I Wanna Be Loved
Seattle-based vocalist Greta Matassa has been a dues-paying jazz singer since she was 17 years old. Her latest recording, I Wanna Be Loved, is a portrait of the artist at the top of her game. She belts on the swing tunes and bring just the right amount of pathos to a tender ballad, the balance of which is the basis for this recording. Matassa’s vocal talents are matched by outstanding arrangements by pianist Tamir Handleman, brought to life by great musicianship from Bruce Forman on guitar, Clipper Anderson on bass, and Bob Leatherbarrow on drums, among many others. This is the work of a full-fledged jazz singer that simply will not disappoint.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Night Mist”.
Tracks: Broadway, Chan’s Song, Alone In The World, I Wanna Be Loved, Nothing Like You, You’ll See, Save Me, Two For The Road, The Night Mist, Would You Believe, All Night Long.
Virtuoso pianist Keith Jarrett and bassist Charlie Haden last recorded together some 30 years ago, but their new release sounds as if they’ve been playing together forever. Jasmine, a duo take on standard ballads, was recorded in Jarrett’s New Jersey-based home studio on an old Steinway that he uses mostly for practice.Though each of the eight tunes have been interpreted a million times, Haden and Jarrett bring something invigorating to their rendering of the music. The sound is clean and perfect for the sparseness of instrumentation and what’s heard is a beautiful musical conversation between two old friends and masters of their respective crafts.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Body and Soul”.
Tracks: For All We Know, Where Can I Go Without You, No Moon At All, One Day I’ll Fly Away, I’m Gonna Laugh You Right of My Life, Body and Soul, Goodbye, Don’t Ever Leave Me.
See The Pyramid
(Criss Cross Jazz)
Tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf has a bright ‘big city’ sound that takes a over room and makes a statement not to be missed. Though this is his 17th year with Criss Cross Jazz, and his eleventh recording as a leader, See The Pyramid marks only his second recorded exploration into the tenor-piano-bass-drums quartet scenario favored by so many of his heroes. Joining Weiskopf in this endeavor are pianist Peter Zak, bassist Doug Weiss, and drummmer Quincy Davis. The four have a chemistry that make this 10-track set a quality work. Weiskopf wrote five of the album’s compositions, with other selections coming from the songbooks of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Johnny Mandel, among others. The New York-based Weiskopf is an artist who definitely has something to say and a powerful way of saying that something.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Marcieana”.
Tracks: See The Pyramid, Marcieana, Hook Me Up, Equality, Call Me, Little Minor Love Song, Double Rainbow, A Time For Love, Goodbye John, Make Someone Happy.
(E1 Records )
The MacArthur Genius Award, which violinist Regina Carter won in 2006, afforded her the opportunity to explore new sources of creative fuel. Reverse Thread was inspired by field recordings of songs by Ugandan worshippers of the Jewish faith which the Detroit native was able to discover in her search. The project can best be described as a tapestry of folk music that sounds as if it’s somewhere between Senegal, Paris and the Appalachian mountains. She’s joined on this journey by Yacouba Sissiko playing the kora, a West African harp, bassist Mamadou Ba and accordion players Will Holshouser and Gary Versace. They’re accompanied by Carter’s band of Adam Rogers on guitar, Alvester Garnett on drums and Chris Lightcap on bass. With such diverse colors and sources, the result could easily be musical chaos, but Carter and her violin are the thread which beautifully tie this soul-soothing and joyous piece together, absolutely soaring with every note she plays.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Artistiya”.
Tracks: Hiwumbe Awumba, Full Time, N’Teri, Artistiya, Un Aguinaldo Pa Regina, Kothbiro (Intro), Kothbiro, Zerapiki, Day Dreamin on the Niger, Juru Nani / God Be With You, Kanou, Mwana Talitambula..
The Groover, the latest from Hammond B-3 organist Mike LeDonne, truly lives up to its name, with plenty of swinging grooves from start to finish. The project is a showcase for some truly exquisite musicianship, as provided by LeDonne and his cohorts, Eric Alexander on tenor saxophone, Peter Bernstein on guitar and Joe Farnsworth on drums. The sound here is big and rich and every solo from each member of the quartet is outstanding. LeDonne’s excellent compostions comprise the bulk of the recording, with covers of tunes made famous by Learner and Lowe, Michael Jackson and The Temptations given a complete groove makeover. The Groover is truly one for the collection.
