Jazz CD Reviews – February 2015

February 10, 2015

Dale Bruning Thanks For The Memory . . . Jim Hall (Jazz Link Enterprises JLECD 1214)

This wonderfully melodic double album was recorded live at Dazzle Jazz Club in Denver over two evenings in September 2014. These concerts brought together guitarists Dale Bruning and Bill Frisell, long ago teacher and pupil, to pay tribute to their mutual friend and fellow guitar master, Jim Hall, who died in December 2013. Drawing music from the Great American Songbook as well as some well-known pieces from Spain and Brazil and Jim Hall’s own pen, Dale and Bill are supremely lyrical and inventive as they expand upon lovely melodies. The other four members of Dale’s sextet on this occasion are Ron Miles (cornet), Mark Patterson (trombone), Mark Simon (bass) and Paul Romaine (drums). All these musicians play with admirable skill and ingenuity, their solos displaying empathy with the composers of the music, the arranger (Dale), and – not at all surprisingly for musicians of this caliber – with one another.TFTM CD Cover  2x2 R Sadowsky photo 2014 The repertoire presented here includes Cole Porter’s You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s My Funny Valentine andWith A Song in My Heart, Sonny Rollins’ St. Thomas, a gorgeous Body And Soul; a long and always engaging performance of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto; two very different versions of Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin’s Thanks For The Memory, one by the sextet, the other by only cornet and trombone backed by Dale’s guitar; and three Jim Hall originals, All Across The City, Careful and Big Blues. These two CDs are filled with musical delights that will bring pleasure to those who love music from the melodic mainstream of jazz and especially to jazz guitar enthusiasts who will aspire to and admire the skill of these masters of their art.

There is much more of Dale Bruning’s music reviewed elsewhere on this site; take a look at Jazz Guitar – Music & Words in October 2012 and Jazz CD Reviews in October 2013. More information, including booking details, can be seen at Jazz Link Enterprises, which is also where this CD can be bought. There is also an article on Dale Bruning in the August 2014 issue of Jazz Journal.


Judi Silvano My Dance (JSL Records 010)

Here, Judi Silvano sings a collection of songs that are all her own compositions, with her lyrics on four of them, on which she is accompanied by the always engaging pianist Michael Abene. On two previous CDs by Judi I have heard and reviewed, she worked with small groups (one of them including Michael) while on another she was in a duo with pianist Mal Waldron (Riding A Zephyr on Soul Note). Remarking on that album, I wrote: ‛The result is a rewarding, often intense, musical experience; one that will be especially valued by those with an ear for new departures in jazz that expand and enhance the repertoire.’ The last part of this remark stemmed from the fact that on that occasion the songs were all compositions by Waldron with lyrics by Judi.judi silvano This new set bears some resemblances because here Judy is again accompanied by only a pianist, while again the songs are all originals. The resulting set is an always intriguing demonstration of the mutual understanding that can develop between musicians when thinking alike and playing with close attention to one another’s musical needs. As Judi says, ‛It’s a duo project of deep collaborations and intimate moments interpreting my melodies and stories.’ Some of the songs have been in Judi’s and Michael’s repertoire for a while and are performed with new lyrics while others are new for this album. On several of the tracks, Judi presents scat vocals that suit the overall mood. All those who have a liking for contemporary jazz and improvised music will find much here that is to their liking.


Roger Davidson & Pablo Aslan Live At Caffè Vivaldi (Soundbrush SR4001)

Playing mostly his own always lyrical compositions, pianist Roger Davidson finds an ideal collaborator in Argentine bass player Pablo Aslan. Roger’s delicately shaded touch is the perfect way to present his often graceful music that is always absorbing. The secure underpinning of Pablo’s bass also helps maintain the lightly swinging atmosphere that cloaks this live session. Pablo’s love for his country’s musical tradition can be heard on his album, Buenos Aires Tango Standards (Zoho). Here, apart from Roger’s work, there are three tracks by other composers: Irving Berlin’s How Deep Is The Ocean, Angel Villoldo’s El Choclo, and an especially lovely interpretation of Stelvio Cipriani’s Anónimo Veneziano.roger davidson This said, the greater part of the music is Roger Davidson’s and he is as interesting in his role as composer as he is when performing. Throughout, he demonstrates his complete command of the jazz and Latin idioms that are only a small part of his musical interests and ability, which ranges through chamber music and symphonic works to encompass aspects of popular music, the last named being especially apparent in his love for the music of Brazil. Altogether, this concert is a delight and will appeal to all those who admire jazz piano to which Roger and Pablo apply touches of South American warmth and romance.

Keri Johnsrud This Side Of Morning (KJ Music KJ 0029)

For this, her latest album, Keri Johnsrud introduces another facet of her talent, that of songwriter. Where her début set, All Blue, was mainly standards plus some lesser-known items from the past, here she sings ten songs written by herself in collaboration with pianist Kevin Bales, whose accompaniment here smoothly enfolds Keri’s youthfully fresh and warm vocal sound. As might be expected, her interpretations are filled with profound understanding of the lyrics. Highly musical, Keri studied piano and trumpet and has worked extensively in vocal groups of all sizes up to and including choirs, in various parts of the USA and also in Europe.keri johnsrud As a solo singer, Keri has worked nightspots in her home state of Iowa as well as in Atlanta, Chicago, where she is now based, and New York, and is now becoming much more widely known. Also heard on this album are Larry Kohut, bass, Jon Deitemyer, drums, as well as guitarist Neal Alger and vibraphonist Stephen Lynerd. Keri’s is an enjoyable voice on today’s jazz scene, and this new album, which is due for release on 7 April 2015, will be admired by many.

Uptown Jazz Vocal Quartet Vocal Madness (HouseKat unnumbered)

Starting out in Washington, DC, the Uptown Jazz Vocal Quartet is an exceptional vocal group. Add to this, alto saxophonist Richie Cole, a great admirer of the UJVQ, and the stage is set for a hugely entertaining hour of music making. The group’s members are Ginny Carr, Robert McBride, Holly Shockey and André Enceneat, while other instrumentalists heard include pianist Alan Blackman, guitarist Steve Herberman, bassist Max Murray, and drummer Frank Russo. Richie’s recognition of the quartet’s qualities was based upon his experience of working extensively with The Manhattan Transfer (he was on three of their Grammy-winning albums) and it is most assuredly not misplaced. Apart from the vocal skills of the quartet, the saxophonist was also attuned to the arranging and songwriting talent of lead singer Ginny Carr.uptown vocal jq Among the twelve songs on this release are heard five originals by Richie, arranged by Ginny, and four of Ginny’s own compositions. The flawless harmonizing of the singers, along with some vocal solo moments, blend well with the alto saxophonist’s outstanding solos. All this front-line music-making is admirably underpinned by the rhythm section and there are also well-taken guest appearances by Chris Walker, trumpet, Jen Krupa, trombone, Chris Vadala, alto saxophone, and Leigh Pilzer, tenor saxophone. This fine set is a swinging assurance that this kind of jazz singing is in good hands. The album is dedicated to ManTran founder Tim Hauser who died recently; not only is this appropriate, he would surely have approved.

For more information on Judi Silvano, Roger Davidson, Keri Johnsrud and the Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet, take a look at Jim Eigo’s website. As always, these albums are available from Amazon.


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