysan : Luys I Luso   with the Yerevan State Choir 

Kamsai Washington; The Epic:  on Brainfeeder 

Steve Johns : Family: with Debbie Keefe Johns, saxophone, Daryl Johns, bass, Bob DeVos, guitar, Dave Stryker guitar on Strikezone 

Dave Douglas Quintet : Brazen Heart : with Jon Irabagon (saxophones), Matt Mitchell (piano), Linda Oh (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) on Greenleaf Music

Giacomo Gates : Everything is Cool:  with John DiMartino , piano, Ed Howard, bass, Willard Dyson Drums, Grant Stewart saxophone, Tony Lombardozzi, guitar. on Savant

Sample "If I Were You I'd Love Me"  here

Kait Dunton ; Trio Kait with Cooper Appelt on bass and Jake Reed on drums 

Pat Bianchi : A Higher Standard:  with Craig Ebner: guitar; Byron Landham: drums.

Mark Winkler: Jazz and Other Four Letter Words, with Cheryl Bentyne: vocals; Jamieson Trotter: piano; John Clayton, Dan Lutz: bass; Jeff Hamilton, Mike Shapiro: drums; Larry Koonse, Pat Kelley: guitar; Bob Sheppard, Kirsten Edkins: saxophones; Walter Fowler: trumpet; Bob McChesney: trombone on Cafe Pacific Records

Peter Oxley and Nicholas Meier:  Chasing Tales on MGP Records

Michael Cain: Sola with  James Genus  bass and Billy Hart drums.

Erik Firedlander : Illuminations 

John Pattitucci's Electric Guitar Quartet : Brooklyn with Adam Rodgers, guitar, Steve Cardenas, guitar, Brian Blade, drums on Three Faces Label.

Lafayette Harris Jr. Trio: Bend the Light with  Lonnie Plaxico on bass and Willie Jones III on drums
on Airmen Records

Christian Howes; American Spirit; with Josh Nelson, piano, Hamilton Hardin, organ, Ben Williams, bass, Gregory Hutchinson, drums and Polly Gibbons, vocals on Resonance Records

Best Debut Album: Katie Theroux: Introducing Katie Theroux with guitarist Graham Dechter, tenor saxophonist Roger Neumann and drummer Matt Witek.

Best Historical Release : John Abercrombie: The First Quartet;  Arcade with Richie Beirach, George Mraz and Peter Donald on ECM

Best Latin Jazz Album: The Latin Side of Joe Henderson Conrad Herwig with Joe Lovano