Friday, December 20, 2013



Genre-blending is a hallmark of Mimi Jones's music - on both her 2009 debut A New Day and her brand-new Balance. The disc features seven of her own compositions, one by band member Marvin Sewell, and striking arrangements of tunes by Adele ("Someone Like You"), Roy Ayers ("Everybody Loves the Sunshine"), and Bob Dorough ("Nothing Like You") as well as the children's favorite "The Incy Wincy Spider." She plays acoustic bass on nine tracks and electric bass on three and sings on six (Jones added singing to her bass playing seven years ago).

Born in New York City (in 1972) and raised in the Bronx, Mimi attended Fiorello LaGuardia High School and earned a B.A. in music at the Manhattan School of Music Conservatory. She missed her graduation, however, because she'd been hired to tour Japan with saxophonist Masa Wada and drummer Denis Charles. It was the first of numerous overseas tours that would take her to Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas, some under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. In addition to leading her own groups, Jones has worked with jazz artists including Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Terri Lyne Carrington (who chose Jones to play on her Grammy-winning The Mosaic Project), Ravi Coltrane, Lizz Wright, Lionel Hampton, Roy Hargrove, and many more.


On her Origins CD, Camille Thurman performs 11 original compositions, plus one apiece by Fats Waller ("Jitterbug Waltz") and Saul Chaplin/Sammy Cahn ("Please Be Kind"). Thurman has major chops on all four of her instruments -- tenor and soprano saxophone, flute, and voice -- and an abundance of imagination to go along with them. She's also an outstanding writer, two of whose tunes, "In Duetime" and "Origins" -- both on the new CD -- were recognized by the ASCAP Foundation with Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer awards, in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Thurman was born in St. Albans, Queens, NY in 1986 and was introduced by her mother early on to the great vocal artists. She began playing flute at age 12, alto saxophone at 13, and switched to tenor at 14 after hearing Dexter Gordon. She went on to earn a B.A. in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Binghamton University before deciding to become a full-time musician. Currently a member of Jones's group and the leader of her own quartet, Thurman has worked in the big bands of Charli Persip, Nicholas Payton, and DIVA; recorded with Dianne Reeves on her upcoming Beautiful Life CD; is in the all-star house band on BET's "Black Girls Rock" award show; and was the second runner-up for a Sassy Award in last month's Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition.


Drummer Shirazette Tinnin debuts on Humility: Purity of My Soul, working with her band, the Shirazette Experiment: pianists Willerm Delisfort and Rachel Eckroth, guitarist Seth Johnson, bassist Tom DiCarlo, and singing tenor saxophonist Camille Thurman. Seven of her compositions are included, along with arrangements of songs by Eddie Harris ("Freedom Jazz Dance") and McCoy Tyner ("Passion Dance"). Tia Fuller, in whose band Shirazette has played for the past three years, and the Angolan vocalist Afrikkanitha make guest appearances on the new disc.

Shirazette was born in Chapel Hill, NC in 1979, the daughter of gospel singers who performed up and down the East Coast. After getting her B.A. in Music Industry Studies at Appalachian State University, she studied at Northern Illinois University, earning her master's in music. Tinnin worked and recorded with flutist Nicole Mitchell and, at a jazz festival, met trumpeter Gabriel Alegría, who invited her to come to New York (in 2009) and join his Afro-Peruvian Sextet, with whom she has recorded and regularly toured in the U.S. and Peru. Tinnin also reconnected in New York with Mimi Jones, whom she had met a decade earlier in North Carolina. She has organized several bands over the years, including Imani 7. When she's not playing music, Shirazette works as a personal trainer.

Mimi Jones, Camille Thurman, and Shirazette Tinnin will be performing together at APAP, New York on Jan. 12 (DROM, 85 Avenue A between 5th/6th); and with their respective bands at the Hot Tone Music CD release show scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 4, 7:00 pm, Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, New York. All three release are due on Feb. 4, 2014.

Thursday, December 19, 2013



Digitally remastered by Chris Herles (Sony Music Studios, New York). Producer Creed Taylor has inspired everything from praise to anger among jazz fans. His work has been brilliant at times, detrimental at others (his worst flaw being a tendency to overproduce). Taylor plays a mostly positive role on La Cuna, a jazz-oriented effort uniting Ray Barretto with such first-class talent as Tito Puente (timbales) and the late Joe Farrell (tenor & soprano sax, flute). As slick as things get at times on La Cuna (originally released on vinyl by Taylor's CTI label and reissued on CD in 1995), Taylor wisely gives the players room to blow on everything from the haunting "Doloroso" and the driving "Cocinando" (a piece by Carlos Franzetti that shouldn't be confused with Barretto's major salsa/cha-cha hit) to a somewhat Gato Barbieri-ish take on Mussorgsky's "The Old Castle." Barretto successfully moves into soul territory on Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise" (which rapper Coolio recast as his hit "Gangsta's Paradise" in 1994). Barretto may hate the term "Latin jazz," but make no mistake: La Cuna is one of his most memorable contributions to that genre. ~ Alex Henderson 2013 Japanese pressing BLU-SPEC CD. Remastered. CTI Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Hackensack, New Jersey in August 1979. Includes liner notes by Arnold Jay Smith. Personnel: Ray Barretto (congas, percussion); Willy Torres (vocals); Joe Farrell (tenor & soprano saxophones, flute); Carlos Franzetti (piano); Charlie Palmieri (piano, percussion); Jeremy Wall, Suzanne Ciani (synthesizers); John Tropea (guitar); Francisco Centeno (bass); Steve Gadd, Mark Craney (drums); Tito Puente (timbales). ~


One of Esther Phillips finest '70s releases, From a Whisper to a Scream is the first of seven albums the singer recorded for CTI offshoot Kudu. Arranged and conducted by Pee Wee Ellis, the December 1971 session also involved principal players such as bassist Gordon Edwards, drummer Bernard Purdie, percussionist Airto, guitarists Cornell Dupree and Eric Gale, keyboardist Richard Tee, and saxophonists Hank Crawford and David Liebman. Setting the tone for Phillips' Kudu era, Whisper offers a series of spacious, yet fully arranged ballads of burning heartache, along with a handful of relatively funky numbers that do nothing to compromise her talent, dishing out loads of classy grit. It's a definite point of departure from the likes of Esther Phillips Sings and And I Love Him, her field of contemporaries closer to Al Green and Aretha Franklin than before. She grabs onto "Home Is Where the Hatred Is," Gil Scott-Heron's most harrowing rumination on drug dependency -- which, at that point, wasn't even a year old -- as if it were her very own, and it's all the more poignant given its parallels with her own life. (Its meaning was only compounded by her death in 1984. ) Though there is absolutely nothing lacking in the album's more energetic moments, it's still the ballads that shine brightest, like the alternately fragile and explosive "From a Whisper to a Scream" (Allen Toussaint) and a staggering "Baby, I'm for Real" (Marvin and Anna Gordy, made popular by the Originals) so vulnerable yet commanding that it really should've closed the album.  ... Full Description ~ Andy Kellman 2013 Japanese pressing BLU-SPEC CD. Remastered. CTI Rolling Stone (7/6/72, p. 62) - "... She puts her bitter yet warm personal stamp on everything on the album, and covers a really broad range of material, from blues to ballads..." Mojo (Publisher) (p. 69) - "[With] an incredible funked-up version of Gil Scott-Heron's harrowing portrait of drug addiction, 'Home Is Where The Hatred Is'. ~


