Jazz CD Reviews – late July 2016
July 30, 2016
Anthony E. Nelson Jr Swift To Hear, Slow To Speak (Musicstand MSR 0005)
A fine instrumentalist and composer, Anthony E. Nelson is well established on the New York scene. On this album, his fourth as leader, Anthony plays soprano and tenor saxophones on a selection of his own compositions, all contemporary in style and execution and delightfully melodic. There are also hidden depths, deriving from an important and distinguishing aspect of his writing. In all that he does, Anthony is strongly influenced by his faith; indeed, each work is inspired by passages in the Bible. Although this does not appear in an overt manner, in some of his compositions he holds up a reflective mirror to the gospel tradition. This form, which has appeared in jazz and other kindred musical genres over the years, is used by Anthony as a very subtle undercurrent beneath new styles and forms. Thus the music is of today and for today, yet contains within it profound statements for those who choose to hear them. Joining Anthony here are Josh Evans, trumpet, Bruce Williams, alto saxophone, Brandon McCune, piano, Kenny Davis, bass, and Chris Beck, drums. Among the tracks are Never Too Late, which draws upon the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:1-44), Blessed Are Those That Mourn, a moving piece, Consider It All Joy, which fully lives up to its title, and Swift To Hear, Slow To Speak. This is used appropriately as the album title because Anthony’s music continues to echo in the mind long after the first hearing.
Senri Oe Answer July (PND 88295 45908)
This interesting, entertaining and rewarding album presents a selection of compositions by Senri Oe, all of them melodically pleasing. There are various lyricists, some of them singing the songs themselves. Senri has performed in Japan for many years as a pop artist and has been active in jazz for a relatively short time. The songs heard here include Tiny Snow and Mischievous Mouse (lyrics: Jon Hendricks; vocal: Sheila Jordan), Just A Little Wine (lyrics: Hendricks; vocal: Theo Bleckmann), The Very Secret Spring (lyrics and vocal: Lauren Kinhan), Answer July (lyrics: and vocal: Becca Stevens), Without Any Moon Or Rain (lyrics: Kinhan, vocal: Kinhand and Dylan Pramuk). There is about this set a relaxed and intimate atmosphere that suggests these artists would be a joy to see and hear live in a nightclub. Unfortunately, I am sure that this much talent will be far beyond any club owner’s means. The core instrumental group consists of Senri Oe, piano, Yacine Boulares, saxophones, Jim Robertson, bass, Reggie Quinerly, drums, along with guests Paul Tafoya, trumpet, Olga Trofimova, trombone, and drummers Andy Watson and E.J. Strickland. Also heard are vocalists Travon Anderson and Junko Airta (on You And Me), both these last named also providing background vocals as do Mitch Wilson and The New School Singers. Very enjoyable music played and sung with skill and subtle flair.
Ricardo Bacelar Concerto Para Moviola/Ao Vivo (Bacelar AA 0001000)
The music heard here was recorded by Ricardo Bacelar live at the 2015 Guaramiranga Jazz and Blues Festival. The repertoire is drawn from the jazz world, Horace Silver’s Señor Blues, Joe Zawinul’s Birdland, Benny Golson’s Killer Joe, and Chick Corea’s Blue Miles; Brasiliana, Chico Buarque and Tom Jobim’ s Sabiá, and Jobim’s and Vinicius De Moraes’s Água De Beber, some pop material, Michel Legrand’s The Windmills Of Your Mind, as well as some of Ricardo’s originals. All is performed with warmth and intensity by a strong yet smooth group of musicians. On this occasion, Ricardo plays piano and keyboards and he is joined by Marcio Resende, soprano and tenor saxophones and flute, Marcus Vinicius Cardoso, violin, Ronaldo Pessoa, guitar, Miquéias Dos Santos, bass, Luizinho Duarte, drums, and Maria Helena Lage Pessoa and Hoto Júnior, percussion.
Rebekah Victoria & JazzKwest #OldFashionedTwitterTwit (Kwest Music)
It comes as a pleasant surprise to hear Rebekah Victoria & JazzKwest because not all, in fact not many, musicians today focus their repertoire on the Great American Songbook. Although this is a debut album, all on hand are experienced and have played professionally for many years, mainly in California. The fact that they have been together for a while now is apparent from their rapport throughout this set. Among the songs performed are Taking A Chance On Love, Our Day Will Come, Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most, All The Things You Are, Speak Low and We’ll Be Together Again. Rebekah’s voice is clear, and her love for and understanding of the lyrics she sings is always evident. Accompanying Rebekah is the core trio of Chuck Mancini, guitar, Bob Steele, bass, and Bob Belanski, drums, and several guests also appear. These are John Copobianco and Warren Gale Jr, trumpets, Jules Rowell, trombone, Ian Willson, tenor saxophone, Sharman Duran, piano Rob Michael, guitar and Rob Fisher, bass. Although the singer is in the spotlight throughout there is never a suggestion that the instrumentalists are there only as a backing group, rather there is a sense of unity that bespeaks a working band. The title of one of the tracks, I’m Old Fashioned, allied with the repertoire should not lead anyone to imagine that Rebekah and JazzKwest are anything but artists of today.
Brazzamerica Brazzamerica (own label)
The trio of musicians who form Brazzamerica are pianist Didinho Teixeira, bass player Leco Reis and drummer Edson Ferreira, all originally from Brazil but long established in New York City. Together, they present a selection of music that includes Brazilian standards and originals by Didinho. All the music is rhythmically rich and melodically satisfying and leans strongly toward the American jazz world in which these three musicians now work. Individually, Didinho, Leco and Edson are masters of their craft and inventive solos abound. Collectively, they play with complete understanding of the contrasting yet compatible genres and the set is replete with musical subtlety and invention.
Ron King Triumph (own label)
Very much a showcase for the playing and composing talent of Ron King, this album is a relaxed and pleasing experience. Playing trumpet and flugelhorn, with occasional turns on keyboards, Ron presents an eclectic mixture of music from several genres. There are Latin touches, contemporary pop styling, even moments that impart a suggestion of classical music, and much that displays Ron’s delight in playing jazz. Among the other musicians joining the leader here are saxophonists Rob Lockhart and Bob Sheppard, pianists Andy Langham, Tom Ranier and Jeff Lorber, drummer Gary Novak and vocalist Vienna Spencer. Throughout, these artists play with sophisticated skill and the album will appeal to many.