Click here to listen to a clip of “The Groover”.
Tracks: Rock With You, Blues For McCoy, Little Mary, I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, Deep Blue, Sunday In New York, Bopsolete, The Groover, On The Street Where You Live.
Los Angeles-born, Brooklyn-based vocalist Gregory Porter is a musical force. From the very first note of Water, his debut recording, Porter’s powerhouse sound grabs your ear. A frequent guest with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, he moves between uptempo burners and contemplative ballads with equivalent ease. Porter’s 11-track excursion is a mix of mostly original works, along with compositions by Wayne Shorter and Burke and Van Heusen. Porter is aided by magnificent musicianship from pianist Chip Crawford, drummer Emanuel Harold and bassist Aaron James, as well as a horn section on several tracks, that includes trumpeter Curtis Taylor and saxophonist James Spaulding, among others. This is a stellar debut from a voice much too good to miss.
Click here to listen to a clip of “Black Nile”.
Tracks: Illusion, Pretty, Magic Cup, Skylark, Black Nile, Wisdom, 1960 What?, But Beautiful, Lonely One, Water, Feeling Good.
Veteran bassist Rufus Reid’s latest is not only a showcase for his versatility and virtuosity, but the work of an incredible trio of artists, that feels as good as it sounds. Reid is joined by pianist Steve Allee and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca for a 9-track set that swings hard at times, then slows to venture down beautiful balladic sideroads. Most of the compositions are provided by Reid, with contributions by Allee and Da Fonseca, The trio also offers their take on songs by Marco Silva and Eddie Harris, and Reid’s intro to Tadd Dameron’s “If You Could See Me Now” would have worked just fine as solo, but on this track as well as all those on the project demonstrate that he, in the words of an old school report card, does play well with others.
Click here to listen to a clip of “The Crying Blues”.
Tracks: Glory, Dona Maria, Reminiscing, Ebony, Caress the Thought, Dry Land, The Rise of the Row, If You Could See Me Now, The Crying Blues.
For her latest release, Homefree, Nnenna Freelon decided to stay at home, recording the project at Sound Pure Studios in Durham, North Carolina, where she’s lived for the past 28 years. What has not changed is the way in which the singer enchants the listener with her captivating voice and equally engrossing arrangements of standards from jazz to pop, and even gospel. Freelon is aided wonderfully in this regard, by the talents of pianist Brandon McCune, drummer Kinyah Ayah, bassist Wayne Batchelor, percusionist Beverly Botsford, guitarist Scott Sawyer, as well as her son, Pierce Freelon, on one track. As with most of her past efforts, Nnenna Freelon is captivating from the very first note to the very last.
Click here to listen to a clip of “The Lamp Is Low”.
Tracks: The Lamp Is Low, I Feel Pretty, The Very Thought of You, Theme from Valley of The Dolls, Smile, You and The Night and The Music, Cell Phone Blues, Get Out of Town, Skylark, Lift Every Voice and Sing, America the Beautiful.
What We Share
(Demi Sound Records)
Just when you thought jazz saxophonists of the modern day were knockoffs of the Coltrane or Sonny Rollins records they’ve listened to, Myron Walden comes along. The 37-year old Miami native has spent several years as a part of the Brian Blade Fellowship becoming the artist we hear on What We Share, one of a suite of his recordings. What makes Walden such a compelling musician is not just his mastery of the instrument, but beautifully engaging compostions that are contemplative, contemporary and evocative. He composed all of the music on this production. Personnel on the disc inlcude David Bryant on Fender Rhodes, Mike Moreno of guitar and Kendrick Scott, Brian Blade and keyboardist Jon Cowherd join in on one album’s track. With every note, Walden literally breathes new life into the music making him an artist not to miss.
Click here to listen to a clip of “The Promise of Tomorrow”.
Tracks: Gentle Embrace, Tama, With Every Breath, A Love Eternal, The Promise of Tomorrow, Endless, In Search of The Lost City, The Fall of Summer, Forgotten Memories.