Eric Gale's 1973 Forecast album on the Kudu label is one of his most varied texturally. Produced by Kudu label boss Creed Taylor, the rhythm tracks were arranged by Gale, and the horns and strings by Bob James. Taylor surrounded Gale with the cream-of-the-crop of the current session players: jazz's most soulful drummer, Idris Muhammad, was in the house for most of the album, and Rick Marotta filled out the rest. Saxophonists included Joe Farrell, Pepper Adams, and Jerry Dodgion (an underrated ace who made his name with Curtis Amy on his Pacific jazz sides in the early '60s), and trumpeters included Randy Brecker and Jon Faddis. Hubert Laws and George Marge sat in the flute chairs, and James played piano and synths. Gale, for his part, was blended into a meticulously arranged and gorgeously orchestrated set of mixed tempo originals, and a pair of carefully chosen covers: "Killing Me Softly," by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, and Antonio Carlos Jobim's and Aloysio de Oliviera's deeply moving "Dindi." Gale's single string lines bite harder than some of the Brazilian counterparts, but because his blues inflection is so pronounced against the lush strings, keyboards, and horns, it works wonderfully.  ... Full Description Gale's own grooved out "Cleopatra," and the otherworldly funk and blues feel of "White Moth," are just off-kilter enough to add a labyrinthine dimension to the album. Gale was a tear when he was on Kudu, and this album is the first example of his particular brand of street tough yet bedroom romantic soul-jazz for the label. ~ Thom Jurek 2013 Japanese pressing BLU-SPEC CD. Remastered.~



Linda Sedio has released a cover version of Etta James' "At Last." Sedio's cover (written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon) is recorded with a great vibe and a great emotion. For the release of this project, she chose a glamorous appearance to give this classic all its charm. Many people will surely be charmed by her voice, her beauty, her great emotion, but the most important thing today for her is to give a best visibility to this challenge. Linda Sedio Says: "From Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin until Etta James, I've always been rocked by soul music and the choice of 'At Last' was the strongest for a cover version. It's an amazing loving song and love is everything we need in our everyday life. Not only at Christmas or Valentine's Day... but all the time. So it's a real and immense happiness for me to share my version with all the lovers of soul and blues music." ~    


"Hearing a performance by Lisa Donna is like visiting the rich vocal Jazz tradition of Ella, Billie, Carmen and Sarah. Her scat singing is off the chart and her ballads will touch your heart. LIsten for Lisa Donna!!! She is a bright star in the future of Jazz!"~ Bill Augustine (Jazz Pianist/Producer/Jazz Educator)
"The eight tracks on "Someone in Love," Del Rey singer Lisa Donna's newly released album of popular contemporary jazz, are mostly originals, with a couple of covers (standards "Like Someone in Love," "It Never Entered My Mind") interspersed. As the CD's title implies, Donna's musical obsession is primarily the universal topic of romance."~ Michael Aushenker (The Argonaut News) ~


Dian Meechai's debut album Stormy Weather is a celebratory blend of Christmas music, jazz standards and classical arias. The album is divided into two sections, Christmas Cocktails and Sunday Service. Each section reflects the various spirits of the holiday season.  Christmas Cocktails begins the festivities with familiar jazz songs such as "The Way You Look Tonight" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me." Listeners are invited to dance "Cheek to Cheek" with a loved one, cozy up to the sentimental sounds of "Christmas Time is Here" and "Over the Rainbow," or take a spirited turn to the groovy "Santa Baby." For Sunday Service, the mood becomes more intimate as the drummer and bassist step away. Dian transports the listener to their own personal recital with holiday classics such as "Silent Night" and "O Holy Night." By including sweet arias such as "Mesicku na nebi hlubokem," she creates a scene reminiscent to those found in the novels of Jane Austen. "The holiday season is my favorite time of year," Dian says. "I hope to bring some of my mushy spirit into your home." Dian is accompanied on Stormy Weather by renowned jazz pianist Dan Zemelman, drummer Greg Wyser-Pratte, and bassist Mike Bordelon. ~



A soulful little record from Art Blakey – and very different than his Blue Note sessions! The album's got a tight soul jazz groove – shorter numbers, fuller backings, and an overall sound that's almost more like Cadet Records at the time. Backings are handled by Melba Liston or Tom McIntosh, and tracks are shorter than usual – but still filled with firey work by from the players – who include Freddie Hubbard and Chuck Mangione on trumpet, Tom McIntosh and Garnett Brown on trombone, Gary Bartz on alto, Frank Mitchell on tenor, Grant Green on guitar, John Hicks on piano, and Malcolm Bass on organ. A number of tracks have a conga drum groove – very unusual for the average Blakey album – and the tracks are a mix of soul jazz originals and pop covers, like "Secret Agent Man", "Sakeena", "Slowly But Surely", "Monday, Monday", and "Hold On, I'm Coming". ~ Dusty Groove.


One of Ahmad Jamal's best early albums for Argo – a brilliant set of live recordings, done at the Spotlite Club in Washington DC in 1958 – and with a fluid vibe that's simply incredible – one of the best true statements of Jamal's genius from the early years! The trio is incredible on the set – opening up even more than on other classics from the time – and really letting the bass work of Israel Crosby and the mellow drums of Vernell Fournier get equal time with Jamal's incredible lines on piano – as the stretch out and do things that jazz pianists would hardly have been able to conceive a few years before. The whole thing's fantastic – and the double-length set is really unusual for the time, but a great way to encompass all the wonderful energy of the performance. Titles include "Aki & Ukthay", "Our Delight", "Tater Pie", "Seleritus", "This Can't Be Love", "Ole Devil Moon", "Ivy", and "Let's Fall In Love". ~ Dusty Groove


Fast drums, fast piano, and a groove that's mighty darn nice – that wonderful sound we're really digging from Fox Capture Plan – a Japanese trio who mix clubjazz modes with almost a minimalist sense of progression! The tunes have loads of leaping piano lines from Ryo Kishimoto – a player who manages to bring lyrical elements to his music, even when adhering tightly to the direction of the piano and bass in the trio – an approach that almost takes us back to the sublime Japanese work from Spiritual Vibes many years back. Titles include "Rising", "Far Out", "Pictures", "Teardrop", and "Attack On Fox". ~ Dusty Groove


Winston's latest album ("The Two Tones") will be released on December 17th.  Apple wrote and sings all of the songs on "The Two Tones." He recruited musicians and a producer (Mark Thies) for this project with the intention of making an authentic ska/reggae album, but with pop and rock influences and production values. A three-piece horn section made up of some of the KC areas finest jazz players provides added interest.  This approach should create interest among both ska and reggae purists and fans of pop and rock music. The lyrics are intelligent and thought-provoking. The beats are infectious.

