Jazz & Other CD Reviews – March 2016

March 17, 2016

Daphna Levy Late Night Journey (independent)

Building upon a very wide range of musical genres, Daphna Levy is now enjoying a growing reputation in American jazz circles. Born in Tel Aviv, she studied classical music, playing bass, then began singing with an army band, later studying jazz piano, before embarking upon a career as a jazz singer. daphnaOn this album, Daphna draws her repertoire from pop and jazz standards and the blues, including I Got Rhythm, I Remember You, Day Dream, In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down and I Hear Music, two of her own compositions, Jazzland and Late Night Journey, as well as Buck Ram’s Only You, Ken Morrison’s Jazz Band In Heaven and Luiz Bonfá’s Gentle Rain. Throughout, the arrangements are by Daphna and her ideas are very well served by her accompanying musicians. The core trio is Tony Pancella, piano, Assaf Hakimi, bass, and Gasper Bertoncelj, drums, with tenor saxophonist Lew Tabackin appearing on eight tracks, while Merton Cahm plays tenor saxophone on one. Daphna has a fresh-sounding voice, sparklingly clear diction, and sings rhythmically and is alert to the lyricists’ intentions. Lew Tabackin is in very good form and his contributions are a key factor.

Dane Vannatter Give Me Something Real (independent)

Singing a pleasing selection of songs, award-winning vocalist Dane Vannatter performs in a relaxed and invitingly intimate manner. The songs he sings come from many areas of popular music including the great standards and jazz. On this album, he sings Lover Come Back To Me, But Beautiful, Blame It On My Youth and East Of The Sun, as well as two songs from the Duke Ellington book: Just Squeeze Me, by Ellington and Les Gaines, and Something To Live For, by Billy Strayhorn.dane van Dane’s interpretations delve deeply into the heart of the lyrics and his vocal sound is warm and appealing. On hand here to accompany Dane are two groups, the instrumentalists in one are keyboard player Daniel May, guitarist Eric Susoeff and bassist Jon Evans, while the other consists of Steve Ahern, trumpet, Bruce Abbot, saxophone and flute, Fred Boyle, piano, Ron Ormsby, bass, and Barry Weisman, drums. Clearly at home with the repertoire and in this setting it is readily apparent that Dane is a cabaret singer to seek out. Those not fortunate to live close enough to the Pittsburgh-New York-Boston axis to hear him in person will find this album an enjoyable alternative.

Renato Braz Saudade (Living Music LMU 48)

Highly acclaimed by fellow musicians, singer/guitarist Renato Braz draws almost entirely upon his artistic heritage when selecting songs to sing. Hailing from Brazil’s Matto Grosso, and raised in the country’s northeastern region, where African traditions are maintained, he is principally based in São Paulo, where he has soaked in some of the Portuguese elements that distinguish Brazilian music. Renato’s repertoire includes songs by masters of the genres in which he works, among them Acqua Marcia (by Ivan Lins), O Cantador and Desenredo (Dori Caymmi and Paulo César Pinheiro), Eu Não Existo Sem Você (Antònio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes), and Na Ilha De Lia (Chico Buarque and Edu Lobo). Renato’s singing voice is intense and lyrical, and his guitar playing is ideally suited to the vocal lines. Joining him on the album are different groups (the recording spanned about five years) and the instrumentalists include keyboardist Lins, guitarist Caymmi, soprano saxophonist Paul Winter, and pianist Don Grusin (whose The Last Train is heard). Most of the ballads here are romantic in origin and Renato’s singing voice captures this well, although it should be said that an understanding of Portuguese will allow listeners to get more from the songs.

Gabriela Martina No White Shoes (independent)

Born in Switzerland and now attracting attention on America’s east coast, Gabriela Martina draws her style from various sources, including jazz, pop and the music of her homeland. All but two of the songs heard here are Gabriela’s own, words and music, and some of them might well be picked up by other singers, carrying as they do echoes of music of earlier eras.gab mart The non-originals are Wayne Shorter’s Witch Hunt and Dizzy Gillespie’s A Night In Tunisia. Gabriela’s voice is attractively bright and clear and she succeeds in drawing the listener in to the tales told. Accompanying the singer on this, her debut album, are her regular Boston-based quartet, all of whom play with flair: pianist Jiri Nedoma, guitarist Jussi Reijonen, bassist Kyle Miles and drummer Alex Bailey. An enjoyable first encounter with a singer worth following.

For more on these artists go to their sites, highlighted above, and to Jazz Promo Services (for Daphna Levy, Renato Braz) and Braithwaite & Katz (for Gabriela Martina).

Other informative and entertaining sites you might like:-

Jazz JournalVintage BandstandJazz FlashesJazz WaxFrank GriffithJohn Robert Brown

And the place to go for albums is Amazon.

Shadows of the Night

March 15, 2016

My latest novel, Shadows of the Night, is out now.

When two men are fed to a tiger at the local zoo, Detective Inspector Alice Cyrille and Detective Sergeant Jacob Weiss are plunged into a case with no clues, no suspects and yet more strange murders.

Outside work, Alice worries over her weight and her daughter, who is a new recruit to the police, and she unwisely forms a relationship with the tiger’s keeper thus putting her career at risk.

As for Jacob, cantankerous and bloody-minded, he doesn’t care who he upsets.SotN

And as the investigation leads into the murky underworlds of fraud and child abuse, Alice and Jacob encounter prejudice because she is black and he is a Jew and this is England in 1985 when many things were different.

And all around are those who want this case buried forever.

Shadows of the Night by Bruce Crowther

Paperback from Amazon and other on- and off-line bookshops. (ISBN-13:978-1523871346)

$12.50 (£8.70 and €11.25 approx.)

E-book from Kindle only. (ISBN-10:1523871342)


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