Jazz CD Reviews – early October 2014

September 30, 2014

Maria Jacobs Here Comes Winter (Iwarble Music)

This is Maria Jacobs’ fifth album and is a delightful memory jog that has sent me searching for the other four. Those previous albums were No Frills, Free As A Dove, Chasing Dreams and The Art of the Duo, the last-named with guitarist Bob Fraser whose eloquent accompaniment is also most prominent here. On this outing, Maria sings a pleasing selection of songs, five of which are her own work (two in collaboration). The other songs include standards and three by Joni Mitchell, a songwriter currently very much favored by young singers. After about a decade in Los Angeles, Maria has recently returned to the city where she was born, Cleveland, Ohio, and that is definitely a loss to the Pacific coast’s music scene and a considerable gain to the mid-west. Spreading her musical range, Maria has appeared regularly in Cleveland with her band, 4Get the Girl (whose debut album is in the works). Also appearing on Here Comes Winter are bassists Brian Wildman and Bob Curry, organist David Streiter, and synthesizer and keyboard player Cliff Habian, who is Maria’s co-composer on Til Forever Comes and Fall In Love Again. It is increasingly common for young singers to perform their own songs, which are rarely if ever picked up by their peers. It would be a shame of Maria’s songs are ignored; they are much too good for that. If you have yet to encounter Maria Jacobs, examples of her warm-toned vocal sound can be heard on her website and it is a sound that fits perfectly with the mood of romantic introspection that cloaks this very attractive release.

Rotem Sivan For Emotional Use Only (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 451)

A relative newcomer on the American jazz scene, Rotem Sivan is a strikingly gifted guitarist who intriguingly combines contemporary musical developments with traditional concepts. Since coming to New York in 2008 to study at the New School, Rotem has steadily built a following and this, his second album, makes clear the reasons for his popularity. rotem sivan cdAll but one of the tracks here are Rotem’s originals, and listeners will find much that is immediately appealing and melodically satisfying. Throughout this album, Rotem plays lines that at first hearing seem to be deceptively simple and it is this aspect that most readily brings to mind earlier jazz guitar stylists. On this set, Rotem is joined by bassist Haggai Cohen Milo and drummer Mark McLean, and although Rotem is center-stage his companions are much more than merely accompanists; this is very much a trio of like minds. This is a musician to look out for; through him it will be fascinating to follow the continuing story the guitar in jazz.


As always, these albums can be found at either the artists’ websites or at Amazon.

Information on booking etc can be found at Jim Eigo’s site.

And don’t forget that every issue of Jazz Journal contains dozens if record reviews, as well as articles and interviews, covering all aspects of this music, from then till now.


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