The album features nine new songs written by Winston and reggae and ska versions of six more songs from Winston’s catalog, including a reggae version of “Shoot ‘em Up, Cowboy” (now re-titled simply “Shoot ‘em Up”). The original (rock) version of that song led to a recording contract with Monument Records for Winston (then recording as “Gary Apple”). It was getting good air-play and heading up Record World’s singles chart in September of 1978 when Monument’s distribution deal with Phonogram expired and was not renewed. Despite the fact that it was no longer being promoted, the song spent nine weeks on the singles chart in Record World. Now (minus the “Cowboy”) “Shoot ’em Up” will get a second chance.

As a singer-songwriter, Winston has always recorded using session musicians, but in the early stages of this project it became apparent that a band was being born. Several of the musicians expressed an interest in doing some gigs as a group and “Winston Apple and the Two Tones” made their debut as a live act at recordBar in Kansas City in February of 2013 in the middle of the recording project. The album title was changed to “The Two Tones” to reflect the fact that it was very much a group effort.

"Winston Apple and the Two Tones" will be touring extensively in 2014 to promote the album and to "let the good times roll" for audiences everywhere.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


This is the second outing from S.F. bay area's drummer Joe DeRose and his electric fusion formation Amici. Comprised of some of the leading improvisers Northern California has to offer each member brings his signature interpretation of the jazz and world idiom blending a sound that is truly a comfort to the soul.

Blend vibrant Jazz Fusion, ECM harmonies, and soulful melodies and you get Joe De Rose and Amici. A multi-cultural, energetic, and completely unique ensemble that will leave every listener truly amazed. Comprised of some of the leading improvisers Northern California has to offer (Joe DeRose – drums, Hristo Vitchev – guitar, Dann Zinn – sax, Murray Low – keys, and Dan Robbins – bass), each member brings his signature interpretation of the jazz and world idiom blending a sound that is truly a comfort to the soul.

Joe DeRose is a San Jose native Joe DeRose is an alumnus of the Alum Rock Jazz Program and Stanford Jazz Workshop. In 1994, DeRose followed his love for jazz and moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. He graduated in 1998 and began touring with R&B diva Toni Lynn Washington. He also played on jazz singer Robin McKell’s debut CD, Never Let Me Go. Some years later DeRose returned to San Jose brimming with experience and enthusiasm. It was about this time he became friends with jazz legend Louie Bellson. DeRose says, “Louie was like a second father to me. He taught me so much about music, friendship and life. It was a true blessing to have Louie in my life.”

"We've heard from drummer Joe DeRose before as a member of Bulgarian-American guitarist Hristo Vitchev's excellent Bay Area ensemble. On his first album as leader, DeRose utilizes basically the same group, while augmenting the core with saxophonist Dann Zinn. And as to be expected from a drummer - this group takes things in a slightly more combustible direction than the slightly more atmospheric sounds in Vitchev's writing and moves into more of an uptempo fusion direction that is quite exciting. On the opening "Nick's Legacy," (written for his father) everyone gets into the action with outstanding solos from stellar bassist Dan Robbins, Grammy-nominated pianist Weber Iago, Zinn and Vitchev on a fiery electric guitar over explosive drumming by DeRose. DeRose explains that "Amici" means friends in Italian, and many of the songs are dedicated to people (like Louie Bellson on "Drum Angel") who helped him along the way. He also thanks his fellow musicians for their input and it is clear that these musicians truly enjoy working with each other. 

Most of the songs were cowritten with Vitchev and his keen ear for warm harmonization is a solid presence. Saxophonist Zinn is also a welcome addition - often taking the lead on the themes - freeing Vitchev to and bringing the music into new dimensions sonically. Songs like "The Skies Below," "Bros At Play" and "Ancient Prayer" navigate the area between the melodic and the rhythmic with abandon. There is an urgent undercurrent of energy barely restrained from breaking out at any time and this tension results is some enthralling music. Even the beautiful "Tears from Tokyo" refuses to sink into slumber, while the catchy title track is the "hit" and offers great solos, especially from Robbins. The Iago-cowritten "Miracles" ends this wonderful recording - finally succumbing to take a breath and chill out a bit." - Brad Walseth (

Listening to his works will bring us to a conclusion: Joe DeRose is truly a wonderful talent. The drum legend, Louie Bellson, also referred Joe as “a wonderful talent and a wonderful friend.” There’s a meaningful story in every beat he let out from his stick work. In his hand, drum is not only an instrument to guard a song and a base of rhythm but also as the beat which could speak louder and clearer about many things. Drum becomes alive with him. Joe DeRose was born in San Jose, California. He started finding his passion on drums at the tender age of 5, taught by his elder brother. He became active in school bands including Alum Rock Jazz Band in 1988 soon after. When he reached 14 years old, he began his professional career by series of appearance along the San Fransisco Bay Area. He got the chance to learn from some great drummers such as Louie Bellson, Joe Porcaro, Freddie Grubber, Bryant Mills, John Ramsay, Wally Schnalle, Karl Carter, Lewis Nash, Kenwood Denard, Mike Mangini and many more. He moved to Boston in 1994 and studied at the famous Berklee College of Music. It was a dream coming true for him to attend this prestigious college. He graduated 4 years ago and got a Bachelor in Performance by Magna Cum Laude. Even while he was in Boston he couldn’t miss the chance to grace the stage. He went on tour with RnB and Blues diva, Toni Lynn Washington.

In 2006 he got the honor to perform his debut drum clinic for San Jose Pro Drum, as the opening for Tommy Aldridge. Being back to his hometown, San Jose, was a good decision. In October 2008 he went on a Japanese tour with jazz singer Yoshiko Oda and also Hristo Vitchev Quartet. They performed around Japan including a shot at Okazaki Jazz Festival. Recently he has finished two European tours with Kofy Brown and a northern California tour with Italian singer Pasquale Esposito,also a performance at the AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival. Having learned from many iconic drummers, the Berklee period and around the world experience has raised his skill level to the max relatively fast. And now he continued his journey in different role, as the band leader for the very first time for his own band, Joe DeRose and Amici. We can clearly see how proud Joe is to have his dearest friends in his band. Joe explains the using of “Amici” is meant to describe a band, where great friends, great minds and great souls come together to make great music. As they have known each other well both on and off stage, it absolutely makes them easier to connect in perfect chemistry. When you listen to “Sounds for the Soul”, his first debut album as the band leader, you will certainly feel it.

