May 22, 2014
Sharon Marie Cline – This Is Where I Wanna Be – (self-produced)
From her base in Los Angeles, Sharon Marie Cline has been attracting local attention for a little while now, and with this, her third album, she must surely gain widespread approval. Sharon Marie vocal sound is soft, rich, and has a delightful huskiness. Her choice of material is broad, finding music that suits her style from American Song Book classics, Broadway shows, and elegant examples of the music of Brazil. From that lastsource comes Love Dance and Corcovado; there are show tunes Happy Talk and Why Can’t You Behave?; and classic pop songs You Don’t Know What Love Is and How Long Has This Been Going On?. There are also two originals by the session’s keyboard player Rich Eames and Sharon Marie, a latterday pop song, Laughter In The Rain, and a swing era staple, If Dreams Come True. Throughout, the singer’s relaxed rhythmic poise is in evidence, a quality ably underlined by her accompanists who also include bassist Luther Hughes and drummer Jon Stuart. A very attractive set by an exceptionally good singer.
Viper Mad Trio – Buddy Bolden’s Blues – (Sound of New Orleans SONO 1076)
When this CD turned up I had no idea what to expect, and I imagine that I am not alone in that view. It was therefore a great delight to find three young musicians of today taking on material that has been in the jazz repertoire for . . . well, forever. The album title, which is also the opening number, is named for a man who was around a century ago and other tracks hark back to early times: Just Squeeze Me, Bucket’s Got A Hole in It, I’m Confessin’ That I Love You, Viper Mad. But these three musicians are not mired in the past, offering I’m Beboppin’ Too as a nod to later days in jazz. But whatever the period of the music’s origins, they have their own distinctive take and tell their stories with verve, spontaneity and wit. So, who are the Viper Mad musicians? Well, they are guitarist/singer Molly Reeves, trumpeter/singer Ryan Robertson and bassist/background singer Kellen Garcia, all of whom appear to have first ventured onto the musical scene in California. Teaming up in New Orleans, they engagingly display their love for the traditional side of jazz but so fresh is their approach that at no time is there a even hint that this is music of a bygone age. Swinging, toe-tapping music that entertains from first note to last.
Kate Ross – People Make The World Go Round (Kim Court Productions KCPKR-01)
It will be no surprise if this very talented lady is little known far outside Columbus, Ohio, but hopefully this, her first album, will change all that. Kate Ross is not new to jazz singing; she has been exercising her undoubted skills for quite some time now, and that experience shows in the maturity of her approach to her material. She has also had to struggle through problems linked to ongoing health problems, and that, too, doubtless adds to that sense of maturity. Kate’s vocal sound is strong, her vibrato contained, and her rhythmic sense in keeping with the mood. Most of the songs Kate’s sings here are originals by either Art Bell or Dave Irwin. The latter is bassist on all tracks and others in Kate’s accompanying band include keyboard player Caleb Hutslar, guitarist Craig McMullen, and drummer Roger Myers. Kate’s interpretations of the songs is good although as always with previously unheard songs it is hard for the listener to judge against an established touchstone. Next time out, it will be good to hear Kate singing some jazz standards and maybe also a handful of classic pop songs. That said, Kate has set her own yardstick against which many other better known singers will have to measure their own work.
Schärli – Moreira – Feigenwinter – Castelo (TCB 32392)
This trio of highly talented instrumentalists bring to contemporary jazz stylistic elements that speak of other genres and musical cultures. Swiss-born Peter Schärli is a very well-established trumpeter, known worldwide for more than three decades for his melodic and always tasteful playing. Joining Peter in his new trio is pianist Hans Feigenwinter, also from Switzerland, who has been a musical collaborator for many years, recently in Peter’s sextet. The third member of the trio is Juarez Moreira, the internationally acclaimed guitarist and composer, who hails from Brazil. All eight tracks here are originals and all are melodically attractive; five are by Juarez, two by Hans and one by Peter and each offers ample space for the musicians to develop interesting and always engaging improvisations. Additionally, when not soloing the pianist and the guitarist provide sympathetic accompaniment to the others. Altogether, this is a very pleasing example of the best of contemporary European jazz attractively linked to musical thought from another continent. Do try to hear these artists and if you can’t do that live then this CD is your way to do it.
For more information on these artists go to their sites (linked above) or to Jazz Promo Services.