Jazz CD Reviews – mid-September 2016
September 15, 2016
Scott Morgan Songs Of Life (Miranda MMCD 1024)
Although it is likely that few outside the New York area will have heard (or even heard of) Scott Morgan, is is clear from this, his debut album, that he is a welcome addition to the list of those who perform songs from the Great American Songbook. Here, Scott has selected songs with lyrics that have just as much if not more meaning today as they did when they were written. They also reflect Scott’s life and travels and this allows him to imbue the lyrics with emotional depth. Included in the track list are I’m Just A Lucky So-And-So, This Heart of Mine, I Just Found Out About Love, and It’s You Or No One. Also heard are Dori Caymmi Motta and the Bergmans’ Like A Lover, Lennon and McCartney’s I Will as well as two songs composed by Fred Hersch, who plays piano in Scott’s supporting group: Lazin’ Around and I’ll Follow (the latter with lyrics by Scott). Joining Scott and Fred are Matt Aronoff, bass, Ross Pederson, drums, with guest appearances by tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm on two tracks and vocalist Janis Siegal on one. A pleasing set that should find approval from many.
The Girshevich Trio Algorhythmic Society (Tapestry 76026-2)
This fine trio blends musical talents that range over several decades. Leader Vlads Girshevich studied classical piano as a very small child, turning toward jazz in his teenage years. After moving from his native Uzbekistan to the USA, he became well known on the national and international jazz festival circuit. Bassist Eddie Gomez is well known in the jazz world, notably through his ten years with Bill Evans and his spells with Steps Ahead and Chick Corea. The third member of the trio is Vlad’s son, Aleks Girshevich, twelve years old at the time of this recording, not that his age is apparent from his skillful and intelligent playing. All the music performed here was composed by Vlads and Aleks and ranges through many moods as they draw inspiration from various styles and eras.
Opaluna – Susana Pineda & Luis Salcedo Opaluna (Ridgeway)
Tastefully blending Latin American singing style with a relaxed jazz ethos, this duo presents a varied selection of songs, most of them composed Susana Pineda and Luis Salcedo, alone and together. Susana has a light, clear voice, and her interpretations go to the heart of the music. Lu’s guitar playing, fluent and inventive, show him to be both a skillful soloist and a gifted collaborator. These young musicians perform as a balanced partnership and are assured of a long and successful future. They are accompanied some tracks by bassist Jeff Denson and percussionist John Santos. Denson has been a key figure in the duo’s development, having first heard them at Berkeley’s California Jazz Conservatory where they were students and he taught.
Tim McCormick South Beat (Manatee)
A lively blend of contemporary jazz and Latin music, notably Brazilia, is heard here in performances by a punchy band led by tenor and soprano saxophonist Tom McCormick. Opening with a lively original by Tom (the album title track), the set proceeds through some very danceable music, several also composed by Tom, leavened with moments of soulful balladry, such as My Foolish Heart and Barbara. The latter is a Horace Silver composition and there is also John Coltrane’s Naima. Among the instrumentalists in Tom’s group are pianist Pete Wallace, bassists Nicky Orta and Eric England, and percussionists Carlomango Araya and David Chiverton, as well as some guest horns, notably trumpeter John Lovell.
Nine Live Sonus Inenarrabilis (Mulatta MUL 033)
The music heard here, all composed by John Clark, has a contemporary classical air with subtle touches from the jazz world. The instrumentalists who form Nine Live are John, playing French horn, Dan Cooper, bass, Lynn Bechtold, violin, Jen DeVore, cello, Stephanie Griffin, viola, Kinan Azmeh, clarinet, Michael Rabinowitz, bassoon, Rob Stephens, keyboards, and Cesare Papetti. Some of the tracks suggest that might be designed to be heard in a concert hall while others hint at a more theatrical setting. All of these pieces are rich and colorful and should appeal especially to those who favor classical music.
Albums by these artists are available at the usual outlets, including Amazon.