Most of the songs were mostly composed by Joe DeRose and Hristo Vitchev. “Sounds for the Soul” shows how drum can appear in the front, as the main meal and not just the side dish. What interesting is, even with the drums on spot, the compositions still give enough room for everyone to go solo bringing their explorations and improvisations. 9 songs contained in the album shows the stylishly vibrant set of fusions with the spirit of ECM style of harmonies and soulful melodies. Most of the songs mean very personal to Joe as he tributes them to some of the most important people in his life, his heroes who have contributed a lot to make him as who he is today. Technically speaking, the compositions were made stylishly with enough room for everyone to show their tasteful skill freely. In this album, you will hear the guitar maestro Hristo Vitchev showing his rocking side through some seriously cool riffs besides being the showcase of Joe’s accent in stunning stick work. Weber Iago once again shows that the name “Amazonian” given to him by his friends refers to the unique hand-movements wildly; dancing on the piano is not for nothing. Again he shows his ability to play fast, explorative and wild, just like Weber we used to love. Dan Robbins grooves with his bass on the low end, and Dan Zinn’s blows on his sax giving melodic and soulful sounds in between Coltrane’s approach and smooth jazz patterns. It’s a wonderful combination, it’s magical ingredients. 

They create series of sounds to splash our soul with. “Nick’s Legacy” opens up the album wonderfully. This is a song dedicated to Joe’s father, Nicholas DeRose, whom Joe feels blessed to have. “He touched my life and so many others with his love, warm heart and passion for life.” says Joe. “He left so many legacies with us: family values, great food, antipastos, music, laugh.. but the most important one to me is the love he left in people’s heart.” Joe continues. “The composition carries on every detail” said Joe. It has warm melody projecting a thankful heart of a son to his father. This song also delivers the combination of skills among friends in strong chemistry. Joe’s cool drum beating and splashing cymbals fills up the song including a part where Hristo rocks really did well with his electric guitar just like the way a rocker does. The landscapic song follows, “The Skies Below”. It’s a composition enabling you to fly to the high altitude and watch the skies below. Zinn’s saxophone and Vitchev’s roaring guitar act like the wings to bring you fly in the multi-colored sky. “Tal’s Dream” is next. It’s a composition dedicated to Talmadge Hicks, an amazing musician and composer that was very important in Joe’s life. 

While he was the mentor and great friend, as well as introducing jazz to Joe at an early age, it was the soulful melodies he sang to Joe when he grew up that became the source of inspiration for making this composition together with Hristo. Within the composition you could feel that Joe wants to tell many things in colorful lines about his feeling towards Tal. The next track “Bros at Play” is dedicated to his brothers, Gino, Nick and his nephews, Gino Jr and Michael. The teasing and playful drum beats are followed by the same way by the rest of the band. The song should also mean to the brothers who play with him in the band, as you will sense the harmonious interaction between them, the word Joe says in the beginning of the song tells it all: “Okay bro, let’s play.”

The 9 minutes track “Ancient Prayer” comes right after. This is a nice melodious piece that will completely satisfy you especially with the long enough duration. “Drum Angel” is another exceptional composition tributing to Louie Bellson, another mentor to Joe’s life. Louie is not only his musical inspiration but also the one who taught him how to conduct himself as a human being. It’s obvious that musical pattern for this song is beautiful; you will love every single line of it. A nice composition again comes from “Tears from Tokyo”, a melancholic song referring to the time when he missed his mom, Mary DeRose, the most while he was unable to reach her from Tokyo. The melody appeared in Joe’s head, and then Hristo went on harmonizing it. That was the beginning of their collaboration that carries on until now. Then comes the title track, “Sounds for the Soul.” served in groovy and funky rhythm, this song carries on a lot of soulful feeling inside, transferring them from soul to soul. Simply put, it’s the composition that sends the sound to reach our soul elegantly. 

The last track speaks about “Miracles”. Joe believes that if every person on the planet helped one another on a daily basis, if we all were kind to one another and took care of one another, that would be the sign of a wonderful world, and that’s the time when miracle can happen through us. With that in mind, this composition made together with Weber Iago sounds very inspiring and optimist. As this is the last song, everyone join hands giving up their last touch of togetherness for this album. And for us, that is also a miracle indeed. When you want to have a showcase of elegant drum beating in excellent collaboration with fully connected team work, when you want to see how chemistry among real friends can make a difference, when you want to feel the creativity of composition and playing by real talented group, this is the album you should have. It’s a brilliant free-for-all fusion served in many textures. 

You get the satisfaction for the love of jazz from many eras, the Coltrane’s, the ECM’s, the smooth jazz heyday to the present day’s jazz, also a visit to the roaring-rocking style as well. Joe DeRose and Amici’s “Sounds for the Soul” is a soul transferring album, starting from the circle of friends in the band to the soul of us as the listeners. It’s a breathtaking album brilliantly made that marks the first step of Joe DeRose in his new role as a leader. Through this album we can clearly see there will be more creative ideas come from this wonderful talent in the future. Are you ready to fill up your soul? You can always have it from this.

Hristo Vitchev is a Bulgarian Impressionistic chamber-jazz guitarist/composer Hristo Vitchev is referred by the international media as one of the newest and most innovative voices in modern jazz guitar. Hristo's music has been captivating audiences all across the globe an at only age 33 he has already released 6 critically acclaimed albums as a leader plus two more releases as a co-leader with Joe DeRose and Amici.

Dann Zinn is a world class musician, known for his brilliant saxophone and flute playing, stunning compositions, and contribution to music education in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. Hailed as a “guru,” Zinn finds beauty in making music comes from constant reinventing and searching. Zinn’s work has developed into a unique style. Having a sound of his own is tantamount to his creativity. By blending diverse influences, Zinn has made his music accessible, melodic, textured, and emotional in both intense and beautiful ways.

Dan Robbins is one of the most in demand and virtuosic bass players in the Western part of the continent, Dan Robbins’s completely unique approach and voice on the instrument have led him to performances and recordings with international jazz stars Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Danilo Perez, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Benny Green, Giovanni Hidalgo, Peter Martin, Cedar Walton and many more.

Murray Low is a veteran pianist of the Bay Area jazz scene and has been playing, composing, arranging, recording and teaching professionally for over thirty years. His fluency in all forms of jazz and its blending with other idioms has led to a multi-faceted career spanning a wide variety of musical contexts. Murray is perhaps best known for his contributions to Latin Jazz, Salsa and Afro-Cuban musical landscape.


Coming out on March 18, 2014 is The Puppeteers, the debut CD by the group of the same name featuring drummer Jaime Affoumado, pianist Arturo O'Farrill, bassist Alex Blake and vibraphonist Bill Ware. Spawned at the much-missed Brooklyn club Puppet's Jazz, the band assimilates the diverse influences that each band member  brings to the table - the heady fragrance of hard bop, Latin, Afro-Caribbean and funk.

Puppet's Jazz, the much-missed Brooklyn club, may have completed its six-year existence in May of 2011, but its afterlife has spawned both a substantial jazz quartet and a promising new record label. The Puppeteers reunites drummer and club founder Jaime Affoumado, pianist Arturo O'Farrill, bassist Alex Blake and vibraphonist Bill Ware, respected veteran musicians who logged in more hours together than they can remember on the compact bandstand of the former club. Now, officially known as the Puppeteers, the foursome have pooled their instrumental and compositional talents for a project that brims with the cohesion that sprouts from familiarity yet also bursts with the excitement of renewed commitment. The band's self titled debut will be released on March 18, 2014.

The Puppeteers, as author Howard Mandel aptly states in his liner notes, deal in "fresh-jazz," music that: "sounds like it just happened - not as "look-at-the-past" but as "here's what-we-play-now." It's a group sound that assimilates the diverse influences that each of the band members willingly brings to the table; if the heady fragrance of hard bop, Latin, Afro-Caribbean and funk idioms can be detected, then the Puppeteers have done their job. The formative music that made each of these players who they are is honored before it is transformed into the new. Make no mistake; although the instrumentation of the two ensembles may be similar, this is not your father's Modern Jazz Quartet. Drawing nourishment from the roots, yet grounding their sound firmly in the present, is the credo of The Puppeteers.

Individually, each member of the Puppeteers has a rich musical history. Bill Ware, an original member of the influential Downtown band, The Jazz Passengers also co-founded The Groove Collective and toured with Steely Dan for the Alive in America tour, 1993-1995. Alex Blake, who mans both acoustic and electric bass on the album, has long been associated with pianist Randy Weston, and has worked with such diverse artists as The Manhattan Transfer, Sun Ra, and the late saxophone master Stan Getz. Arturo O'Farrill, the leader of the acclaimed Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, has also collaborated with a wide swath of important figures including Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis Carla Bley and Harry Belafonte. Jaime Affoumado has played with Jaco Pastorious, Arthur Blythe, and The Jazz Passengers, and, as the house drummer for Puppet's Jazz, provided the groove for innumerable players who graced the club's potent stage.

Each member of the cooperative contributes compositions, which range from percolating romps (Affoumado's "Dreams of Dad," O'Farrill's "To Whom," and Ware's "Lonely Days Are Gone," which borrows its chord progression from "The Letter," the 1968 Box Top's hit.) to easy grooving tunes (Blake's "Peaceful Moments"). The only non-original tune, "Not Now Right Now," introduced to the project by O'Farrill, is from the pen of trombonist Papo Vazquez, a former member of O'Farrill's Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. "Having every band member contribute tunes is important," says Affoumado, "We are separate entities coming together. There's a magic that comes from feeding off each other's creativity -- I call it a calm shark fest."

The album is being released on Puppet's Records, a new label that also takes its name from the fondly remembered club. The brainchild of Affoumado (the driving force behind both Brooklyn incarnations of the club) and attorney Dana Hall (manager of Bill Ware and the Jazz Passengers), Puppet's Records intends to create a resource for the work of the four featured players, and then expand to include up-and-coming artists from the worlds of new jazz, funk, and hip hop. "We've called it "Puppet's Records" not "Puppet's Jazz Records," states Affoumado, "We want to be open to all kinds of great music."

Although Affoumado acknowledges that the energy of the quartet is an outgrowth of the vitality that sprang from the club, he dismisses any talk of a fabled "Brooklyn Vibe." For him, "a vibe is brought to a musical situation by a person - not a place." However the magic arose, let's be thankful that the inspired atmosphere of a treasured club continues to live on in a fresh and vibrant band and an auspicious record label.


Jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton has earned a Grammy nomination for her latest release, homage to revered pop singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, "After Blue." Including her nine CDs over 20 years with Tierney Sutton Band, this projects Tierney as an acclaimed six-time Grammy-nominated artist. With After Blue, her most daring and revealing project to date, Sutton puts her own unique stamp on familiar Mitchell tunes going back to 1969’s “Both Sides Now” and 1970’s “Big Yellow Taxi” and including more recent numbers like 1979’s “The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines” and 1982’s jivey “Be Cool,” along with Joni’s haunting take on the standard “Don’t Go to Strangers” from her 2000 orchestral album, Both Sides Now. “That album with orchestral arrangements by Vince Mendoza was my doorway into ‘Joni-land,’" Sutton writes in the liner notes to After Blue. “It is the vocal album that I have listened to more than any other in the years since its release. I consider it to be on par with Sinatra’s Wee Small Hours and Billie Holiday’s Lady in Satin.”

Having come up as a Jazz singer with an intimate knowledge of the Great American Songbook, Sutton wasn’t all that familiar with Mitchell’s work prior to hearing Both Sides Now in 2000. But that tour de force recording sparked her interest and sent her on a journey of investigating Mitchell’s earlier masterworks like Blue, Ladies of the Canyon and Court and Spark. But it would be years before she started performing any of that material in concerts. “I knew that Mitchell’s music was not something I could glance at and then perform,” she writes in the liner notes. “I had to live with it---for years—like her fans who had absorbed the music in their youth. I wanted to ‘marinate’ in Joni Mitchell.” Eventually, Sutton incorporated “Big Yellow Taxi” into her sets with her working band (pianist Christian Jacob, bassists Trey Henry and Kevin Axt, drummer Ray Brinker) and by 2011 she was performing “All I Want” and “Little Green” on tour with the Turtle Island Quartet.

When the time seemed right to do her own Joni Mitchell tribute recording, Sutton’s regular pianist Jacob was immersed in his own solo project and her longtime drummer Brinker had just gotten married and was preparing for life as a first-time father. So she recruited pianist-organist Larry Goldings, whose longstanding tenure with James Taylor gave him a greater understanding of pop forms and the decidedly non-jazzy accompaniment required of a pop gig. Next she recruited friend and former Weather Report drummer Peter Erskine, who had actually played on “The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines” from Mitchell’s 1979 Mingus album. Cellist and Turtle Island Quartet founder Mark Summer came on board for a frisky duet with Sutton on “All I Want” and a stark, stirring duet rendition of “Both Sides Now,” while the full TIQ backed Tierney on intricate arrangements of “Blue” and the delicate “Little Green.” Parisian guitar master Serge Merlaud turned in a beautiful straight ahead reading of the melancholy jazz standard “Don’t Go To Strangers,” which also features Tierney Sutton Band bassist Kevin Axt chording, a la Freddie Green, on acoustic bass guitar. Merlaud also played nylon string acoustic guitar in an intimate, classically influenced duet with Sutton on “Answer Me, My Love,” which Mitchell performed on 2000’s Both Sides Now.

Elsewhere on After Blue, Goldings supplies the Hammond B-3 bass lines and bluesy-churchy organ work on “The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines” and “Be Cool,” then switches gears for wonderfully evocative piano-voice duet readings of “Court and Spark” and “Woodstock,” along with a moving medley of “April in Paris” that morphs back and forth into Joni’s “A Free Man in Paris.” “What I love about Larry is that he is all about the sound and the beauty of the simple line,” says Sutton. “And I’m sure that comes from all of his years with James Taylor. All the albums I’ve done up until now have been about these really amazing, crazy arrangements with all this stuff going on with reharmonization and all the rest of it. But I really wanted to be simple on this project. Of course, I’m a Jazz singer so there has to be some sensibility with a couple of tensions in there. And Larry is the perfect balance of those things. He’s really special and I feel lucky to have him on this session.”

Ralph Humphrey, the longtime in-demand West Coast studio drummer and one-time member of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, adds a deft touch with brushes on an inventive 5/4 drums-voice duet rendition of “Big Yellow Taxi.” Flute legend Hubert Laws appears on “The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines”” and “Be Cool,” the latter also featuring the great Al Jarreau in a soulful and scintillating vocal duet with Tierney. Says Sutton on how she came to recruit fellow Milwaukeean Jarreau for this tribute project: “I was listening to Travelogue, the other Vince Mendoza record with Joni Mitchell, and all of a sudden ‘Be Cool’ comes on. And I remember I was walking around my house, doing stuff while listening to this record, and I did like a double take in my kitchen and said to myself, ‘This sounds like an Al Jarreau tune, it doesn’t sound like a Joni Mitchell tune.’ And I decided that was it. That was the tune for him to sing on this album. I suggested it to his manager and they ran it by him and the next thing I knew, we were in the studio together. It was really propitious…a very fun, lucky thing.”

Sutton’s last musical tribute was her 2001 Bill Evans homage, Blue in Green. With After Blue, she pays tribute to an artist whom she holds in equal esteem. “Joni’s phrasing is so signature and influential, and as a lyricist and as a poet she stands alone. She has deep Jazz credentials and there is a legitimate respect that Jazz musicians and jazz lyricists have for her.

This album means many things to me,” Sutton writes in the liner notes to After Blue. “It comes after my 30 years of concentrating on the ‘Blue In Green’ tones of Miles and Bill Evans and Coltrane and Sinatra. And after spending time with the many hues of Joni’s own repertoire, I hope this record represents a coming together of those hues, those colors of music. Thank you Joni Mitchell for your inspiration, your excellence. All I can hope for here is to scratch the surface of your deep legacy…to paint a little multi-colored portrait inspired by you.”


2009 Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee, R&B legend and Grammy-nominated musician Bobby Womack will be ending 2013 with three nights of live performances at Manhattan’s City Winery. Tickets for the concerts are available on

Bobby has played a string of international dates throughout this year, beginning in May and including a headlining performance at Glastonbury in June. Bobby also played in Australia, Japan, South America and Sweden. Womack is touring in support of his 2012 album release, “The Bravest Man in the Universe”, which was co-produced by Richard Russell, owner of XL Recordings and Damon Albarn, singer-songwriter known for his success with Blur and Gorillaz. “I hope people hear Bobby, get excited by Bobby, realize how great he is and check out his old records. A lot more people should be aware of him…” Russell said.

Bobby Womack’s career spans over 50 years in the music industry and 27 studio albums. “The Bravest Man in the Universe” is Womack’s first release of original material in 18 years, including the single “Love is Gonna Lift You Up”. Esquire Magazine interviewed Bobby in November, and he was recently in studio with American rap artist, Rick Ross, to record a yet-unreleased song.

The final three shows of the year will be in New York, New York at City Winery. The venue combines live music and entertainment with Manhattan’s only winery. Bobby Womack is playing December 20th, 21st, and 22nd. VIP Meet & Greet Packages are available before all three shows. Tickets for the concerts, as well as, tickets for the VIP Meet & Greet are available on

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


When Cécile McLorin Salvant arrived at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC to compete in the finals of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, she was not only the youngest finalist, but also a mystery woman with the most unusual background of any of the participants. When she walked away with first place in the jazz world’s most prestigious contest, the buzz began almost immediately. If anything, it has intensified in the months leading up to the launch of her Mack Avenue Records debut, WomanChild.

“She has poise, elegance, soul, humor, sensuality, power, virtuosity, range, insight, intelligence, depth and grace,” Wynton Marsalis asserts. “I’ve never heard a singer of her generation who has such a command of styles,” remarks pianist Aaron Diehl. “She radiates authority,” critic Ben Ratliff wrote in The New York Times in response to one of her post-competition performances, and a few weeks later his colleague Stephen Holden announced that “Ms. McLorin Salvant has it all.... If anyone can extend the lineage of the Big Three—Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald—it is this 23-year-old virtuoso.”

Upcoming Cécile McLorin Salvant U.S. Performances:

* Dec. 12 - 14, 2013 / Jazz at Lincoln Center - Rose Hall / New York, NY
* Dec. 15, 2013 / Staller Center for the Arts / Stony Brook, NY
* Dec. 17, 2013 / Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall / Sarasota, FL
* Dec. 18, 2013 / The Philharmonic Center for the Arts - Hayes Hall / Naples, FL
* Dec. 19, 2013 / Kravis Center for the Performing Arts / West Palm Beach, FL
* Dec. 20, 2013 / The Adrienne Arsht Center Knight Concert Hall / Miami, FL
Jan. 9, 2014 / Lycée Français de New York / New York, NY
Feb. 8, 2014 / Temple Theater (w/ Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra) / Sanford, NC
Feb. 13, 2014 / SFJAZZ Center, Miner Hall / San Francisco, CA
Feb. 14, 2014 / Bing Concert Hall / Stanford, CA
Feb. 15, 2014 / Kuumbwa Jazz Center / Santa Cruz, CA
Feb. 17, 2014 / Catalina's Bar and Grill / Los Angeles, CA
Feb. 18 & 19, 2014 / Jazz Alley / Seattle, WA
Feb. 21, 2014 / Jaqua Concert Hall / Eugene, OR
Feb. 22, 2014 / Portland Jazz Festival / Portland, OR
Feb. 28 - March 1, 2014 / Jazz at Lincoln Center, Rose Hall / New York, NY
March 7, 2014 / Jazz Kitchen / Indianapolis, IN
March 8, 2014 / Space / Evanston, IL
March 9, 2014 / Dakota Jazz Club / Minneapolis, MN
March 27, 2014 / Charles H. Morris Center / Savannah, GA
March 28, 2014 / YMCA Boulton Center / Bay Shore, NY
April 4, 2014 / Montpelier Arts Center / Laurel, MD
April 6, 2014 / Pollock Center for the Performing Arts / Camp Hill, PA
April 5, 2014 / Jazz for Juvenile Diabetes / West Hartford, CT
April 12, 2014 / Colony Theater / Miami Beach, FL
April 26, 2014 / Albert-Knox Art Gallery / Buffalo, NY
* - Featured Vocalist on the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Holiday Tour

SANTANA Joined By Musical Superstars ChocQuibTown, Lila Downs, Gloria Estefan, Juanes, Miguel, Fher Olvera Of Mana, Nina Pastori, Samuel Rosa Of Skank, Romeo Santos, Soledad And Diego Torres Saturday Night In Guadalajara, Mexico At This Once-In-A-Lifetime Concert Event

Fresh off of receiving his Kennedy Center Honors Award last week, Carlos Santana took the stage with his band Santana this past Saturday, December 14th for a once-in-a-lifetime concert event performing to a sold out house at Arena VFG in Guadalajara, Mexico. Santana was joined by some of Latin music's biggest and brightest stars including ChocQuibTown, Lila Downs, Gloria Estefan, Juanes, Miguel, Fher Olvera of Mana, Nina Pastori, Samuel Rosa of Skank, Romeo Santos, Soledad and Diego Torres, performing songs from his forthcoming studio album Corazon, to be released in spring 2014. The live concert will be released on DVD next year and will premiere on HBO Latino and HBO Latin America in the spring of 2014.

The concert also featured some of Santana's greatest hits including a rendition of "Corazon Espinado" featuring Fher Olvera of Mana and Cindy Blackman Santana on drums, "Maria, Maria" featuring Miguel, "Oye Como Va," "Samba Pa Ti" and many others.  One of the many highlights of the night was the performance of the new single "La Flaca" where Santana was joined by Juanes on stage and a performance of "Saideira," the Portuguese language single, featuring Samuel Rosa of Skank. Other highlights included Gloria Estefan singing "Besos De Lejos," Romeo Santos on "Margarita," Miguel on "Indy Jones," "Iron Lion Zion" with Elan Atias and ChoQuibTown, and "Una Noche A Napoli" with Lila Downs, Nina Pastori, and Soledad.

Said Carlos Santana of the event: "It was a profound honor to share this evening with all my brothers and sisters who have come together to share their hearts' music with us. It was especially moving for me to perform this show in Guadalajara, so close to where I was born and first experienced the joys of this life. I am thankful to everyone, all the artists, bands, crew, managers, SONY, Mexico Tourism Board, HBO and the staff at Arena VFG for making this one of the most memorable concerts in my lifetime. "

twitter - @SantanaCarlos

Music links below for brand new songs featured on Santana's forthcoming album Corazon:
"La Flaca" featuring Juanes link: or visit
"Saideira" featuring Samuel Rosa link or visit


Tenor saxophonist, composer, and arranger Russ Nolan continues his exploration of Latin rhythms on his fourth CD Relentless, which will be released by his Rhinoceruss Music label on January 21. Picking up where last year's critically acclaimed Tell Me left off, Relentless features the contributions of Grammy-nominated Cuban pianist Manuel Valera as well as Tell Me's rhythm section of Michael O'Brien on bass and drummer Brian Fishler. 

Nolan's concern with rhythm began coming into clear focus in the late 1980s, when he was living in Chicago. Then-teenage saxophonist Chris Potter came through town with Red Rodney's band and gave Nolan the first of what would become many lessons. "He could have talked to me about scales and harmony and all this other stuff," Nolan recalls, "but he really impressed upon me that the horn player has to have the same mastery of time as the rhythm section and can't rely on them to carry him along." 

Having taken up salsa dancing nearly seven years ago has further served to strengthen Nolan's rhythmic sensibility. "Instead of just having the music in my head, it's also in my body," he explains. "It's something that's natural for drummers because they play such a physical instrument, but for somebody who just moves their fingers and occasionally their head, as a horn player I feel the music differently than I used to."

Afro-Cuban grooves as well as samba and Bomba beats infuse Nolan's originals, including "Cassa Cerrado," one of a number of tunes on the album that the saxophonist wrote during a seven-month engagement at a midtown Manhattan hotel as the leader of an organ trio that included drummer Fishler, and the samba "It Ain't Child's Play," one of three tunes featuring percussionist Yasuyo Kimura. Also included on Relentless are Nolan's readings of the Stephen Sondheim ballad "Not While I'm Around" (from Sweeney Todd) and Duke Ellington's "Solitude."

Russ NolanRuss Nolan, 45, born in Waukegan, Illinois, and raised in nearby Gurnee. He took up clarinet at age 10 and switched to saxophonist a couple years later because, he says, "I was attracted to the sound and the power that I wasn't finding on clarinet." Although he played in his high school marching and jazz bands, playing basketball and baseball were his primary passions and he dreamed of one day becoming a professional athlete.

He eventually turned his focus back to music and spent three and a half years at the University of North Texas, studying saxophone and jazz arranging and earning a B.A. in jazz performance. During a summer vacation from North Texas, he studied with legendary Chicago tenor saxophonist Joe Daley. Nolan moved to the city after graduation and studied with local saxophonist Rich Corpolongo and with visiting New Yorkers Chris Potter, Dave Liebman, and Kenny Werner. In 2000, pianist Werner convinced Nolan to move to New York City -- and would play on the saxophonist's 2008 CD With You in Mind (Nolan's debut recording was 2004's Two Colors).

A 10-year resident of Sunnyside, Queens, Nolan has performed with his own group at Smalls Jazz Club and Jazz at the Kitano, both in New York City, and in Canada, Connecticut, Mississippi, New Orleans, Chicago, and Washington, DC. He frequently conducts workshops and clinics while on tour. He's a member of an all-star band that has been playing for jazz services at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on Manhattan's Upper West Side once a month for the past decade and since March 2013 has been playing for dancers with his own salsa quintet.

Russ Nolan will celebrate the release of Relentless with upcoming shows in Chicago and New York. On Tuesday 1/21 he plays two sets at the Jazz Showcase, Chicago, with Jim Trompeter, piano; Larry Gray, bass; and Jon Deitemyer, drums. He brings the band from his new CD (Manuel Valera, Michael O'Brien, Brian Fishler) to the Kitano Hotel in New York on Friday 3/21. 


South African singer-songwriter-guitarist Jonathan Butler is as busy as jolly old St. Nick spreading holiday glee with his critically-acclaimed “Merry Christmas To You,” the two-time Grammy nominee’s first Christmas album. Along with mostly unplugged renditions of eight Christmas standards, Butler wrote two new songs and produced the intimate seasonal set of R&B, contemporary jazz, adult pop and gospel tunes decorated with colorful sounds of his homeland that is winning praise from the New York Times, DownBeat, Philadelphia Daily News, Virginian-Pilot, All Music, SoulTracks and many others.

A special live acoustic performance by Butler showcasing tracks from “Merry Christmas To You” debuted on SiriusXM last Sunday with repeated radio broadcasts through Christmas Eve. On Thanksgiving, Butler was interviewed and performed two cuts on PBS’s “Tavis Smiley,” which will air again on Christmas Eve. He has been touring the U.S. since Black Friday performing holiday music with Dave Koz, Oleta Adams and Keiko Matsui, a coast-to-coast Christmas concert tour concluding December 22 in San Francisco.

After the holiday campaign wraps, Butler will put the finishing touches on his next R&B-jazz album, tentatively titled “Living My Dream,” which is slotted for a late spring/early summer release.



A really wonderful collaboration between two very unlikely partners – and a great album that really stands out as some of the best work from both artists in the 60s! Count Basie's group gets hard and soulful on the record – and even a little funky on the best cuts – and Jackie Wilson is in a raw bluesy vocal style that recalls the best moments of his earlier Brunswick singles – a great edge that makes the whole Basie groove sound even more hard-hitting than ever. Benny Carter arranged, but the groove is more a hard-edged Count Basie mode mixed with Brunswick soul styles – and Jackie blows it out over the top on great versions of "Funky Broadway", "Ode To Billie Joe", "I Was Made To Love Her", "Even When You Cry", and "Respect". Also features a version of "For Your Precious Love" that was a bit of a hit for the pair! ~ Dusty Groove 


On the second day of Christmas, Peggy Duquesnel gave jazz lovers a two-CD set of holiday standards and future-classic originals. The pianist-vocalist named the “December Artist of the Month” by Sounds of Timeless Jazz delivered the generous 21-track gift in the form of “All I Ask For Christmas,” for which she served as producer and composer of the four new tunes recorded as both acoustic jazz instrumentals and pop vocal numbers. Songs from “All I Ask For Christmas” are filling up playlists across the country in a variety of radio formats including mainstream pop, adult contemporary, jazz and smooth jazz as Duquesnel is in the midst of playing a series of concert dates in Los Angeles and Orange County in support of the collection. A chorus of critics is caroling the virtues of the multifaceted recording - “A musician of stunning range and complexity, Peggy Duquesnel's achievements in music are a testament to her incredible devotion to the art of music.” – Sounds of Timeless Jazz; “Duquesnel brings together the impressive team of Brian Bromberg/b, Joe La Barbera/dr, Brian Kilgore/perc, Jay Leech/g, Rick Braun/fh and vocalists Bill Cantos and Emma Werderman for a fascinating mix of old and new.” – Jazz Weekly; “Peggy Duquesnel’s two disc holiday set is a pleasant, and sometimes swinging, collection of contemporary and traditional Christmas songs.” – Virginian-Pilot.


Mike Reed's been an important figure on the Chicago scene for many years now – but he's a musician who's also got some ties to Amsterdam, which has served as a second city in his life – hence the title of the set! The album pays tribute to some of the avant and improvising greats of the Dutch scene – a number of whom join Reed and his quartet on the album – including Ab Baars on tenor and clarinet, Michael Moore on alto and clarinet, Guus Janssen on piano, and Joost Buis on trombone. The core sounds are still from Reed's group – with Mike on drums, Time Haldeman on tenor, Greg Ward on alto, and Jason Roebke on drums – all working in that great People Places & Things mix of arrangement and improvisation that we love from other records. But the shift of material really makes for a nice change, too – and titles include "Train Ride", "Gammer", "Marshall's Birthday", "What Happened At Conway Hall 1938", "One Bar", "Basil Outside", and "Een Voor Von". ~ Dusty Groove



A great debut from an ultra-jazzy combo from the Finnish scene – one with the same sort of fire and crackle as the best groups on the Ricky Tick label! The tracks have a blend of 60s hardbop with some later soulful elements – and leader Kari Setala's got a mighty great touch on both piano and keyboards – the former used in these strongly modal ways at points, the latter with even more deft touches on some of the record's more 70s funk-styled selections! Other instrumentation features trumpet, tenor, bass, drums, and percussion – and almost all tracks are originals with a mighty fresh sound. Titles include "Backyard Boogie", "Dark Sun", "Seventh Sign", "Time's Up", "See The Light", and "Simba". ~ Dusty Groove.


A completely cool blend of bass clarinet and cello – served up in a range of sounds that go way beyond the usual stuff from both instruments! Yet given the lineup of talent, the sounds are no surprise – as the record features both Keefe Jackson and Christoph Erb on bass clarinets, and Fred Lonberg Holm and Tomeka Reid on cello – all players who are already known well for their ability to push boundaries! Familiar tones mix wonderfully with bits that are more percussive, or more textural at times – and the doubling of instruments often lets one player handle a more conventional path (although still pretty improvised and avant), while the other shifts into some very abstract territory. Titles include "Junkon", "Tubo", "Pafarko", and "Snuro". ~ Dusty Groove 


A moving tribute to the late, great Serge Gainsbourg – served up in a mix of film and songs from his famous partner Jane Birkin! The set features a DVD directed by Jane – a 40 minute documentary filled with private images of Serge, laid out in a very loving tribute – and it's packaged with 2CDs' worth of music recorded with Serge in duet, or with lots of Gainsbourg help as both a writer or producer. Includes a rare alternate take of "Jane B" from 1968, plus "Rocking Chair", "Nicotine", "Exercice En Forme De Z", "Yesterday Yes A Day", "Ex Fan Des Sixties", "Di Doo Dah", "La Decadanse", "Baby Lou", "Quoi", "Et Quand Bien Meme", "Raccrochez C'Est Une Horreur", and lots more – including live versions of "Un Chose Entre Autres" and "Ces Petitis Riens" – and the song "La Gadoue" done with Les Negresses Vertes. (DVD is NTSC coded, All Region.)  ~ Dusty Groove 


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